Sunday, November 11, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : RELY ON GOD ALONE - FAITH AND CHARITY

Pope Benedict: The inseparable bond of faith and charity


Vatican Radio REPORT The faithful and visitors braved the wind and rain on Sunday to hear Pope Benedict XVI recite the Angelus prayer from the Papal Apartments overlooking St Peter’s Square. Looking down on a sea of people, the Holy Father as is traditional reflected on Sunday’s liturgy which focused on two widows who were models of faith.

The First Reading from the Book of Kings tells the story of a woman who despite being very poor gives the Prophet Elijah food and drink when she has hardly any for herself and her son. The Gospel Reading from St Mark shows the charity of a woman who puts all the money she has into the Treasury.
“In today’s Gospel, the poor widow gives everything she possesses to the Temple. May her unconditional offering inspire us to rely on God alone, while attributing to everything else its due place and proper worth.”
Pope Benedict explained that both widows in these Biblical stories provide us with a valuable lesson about faith. They give their trust entirely to God and are rewarded for it.

Widows and orphans, said the Pope are particularly special to God because they have lost the support of loved ones but God remains their spouse, or parent.

The Holy Father also noted that no one is so poor that they cannot donate something, These women, he said are examples of the inseparable bond of faith and charity.

Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer Pope Benedict recalled that November the 11th marks the Day of Thanksgiving in Italy saying that the day highlights the need to be rooted in faith and to acknowledge the providential hand of God who looks after his children

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH ST. BERNADETTE OF LOURDES - PART 3

In honor of the YEAR OF FAITH - JCE news will be showing some of the TOP Catholic movies of all time. Tune in for the next PART of St. Bernadette of Lourdes- tomorrow.
PART I http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2012/11/catholic-movies-watch-st-bernadette-of.html
PART II http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2012/11/catholic-movies-watch-st-bernadette-of_10.html

