In those days, the princes said to the king: “Jeremiah ought to be put to death; he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”; for the king could do nothing with them. And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. and Ebed-melech went there from the palace and said to him, “My lord king, these men have been at fault in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city.” Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him, and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should die.
I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
The LORD heard my cry. He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp; he set my feet upon a crag; he made firm my steps.
And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and trust in the LORD.
Though I am afflicted and poor, yet the LORD thinks of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, hold not back!
Letter to the Hebrews12,1-4.
Brothers and sisters : since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke12,49-53.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Denis the Carthusian (1402 – 1471) monk Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 12:72-74
To light in human hearts the fire of God’s love
“I have come to set the earth on fire”; I came down from the heights of heaven and, by the mystery of my Incarnation, I made myself manifest in order to light in human hearts the fire of divine love; “and how I wish it were already blazing!”, that is to say, how I wish that it might take hold and become a flame activated by the Holy Spirit, bringing forth abundantly in acts of kindness !
Christ then reveals that he will undergo death on the cross before the fire of this love ignites in humanity. It is, indeed, the most holy Passion of Christ which merited such a great gift for humanity, and it is above all the memory of his Passion which lights a flame in faithful hearts. “I must be baptized”, in other words: “It falls to me and it is reserved to me by a divine decree to receive a baptism of blood, to bathe and plunge as if in water in my blood shed on the cross to redeem the whole world; “and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!”, in other words until my Passion is completed and I can say: “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30)
During the Covid lockdown my family experienced two Covid deaths and three unexpected deaths. All in a row. We had 6 Aunts and 2 uncles and as a result lots of cousins. Sadly, only one aunt remained, Aunt Babe. (Angeline was her real name.) We treasured her. She knew our nicknames, she sounded like our mothers. We were always “children” in her eyes even though some of us were Medicare kids!
Aunt Babe decided to move to rural Iowa where one of the cousins worked in a retirement facility. She didn’t want to burden her sons. My cousin gladly welcomed her. She cared for her with great love.
Within two months Aunt Babe contracted Covid. She was dying. They contacted me uncertain how to reach a priest. I was hundreds of miles away. You might experience that there is always “someone” in the family who carries the torch of faith. Someone a relative goes to for prayers and intercession. You be that someone if a relative is in need!
There were two small country churches in the area. Anxiously, checking the internet I contacted St. Patrick’s church to get a priest to administer the last sacraments. The pastor answered. A holy priest. His hands were tied. He needed to contact the Bishop’s office. It was his office that assigned trained “Covid priests” to give the last rites. He couldn’t guarantee a priest would be available. Thirty minutes later he contacted me. A priest was available. This priest drove three hours to get to my dying Aunt. He gave her the last rites with the Apostolic Pardon.
She died that night with the grace of all graces, the final blessing of God to die in the state of grace with the reception of the last sacraments, wearing her treasured scapular. This is a HAPPY DEATH – not to die in the state of Illinois, or California or Virginia, but in the STATE OF GRACE.
The Church provides powerful help to persons who are dying. Most importantly, she obliges her children to seek the grace of the Sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion (Viaticum), and the Anointing of the Sick. She obliges her priests to ensure that the faithful in their care are not deprived of an opportunity to receive them.
In addition to these, there is a little-known, but important, plenary indulgence that is granted to the dying. Administered by a priest, it is called the “Apostolic Pardon,” or “Apostolic Blessing.”
In an old edition of the timeless instruction manual Father Smith Instructs Jackson (published by Our Sunday Visitor), Jackson asks, “Has the Church any other help for the dying [in addition to the sacraments]?” Father Smith responds, “Yes. The Church empowers the priest to impart a plenary indulgence by what she calls a ‘last blessing.’”
The Handbook of Indulgences puts it more forcefully: “Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence.”
The Apostolic Blessing has two forms in the ritual for the Anointing of the Sick. Both are short and easy to memorize:
Form A: “Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May he open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy.”
Form B: “By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
What if There is No Priest Present?
The question, of course, arises: “What if there is no priest present when a person is dying?” The Handbook of Indulgences reassuringly stipulates that “if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such persons, who are rightly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be obtained in in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime.” Note the two conditions: The dying person must be “rightly disposed” and have “regularly prayed.”
Being rightly disposed means to be in the state of grace and without attachment even to venial sin. This is required in the gaining of any plenary indulgence. Just what does it mean to have “prayed regularly in some way during their lifetime”?
The Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, promulgated by Pope Paul VI, in 1967, notes: if one of the faithful in danger of death is unable to have a priest administer the sacraments and impart the Apostolic Blessing, “the Church, like a devoted mother, graciously grants such a person who is properly disposed a plenary indulgence to be gained at the hour of death.”
The one condition is the practice of praying for this all during life. Use of a crucifix or cross is recommended for the gaining of this indulgence.”
The one condition necessary in such a situation, then, is that the dying person should have desired this indulgence — and prayed for it! No doubt, this can be accomplished in many ways, (i.e., Nine First Friday Devotions, Five First Saturday devotions).
It’s important to know about the Apostolic Pardon so you can request it for yourself and others, or a loved one. Leaflet Missal Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers the Apostolic Pardon Prayer Card available to purchase. (1- 800-328-9582)
I carry a few with me. A friend who died passed these cards out at her wake!
I didn’t stop there for my dear Aunt. I arranged Gregorian Masses for her soul! I highly recommend the Pious Union of St. Joseph in Grass Lake, Michigan (www.pusj.org). They are reliable and efficient. They will mail a beautiful card to the recipient.
Gregorian Masses are a series of Holy Masses celebrated on thirty consecutive days for one deceased soul. A departed monk appeared to St. Gregory and declared that he had been delivered from purgatory upon the completion of thirty Masses. (However, the church does not officially confirm this but points to the efficacy of the Masses!) Sacred Congregation of Indulgences has declared the tradition to be “a pious and reasonable belief of the faithful.” Put them in your wills!
How Does One Prepare for Eternal Life?
Was my aunt prepared to die? Was she in the state of grace? I would hope so. Are you prepared? Over a million souls died of Covid. How many died unprepared?
We must be prepared at all times. We need to pray on a regular basis so we are prepared for eternal life. It begins with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
We should not wait until the last hour to seek reconciliation with God and our neighbor.
The best way to prepare our soul for eternal life is a constant attitude of forgiveness in our heart and actions. We are called to exercise patience in adversity, assistance to those who are afflicted, love of neighbor and a sincere devotion to Our Lord and His mother — all in the spirit of unceasing prayer, and humility which draws down grace upon us.
Pray for the Dying
One reason prayers for the dying has faded is because society does not think about death. The saints and Christians prayed for special grace and strength at the hour of death. There are many different prayers that can invoke blessings for the sick and dying and to offer for our own souls now and at the hour of our death. Prayers, Promises and Devotions for the Holy Souls is a great resource for the sick suffering and dying. It’s also a source of catechetical teaching to young member of the church who should become familiar with the prayers and devotions.
Johnnette Benkovic Williams, host of EWTN’s Women of Grace, used this book at the bedside of her dying husband. Father Syliva, her former co-host said this book was “gold” for the dying. EWTN chaplain, Father Joseph Mary, at the daily Mass during his homily talked about this treasured book he uses on sick calls.
Pray for the sick, suffering and dying. They become the holy souls! Mercy on them will bring us also the crowning mercy of a holy death. Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “As we enter heaven, we will see them, so many of them, coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are and they will say: ‘A poor soul you prayed for in purgatory.’”
Four years have passed since Theodore McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals. We are still coping with the aftershocks of the scandal he caused. Moreover—the reason I write about this subject today—we are still coping with the clerical system that allowed that scandal to fester unchecked for so many years.
A few months after his resignation, the Vatican announced that McCarrick had been stripped of his clerical status. A canonical trial had found him guilty—not only of sexual abuse, but of soliciting in the confessional and abusing his episcopal authority as well.
Since that time, Pope Francis has named five bishops from the US to the College of Cardinals. Barring a dramatic last-minute change, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego will soon join Cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, and Gregory. All five have had close connections with McCarrick.
