Thursday, August 1, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT: AUG. 2: OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS PORTIUNCULA


Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula
Feast: August 2


Information:
Feast Day:August 2
A town and parish situated about three-quarters of a mile from Assisi. The town, numbering about 2000 inhabitants and officially known as Santa Maria degli Angeli, has grown up around the church (basilica) of Our Lady of the Angels and the adjoining Franciscan monastery. It was here that on 24 Feb., 1208, St. Francis of Assisi recognized his vocation; here was for the most part his permanent abode, after the Benedictines (of the Cluny Congregation from about 1200) had presented him (about 1211) with the little chapel Portiuncula, i.e. a little portion (of land); here also he died on Saturday, 3 October, 1226. According to a legend, the existence of which can be traced back with certainty only to 1645, the little chapel of Portiuncula was erected under Pope Liberius (352-66) by hermits from the Valley of Josaphat, who had brought thither relics from the grave of the Blessed Virgin. The same legend relates that the chapel passed into the possession of St. Benedict in 516. It was known as Our Lady of the Valley of Josaphat or of the Angels -- the latter title referring, according to some, to Our Lady's ascent into heaven accompanied by angels (Assumption B.M.V.); a better founded opinion attributes the name to the singing of angels which had been frequently heard there. However this may be, here or in this neighbourhood was the cradle of the Franciscan Order, and on his death-bed St. Francis recommended the chapel to the faithful protection and care of his brethren. Concerning the form and plan of the first monastery built near the chapel we have no information, nor is the exact form of the loggia or platforms built round the chapel itself, or of the choir for the brothers built behind it, known. Shortly after 1290, the chapel, which measured only about twenty-two feet by thirteen and a half, became entirely inadequate to accommodate the throngs of pilgrims. The altar piece, an Annunciation, was painted by the priest, Hilarius of Viterbo, in 1393. The monastery was at most the residence, only for a short time, of the ministers-general of the order after St. Francis. In 1415 it first became associated with the Regular Observance, in the care of which it remains to the present day. The buildings, which had been gradually added to, around the shrine were taken down by order of Pius V (1566-72), except the cell in which St. Francis had died, and were replaced by a large basilica in contemporary style. The new edifice was erected over the cell just mentioned and over the Portiuncula chapel, which is situated immediately under the cupola. The basilica, which has three naves and a circle of chapels extending along the entire length of the aisles, was completed (1569-78) according to the plans of Jacob Barozzi, named Vignola (1507-73), assisted by Alessi Galeazzo (1512-72). The Doric order was chosen. The basilica forms a Latin cross 416 feet long by 210 feet wide; above the middle of the transept rises the magnificent cupola, flanked by a single side-tower, the second never having been finished. In the night of 15 March, 1832, the arch of the three naves and of the choir fell in, in consequence of an earthquake, but the cupola escaped with a big crack. Gregory XVI had all restored (1836-40), and on 8 Sept., 1840, the basilica was reconsecrated by Cardinal Lambruschini. By Brief of 11 April, 1909, Pius X raised it to a "patriarchal basilica and papal chapel". The high altar was therefore immediately rebuilt at the expense of the Franciscan province of the Holy Cross (also known as the Saxon province), and a papal throne added. The new altar was solemnly consecrated by Cardinal De Lai on 7 Dec., 1910. Under the bay of the choir, resting against the columns of the cupola, is still preserved the cell in which St. Francis died, while, a little behind the sacristy, is the spot where the saint, during a temptation, is said to have rolled in a briar-bush, which was then changed into thornless roses. During this same night the saint received the Portiuncula Indulgence. The representation of the reception of this Indulgence on the façade of the Portiuncula chapel, the work of Fr. Overbeck (1829), enjoys great celebrity.
The Portiuncula Indulgence could at first be gained only in the Portiuncula chapel between the afternoon of 1 Aug. and sunset on 2 Aug. On 5 Aug., 1480 (or 1481), Sixtus IV extended it to all churches of the first and second orders of St. Francis for Franciscans; on 4 July, 1622, this privilege was further extended by Gregory XV to all the faithful, who, after confession and the reception of Holy Communion, visited such churches on the appointed day. On 12 Oct., 1622, Gregory granted the same privilege to all the churches of the Capuchins; Urban VIII granted it for all churches of the regular Third Order on 13 Jan., 1643, and Clement X for all churches of the Conventuals on 3 Oct., 1670. Later popes extended the privilege to all churches pertaining in any way to the Franciscan Order, even to churches in which the Third Order held its meetings (even parish churches, etc.), provided that there was no Franciscan church in the district, and that such a church was distant over an Italian mile (1000 paces, about 1640 yards). Some districts and countries have been granted special privileges. On 9 July, 1910, Pius X (only, however, for that year) granted the privilege that bishops could appoint any public churches whatsoever for the gaining of the Portiuncula Indulgence, whether on 2 Aug. or the Sunday following (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, II, 1910, 443 sq.; Acta Ord. Frat. Min., XXIX, 1910, 226). This privilege has been renewed for an indefinite time by a decree of the S. Cong. of Indul., 26 March, 1911 (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, III, 1911, 233-4). The Indulgence is toties-quoties, that is, it may be gained as often as one wishes (i.e. visits the church); it is also applicable to the souls in purgatory.
While the declarations of the popes have rendered the Portiuncula Indulgence certain and indisputable from the juridico-canonistic standpoint, its historical authenticity (sc. origin from St. Francis) is still a subject of dispute. The controversy arises from the fact that none of the old legends of St. Francis mentions the Indulgence, and no contemporary document or mention of it has down to us. The oldest document dealing with the Indulgence is a notary's deed of 31 October, 1277, in which Blessed Benedict of Arezzo, whom St. Francis himself received into the order, testifies that he had been informed by Brother Masseo, a companion of St. Francis, of the granting of the Indulgence by Honorius III at Perugia. Then follow other testimonies, for example, those of Jacob Cappoli concerning Brother Leo, of Fr. Oddo of Aquasparta, Peter Zalfani, Peter John Olivi (d. 1298, who wrote a scholastic tract in defence of this indulgence about 1279), Blessed John of Laverna (Fermo; d. 1322), Ubertinus of Casale (d. after 1335), Blessed Francis of Fabriano (d. 1322), whose testimony goes back to the year 1268, etc. In addition to these rather curt and concise testimonies there are others which relate all details in connection with the granting of the Indulgence, and were reproduced in numberless books: e.g. the testimony of Michael Bernardi, the letters of Bishop Theobald of Assisi (1296-1329) and of his successor Conrad Andreae (1329-37). All the testimonies were collected by Fr. Francesco Bartholi della Rossa in a special work, "Tractatus de Indulgentia S. Mariae de Portiuncula" (ed. Sabatier, Paris, 1900). In his edition of this work, Sabatier defends the Indulgence, although in his world-famous "Vie de S. François" (Paris, 1894), he had denied its historicity (412 sqq.); he explains the silence of St. Francis and his companions and biographers as due to reasons of discretion etc. Others seek to accord more weight to the later testimonies by accentuating their connection with the first generation of the order; others again find allusions to the Indulgence in the old legends of St. Francis. On the other hand, the opponents regard the gap between 1216 and 1277 as unbridgable, and hold that the grounds brought forward by the defenders to explain this silence had vanished long before the latter date. No new documents have been found recently in favour of the authenticity of the Indulgence.
[Note: The norms and grants of indulgences were completely reformed by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in his Apostolic Constitution "Indulgentiarum Doctrina" (1967), and the Portiuncula Indulgence was again confirmed at that time. According to the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, the Catholic faithful may gain a plenary indulgence on 2 August (the Portiuncula) or on such other day as designated by the local ordinary for the advantage of the faithful, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), by devoutly visiting the parish church, and there reciting at least the Lord's Prayer and the Creed. The Indulgence applies to the cathedral church of the diocese, and to the co-cathedral church (if there is one), even if they are not parochial, and also to quasi-parochial churches. To gain this, as any plenary indulgence, the faithful must be free from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. Where this entire detachment is wanting, the indulgence is partial.]

SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/O/ourladyoftheangelsofportiuncula.asp#ixzz1TsqoFpjW

TODAY'S SAINT: AUG. 2: ST. EUSEBIUS OF VERCELLI


St. Eusebius Vercelli
MARTYR AND BISHOP
Feast: August 2


Information:
Feast Day:August 2
Born:283, Sardinia
Died:August 1, 371, Vercelli, Piemonte
Patron of:Vercelli
Bishop of Vercelli, b. in Sardinia c. 283; d. at Vercelli, Piedmont, 1 August, 371. He was made lector in Rome, where he lived some time, probably as a member or head of a religious community (Spreitzenhofer, Die Entwickelung des alten Mönchtums in Italien, Vienna, 1894, 14 sq.), Later he came to Vercelle, the present Vercelli, and in 340 was unanimously elected bishop of that city by the clergy and the people. He received episcopal consecration at the hands of Pope Julius I on 15 December, of the same year. According to the testimony of St. Ambrose (Ep. lxiii, Ad Vercellenses) he was the first bishop of the West who united monastic with clerical life. He led with the clergy of his city a common life modelled upon that of the Eastern cenobites (St. Ambrose, Ep. lxxxi and Serm. lxxxix). For this reason the Canons Regular of St. Augustine honour him along with St. Augustine as their founder (Proprium Canon. Reg., 16 December).
In 364 Pope Liberius sent Eusebius and Bishop Lucifer to Cagliari to the Emperor Constantius, who was then at Arles in Gaul, for the purpose of inducing the emperor to convoke a council which should put an end to the dissentions between the Arians and the orthodox. The synod was held in Milan in 355. At first Eusebius refused to attend it because he foresaw that the Arian bishops, who were supported by the emperor, would not accept the decrees of the Nicene council and would insist upon the condemnation of St. Athanasius. Being pressed by the emperor and the bishops to appear at the synod, he came to Milan, but was not admitted to the synod until the document condemning St. Athanasius had been drawn up and was awaiting the signature of the bishops. Eusebius vehemently protested against the unjust condemnation of St. Athanasius and, despite the threats of the emperor, refused to attach his signature to the document. As a result he was sent into exile, first to Scythopolis in Syria, where the Arian bishop Patrophilus, whom Eusebius calls his jailer, (Baronius, Annal., ad ann. 356, n. 97), treated him very cruelly; then to Cappodocia, and lastly to Thebaid. On the accession of the Emperor Julian, the exiled bishops were allowed to return to their sees, in 362. Eusebius, however, and his brother-exile Lucifer did not at once return to Italy. Acting either by force of their former legatine faculties or, as is more probable, having received new legatine faculties from Pope Liberius, they remained in the Orient for some time, helping to restore peace in the Church. Eusebius went to Alexandria to consult with St. Athanasius about convoking the synod which in 362 was held there under their joint presidency. Besides declaring the Divinity of the Holy Ghost and the orthodox doctrine concerning the Incarnation, the synod agreed to deal mildly with the repentant apostate bishops, but to impose severe penalties upon the leaders of several of Arianizing factions. At its close Eusebius went to Antioch to reconcile the Eustathians and the Meletians. The Eustathians were adherents of the bishop St. Eustatius, who was deposed and exiled by the Arians in 331. Since Meletius' election in 361 was brought about chiefly by the Arians, the Eustathians would not recognize him, although he solemnly proclamed his orthodox faith from the ambo after his episcopal consecration. The Alexandrian synod had desired that Eusebius should reconcile the Eustathians with Bishop Meletius, by purging his election of whatever might have been irregular in it, but Eusebius, upon arriving at Antioch found that his brother-legate Lucifer had consecrated Paulinus, the leader of the Eustathians, as Bishop of Antioch, and thus unwittingly had frustrated the pacific design. Unable to reconcile the factions at Antioch, he visited other Churches of the Orient in the interest of the orthodox faith, and finally passed through Illyricum into Italy. Having arrived at Vercelli in 363, he assisted the zealous St. Hilary of Poitiers in the suppression of Arianism in the Western Church, and was one of the chief opponents of the Arian Bishop Auxientius of Milan. The church honours him as a martyr and celebrates his feast as a semi-double on 16 December. In the "Journal of Theological Studies" (1900), I, 302-99, E.A. Burn attributes to Eusebius the "Quicumque".
Three short letters of Eusebius are printed in Migne, P.L., XII, 947-54 and X, 713-14. St. Jerome (De vir. ill., c. lvi, and Ep. li, n. 2) ascribes to him a Latin translation of a commentary on the Psalms, written originally in Greek by Eusebius of Cæsarea; but this work has been lost. There is preserved in the cathedral at Vercelli the "Codex Vercellensis", the earliest manuscript of the old Latin Gospels (codex a), which is generally believed to have been written by Eusebius. It was published by Irico (Milan 1748) and Bianchini (Rome, 1749), and is reprinted in Migne, P.L. XII, 9-948; a new edition was brought out by Belsheim (Christiania, 1894). Krüger (Lucifer, Bischof von Calaris", Leipzig, 1886, 118-30) ascribes to Eusebius a baptismal oration by Caspari (Quellen sur Gesch, Des Taufsymbols, Christiania, 1869, II, 132-40). The confession of faith "Des. Trinitate confessio", P.L., XII, 959-968, sometimes ascribed to Eusebius is spurious.

SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/E/steusebiusvercelli.asp#ixzz1Tsqboa4m

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. AUG. 2, 2013

Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time 
Lectionary: 405


Reading 1       LV 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34B-37

The LORD said to Moses,
“These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate
at their proper time with a sacred assembly.
The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month,
at the evening twilight.
The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD’s feast of Unleavened Bread.
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.
On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD.
Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.”

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel and tell them:
When you come into the land which I am giving you,
and reap your harvest,
you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest
to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD
that it may be acceptable for you.
On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this.

“Beginning with the day after the sabbath,
the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf,
you shall count seven full weeks,
and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day,
you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD.

“The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement,
when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves
and offer an oblation to the LORD.

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths,
which shall continue for seven days.
On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly,
and you shall do no sort of work.
For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD,
and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work.

“These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD
on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly,
and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.”

Responsorial Psalm           PS 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11AB

R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help.
Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our solemn feast.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
For it is a statute in Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob,
Who made it a decree for Joseph
when he came forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.

Gospel MT 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

POPE FRANCIS PRAYER INTENTION FOR AUGUST AND LATEST FROM VATICAN

Vatican Radio  REPORT: The Apostleship of Prayer has announced the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for August.

GENERAL INTENTION: That parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life.

MISSION INTENTION: That the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.

The following pastoral comment was released by the Apostleship of Prayer on the General Intention

The primary vocation and mission of parents and educators is to be living witnesses of faith, wisdom and responsible solidarity – a mission which is always joyful and difficult, that of forming and accompanying our children and students in their religious and spiritual, cognitive and intellectual, affective and social development.

Parents and educators are the first formators and living witness to Christian piety and the human and humanising warmth which every child and young person has a right to receive and then ought to pass on. For that, everything we say and do influences a child or young person who is beginning to define his way of living in the world with other people, in the culture and in the Church. Reflection and the ability to think are not only hidden in books and in texts to be studied; they are defined, first and above all, in the way in which we help others to think, to criticise constructively, to imagine and to dream. Finally the affection, love and respect with which we relate to one another at home and at school help to build ways of relating on a human scale, in their turn affection, love and respect towards other men and women. 
As parents and educators we form a collaborative community to make of the younger generation a new humanity, restored and renewed. We wish to form a new humanity with faith and Christian piety, social sense, political commitment and responsibility, professional and academic excellence. Parents and educators ought to collaborate in the mission of forming with a sense of responsibility, excellence and piety.

With the Pope, let us pray this month that the Spirit of God may fill the hearts of parents and educators, our minds and our souls, to be and to do what God the Father taught Jesus and teaches all his sons and daughters: to love and to be living witnesses of the way of life of Jesus, who loves, serves and seeks new ways of proclaiming the Kingdom of his Father. 

