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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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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 18:1-8)

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 18:1-8)
GOD WILL SEE JUSTICE DONE TO HIS CHOSEN WHO CRY TO HIM. 
 
 

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ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 14

Callistus, a Roman, ruled the Church when Antoninus Heliogabulus was emperor. He instituted the four periods of the year which are known as Ember Days – days on which, in accordance with the apostolic tradition, fasting was to be observed by all. He built the basilica called St Mary across-the-Tiber and enlarged the ancient cemetery on the Appian Way, in which are buried many holy Priests and martyrs. For this reason, it is called the cemetery of Callistus. He reigned five years, one month and twelve days.

HE WAS CROWNED WITH MARTYRDOM

After a long imprisonment, during which he was starved and frequently scourged, he was thrown head-downward into a well. He was crowned with martyrdom under the Emperor Alexander and was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, at the third mile-stone from the City, on the day before the Ides of October [222]. Afterwards his body was carried to the basilica of St Mary across-the-Tiber, and was placed under the high altar, where it is venerated with the greatest devotion.

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

PRAYER:

God of mercy,

hear the prayers of your people

that we may be helped by Saint Callistus,

whose martyrdom we celebrate with joy.

Through our Lord…

 

 

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PRAYER TO ST SILVERIUS, POPE AND MARTYR

PRAYER TO ST SILVERIUS, POPE AND MARTYR

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Silverius, your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom you constituted shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord…

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Prayers to the Saints

 

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PRAYER FOR THE POPE AND THE BISHOPS

PRAYER FOR THE POPE AND THE BISHOPS

Good Lord Christ Jesus, I cry thee mercy for all states that be in Holy Church, for the Pope and all his cardinals, for all archbishops and bishops, and for all the order of priesthood, for all men and women of religion, and especially for them that are busy to save and defend the Faith of Holy Church. Lord, for thy mercy, bless them and grant them the victory over all their enemies, and speed them in all that they go about in thy worship; for all that are in grace, at this time, God send them perseverance unto their lives’ end, and make me worthy to be partaker of their prayers, and them of mine, and each of us of others.

– The Book of Margery Kempe (modernised text 1936)

 

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ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: JANUARY 16

Marcellus, a Roman, was pope from the reign of Constantinus and Galerius to that of Maxentius. It was by his counsel that the Roman matron Lucina made the Church of God the heir of her property. On account of the increase in the number of the faithful, he established new titular churches in the city and rearranged their district boundaries. For this reason Maxentius was greatly angered and threatened severe punishments unless Marcellus gave up his pontifical office and offered sacrifice to the idols.

MAXENTIUS THREATENED SEVERE PUNISHMENTS

The pontiff strongly resisted him and was sent to a menagerie to take care of the beasts, which were kept at the public expense. Marcellus spent nine months there, visiting by his letters the churches he could not visit in person. From there he was rescued by some of his clerics and was given refuge by blessed Lucina, in whose house he dedicated a church, where he preached to the faithful.

HE WAS GIVEN REFUGE BY BLESSED LUCINA 

Then Maxentius ordered the wild beasts to be brought from the menagerie into the church and to be guarded by Marcellus. Sickened by the foul atmosphere and worn out by many hardships, he fell asleep in the Lord [A. D. 309]. His body was buried by blessed Lucina in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way, on the sixteenth day of January.

PRAYER:

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Marcellus, your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom you constituted Shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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GOD, OMNIPOTENT AND MERCIFUL (HOMILY BY ST LEO, POPE)

GOD, OMNIPOTENT AND MERCIFUL (HOMILY BY ST LEO, POPE)

God, omnipotent and merciful, whose nature is goodness, whose will is power, whose work is mercy, foretold at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil’s malice had poisoned us with the venom of his envy, what were the remedies his compassion had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Child of the Woman, who should effectually crush the pride of his injurious head, signifying Christ to come in the flesh, that is, God and man, born of the Virgin, who should condemn by his undefiled birth the seducer of the human race.