AMERICA : CONCEIVED IN RAPE - REBECCA KIESSLING - PRO-LIFE ADVOCATE

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Rebecca Kiessling’s Reply to Ann Coulter — Save The 1!
I knew this would happen! I predicted that Republican party apologists would blame Richard Mourdoch and Todd Akin’s losses on the fact that they are 100% pro-life, instead of acknowledging that the losses were due to how poorly they expressed their positions. And sure enough, the day after the election, Ann Coulter did just that. In her article entitled, “Don’t Blame Romney,” she spent half of the article blaming these two Senate candidates for daring to defend the life of every preborn child. Her exact words were, “because these two idiots decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest,” calling them “pro-life badasses,” “purist grandstanders,” with “insane positions,” who were “showing off.” Unfortunately, Coulter has a huge following and will surely influence many uninformed readers with her misstatement of the facts and her flawed reasoning. I have great concern that these Senate losses will have a chilling effect on pro-life legislators and voters. Hence, a swift and thorough response is in order.
Ann Coulter, referenced “all the hard work intelligent pro-lifers . . . in the trenches” and what they have accomplished, as if she was one of them. Well, I’ve been in the trenches since 1995, and I must point out that Ann Coulter has been missing in action. I’ve never once seen her in here, so I can’t comprehend how she could possibly include herself in this group. I’m a hard-working intelligent pro-life activist, and I’m 100% pro-life – for good reason. I was not only conceived in rape, but nearly aborted at two back-alley abortionists. The only reason I wasn’t killed through a brutal abortion is because I was legally protected. My heroes are those pro-life legislators and activists who were hard-working and intelligent enough to understand that mine was a life worth saving.
Coulter went on to erroneously write that Mourdoch and Akin lost because they had “abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.” Her figure is way off, and she has totally ignored the fact that their abortion position adheres to the Republican party platform! All she’s doing is further alienating the base. Mitt Romney alienated the base – not only by making the rape exception, but also by his own gaffes, such as when he said, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Pro-life leaders were left to mop up that mess, from which he never recovered. Many pro-lifers who were already skeptical either voted third-party or stayed home. Three million Republicans stayed home, compared to 2008. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/11/republican-turnout-in-2012-election-less-than-2008-and-2004/ Making matters worse, Romney ran ads in battleground states suggesting that it’s extreme to be 100% pro-life. How could anyone deny that such ads hurt Senate candidates like Akin in Missouri, Mourdoch in Indiana, and Smith in Pennsylvania, as well as congressional candidates like Koster in Washington and Bachmann in Minnesota? And let’s not forget how the party leadership threw these candidates under the bus – something Democrats do not do to their own.
Additionally, the 1% figure Coulter threw out there is just not even close to being true. Polls in the last few years have consistently shown that the number is between 20 to 24% of Americans who believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape. The other 31%+ of Americans who are pro-life with exceptions are 99% of the way there, and only need to be nudged another 1%. My experience shows that this is easy to achieve – if you try, just as how my story changed the heart of Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. And that’s the key. Who has really tried? I know that the number of 100% pro-life Americans would be much higher if the pro-life movement as a whole actually went after this ground. Instead, Coulter is right in pointing out where the effort has been focused – on things like parental notification laws and efforts to ban partial birth abortion. The lives of children conceived in rape are often minimized with the standard dismissive language of: “Well, it’s only 1%.” Why continue to minimize? Why not stand up and really defend our lives? We need to try to gain ground on this issue, by educating the public, by equipping candidates and legislators on how to most effectively respond to the rape question, by making ads with children conceived in rape available for anyone who wishes to utilize them, and by removing rape exceptions from the law, beginning with the Hyde Amendment.
My response to people like Ann Coulter is – WE ARE NOT CANNON FODDER! You do not get to put us out on the front lines and then take a giant step back. The “burning building” analogy fails because you have no interest in working to save all. You do not get to call yourself pro-life by shutting off the water, sending the fire trucks home, while you stand there watching the building burn down with the 1 inside of it. If you want to see who the real extremist is, Ann Coulter, come on Fox News with me, look me in the eyes and tell me how you think my birthmother should have been able to abort me. Tell me that my life was not worthy of protection and that I don’t deserve to be living, and I’ll show you who is the one who is extreme.
Some strategists will suggest that you have to accept rape exceptions in order to get candidates elected and legislation passed. This is untrue – just look at Right to Life of Michigan as the model. They have been a standard-bearer in this cause and have never accepted the rape exception. You can’t get their PAC endorsement if you make the rape exception, and they will not put their stamp of approval on legislation if it has an exception. When they didn’t have the votes to pass the ban on Medicaid funding of abortion without a rape exception, they worked on the exception-legislators to convince them to change their positions. When they still didn’t have the votes, RLM targeted them in their primaries, got them voted out, then passed the ban without exceptions. That’s how you get it done!
Now Right to Life of Michigan has mentored many other state NRLC affiliates to go to this model of being a standard-bearer, maintaining the principle that all are worthy of protection. Since the change on their Board of Directors nearly 12 years ago, Georgia Right to Life has passed more pro-life legislation then they’d ever passed before. They were told at the time by the Republican party leaders that they were dead, irrelevant, and called extremists. Now, every constitutionally-elected official – Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, are all 100% pro-life with no exceptions. The lobbyist for Georgia Right to Life, Dan Becker, wrote a book about it, “Personhood: A Pragmatic Guide to Prolife Victory in the 21st Century and the Return to First Principles in Politics.” www.tkspublications.com Tennessee Right to Life and Alaska Right to Life are other examples of state affiliates who successfully transitioned from the compromising model of accepting the rape exception to being a standard-bearer with no exceptions.
We must not discriminate! Children conceived in rape are surely the most outcast members of our society, being unfairly demonized and portrayed as a “horrible reminder of the rape,” “the rapist’s baby,” “tainting the gene pool,” and even “demon spawn.” This not only affects the pre-born, but also those born under such circumstances. Can you imagine if a law was introduced with an exception in cases of bi-racial rape? I could hear the rationale, “Well, it’s only 1% of 1%,” and “the child would look more like the rapist and would surely be more of a reminder of the rape” – an argument which I’ve actually heard before. There would be a national outcry for such discrimination! Civil rights leaders would be outraged and demand that the exception not only be removed, but that the legislator who introduced it must immediately step down. And yet, half of pro-lifers think nothing of discriminating against children conceived in rape, and it’s wrong!
If we are going to gain ground in this effort to protect unborn children, we must maintain a standard, and we must make more of an effort to educate. I believe that the best people to do so are those of us who have been on the front-lines as pro-life speakers who were conceived in rape, who have been spending our entire adult lives defending our right to life. We’ve heard every question, every challenge, every argument. Why not utilize us? Just to name a few, there is Ryan Bomberger, Susan Jaramillo, and Pam Stenzel. On my website, there are dozens of stories of others conceived in rape and who became pregnant by rape. We’ve publicly shared our stories for a reason – please use them! www.rebeccakiessling.com/Othersconceivedinrape.html I’m partnering with Personhood Education to form Save The 1 – an organization which will implement the strategies necessary to defend the 1%, as well as the 99%. Here are three of our new ads which will be launched soon. www.youtube.com/savethe1child
Back to Ann Coulter’s article – she wrote that “No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist.” I don’t believe that. Laws DID protect children like me and these protections can and should be restored. She went on to add: “Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape.” Ann, your words speak volumes as to what you really believe. A preborn child is not an “it.” He or she is a life, a human being, a person, a son or a daughter. They have a gender. This is not a mere philosophical or political exercise, but real people’s lives are at stake. When I represented the mother in Michigan’s “frozen embryo” case, the fertility doctors testified at deposition that from one cell, they are literally male and female, and ascertainably so! Just as it says in Genesis, “male and female, He created them.” Using words of gender serve to demonstrate the humanity of these children.
Lastly, Ann Coulter goes on to suggest being 100% pro-life is not wise because too much of a good thing can harm you – like too much iron, or too much sugar in your coffee. I couldn’t help but think of the words of Mother Teresa: “How can you say there are too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.” No offense Ann, but I’d rather heed the words of a godly woman like Mother Teresa than you.