Fr. José Ignacio Baeza, sj
Director of Pastoral Ministry and Formation,
College of St. Louis (Antofagasta, Chile)
PhD in Education, Univ. Complutense, Madrid.

The following pastoral comment was released by the Apostleship of Prayer on the Mission Intention

The lack of peace and justice is evident in Africa. That was one of the reasons in favour of holding the second assembly of the African Bishops’ Synod in Rome in 2009, even though the first had taken place only 15 years earlier. The events of recent years have only confirmed the fact that there is neither peace nor justice in Africa. The big revolts in North Africa, with reversals of power, the elections in most countries without democracy or transparency, even leading to armed conflicts; the appropriation of power by certain individuals, and the refusal of change despite their advanced age; the pauperisation of the masses; the use of children in armed conflicts; the rape of women; the persecution of Christians here and there…. are so many real indicators which show us the sombre face of Africa.

And yet the gospel arrived in Africa a very long time ago, already in the first centuries. And many African countries have celebrated the centenary of evangelisation. However, the need for a real, in-depth evangelisation is still to be felt. As Benedict XVI says in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, all this shows the need to ‘evangelise the African soul in depth.’ (AM 91).
Even if it is true that Africa is ‘the spiritual lung of humanity’ (AM 13), it is also true that ‘fidelity to the proclamation of the gospel’ remains a challenge. For the gospel is the true source of peace and justice. At the birth of Jesus the angels sang ‘peace on earth’ (Lk 2:14), and at the end of his life Jesus reassured his disciples: ‘Peace I leave you, not as the world gives’ (Jn.14:27). If peace and justice have to be ‘built’, it is on the foundation which is Christ that this building will be done (1 Cor 3:11). How to set about it? For each local church to decide! That is our prayer, all this month, with the Pope, for Africa.

Fr. Rigobert Kyungu, sj
National Secretary of the Apostleship of Prayer, Democratic Republic of Congo 
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA


 
POPE FRANCIS ANNOUNCES THE THEME FOR THE 47th WORLD DAY OF PEACE
Vatican City, 31 July 2013 (VIS) - “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace”: this is the theme of the 47th World Day of Peace, the first during the pontificate of Pope Francis.
"Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace". This is the theme of the 47th World Day of Peace, the first during the pontificate of Pope Francis.
The World Day of Peace was an initiative of Pope Paul VI and it is celebrated on the first day of each year. The Message for the World Day of Peace is sent to particular churches and chancelleries all around the world, drawing attention to the essential value of peace and the need to work tirelessly in order to attain it.
As the theme of his first Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen Fraternity. Since the beginning of his Petrine Ministry, the Pope has stressed the need to combat the “throwaway culture” and to promote instead a "culture of encounter", in order to build a more just and peaceful world.
Fraternity is a dowry that every man and every woman brings with himself or herself as a human being, as a child of the one Father. In the face of the many tragedies that afflict the family of nations - poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, conflicts, migrations, pollution, inequalities, injustice, organized crime, fundamentalisms - fraternity is the foundation and the pathway to peace.
The culture of personal well-being leads to a loss of the sense of responsibility and fraternal relationship. Others, rather than being “like us”, appear more as antagonists or enemies and are often treated as objects. Not uncommonly, the poor and needy are regarded as a "burden", a hindrance to development. At most, they are considered as recipients of aid or compassionate assistance. They are not seen as brothers and sisters, called to share the gifts of creation, the goods of progress and culture, to be partakers at the same table of the fullness of life, to be protagonists of integral and inclusive development.
Fraternity, a gift and task that comes from God the Father, urges us to be in solidarity against inequality and poverty that undermine the social fabric, to take care of every person, especially the weakest and most defenceless, to love him or her as oneself, with the very heart of Jesus Christ.
In a world that is constantly growing more interdependent, the good of fraternity is one that we cannot do without. It serves to defeat the spread of the globalization of indifference to which Pope Francis has frequently referred. The globalization of indifference must give way to a globalization of fraternity.
Fraternity should leave its mark on every aspect of life, including the economy, finance, civil society, politics, research, development, public and cultural institutions.
At the start of his ministry, Pope Francis issues a message in continuity with that of his predecessors, which proposes to everyone the pathway of fraternity, in order to give the world a more human face.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 31 July 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Ljubljana, Slovenia, presented by Archbishop Anton Stres, C.M., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Maribor, Slovenia, presented by Archbishop Marjan Turnsek, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Bishop Frank Joseph Caggiano as bishop of Bridgeport (area 1,621, population 955,000, Catholics 479,000, priests 272, permanent deacons 103, religious 362), U.S.A. Bishop Caggiano, previously auxiliary of Brooklyn, U.S.A., was born in Brooklyn, U.S.A. in 1959, was ordained to the priesthood in 1987, and received episcopal ordination in 2006.

CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR PRAYERS FOR PEACE IN ZIMBABWE AFRICA

CISA NEWS REPORT
ZIMBABWE
HARARE, July 30, 2013 (CISA) -Church leaders in Zimbabwe have asked Christians around the world to pray for their country, and called for there to be no violence ahead of elections taking place on July 31.
The ecumenical Zimbabwean Council of Churches (ZCC) has written an open letter requesting that political leaders avoid the bloodshed which marred elections in 2008.
“Men and women of faith should play a positive role in maintaining sanity in all political processes. We must avoid bloodshed, abductions and other forms of violence that characterized the June 2008 elections,” they said.
“Today the nation of Zimbabwe is at cross-roads; a decisive moment, commonly called Kairos in theological terms, when God’s people are faced with making life changing choices as they seek God’s guidance.
“Our prayer is that even those who suffered this trauma will still see the value of voting. Our campaign must instill confidence to people who are living in fear because of memories of the last elections.”
The church leaders express concerns regarding attempts to divide churches for political gain, with some faith leaders being forced to attend political meetings. Other fears raised include state owned media bias, human rights violations, and the increasing difficulty for women and young people trying to vote or engage in the political process.
The ZCC, which works with Christian Aid to prevent violence and promote peace, also asked Christians to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and remember them in their prayers. ‘We call on the entire Church in the region and the world to pray for peace, to be prophetic and exercise its pastoral responsibility and solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.’
They added: “When the time comes, let us pray first, and then go to the polls, hoping and trusting God to use that process to choose the next generation of leaders and government.
“Zimbabwe needs God fearing and peace-loving leaders: not corrupt and evil rulers.”
Christian Aid’s Country Manager for Zimbabwe, Miriam Machaya, confirmed that tensions are running high. “We are looking forward to a free, fair and credible election, but we also getting increasingly engulfed by a growing sense of worry and trepidation emanating from the poor management of recent electoral processes.
“Thousands of potential voters, especially young people in the cities, have been disfranchised through failure to register as voters. This has created a mass of discontented young people.
“A reasonably free, conclusive vote is now in doubt with an increased possibility of another disputed poll. Christian Aid is therefore appealing for your thoughts and prayers for a peaceful, credible and fair election in Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe’s July 31 elections show the determination of Robert Mugabe to extend his 33 year rule of the southern African country and the challenge from former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS 