Leila Miller, a fearless Catholic author, is trying to bring about a dramatic last-minute change in this story. On her blog she is urging lay Catholics to write to Bishop McElroy, asking him not to accept the red hat. She concedes that she has “no illusion that anything we or others expose to the public will stop McElroy’s ascent, but that doesn’t negate our obligation to try.”
“The Diocese of San Diego never reached out to me,” the victim reports. The diocese received a report on the Satanic abuse in 2014, and took no immediate action. On the contrary, when the victim took her case to civil law-enforcement officials, diocesan lawyers balked at prosecutors’ requests for the accused priest’s records. Only much later would the Church take action, remove Bertrand from priestly ministry, and finally defrock him.
Maybe there is an explanation for Bishop McElroy’s failure to act quickly in this case—although it is very difficult to imagine why a bishop would hesitate to act when a priest is credibly accused of Satanism. Maybe there is an explanation for why he did not meet with Richard Sipe, the researcher who had documented evidence against McCarrick, or with the woman who was subjected to the outrageous Satanic abuse. But on the very best reading, his actions (or rather his inaction) have contributed to a climate of scandal that still afflicts our Church, and to the cynicism of lay Catholics who question whether our bishops are ready to police themselves.
Still I know, and you know, and Leila Miller knows, that Bishop McElroy will receive his red hat in a few weeks, undeterred by our protests. So why raise the issue now?
Because four years after McCarrick resigned his position, and despite many promises of transparency, we still do not have a full accounting of how he rose to such power and prominence, and how he remained in power even after his misconduct became a matter of common knowledge. Neither the Vatican nor the American hierarchy have seen fit to answer the obvious questions: Who knew, and when did they know, and why didn’t they act?
Because Pope Francis, despite his rhetoric about cleaning up the scandal, still has not named an American cardinal who is not deeply stained by that scandal.
Because sometime in the not-too-distant future, the cardinals will be gathered in conclave to select a new Sovereign Pontiff, and it’s chilling to think that some of the cardinal-electors may be vulnerable to blackmail.
This week’s headlines included the news that mediation failed to produce a settlement in a lawsuit brought by one of McCarrick’s abuse victims. That case is now likely to go to trial, with the Archdiocese of Newark (home of Cardinal Tobin) and the Diocese of Metuchen as defendants alongside McCarrick. The disgraced 92-year-old former cardinal also faces a September hearing in a separate criminal case. The ugly facts of the case will be rehashed yet again—no doubt supplemented by new details, which are unlikely to bolster confidence in the Catholic hierarchy. This scandal is not going away.
She heard a talk by St Francis of Assisi, left all wealth and comfort behind, and slept on the floor of the order of nuns she founded for forty-one years
St. Clare was born Chiara Offreduccio on July 16, 1194, the eldest child of Favorino Sciffi (the Count of Sasso-Rosso) and his wife, Ortolana. (“Chiara” is the Italian version of “Clare.”) St. Clare’s mother was a very devout woman who taught the faith to her daughters, Clare, Agnes, and Beatrix. When St. Clare was 12, against her will, her parents wanted her to marry a wealthy young man. Yet, when she turned 18, St. Clare heard St. Francis of Assisi preaching and his message overwhelmed her heart with a far greater desire: to dedicate her life solely to the Heavenly Bridegroom.
On Palm Sunday, while her family went to collect their palm branches, St. Clare stayed home so that she could run away to live the life she felt God calling her to. She ran to St. Francis, who cut off her beautiful long hair and gave her a rough brown tunic and black veil to wear. She lived for a short time with a group of Benedictine nuns who kept her away from her father who attempted to kidnap her to bring her back home and marry. Soon, St. Clare’s sister, Agnes, joined her, and they moved close to the Church of San Damiano, which St. Francis had rebuilt. St. Francis guided her as she began her own order of nuns whose mission it was to live simply, growing in holiness and praying for a world in need of God. They lived a very simple and poor life, which attracted other women to join them. They wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, slept on the floor, and kept silent at most times. The lack of possessions and luxuries allowed for them to keep their eyes focused solely on prayer and sacrifice.
For a short time, St. Francis was the director of this new order (which at the time was known as the “Order of San Damiano”). In 1216, St. Clare accepted the role of abbess, which allowed for her to govern the order on her own, without having a priest as the head of the community. Many times in the following years St. Clare had to hold firm to the way of life that her community lived by, as there were many attempts by Church authorities to get her community to live by the Rule of St. Benedict, which St. Clare felt was too relaxed in comparison to how she felt called to live. St. Clare was determined to live in poverty and simplicity, making only God her priority.
During the early years of establishing her order, St. Clare remained good friends with St. Francis, seeing him as a father figure to her. She took care of him during the last years of his life until his death in 1226. After the death of St. Francis, St. Clare continued to work to keep to the strict way of life that she and her sisters lived by – even to the point of disagreeing with the popes who encouraged her to relax her rule. She stated that “They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?” St. Clare’s heart certainly possessed God, and as such she showed her love for her sisters in everything she did. Though she held the title of abbess, St. Clare served her sisters at table, tended them when they were sick, and washed and kissed their sore feet when they returned from begging. She would get up late at night to tuck in the sisters who had kicked their blankets off. She was the first to rise each morning, and would light the candles and ring the bell to call the sisters to choir for prayer. After prayer, she would leave the chapel with her face aglow.
Besides all her other virtues, she was especially remarkable for her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She sometimes remained whole hours immovable before the Tabernacle, and was often seen in ecstacy, so great was her love for the Saviour it concealed. She sought her comfort in Him alone in all her trials, amidst all her persecutions; and how great were the graces she thereby received, the following event will sufficiently illustrate.
The Saracens besieged Assisi and made preparations to scale the walls of the Convent. St. Clare, who was ill at the time, had herself carried to the gates of the convent, where, with the Ciborium, containing the Blessed Sacrament, in her hands, prostrating herself in company with all her religious, she cried aloud: “O Lord, do not give into the hands of the infidels the souls of those who acknowledge and praise Thee. Protect and preserve Thy handmaidens whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.” A voice was distinctly heard, saying: “I will protect you always.” The result proved that this was the voice of heaven. The Saracens, seized with a sudden fear, betook themselves to flight, those who had already scaled the walls, became blind, and flung themselves down. Thus were St. Clare and her religious protected and the whole city preserved from utter devastation, by the piety and devotion of the Saint to the Blessed Sacrament.
Another similar incident occurred in 1244: Emperor Frederick II, who was at war with the pope, entered the Assisi area to attack it. One of the first places he was to stop was at San Damiano, where St. Clare and her sisters were living. As the soldiers were scaling the walls of the convent, St. Clare took the Blessed Sacrament out to the gate, in the sight of the attackers. St. Clare prayed for the protection and safety of her sisters, and again heard the voice of God tell her that they would always be in His care. At this, St. Clare turned to her sisters and told them to trust in Jesus. Suddenly, terror struck the attacking soldiers and they fled in haste, leaving St. Clare and her sisters unharmed.
One Christmas Eve St. Clare was too ill to attend Mass. In bed, she sighed to herself and prayed, “See Lord, I am left alone here with You.” At this, St. Clare received a vision in which she was able to see the Mass as it was taking place, yet from her own room. It is for this reason that many years later, in 1958, Pope Pius XII named her as the patron saint of television, for she had received a “live broadcast” from God.
We must omit many miracles which God wrought through His faithful servant, in order to relate her happy end. She had reached the age of sixty years, during twenty-eight of which she had suffered from various painful maladies, though she had not been confined to her bed, or rather, her bundle of straw. Her patience while suffering was remarkable, and she was never heard to complain of the severity or the duration of her sickness. The contemplation of the Passion of Christ made her own pains easy and even pleasing to her. “How short,” said she one day, “seems the night to me, which I pass in the contemplation of the Lord’s suffering!” At another time, she exclaimed: “How can man complain when he beholds Christ hanging upon the cross and covered with blood!” Having suffered so long and with such noble resignation, she saw at last, that her end was near. She received the Blessed Sacrament, and then exhorted all her daughters not to relax in their zeal to live in poverty and holiness.
When her confessor conversed with her on the merits of patience, she said: “As long as I have had the grace to serve God in the religious state, no care, no penance, no sickness has seemed hard to me. Oh, how comforting it is to suffer for the love of Christ!” The hour of her death drew near, and she saw a great many white-robed virgins come to meet her, among whom was one who surpassed all the rest in beauty. She followed them and they led her to see the Almighty face to face. Several who had read in the depths of her heart, said that she died more from the fervour of her love for God than from the effects of her sickness.
