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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

“FRANCE WILL SUFFER”

“I can no longer restrain my Son!” Our Lady had declared sadly to Estelle Faguette at Pellevoisin in 1876. The world continued to ignore its Mother’s warnings and to bring ever closer the great punishment that was to befall it.

THE DEVIL IS “EVERY DAY REDOUBLING HIS EFFORTS” 

Two years after the apparitions at Pellevoisin, the frail sixty-eight-year-old Cardinal Pecci became the new Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII. “It is not the tiara you are giving me, but death,” the Pope said to the Cardinals who elected him. It is true that the papal tiara has been a heavy burden in these days when the devil is “every day redoubling his efforts.” Nevertheless, Pope Leo XIII reigned for twenty-five years, until 1903. He thus became the first Pontiff of our twentieth century.

Pope Leo XIII earned the title “Pope of the Workingman” because of his great encyclical Rerum Novarum. Like Karl Marx, the Pontiff recognised the great abuse that had been brought about by the Industrial Revolution. But his solution, based on the teachings of Christ, was vastly different from the class warfare advocated by Marx. Employers who were making large profits were slow to follow the Pope’s plan of granting justice to the workingman. Some even denounced him as a socialist. Had Pope Leo XIII been heeded, Communism would not be the threat that it now is.

ITALY’S SECULAR GOVERNMENT’S SEIZURE OF THE VATICAN

As a protest against Italy’s unjust seizure of the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII followed the example of his predecessor and did not leave the Vatican during his entire reign. Relations improved slightly with some countries, but only slightly. Germany, under Chancellor Bismarck, engaged in a persecution of the Church. France, now in the firm grip of the anti-clericals, passed law after law to hamstring the Church.

SECULAR FRANCE PASSED LAW AFTER LAW TO HAMSTRING THE CHURCH 

When Estelle Faguette had an audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1900, she said, “Holy Father, the Blessed Virgin said that France will have to suffer.”

“Yes,” said the Pontiff sadly, “France will have to suffer.”

Fourteen years later, World War I broke out, and most of the battles were fought on French soil. This war was even more devastating than the one of 1870-1871 had been.

Cardinal Sarto was elected to succeed Pope Leo XIII. “Since I must suffer I will take the name of those who have suffered,” he said, “I will be called Pius.”

France caused Pope Pius X great anguish, as it had his predecessors. In 1904, the government declared that the concordat which had been in effect with the Holy See for a century was at an end. The Law of Separation was passed the following year. By this law, the government confiscated all possessions of the clergy as well as of charitable institutions. Religious congregations were disbanded. Many of the religious were forced to leave the country. Nuns were driven from their work in schools and hospitals. Churches were looted.

Many of the French people protested. The men sent to despoil the churches were often attacked by the infuriated peasants, and many of them had to have guards to protect them. Nevertheless, the sacrilegious work went on. “And France,” our Lady had said at Pellevoisin, “what have I not done for her? How many warnings and yet she refused to listen!

The misnamed liberalism which was scourging France spread to Spain and – this is interesting in the light of later developments – to Portugal. The king and his son were murdered. The next king was forced to abdicate. A republic was established. A Law of Separation, based on the one in France, was passed, and the Church was in for a long period of persecution.

“THE CHURCH WAS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION”

In the dark days in which we are now living, the most encouraging signs we behold are increased devotion to Mary and increased devotion to her Son in the Eucharist. It is largely to Pope Pius X, “Pope of the Eucharist”, that we owe the latter. It was he who urged frequent Communion and permitted children to receive Communion as soon as they reached the age of reason.

In 1916, two years after the death of Pius X, an angel appeared to three children near Fatima in Portugal. They were aged nine, eight, and six. The angel placed a Host on the tongue of Lucia, the oldest. To Francisco and Jacinta, who had not made their first Communion, he presented a chalice, and they drank from it. The angel said: “Take the body and blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He seemed to be expressing at the same time displeasure with the state of the world and approval of the early Communion advocated by Pius X.

It was to these same three children that our Lady was later to appear.

