The White Rose: Cult and Commemoration

Secular commemoration of the White Rose resistance is widespread in Germany: schools, streets, and squares are named after individual core members of the group; a bust of Sophie Scholl was placed in the Walhalla memorial near Regensburg in 2003. ‘Commemoration’ also has a specific connotation in the practice of particular Christian denominations, regarding the officially-sanctioned cultus, or public remembering, of individuals in the life of those Churches. Such commemorations, whether promulgated or in the process of investigation, now include members of the White Rose, a group of individuals with a range of religious experience, practice, and opinions. These commemorations raise a variety of questions: when such decisions are taken, how are these people’s lives described? When texts are used, are they specific or generic? In what ways are such figures instrumentalized by the groups which opt to commemorate them in this way? This paper explores the process of saint-making in the twenty-first century, with particular reference to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich-Freising’s preliminary investigations into the beatification of Willi Graf, announced in 2018, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia’s glorification of Alexander Schmorell in 2012, and the ecumenical dimensions of the ongoing compilation of the German Martyrology of the Twentieth Century.  

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Daniel Lloyd read Modern History and German at Merton College, Oxford, followed by a Master’s in European Literature. Following further studies in theology at Oxford, and through the Angelicum in Rome, he was ordained priest in 2012. He has been successively priest-in-charge and Parish Priest of Hinksey in the Roman Catholic diocese of Portsmouth since 2015, and is currently undertaking a PhD in the Liturgical Studies department of the Catholic Theology Faculty of the University of Vienna.