Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Search the Remnant Newspaper
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

On Visiting the Graves of the Dead

By:   Hugo Klapproth | Great-grandfather of Michael Matt
Rate this item
(35 votes)
On Visiting the Graves of the Dead

Introduction by Michael Matt: I’m happy to introduce my great-grandfather, Hugo Klapproth, and his “new” book, Letters to a Protestant Friend. Full disclosure: The book is new only to English-speaking readers living 130 years after it was published in German here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I hope to have the book available for sale here at The Remnant before Christmas 2022.

Apart from a thoughtful historical piece, this little book also makes a masterful contribution to Catholic apologetics. As a convert from Lutheranism and a professional newspaper editor, Hugo Klapproth’s arguments to his Lutheran friend are some of the most effective I have ever read. Mary “worship,” Faith alone, sola scriptura, the papacy, the “non-biblical” roots of purgatory and the Sacrament of Confession – all the go-to Protestant arguments are refuted with expert biblical exegesis, considerable historical acumen, and the patient approach of one who was once a Protestant.

In his letters, we discover arguments – old and new – that remind us of how and why the Catholic Church, no matter how sinful her members might be, is nevertheless the spotless bride of Jesus Christ. And as such, the Catholic men of yesterday, such as Klapproth, would surely be included in the ranks of the traditionalists today.

hugo klapproth

Writing 130 years ago, Hugo Klapproth is a traditional Catholic pioneer. The Traditions he defends in his day are the same we defend in ours. The Mass he attends is the same Latin Mass we attend today. The Catholic teachings he champions in 1895 are the same we champion in 2022.

Nothing has changed. God is still in His heaven, and His Church is still the one true Church of Jesus Christ. From his grave, Hugo Klapproth reminds us all that we can never leave the Church. We are called by God to stay and fight, to survive and to hand down the Faith of our fathers to our sons, exactly as our fathers handed it down to us. Our task remains the same. 

What follows is an excerpt from the book, Letters to a Protestant Friend, on visiting the graves of the departed. Look for the full book this Fall, available at The Remnant Newspaper. MJM


A CATHOLIC CEMETERY lies not far away from my home. I take my favorite walks to visit it. Among the thousands who lie there, awaiting the day of the Resurrection, there are many whom I knew, this one or that one who was closer to me in my life than the others. I am drawn to them, not only by memory and the desire to mourn them, not only by my love for quiet seclusion and consideration of the perishability of all things earthly, but also by the firm awareness that I can still be of use to most of them, and because of this to myself as well.

And then, my memory, completely of its own accord, moves me from these tombs and builds a bridge to others, far away in my beloved German Fatherland. The mortal remains that these faraway tombs hold have indeed long decayed into dust, but the souls live, and with confident hope my loving intercessions are now also raised up to the throne of God for them, and I renew in myself the determination to rush to aid them the best way that I can in other ways as well.

Love never ceases. It knows no “too late”—even at the side of coffins and graves—but only if instead of exhausting itself with useless sentimental sighing and crying, it undertakes noble works for the beloved deceased.

Sometimes I take my children with me on my walks. And with what pleasure they pray there, even at the tombs of the dead whom they scarcely know by name! Indeed, these little ones approach still closer to things divine than we do. Many matters that we adults only grasp laboriously are understood by their innocent souls as givens. My little Leo—you know from earlier letters what a scamp he is!—once, early last year, was with me in that cemetery. Its numerous trees were back to life, and brightly feathered birds weaved in and out of them. The sweet, squirrel-like, field mice carried on with their funny games on the lawns and on the paths, and here and there the first flowers were in blossom. The things that were there for the frisky boy to look at, to astonish him, and to question! He would most of all have liked to chase after a gorgeous, golden little bird, in order, if possible, to catch it.

Yet look at this, how he, in total seriousness, devoutly kneels and prays at my side! Birds, trees and butterflies; none of them are there for him at this moment. And so he knelt there with me on many hills. When we left, I pointed along the path to a grave: “Here is where Mr. M. lies, a brother of Mr. F. whom you knew.” He immediately said, “Oh, don’t we want to pray for him as well?” There lay therein something almost like a quiet reproach, as though I had intended to pass by this grave. And yet, at the same time—praise be to God!—there is not a trace of sentimentalism in this boy. Still, he is a child, with an uncorrupted temperament. The belief in a place of purification and the love for the poor souls is, to such a child, so to speak, totally natural.

Love never ceases. It knows no “too late”—even at the side of coffins and graves—but only if instead of exhausting itself with useless sentimental sighing and crying, it undertakes noble works for the beloved deceased. For true love does not live through soft feelings. The sap of love is action.

With love—
Your Hugo Klapproth

Latest From RTV — COUNTERREVOLUTION: Pope Francis, Joe Biden Losing Control

[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Friday, November 4, 2022