MEN WERE ABOUT TO REAP THE TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT THAT WAS DUE TO THEM

The war clouds were gathering in the last part of the reign of Pope Pius X. Men were about to reap the terrible punishment that was due to them for having “horribly outraged” their God.

THE POPE TRIED TO AVERT THE LOOMING WORLD WAR

The Pontiff tried in every way possible to avert the war, but he saw that he was doomed to fail. He told his Secretary of State that a war would break out in 1914. Early in May, 1914, he said to a South American who was returning home, “How fortunate you are that you will not be here when war breaks out in a very short time.

When he heard that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated, he knew that the conflict had begun. “Oh, my poor children!” he cried. “This is the last affliction which the Lord is sending me! Willingly would I sacrifice my life to ward off this terrible scourge!”

Twice the Austrian ambassador asked Pope Pius to bless the armies of that country. He was told, “I bless peace.”

Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia joined the conflict on the side of Serbia. Germany came to the aid of Austria.

Pope Pius was stricken by what the physicians thought to be a minor illness, but he died on August 10, 1914. Those about him knew that he died of a broken heart.

Pope Pius was declared a Saint. He was beatified June 3, 1951, and was canonised May 29, 1954.

THE POPE WAS FORBIDDEN TO TAKE PART IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS 

The new Pontiff, Benedict XV, strove valiantly to bring an end to the war. The leaders on both sides were convinced that they could win, however, and they were in no mood to stop fighting when victory seemed within their grasp. Never before had there been such destruction. This was the first war in which airplanes were used, and death rained from the skies. Ships were sunk; cities levelled. Women and children were victims along with the fighting men.

The Pope tried to arrange a truce on Christmas Day. Great Britain, Germany and Belgium seemed sympathetic, but France and Russia said no. Cannons continued to roar, and blood continued to flow on the birthday of the Prince of Peace.

When Italy entered the war, she made the Allies promise that the Pope would not be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations. She was afraid the matter of the Papal States might be brought up.

IT “APPEARS TO US AS THE SUICIDE OF CIVILISED EUROPE” 

The Pope’s efforts for peace went on constantly. On March 6, he said to his Vicar-General, Cardinal Pompili: “A father whose sons are engaged in a violent conflict is not at liberty to cease his pleadings for peace, even though they disregard his tears and exhortation… Therefore, we must again raise our voice against this war which appears to us as the suicide of civilised Europe.”

Far from diminishing, the war, like a giant conflagration, was spreading throughout the world. Portugal was engulfed in 1916, the United States in April, 1917. By this time almost every country in the world was involved.

EVENTS OF SINISTER IMPORTANCE 

In Russia, events of sinister and far-reaching importance were taking place. The war was going badly for that country which had been misruled for so many years by the czars. A revolution broke out in March 1917, and Czar Nicholas II abdicated.

An unstable provisional government was set up in Russia. It was not to last for long. Conditions were in a state of chaos, and the followers of Karl Marx thrive on that sort of thing. On April 16, Nicolai Lenin and Leon Trotsky, leaders of the Communists, arrived in Petrograd to make their plans for taking over the country.

In May, 1917, the month of our Lady, the world situation seemed hopeless. The war had been going on for almost three years, and no end was in sight… On May 5, 1917, when everything appeared darkest, Pope Benedict XV addressed a letter to his Cardinal Secretary of State in which he recounted his unsuccessful efforts to bring about peace. Then he said:

“Because all graces… are dispensed by the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish the petitions of her most afflicted children to be directed with lively confidence, more than ever in this awful hour, to the great Mother of God.

“We charge you, then, Lord Cardinal, to communicate to all the bishops of the world our ardent desire that recourse be made to the Heart of Jesus, Throne of grace, and that to the Throne recourse be made through Mary… To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy, and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth… Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of little ones, the sighs of every generous heart, that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask be obtained for our agitated world.”

The Pope also directed that “Queen of Peace” be added to Mary’s titles in the Litany of Loreto.

Eight days later – as if in direct answer to the Pope’s appeal – the Mother of God appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima.