CHRIST IN THE FLESH; GOD AND MAN, BORN OF THE VIRGIN 

The devil rejoiced that he had so deceived man by his artifices as to make him lose the gifts of God, that he had stripped him of the privilege of immortality, had brought him under the hard sentence of death, and that he himself had found some sort of solace in his unhappiness, in that he had found a comrade in guilt. He thought also to bring it to pass that God, by a justly earned severity, should change his feelings towards man whom he had created in such honour. There was need, beloved brethren, that God who is unchangeable, whose will and loving-kindness are inseparable, should fulfil his original purpose of goodness by a mysterious dispensation, so that man, driven into crime by the wicked craft of the devil, should not perish and frustrate the plan of God.

MAN, DRIVEN INTO CRIME BY THE DEVIL, SHOULD NOT PERISH

When, therefore, beloved brethren, the fulness of time appointed for man’s redemption was come, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world. He came down from his throne in heaven without withdrawing from the glory which he has equal with the Father, and was born by a new order, by a new birth: a new order because he who is invisible in his own nature became visible in ours; he who is incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; he who existed before all time, began to live in time; the Lord of the universe veiled the dignity of his majesty, and assumed the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to become man capable of suffering, nor the immortal God to lay himself under the laws of death.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST LINUS, POPE AND MARTYR

ST LINUS, POPE AND MARTYR

ST LINUS, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 23

Pope Linus, born at Volterra in Tuscany, was the first to succeed St Peter in the government of the Church. His faith and holiness were so great that he not only cast out devils, but even raised the dead to life. He wrote the Acts of the blessed Peter and in particular what he had done against Simon Magus. He decreed that no woman should enter a Church without having her head covered. Because he was so constant in his profession of the Christian faith, this Pontiff was beheaded [in 79 AD] at the command of Saturninus, a wicked and ungrateful man of consular rank, whose daughter Linus had delivered from the torments of demons. He was buried on the Vatican Hill, near the tomb of Peter, Prince of the Apostles, on the twenty-third day of September. He had reigned eleven years, two months and twenty-three days. In two ordinations in the month of December, he made fifteen bishops and eighteen priests.

PRAYER:

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Linus, your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom you constituted Shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum authorised by the Holy See, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

While holy Clement was praying, there appeared to him the Lamb of God, with the river of water of life, whose streams make glad the city of God, proceeding from under his feet.

ST CLEMENT, POPE AND MARTYR – FEAST DAY: NOVEMBER 23 (DIED A.D.100)

Clement, a Roman, was a disciple of blessed Simon Peter. He allotted the seven districts of the City to seven notaries, one to each, assigning them the task of diligently investigating and recording the sufferings and deeds of the Martyrs.

He very carefully wrote many books himself, in the spirit of holy zeal and in order to explain the Christian religion. But when, by his teaching and holiness, he converted great numbers to the faith of Christ, the Emperor Trajan exiled him across the Black Sea to the solitude of the city of Cherson, in which he found two thousand Christians who had likewise been condemned by Trajan.

When he there converted many infidels to the faith of Christ, by order of the same emperor an anchor was tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea, and thus he was crowned with martyrdom. His body was brought back to Rome by Pope Nicholas I and was buried in honour in a church which had previously been dedicated in his name.

St Clement I, pray for us.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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NEITHER TIME NOR PLACE COULD KEEP AWAY THE MULTITUDE FROM JESUS (ON Lk 5:5-11)

NEITHER TIME NOR PLACE COULD KEEP AWAY THE MULTITUDE FROM JESUS (ON Lk 5:5-11)

On Luke 5:1-11 (for this Gospel reading, please click here.)

Since the Lord bestowed health upon so many, no matter what their disease, neither time nor place could keep back the multitude of those who wished to be healed.

Evening fell, and still they followed him; he came to the borders of the lake, and still they pressed on; therefore, the Lord went up into Peter’s boat. This is the ship which, according to Matthew, is still tossing about in the sea, but according to Luke it is filled with fishes.

From this we learn how in the beginning the Church was tossed about by storms, but afterwards was filled to overflowing. The fish signify men swimming through the waters of this life. In the ship of Matthew, Christ sleeps in the midst of his disciples, in the ship of Luke he gives commands; for he sleeps with the lukewarm, but watches with the perfect.

– St Ambrose, Bishop, Book 4 on Luke, Ch. 5, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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