After years of working to establish her rule as the official Rule by which her sisters would live, on August 9, 1253, the papal bull “Solet annuere” was issued by Pope Innocent IV and confirmed that St. Clare’s rule would be the governing rule of St. Clare’s Order of Poor Ladies. Only two days later, on August 11, St. Clare passed away. The great number of miracles wrought after her death through her intercession, and the heroic virtues which made her so remarkable, induced Pope Alexander IV to canonise St. Clare two years later in August 1255. Construction of the Basilica of St. Clare was completed in 1560 in Assisi, Italy. Her remains were transferred to the basilica and remain there today. In 1263, Pope Urban IV changed the name of her order from the “Order of Poor Ladies” to the “Order of St. Clare,” more commonly known as the “Poor Clares.”
Prayer to St. Clare
O Glorious St. Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favour of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress. We beseech you, obtain from Jesus through Mary His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, (mention your petition) if it be for the greater honour and glory of God and for the good of our souls. Amen.
“How can man complain when he beholds Christ hanging on the cross and covered with blood,” asked St. Clare; and she also said that those nights in which she contemplated the passion of Our Lord, seemed short. During her long and painful maladies, she meditated on all the sufferings which Our Lord endured to save us, and by this means, learned such resignation that she not only had no thought of murmuring against Divine Providence, but also bore her pains with great interior consolation. See your crucified Saviour and think: “What is my suffering compared to that which my Redeemer endured for love of me? My Jesus has suffered with patience, with joy, and even with the desire to suffer still more. Why then should I be impatient and faint-hearted.” With such thoughts you should animate yourself, especially during the night, as it is generally then that pains increase. Remember the night, the bitter night, which your Saviour passed in the house of Caiaphas, maltreated in every possible manner, and pray for grace, to bear the cross laid upon you, with patience and fortitude. Only try it once and you will find great relief. St. Gregory said rightly: “Remembering the sufferings of Christ, we can bear everything patiently, how heavy soever it may be.
[This article has been taken from various sourceson Saint Clare]
The Holocaust Museum at Auschwitz includes exhibitions documenting the Shoah in various countries. In the Dutch pavilion there is searchable computer database for those murdered at Auschwitz by the Nazis.
If “Stein” is entered, the following information is displayed:
Family Name: Stein
First Name: Edith Teresia Hedwig
Date and Place of Birth: 12-10-1891 Breslau
Date and Place of Death: 9-8-1942 Auschwitz
There is a similar entry for Edith’s sister, Rosa. The two Jewish converts to Catholicism, both Carmelite nuns, were deported from the Netherlands on Aug. 7, 1942, and killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz on Aug. 9, 1942.
Behind those simple dates lies a great tale of the conflict between the Catholic Church and the Nazi regime.
The 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) — canonized in 1998 and declared by St. John Paul II a co-patroness of Europe — is a reminder of the drama of the summer of 1942. Just a few weeks before Teresa was martyred at Auschwitz, Titus Brandsma, canonized just this past May, was killed at the Dachau concentration camp by lethal injection in the camp “infirmary”.
In 1942, the Nazis were intensifying their murderous campaigns against Jews and political resisters. St. Titus was a leader of the resistance efforts that led indirectly to the martyrdom of St. Teresa.
Edith Stein, raised a Jew but turned an atheist in her teenage years, decided to become Catholic after the brilliant philosopher read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Baptized 100 years ago, on Jan. 1, 1922, she would eventually become a Carmelite, following the path of Teresa of Avila. Eventually, Edith’s sister Rosa would follow that same path, too.
Edith was baptized in Breslau, then part of Germany, now Wrocław, in Poland. She joined the Carmelites there. As the Nazis took power and persecution of Jews increased, it was decided that it would be safer to send the Stein sisters, Jewish by birth, to a Carmelite house in the Netherlands.
Titus Brandsma, also a Carmelite, was one of the most prominent Dutch priests. Unusually for a Carmelite, Brandsma had a very active apostolate in both Catholic higher education and journalism. He was an outspoken critic of Nazism.
In 1941, the Dutch bishops made a strong denunciation of the Nazi regime occupying their country. In response, the Nazis decreed that Catholic newspapers must print pro-Nazi advertisements and press statements. Father Brandsma, well known by the country’s small episcopate, encouraged them to stand firm. In turn, he was asked to carry secret letters from the bishops to the editors of Catholic newspapers, instructing them not to reprint Nazi propaganda.
Father Brandsma accepted the mission. He knew that it imperiled his life. He managed to visit 14 newspaper editors before he was arrested in January 1942. He would eventually be transferred to Dachau, near Munich, which housed thousands of priests. He was tortured and savagely beaten. He was killed on July 26, 1942.
The witness Father Brandsma had offered while still in the Netherlands had encouraged the Dutch bishops, even as they had, in turn, strengthened him.
As the Nazis began mass deportations of Dutch Jews to the camps in July 1942, the Dutch bishops, in union with the other Christian churches, sent a telegram to the Nazi authorities, condemning the deportations. In response, the Nazis agreed that they would not deport Jews who had become Christian before January 1941. Yet if the protest was made public, Jewish converts to Christianity would also be deported to the death camps.
The other Christian churches thus demurred from making their protest public. The Dutch Catholic bishops, however, wrote a strong pastoral letter condemning the deportations, dated July 20, 1942. It was read from all the pulpits in the country on Sunday, July 26, 1942 — the same day Father Brandsma was murdered in Dachau.
The consequences were swift and harsh. Far from ceasing their deportations of Jews, the Nazis began deporting Jewish converts to Christianity, too. Fifteen days later, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross would be dead at Auschwitz.
When the Gestapo came for the Stein sisters at their Dutch Carmel, Edith, ever a daughter of Israel, said to her sister Rosa, “Come, let us die for our people.”
Pope Pius XII was deeply shaken by the response to the Dutch pastoral letter and conducted his opposition to the Holocaust accordingly. With great practical creativity and urgency, Catholic institutions were essential to saving the vast majority of Roman Jews. Yet after the Dutch experience, Pius refrained from an open and direct condemnation of the Holocaust. Though he spoke with more clarity than Roosevelt or Churchill or any other Allied leader, his diplomatic efforts are the subject of controversy even to this day.
There is a Polish complement to the Dutch drama.
On Aug. 14, 1942 — the first anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe at Auschwitz — a Vatican emissary arrived in Kraków to see the indomitable Prince-Archbishop Adam Sapieha, the hero of the “long night” of Nazi occupation. Archbishop Sapieha, who was then operating a clandestine seminary out of his residence that included Karol Wojtyła — was a fierce resister of the Nazis.
With documents from the Holy Father camouflaged with spaghetti labels and hidden in wine bottles, the emissaries avoided detection of their clandestine papers by the Gestapo. They had brought to Archbishop Sapieha a letter to the Polish Church from Pius XII entitled, “Ideological Differences and Opposition to National Socialism.”
Archbishop Sapieha read it in horror. Papal solidarity was welcome, but he knew the consequences of public denunciation.
“It is absolutely impossible for me to share [it] with my clergy, and much less can I communicate it to the people of Poland. It would be sufficient for only one copy to reach the hand of the [Nazi intelligence] and all our heads would fall,” Archbishop Sapieha explained to his visitors.
“In this case, the Church in Poland would be lost.”
Archbishop Sapieha immediately burned the package.
The Polish shepherd may have already heard about the reprisals against the Dutch pastoral letter. He likely did not know that Teresa Benedicta of the Cross had been killed only five days earlier in his own archdiocese. He likely did not know that Titus Brandsma had been killed 19 days earlier in Dachau, though it is possible that he knew the priest had been interned for encouraging Catholic institutions to resist the Nazis.
In any case, Archbishop Sapieha knew well the pressures of the Polish occupation. He would not have known that his seminarian Wojytła would become pope, but he likely feared that Wojtyła and others would have been killed had he circulated the papal condemnation.
Pius XII evidently understood. Within a year of the war’s end, he created Archbishop Sapieha a cardinal.