(Next chapter – Fatima)

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH FOR ALL WHO ARE DEVOTED TO LABOUR 

Glorious St Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labour, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honour to employ and develop, by means of labour, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all, after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and death. Amen.

[300 days once a day. – Pius X, 23rd Nov. 1906]

– from: St Anthony’s Treasury

 

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PRAYER TO OUR LORD ON THE CROSS

PRAYER TO OUR LORD ON THE CROSS

My Crucified Jesus, mercifully accept the prayer which I now make to thee for help in the moment of my death, when all my senses shall fail me.

When, therefore, O sweetest Jesus, my weary and downcast eyes can no longer look up to thee, be mindful of the loving gaze which now I turn on thee, and have mercy on me.

When my parched lips can no longer kiss thy Most Sacred Wounds, remember then those kisses which now I imprint on thee, and have mercy on me.

When my cold hands can no longer embrace thy Cross, forget not the affection with which I embrace it now, and have mercy on me.

And when, at length, my swollen and lifeless tongue can no longer speak, remember that I called upon thee now.

Jesus, Joseph, Mary, to you I commend my soul.

[Indulgence of 300 days, once a day. Plenary twice a year. – Pius X, September 4th, 1903.]

– From St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons, Leeds, 1916

 

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“BE GOOD, LOVE THE LORD, PRAY FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW HIM”

WHAT A GREAT GRACE IT IS TO KNOW GOD!

“St Josephine Bakhita (Memorial: February 8) was born in Sudan in 1869 and was sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum as a slave after traders kidnapped her when she was a young girl.

KIDNAPPED AND SOLD AS A SLAVE

The terror that slavery provoked in her was so strong that she actually forgot the name her parents gave her and so she adopted the name that her kidnappers gave her: ‘Bakhita’, meaning ‘fortunate’.

ENDING UP IN ITALY, WHERE SLAVERY WAS FORBIDDEN

Bakhita was eventually bought by an Italian consul, Augusto Michieli, who treated her well. Eventually they moved to Italy and settled with his family in Zianigo, a hamlet in the province of Venice.

SHE BECAME A CHRISTIAN AGED 21

When Micheli had to move away with his wife he entrusted Bakhita and his daughter Mimmina to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice. Bakhita was baptised Josephine in January 1890. On the same day she was also confirmed and received Communion from Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, the Patriarch of Venice and future Pope Pius X. She became a nun on December 8 1896 and lived with the Schio community for the next 50 years.

LOVE THE LORD!

During her life Josephine was renowned for her love of children who attended the Canossian schools daily. She was known to say to others around her: ‘Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!’

‘AS THE MASTER DESIRES’

St Josephine’s later years were marked by sickness and disability. She was confined to a wheelchair, but remained cheerful. When asked how she was, she would reply, ‘As the Master desires.’ In her final moments she had flashbacks to her days as a slave and exclaimed: ‘The chains are too tight, loosen them a little, please!’

SAINTHOOD

St Josephine died at 8.10pm on February 8 1947. For three days her body lay on display while thousands of people arrived to pay their respects. The petitions for her canonisation began immediately.

In December 1978 John Paul II declared Josephine Venerable and in May 1992 beatified her. On October 1 2000 she was eventually canonised, becoming St Josephine Bakhita. Her feast day is celebrated on February 8.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue February 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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WHAT ON EARTH WILL MY PARENTS SAY IF I BECOME A CATHOLIC?

[I DECIDED TO TALK TO A PROTESTANT CAPACITY]… THOSE TALKS BANGED UPON ME AN UNPLEASANT VISTA OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF I WENT ‘OVER TO ROME’ – THE LOSS OF MY POSITION, MY SALARY, FRIENDS AND ALL; NOT ONLY THE BURNING OF ALL MY BOATS, BUT THE WOUNDING OF MY MOTHER AND FATHER CRUELLY. (FR DUDLEY, RECEIVED INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN 1915)

ALL THIS, AS A SCHOOLBOY, I DRANK IN. AND I BELIEVED IT.

