David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion — Heaven and Hell, Holocaust

Heaven and Hell

• Mark Twain attended a large dinner where the topic of conversation was Heaven and Hell. Mr. Twain remained quiet — something very uncharacteristic of him. When a woman asked him, “Why don’t you say something? I would like to hear your opinion,” he replied, “Madam, you must excuse me. I am silent of necessity — I have friends in both places!”

• A Cardinal and a Congressman died and went to Heaven. The Cardinal was given barely adequate accommodations, but the Congressman was given a luxurious mansion to live in. The Cardinal asked St. Peter about the different accommodations, and St. Peter replied, “In Heaven we have lots of Cardinals — but he’s our only Congressman.”

• Will Rogers was a human being who felt for other human beings. When fellow comedian Eddie Cantor was sad because his grandmother wasn’t still alive when he was a hit in the 1917 Ziegfeld Follies, Will comforted him by saying, “Now, Eddie, what makes you think she didn’t see you? And from a very good seat?”

• A man asked a Zen master what would happen after the Zen master died. The Zen master calmly replied, “I will enter Hell.” “Enter Hell?” the man said. “You are a paragon of virtue. Why would you enter Hell?” The Zen master answered, “If I don’t enter Hell, who will enlighten you?”

• Radio announcers always keep a record handy to play in case a live feed goes dead. When technical difficulties interrupted a Sunday morning sermon broadcast, the announcer grabbed the handy record and played it. It was Cab Calloway singing, “You’ll Never Get to Heaven That Way.”

• Agnellus Andrew used to act as a consultant on Catholic affairs for the BBC. BBC TV producer Hugh Burnett asked him how he could get the official Catholic view concerning Heaven and Hell. Mr. Andrew sent him a one-word memo: “Die.”


• In southeast Poland, Andrew Sheptitsky was head of the Greek Catholic Church. During World War II, he helped save over 150 Jews from the Nazis by hiding them in monasteries, convents, churches, and his home. To a Jewish man who had been hidden in a monastery, and who sometimes pretended to be a monk in order to avoid capture by the Nazis, Mr. Sheptitsky said, “I want you to be a good Jew, and I am not saving you for your own sake. I am saving you for your people. I do not expect any reward, nor do I expect you to accept my faith.”

• Archbishop Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later to be Pope John XXIII, was apostolate delegate to Turkey during the days of the Nazis. The German ambassador, Franz von Papen, came to him to see if Rome would support the German army’s fight against the “atheistic Communists.” Archbishop Roncalli was unimpressed and replied, “What shall I tell them about the millions of Jews your countrymen are murdering in Germany and in Poland?”

• During World War II, Father Jonas of Vidukle, Lithuania, used his church to hide 30 Jewish children. The Nazis discovered that Jewish children were hiding there, and they battered down the door of the church and entered. Father Jonas told the Nazis that they would have to kill him before they could harm the children. The Nazis murdered Father Jonas, and then they murdered the children.

• Many people, including religious, resisted Nazi efforts to commit genocide against the Jews in Italy. Frequently, Jewish children were hidden in convents and monasteries. At a Carmine convent, unfortunately, Nazis discovered 50 Jewish children and took away most of them. Only two were saved — the mother superior succeeded in hiding two little girls under her skirts.

• Movie director Steven Spielberg is Jewish, and some of his relatives survived being in concentration camps during the Holocaust. As a three-year-old boy, he learned to count by reading the numbers tattooed on a relative’s forearm.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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