NEW PERINATAL PALLIATIVE CARE FOR BABIES IN AUSTRALIA

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
1 Aug 2013
The birth of a baby is joyous but tragically for some parents it is a time of grief
Approximately 1200 infants across Australia die before their first birthday, most in the first precious few days or weeks of life. Many others are still born. But for the majority of these babies and their distraught families there is a lack of palliative care or support.
This week Dr Dominic Wilkinson, Associate Professor of Neonatal Medicine and Bioethics at the University of Adelaide issued an urgent call for Australia to address the lack of palliative care available for babies who die in the womb or in the days or weeks following their birth.
"There is a need to acknowledge palliative care is important for foetuses and newborn infants with life-limiting illnesses, just as there is at any other age," he said in an article for the prestigious on-line academic journal, The Conversation since reprinted in many mainstream outlets.
Palliative care for babies and their families may not yet be widely available in Australia but once again, Catholic hospitals and Catholic perinatal health care centres are leading the way.
Just as the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Charity founded Australia's first hospices and helped establish the first specialist palliative care teams for the terminally ill, for the past several years the Mater Mothers' Private and Public Hospitals in Brisbane and Melbourne's Mercy Hospital for Women have provided in-house Specialist Perinatal Palliative Care. Calvary hospitals and health care centres in NSW, Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia also offer perinatal palliative care with specialist palliative care services available if or when required.
In addition, St John of God's Raphael Centres in NSW, Victoria and WA also offer support, counselling and pastoral care for families to deal with their loss or with the emotional turmoil of receiving a terminal or life-limiting diagnosis either during pregnancy or after the birth of their child.
But perhaps the most innovative support for families no matter where they live is the first of its kind Perinatal Palliative Care online website established by Catholic Health Australia.
Holy Innocents crypt for still born babies inside the doors of the Catholic Mausoleum of Resurrection at Rookwood Cemetery
Celebrating its first anniversary this month the website gives guidance, support, counselling and comfort, important resources as well as links to hospitals and palliative care services across the country. The website pnpc.org.au also provides a chance for families to share their grief and the roller coaster of emotions they are experiencing with families who have experienced the same bittersweet journey.
"Through this project we have been able to hear from parents who have made the decision to continue with a pregnancy knowing the baby may not live and share the joys and sorrows the experience has created for them," says Martin Laverty, CEO of Catholic Health Australia.
The website not only includes first-person video-stories from parents and families who have gone through the heartbreak of losing a child in the first year of life but offers advice and counselling via video from clinicians, obstetricians, fetal medical care specialists as well as some of Australia's leading perinatal palliative care specialists.
Developed by CHA in collaboration with Catholic Hospitals such as Mater Mothers in Brisbane, the Mercy Hospital for Women and Calvary Healthcare the site includes interviews with families who have turned to perinatal palliative care and how this helped them find comfort during their beloved infant's all-too-brief life.
Developed less than 40 years ago, palliative care is a relatively new medical specialty and grew out of the long tradition of hospice care of the dying.
As with hospices, palliative care provides the terminally ill with comfort and relief from pain and symptoms. In addition palliative care which also looks after those with complex life-limiting conditions, offers a multi-disciplined approach that addresses the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of the very ill or those in the final stages of life, as well as giving support and help for families before and after their loss.
Just as Australia's leading Catholic hospitals both public and private have helped lead the way in perinatal palliative care, the Archdiocese of Sydney has led the way in not only acknowledging how devastating the loss of an unborn child can be, but in 2009 in conjunction with the Catholic Cemeteries Board set aside a special crypt at Rookwood Cemetery as a final resting place for stillborn infants.
Every moment with a baby is valuable even if such time is brief
Offering free interment and a permanent memorial for the cremated remains of stillborn babies, Holy Innocents as the consecrated area inside the glass doors of the Catholic Mausoleum of the Resurrection is known, the niches of the stillborn infants interred here are each engraved with the name of the baby and the date of their death.
By offering interment free, young couples are saved thousands of dollars but more importantly have a permanent memorial and acknowledgement of the preciousness and love they felt for their unborn baby.
"Most young parents who suffer the tragedy of a stillborn infant don't have their own burial plot or financial resources to buy one," the former CEO of the Catholic Cemeteries Board, Michael McMahon whose idea it was to establish the Holy Innocents crypt are seeing a similar scheme in operation in the US.
"Still births have always created a dilemma for parents and frequently the depth of grief felt after the death of a baby before or shortly after birth is not fully appreciated by friends or family and parents, in the midst of trying to come to terms with their loss, are faced with the added stress of trying to work out what to do with the remains," he explained of the Board's important new initiative in 2009.
For families needing help, comfort, pastoral care, resources and emotional support for their infants and for themselves, log on to Catholic Health Australia's peri-natal palliative care website at www.pnpc.org.au. To find out more about the Holy Innocents crypt for stillborn babies at Rookwood Cemetery contact the Catholic Cemeteries Board at http://www.catholiccemeteries.org.au/
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

RIP DR. MICHAEL WHELAN CHAIR OF FRIENDS OF THE HOLY LAND

IND. CATH. NEWS

Dr Michael Whelan, Chair of Friends of the Holy Land has died | Dr Michael Whelan, Friends of the Holy Land

Michael F Whelan KSG, KGCHS
Peter Rand, National Vice-Chairman of Friends of the Holy Land wrote on 1 August: It is with great sadness that I inform you that our dear Chairman, Michael, died at home yesterday morning, peacefully with Norah by his side. He finally lost the battle against his throat cancer after a long period of treatment, which he bore in his usual stalwart way, without any complaint. He was always ready to accept ‘whatever was in Our Lord’s plan’ -  a wonderful example to us all.
Please remember Michael in your prayers, along with Norah, his children, Tricia, Michael and Rachel plus his grandchildren and extended family. Next Monday was to be Michael and Norah’s Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Michael was one of the founding Trustees and the inspiration behind the FHL in the last four years. It was his commitment and leadership that encouraged so many to support the Christians in the Holy Land. We must now continue to build on his legacy.
God Bless you all at the sad time. Let us treasure the memories.

Details of the funeral arrangements will be circulated when known.
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

TODAY'S SAINT: AUG. 1: ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI


St. Alphonsus Liguori
BISHOP, FOUNDER, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: August 1


Information:
Feast Day:August 1
Born:September 27, 1696, Marianella, Campania, Kingdom of Naples (now modern-day Italy)
Died:August 1, 1787, Pagani, Italy
Canonized:May 26, 1839, Rome, Italy by Pope Gregory XVI
Patron of:arthritis, confessors, moralists, theologians, vocations; Naples (co-patron)
Born at Marianella, near Naples, 27 September, 1696; died at Nocera de' Pagani, 1 August, 1787. The eighteenth century was not an age remarkable for depth of spiritual life, yet it produced three of the greatest missionaries of the Church, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Paul of the Cross, and St. Alphonsus Liguori. Alphonsus Mary Antony John Cosmas Damian Michael Gaspard de' Liguori was born in his father's country house at Marianella near Naples, on Tuesday, 27 September, 1696. He was baptized two days later in the church of Our Lady of the Virgins, in Naples. The family was an old and noble one, though the branch to which the Saint belonged had become somewhat impoverished. Alphonsus's father, Don Joseph de Liguori was a naval officer and Captain of the Royal Galleys. The Saint's mother was of Spanish descent, and if, as there can be little doubt, race is an element in individual character, we may see in Alphonsus's Spanish blood some explanation of the enormous tenacity of purpose which distinguished him from his earliest years. "I know his obstinacy", his father said of him as a young man; "when he once makes up his mind he is inflexible". Not many details have come down to us of Alphonsus's childhood. He was the eldest of seven children and the hope of his house. The boy was bright and quick beyond his years, and made great progress in all kinds of learning. In addition his father made him practice the harpsichord for three hours a day, and at the age of thirteen he played with the perfection of a master. Riding and fencing were his recreations, and an evening game of cards; he tells us that he was debarred from being a good shot by his bad sight. In early manhood he became very fond of the opera, but only that he might listen to the music, for when the curtain went up he took his glasses off, so as not to see the players distinctly. The Neapolitan stage at this time was in a good state, but the Saint had from his earliest years an ascetic repugnance to theatres, a repugnance which he never lost. The childish fault for which he most reproached himself in after-life was resisting his father too strongly when he was told to take part in a drawing-room play. Alphonsus was not sent to school but was educated by tutors under his father's eye. At the age of sixteen, on 21 January, 1713, he took his degree as Doctor of Laws, although twenty was the age fixed by the statutes. He said himself that he was so small at the time as to be almost buried in his doctor's gown and that all the spectators laughed. Soon after this the boy began his studies for the Bar, and about the age of nineteen practised his profession in the courts. In the eight years of his career as advocate, years crowded with work, he is said never to have lost a case. Even if there be some exaggeration in this, for it is not in an advocate's power always to be on the winning side, the tradition shows that he was extraordinarily able and successful. In fact, despite his youth, he seems at the age of twenty-seven to have been one of the leaders of the Neapolitan Bar.
Alphonsus, like so many saints, had an excellent father and a saintly mother. Don Joseph de' Liguori had his faults. He was somewhat worldly and ambitious, at any rate for his son, and was rough tempered when opposed. But he was a man of genuine faith and piety and stainless life, and he meant his son to be the same. Even when taking him into society in order to arrange a good marriage for him, he wished Alphonsus to put God first, and every year father and son would make a retreat together in some religious house. Alphonsus, assisted by divine grace, did not disappoint his father's care. A pure and modest boyhood passed into a manhood without reproach. A companion, Balthasar Cito, who afterwards became a distinguished judge, was asked in later years if Alphonsus had ever shown signs of levity in his youth. He answered emphatically: "Never! It would be a sacrilege to say otherwise." The Saint's confessor declared that he preserved his baptismal innocence till death. Still there was a time of danger. There can be little doubt but that the young Alphonsus with his high spirits and strong character was ardently attached to his profession, and on the way to be spoilt by the success and popularity which it brought. About the year 1722, when he was twenty-six years old, he began to go constantly into society, to neglect prayer and the practices of piety which had been an integral part of his life, and to take pleasure in the attention with which he was everywhere received. "Banquets, entertainments, theatres," he wrote later on—"these are the pleasures of the world, but pleasures which are filled with the bitterness of gall and sharp thorns. Believe me who have experienced it, and now weep over it." In all this there was no serious sin, but there was no high sanctity either, and God, Who wished His servant to be a saint and a great saint, was now to make him take the road to Damascus. In 1723 there was a lawsuit in the courts between a Neapolitan nobleman, whose name has not come down to us, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in which property valued at 500,000 ducats, that to say, $500,000 or 100,000 pounds, was at stake. Alphonsus was one of the leading counsel; we do not know on which side. When the day came the future Saint made a brilliant opening speech and sat down confident of victory. But before he called a witness the opposing counsel said to him in chilling tones: "Your arguments are wasted breath. You have overlooked a document which destroys your whole case." "What document is that?" said Alphonsus somewhat piqued. "Let us have it." A piece of evidence was handed to him which he had read and re-read many times, but always in a sense the exact contrary of that which he now saw it to have. The poor advocate turned pale. He remained thunderstruck for a moment; then said in a broken voice: "You are right. I have been mistaken. This document gives you the case." In vain those around him and even the judge on the bench tried to console him. He was crushed to the earth. He thought his mistake would be ascribed not to oversight but to deliberate deceit. He felt as if his career was ruined, and left the court almost beside himself, saying: "World, I know you now. Courts, you shall never see me more." For three days he refused all food. Then the storm subsided, and he began to see that his humiliation had been sent him by God to break down his pride and wean him from the world. Confident that some special sacrifice was required of him, though he did not yet know what, he did not return to his profession, but spent his days in prayer, seeking to know God's will. After a short interval—we do not know exactly how long—the answer came. On 28 August, 1723, the young advocate had gone to perform a favourite act of charity by visiting the sick in the Hospital for Incurables. Suddenly he found himself surrounded by a mysterious light; the house seemed to rock, and an interior voice said: "Leave the world and give thyself to Me." This occurred twice. Alphonsus left the Hospital and went to the church of the Redemption of Captives. Here he laid his sword before the statue of Our Lady, and made a solemn resolution to enter the ecclesiastical state, and furthermore to offer himself as a novice to the Fathers of the Oratory. He knew that trials were before him. His father, already displeased at the failure of two plans for his son's marriage, and exasperated at Alphonsus's present neglect of his profession, was likely to offer a strenuous opposition to his leaving the world. So indeed it proved. He had to endure a real persecution for two months. In the end a compromise was arrived at. Don Joseph agreed to allow his son to become a priest, provided he would give up his proposal joining the Oratory, and would continue to live at home. To this Alphonsus by the advice of his director, Father Thomas Pagano, himself an Oratorian, agreed. Thus was he left free for his real work, the founding of a new religious congregation. On 23 October of the same year, 1723, the Saint put on the clerical dress. In September of the next year he received the tonsure and soon after joined the association of missionary secular priests called the "Neapolitan Propaganda", membership of which did not entail residence in common. In December, 1724, he received minor orders, and the sub-diaconate in September, 1725. On 6 April, 1726, he was ordained deacon, and soon after preached his first sermon. On 21 December of the same year, at the age of thirty, he was ordained priest. For six years he laboured in and around Naples, giving missions for the Propaganda and preaching to the lazzaroni of the capital. With the aid of two laymen, Peter Barbarese, a schoolmaster, and Nardone, an old soldier, both of whom he converted from an evil life, he enrolled thousands of lazzaroni in a sort of confraternity called the "Association of the Chapels", which exists to this day. Then God called him to his life work.