“My first introduction to the Catholic Church was being spat in the eye by a Roman Catholic boy at school. He was bigger than me; so I let it pass. But I remembered he was a Roman Catholic.

My next was at a magic-lantern entertainment to which I was taken by my mother. In the course of it there appeared on the screen the picture of a very old man in a large hat and a long white soutane. I must have asked my mother who it was, and been informed briefly that it was the ‘Pope of Rome.’ I don’t quite know how, but the impression left in my mind was that there was something fishy about the ‘Pope of Rome.’

THERE WAS SOMETHING FISHY ABOUT THE ‘POPE OF ROME’

At school, I learned in ‘English history’ (which I discovered later was not altogether English and not altogether history) that there was something fishy not only about the Pope of Rome, but about the whole of the Pope’s Church. I gathered that for a thousand years or more the Pope had held all England in his grip, and not only England but all Europe; also that during that period the ‘Roman’, ‘Romish,’ or ‘Roman Catholic’ Church had become more and more corrupt, until finally the original Christianity of Christ had almost disappeared; that idols were worshipped instead of God; that everywhere superstition held sway. No education; no science.

I read of how the ‘Glorious Reformation’ had come; how the light of the Morning Star had burst upon the darkness; how the Pope’s yoke had been flung off, and with it all the trappings and corruptions of Popery; of the triumph of the Reformation in England; of the restoration of the primitive doctrines of Christ and the ‘light of the pure Gospel’; of the progress and prosperity that followed in the reign of ‘good Queen Bess’; of the freeing of men’s minds and the expansion of thought released from the tyranny of Rome.

All this, as an English schoolboy, I drank in. And I believed it.

Next, I did a thing that we all of us have to do; I grew up. And I grew up without questioning the truth of what I had been taught.

‘I COULD ONLY SUPPOSE THAT SOMEHOW HE HAD MANAGED TO KEEP GOOD IN SPITE OF BEING POPE OF ROME’

The time came when I decided to become a Church of England clergyman. For this purpose I entered an Anglican Theological college. And there I must confess I began to get somewhat muddled; for I could not find out what I should have to teach when I became an Anglican clergyman. Even to my youthful mind it became abundantly clear that my various tutors were contradicting each other on vital matters of Christian doctrine. My own fellow students were perpetually arguing on the most fundamental points of religion. I finally emerged from that theological college feeling somewhat like an addled egg, and only dimly realising that the Church of England had given me no theology. I appreciated later that it had no system of theology to give.

It was during that period at college that I first of all went out to Rome, on a holiday. And whilst there I managed to see no less a person than the Pope of Rome himself. It was Pope Pius X – being borne into St Peter’s on the sedia gestatoria. He passed quite close where I was standing, and I could see his face very clearly. It was the face of a saint. I could only suppose that somehow he had managed to keep good in spite of being Pope of Rome. That incident left a deeper impression on my mind than I was aware of at that time.

I kept a diary of all that I saw in Rome, and wrote in it: ‘I can quite imagine a susceptible young man being carried away by all this, and wanting to become a Roman Catholic.’ I myself was safe from the lure of Popery, of course.

‘I FELT LIKE TELLING THEM THEY COULD PRAY UNTIL THEY WERE BLUE IN THE FACE’

As a full-fledged Anglican clergyman, I first of all worked in a country parish. At the end of the year, however, my vicar and I came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to part company; for we were disagreed as to what the Christian religion was.

I then went to a parish in the East End of London, down amongst the costers, hop pickers, and dock labourers. I went down there full of zeal, determined to set the Thames on fire. I very soon discovered, though, that the vast mass of the East-Enders had no interest at all in the religion that I professed. Out of the six thousand or so in the parish not more than one or two hundred ever came near the church. Our hoppers’ socials in the parish hall were well patronised, however. Great nights they were, with a thrilling din of barrel organ, dancing, and singing. I found the Donkey Row hoppers immensely lovable and affectionate. We had wonderful days with them each September in the hopfields of Kent. It was social work. The mass of them we could not even touch with religion.