The lessons of August 1942 are complex. Courage and prudence in the face of evil are lessons to be learned anew in every age.
CP&S comment: The shock, confusion and upset caused by Francis’ Apostolic Letter, “Traditionis custodes”, has no precedent in the Church. The cruelty of vastly limiting the celebration of the ancient, but timeless, Sacrifice of the Mass – that has nourished countless millions throughout the centuries and has been instrumental in filling Heaven with holy saints – can only be seen as an act of liturgical sabotage inspired by evil forces. But how lasting can such an order be when one year later there is nothing but arbitrary chaos surrounding its implementation? Father Z makes a brilliant analysis for the defence of the Mass of the Agesand its millions of adherents,and the likely unlawfulness of TC.
Some years ago I studied for graduate theology with several distinguished theologians, one of whom was chancellor for Card. Burke in Lacrosse. In those Canon Law classes, he made the point over and again that the law is specific, defined and unambiguous and that when one interprets the law you should never add, nor subtract from what is explicitly stated.
Couldn’t it be reasoned then that because so many bishops have made such wide ranging rules, or no rules, based onTraditionis custodesthat effectively there is no law at all? It is one thing to have some reasonable variations of implementation of law, but there isn’t just variation, there are outright different worlds being forged. I contend that the chaos is desired, but that will be the downfall, for in chaos there is no law leaving the faithful to appeal to higher laws than ecclesiastical ones.
Thank you for all you do Father.
The chaos is an opportunity. I’ll get to that.
Let me come at this from two directions. First, there are the differences between Summorum Pontificum and Traditionis custodes, including the problem of the lack of a vacatio. Then, there is the issue of “reception” of Tradionis, for which Francis will ever be remembered as quite simply cruel.
“Wide ranging rules”?
When Summorum Pontificum was issued, Cardinal Darmaatmadja, S.J., the Archbishop of Jakarta, simply said “it does not apply here.” And that was that.
No one ever seems to have gone after him for that. He served out his time as archbishop and retired.
I assume he must have somehow invoked can. 87 §1.
Will bishops who refuse to implement TC eventually be targeted by Rome for torture? It would not surprise me. As a matter of fact, someone recently intimated to me that Rome was contacting bishops to tell them to get on it – or else – rather more than bishops were contacting Rome to obtain cover for their plans.
Traditionis custodes (TC or “Taurina cacata“) is disciplinary law. You could argue that a bishop is supposed to comply, but if conditions on the ground warrant, if in the bishop’s estimation the application of the disciplinary law would be counterproductive or disruptive, etc., then a bishop could do what Card. Darmaatmadja did.
There are subtle differences between the “legal aspects” of Summorum Pontificum (SP) and TC , but they are crafted in an similar way. They are both Apostolic Letters given motu proprio, SP has a paragraph before the Articles with DECERNIMUS [sic, full caps] (“WE DECREE … the following”) and TC’s paragraph before Articles has decernere (“…it seemed to Us opportune to decree the following”).
SP: Instantibus precibus horum fidelium iam a Praedecessore Nostro Ioanne Paulo II diu perpensis, auditis etiam a Nobis Patribus Cardinalibus in Concistorio die XXIII mensis martii anni 2006 habito, omnibus mature perpensis, invocato Spiritu Sancto et Dei freti auxilio, praesentibus Litteris Apostolicis DECERNIMUS quae sequuntur:
TC: Nunc igitur, examinatis votis ab Episcopatu expressis et iudicio Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei audito, cupimus, praesentibus Litteris Apostolicis, magis magisque in communione ecclesiali assidue conquirenda perseverare. Qua de causa, opportunum nobis visum est quae sequuntur decernere:
The big question is the “Qua de causa” — having examined the votes/opinions expressed by the bishops and heard the judgment of the CDF”.
I and others have called B as in B, S as in S. I don’t even for an instant believe that the poll of bishops laid adequate grounds for TC. We should be able to for ourselves what the votes/opinions were and to read the judgment of the CDF.
Gonna happen? Not so much.
This reminds me of the “annulment reform” legislation that Francis issued in 2015. Mitis Iudex abolished the automatic appeal of an affirmative sentence in favor of nullity. Francis stated that he ended the automatic “2nd Instance” review of annulments because, he said:
“This was called for by the majority of the synod fathers in the synod last year : streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there’s an appeal, there’s the appeal then another appeal. It never ends. The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Pope Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country [Poland], there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it’s not something essential to the process.”
I might have missed it, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t see anything from the 2014 synod indicating that a “majority of the synod fathers” wanted this.
It’s not unlike the bizzare claim that, before the Council, “everyone” wanted a vernacular liturgy. It’s not unlike that claim in that weird appendix to Sacrosanctum Concilium that “everyone” was clamoring for a fixed date for Easter. The only people who wanted these things were pointy-headed “experts” in rarely dusted university offices bored during their office hours and, like the infamous Good Idea Fairy who spreads chaos and wasted time, thinking up stuff.
Make stuff up as an excuse to impose your personal desire. There are a lot of ways to squander moral capital. This is one of them.
NB: TC had no vacatio, that is, a period of time before it was to go into effect. SP did. TC didn’t. A vacatio allows for planning on how to implement it. That means that if a priest were to rise in the morning and gone straight to say Mass without having perused the Vatican Bolletino, he would have been, technically, in violation of the law. Big deal, right? Well, if you are interested in charity, yes. It isn’t charitable to drop bombs in such a way that you – by your haste- cause problems for others.
The wisdom of including a vacatio is proven by the fact of the confusion, chaos and irregular application over the year after TC was issued. A lot of bishops just arbitrarily created for themselves a pseudo-vacatio. Fair to the bishops to do it that way? Nope.
Also, the lack of a vacatio suggests that TC was a long time in the making, but when Francis needed surgery, it could not be put off any longer. Hence, it was hastily sprung on everyone without a vacatio. It smacks of panic, under the circumstances (of his impending surgery) as well as total disdain for the people it would effect, including the bishops.
Continuing with similarities, SP has a clear “servari iubemus” at the end, while TC has more convoluted language.
The alarming lack of knowledge of Francis about, as above, canon law and matrimonial nullity procedures was on full display in his statements. Maybe the situation in Argentina was so bad that he heard about endless cases and appeal. But to impose something on the whole world because in some places reform is needed?
Regarding liturgy, let’s not forget the virtually iron-clad adage about the essentially clueless: As lost as a Jesuit in Holy Week. To impose something truly draconian on the whole world because a few trads are jerks? That smacks of despotism and lack of competence driven by personal animus egged on by sycophantic ideologues.
Shifting gears, I predict is that TC is not going to be received in the long run. It will prove to be no law at all.
Reception theory states that a law, in order to be a law, a binding law, must be received by the community for which it is intended. If they community does not receive it, that is, they reject it outright or it fails to have any effect on how they live, the presumed law is non-binding and is really no law at all.
This doesn’t apply to moral law, because it flows from above reception or rejection by mere human beings. In the late 1960’s and after, dissidents from Humanae vitae infamously tried to apply “reception theory” to the Church’s teaching on contraception. Fail.
Reception theory does not apply to moral teaching, but it can apply to certain of the Church’s disciplinary law, which includes liturgical law.
BTW… did you all see that the… I am not making this up… Pontifical Academy for Life tweeted that Paul VI didn’t intend that the Church’s teaching about contraception was infallible? HERE
Let’s have a mind exercise and think about reception theory in view of Traditionis custodes,
Popes make mistakes. The faithful can see that they make mistakes. The faithful have the right to express themselves about those mistakes, even when they have to do with disciplinary laws. Sometimes the faithful respectfully and quietly vote with their feet. Sometimes they organize and take action. Sometimes they organize and quietly resist.
Sure, there will be some zealous bishops who turn on the faithful who want Tradition. It is inevitable, considering. However, my sense is that there are so many young priests and young people who now know and love the TLM that they will find a way simply to keep going. It might be as simple as Father leaving the doors open when he says Mass privately (that is, not on the schedule) and people happen to wander in for some time in church. It might be that the bishop will strike down that young priest. A couple others will spring up.
In the chaos, there is opportunity.
I don’t think this can be stopped.
Mind you, there are going to be a lot of tears and anguish because of these bishops. But in the end, they are only bishops.
This not like the earlier attempts to crush tradition. Now, we have the internet, access to materials for Mass, many thousands have been exposed to it and want it. These days are very different from the 70s-90s.
Friends, when your bishops do something good and generous regarding the Traditional Roman Rite, thank them. When they do something stingy, work on them with spiritual bouquets, fasting, sincere requests. Be the woman at the door of the judge before you turn to more drastic measures.
Sunday, August 7 Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Roman Ordinary calendar
Book of Wisdom18,6-9.
The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage. Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned. For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.
Exult, you just, in the LORD; Praise from the upright is fitting. Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield, May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
Letter to the Hebrews11,1-2.8-19.
Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God. By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age–and Sarah herself was sterile–for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore. All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke12,32-48.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.” Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute (the) food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Saint Cyprian (c.200-258) Bishop of Carthage and martyr Treatise on the unity of the Church, 26-27
“You also must be prepared”
The Lord was looking to our days when he said, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8) We see that what he foretold has come to pass. There is no faith in the fear of God, in the law of righteousness, in love, in good works (…). That which our conscience would fear if it believed, it does not fear because it does not believe at all. If it believed, it would also take heed; and if it took heed, it would be saved.
Therefore beloved brothers, let us arouse ourselves as much as we can and break the slumber of our listlessness. Let us be watchful to observe and to do the Lord’s precepts. Let us be like he himself has bidden us to be, saying, “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival”.
We ought to be dressed for work, lest, when the day of setting forth comes, it should find us burdened and entangled. Let our light shine in good works, and glow in such a way as to lead us from the night of this world to the daylight of eternal brightness. Let us always wait with solicitude and caution for the sudden coming of the Lord, so that when he knocks, our faith may be on the watch, and receive from the Lord the reward of our vigilance. If these commands be observed, if these warnings and precepts be kept, we will not be overtaken in slumber by the deceit of the devil. But we shall reign with Christ in his kingdom as servants on the watch.
Today is an opportunity for everyone to begin the First Five Saturday Devotion.
Would you like to practice a devotion that is a true-win-win on so many levels? It is known as the First Saturday Devotion, also called the Five First Saturdays Devotion. Its requirements are very simple and yet they can have a profound impact on your spiritual life. This devotion is one of reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It goes back in part to the third apparition Our Lady of Fatima gave on July 13th 1917 to the three Fatima Visionaries, including Lucia dos Santos when, after having shown them a terrifying glimpse of hell she told them:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace… I shall come to ask for the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month”
Lucia, after she became a nun, later wrote the following account (illustrated above) in following up on this devotion, referring to herself in the third person: “On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to Lucia, and by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus…She [that is Mary] showed her [Lucia] a Heart encircled by thorns.”
At the same time, the Child said: ‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of Reparation to remove them.’ Then the Most Holy Virgin said: ‘Look My daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude.
You at least try to console me and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making Reparation to me.’
Jesus Himself later revealed to Sister Lucia on the night of May 29-30, 1930 the reason for their being five Saturdays of reparation. He told her “My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1: Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
2: Blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity.
3: Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men.
4. The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children indifference or scorn, or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother.
5. The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images.
“Here, My daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of Reparation.”
Clearly Jesus was showing Sister Lucia, and by extension all of us as well, His immense love for His Blessed Mother!
You may well notice how spiritually nourishing the First Saturday devotion is right away! In practicing it you make reparation to Mary in her Immaculate Heart and partake of the two essential sacraments in our faith, the Eucharist and Penance. And you can “bond” with her in the 15 minute meditation, as well as in praying the Rosary. (Note that the 15 minute meditation is in addition to not instead of praying the Rosary that day.)
We need to practice the devotion on five consecutive First Saturdays. If you miss one, by all means start fresh the following month, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep to a schedule on this. This checklist might be helpful.
Here is a summary of the four requirements for this devotion, as mentioned earlier in Sister Lucia’s account. These should all be done with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
First: Receive communion on that Saturday. Our Lord told Sister Lucy during the night of May 29-30, 1930 in answer to the question concerning those who did not have Mass in their parish on Saturdays that, as he put it: “The practice of this devotion will be equally acceptable on the Sunday following the first Saturday when My priests, for a just cause, allow it to souls.”
(When in doubt check with your priest or bishop on this. Fathers Richard Heilman and John Zuhlsdorf, both very solid priests, say that communion within 24 hours of the first Saturday will suffice. To me it shows our Lord’s mercy at work here, as in the second requirement, which follows.)
Second: Go to confession on that Saturday, although this can be done either 8 days before or afterwards. If for some reason this is not possible you can go to confession even beyond those 8 days afterwards, but you should go as soon as possible.
On February 15, 1926, when appearing before Sister Lucia the Child Jesus, told her that confession could be made beyond this time frame as long as souls were in a state of grace when receiving Him in communion on the First Saturday, and that they had the intention of making Reparation to His Mother’s Immaculate Heart.
If they forgot that intention, they could make it at their next confession at the earliest opportunity. You should go at least once a month in any case.
Third: Recite 5 decades of the Holy Rosary.
Fourth: Last, but by no means least, keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on one or more mysteries of the Rosary (this being separate from your praying the actual prayer). You can do those 15 minutes covering any or all of the Rosary mysteries. It’s a great way to give our Lady some love and comfort as well!
In this regard, I think of what Mary told Sister Lucy, as mentioned above: “you at least try to console me.” Think of this yourself as you meditate with our Blessed Mother in this devotion. She herself could use consolation from us all, especially nowadays. We’ve seen her weeping for us “Banished Children of Eve” (as we say in the Hail Holy Queen) in the Apparitions at La Salette, France in 1846 and Akita, Japan in the 1970’s.
It’s as if she is saying to us, in a warning especially applicable nowadays in this age of schism in the church and increasing paganism, division, and violence in society at large, “Will you people please listen to me, obey, and love my Son?”
The image mentioned earlier of our Blessed Mother’s heart encircled by thorns brings to mind another tragic one, that of our Sorrowful Mother’s heart pierced with seven swords, for the Seven Sorrows Mary suffered during her Divine’s Son’s earthly ministry, and more specifically in His Passion and Death.
You may recall that Simeon, described in Scripture as being “just and devout” (Luke 2:25) informed our Lady when she and St. Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the Temple fulfilling the Mosaic Law requirements, that as he put it quite memorably, both for her, no doubt and for us as well, that “thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Luke 2:35).
The bond and love between the Blessed Mother and her Divine Son are strong and close!! We pray to Mary for her intercession on our behalf to her Divine Son. After all, what are her last words in Scripture? “Do whatever He [that is, Jesus] tells you” (John 2:5).
Keep in mind how great it is to have a devotion in which we can comfort our Lord’s mother and strengthen ourselves spiritually so much at the same time! You can’t get a better reinforcement of the Armor of God St. Paul spoke in Chapter 6 of his letter to the Ephesians than this powerful combination of the Eucharist, Penance and the Rosary, the prayer St. Padre Pio once referred to as his weapon! And notice the great mercy of our Lord in allowing us extra time to complete this devotion in Confession!
Once you’ve completed the Five First Saturdays you can also continue this devotion on subsequent Saturdays as well. Think of this as a way of getting an important monthly spiritual “tune-up”, as Father Donald Calloway once referred to it. I’ve found it great for keeping to a regular confession schedule!
And time spent with our Mother in meditation on the Rosary is also a great way to practice Mental Prayer as well! And don’t think that she will ever be too busy for you to keep her company or that somehow it’s a bother. It’s quite the opposite, in fact!
If more people took the time to spend with our Lady in prayer, and of course with her Divine Son in Eucharistic Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament for example, we would have far less trouble in the world in these days!
Both our Lord and our Lady will be grateful for your fervent practicing of the Five First Saturdays. Your loving devotion to this devotion can help save souls and give you graces from our Blessed Mother. And the First Saturday Devotion is needed now more than ever!
