My sister Laura M. is having brain surgery to remove a tumor on Tuesday. In your charity could you please keep her in your prayers for a safe operation. Thank you and God bless you all!
10. Did this power of the pope also include the power to depose temporal rulers ?
The London Tablet, Dec. 5, 1874, answers this question as follows :
"We firmly believe that the deposing power actually exerted by more than one Roman Pontiff, and owing its efficacy to the spontaneous assent of the Christian conscience, is manifestly included among the gifts of Peter.
We believe it, among other reasons, because no power can be wanting to his supreme jurisdiction, of which the safety of the Christian commonwealth, committed to his oversight, may at any time require the exercise. He is God's vicegerent. The Church, which is God's kingdom on earth, was built by her divine Founder a upon this rock." The Almighty Architect might have chosen another foundation, but he chose this, and the gates of hell have not been able to subvert it. It is true that St. Peter never used the deposing power, but that was because Christendom had not yet begun to exist ; it is equally true that neither Pius IX nor any of his successors are ever likely to use it, but that is because Christendom has ceased to exist. There is a great host of Christians more than ever there were but there is no longer any Christendom. There is not in the whole world so much as a solitary state, unless it be one of the South American republics, which even professes to shape its policy by the law of God, much less by the counsels of his Vicar. They did so for many ages, to their own advantage, but they have ceased to do it. Only the Moslem now affects to do everything in the name of Allah. Governments are no longer Christian. Their very composition proves it. Even in the cabinet of one who is called, as if in derision, His Apostolic Majesty, there are two Jews. Every one knows how the rest are formed ; they might all write over their council doors, if they were candid enough, No truth here. For them, as Gibbon would say, all religions are equally true and equally false. Some princes encourage their own children to change their religion, in order to make a good marriage. Others, while professing to honor Peter, sit down to table with miscreants whom he has excommunicated. Christendom no longer exists. If it did, certain crowned malefactors, who make a treaty with Atheists and Freemasons, and persecute bishops, would probably find that, as St. Ambrose says, Peter is not dead. But if Christendom should ever be restored, which does not seem likely, we profess our unhesitating conviction that the deposing power of God's Vicar would revive with it.
When states were wholly Catholic, as they were for a good many centuries, when all men believed, with the saints and martyrs, that it was to the pope that the Almighty said, Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, when the supreme authority of the Holy See was at once the bulwark of thrones, and part of the public law of Europe when Caesar said to bishops, presided over by the papal legates, as Constantine, the master of the world, said to the Fathers at Nice, "Nos a vobis rede judicamur" nobody disputed that, as members of the Christian commonwealth, kings and princes were subject, by the law of God, to the authority of the Roman Pontiff. It was his office to restrain, by all the means which the decree of God and the faith of Christians gave him, any abuse of their power by which either the interests of religion or the just rights of Christian people were prejudiced. He was at once the guardian of the faith, and the only invincible enemy of tyrants. The most eminent non-Catholic writers have confessed that Christianity was preserved from what Guizot calls the tyranny of brute force mainly by that vigilant and fear less intervention of the Holy See, for which, as some of them sorrowfully admit, no substitute can now be found.
But it is evident that the extreme penalty of deposition, the application of which is now transferred from the pope to the mob, could only be enforced in a state of society which has long since passed away, and is never likely to return. "The only remonstrants against the spiritual authority, even when its judgments were most formidable, were worthless princes, who wished to filch the revenues of episcopal sees, and a few depraved prelates, who wished to curry favor with such princes. The Church lived in those days, as Emerson observes with true American candor, by the love of the people? They knew who was their friend. His judgments had no terror for them. The modern jealousy of the Holy See, which has only transferred all spiritual authority, as Professor Merivale remarks, from the Church to the State, has been as fatal to liberty as to religion. The state most violently opposed to the Holy See at this day is Prussia, and the only representatives of liberty in Prussia are the Catholic bishops and clergy. Even German Protestants witness against the ruthless enslavement of mind and conscience in a country in which only two institutions now remain : the barrack and the goal. What Neander would have said of the present tyranny in Prussia, we may judge from his own words: "Beautiful" he exclaims, and worthy the frankness becoming a bishop, is the language of St. Hilary of Poitiers to Constantius. And what did the saint say to Caesar, who ruled after the fashion of Bismarck and his master? "Tyrannus non jam humanorum, sed divinorum es. Antichristum praevenis et arcanorum mysteria ejus operaris." That is, "the tyrant is no longer human but a Divine art. To precede Antichrist and the arcane secrets of his work." It was a strong thing to say to Caesar sitting in his purple robe. If St. Hilary lived in our day, he would soon be in a Prussian prison, with the learned Neander, if he ventured to applaud him, in the next cell. It was the popes, says Hurter, who saved Christianity from the tyranny of the temporal power, and from becoming a mere State function, like religion among the Pagans. It was well for Hurter that his lot was not cast in the age of Bismarck. Even Leibnitz would have been deemed a mortal enemy by the Prussian Constantius. It was the inventor of the integral calculus who actually proposed, though a Protestant, to establish in Rome a tribunal to decide controversies between sovereigns, and to make the pope its president, as he really did, in former ages, figure as judge between Christian princes. But ecclesiastics should, at the same time, resume their ancient authority, and an interdict or an excommunication should make kings and kingdoms tremble, as in the days of Nicholas I or Gregory VII. Leibnitz would evidently be out of place in contemporary Prussian society. They have no room there for such as he was, except in their prisons, and those cheerful abodes will soon be too full to hold any more. "If popes no longer depose bad princes by the authority of Peter, there are others who depose good ones without any authority at all. In order to depose them more effectually, they have taken to cutting off their heads. Cromwell and his fellows did it in England; Mirabeau and his friends in France. These energetic anti-popes did not object at all to deposition, provided it was inflicted by themselves. They object to it still less now; it has become a habit. Englishmen deposed James II, after murdering his father, and put a Dutchman in his place, In other lands they are always deposing somebody. The earth is strewn with deposed sovereigns. Sometimes they depose one another, in order to steal what does not belong to them. One of them has deposed the pope himself, at least for a time, and all the rest clap their hands. They do not see that by this last felony they have undermined every throne in Europe. Perhaps in a few years there will not be a king left to be deposed. Since the secular was substituted everywhere for the spiritual authority, kings have fared badly. The popes only rebuked them when they did evil; the mob is less discriminating. And the difference between the deposing power of the popes and that of the mob is this, that the first used it, like fathers, for the benefit of religion and society; the second, like wild beasts, for the destruction of both."
There is, therefore, among all true Catholics, but one unanimous voice as to the supreme authority of the head of the Roman Church, viz. : that Jesus, the Son of God and of man, gave to Peter and his successors that fullness of jurisdiction and power which will keep the Church in safety till he comes back in the day of judgment, and to deny that supreme authority is to be at sea, drifting about with the currents of opinion, and tossed on the troubled waves of Protestantism, Calvinism, Quakerism, Mormonism, Spiritualism, and all the other isms and sophisms.
Now, in order that the great power and authority bestowed upon St. Peter should be often present to our minds, that apostle is represented with keys in his hand. He holds two: one a symbol of his jurisdiction, and the other of his orders. One key is turned toward heaven, to show that St. Peter had the power of opening or closing it, the other is directed toward the earth, to show that he had full authority over the faithful, and the power of imposing laws upon them.
The pope, however, is not only the head of the Church, he is also a temporal prince. In the establishment of his Church, our divine Saviour did not consult the civil authorities ; neither Herod nor Pilate was asked for approval. If those rulers had not lived at all, they could not have been more completely ignored, so far as establishing the Church, preaching and teaching the doctrine of Christ, and performing all the offices of the Christian ministry, go. Caesar and his officers had no voice in this. They had authority in the kingdoms of the world, but none what ever in the kingdom of God. It was established, and to be spread and to last forever, whether they willed it or not. The apostles, especially the head of the apostles, and their successors, are to exercise their power in perfect freedom. They are freely to teach what is true, freely to condemn what is false, freely to denounce the crimes of men and of governments; freely to constitute the hierarchy in various countries, freely to let persons have recourse to them in their doubts, and freely to reply to them; freely to condemn those who refuse obedience to the Church ; freely to separate from the Church those who have separated themselves from her, by persisting in error or in disobedience ; freely to define religious and moral truths, that is, give laws binding on minds in believing, and on consciences in acting. The ruler of nations and the lord of many legions, though he had not been consulted at all in the establishment of the Church, was bound to hear her voice, like the humblest peasant, and submit his soul to her guidance, under pain of eternal banishment from the presence of God. He might pretend to command when it was his duty to obey, but the mistake was sure to be disastrous to himself, as indeed the final result proved.
When the divine Master had finished his work, and his Vicar reigned in his place, the independence of the spiritual power, in its own province, was, if possible, still more evident. We know what was the attitude of the apostles toward the State. In questions of the soul, they set it at naught. They taught loyalty to Caesar in all that religion does not condemn, as their successors do at this day, so that among Christians was found a host of martyrs, but not a single conspirator or assassin but when Caesar required disloyalty to God, the apostles and the Christians bade him defiance. They knew the penalty, and accepted it. It was perfectly understood that Caesar, like other beasts of prey, had claws and teeth, and could use them. He did use them with considerable effect. He had soldiers, lictors, prisons, axes, and scaffolds. But such engines, destructive as they were, could only hurt the flesh; and the apostles and Christians were told not to "fear them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul." They were warned that they would be " brought before governors," but that they were not even to take thought what they should say. The divine Master would teach them what to say.