I grew somewhat ‘extreme’ in this parish under the influence of my vicar, to whom at first I was too ‘Protestant.’ I remember he disliked the hat that I arrived in – a round flat one. The vicarage dog ate the hat, and I bought a more ‘priestly’ one.

For a year or two things went fairly smoothly and I suffered from no qualms about the Anglican religion. How far I sincerely believed that I was a ‘Catholic’ during that period I find it difficult to estimate now. Sufficiently at any rate to argue heatedly with ‘low-church’ and ‘modernist’ clergy in defence of my claim.

And sufficiently to be thoroughly annoyed with a Roman Catholic lady who, wherever we met, told me she was praying for my conversion to the ‘true Church,’ and a Franciscan Friar in the hopfields who told me the same. I felt like telling them they could pray until they were blue in the face. I remember, too, that whenever I met a Roman Catholic priest I experienced a sense of inferiority and a vague feeling of not quite being the real thing, or, at least, of there being an indefinable but marked difference between us.

‘WE WERE BOTH FLATLY CONTRADICTING EACH OTHER’

It was when I could no longer avoid certain unpleasant facts with which I was confronted in my work as an Anglican clergyman, that the first uneasiness came.

I was in the house one day of a certain dock labourer who lived exactly opposite our church but never darkened its doors. I chose the occasion to ask him – why not? His reply flattened me out; it was to the effect that he could see no valid reason for believing what I taught in preference to what the ‘low-church bloke dahn the road’ taught. I could not give a satisfactory answer to his challenge. I don’t suppose he believed in either of us really; but he had placed me in a quandary. We were both Anglican clergymen, and we were both flatly contradicting each other from our respective pulpits.

It set a question simmering in my mind – Why should a n y b o d y believe what I taught? And a further question – What authority had I for what I was teaching?

I began, for the first time with real anxiety, to examine the Anglican Church. And with that examination I found I could no longer blind myself to certain patent facts, which hitherto I had brushed aside. The Established Church was a church of contradictions, of parties, each of which had an equal claim to represent it, and all of which were destructive of its general claim to be a part of the Church of Christ – directly one affirmed in its unity.

As far as authority was concerned, it was possible to believe anything or nothing without ecclesiastical interference. You could be n extreme ‘Anglo-Catholic’ and hold all the doctrines of the Catholic Church except the inconvenient ones like Papal Infallibility; you could be an extreme modernist and deny (whilst retaining Christian terms) all the doctrines of the Christian religion. No bishop said Yes or No imperatively to any party. The bishops were as divided as the parties. For practical purposes, if bishops did interfere, they were ignored, even by their own clergy. If the Holy Ghost, as claimed, was with the Church of England, then, logically, the Holy Ghost was the author of contradictions; for each party claimed His guidance. These facts presented me with a quandary which appeared insurmountable, and which remained insurmountable.

I have often been asked, since my conversion, how, in view of them, Anglican clergy can be sincere in remaining where they are. My reply has been – they are sincere. There is a state of mental blindness in which one is incapable of seeing the plain logic of facts. I only know that it was over a year before I acted on these facts myself. And I honestly believe I was sincere during that period. Only those who have been Protestants can appreciate the thick veil of prejudice, fear, and mistrust of ‘Rome’ which hampers every groping towards the truth.

COULD CHRIST HAVE ALLOWED A HOAX, AN IMPOSTURE OF THAT MAGNITUDE? IN HIS NAME? THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS EITHER AN IMPOSTOR OR – OR WHAT?

It was about this time that there fell into my hands a book written by a Catholic priest, who himself had once been an Anglican clergyman, who had been faced by the same difficulties, and who had found the solution of them all in the Catholic Church. ‘But the Catholic Church can’t be the solution,’ I said. And there rose before my mind a vision of all I had been taught about her from my boyhood upwards – her false teaching, her corruptions of the doctrines of Christ. The Catholic Church, though, was the Church of the overwhelming majority of Christians, and always had been. If what I had been taught was true, then, for nearly two thousand years the great mass of Christians had been deluded and deceived by lies. Could Christ have allowed a hoax, an imposture of that magnitude? In His name? The Catholic Church was either an imposture or – Or what?