In April 1729, the Apostle of China, Matthew Ripa, founded a missionary college in Naples, which became known colloquially as the "Chinese College". A few months later Alphonsus left his father's house and went to live with Ripa, without, however, becoming a member of his society. In his new abode he met a friend of his host's, Father Thomas Falcoia, of the Congregation of the "Pii Operarii" (Pious Workers), and formed with him the great friendship of his life. There was a considerable difference in age between the two men, for Falcoia, born in 1663, was now sixty-six, and Alphonsus only thirty-three, but the old priest and the young had kindred souls. Many years before, in Rome, Falcoia had been shown a vision of a new religious family of men and women whose particular aim should be the perfect imitation of the virtues of Our Lord. He had even tried to form a branch of the Institute by uniting twelve priests in a common life at Tarentum, but the community soon broke up. In 1719, together with a Father Filangieri, also one of the "Pii Operarii", he had refounded a Conservatorium of religious women at Scala on the mountains behind Amalfi. But as he drew up a rule for them, formed from that of the Visitation nuns, he does not seem to have had any clear idea of establishing the new institute of his vision. God, however, intended the new institute to begin with these nuns of Scala. In 1724, soon after Alphonsus left the world, a postulant, Julia Crostarosa, born in Naples on 31 October, 1696, and hence almost the same age as the Saint, entered the convent of Scala. She became known in religion as Sister Maria Celeste. In 1725, while still a novice, she had a series of visions in which she saw a new order (apparently of nuns only) similar to that revealed to Falcoia many years before. Even its Rule was made known to her. She was told to write it down and show it to the director of the convent, that is to Falcoia himself. While affecting to treat the novice with severity and to take no notice of her visions, the director was surprised to find that the Rule which she had written down was a realization of what had been so long in his mind. He submitted the new Rule to a number of theologians, who approved of it, and said it might be adopted in the convent of Scala, provided the community would accept it. But when the question was put to the community, opposition began. Most were in favour of accepting, but the superior objected and appealed to Filangieri, Falcoia's colleague in establishing the convent, and now, as General of the "Pii Operarii", his superior. Filangieri forbade any change of rule and removed Falcoia from all communication with the convent. Matters remained thus for some years. About 1729, however, Filangieri died, and on 8 October, 1730, Falcoia was consecrated Bishop of Castellamare. He was now free, subject to the approval of the Bishop of Scala, to act with regard to the convent as he thought best. It happened that Alphonsus, ill and overworked, had gone with some companions to Scala in the early summer of 1730. Unable to be idle, he had preached to the goatherds of the mountains with such success that Nicolas Guerriero, Bishop of Scala, begged him to return and give a retreat in his cathedral. Falcoia, hearing of this, begged his friend to give a retreat to the nuns of his Conservatorium at the same time. Alphonsus agreed to both requests and set out with his two friends, John Mazzini and Vincent Mannarini, in September, 1730. The result of the retreat to the nuns was that the young priest, who before had been prejudiced by reports in Naples against the proposed new Rule, became its firm supporter, and even obtained permission from the Bishop of Scala for the change. In 1731, the convent unanimously adopted the new Rule, together with a habit of red and blue, the traditional colours of Our Lord's own dress. One branch of the new Institute seen by Falcoia in vision was thus established. The other was not to be long delayed. No doubt Thomas Falcoia had for some time hoped that the ardent young priest, who was so devoted to him, might, under his direction, be the founder of the new Order he had at heart. a fresh vision of Sister Maria Celeste seemed to show that such was the will of God. On 3 October, 1731, the eve of the feast of St. Francis, she saw Our Lord with St. Francis on His right hand and a priest on His left. A voice said "This is he whom I have chosen to be head of My Institute, the Prefect General of a new Congregation of men who shall work for My glory." The priest was Alphonsus. Soon after, Falcoia made known to the latter his vocation to leave Naples and establish an order of missionaries at Scala, who should work above all for the neglected goatherds of the mountains. A year of trouble and anxiety followed. The Superior of the Propaganda and even Falcoia's friend, Matthew Ripa, opposed the project with all their might. But Alphonsus's director, Father Pagano; Father Fiorillo, a great Dominican preacher; Father Manulio, Provincial of the Jesuits; and Vincent Cutica, Superior of the Vincentians, supported the young priest, and, 9 November, 1732, the "Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer", or as it was called for seventeen years, "of the Most Holy Saviour", was begun in a little hospice belonging to the nuns of Scala. Though St. Alphonsus was founder and de facto head of the Institute, its general direction in the beginning, as well as the direction of Alphonsus's conscience, was undertaken by the Bishop of Castellamare and it was not till the latter's death, 20 April, 1743, that a general chapter was held and the Saint was formally elected Superior-General. In fact, in the beginning, the young priest in his humility would not be Superior even of the house, judging one of his companions, John Baptist Donato, better fitted for the post because he had already had some experience of community life in another institute.
The early years, following the founding of the new order, were not promising. Dissensions arose, the Saint's former friend and chief companion, Vincent Mannarini, opposing him and Falcoia in everything. On 1 April, 1733, all the companions of Alphonsus except one lay brother, Vitus Curtius, abandoned him, and founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, which, confined to the Kingdom of Naples, was extinguished in 1860 by the Italian Revolution. The dissensions even spread to the nuns, and Sister Maria Celeste herself left Scala and founded a convent at Foggia, where she died in the odour of sanctity, 14 September, 1755. She was declared Venerable 11 August, 1901. Alphonsus, however, stood firm; soon other companions arrived, and though Scala itself was given up by the Fathers in 1738, by 1746 the new Congregation had four houses at Nocera de' Pagani, Ciorani, Iliceto (now Deliceto), and Caposele, all in the Kingdom of Naples. In 1749, the Rule and Institute of men were approved by Pope Benedict XIV, and in 1750, the Rule and Institute of the nuns. Alphonsus was lawyer, founder, religious superior, bishop, theologian, and mystic, but he was above all a missionary, and no true biography of the Saint will neglect to give this due prominence. From 1726 to 1752, first as a member of the Neapolitan "Propaganda", and then as a leader of his own Fathers, he traversed the provinces of Naples for the greater part of each year giving missions even in the smallest villages and saving many souls. a special feature of his method was the return of the missionaries, after an interval of some months, to the scene of their labours to consolidate their work by what was called the "renewal of a mission." After 1752 Alphonsus gave fewer missions. His infirmities were increasing, and he was occupied a good deal with his writings. His promotion to the episcopate in 1762 led to a renewal of his missionary activity, but in a slightly different form. The Saint had four houses, but during his lifetime it not only became impossible in the Kingdom of Naples to get any more, but even the barest toleration for those he had could scarcely be obtained. The cause of this was "regalism", the omnipotence of kings even in matters spiritual, which was the system of government in Naples as in all the Bourbon States. The immediate author of what was practically a lifelong persecution of the Saint was the Marquis Tanucci, who entered Naples in 1734. Naples had been part of the dominions of Spain since 1503, but in 1708 when Alphonsus was twelve years old, it was conquered by Austria during the war of the Spanish Succession. In 1734, however, it was reconquered by Don Carlos, the young Duke of Parma, great-grandson of Louis XIV, and the independent Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was established. With Don Carlos, or as he is generally called, Charles III, from his later title as King of Spain, came the lawyer, Bernard Tanucci, who governed Naples as Prime Minister and regent for the next forty-two years. This was to be a momentous revolution for Alphonsus. Had it happened a few years later, the new Government might have found the Redemptorist Congregation already authorized, and as Tanucci's anti-clerical policy rather showed itself in forbidding new Orders than, with the exception of the Society of Jesus, in suppressing old ones, the Saint might have been free to develop his work in comparative peace. As it was, he was refused the royal exequatur to the Brief of Benedict XIV, and State recognition of his Institute as a religious congregation till the day of his death. There were whole years, indeed, in which the Institute seemed on the verge of summary suppression. The suffering which this brought on Alphonsus, with his sensitive and high-strung disposition, was very great, besides what was worse, the relaxation of discipline and loss of vocations which it caused in the Order itself. Alphonsus, however, was unflagging in his efforts with the Court. It may be he was even too anxious, and on one occasion when he was over-whelmed by a fresh refusal, his friend the Marquis Brancone, Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs and a man of deep piety, said to him gently: "It would seem as if you placed all your trust here below"; on which the Saint recovered his peace of mind. A final attempt to gain the royal approval, which seemed as if at last it had been successful, led to the crowning sorrow of Alphonsus's life: the division and apparent ruin of his Congregation and the displeasure of the Holy See. This was in 1780, when Alphonsus was eighty-three years old. But, before relating the episode of the "Regolamento", as it is called, we must speak of the period of the Saint's episcopate which intervened.
In the year 1747, King Charles of Naples wished to make Alphonsus Archbishop of Palermo, and it was only by the most earnest entreaties that he was able to escape. In 1762, there was no escape and he was constrained by formal obedience to the Pope to accept the Bishopric of St. Agatha of the Goths, a very small Neapolitan diocese lying a few miles off the road from Naples to Capua. Here with 30,000 uninstructed people, 400 mostly indifferent and sometimes scandalous secular clergy, and seventeen more or less relaxed religious houses to look after, in a field so overgrown with weeds that they seemed the only crop, he wept and prayed and spent days and nights in unremitting labour for thirteen years. More than once he faced assassination unmoved. In a riot which took place during the terrible famine that fell upon Southern Italy in 1764, he saved the life of the syndic of St. Agatha by offering his own to the mob. He fed the poor, instructed the ignorant, reorganized his seminary, reformed his convents, created a new spirit in his clergy, banished scandalous noblemen and women of evil life with equal impartiality, brought the study of theology and especially of moral theology into honour, and all the time was begging pope after pope to let him resign his office because he was doing nothing for his diocese. To all his administrative work we must add his continual literary labours, his many hours of daily prayer, his terrible austerities, and a stress of illness which made his life a martyrdom. Eight times during his long life, without counting his last sickness, the Saint received the sacraments of the dying, but the worst of all his illnesses was a terrible attack of rheumatic fever during his episcopate, an attack which lasted from May, 1768, to June, 1769, and left him paralyzed to the end of his days. It was this which gave St. Alphonsus the bent head which we notice in the portraits of him. So bent was it in the beginning, that the pressure of his chin produced a dangerous wound in the chest. Although the doctors succeeded in straightening the neck a little, the Saint for the rest of his life had to drink at meals through a tube. He could never have said Mass again had not an Augustinian prior shown him how to support himself on a chair so that with the assistance of an acolyte he could raise the chalice to his lips. But in spite of his infirmities both Clement XIII (1758-69) and Clement XIV (1769-74) obliged Alphonsus to remain at his post. In February, 1775, however, Pius VI was elected Pope, and the following May he permitted the Saint to resign his see.