The conditions of the combat between Christ and Caesar, between the spiritual and the secular power, will never cease. In order that the head of his Church might enjoy perfect freedom in the exercise of his power, under God's providence the pope became a temporal prince. He obtained his temporal power before Constantine abandoned Rome, and it was confirmed and completed by Charlemagne, more than a thousand years ago. God inspired Christian princes to attach a principality to the Holy See, called the Patrimony of St. Peter, the States of the Church: "It has been the will of God," says Pius IX, "that the princes of the earth, even those who are not in communion with the Church of Rome, should defend and maintain the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See, which has been, by a disposition of divine Providence, enjoyed for many centuries by the Roman Pontiffs. The possession of that temporal dominion enables the reigning pope to exercise his supreme apostolical authority in the government of the Universal Church with that liberty which is necessary to fulfill the duties of his apostolical office, and procure the salvation of -the flock of Christ." (Allocution, May 10th, 1850.) The pope, then, possesses his territory under a title higher and older than any government in the world.
Napoleon I sought to destroy this temporal power of the pope, but was forced at last to admit the necessity of papal independence: "The pope," he said, "is not at Paris; it is well: we reverence his authority precisely because he is not at Vienna nor at Madrid. At Vienna and at Madrid they feel the same with regard to Paris. It is, therefore, better that he should be neither with us nor with any of our rivals, but in Rome, his ancient seat, holding an equal balance between all sovereigns. This is the work of the centuries, and they have done well. The temporal power is the wisest and best institution that could be imagined in the government of souls." The temporal dominion of the pope being a moral necessity for the well-being of the Church, the Holy Father and the bishops have pronounced anathema against all those who impugn it. History, indeed, sometimes show! us the Supreme Pontiff under another aspect. There were times when his triple crown crumbled, when his sceptre shrunk to a hollow reed, when his throne became a shadow, and his home a dungeon. But God permitted this only to show us how inestimable is human virtue, when compared with human grandeur. Human grandeur may perish, but virtue is immortal. God permitted it, to prove to the scoffing infidel world that the simplicity of the patriarchs, the piety of the saints, the patience of the martyrs, have not as yet vanished from the earth. God permitted it, in fine, to show the rabid enemies of our holy faith that, though our common father were in chains, though his motives were calumniated, and though his kingly power were destroyed, yet the Church, the holy Catholic Church of Jesus Christ, is still able to guide and to support her children, and to confound, if she cannot reclaim, her enemies.
The pontiff is firm, immovable as a rock. No threats can awe, no promise can tempt, no sufferings can appall him. With exile, the dungeon, and death before his eyes, he dashes away the proffered cup, in which the pearl of his liberty is to be dissolved : "Non possumus" is his bold and noble language. "We can die, but we cannot give up the rights of the Church. The Catholic world cannot, and will not, submit and agree to the sacrilegious occupation of the Papal States by any government. The voices of more than two hundred millions of Catholics will ring from every land under the sun, demanding perfect liberty of action for their common spiritual father, and the undisturbed possession of the Patrimony of St. Peter. The spirit of opposition to the temporal power of the pope is but the spirit of modern Paganism, which aims at the destruction of civil government, the rights of justice, the law of God and of man. All justice-loving men admit this. The opposers of the temporal power start from the pagan principle of separation of the temporal from the spiritual; they are either bigots, or infidels, or vain and frothy theorizers, or corrupt politicians of the Masonic sect, or restless demagogues ; and if they be Christians, their faith sits as lightly on their conscience as a feather on the back of a whirlwind: they are all pervaded by the pestilential spirit of modern Paganism. When a government becomes indifferent in religious matters, wishes to assume supreme control over the asylums of suffering humanity, secularizes churches and schools, caring only for the mere literary or arithmetical education of its subjects; when it makes laws infringing on the rights of conscience or property; when it interferes with the sacraments and the rites of the Church, then it is pagan in spirit. It endeavors to prevent men from attaining the end of creation; it ceases to be a free government, or to fulfill the end for which all governments were instituted. Every temporal ruler who denies the pope's rights to his temporal power, will soon find his own abolished.*
* When the pope is elected according to established regulations, and if he consents to his election, he becomes at once invested with authority over the Universal Church, though he be neither a bishop nor a priest, nor deacon, nor subdeacon, but a mere cleric. He is capable of performing every act belonging to papal jurisdiction; he can, for instance, grant indulgences, pass censures, grant dispensations, appoint canons, institute bishops, create cardinals. But the peculiar power of the priesthood and the episcopacy, such as forgiving sins, administering the sacraments of confirmation and of holy orders, he cannot exercise until he has first been consecrated. From what has been said, it follows that the Papacy, the Sovereign Pontificate, is a dignity, not of orders, but of jurisdiction. If the pope be a bishop at the time of his election, he receives no other consecration. Being clothed with the episcopal character, he is on an equality with the other bishops; but as pope, and vested with the dignity and authority of head of the Church, he is superior to all the pastors of the Church. If, at the time of his election, the pope is not in holy orders, he can receive them all on the same day. The privilege of consecrating a pope who is no bishop at the time of his election, belongs to the Bishop of Ostia. When the pope is elected he changes his name, because he is the successor of St. Peter, whose name was changed by Jesus Christ. The pope can be taken from any rank of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In the early ages of the Church, subdeacons were but seldom raised to the dignity of the Papacy ; but deacons were often elected. Priests were seldom chosen to fill that high office, and the appointment of bishops to it was of very rare occurrence. The first pope raised from the episcopal office to the papal throne was Formosa, Bishop of Oporto, who was elected in 891. The discipline of the Church, in this respect, has undergone a great change; for, from about the end of the thirteenth century, it was the ordinary practice to select the pope from among the bishops, and from 1592 to 1775 we find but three popes elected who were no bishops at the time of their election. In our times, Clement XIV, Pius V, and Gregory XVI, were tho only persons who were simple priests at the time of their elevation to the Papacy. The pope is elected by the cardinals. For many centuries the pope was elected by the Roman clergy, and the faithful took a very active part in the election; but, for many years past, the election has been confined to the cardinals, who are the princes and senators of the Church, and are vested with a dignity inferior only to that of the pope.
The learned are divided in their opinions in reference to the origin of cardinals, and the derivation of the name cardinal, Some think that cardinal comes from the word cardo, cardinalis, a hinge on which a gate or a door turns; because the cardinals are the hinges or pivots on which the government of the Church rolls. According to Baronius, Bellarmin, and other liturgical writers, the officiating priests of the parishes and churches of Rome were the first cardinals; and they were so called because, when they accompanied the pope to the altar, they stood ad cornua, that is, at the corners or angles of it. Besides the churches served by priests, there were a great many hospitals, the administration of which was intrusted to deacons. These deacons also attended the pope whenever he officiated, and, with the priests of the parishes, stood at the corners of the altar; hence, the distinction between the cardinal priests and the cardinal deacons. The titular bishops of the sees in the vicinity of Rome, called suburbicarian bishops, attended the pope on all solemn ceremonies, and took up their positions, like the priests and deacons of whom we have just spoken, at the corners of the altar, and hence the origin of cardinal archbishops. The latter, in virtue of their episcopal consecration, have always taken precedence over the cardinal priests and cardinal deacons. The dignity of cardinal, in the sense in which that word is now understood, is the highest in the Church, next to that of the pope. The cardinals are the princes and senators of the Church, the councillors of the pope, his coadjutors and vicars in the functions of the Sovereign Pontificate. They form the consistory, or the council of the pope, who selects them from all nations, to aid him in the government of the Church.By a Bull of Sixtus V, published in 1586, the number of cardinals was fixed at seventy. They are divided into three orders, namely: six cardinal bishops, fifty cardinal priests, and fourteen cardinal deacons.
As the Papacy is of divine right, so also is the Episcopacy of divine right. Christ willed that there should be bishops to assist the pope in the government of the Church. For this reason St. Paul says, "The Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops to rule the Church of God." The word "bishop" means overseer, inspector, or superintendent. The choice of a bishop has to be made, or at least to be confirmed, by the pope; from him each bishop holds his jurisdiction over the territory assigned to him by the pope. Episcopal jurisdiction has been instituted by Christ in such a manner that each bishop should receive his jurisdiction from the pope, who makes the bishops sharers in the power of the keys which Christ gave to Peter alone, and, in his person, to his successors : "The Lord," says Tertullian, "has given the keys to St. Peter, and, through him, to the Church." St. Gregory of Nyssa says the same, in other words : "Through Peter, Christ has given the keys of the kingdom of heaven to the bishops." As Peter and his successors alone have received the keys of the kingdom of God, they alone can communicate the use of them to the rest of the pastors. From Peter and his successors the bishops hold the jurisdiction which they exercise in their dioceses it is by him that they hold, in their dioceses, the place of Christ, as priests, as pontiffs, as doctors, as legislators, as judges, as heads and pastors of the faithful under their jurisdiction, and are, as St. Paul says, ambassadors for Jesus Christ, God's coadjutors, who exhort the faithful by their mouth; for all this is what constitutes jurisdiction. This doctrine has been solemnly declared by Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of Nov. 9th, 1840, addressed to the archbishops and bishops of the Catholic Church : "Come with an open heart," he says, "and with full confidence, to the See of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, the centre of Catholic unity, and the summit of the episcopacy, whence the episcopacy itself derives its origin and its authority.