I KNELT FOR HALF AN HOUR BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. I CAME OUT TERRIBLY SHAKEN – SPIRITUALLY SHAKEN

I began to buy Catholic books to study Catholic doctrines. To read history from the Catholic standpoint. The day came when I sat looking into the fire asking myself: ‘Is what the world says of the Catholic Church true? Or what the Catholic Church says of herself? Have I all these years been shaking my fist at a phantom of my own imagining fed on prejudice and ignorance?

I compared her Unity with the complete lack of it outside. Her Authority with the absence of anything approaching real authority in the Church of which I was a member and a minister. The unchangeable moral code she proclaimed with the wavering, shilly-shallying moral expediency that Protestantism allowed. She began to look so very much more like the Church that God would have made, just as the Established Church began to look so very much more like the church that man would have made.

When I was passing Westminster [Catholic] Cathedral one day I went in and knelt for half an hour before the Blessed Sacrament. I came out terribly shaken – spiritually shaken. It is impossible to describe ; but in that short half an hour what, until now, I had contemplated as a problem, had suddenly assumed an aspect of imperativeness. A problem that had to be solved, not played with. For within those four walls there loomed up before my spiritual vision an immensity, a vast reality, before everything else had shrunk away. The church, whose clergyman I was, seemed to have slipped away from under my feet.

I returned to the East End dazed. That night amongst the hoppers I felt like a stranger moving about.

MY WHOLE BEING REVOLTED AGAINST THE PROSPECT

I went about for weeks in a state of uncertainty, undecided in my conscience as to whether I was morally bound to face things out or not – wretched under the suspicion that what ‘Rome’ said might be true – that I was no priest: that my ‘Mass’ was no Mass at all; that I was genuflecting before – ?; that my ‘absolutions’ were worthless. The more I prayed about it, the more unreal my ministry appeared.

I decided to consult a certain very ‘extreme’ clergyman, whom I believed sincere beyond question (as he was), and a man of deep spiritual piety. I had three or four talks with him in all, the general result of which was to leave me more confused intellectually than ever, but spiritually more at peace; though it took me months before I realised that this peace was a false one, and that I had shelved the matter not from its intellectual difficulties, but for worldly reasons. For those talks had banged upon me an unpleasant vista of what might happen if I went ‘over to Rome’ – the loss of my position, my salary, friends and all; not only the burning of all my boats, but the wounding of my mother and father cruelly. Even more, ‘Rome’ might not accept me for her priesthood; in any case it would be starting all over again, possibly from baptism. If she did not want me for a priest, I should have to…

My whole being revolted against the prospect. It was impossible – such a demand. I had been carried away by emotions. It was a snare of Satan. I should be a traitor to the Church of my baptism. God had placed me here in the Church of England. He was blessing my work as its minister. He had given me endless graces.

I buried myself in that work again, and for a time succeeded in forgetting, or at least stifling, the fears that had been my torment – until the haphazard remark of a photographer (registering my features), an agnostic I believe, opened my eyes to my inability to defend the Established Church’s position; it was to the effect that if Christianity were true, obviously the Roman Catholic Church, with her authority was right.

AN AGNOSTIC WITH NO AX TO GRIND TOLD ME, ‘IF I WERE RELIGIOUS, I’D BE A ROMAN CATHOLIC.’

It was the testimony of a man who had no ax to grind. A Jewish dentist made the same remark in effect to me shortly afterwards. The man-in-the-street testifies the same with his: ‘If I were religious, I’d be a Roman Catholic.’

Whether it was the photographer or not, my fears were released once more from their repression, abruptly and acutely, and this time I resolved that it should be a fight to the finish, either way – that no worldly or material consideration should interfere. The clergyman whom I had consulted had already made one thing clear in my mind – that the issue between Rome and Canterbury, the crux of the whole problem, was the claim of Rome to be the Infallible teaching authority appointed by God, and the denial by Canterbury of that claim. The whole question boiled down to the question of Infallibility, and on that everything else hung.