Alphonsus returned to his little cell at Nocera in July, 1775, to prepare, as he thought, for a speedy and happy death. Twelve years, however, still separated him from his reward, years for the most part not of peace but of greater afflictions than any which had yet befallen him. By 1777, the Saint, in addition to four houses in Naples and one in Sicily, had four others at Scifelli, Frosinone, St. Angelo a Cupclo, and Beneventum, in the States of the Church. In case things became hopeless in Naples, he looked to these houses to maintain the Rule and Institute. In 1780, a crisis arose in which they did this, yet in such a way as to bring division in the Congregation and extreme suffering and disgrace upon its founder. The crisis arose in this way. From the year 1759 two former benefactors of the Congregation, Baron Sarnelli and Francis Maffei, by one of those changes not uncommon in Naples, had become its bitter enemies, and waged a vendetta against it in the law courts which lasted for twenty-four years. Sarnelli was almost openly supported by the all-powerful Tanucci, and the suppression of the Congregation at last seemed a matter of days, when on 26 October, 1776, Tanucci, who had offended Queen Maria Carolina, suddenly fell from power. Under the government of the Marquis della Sambuca, who, though a great regalist, was a personal friend of the Saint's, there was promise of better times, and in August, 1779, Alphonsus's hopes were raised by the publication of a royal decree allowing him to appoint superiors in his Congregation and to have a novitiate and house of studies. The Government throughout had recognized the good effect of his missions, but it wished the missionaries to be secular priests and not a religious order. The Decree of 1779, however, seemed a great step in advance. Alphonsus, having got so much, hoped to get a little more, and through his friend, Mgr. Testa, the Grand Almoner, even to have his Rule approved. He did not, as in the past, ask for an exequatur to the Brief of Benedict XIV, for relations at the time were more strained than ever between the Courts of Rome and Naples; but he hoped the king might give an independent sanction to his Rule, provided he waived all legal right to hold property in common, which he was quite prepared to do. It was all-important to the Fathers to be able to rebut the charge of being an illegal religious congregation, which was one of the chief allegations in the ever-adjourned and ever-impending action by Baron Sarnelli. Perhaps in any case the submission of their Rule to a suspicious and even hostile civil power was a mistake. At all events, it proved disastrous in the result. Alphonsus being so old and so inform—he was eighty-five, crippled, deaf, and nearly blind—his one chance of success was to be faithfully served by friends and subordinates, and he was betrayed at every turn. His friend the Grand Almoner betrayed him; his two envoys for negotiating with the Grand Almoner, Fathers Majone and Cimino, betrayed him, consultors general though they were. His very confessor and vicar general in the government of his Order, Father Andrew Villani, joined in the conspiracy. In the end the Rule was so altered as to be hardly recognizable, the very vows of religion being abolished. To this altered Rule or "Regolamento", as it came to be called, the unsuspecting Saint was induced to put his signature. It was approved by the king and forced upon the stupefied Congregation by the whole power of the State. a fearful commotion arose. Alphonsus himself was not spared. Vague rumours of impending treachery had got about and had been made known to him, but he had refused to believe them. "You have founded the Congregation and you have destroyed it", said one Father to him. The Saint only wept in silence and tried in vain to devise some means by which his Order might be saved. His best plan would have been to consult the Holy See, but in this he had been forestalled. The Fathers in the Papal States, with too precipitate zeal, in the very beginning denounced the change of Rule to Rome. Pius VI, already deeply displeased with the Neapolitan Government, took the fathers in his own dominions under his special protection, forbade all change of rule in their houses, and even withdrew them from obedience to the Neapolitan superiors, that is to St. Alphonsus, till an inquiry could be held. A long process followed in the Court of Rome, and on 22 September, 1780, a provisional Decree, which on 24 August, 1781, was made absolute, recognized the houses in the Papal States as alone constituting the Redemptorist Congregation. Father Francis de Paula, one of the chief appellants, was appointed their Superior General, "in place of those", so the brief ran, "who being higher superiors of the said Congregation have with their followers adopted a new system essentially different from the old, and have deserted the Institute in which they were professed, and have thereby ceased to be members of the Congregation." So the Saint was cut off from his own Order by the Pope who was to declare him "Venerable". In this state of exclusion he lived for seven years more and in it he died. It was only after his death, as he had prophesied, that the Neapolitan Government at last recognized the original Rule, and that the Redemptorist Congregation was reunited under one head (1793).
Alphonsus had still one final storm to meet, and then the end. About three years before his death he went through a veritable "Night of the Soul". Fearful temptations against every virtue crowded upon him, together with diabolical apparitions and illusions, and terrible scruples and impulses to despair which made life a hell. at last came peace, and on 1 August, 1787, as the midday Angelus was ringing, the Saint passed peacefully to his reward. He had nearly completed his ninety-first year. He was declared "Venerable", 4 May, 1796; was beatified in 1816, and canonized in 1839. In 1871, he was declared a Doctor of the Church. "Alphonsus was of middle height", says his first biographer, Tannoia; "his head was rather large, his hair black, and beard well-grown." He had a ;pleasant smile, and his conversation was very agreeable, yet he had great dignity of manner. He was a born leader of men. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady was extraordinary. He had a tender charity towards all who were in trouble; he would go to any length to try to save a vocation; he would expose himself to death to prevent sin. He had a love for the lower animals, and wild creatures who fled from all else would come to him as to a friend. Psychologically, Alphonsus may be classed among twice-born souls; that is to say, there was a definitely marked break or conversion, in his life, in which he turned, not from serious sin, for that he never committed, but from comparative worldliness, to thorough self-sacrifice for God. Alphonsus's temperament was very ardent. He was a man of strong passions, using the term in the philosophic sense, and tremendous energy, but from childhood his passions were under control. Yet, to take anger alone, though comparatively early in life he seemed dead to insult or injury which affected himself, in cases of cruelty, or of injustice to others, or of dishonour to God, he showed a prophet's indignation even in old age. Ultimately, however, anything merely human in this had disappeared. At the worst, it was only the scaffolding by which the temple of perfection was raised. Indeed, apart from those who become saints by the altogether special grace of martyrdom, it may be doubted if many men and women of phlegmatic temperament have been canonized. The differentia of saints is not faultlessness but driving-power, a driving-power exerted in generous self-sacrifice and ardent love of God. The impulse to this passionate service of God comes from Divine grace, but the soul must correspond (which is also a grace of God), and the soul of strong will and strong passions corresponds best. The difficulty about strong wills and strong passions is that they are hard to tame, but when they are tamed they are the raw material of sanctity.