Episcopal consecration, however, is not necessary for the exercise of episcopal jurisdiction ; all that is necessary is, that the election of a bishop should be confirmed by the pope. This confirmation of the pope gives to the bishop-elect canonical institution, and confers on him jurisdiction over all the faithful of the territory which has been assigned to him. This jurisdiction, received from the pope, may also be taken away by the pope. Bishops, however, cannot be deprived of the power which is essentially connected with orders and the episcopal character, because that power is received immediately from God. Should, therefore, a bishop become a heretic, he still retains his episcopal character, in virtue of which he validly, though unlawfully, confers confirmation, holy orders, and offers the holy sacrifice of the Mass. All bishops are on an equality as to their episcopal character, but the jurisdiction of some, of patriarchs, metropolitans, and archbishops, is more extended than that of others. This privilege of greater power is conferred by the pope alone, as he may think fit to grant to this or that bishop a greater or less share of the supreme authority which he holds over all the churches.
In the early ages of the Church, the title patriarch (sovereign father, chief father) was given to the titular bishops of the sees of the most important cities, such as Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Antioch. The Patriarch of Rome has always been considered the universal patriarch. The bishops presiding over the capital cities of the empire were called metropolitans, but, in later times, archbishops, that is, chief bishops. The patriarchal churches were established by the Holy See, wherein the power rests of extending or limiting the jurisdiction of any bishop ; for, "everything," says St. Leo, "which Christ has given to the other bishops, has been given through St. Peter."
Besides the pope and the bishops, there are other legitimate pastors, called parish priests, who are subject to their respective bishops ; for, as the bishop possesses the plenitude of the priesthood, he enjoys by divine right, that is, by Christ's institution, a superiority not only of precedence and of honor, but even of authority, over all his priests, who, without his good-will and pleasure, can do nothing in regard to ecclesiastical matters. He is the pastor of his whole diocese. He can, therefore, give to this or that priest jurisdiction more or less extended. For good reasons he can also restrict the jurisdiction which he had given, and even withdraw it altogether.
In the early ages of Christianity, there was but one Church in each city or town, in which the faithful assembled under the presidency of the bishop. But when, in the course of time, the number of Christians had considerably increased, and bishops were unable to attend to the spiritual wants of their flock, dioceses were divided into parishes, that is, a union of many families, who assemble in a particular church, called parochial church, to assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and the other duties of religion. Each parochial church is attended by a priest called the parish priest, whose duty it is to instruct the people in the way of salvation, and administer to them the sacraments of baptism, holy Eucharist, Penance, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction. From a custom long established, the parish priest can dispense his parishioners in matters of fasting and abstinence, and in the observation of Sundays and holydays. Parish priests are often assisted in their labor by other priests, called vicars or coadjutors. Every parish, then, has three immediate pastors : the pope, the bishop, and the parish priest. All the particular churches in the world profess their union with the Church of Rome. She is the mistress of all others : "To be united with the See of Rome," says St. Cyprian, "is to be united with the Catholic Church, for the Church of Rome is the principal Church ; the Bishop of Rome, the chief bishop ; the episcopal throne of this Church is the throne of Peter, the source and centre of ecclesiastical unity, and therefore all bishops of the world must, either directly or indirectly, be in communication with Rome, in order that, by thus communicating with her, the union of all may be preserved." And St. Irenseus, who lived in the first century, declares that, instead of scrutinizing the doctrine delivered by Christ and his apostles, "and searching tradition, it is enough to inquire what is the teaching of the Church of
Rome: "For it is necessary," says he, "that the whole Church, that is, the faithful of the whole world, should be in communion with this Church, on account of its more powerful authority ; in which communion the faithful of the whole world have preserved the tradition that was delivered by the apostles. When, therefore, you know the faith of this Church, you have also learned the faith of the others." (Contr. Haeret. iii, 3, n. 2.)
"Whoever," says St. Jerome, "is not in communion with the Church of Rome, is outside the Church." (Adv. Jovian., lib. i, n. 26.)
The One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, then, unites all the distinguishing marks of her divine institution and mission. Nowhere do these distinctive marks of the Church of Christ appear with more lustre than in those holy assemblies, called General Councils. The Church's unity appears most strikingly in the union of all the members to the same supreme head who convoked the council presides over it, confirms and Executes its decrees. The sanctity of the Church is clearly seen in her condemnation of errors, and extirpation of abuses. The catholicity of the Church is seen in the convocation of the pastors of the whole Christian world ; and the apostolicity of the Church is manifest in the assembly of all the bishops, the successors of the apostles, who are convoked, heard, and called to judge in matters of faith and morals, to regulate discipline, to acknowledge the authority of tradition, to confirm the doctrine of the apostles, and, after their return to their respective dioceses, to communicate to their diocesans "what hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to them" at which the hearts of all the faithful in the world are filled with consolation and joy, and deep gratitude toward Jesus Christ, who continues to speak to them through blessed Peter and the other apostles, in their lawful successors, the bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church.
To be continued . . . . . . .
We should strive ever to emphasize the fact that Christmas is the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The greeting cards we send at the holy season should be a manifestation of our Catholic family, season, and a reminder to them that we are praying that they may know Christ more intimately and love Him more ardently. Your cards to non-Christian friends may be a means of causing them to make inquires in regard to the real meaning of Christmas.
Christmas derives its name, "Christ's mass," from the Mass offered in honor of the Birth of Christ. Its early English form was written as "Christes Maesse," and in the course of the change of the English language it eventually became Christmas. In the earliest days of the Church this feast did not exist. Greater stress was placed on the Feast of the Epiphany, because it commemorates the day on which our Saviour was made known to the Gentiles, when the Wise Men came to adore Him. The Feast of the Nativity came gradually into existence in the fourth century. Its first mention is made by the great Christian writer, Clement of Alexandria, about the year 200, and shows that it was celebrated on May 20. About the year 300, the Latin Church began to observe it on December 25, because an ancient tradition assigns that day as the probable date of the Birth of our Saviour.
Love of the Babe of Bethlehem, who was born to redeem us, caused Catholics, in centuries long gone by, to introduce into our churches a representation of the crib, the Divine babe, the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and the shepherds. St. Francis of Assisi deserves the credit of making this practice popular. His zeal prompted him to place at Graccio a representation of the cave of Bethlehem. His plan permitted the Faithful vividly to grasp the story of Bethlehem and to realize the poverty and suffering of our Saviour in the bleak, cold stable where He was born. The plan has spread to churches in all parts of the world.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, it is customary to put the statues of the Wise Men beside the crib. In the early Church, this feast was celebrated with great solemnity because it was the day on which our Saviour was made known to those who were not of Israel. In the fourth century, the Feast of the Nativity came into its own and was given first importance, though in many Catholic countries the custom exists of giving all Christmas presents on the Feast of the Epiphany, since on that day the Wise Men brought gifts to our Saviour.
The Christmas tree is of recent origin. It represents for us the Tree of the Cross. Bethlehem and Calvary are ever associated together in our Christian thoughts, for Christ was born to die on the Tree of Ignominy and thus redeem a sinful world. The lights placed upon the Christmas tree have for us a symbolical meaning. They portray the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.
Our modern Santa Claus, a crude, ridiculous figure, can be traced back to that gentle lover of children - St. Nicholas. This Saint's feast is celebrated on December 6, and parents and friends gave children presents on that day. The Dutch settlers in New York brought this custom with them to the New World, and the giving of presents on December 6 and on Christmas Day became somewhat confused. St. Nicholas was contracted into "Santa Claus" and, with the increasing pagan idea of the Yuletide, became the rollicking, bewhiskered figure so alien to the true Christmas spirit.
Let our children look to the Christ Child for their Christmas presents. There is no need of deception here, and of shattering childish faith. The Christ Child exists; He loves the little ones and He wishes them to love Him. We have no use in a Catholic home for the fraudulent Santa Claus and the pagan Christmas he now symbolizes. Let the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ be for young and old a day of spiritual joy and of close union with the Saviour whom we love.
Source: Could You Explain Catholic Practices, Imprimatur 1937
9. Why is the Catholic Church called Roman?
The Catholic Church is called Roman:
1. because the visible head of the Church is Bishop of Rome;
2. because St. Peter and his successors fixed their see in Rome;
3. because all the Catholic Churches in the world profess their union with the Roman Church.
The Catholic Church is called Roman, because at Rome the pope, as visible head of the Church, has fixed his see. St. Peter was the first pope and first bishop of Rome. After having preached in Jerusalem, and presided for seven years over the Church of Antioch, he left St. Ignatius in his place at Antioch, and went to Rome, where he fixed his see. He was, however, often absent to perform his apostolical duties in other countries. He came to Rome in A.D. 40. Having remained there for some considerable time, he went back to the East, but returned to Rome not long after. In 49, on account of some tumult raised by the Jews against the Christians, St. Peter and St. Paul were banished from Rome by Claudius, but they were soon allowed to return. St. Peter returned again to the East, and in 51 was present at the General Council held at Jerusalem by the apostles, where, in a discourse, he showed that the Gentile converts were not bound by the Jewish ceremonies. St. Peter went back to Rome a few years previous to his martyrdom, in the reign of the Emperor Nero. But before his final return thither, he preached the Gospel over all Italy, and likewise in other provinces of the West. When again in Rome, he and St. Paul, by their prayer, put an end to the magical delusions of Simon Magus. Enraged at this, the tyrant Nero put both apostles into the Mamertine prison. After an imprisonment of eight months, St. Peter was scourged, and then crucified with his head downward. He chose this manner of crucifixion, because he believed himself unworthy to suffer and die in the same way as his divine Master. According to Eusebius and Others, he held possession of the See of Rome for about twenty-five years, assisted by St. Paul, who shared with him the honor of having founded Christian Rome.