WHY SHOULD I STAKE MY IMMORTAL SOUL UPON HUMAN OPINION?

I entered upon an intensive study of the point. I read the history of the doctrine, the Fathers and the Councils of the Church, and what they had to say; examined its rationality. At the end of some months I came to the conclusion – that, as far as Holy Scripture, history, and reason were concerned, the Catholic Church could prove her claim to be God’s Infallible Teacher up to the hilt.

It is difficult after all these years to recapture the exact mode of its appeal to my reason; but it was the appeal that the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Church inevitably presents to any man who is prepared to lay aside bias, prejudice, and preconceptions. I will try to state it in the fewest words possible.

Infallibility is the only guarantee we have that the Christian religion is true. Actually, if I, at the moment, did not believe in an Infallible Teacher appointed by God, then nothing on earth would induce me to believe in the Christian religion. If, as outside the Catholic Church, Christian doctrines are a matter of private judgment, and therefore the Christian religion a mere matter of human opinion, then there is no obligation upon any living soul to believe in it. Why should I stake my immortal soul upon human opinion? For that is all you have if you refuse the Infallible Church.”
– This is part I of “Practical Failure of Anglicanism” by Fr Owen Francis Dudley from “Through Hundred Gates”, The Bruce Publishing Company. Milwaukee, WI, USA: 1938, pp. 308; reprinted in “Christ to the World” (International Review of Documentation and Apostolic Experiences), N 6 Nov-Dec 2009 Vol. 54; email: md2249@mclink.it

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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BLESSED VLADIMIR GHIKA – “HE WAS STARVED TO DEATH FOR REFUSING TO BREAK TIES WITH THE VATICAN”

“A priest who died of cold and hunger in a Communist prison was beatified as a martyr on Saturday. Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest, president of the Romanian bishops’ conference, said the sanctity of Mgr Vladimir Ghika had ‘given us an important new example of a life lived for Church and faith’.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, celebrated the beatification Mass in Bucharest’s Romexpo exhibition centre.

Archbishop Robu said Mgr Ghika would represent many other ‘unknown and unrecognised Christian martyrs’ who died in Romania during four decades of Communist rule, which ended in 1989.

Mgr Ghika was born in Istanbul, where his father was Romania’s representative at the Ottoman court. He was one of six children in an Orthodox family. He studied in Paris and Toulouse, in his mother’s home country, and received a theology doctorate in 1898 at Rome’s Dominican College. He was received into the Catholic Church on April 15 1902, but was persuaded by Pope Pius X, whom he knew personally, to remain a lay-man in order to evangelise more effectively among non-Catholics.

After aiding the sick in Thessaloniki he moved to Bucharest, where he founded Romania’s first free clinic, as well as a hospital and sanatorium, before returning to France to care for the displaced and wounded during the First World War.

In 1921, he was awarded the Legion of Honour for helping restore France’s diplomatic ties with the Holy See. Two years later, he was ordained a priest in Paris.

He befriended prominent Catholics such as writers Jacques Maritain and Paul Claudel while ministering in the rough quarter of Villejuif. In the 1930s he travelled through Europe, Asia and the Americas as a representative of Pius XI. Mgr Ghika returned to Romania at the outbreak of the Second World War to organise help for refugees and bombing victims.

Having rejected advice to leave the country after the Communists seized power, he was arrested for refusing to break ties with the Vatican, and survived more than 80 violent interrogations before being sentenced to three years’ incarceration at Romania’s infamous Jilava prison, where he died, emaciated, on May 16 1954. May 16 will be celebrated as his feast day.

Romania’s prime minister, Victor Ponta, called him ‘a great European spirit who refused to compromise with totalitarianism’.”
– This article by Jonathan Luxmoore entitled “Priest who starved to death in jail is beatified” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue September 6 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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“IS IT A SIN TO TWERK?”

RESPECTING ONESELF AND OTHERS

[to twerk – dancing in a sexually suggestive way]

IS IT A SIN TO TWERK?

