Heroic Priests in the “Unsinkable” Titanic

Ask anyone about the sinking of RMS Titanic and the most probable responses that you will receive are related to the popular movie “Titanic”, which is starred by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Few of the responses might be related to the true crew and passengers of the “unsinkable” vessel. But, I believe that no response will be given that is related to the heroic priests who did not abandon the sinking ship for the sake of the perishing passengers.

It is a little known fact that two Catholic priests are on board the famous RMS Titanic. This is what the report of Evening World (April 1912) said about the two priests:
“Two priests of the Roman Catholic Church went down on the Titanic with men and women grouped about them responding to prayers. Not only Catholics, but Protestants and Jews, realizing that their last hour was at hand, took part in the final religious service on the sloping deck of the Titanic as she was heading downward for the depths.”

The priests are Reverend Thomas R. Byles from London and an unnamed German priest. Only the story of Rev. Byles is known and a website was dedicated for him.
Reverend Thomas Byles
Reverend Thomas R. Byles

According to the report, both priest officiated Holy Mass in the vessel. Both their homilies is about the “necessity of man having a lifeboat in the shape of religious consolation at hand in case of spiritual shipwreck”.

When Titanic is struck an iceberg and is about to sink, Rev. Byles helped children, women and other people to the lifeboats. While he is active in saving other people, the priest did not forgot his calling. He also led the prayers, give absolution and comforted the people.

This is what a witness said of Rev. Byles:
"A few around us became very excited," Miss Mocklare continued, "and then it was that the priest again raised his hand and instantly they were calm once more. The passengers were immediately impressed by the absolute self-control of the priest. He began the recitation of the rosary. The prayers of all, regardless of creed, were mingled and the responses, "Holy Mary," were loud and strong.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic is due to human error. The captain and crew are so sure that the vessel is unsinkable that they failed to be vigilant of icebergs. I believe that the presence of the two priest aboard Titanic is not a coincidence. God placed them to calm the spirit and bring salvation to passengers and crew.

I know that many people blamed God for the sinking of Titanic. I know that many people mock Christians for believing a God that allows tragedies, like the sinking of the Titanic, to happen. People of little Faith! Many of the tragedies that occur to human beings are due to their own faults. Isn't it unfair to blame God for things of our own doing? We also don't have the right to blame God even if many people die of natural calamities. God owns everything, even our own life. He has the right to give life or to take it. Our own responsibility is to ensure that we are pleasing in the eyes of God so that we are ready to face Him when we die.

Though we are disobedient and unfaithful, God still send His help for all of us. The presence of the two priests aboard Titanic is a testament to this. Many people were saved during that day simply because they believed in the two priests. The sea had swallowed them but God gave them, believers and non-believers alike, a chance to be with Him in heaven.

As the world remembers the sinking of Titanic, I hope that we also remember these heroic priests who served God and people in great time of need.

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  1. I agree with you 100%. The Titanic is a tragedy but resulted in a number of heroes as well. I've been a Titanic fanatic since High School, ever since reading about it in our school's encyclopedia. And I was so dismayed that people associate with the love story and not for the heroes it produced.

    I also agree with your last paragraphs. "Many of the tragedies that occur to human beings are due to their own faults. Isn't it unfair to blame God for things of our own doing?"

    I've been depressed for a while now and this quote really lifted my spirits up. Thank you very much. =)

  2. sa pagkakaalala ko yung capt. pa mismo nagsabi na unsinkable ang titanic that even God can't sink it..tama ba? patunay lang na kung gaano man kagaling at kaganda ang pagkakagawa mababaliwala yun kung walang faith sa Kanya at kung iuunderestimate ang kaya Niyang gawin.

  3. Average Jane

    I am sad to know that you are experiencing a sort of depression. Be strong my friend. Kaya mo yan.

    I will pray for you.


    Actually nagtatalo pa yung mga historians at researchers kung kanino galing yung quote na "that God can't even sink the Titanic".

    Pero ang sigurado ay maraming tao na nakasakay sa Titanic na naging sobrang tiwala sa RMS Titanic sa dahilang ang barkong ito ay isang technological marvel noong panahon na iyon.

    But their trust in mere object is a folly. Ayun, lumubog ang barko at nalinlang sila ng security na bigay ng technology.


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