St. Peter, then, the Prince of the Apostles, who first occupied the Apostolic See, transmitted, by the command of God, to the pontiffs, who even to the end of time should occupy his see, his primacy in the apostolate and in the pastoral charge, together with all the authority which he
had received from God our Saviour. Hence the Greeks, in 1274, subscribed this profession of faith, which was presented to them by Gregory X : "The holy Roman Church possesses a supreme and complete primacy and authority over the whole Catholic Church, she acknowledges truly and humbly that she received it, together with plenary authority, from the Saviour himself, in the person of Peter, the Prince or Head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor, and as she is bound more than the other churches to defend the truth of religion, so, if any questions arise concerning the faith, they ought to be determined by her judgment. Whoever considers himself wronged in any matter which pertains to the Church, can appeal to her tribunal; and in all the causes which relate to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, recourse may be had to her judgment. All churches are subject to her, and the prelates who govern them owe respect and obedience to her. The plenitude of power belongs to her in such a manner, that the other churches are admitted by her to a share in her solicitude. Several of these, especially the patriarchal churches, have been honored with
various privileges by the Roman Church, without prejudice to her prerogatives, which she must preserve whether in General Councils or in certain other cases." (Labbe, t. xi, p. 965.)
In the fourteenth century, it is true, several popes resided at Avignon, in France, yet they did not cease, on that account, to be the Bishops of Rome and the heirs of St. Peter. Rome is, indeed, the capital of Christendom, and is justly called the Eternal City, for it has always been the centre of Catholic unity, and the see of the successors of St. Peter.
From St. Peter's time every succeeding head of the Church was Bishop of Rome, and, seated in the Chair of Peter, governed the Church as her Sovereign Pontiff, as the visible representative of ecclesiastical unity, as the supreme teacher and guardian of the faith, as the supreme legislator and interpreter of the canons, as the legitimate superior of all bishops, as the final judge of councils, enjoying the primacy both of honor and jurisdiction; so that the pagan historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, styled Pope Liberius: "the overseer of the Christian religion," and the Fathers, the Councils, the Doctors of the Church, ecclesiastical writers, and the saints of all ages, have called the Bishop of Rome pope, that is, father, because he is the common spiritual father of all Christians. They have called him also the Most Holy Father, the Universal Bishop of the Church, the Vicar of Christ, the Pastor of pastors, the Judge of judges. They have given him the title of Sovereign Pontiff, because he is superior to all other pontiffs or bishops, not only as to honor, but also as to jurisdiction, and because he exercises supreme authority in the Universal Church. On account of this primacy or supremacy which the head of the Church has received immediately from God, in the person of Peter, the Council of Trent defines that the faithful, of whatever dignity, be they kings or emperors, bishops, primates, or patriarchs, owe him a real and true obedience. The same council declares that it pertains to him to provide the churches with pastors to determine the impediments which make marriage null and to dispense with them, to convoke a General Council, to confirm its decrees, to resolve the doubts raised by them, to create cardinals, to appoint bishops, to watch over the reform of studies, to correct abuses, to decide the most grave causes in which bishops are concerned; he can reserve to himself the absolving from certain grave crimes, absolve those who have possessed themselves of ecclesiastical property: without his judgment nothing of importance can be established in the Church.
To be continued . . . . . . . .
We are working on two more Saint outfits for the 18" dolls. Saint Germaine and Saint Agnes. We will have them available toward the end of the week. Thank you all who have ordered from me. I really appreciate your business. God bless all of you, Sarah
8. Show how the Catholic Church is apostolic.
We answer : The Catholic Church is apostolic, because her chief pastor, the pope, is the lawful successor of St. Peter, and the bishops are the lawful successors of the other apostles,from whom they have their doctrine, their orders, and their mission, through an unbroken succession of bishops.
The Catholic Church can show precisely how she obtained possession of the divine authority of the apostles. The Roman Pontiff, Pius IX, can name the two hundred and fifty-three popes who, without a break, handed down the authority of St. Peter, the head of the apostles, even to himself. He can tell the day and hour of his election and consecration, which are consigned to imperishable monuments. Every bishop of the Catholic Church can also show the authentic titles which prove the transmission of the apostolic authority from the pontiff, who founded his Church, down to himself, the validity of his ordination, and the legitimate character of his mission. Every priest receives his authority from his bishop. Thus there is not a break in those glorious lines of bishops, which each episcopal see, and above all sees, that of Peter, can show alike to friend and foe. Here nothing is arbitrary, nothing uncertain. The apostolic ministry is perpetuated, under the presidency of the head of the apostles, with the perpetual presence and assistance of Him who promised to be with his own, even to the end of the world. Thus the authority of the minister of our altars does not depend on the power of any temporal monarch, nor on the people ; it depends solely on the head and chief pastor in the apostolical hierarchy. What noble independence this ! It is the security of the faithful, and constitutes both the greatness of the Church, and the dignity of her pastors.
In the beginning of the thirteenth century the pope sent ambassadors to the famous Tartar monarch, Gengis Khan. The Tartars asked the ambassadors, "Who is the pope ? Is he not an old man at least five hundred years of age ?" They might have said twelve hundred, and they would have been right ; for, as Pius IX has said so truly, "Simon may die, but Peter lives forever" and Peter will live until time shall have ended its course. Pius IX is to us Peter, for each pontiff, as he comes, reigns upon Peter's throne, speaks with his voice, binds and looses with his hands, opens and closes the kingdom with the keys which Peter once took from the pierced hands of his divine Master ; and he will hold those keys of life and death till the number of the elect is filled, and the last of the redeemed enters his Father's house.
The Church taught and governed in our days by the pope and bishops, differs not in its essential character from the Church taught and governed by Peter and the apostles. Let us see how Peter exercises the authority conferred on him, and, through him, upon all his successors, by Jesus Christ. After the resurrection of our Saviour, who appeared to Peter first of all the apostles, he is the first to proclaim that resurrection to all the people, and he confirms the truth of his testimony by a miracle. ( Acts ii, 14 and, iii, 15.) After the ascension of our Lord, Peter assembled the apostles and some disciples in the upper chamber, and addressed them thus, "The Scripture must needs be fulfilled" which foretells the defection of Judas, and his place being taken by another. We, therefore, must choose one from among us, who has been a witness to the miracles and resurrection of the Son of God, to take his place. (Acts i, 16.) Is the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles ? It is Peter to whom the solution of the
difficulty is revealed it is he who decides, "all holding their peace, and giving glory to God." (Acts iii, 18.) Peter first received the Gentiles into the Church ( Acts x ), after having been the first to introduce the Jews into her sacred fold. At a later period the question of circumcision and the ceremonies of the law came up. Peter at once rose up, and explained the common faith. All listened in silence. A decree was made in which the faith on this point was determined forever. Peter visited the Christians of Joppe, Lydda, Galilee, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, etc. ( Acts ix.) Everywhere he founded new congregations of Christians, and visited them all in, his office of Supreme Pastor. From Jerusalem he went to Antioch, from Antioch to Rome, where he combated the heresy of Simon the Magician, and finally sealed his glorious apostleship by dying a martyr's death.
As the lawful successor of the Prince of the Apostles, the pope decides, without appeal, matters of faith and morals, convokes general councils, presides over and confirms them, founds churches, visits them in person, or by his delegates, appoints bishops, confirms them in the faith, and acts in all as the Supreme Head and Pastor of the Catholic Church. Peter took possession, for himself and his successors, of all the prerogatives and duties of the Sovereign Pontificate. Now let us see how the apostles exercise the authority conferred on them by Christ, From the Acts of the Apostles we learn that they teach and preach the Gospel, they baptize and impose hands, that is, give confirmation,- they found churches, and give them pastors ; they choose one to succeed Judas; in the Council of Jerusalem, they regulate whatever concerns faith and discipline, saying, "It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us" (Acts xv, 82) ; they resolve difficulties, and repress scandals that arise, and, if necessary, they excommunicate him who deserves to be cut off from the communion of the faithful, till he truly repents ; they command the Christians to avoid teachers who were not sent by Christ (Tit. iii, 10), and to receive their oral traditions as well as their written instructions (2 Thess. ii, 14); they clearly teach that the Church is founded upon the apostolic ministry (Eph. ii, 20) ; that Christ appointed apostles, pastors, doctors, in a word, a teaching and governing body, to accomplish the work of sanctifying the elect, that "we be not carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. iv, 12-14); they also teach that the Holy Ghost has appointed bishops to rule the Church of God (Acts xx, 28) ; that the reading of holy Scripture "is profitable," to those especially who "teach and reprove others," yet that they contain difficult passages, "which the unlearned wrest" from their true meaning "to their own destruction." (2 Pet. iii, 16.) What is all this but precisely what the bishops of the Catholic Church practice today. They teach, decide on points of faith and morals, give confirmation, ordain priests; they govern, punish, excommunicate, grant indulgences, recommend the faithful not to become familiar with heretics; they assemble in council, to regulate in matters concerning faith, morals, and discipline ; and all this they do in the name of the Holy Ghost, who has promised them his assistance. They teach that the unwritten word of God is to be received with the same faith as the written ; and each bishop says, with the great apostle, that he is "appointed , by the Holy Spirit" to govern his Church.
Thus we see that the Church of Jesus Christ, as described by St. Luke, St. Paul, St. James, and the others, is precisely the same as the Church which is called one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1. By going to schools forbidden by the Church;
2. by the neglect of their religious duties;
3. by the reading of bad books;
4. by worldliness and a wicked life;
5. by intercourse with scoffers at religion;
6. by mixed marriages;
7. by becoming members of secret societies;
8. by pride and subtle reasoning on the mysteries of religion.
1. There are different causes which lead to apostasy from the faith—to infidelity. The most successful means ever employed by Satan to bring about gradually a universal falling-away from Christ and His religion, is the introduction of the present system of public, or state-school, education. This I have sufficiently shown in my book, “Public School Education.” In these schools no mention of God and religion is to be made. The best means to abolish religion is not to teach any. Children are to be brought up infidels. But there are some who assert that “there is no sectarian teaching in the public schools, and, consequently, a Catholic may send his children to them without exposing them to any danger.” Now, even supposing there really was no sectarian teaching in the common schools, even then a Catholic parent cannot send his children to such a school without exposing them to the greatest danger. Those who approve of the public school, because nothing sectarian is taught there, act like a certain husbandman who wished to transplant a fine young tree to a certain part of his garden. On examining the new place, however, he found that the ground was filled with poisonous ingredients, which would greatly endanger the life of the tree. He therefore transplanted the tree to a sandy hill, where there were, indeed, no poisonous ingredients, but where there was also no nourishment for the tree. Now, will anyone assert that the young tree was not in danger of perishing in this new place? And will anyone assert that the faith and soul of a child are not in danger of being ruined in those godless common schools? Even if Protestantism is not taught there, infidelity is taught and practiced there: and infidelity is even worse than Protestantism.
But is it really true that Protestantism is not taught in many of our public schools? This is unfortunately far from being the case. Napoleon I. introduced the public-school system into France, in order, as he honestly declared, “to possess the means of controlling political and moral opinions.” Puritans and Freemasons, in this country, have clearly the same end in view in upholding the present system of public schools.
In the early days of New England, and even of several of the other American States, the Puritans always used the public schools as a powerful means of spreading their peculiar doctrines. When they were stripped of this power by the liberal founders of American independence, they still struggled for many years to accomplish, by indirect means, the injustice which they dared not maintain openly. We all remember how the poor Catholic boys and girls of the public schools were harassed by colporteurs and proselytizers, who carried baskets filled, not with bread for the poor hungry children,–no, but with oily tracts, cunningly devised to weaken, or even destroy, the religious faith of those poor little ones. In some schools, even, Catholic children were urged and enticed to go to the sectarian Sunday schools; and pictures, cakes, and sweet meats were liberally promised, in order to induce them to go. Teachers were selected with special regard to their bitter hatred of the Catholic Church, and their zeal for “evangelical” propagandism. Some years ago, in New Orleans, when the school-board was composed of bigoted sectarians; many of them sectarian preachers, all the Catholic teachers, male and female, were turned out of the schools, merely because they were Catholics.
And even if Catholic children are not always expressly taught doctrines opposed to their religion, nevertheless the school-books which they use are, as I have said, frequently tainted with anti-Catholic prejudices and misrepresentations. Nothing can be more evident than the decidedly anti-Catholic spirit of English literature in all its departments. It has grown up, ever since England’s apostasy, in an anti-Catholic soil, in an anti-Catholic atmosphere, and from an anti-Catholic stem. It is essentially anti-Catholic, and tends, wherever it comes in contact with Catholic feelings and principles, to sully, infect, and utterly corrupt them. Sound knowledge, a sound head, strong faith, and great grace, all these combined may, indeed, preserve one whom the necessity of his position may lead into unCatholic schools; but no one will deny that this anti-Catholic literature must exercise a most baneful influence over all those who, without sufficient preparation from nature or grace, plunge into it, in the pursuit of amusement or knowledge. Protestant ideas will not make the Catholic turn Protestant, there is not much danger of that, but they will tend to make him an infidel; they will destroy his principles without putting others in their place; they will relax and deaden the whole spiritual man.
In these schools Catholic children are taught that the Catholic Church is the nursery of ignorance and vice; they are taught that all the knowledge, civilization, and virtue which the world now possesses, are the offspring of the so-called “Reformation.” They learn nothing of the true history of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Ireland, Austria, and the other Catholic countries of Europe; they learn nothing of the true history of Mexico, and the various Catholic countries of North and South America. They never hear of the vast libraries of Catholic learning, the rich endowments of Catholic education, all over the world, for ages; they never hear of the countless universities, colleges, academies, and free schools established by the Catholic Church, and by Catholic governments, throughout Christendom. Where is the common-school book whose author has manly honesty enough to acknowledge that even the famous universities of Oxford and Cambridge were founded by Catholics, and plundered from their lawful possessors by an apostate government?
Moreover, Catholic children are often singled out by their school-companions, and sometimes even by their teachers, as objects of ridicule. Now, what is the result of all this training? The consequence is, that either the Catholic children become ashamed of their holy religion, and despise their parents, or, if they have the courage to hold out, their tender minds are subject to numberless petty annoyances: they must endure a species of martyrdom. This is no exaggeration: I have it from good authority. Practically speaking, the present common-school system is but a gigantic scheme for proselytism and infidelity.
Now, we intend that our children shall be taught to love and revere their holy Church. We wish to teach them that that Church has been, for over eighteen hundred years, the faithful guardian of that very Bible of which Protestants prate so loudly, and which they dishonor so much. We wish our children to learn that the Catholic Church has been, in all ages, the friend and supporter of true liberty; i.e., liberty united to order and justice. We wish them to know that the Catholic Church has ever been the jealous guardian of the sanctity of marriage; that she has always defended it against brutal lust and heathen divorce courts. We wish our children, in fine, to regard the Church as the only hope of society, the only salvation of their country, the only means of preserving intact all the blessings of freedom.
The public schools are not only seminaries of infidelity, they are, moreover, in many cases, hotbeds of immorality. In these schools every child is received, no matter how vicious or corrupt he or his parents may be. “One mangy sheep,” as the homely proverb says, “infects the whole flock.” So one corrupt child in a school is capable of corrupting and ruining all the others. And, in fact, where have our young people learned the shameful habit of self-abuse, and many other foul, unnatural crimes, that are bringing so many thousands to an early grave? Ask those unhappy victims, ask our physicians throughout the country, and they will tell you that, in almost every instance, it was from the evil companions with whom they associated in the common schools. Ah! you will see, only on the day of judgment, how many unnatural crimes have been taught and propagated, from generation to generation, in these very hotbeds of iniquity.
A certain friend of mine a man of great learning and experience wrote to me, one day, that he himself had been, in his youth, subjected to college-training; that, be it by nature or by grace, or both combined, he resisted and escaped. “But,” he adds, “from my observation and experience, I would say it did require a miracle for Catholic youth to escape the damnable effects of a non-Catholic education.” I have had opportunities, in this line, that many a priest has never had. I assert that a Catholic boy of tender years, and perhaps careless training, can be preserved from moral contamination, in public and mixed schools, by nothing less than a miracle. I will not chop logic with any one about it. It is a matter of fact. I therefore assert it as of ascertained result, that in most cases especially in those cases where there are enough of Catholics together to have a school of their own their frequenting a school without religion will land most of them in utter carelessness of their religion.
2. Many fall away from the faith because their parents neglected giving them any instruction in religion. There is a certain class of parents who have their children instructed in everything but their religion. There are other parents who allow their children to grow up in ignorance of everything except in the manner in which they may make some money. Now, when the time draws near for these children to make their first communion, their parents will take them to the priest to prepare them for this holy action in a week or two. Now, what can children learn in a couple of weeks? Certain it is that what they learn very seldom enters their hearts. Their hearts are not prepared for the Word of God; they are light-minded, and, in many cases, corrupted, and what they do learn is learned from constraint. No sooner are they free from constraint than they throw their religion overboard: they become the worst enemies of the Catholic Church. The young man who set fire to St. Augustine’s Church, in Philadelphia, Pa., was a Catholic, and he gloried in being able to burn his name out of the baptismal record. By a just punishment of God, these neglected Catholic children will become our persecutors. Thus is verified in these children what God says through the Prophet Isaias: “Therefore is my people led away captive because they had not knowledge.” (Isa. v, 13.)
There are others who do not wish to be instructed in their religious duties, in order that they may more easily dispense themselves from the obligation of complying with these duties. Now, it is this very class of men that easily give ear to the principles of infidelity, because these principles please their corrupt nature better than those of our holy religion. The class of these men is very numerous, and their number is on the increase every day. For, not having any religion themselves, nor wishing to have any, what wonder if their children follow their example? Such as the tree is, such also will be the fruit. A few weeks ago, a Catholic lady of New York asked a little child: “How many Gods are there, and who made you?” The child could not answer these questions. So the Catholic lady said to the child: “Say, ‘There is but one God;’ say, ‘God made me.'” When the mother of the child heard this she flew into a passion, and said: “My child shall never learn such a thing: God has nothing to do with my child.” Behold how infidel mothers bring up their children!
There are others who gradually fall away from the faith and become infidels, because they neglect a most essential Christian duty, that of prayer. “The impious,” says David, “are corrupt, and they become abominable in their ways . . . They are all gone aside; they are unprofitable together: there is none that does good, no, not one . . . Destruction and unhappiness are in their ways.” “Now, the cause of all this wickedness,” continues David, “is because they have not called upon the Lord.” God is the light of our understanding, the strength of our will, and the life of our heart. Now, the more we neglect to pray to God, the more we shall experience darkness in our understanding, weakness in our will, and deadly coldness in our heart. Our passions, the temptations of the devil, and the allurements of the world, will draw us headlong from one abyss of wickedness to another, until we fall into the deepest of all, into infidelity, and indifference to all religion.
3. There is another special cause of the loss of faith: it is the reading of bad books. Bad books are, 1. idle, useless books which do no good, but distract the mind from what is good. 2. Many novels and romances which do not appear to be so bad, but often are bad. 3. Books which treat professedly of bad subjects. 4. Bad newspapers, journals, miscellanies, sensational magazines, weeklies, illustrated papers, medical works. 5. Superstitious books, books of fate, etc. 6. Protestant and infidel books and tracts.
There are certain idle, useless books, which, though not bad in themselves, are pernicious, because they cause the reader to lose the time which he might and ought to spend in occupations more beneficial to his soul. He who has spent much time in reading such books, and then goes to prayer, to Mass, and to holy communion, instead of thinking of God and of making acts of love and confidence, will be constantly troubled with distractions; for the representations of all the vanities he has read will be constantly present to his mind.
The mill grinds the corn which it receives. If the wheat be bad, how can the mill turn out good flour? How is it possible to think often of God, and offer to him frequent acts of love, of oblation, of petition, and the like, if the mind is constantly filled with the trash read in idle, useless books? In a letter to his disciple Eustochium, St. Jerome stated for her instruction that, in his solitude at Bethlehem, he was attached to, and frequently read, the works of Cicero, and that he felt a certain disgust for pious books, because their style was not polished. Almighty God, foreseeing the harm of this profane reading, and that, without the aid of holy books, the saint would never reach that height of sanctity for which he was destined, administered a remedy, very harsh, no doubt, but well calculated to make him alive to his fault. He sent a grievous sickness on him, which soon brought the solitary to the brink of the grave. As he was lying at the point of death, God called him in spirit before his tribunal. The saint, being there, heard the Judge ask him who he was. He answered unhesitatingly: “I am a Christian; I hold no other faith than thine, my Lord, my Judge.” “Thou liest,” said the Judge; “thou art a Ciceronian, for, where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also.” He then ordered him to be severely scourged. The servant of God shrieked with pain as he felt the blows, and begged for mercy, repeating with a loud voice, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord! have mercy upon me.” Meanwhile, they who stood round the throne of that angry Judge, falling on their faces before him, began to plead in behalf of the culprit, implored mercy for him, and promised in his name that his fault should be corrected. Then St. Jerome, who, smarting with pain from the hard strokes he had received, would gladly have promised much greater things, began to promise and to swear, with all the ardor of his soul, that never again would he open profane or worldly works, but that he would read pious, edifying books. As he uttered these words he returned to his senses, to the amazement of the bystanders, who had believed him to be already dead.
St. Jerome concludes the narration of this sad history with these words: “Let no one fancy that it was an idle dream, like to those which come to deceive our minds in the dead of night. I call to witness the dread tribunal before which I lay prostrate, that it was no dream, but a true representation of a real occurrence; for, when I returned to myself, I found my eyes swimming with tears, and my shoulders livid and bruised with those cruel blows.” He tells us, finally, that, after this warning, he devoted himself to the reading of pious books, with the same diligence and zeal that he had before bestowed upon the works of profane writers. It was thus that Almighty God induced him to that study of divine things which was so essential to his own progress in perfection, and destined to do so much good to the whole Christian world.
It is true that, in works like those of Cicero, we sometimes find useful sentiments; but the same St. Jerome wisely said, in a letter to another disciple: “What need have you of seeking for a little gold in the midst of so much dross, when you can read pious books, in which you shall find all gold without any dross?” (Epis. ad Furian.) As to novels, they are, in general, pictures, and usually very highly wrought pictures, of human passions. Passion is represented as working out its end successfully, and attaining its objects, even by the sacrifice of duty. These books, as a class, present false views of life; and as it is the error of the young to mistake these for realities, they become the dupes of their own ardent and enthusiastic imaginations, which, instead of trying to control, they actually nourish with the poisonous food of phantoms and chimeras.
When the thirst for novel-reading has become insatiable,–as with indulgence it is sure to do,–they come at last to live in an unreal fairy-land, amidst absurd heroes and heroines of their own creation, thus unfitting themselves for the discharge of the common duties of this every-day world, and for association with every-day mortals. The more strongly works of fiction appeal to the imagination, and the wider the field they afford for its exercise, the greater in general are their perilous attractions; and it is but too true that they cast, at last, a sort of spell over the mind, so completely fascinating the attention, that duty is forgotten and positive obligation laid aside to gratify the desire of unravelling, to its last intricacy, the finely-spun web of some airy creation of fancy. Fictitious feelings are excited, unreal sympathies aroused, unmeaning sensibilities evoked. The mind is weakened; it has lost that laudable thirst after truth which God has imprinted on it; filled with a baneful love of trifles, vanity, and folly, it has no taste for serious reading and profitable occupations; all relish for prayer, for the Word of God, for the reception of the sacraments, is lost; and, at last, conscience and commonsense give place to the dominion of unchecked imagination. Such reading, instead of forming the heart, depraves it. It poisons the morals and excites the passions; it changes all the good inclinations a person has received from nature and a virtuous education ; it chills, by little and little, pious desires, and in a short time banishes out of the soul all that was there of solidity and virtue. By such reading, young girls on a sudden lose a habit of reservedness and modesty, take an air of vanity and frivolity, and make show of no other ardor than for those things which the world esteems, and which God abominates. They espouse the maxims, spirit, conduct, and language of the passions, which are there under various disguises artfully instilled into their minds j and, what is most dangerous, they cloak all this irregularity with the appearances of civility and an easy, complying, gay humor and disposition.
St. Teresa, who fell into this dangerous snare of reading idle books, writes thus of herself: “This fault failed not to cool my good desires, and was the cause of my falling insensibly into other defects. I was so enchanted with the extreme pleasure I took herein, that I thought I could not be content if I had not some new romance in my hands. I began to imitate the mode, to take delight in being well dressed, to take great care of my hands, to make use of perfumes, and to affect all the vain trimmings which my condition admitted. Indeed, my intention was not bad, for I would not for the world, in the immoderate passion which I had to be decent, give any one an occasion of offending God; but I now acknowledge how far these things, which for several years appeared to me innocent, are effectually and really criminal.”
Criminal and dangerous, therefore, is the disposition of those who fritter away their time in reading such books as fill the mind with a worldly spirit, with a love of vanity, pleasure, idleness, and trifling; which destroy and lay waste all the generous sentiments of virtue in the heart, and sow there the seeds of every vice. Who seeks nourishment from poisons! Our thoughts and reflections are to the mind what food is to the body; for, by them, the affections of the soul are nourished. The chameleon changes its color as it is affected by pain, anger, or pleasure, or by the color upon which it sits; and we see an insect borrow its lustre and hue from the plant or leaf upon which it feeds. In like manner, what our meditations and affections are, such will our souls become either holy and spiritual, or earthly and carnal.
In addition to their other dangers, many of these books unfortunately teem with maxims subversive of faith in the truths of religion. The current popular literature in our days is penetrated with the spirit of licentiousness, from the pretentious quarterly to the arrogant and flippant daily newspaper; and the weekly and monthly publications are mostly heathen or maudlin. They express and inculcate, on the one hand, stoical, cold, and polished pride of mere intellect, or, on the other, empty and wretched sentimentality. Some employ the skill of the engraver to caricature the institutions and offices of the Christian religion, and others, to exhibit the grossest forms of vice and the most distressing scenes of crime and suffering. The illustrated press has become to us what the amphitheatre was to the Romans, when men were slain, women were outraged, and Christians were given to the lions, to please a degenerate populace. “The slime of the serpent is over it all.” It instils the deadly poison of irreligion and immorality through every pore of the reader. The fatal miasma floats in the whole literary atmosphere, is drawn in with every literary breath, corrupting the very life-blood of religion in the mind and soul. Thus it frequently happens that the habitual perusal of such books soon banishes faith from the soul, and in its stead introduces infidelity. He who often reads bad books will soon be filled with the spirit of the author who wrote them. The first author of pious books is the Spirit of God; but the author of bad books is the devil, who artfully conceals from certain persons the poison which such works contain. Written, as they generally are, in a most attractive, flowery style, the reader becomes enchanted, as it were, by their perusal, not suspecting the poison that lies hidden under that beautiful style, and which he drinks as he reads on.
But it is objected the book is not so bad. Of what do bad books treat? What religion do they teach? Many of them teach either deism, atheism, or pantheism. Others ridicule our holy religion and everything that is sacred. What morals do these books teach? The most lewd! Vice and crime are deified; monsters of humanity are held out as true heroes. Some of these books speak openly and shamelessly of the most obscene things, whilst others do so secretly, hiding their poison under a flowery style. They are only the more dangerous, because their poisonous contents enter the heart unawares.
A person was very sorry to see that a certain bad book was doing so much harm. He thought he would read it, that he might be better able to speak against it. With this object in view, he read the book. The end of it was that, instead of helping others, he ruined himself.
Some say: “I read bad books on account of the style. I wish to improve my own style. I wish to learn something of the world. “This is no sufficient reason for reading such books. The good style of a book does not make its poisonous contents harmless. A fine dress may cover a deformed body, but it cannot take away its deformity. Poisonous serpents and flowers may be very beautiful, but, for all that, they are not the less poisonous. To say that such books are read purely because of their style is not true, because those who allege this as an excuse, sometimes read novels which are written in a bad style. There are plenty of good books, written in excellent style, which are sadly neglected by these lovers of pure English.
To consult those books for a knowledge of the world is another common excuse for their perusal. Well, where shall we find an example of one who became a deeper thinker, a more eloquent speaker, a more expert business man, by reading novels and bad books? They only teach how to sin, as Satan taught Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden tree, under the pretence of attaining real knowledge; and the result was, loss of innocence, peace, and paradise, and the punishment of the human race through all time.
Some profess to skip the bad portions and read only the good. But how are they to know which are the bad portions, unless they read them? The pretext is a false one. He only will leave the bad who hates it. But he who hates the bad things will not read the books at all, unless he be obliged to do so: and no one is obliged to read them, for there are plenty of good, profitable, and entertaining books which can be read without danger.
There is a class of readers who flatter themselves that bad books may hurt others, but not them; they make no impression on them. Happy and superior mortals! Are they gifted with hearts of stone, or of flesh and blood? Have they no passions? Why should these books hurt others and not them? Is it because they are more virtuous than others? Is it not true that the bad, obscene parts of the story remain more vividly and deeply impressed upon their minds than those which are more or less harmless? Did not the perusal of these books sometimes cause those imaginations and desires forbidden by Christian modesty? Did they not sometimes accuse themselves in confession of having read them? If not, they ought to have done so. Who would like to die with such a book in his hand?
Readers of bad books, who say such reading does not affect them, should examine themselves and see whether they are not blinded by their passions, or so far gone in crime that, like an addled egg, they cannot become more corrupt than they already are.
See that infamous young man, that corrupter of innocence! What is the first step often of a young reprobate who wishes to corrupt some poor, innocent girl? He first lends her a bad book. He believes that, if she reads that book, she is lost. A bad book, as he knows, is an agreeable corrupter; for it veils vice under a veil of flowers. It is a shameless corrupter. The most licentious would blush, would hesitate to speak the language that their eyes feed on. But a bad book does not blush, feels no shame, no hesitation. Itself unmoved and silent, it places before the heart and imagination the most shameful obscenities. A bad book is a corrupter to whom the reader listens without shame, because it can be read alone and taken up when one pleases!
Go to the hospitals and brothels: ask that young man who is dying of a shameful disease; ask that young woman who has lost her honor and her happiness; go to the dark grave of the suicide, ask them what was the first step in their downward career, and they will answer, the reading of bad books.
A certain young lady of the State of New York was sent to a convent school, where she received a brilliant education. She spoke seven languages. She wished to enter a convent, but was prevented by her parents. Her parents died, and after their death the young lady took to novel-reading. She soon wished to imitate what she had read: she wished to become a heroine. So she went upon the stage, and danced in the “Black Crook.” At last she fell one day on Second Avenue, in New York, and broke her leg in six places. She was taken to a hospital, where a good lady gave her a prayer-book. But she flung it away, and asked for a novel. She would not listen to the priest encouraging her to make her confession and be reconciled to God. She died impenitent, with a novel in her hand.
Assuredly, if we are bound by every principle of our religion to avoid bad company, we are equally bound to avoid bad books; for, of all evil, corrupting company, the worst is a bad book. There can be no doubt that the most pernicious influences at work in the world at this moment come from bad books and bad newspapers. The yellow-covered literature, as it is called, is a pestilence compared with which the yellow fever, and cholera, and small-pox are as nothing: and yet there is no quarantine against it. Never take a book into your hands which you would not be seen reading. Avoid not only notoriously immoral books and papers, but avoid also all those miserable sensational magazines and novels and illustrated papers which are profusely scattered around on every side. The demand which exists for such garbage, speaks badly for the moral sense and intellectual training of those who read them. If you wish to keep your mind pure and your soul in the grace of God, you must make it a firm and steady principle of conduct never to touch them.
Would you be willing to pay a man for poisoning your food? And why should you be fool enough to pay the authors and publishers of bad books, pamphlets, and magazines, and the editors of irreligious newspapers for poisoning your soul with their impious principles and their shameful stories and pictures.
Go, then, and burn all bad books in your possession, even if they do not belong to you, even if they are costly. Two boys in New York bought a bad picture with their pocket-money, and burned it. A young man in Augusta, Ga., spent twenty dollars in buying up bad books and papers, to burn them all. A modern traveller tells us that, when he came to Evora, he there on Sunday morning conversed with, a girl in the kitchen of the inn. He examined some of her books which she showed him, and told her that one of them was written by an infidel, whose sole aim was to bring all religion into contempt. She made no reply to this, but, going into another room, returned with her apron full of dry sticks, all of which she piled upon the fire and produced a blaze. She then took that bad book and placed it upon the flaming pile; then, sitting down, she took her rosary out of her pocket, and told her beads until the book was entirely burned up. (Compitum, book ii, p. 239.) In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that, when St. Paul preached at Ephesus, many of the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the faith: “And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds. And many of those who had followed curious arts, brought together their books and burnt them before all. And counting the price of them, they found the money to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts xix, 18, 19.)
A young nobleman, who was on a sea voyage, began to read an obscene book, in which he took much pleasure. A religious priest, on noticing it, said to him: “Are you disposed to make a present to our Blessed Lady? “The young man replied that he was. “Well,” said the priest, “I wish that, for the love of the most holy Virgin, you would give up that book and throw it into the sea.” “Here it is, father,” answered the young man. “No,” replied the priest, “you must yourself make this present to Mary.” He did so at once. Mary was not slow in rewarding the nobleman for the great promptness with which he cast the bad book into the sea; for, no sooner had he returned to Genoa, his native place, than the Mother of God so inflamed his heart with divine love, that he entered a religious order. (Nadasi, Ann. Mar. S. J., 1605.)
4. Another cause that leads to the loss of faith is the corruption of the heart, the slavery of the passions. You will find men who deny the immortality of the soul, who deny the eternity of hell, who deny the infallibility of the Church. You will find men who deny the divine origin of confession. But why, my brethren, why? It is because these wholesome truths put a check to their passions. They cannot believe these truths and, at the same time, gratify their criminal desires.
An honest, virtuous man would never think of doubting or contradicting these sacred truths. In spite of its innate pride, the mind is the slave of the heart. If the heart soars to heaven on the wings of divine love, the mind, too, rises with it. But if the heart is buried in the mire of filthy passions, it soon exhales dark, fetid vapors, which obscure the intellect. The infidel’s reason is the dupe of his heart.
There is a man who was once a good Catholic, who used formerly to go regularly to Mass and to confession. Now he goes no longer to confession, now he is an infidel. But why? Has he, perhaps, become more enlightened? Has he received some new knowledge? No; the only new knowledge he has received, is the sad knowledge of sin. He believed as long as he was virtuous. He began to doubt only when he began to be immoral; he became an infidel only when he became a libertine. The history of his life is soon told. Wishing to gratify his passions without restraint and without remorse, he tried to rid himself of a religion which would have troubled him in the midst of his unlawful pleasures. Religion appeared to him like the hand on the wall, writing his doom in the very midst of his senseless revelry. Human respect, and the gratification of his passions, are the only causes that induced him to become an infidel.
5. To frequent the society of the wicked, of scoffers at religion, is, for many, another cause of losing the faith. A scoffer at religion is a man without principle, a man sunk in the grossest ignorance of what religion is. He blasphemes what he does not understand. He rails at the doctrines of the Church, without really knowing what these doctrines are. He sneers at the doctrines and practices of religion, because he cannot refute them. He speaks with the utmost gravity of the fine arts, the fashions, and even matters the most trivial, and he turns into ridicule the most sacred subjects. In the midst of his own circle of fops and silly women, he utters his shallow conceits with all the pompous assurance of a pedant.
There is a young man. He was brought up a Catholic. He went every day to a Catholic school until he made his first communion. He learned his catechism well. But his parents complain that he no longer says any morning or night prayers, that he goes no longer to confession, to holy communion, and to Mass on Sundays. Why not? It is because he frequents the society of wicked companions, who ridicule religion and scoff at everything sacred. “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” In the company of such wicked young men he soon feels ashamed of his religion, becomes quite indifferent to it, gives up every practice of piety, and finally becomes an infidel, a scoffer at religion himself.
6. Experience has sufficiently shown that mixed marriages are also a cause why many have lost their faith. This is the reason why the Catholic Church has always opposed them. The Catholic party is generally exposed to the danger of losing the faith, or of becoming indifferent to it. The Catholic education of the children is also generally neglected, and often made impossible.
There is a congregation in one of the Middle States, which numbers about two hundred families. There are not fewer than fifty-seven mixed marriages in it. The number of converts is but six, and the number of those who gave up the Catholic religion is twenty-two. As to the children, there are at present found fifty-four who are being instructed in the rudiments of our religion, and it is hoped that they will adhere to the practice of her doctrines. But there are one hundred and thirty-seven who are receiving their religious training in some religious sect, or are left to grow up in utter ignorance. There are thirty-one more whose ultimate end is as yet doubtful. The number of perverted Catholics is nearly four to one in this congregation. There is no reason to believe that mixed marriages are less productive of evil in other congregations. We shall say more on this point in the explanation of the sacrament of matrimony.
