Friday, October 30, 2009

#FrFriday: Irish Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty (1898 - 1963)

When I returned to the Catholic Church, I started to notice Catholic films. I'm a big film buff anyway, but didn't realize how many good Catholic stories were made into movies. One was "The Scarlet and the Black." It's the story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty who helped save thousands of POW Allies and refugees while in Rome during World War II.

It is an amazing story and I highly recommend it if you've not seen it. Monsignor O'Flaherty is played by Gregory Peck and the bad Nazi guy is played by (surprise!) Christopher Plummer. I say "surprise" because I usually think of Plummer's brave role fighting the Nazi's in "The Sound of Music." It is a story of hope, courage, forgiveness, and redemption. It's also interesting to see how Monsignor O'Flaherty reached out to the Jews in Rome to help them. Although Wikipedia says that in 2003, the Israeli government planted a tree in his honor in Yad Vashem (a memorial to Gentiles who have helped Jewish people, called "Righeous Among the Nations."), I could not find Monsignor's name on the website.

There is a group trying to build a more permanent memorial to Monsignor O'Flaherty. I find it sad that his hometown of Killarney, Ireland barely remembers him. I've always had a soft spot for Ireland. I hope the memorial is built and that many generations will remember the bravery and sacrifices of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty. May he rest in peace.

1 comment:

Tom Ryan said...

Here's a better movie about the Monsignor: