2019 Annual Review
Ben's Sainthood drive has moved from Denver to Chicago.
In October 2018 the online petition to advance Ben Salmon's cause for sainthood was written to Archbishop Aquila of Denver, Colorado The Ben Salmon Guild of Denver presented information on Ben's life and witness to the Denver Archdiocese since Ben had been born, educated, worshiped and married in the Denver Catholic community. The Archdiocese followed canonical procedure and forwarded the information to the Archdiocese of Chicago since Ben had spent his final years in Chicago and was interred there.
In August of this year (2019), Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M. Conv., Episcopal President of Pax Christi USA, signed the petition and sent a letter to Cardinal Cupich of Chicago urging the promotion of Ben Salmon's cause. At that time the petition was redirected to Cardinal Cupich and continued to gather over 700 signatures and insightful comments. If you haven't signed on yet please do so by filling out the form at the bottom of https://www.bensalmon.org/letter.html. If you have already signed, Thank You. If you wish to add or amend a comment please refill out the form. And please encourage your friends and neighbors to add their endorsements to the petition.
Fr. Bernard Survil spent much of this past fall spreading the story of Ben Salmon's heroic witness to the Gospel throughout Chicagoland. He met with pastors and educators (including Bishop Rojas) and held an All Souls Day vigil at Ben's gravesite.
Ben Salmon and the visual media
This past summer two YouTube videos were produced: The Life and Message of Ben Salmon and There is No Just War. These videos are respectively 12 and 9 minutes long and recommended for showing in classrooms or church group meetings where there is time for discussion of the relevance of Ben's witness in this age of perpetual war.
And now on the big screen is a movie that the Friends of Franz & Ben had a small but essential hand in bringing to the big screen. A Hidden Life recounts the story of a Catholic conscientious objector in World War II, 25 years after Ben Salmon took his stand. It tells of Austrian Franz Jagerstatter who refused to fight for the Nazis, against the advice of his Church leaders and who was executed for his beliefs. The film has received mostly positive reviews, such as this one. It has been in limited release but is scheduled for a broader showing beginning in January. For information on where and when to see it go to https://tickets.ahiddenlifemovie.com.
Since Franz and Ben had much in common, Friends of Franz & Ben have been handing out "holy cards" with the Ben Salmon icon on one side and an introduction to Ben on the other at select showings of A Hidden Life. We hope that Ben Salmon's story will someday soon also make it to the big screen.
Ben Salmon and print media
In July 2019, the Houston Catholic Worker published the article Ben Salmon, Catholic Conscientious Objector by Michael Baxter, the Director of Catholic Studies at Regis University in Denver. Baxter expanded the article and then published Unsung Hero of WWI in the December 2019 edition of The Catholic Worker. We hope to soon add links to these articles on our Resources page.
Just when you thought this was going to finish before we passed the plate...
Since this seems to be the season to appeal for donations, we are going to get in our plea. First, please donate a few minutes to share with your friends, neighbors, and the next person you pass on the street or in the hall, the witness of Ben Salmon for peace and for overcoming evil with good. If they are receptive, ask if they would like to sign the petition to advance Ben's cause for sainthood. Second, if you attend a showing of A Hidden Life and would like to inform fellow moviegoers about another Catholic CO, send a request for some holy cards to hand out to likely petition signers to: firstname.lastname@example.org. And finally, if you'd like to help with maintaining our website or with travel for Friends to present Ben to classrooms and meetings, you could send funds to St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1031 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901 with a note for "Ben Salmon Cause" on the check. Thank you.
Friends of Franz and Ben