In the first persecution against the Church, that of the Emperor Nero, after the City of Rome had been burnt in the year 64, many of the faithful suffered death after terrible tortures. Testimony to their deaths is found in the writings of the pagan Tacitus (Annales, 15, 44) as well as in the letter to the Corinthians of Pope Saint Clement (cap. 5-6)
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
29 June is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
What fairer light is this than time itself doth own
The golden day with beams more radiant than brightening?
The princes of God's church this feast day doth enthrone,
To sinners heavenward bound their burden lightening.
One taught mankind its creed, one guards the heavenly gate.
Founders of Rome, they bind the world in loyalty;
One by the sword achieved, one by the cross his fate;
With laurelled brows they hold eternal royalty.
Rejoice, O Rome, this day; thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city's vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?
Today, 29 June, is the anniversary of the ordination of Pope Benedict XVI. He was ordained to the priesthood on 29 June 1951.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
So wrote the mute Zachary when those around would not listen to Elizabeth when she said the child was to be called John.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,Happy Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist!
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote,
"His name is John" and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Today is the feast day of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, martyred in the fallout over Henry VIII's desirre for a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
St John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge University. He was created a cardinal while awaiting execution and remains the only member of the College of Cardinals to suffer martyrdom.
St Thomas More was a lawyer and Lord Chancellor of England.
Ultimately, both men were executed as a result of their obedience to the Pope, and their refusal to acknowledge Henry as head of the Church in England.
On a note of enormous irony both men are recognised as saints by the Anglican Church.
Monday, June 21, 2010
21 June is the memorial of St Aloysius Gonzaga. The breviary note about him says:
Born in the year 1568 near Mantua in Lombardy, of the noble family of Castiglione. He was brought up piously by his mother and had a vocation to the religious life. He resigned his birthright to his brother and at Rome entered the Society of Jesus. While working among the sick in a hospital he was stricken by the plague and died in the year 1591.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I think this is really, really good
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
There is a new, unofficial, website for the visit of the Holy Father to the UK.
Have a look at it, and bookmark it, HERE.
Friday, June 11, 2010
May Thy Heart dwell always in our hearts!
May Thy Blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!
O sun of our hearts, Thou givest life to all things by the rays of Thy goodness!
I will not go until Thy Heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!
May the Heart of Jesus be the King of my heart!
Blessed be God. Amen.
(Prayer to the Sacred Heart by Saint Francis De Sales)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The sad story of Bishop Luigi Padovese murdered by stabbing in Turkey keeps getting weirder.
Initially we were told that the murder had nothing to do with Islamist extremism. The suggestion was that the murderer who was the Bishop's driver was "depressed".
Then yesterday suggestions started emerging that Islamism may well have been a factor after all. Reports appeared saying the Bishop was stabbed numerous times, including 8 times in the heart, and then decapitated. Witnesses said the killer, Murat Altun, followed up the murder by climbing on the roof of the house shouting: "I killed the great Satan! Allah Akbar! "
This morning CNA really ups the ante in this report claiming the Turkish Government knew Altun was unstable and knew "he had embraced the fundamentalist cause". An astounding claim is made that +Padovese cancelled his planned trip to Cyprus to see Pope Benedict because he feared Altun, who was due to join the Bishop on the trip, might attack the Holy Father.
This story seems set to run.
RIP + Luigi Padovese
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, Polish priest and martyr was beatified today in Warsaw in the presence of 120 bishops and over 1600 priests! His 90 year old mother was there to take part in the celebration.
Blessed Fr Jerzy, pray for us.
This video is in Polish but you'll get the idea.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Ratzinger,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedictus XVI.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
There is a very interesting post on the A Minor Friar blog on the all too common malady of the norms for the liturgy being ignored and optional elements becoming, in effect, the norms.
Brother Charles writes:
.... the use of illicit matter for Mass is praised as 'greater attention to symbol.' The use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion while clerics are readily available is praised as 'inclusive.' Elements which are normative on certain days, like the Gloria or the Creed, are omitted according to personal taste. ...*snip*...The whole post is worth a read - you can find it here.
On the other hand, while it's o.k. and even praised to ignore norms, it's not o.k. to question certain options. In some cases, one may not even raise a question about how certain options seem to have hardened into unassailable norms; e.g. the offering of Mass versus populum or in translation, or of replacing the actual texts of the Mass with songs and metrical hymns. These options for the celebration of Mass have become such de facto norms that a lot of people, including priests, don't remember that they are options and might not even believe you when you tell them. ...
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Saints Marcellinus and Peter the Exorcist were martyred in 304. Today is their memorial and we read in the breviary:
The account of the death of these two martyrs, who died in the persecution of Diocletian, comes from Pope Damasus who in turn obtained it from the executioner. The were beheaded in a wood and then buried in the cemetery called The Two Laurels on the Via Labicana. When peace came to the Church a basilica was erected over their tomb.More info here (Wiki entry) and here (Catholic Encyclopedia).
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
1 June is the memorial of St Justin, Martyr, a significant early apologist.
In the anonymous Acts of the martyrdom of Saint Justin and his companion saints, which was written shortly after Justin's martyrdom in the year 165 we read:
The saints were seized and brought before the prefect of Rome, whose name was Rusticus. As they stood before the judgement seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin: "Above all, have faith in the gods and obey the emperors." Justin said: "We cannot be accused or condemned for obeying the commands of our Saviour, Jesus Christ."
Rusticus said: "What system of teaching do you profess?" Justin said: "I have tried to learn about every system, but I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians, though these are not approved by those who are held fast by error."
The prefect Rusticus said: "Are those doctrines approved by you, wretch that you are?" Justin said: "Yes, for I follow them with their correct teaching."
The prefect Rusticus said: "What sort of teaching is that?" Justin said: "Worship the God of the Christians. We hold him to be from the beginning the one creator and maker of the whole creation, of things seen and things unseen. We worship also the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was foretold by the prophets as the future herald of salvation for the human race and the teacher of distinguished disciples. For myself, since I am a human being, I consider that what I say is insignificant in comparison with his infinite godhead. I acknowledge the existence of a prophetic power, for the one I have just spoken of as the Son of God was the subject of prophecy. I know that the prophets were inspired from above when they spoke of his coming among men."
Rusticus said: "You are a Christian, then?" Justin said: "Yes, I am a Christian."
The prefect said to Justin: "You are called a learned man and think that you know what is true teaching. Listen: if you were scourged and beheaded, are you convinced that you would go up to heaven?" Justin said: "I hope that I shall enter God’s house if I suffer that way. For I know that God’s favour is stored up until the end of the whole world for all who have lived good lives."
The prefect Rusticus said: "Do you have an idea that you will go up to heaven to receive some suitable rewards?" Justin said: "It is not an idea that I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain."
The prefect Rusticus said: "Now let us come to the point at issue, which is necessary and urgent. Gather round then and with one accord offer sacrifice to the gods." Justin said: "No one who is right thinking stoops from true worship to false worship."
The prefect Rusticus said: "If you do not do as you are commanded you will be tortured without mercy." Justin said: "We hope to suffer torment for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so be saved. For this will bring us salvation and confidence as we stand before the more terrible and universal judgement - seat of our Lord and Saviour."
In the same way the other martyrs also said: "Do what you will. We are Christians; we do not offer sacrifice to idols."
The prefect Rusticus pronounced sentence, saying: "Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the command of the emperor be scourged and led away to suffer capital punishment according to the ruling of the laws." Glorifying God, the holy martyrs went out to the accustomed place. They were beheaded, and so fulfilled their witness of martyrdom in confessing their faith in their Saviour.