The Roman basilica of Saint Mary Major, whose dedication is celebrated on August 5th, is also known by several other titles, among them, “the Liberian Basilica”, after its putative founder, Pope Liberius (352-366). I say “putative” because although Liberius did certainly build a church on the site, it was badly damaged in a riot that broke out over the contested election of his successor, St Damasus I; it was then abandoned until the next century, when St Sixtus III (432-440) replaced it with a completely new church. Despite a great many alterations and additions, the nucleus of the structure as we have it today is Pope Sixtus’ building, the oldest church in the world dedicated to the Mother of God; there is no reason to believe that Liberius’ structure was so dedicated. Nevertheless, the title “Liberian” has stuck; the basilica’s chapter of canons is normally referred to in Italian as “il Capitolo Liberiano.”
Pope Liberius is also a protagonist of the famous legend concerning the church’s founding, which has given it another one of its titles, “Our Lady of the Snows.” The story is that a wealthy Roman patrician named John and his wife, having no heirs, wished to leave their patrimony to the Virgin Mary, and prayed to Her to let them know how they might do so. On the night of August 4th, the Virgin appeared to both of them, and also to the Pope, and told them that in the morning, they would find a part of the Esquiline hill covered in snow, and in that place they should build a church in Her honor. (Snowfalls are exceedingly rare in Rome even in the winter.) The next morning, coming up to the Esquiline, they did indeed find the place covered in snow, and thus the church was founded.
Each year, during the principal Mass of the Dedication, a shower of white jasmine petals, representing the miraculous snowfall, is let fall from the roof of the basilica during the Gloria; the ceremony is repeated in the evening during the Magnificat of Vespers. It is seen here in a video taken by John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus in 2010.
Painful as it is to impugn the story behind such a beautiful liturgical tradition, it is now regarded as purely legendary. The text of Pope Sixtus III’s dedicatory inscription is preserved, and does not mention it; indeed, the story is not heard of until several hundred years after it supposedly took place. The legendary character of the episode is also implicitly recognized in the Tridentine liturgical reform. In a Roman Breviary printed in 1481, the story is told in six unusually long lessons at Matins, each almost a full column in length; the Breviary of St Pius V preserves the essence of the legend, but reduces it to the bare facts at just over 200 words. The feast also had a proper collect, which reads as follows: “O God, who, to declare the glory of Thy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, by a snowfall in the heat of summer didst deign to show forth the place in which a church should be built for Her; grant, we ask, that, devoting ourselves to Her service, by the cooling of concupiscence, we may be cleansed in the brightness of innocence.” In the Tridentine reform, this prayer was replaced by the generic prayer from the common Office and Mass of the Virgin.
In the Liturgy of the Hours, historical lessons are no longer read at Matins, (now called the Office of Readings,) with a few rare exceptions. For today’s feast, the second reading is a passage from St Cyril of Alexandria’s “Homily against Nestorius”, delivered at the Council of Ephesus in 431. In the Breviary of St Pius V, this passage was read on September 15th, the Octave of the Virgin’s Nativity, but it also makes an especially appropriate choice for the Dedication of St Mary Major. The church was built by Sixtus III, and decorated with mosaic images of the Virgin’s life, in the wake of the great controversy stirred up by Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who declared that it was wrong to refer to the Virgin Mary with the title “Theotókos – Mother of God”, and that She ought rather to be called “Christotókos – Mother of Christ.” The Council of Ephesus was called to respond to Nestorius’ heresy, and at that Council, St Cyril was the adamant defender of the orthodox faith, the “unconquered teacher that the most blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of God”, as the traditional collect of his feast calls him.
“I see here the joyful company of holy men, all willingly gathered together, called by the holy Mother of God, Mary, the ever-virgin. The arrival of the holy Fathers has brought me from the great grief wherein I dwelled unto joy. Now is fulfilled among us the sweet word of David the psalmist: Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together as one.” (Psalm 132)
“Therefore, rejoice with us, holy and mystical Trinity, that called us all to this church of Mary, the Mother of God. Rejoice with us, Mary, Mother of God, the venerable treasure of the whole world, the ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the scepter of orthodoxy, the indestructible temple, the place of Him whom no place can contain, Mother and Virgin; through whom is named in the Holy Gospels the Blessed One, who comes in the name of the Lord.
Rejoice, thou who in thy virginal womb held Him who cannot be held; through whom the Trinity is sanctified; through whom the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; through whom heaven exulteth; through whom the angels and archangels rejoice; through whom demons are put to flight; through whom the devil, that tempter, fell from heaven; through whom the fallen race is taken up to the heavens; through whom all creation, possessed by the madness of idols, hath come to the knowledge of truth; through whom cometh baptism to them that believe, and the oil of gladness; through whom the Church hath been established throughout the world; through whom the nations are led to repentance.
What need is there to say many more things? (This is somewhat ironic, since St Cyril goes on to say a great deal more than can be reproduced here.) Through Thee, the only-begotten Son of God hath shone as a light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; the prophets foretold, the apostles preached salvation to the nations; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule through the holy Trinity.”
The other night I watched, once again, the 1973 film, The Catholics, with Martin Sheen and Trevor Howard. The title was later changed to Conflict.
If you want to understand where we’re going, watch the movie.
Brief synopsis: The Latin Mass has almost disappeared after Vatican IV. A group of Irish monks, however, continue to pray the Latin Mass and, to accommodate the crowds, they say it on a mountain that was once the scene of Masses during Cromwell’s persecution. After a news broadcast about the Mass, pilgrims head to Ireland from all over the world to attend the Latin Mass which puts the monks on modern Rome’s radar screen.
Are you getting the gist of where I’m going?
A young priest (Sheen) comes from Rome charged with bringing the recalcitrant monks into the post Vatican IV fold.
Good grief, you rigid troglodytes, get with the program! Believing in the Real Presence is optional these days, you know, just a symbol. And individual confessions are definitely out! Besides, the superior of the order is meeting at an important ecumenical conference with the Buddhists. You’re rocking the boat and endangering the Church of anything goes, any belief works, and who needs God when we’re so enlightened? So just bend your knees in obedience and pray the new Mass!
The film is powerful and prophetic. (Spoiler alert!) The abbot (who has lost his faith) agrees to suppress the Mass and faces a monastery in rebellion. At the end, after Sheen leaves to head back to Rome, the monks are angry and confront the abbot. In the final scene, they go into the church with the abbot, who has assured the young modernist priest that his monks will obey him. As we hear the monks praying the Our Father, we are left wondering what happens next.
Like in Arlington!
That’s us, folks! But will our priests resist?
Many, perhaps most, of our bishops seem to have lost the faith like the sad abbot. The question is — what will the faith-filled priests in the Abbey do? How will they respond? Will the last Mass of the Ages on the earth be finally suppressed. Will the abbot really be able to control them through their vow of obedience?
That’s the question! The steamroller of suppression is gathering steam. What will happen next?
Under the guise of a false obedience many bishops (Cardinal Cupich for sure) seem eager to lead the flock over the cliff like the herd of pigs in the Gerasene story described in Matthew chapter 8. Jeremiah has a word for them! “’Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the LORD.”
So many of the priests of Arlington have been a gift to the faithful and have stood up to serious challenges. It was the priests who instigated opposition to the so-called Safe Touch sex ed program when Bishop Paul Loverde tried to impose it. They succeeded with the support of the laity.
The question now is whether our priests will organize and just say no to what is happening.
Obedience is a limited virtue. Yes, we owe obedience to lawful authority, but that authority is limited. Parents cannot order an adult child to marry their choice. A boss can’t demand his secretary clean his house. No one can order someone to sin. The pope is not a dictator with unlimited authority although the pope of Pachamama and circle spirits seems to think he is. Every word from the mouth of a pope is not infallible. Popes can sin! And they can sin against the flock.
It’s time for faithful priests who love God to walk in the footsteps of those holy martyrs of England who risked everything to bring the Mass to the Catholic people in time of persecution. And we laity need to be ready to support them. How many went to death for the crime of allowing Mass to be said in their homes. How many priests died for offering it?
Fr. Hardon used to say, “Raise your children to be martyrs.” The persecution is here. That it’s coming from our shepherds is tragic, but we are nonetheless called to respond with courage. The Latin Mass was being prayed in 21 locations in Arlington prior to Bishop Burbidge’s action on Friday. There are at least 21 priests in that group. Will the bishop really throw a significant percentage of his priests under the bus for resisting an evil and unjust order that oversteps the authority of the pope?
Perhaps he will. I hope we are blessed to have an opportunity to find out.