7. The state of irreligion and infidelity into which millions of men who were Catholics are plunged at present, is the work of secret societies of Freemasonry. In the first volume of this work, Part I, I have clearly proved that the principal object of Freemasonry is to destroy all revealed religion, and to introduce heathenism in its place. To join any of the secret societies is to give up the Catholic religion; for the Catholic Church has excommunicated all those who have joined a secret society. Nevertheless there are thouands who join these satanic societies, and give up God and his holy religion for Satan and his work of impiety.
8. Pride, and subtle reasoning on the mysteries of faith, is another means which the devil uses to make people lose the faith. There are certain proud men who say that they cannot believe such an article or such a mystery of faith, because it is too obscure, too incomprehensible, and contrary to reason; they wish to believe no more of the truths of religion than they can understand. Hence they bring up ever so many objections to revealed truths, and thus exhibit a lamentable lack of reason. For, to be a man, it is necessary to have reason. Reason is the light of man. But reason tells us that it is necessary to believe what God has revealed, because God cannot reveal anything but truth, and that there is no sense in him who wishes to submit to his reason the very Author of his reason; and that to wish to understand what is above his intelligence, is to be without intelligence. There is a young man. He is a Catholic, who always believed what God teaches us through His Church. He frequently associates with one who, in a subtle manner, reasons on the mysteries of faith. He begins to listen to him with pleasure. The consequence is that he exposes himself to all kinds of temptations against faith. He begins himself to reason on its mysteries, then to doubt them, and at last to lose all faith in them. He dies an infidel.
Alas! how many are there who once were fervent children of the Catholic Church; they lived in the grace of God, in great happiness and peace, but, for the reason just given, are now leading the wicked lives of infidels! Their misfortune should be a warning for us all. Therefore, “Let him that thinketh himself to stand, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. x, 12.
Source: Apostles’ Creed by Father Muller ~ Imprimatur 1889
Saint Maria Goretti outfit for 18" dolls.
Maria was the daughter of a poor Italian widow. She was a very modest and pure young lady. One day a young man named Alesandro tried to make her sin. She resisted him as much as he could. He stabbed Maria 14 times before running away. She was taken to a hospital but died about 24 hours later. In her last hours she forgave her murderer.
On the day Maria Goretti was declared "Blessed" her own mother was there in Rome for the great celebration. When she was declared a saint more people gathered to honor her than had ever come for such a ceremony before. She is called a "martyr of holy purity."
Her feast day is July 6th. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!
You can purchase this little outfit here.
We should often think of them, place confidence in them, and pray to them. We owe to our guardian angels reverence, confidence and gratitude. It is God himself who commands us to
show reverence for our guardian angels. "Behold," said our Lord to Moses, "I will send my angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for my name is in him." (Exod. xxiii, 21.) Of such excellence and dignity is the guardian angel, that he is the vivid expression of the Divinity. He is the first ray of God's beauty, the first work of his hands, the first production of his omnipotence, the first masterpiece of his wisdom. St. John, upon seeing him, fell prostrate to adore him, thinking he was the Son of God himself.
St. Anselm assures us that, if an angel could make himself visible in all his glory in place of the sun, the light of the latter would altogether disappear in the light and splendor of the angel. The majesty of a mortal king impresses respect on all those who approach him: with what reverence, then, should we not be filled in the presence of this prince of heaven ! Now, the best manner of showing this reverence in presence of our guardian angels is, as the catechism says, often to think of them, often to remember their presence. "Wherever you may be," says St. Bernard, "in the church, at home, on a journey, in public or private places, your angel is near you. Do not do before him what you would not dare to do before me."
To reverence, we must join confidence in our guardian angels. We should show confidence in their protection. If we had a friend who appeared to us the most enlightened, the most faithful, and the most powerful of all men, what confidence would we place in him ! Now, such friends are the guardian angels, says St. Bernard: "They are wise, faithful and powerful." They cannot be deceived, drawing, as they do, their light from God himself. Much less can they deceive us. They are friends of tried fidelity. Their power is beyond conception. One of them alone can do more for our salvation than all the demons can do to ruin us. One of the chief duties towards the guardian angels which is neglected almost by all men, is the duty of gratitude for the numberless blessings, spiritual and temporal, which God bestows upon us by his holy angels.
After the angel of the Hebrew people had divided the waters of the Red Sea; to make a dry passage for them, he continued to assist them, by the order of God, until he had introduced them into the land of promise. It is thus that our guardian angels act towards us. After we have escaped, by the waters of baptism, the powers of hell, these zealous and charitable protectors accompany us through the dreary desert of this life which we must traverse to arrive at the abode of eternal happiness. Sometimes, like a refreshing cloud, our guardian angels temper the ardor of our passions sometimes, like a column of fire, they enlighten us in
the night of sin. If necessary, they let fall the manna of heavenly consolations, to sweeten the bitter waters of penitence and afflictions of our lives. They make us hear the law of God, and endeavor to engrave it on the living table of our hearts. It is to the Lord, it is true, that we are indebted for all these blessings ; for we would not have guardian angels, had not our dear Lord given them to us." He hath given his angels charge over thee." Glory to God who gave them this command ! But we owe, also, much to those who execute it, especially as they unite to their obedience an admirable charity. If they had a life to offer, and blood to shed, for our salvation, they would willingly give up all. Let us never be ungrateful towards such friends. How should we be grateful to them ? By listening to their words and following their inspirations ; by avoiding what would wound the sanctity of their presence ; by practicing the virtues so dear to them : purity, humility, zeal, charity, and conformity to the will of God. "If thou wilt hear his voice," said the Lord to Moses, "and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and I will afflict them that afflict thee." (Exod. xxiiii, 22.)
Finally, we should also pray to our guardian angels. The good angels often intercede for us, and obtain for us many graces through their prayers. The Patriarch Jacob entreated most earnest the angel with whom he had wrestled, that he would give him his blessing (Gen. xxxii, 26) ; and on his death-bed he prayed the angel who had conducted and protected him, to bless his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasses. (Gen. xlviii, 16.) The Prophet Daniel was informed in his visions how vigorously the guardian angel of Persia interposed in favor of that country, and what good offices St. Michael and other angels did for the Jews, in removing obstacles which retarded their return from the captivity. The Angel Gabriel told Daniel that he had exerted his efforts for this purpose in Persia twenty-one days, and that St. Michael, the prince or guardian of the Jews, came to his help (Dan. x, 13), so that they conquered the impediments. The Angel Gabriel added : "From the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up that he might be strengthened and confirmed" (Dan. xi, 1), viz.: to promote the deliverance of God's people. The
same prophet, speaking of the cruel persecution of Antiochus, says : "At that time Michael shall rise up, the great prince that standeth for the children of thy people." (Dan. xii, 1.) This implies that St. Michael would support the Machabees, and other defenders of God's people, whose protector he was, by standing up for them, that is, by praying for them.
The Prophet Zacharias was favored with a vision of angels, in the seventieth year of the desolation of Jerusalem. The prophet saw an angel (probably St. Michael), in the shape of a man, standing in a grove of myrtle trees ; and several angels, the guardians of other princes, came to him and said : "We have walked through the earth, and behold, all the earth is inhabited, and is at rest." Then the angel made this prayer : "Lord of hosts ! how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Juda, with which thou hast been angry ? This is now the seventieth year." (Zach. i, 12.) The Lord answered his prayer: he told the angel that he would return to Jerusalem in mercy, and that his house should be built in it. From these examples, and other passages of Holy Scripture, it is clear that the good angels pray for us. The Church has always invoked the holy angels and paid religious honor to them ; and teaches that it is an article of faith that their patronage is piously invoked.
Let us entertain a great devotion to our guardian angels. We read, in the lives of many saints, that their lively faith and tender devotion towards their guardian angels obtained for them the grace of seeing and conversing familiarly with them. We find this especially in the lives of St. Camillus, St. Philip Neri, St. Frances of Rome, St. Rose of Lima, St. Lidwina of Holland. If we recommend ourselves often to them, we shall experience their ardent charity, their wonderful protection, and the miraculous effects of their prayers on many occasions. The great Prophet Isaias had no sooner complained that his lips were defiled, than a seraph purified them with a burning coal from the altar. (Isa. vi.) If the blessings which God has bestowed upon every one through his guardian angel were to be written down, they would fill a large volume. These blessings will become greater and far more numerous from the time that we begin to be more grateful and more devout to the guardian angel. Often repeat this prayer, indulgenced by Pius VI and Pius VII : "Holy angel, to whose care I am committed, enlighten, protect, direct, and govern me this day !"
Source: The Apostles Creed, by Father Michael Muller, Imprimatur 1880
Sarah has added another Saint costume to Bella's Boutique. You can find it here. Two more costumes are in the works, St. Maria Goretti and St. Germaine Cousin. We hope to have them in the boutique by next week. Please place your orders for Christmas early. The last day to order for Christmas delivery is November 30th. Thank you!
Holy Mother Church has dedicated the month of November to the Holy Souls In Purgatory.
The purpose of this website is to share the beautiful Catholic resources that God has so richly blessed us with. All texts unless they are my own words have their sources quoted, and most of them are in the public domain. Any educational items that I have made for or with my children are NOT TO BE USED FOR PROFIT, but are meant to be used for personal use by individuals and families. You may link to our site if you so choose.
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