“Clearly it is. Dancing that involves simulating a sexual act in public offends against the modesty and purity of the person doing it, and of those who watch the display. It is sad that our culture rewards and encourages a young woman – Miley Cyrus – to graduate from starring in a Disney teenage drama series to the kind of cavorting that embarrassed even many hardened pundits in the entertainment industry. But there is an imbalance on focusing only on the young lady and ignoring the part of her twerking partner Robin Thicke. I could not put it better than one outspoken blogger from Texas: ‘Everyone wants to throw Miley under the bus for breaking some moral standard but last time I checked Mr Thicke was a 36-year-old grown [up] married man and father. What’s his damn excuse?’

Dancing has always been controversial. Many ancient writers, both pagan and Christian, saw moral dangers in at least some types of dancing. In more recent centuries, the Cure of Ars censured all dancing and, in 1914, the vicar general of Rome, on behalf of Pope St Pius X, strongly condemned the tango because of its sexual suggestiveness. This was despite Cardinal Merry de Val arranging for the saintly pope to see a sober version of it, arranged by an Italian dance master. (To be fair, many Protestant and secular leaders of the time also condemned the dance, including the Kaiser Wilhelm.) By contrast, Pope Francis is reported to have danced the tango himself in his youth, though apparently he preferred the milonga.

Since fashions and customs change, a dance that may be erotic at one time can change its meaning and be harmless in a different cultural setting. The unchanging principle is that we should never lead others to sin, and never act in a way that is immodest or designed to tempt ourselves or others to impurity. Although the tango may be ambiguous, I think it doesn’t require cultural blinkers to assert that there is no likelihood that it is ever going to be anything other than immoral to twerk.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published as part of the feature “Catholic Dilemmas” in “The Catholic Herald” issue September 6 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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ABOUT ST LUIGI GUANELLA

St Luigi was born in 1842 in the small village of Fraciscio, Italy. He grew up experiencing both poverty and illiteracy, which had a profound impact on his life. St Luigi was ordained a priest in 1866 in Como, and was assigned to a small parish in Savogno.

After seven years he moved to Turin, and joined the Salesian priests. In 1878 he returned to the Diocese of Como and worked in the parishes of Traona, Olmo and Pianello Lario.

St Luigi had a great love for the poor and disabled and in 1886 he opened a house to look after some of these. He then founded a new Congregation, called the Servants of Charity, so that other priests and brothers could also take up this valuable mission. In 1904 St Luigi opened a facility for children who were living on the streets of Rome, under the protection of Pope Pius X. With the continued help of the Pope, St Luigi also built the Church of St Joseph in Rome, which was opened on 19th March 1912.

As St Joseph is the patron of the dying, Fr Luigi began a worldwide confraternity that prays daily for the sick and the dying of the world; the first member of this confraternity was Pope Pius X.

In December 1912 St Luigi travelled to the major cities of America, and saw for himself the difficult conditions being endured by emigrants from Italy and other parts of the world.

As a result the Sisters of St Mary of Providence arrived in Chicago, and so began a major presence of others continuing St Luigi’s work.

In May 1915, during World War I, St Luigi opened his last institute in Berbenno. During this time his health was deteriorating; he eventually became paralysed. St Luigi died on 24th October 1915, and his final resting place is in the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Como.

There are many lovely stories from the life of St Luigi. One of them concerned some anxious workmen who, having worked all morning with St Luigi, were worried because they had no food or money to eat lunch. St Luigi said to them, “Do not worry. It is only 11.30am and so the Lord has still 30 minutes to deliver our lunch.” Just before noon a man with a cart went by and left them a sack of rice. No one knew who he was!

Pope Benedict, in his homily at the Canonization Mass, said of St Luigi, “Thanks to a deep continuous union with Christ in the contemplation of his love, became a friend, teacher, comfort and support to the very poor and weak. God’s love stirred up in him the desire to do good to everyone entrusted to him in his everyday life.” All of us can do the same!

(fr.: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris)

 

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