Please, dear priests of Arlington, resist this evil and continue to give us the Mass!
The Shrine of Christ the King, run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) in Chicago, confirmed on Sunday that the public Masses and confessions of the priests of the ICKSP have been canceled. An official sign from the Institute was posted at different locations, saying: “As of August 1, the celebration of public Masses is suspended. Confession times are discontinued. The Chapel remains open for prayer.”
With it, LifeSite’s July 18 report has been confirmed. The report gave the background of this suspension, based on the insider knowledge of Keith Armato, a prominent Chicago Catholic layman involved with the Institute.
Armato, who had been able to read the letter of Cardinal Cupich announcing the suspension of the ICKSP priests as of August 1, explained to LifeSite at the time that the reason for this suspension is that the Institute could not, in their conscience, sign a document presented to them by Cupich.
In that document, which contains several points, the ICKSP priests were asked to sign that the Novus Ordo Mass is the only true expression of the Roman rite, thereby rejecting the traditional Roman rite. Among other things, the priests were also asked to accept that they would have to ask the archbishop for permission to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, and that this permission would be limited to two years and could be revoked at any given time. Armato had told LifeSite that the Institute could not sign this document because it goes “against their charism.”
The Institute’s Shrine is dedicated to the traditional Roman rite and has served some 400-500 faithful each Sunday who will now be deprived of the traditional Mass and sacraments. The Institute is located on the South Side of Chicago, therefore serving a diverse community with different groups and some of them quite poor. They will now be deprived of much of the pastoral care of the Institute’s priests.
As LifeSite learned, aside from the signs posted at different locations of the Institute, the priests themselves did not speak about the matter this Sunday at Mass. They merely asked for prayers. Many observers do not understand their silence, also in light of the fact that many parishioners have heavily donated to them for the restoration of their church in Chicago that had caught fire a few years back and is in need of restoration.
After Mass, the Institute conducted yesterday a Eucharistic procession. People attending were seen weeping.
Jeremy Dannebohm, a publisher at Memorare Media, posted on Facebook a photo of the Eucharistic procession and stated:
A sobering image. Following a Eucharistic Procession, the faithful of the Shrine of Christ the King prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in the Presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament at the entrance to their place of spiritual refuge, which has been shuttered by the Archdiocese of Chicago. As I reflect on this image, I’m reminded of the words of St. John Chrysostom who said, ‘I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.’
Matt Gaspers, the managing editor of Catholic Family News, posted a challenge on Twitter, calling Cardinal Cupich out for letting pro-LGBT events take place in his churches while he suspends the ICKSP. He asked Cupich: “Why do you allow ‘married’ homosexuals to give a ‘Father’s Day reflection’ at @oldstpats and @soulplay18 (a layman) to preach at Holy Family, yet you persecute faithful priests devoted to the traditional Mass and sacraments (@ICKSP)?”
On social media, Catholics are reacting strongly to this suppression of the ICKSP, with some calling out Cupich, while others criticized the ICKSP for not fighting back enough. Some call upon the ICKSP to follow Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s example who went into disobedience for the sake of preserving the traditional Roman rite and the Church’s traditional teachings. Others – such as Dr. Peter Kwasniewski – show more sympathy with the current situation of the ICKSP, which could be suppressed altogether as an order, should they go into a state of disobedience.
It is clear that the final responsibility for this situation in Chicago lies in the hands of Pope Francis who, since July of 2021, has declared war on the traditional Roman rite. By publishing his document Traditionis Custodes which declares that “liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II [i.e. the Novus Ordo Mass], in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite,” Francis thereby cancelled the Sacraments of the ancient rite that date back centuries.
Not only is the Institute of Christ the King being canceled in Chicago, many other diocesan parishes are currently being deprived of the traditional Latin Mass and the traditional Sacraments.
LifeSite just reported on the news that Bishop Michael Burbidge, of the Diocese of Arlington, has now reduced the places for traditional Masses from 21 to 8 locations, with some of the remaining Masses being pushed out of parish churches into gyms and other halls. This restriction goes into effect on September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady.
As with the ICKSP, diocesan faithful are indignant about the treatment they are receiving from the Catholic Church who, under the current pontificate, so often speaks of mercy and against rigidity
LifeSite has reached out to the Archdiocese of Chicago, asking for comment. We shall update this report should we hear back from them.
Seeing Bergoglio impassively watch the satanic rites of evocation of the dead performed by a shaman unbelievably worsens the scandal of having rendered idolatrous worship to the infernal pachamama in the Vatican Basilica.
(LifeSiteNews) — Redde rationem villicationis tuæ, jam enim non poteris villicare: “Give an account of thy stewardship, for now thou canst be steward no longer.”
“My wife, when asked who converted her to Catholicism, always answers, “the devil’.” – G.K. Chesterton
It is not by chance that Satan is called a διάβολος, with the double meaning of liar and accuser. Satan lies because he hates the Truth, that is, God in His Essence. He lies because if he were to tell the truth he would reveal his own deceptions. He lies because only by lying can he also be the accuser of our brothers, “he who day and night accuses them before our God” (Ap 12:10). And just as the Most Blessed Virgin, the tabernacle of the Incarnate Word, is advocata nostra, so Satan is our accuser and the one who inspires false testimony against the just.
The Revolution – which is the overturning of the divine kosmos in order to establish infernal chaos – having no arguments to discredit the Church of Christ and the Christian society that has been inspired and guided by Her down the centuries, resorts to slander and the manipulation of reality. Cancel Culture is nothing other than the attempt to put the Civitas Dei on trial in order to condemn her without proof, imposing the civitas diaboli as its counterpart of alleged liberty, equality, and fraternity. In order to do this, as is evident, it prevents the masses from having a knowledge of the truth, because its deception is based on ignorance and bad faith.
This premise is necessary in order to understand the gravity of the behavior of the one who usurps the vicarious power deriving from the supreme authority of the Church to slander and accuse her before the world, in a grotesque parody of Christ’s trial before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. On that occasion also the civil authority listened to the false accusations made against Our Lord, and although recognizing His innocence, had Him scourged and crowned with thorns in order to please the people who were stirred up by the High Priests and the scribes, and then sent Him to death, crucifying Him with the most humiliating of tortures. The members of the Sanhedrin thus abused their spiritual authority, as the Prefect of Judea abused his civil authority.
The same farce has been repeated throughout history thousands and thousands of times, because hiding behind every lie, behind every unfounded accusation against Christ and against His Mystical Body which is the Church, is the devil, the liar, the accuser. And it is evident, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this Satanic action is inspiring the events reported in the press in the last few days, from the perfidious mea culpa of Bergoglio for the alleged sins of the Catholic Church committed in Canada against the indigenous peoples, to his participation in pagan rites and infernal ceremonies of evocation of the dead.
Regarding the “faults” of the Jesuit missionaries, I think Corrispondenza Romana (here) has answered exhaustively, enumerating the brutality to which the Martyrs of Canada were subjected at the hands of the Iroquois Indians. The same applies to the alleged accusations relating to the Indian residential schools that the State had entrusted to the Catholic Church and the Anglicans in order to civilize the indigenous people and favor the assimilation of the Christian culture of the country.
We thus discover that “the Oblates [of Mary Immaculate] were the only defenders of the traditional language and way of life of the Indians of Canada, unlike the government and the Anglican Church, which insisted on an integration that uprooted the indigenous people from their origins.” We also learn that the alleged “cultural genocide” of the indigenous people that the Commission de vérité et réconciliation had to deal with in 2008 was then transformed, without any basis of truth or probability, into “physical genocide,” thanks to an absolutely false media campaign that was supported by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a pupil of Klaus Schwab and a notorious proponent of globalism and the Davos Agenda.
But if the truth has also been officially recognized by experts and non-partisan historians, nevertheless the cult of lies has continued its inexorable process, culminating in the official apologies of the head of the Church, demanded by Trudeau and immediately made his own by Bergoglio, who could not wait to humiliate once again the institution he unworthily represents. In their eagerness to indulge the official narrative and please their masters, Trudeau and Bergoglio consider as a negligible detail the total non-existence of evidence about the phantom mass graves in which hundreds of children were supposedly secretly buried. This ought to be enough to demonstrate their bad faith and the pretentiousness of their accusations and mea culpa; also because the press regime demands the heads of the enemies of the people with summary trials, but is careful not to rehabilitate the innocent people who are falsely accused.
