Biography of Servant of God, Bishop Edward Profittlich, SJ

Biographical Description: Born into a peasant family in Birrensdorf, outside Koblentz, Germany, on September 11, 1890. Graduated from gymnasium in Linz and in 1911 he enrolled in the seminary in Trier, but did not graduate. April 11, 1931, he entered the Society of Jesus in Heerenberg. From 1915 he was a volunteer doctor’s assistant in a hospital in Vuizven, France, for which he received a state award. At the end of 1918 he entered the university in Maastricht, Holland, where he studied philosophy and theology. Ordained in Valkenburg on August 26, 1922. From 1922 he studied at Kraków University, where he completed a doctorate in philosophy and theology. From 1924 he was a missionary in Poland; from 1925, in Opele, Germany; from 1927 he was a priest at one of the parishes in Hamburg; from 1930, in Tallinn; from 1933 he was Apostolic Administrator in Reval. December 27, 1937 – episcopal consecration. Remained in Tallinn after the annexation of Estonia to the USSR. He went three times to the German embassy, trying to get permission for Catholic priests and fifteen sisters to exit to Germany. June 27, 1941 – arrested and transported to Kirov Prison, where he arrived July 6. On October 23, 1941, he was indicted on charges of “systematically carrying out anti-Soviet agitation and, in sermons preached in church, he uttered slanders regarding the position of the faithful in the Soviet Union and nurtured in faithful Catholics a spirit of hatred toward Communism. After the outbreak of military actions between the USSR and fascist Germany, Profittlich praised the might of the German Army and expressed defeatist views with respect to the Soviet Union.” November 21, 1941 – sentenced to death under Articles 58-10(2) and 58-12 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR [Special Collegium, Kirov Dist. Ct.]. January 16, 1942 – sentence affirmed in Moscow [Special Collegium, Supreme Ct., RSFSR]. February 22, 1942 – he died in Kirov Prison. April 24, 1942 – petition for clemency was rejected [Presidium, USSR Supreme Ct.]. In March 1947 – the counter-intelligence sector SMERSH of the Tallinn Naval Defense Region was requested to immediately [advise of] the place where Edward Profittlich had served out his sentence and his case file, “in connection with an operational necessity that has been encountered.” June 12, 1990 – rehabilitated [Supreme Ct., Estonia]. A memorial plaque dedicated to Bishop Profittlich has been placed in the Tallinn church. Pope John Paul II prayed before this plaque in 1993. Bishop Profittlich stated at his interrogation on October 14, 1941: “I am not in agreement with the Soviet regime inasmuch as there is still no full freedom of faith and I do not care for the way in which the Soviet regime is implementing its idea of socialism. They also write much about the Church being an enemy of the people […] I don’t care for this order. In my homilies I have expressed [the view] that there is still no full freedom of faith, that faithful Catholics do not everywhere have their own priests. I called upon my parishioners to pray that there would come a time in the Soviet Union when there would be full freedom of faith […] My opinion in fact is that there will come a time in the future when the Church will be given complete freedom in the Soviet Union, because in history it has been that way – after persecutions there again comes a time when the faith is again free and strengthened.” Cause for beatification opened in Moscow, May 31, 2003, “Catholic New Martyrs of Russia.” See Sources: Information from Fr. Jerzy Karpinski from Moscow, Feb. 22, 2000; Investigatory Matter E. Profittlich, Archive of the Directorate, Estonian Ministry of the Interior; List compiled by R. Dzwonkowski, SAC; Grulich, pp. 73-76; Hamburger, pp. 163-169; see also