Not less remarkable than the intensity with which Alphonsus worked is the amount of work he did. His perseverance was indomitable. He both made and kept a vow not to lose a single moment of time. He was helped in this by his turn of mind which was extremely practical. Though a good dogmatic theologian—a fact which has not been sufficiently recognized—he was not a metaphysician like the great scholastics. He was a lawyer, not only during his years at the Bar, but throughout his whole life—a lawyer, who to skilled advocacy and an enormous knowledge of practical detail added a wide and luminous hold of underlying principles. It was this which made him the prince of moral theologians, and gained him, when canonization made it possible, the title of "Doctor of the Church". This combination of practical common sense with extraordinary energy in administrative work ought to make Alphonsus, if he were better known, particularly attractive to the English-speaking nations, especially as he is so modern a saint. But we must not push resemblances too far. If in some things Alphonsus was an Anglo-Saxon, in others he was a Neapolitan of the Neapolitans, though always a saint. He often writes as a Neapolitan to Neapolitans. Were the vehement things in his letters and writings, especially in the matter of rebuke or complaint, to appraised as if uttered by an Anglo-Saxon in cold blood, we might be surprised and even shocked. Neapolitan students, in an animated but amicable discussion, seem to foreign eyes to be taking part in a violent quarrel. St. Alphonsus appeared a miracle of calm to Tannoia. Could he have been what an Anglo-Saxon would consider a miracle of calm, he would have seemed to his companions absolutely inhuman. The saints are not inhuman but real men of flesh and blood, however much some hagiographers may ignore the fact. While the continual intensity of reiterated acts of virtue which we have called driving—power is what really creates sanctity, there is another indispensable quality. The extreme difficulty of the lifelong work of fashioning a saint consists precisely in this, that every act of virtue the saint performs goes to strengthen his character, that is, his will. On the other hand, ever since the Fall of Man, the will of man has been his greatest danger. It has a tendency at every moment to deflect, and if it does deflect from the right path, the greater the momentum the more terrible the final crash. Now the saint has a very great momentum indeed, and a spoiled saint is often a great villain. To prevent the ship going to pieces on the rocks, it has need of a very responsive rudder, answering to the slightest pressure of Divine guidance. The rudder is humility, which, in the intellect, is a realization of our own unworthiness, and in the will, docility to right guidance. But how was Alphonsus to grow in this so necessary virtue when he was in authority nearly all his life? The answer is that God kept him humble by interior trials. From his earliest years he had an anxious fear about committing sin which passed at times into scruple. He who ruled and directed others so wisely, had, where his own soul was concerned, to depend on obedience like a little child. To supplement this, God allowed him in the last years of his life to fall into disgrace with the pope, and to find himself deprived of all external authority, trembling at times even for his eternal salvation. St. Alphonsus does not offer as much directly to the student of mystical theology as do some contemplative saints who have led more retired lives. Unfortunately, he was not obliged by his confessor, in virtue of holy obedience, as St. Teresa was, to write down his states of prayer; so we do not know precisely what they were. The prayer he recommended to his Congregation, of which we have beautiful examples in his ascetical works, is affective; the use of short aspirations, petitions, and acts of love, rather than discursive meditation with long reflection. His own prayer was perhaps for the most part what some call "active", others "ordinary", contemplation. Of extraordinary passive states, such as rapture, there are not many instances recorded in his life, though there are some. At three different times in his missions, while preaching, a ray of light from a picture of Our Lady darted towards him, and he fell into an ecstasy before the people. In old age he was more than once raised in the air when speaking of God. His intercession healed the sick; he read the secrets of hearts, and foretold the future. He fell into a clairvoyant trance at Arienzo on 21 September, 1774, and was present in spirit at the death-bed in Rome of Pope Clement XIV.
It was comparatively late in life that Alphonsus became a writer. If we except a few poems published in 1733 (the Saint was born in 1696), his first work, a tiny volume called "Visits to the Blessed Sacrament", only appeared in 1744 or 1745, when he was nearly fifty years old. Three years later he published the first sketch of his "Moral Theology" in a single quarto volume called "Annotations to Busembaum", a celebrated Jesuit moral theologian. He spent the next few years in recasting this work, and in 1753 appeared the first volume of the "Theologia Moralis", the second volume, dedicated to Benedict XIV, following in 1755. Nine editions of the "Moral Theology" appeared in the Saint's life-time, those of 1748, 1753-1755, 1757, 1760, 1763, 1767, 1773, 1779, and 1785, the "Annotations to Busembaum" counting as the first. In the second edition the work received the definite form it has since retained, though in later issues the Saint retracted a number of opinions, corrected minor ones, and worked at the statement of his theory of Equiprobabilism till at last he considered it complete. In addition, he published many editions of compendiums of his larger work, such as the "Homo Apostolicus", made in 1759. The "Moral Theology", after a historical introduction by the Saint's friend, P. Zaccaria, S.J., which was omitted, however, from the eighth and ninth editions, begins with a treatise "De Conscientia", followed by one "De Legibus". These form the first book of the work, while the second contains the treatises on Faith, Hope, and Charity. The third book deals with the Ten Commandments, the fourth with the monastic and clerical states, and the duties of judges, advocates, doctors, merchants, and others. The fifth book has two treatises "De Actibus Humanis" and "De Peccatis"; the sixth is on the sacraments, the seventh and last on the censures of the Church.
St. Alphonsus as a moral theologian occupies the golden mean between the schools tending either to laxity or to rigour which divided the theological world of his time. When he was preparing for the priesthood in Naples, his masters were of the rigid school, for though the center of Jansenistic disturbance was in northern Europe, no shore was so remote as not to feel the ripple of its waves. When the Saint began to hear confessions, however, he soon saw the harm done by rigorism, and for the rest of his life he inclined more to the mild school of the Jesuit theologians, whom he calls "the masters of morals". St. Alphonsus, however, did not in all things follow their teaching, especially on one point much debated in the schools; namely, whether we may in practice follow an opinion which denies a moral obligation, when the opinion which affirms a moral obligation seems to us to be altogether more probable. This is the great question of "Probabilism". St. Alphonsus, after publishing anonymously (in 1749 and 1755) two treatises advocating the right to follow the less probably opinion, in the end decided against that lawfulness, and in case of doubt only allowed freedom from obligation where the opinions for and against the law were equal or nearly equal. He called his system Equiprobabilism. It is true that theologians even of the broadest school are agreed that, when an opinion in favour of the law is so much more probable as to amount practically to moral certainty, the less probable opinion cannot be followed, and some have supposed that St. Alphonsus meant no more than this by his terminology. according to this view he chose a different formula from the Jesuit writers, partly because he thought his own terms more exact, and, partly to save his teaching and his congregation as far as possible from the State persecution which after 1764 had already fallen so heavily on the Society of Jesus, and in 1773 was formally to suppress it. It is a matter for friendly controversy, but it seems there was a real difference, though not as great in practice as is supposed, between the Saint's later teaching and that current in the Society. Alphonsus was a lawyer, and as a lawyer he attached much importance to the weight of evidence. In a civl action a serious preponderance of evidence gives one side the case. If civil courts could not decide against a defendant on greater probability, but had to wait, as a criminal court must wait, for moral certainty, many actions would never be decided at all. St. Alphonsus likened the conflict between law and liberty to a civil action in which the law has the onus pro-bandi, although greater probabilities give it a verdict. Pure probabilism likens it to a criminal trial, in which the jury must find in favour of liberty (the prisoner at the bar) if any single reasonable doubt whatever remain in its favour. Furthermore, St. Alphonsus was a great theologian, and so attached much weight to intrinsic probability. He was not afraid of making up his mind. "I follow my conscience", he wrote in 1764, "and when reason persuades me I make little account of moralists." To follow an opinion in favour of liberty without weighing it, merely because it is held by someone else would have seemed to Alphonsus an abdication of the judicial office with which as a confessor he was invested. Still it must in fairness be admitted that all priests are not great theologians able to estimate intrinsic probability at its true worth, and the Church herself might be held to have conceded something to pure probabilism by the unprecedented honours she paid to the Saint in her Decree of 22 July, 1831, which allows confessors to follow any of st. Alphonsus's own opinions without weighing the reasons on which they were based.
Besides his Moral Theology, the Saint wrote a large number of dogmatic and ascetical works nearly all in the vernacular. The "Glories of Mary", "The Selva", The True Spouse of Christ", "The Great Means of Prayer", "The Way of Salvation", "Opera Dogmatica, or History of the Council of Trent", and "Sermons for all the Sundays in the Year", are the best known. He was also a poet and musician. His hymns are justly celebrated in Italy. Quite recently, a duet composed by him, between the Soul and God, was found in the British Museum bearing the date 1760 and containing a correction in his own handwriting. Finally, St. Alphonsus was a wonderful letter-writer, and the mere salvage of his correspondence amounts to 1,451 letters, filling three large volumes. It is not necessary to notice certain non-Catholic attacks on Alphonsus as a patron of lying. St. Alphonsus was so scrupulous about truth that when, in 1776, the regalist, Mgr. Filingeri, was made Archbishop of Naples, the Saint would not write to congratulate the new primate, even at the risk of making another powerful enemy for his persecuted Congregation, because he thought he could not honestly say he "was glad to hear of the appointment." It will be remembered that even as a young man his chief distress at his breakdown in court was the fear that his mistake might be ascribed to deceit. The question as to what does or does not constitute a lie is not an easy one, but it is a subject in itself. Alphonsus said nothing in his "Moral Theology" which is not the common teaching of Catholic theologians


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stalphonsusliguori.asp#ixzz1TnaqzeSZ