The purpose of this filthy media operation is all too obvious: to discredit the past of the Catholic Church as being guilty of the worst atrocities, in order to legitimize her present persecution, both by the State and by the Hierarchy itself. Because that Church, the “intolerant,” “rigid” Catholic Church, which preached the Gospel to all peoples and which allowed its missionaries to be martyred by tribes immersed in the barbarity of paganism, must no longer be allowed to exist, must not “proselytize” – “a solemn nonsense,” “a very serious sin against ecumenism” – and she must not claim to have any Truth to teach the nations for the salvation of souls. And Bergoglio wants us to know that he has nothing to do with that Church, just as he detests the doctrine, morality and liturgy of that Church, to the point of mercilessly persecuting the many faithful who have not yet resigned themselves to following him towards the abyss of apostasy and who would like to honor God with the Apostolic Mass.
Not that anyone has ever thought that Jorge Mario can in any way be Catholic: every expression, every gesture, every movement he makes betrays such impatience for that which even remotely recalls Our Lord that by now his attestations of irreligiosity and sacrilegious impiety are superfluous. Seeing him impassively watch the satanic rites of evocation of the dead performed by a shaman unbelievably worsens the scandal of having rendered idolatrous worship to the infernal pachamama in the Vatican Basilica, thereby desecrating it directly above the burial place of the Prince of the Apostles.
Asking forgiveness for the non-existent “sins of the missionaries” is a despicable and sacrilegious act of submission to the New World Order that finds perfect correspondence in the complicit silences and scandalous protections for which Bergoglio is responsible towards the true abuse victims of his protégés. We may hear him ask for forgiveness in China, in Africa, and among the icebergs of Antarctica, but we will never hear him pronounce a mea culpa for abuses and crimes committed in Argentina, for the horrors of the lavender mafia of McCarrick and his accomplices, and those he promoted as his collaborators. We will never hear him make credible apologies for having lent himself to be the celebrity endorser of the vaccine campaign, a vaccine which today we know is the cause of a terrifying number of sudden deaths and adverse effects. He will never beat his breast for these sins; indeed he is proud of them and knows that a gesture of sincere repentance would not be appreciated by his principal supporters, who are no less guilty than him.
So here we are, standing before the liar, the accuser. Here we are before the ruthless persecutor of the good clergy and faithful both of yesterday and today, the zealous ally of the enemies of Christ and of the Church: the fierce opponent of the Catholic Mass who is an ecumenical participant in satanic rites and pagan ceremonies – a man divided in soul by his dual role as head of the sect that occupies the Vatican and as inquisitor of the Catholic Church. At his side, in this squalid performance, is his altar boy Trudeau, who propagates gender doctrine and LGBTQ ideology in the name of inclusiveness and freedom, but who did not hesitate for a moment to repress in blood the just and legitimate revolts of the Canadian people, which was deprived of its fundamental rights with the excuse of the pandemic emergency.
They make a nice couple, without a doubt! Both have been sponsored in their careers by the anti-Christian globalist elite. Both have been placed at the head of an institution with the task of demolishing it and dispersing its members. Both are betrayers of their role, of justice, and of truth.
These summary trials may perhaps be appreciated by contemporaries in bad faith or in ignorance, but they do not withstand the judgment of history, much less the unappealable judgment of God.
The day will come when he will be called to render an account of his administration: “Redde rationem villicationis tuæ: jam enim non poteris villicare – Give an account of thy stewardship, for now thou canst be steward no longer” (Lk 16:2), says the master in the parable of yesterday’s Gospel. Until that moment, as baptized and living members of the Mystical Body, let us pray and do penance, in order to remove from us the punishments that these scandals call down upon the Church and the world. Let us invoke the intercession of the Martyrs of Canada, who have been outraged by the accuser who is seated on the Throne of Peter, so that they may obtain from the Throne of God the liberation of the Church from the present scourge.
At the request of Raymond Gros-Louis, an “elder” from the Huron-Wendat Nation, Pope Francis, his retinue of cardinals and bishops, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Governor General of Canada Mary Simon all placed a hand on their hearts for a welcoming ceremony. Then, in keeping with tradition, this First Nations representative lit a “sacred fire” to “connect” with the four directions and the “four life elements.” He blew a whistle and asked “the grandmother of the West for access to the great sacred circle.” Thus began Pope Francis’ meeting with Canadian authorities on Wednesday, July 27, at the Citadel of Quebec, on the third day of the visit by the Catholic Church’s leader to the country.
“The grandmother of the West”? “Great circle”?
Then, in the inevitable airplane presser, he said something strange things (surprise) about changes of doctrine and tradition. Responding to an RNS (lib) question about changing the Church’s teaching about contraceptives, he danced a bit:
But know that dogma, morality, is always in a path of development, but development in the same direction.
He cited Vincent of Lerins a couple times.
At the same time, in his ramble, he used the word “change” in regard to the Church’s teaching the death penalty (which certain is NOT in keeping with Vincent’s admonition):
Then… and remember, he rambles and his answers seem sometimes like a bag full of cats, but this was in response to something about contraception and changing dogma:
A Church that does not develop its thought in an ecclesial sense is a Church that goes backwards. And this is the problem of so many who call themselves traditional today. They are not traditional, they are “indietrists,” they are going backwards without roots — “That’s the way it has always been done,” “That’s the way it was done in the last century.” Indietrism [looking backward] is sin because it does not go forward with the Church. And instead, someone described tradition — I think I said it in one of the speeches — as the living faith of the dead and instead for these “indietrists,” who call themselves “traditionalists,” it is the dead faith of the living.
Tradition is the root of inspiration to go forward in the Church, always these roots, and “indietrism,” looking backward, is always closed. It is important to understand well the role of tradition, which is always open like the roots of the tree. The tree grows like that, no. A composer had a very beautiful phrase — Gustav Mahler — said that tradition in this sense is the guarantee of the future, it is not a museum piece. If you conceive tradition as closed, this is not Christian tradition. Always it is the root substance that takes you forward forward forward. That’s why what you say above thinking, carrying forward faith and morals, while going in the direction of the roots, of the substance goes well with these three rules I mentioned of Vincent of Lerins.
I think many people who desire traditional Catholic worship will read this with increased alarm, as if it will bear much more increase. It is important to keep it in its context: airplane presser, and about contraception and other defined teachings – not liturgy. However, liturgy IS doctrine. Hence, you see the path of his thought. Does this apply to liturgy? Yes, and no. It is mostly a string of cliches in a context that makes no difference. Still, we get a glimpse of his thought.
I leave you will the image of the Francis and others invoking,
“the grandmother of the West for access to the great sacred circle”,
and wondering what Vincent of Lerins would have thought of that… “in keeping with tradition”.
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! For here is a man who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and to another, who has not labored over it, he must leave his property. This also is vanity and a great misfortune. For what profit comes to a man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest. This also is vanity.
You turn man back to dust, saying, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.
You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, Which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; Prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!
Letter to the Colossians3,1-5.9-11.
Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke12,13-21.
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Saint Basil (c.330-379) monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Doctor of the Church Homily 6, On Wealth ; PG 31,261 f.
Building other barns
“You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” This man’s behavior is more to be mocked than eternal punishment is severe. Indeed, what sort of plans are jostling within the mind of this man who is going to be taken from this world so soon? “I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones.” Now, I would gladly say to him: Well done! For the barns of unrighteousness are only worth pulling down. Destroy from top to bottom what you have built up dishonestly. Let those wheat stocks of yours, that have never brought comfort to anyone, disintegrate. Do away with all the buildings that shelter your greed, pull down their roofs, overturn their walls, expose the mouldering grain to the sun, bring the wealth imprisoned within it out of its prison (…).
“I shall tear down my barns and build even larger ones.” Once you have filled these up in their turn, then what are you going to do ? Will you pull them down to rebuild others once more ? Is this a worse madness than to be endlessly tormented: to build tenaciously and at once pull down? If that is what you want, you have the houses of the poor for your barns. “Build up treasure in heaven” : what is stored there “neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal” (Mt 6:20).