SHARED FROM http://rebeccakiessling.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/rebecca-kiesslings-reply-to-ann-coulter-save-the-1/

ASIA : PAKISTAN : MALALA DAY - GIRL SHOT BY TALIBAN ENCOURAGED

ASIA NEWS REPORT
Malala Day: a petition to award the Nobel Prize for Peace to Malala Yousafzai
Tens of thousands of people around the world support the initiative to reward the courage of the child activist who defied Taliban madness. 30 days on from the attack on her life , the UN secretary general announces today a world day dedicated to her. Slight improvement in her health conditions.


Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tens of thousands of people around the world have signed an online petition, asking that the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to Malala Yousafzai, the 15 year old Pakistani activist targeted by the Taliban for her fight in favor of education for girls. Meanwhile, on the initiative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, today has been declared Malala Day, a day dedicated to the young girl who - according to the latest medical reports - is slowly recovering from the surgery to which she has been subjected to save her life. 30 days exactly from the fundamentalists attack (which took place on October 9 last), the greatest exponent of the United Nations wanted to pay tribute to the girl as "an inspiration for women's education around the world."

Yesterday, the UN special envoy for Global Education visited Pakistan, where he met with President Asif Ali Zardari, the United Nations diplomat gave the Head of State a petition signed by over a million people requesting that "the education of girls becomes a reality in Pakistan."

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have signed the online petition, supporting her candidacy for the Nobel Prize for Peace next year. The UK Government has backed the campaign, saying Malala represents all those denied the right to study. Support for the initiative has surprised even the girl's father, Ziauddin, who confirms her "good recovery", still incredulous for the thousands of messages, cards and gifts received from every corner of the world. "They have helped her to survive - the parent adds - and fight with great strength."

Malala Yousafzai - winner of the national youth award - October 9 last was the victim of aTaliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan, a stronghold of Muslim extremists. She was shot while he was on board the school bus that was to take her home, after her morning lessons. The girl had become famous in 2009 at the age of 11, for keeping a blog on the local language site of the BBC in which she denounced the attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and women's educational institutions, to prevent them from studying and emancipation. Within her virtual diary, Malala bore witness to the cruelty of the Taliban and the violence through which they maintain power, terrorizing the local population.

The northwestern border is considered a stronghold of the Taliban, to such an extent that in some areas Shariah and the Islamic Courts are imposed, called to judge disputes, as well as behaviors and rules of morality. Hundreds of schools - even Christian - have been closed only in the Swat Valley, jeopardizing the education of tens of thousands of students and the work of about 8 thousand female teachers.

The education of the new generations is one of the paths that the government must take to overcome poverty and to ensure genuine development to the nation, as outlined in AsiaNews's special dossier (see Education can stop the Taliban in Pakistan). Among the few organisations to remain at length in the area was a group of Carmelite nuns from Sri Lanka who, with courage and determination, were engaged in the promotion of women's education (see AsiaNews 22/06/ Sinhalese Carmelites educate girls in Pakistan), however, the sisters were forced to leave after a year and a half of constant threats from Islamic fundamentalists.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS

AUSTRALIA : JUBILARIANS HONORED BY ARCHBISHOP

ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH REPORT - Jubilarians Honoured at St Charles' Day Celebrations
07 Nov 2012
Article by Fr R Cross, Photos Fr R Cross and Grant Gorddard
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, Bishop Justin Bianchini (Geraldton Diocese), Bishop Gerard Holohan (Bunbury Diocese), Bishop Christopher Saunders (Broome Diocese, Bishop Donald Sproxton (Assistant Bishop of Perth Archdiocese), Fr Harry Entwistle and around 140 priests, deacons and seminarians gathered at St Charles’ Seminary on 5 November to celebrate the feast of St Charles Borromeo and to honour clergy of the Province of Western Australia who were celebrating either their silver, ruby or golden jubilee in the 2012.
Concelebrated Mass commenced the celebrations, during which Archbishop Costelloe reflected on his recent participation in the Synod on New Evangelization.
The Archbishop said the Synod called on priests to reflect on the face of Christ and to bring Christ and his timeless message of Good News alive and anew to this generation of the Church and the wider community.


At the end of Mass, His Grace presented certificates to the jubilarians who were present.
Those celebrating significant jubilees in 2012 are:
  • Bishop Myle McKeon (Golden Jubilee of Consecration as a Bishop)
  • Mgr Michael Keating (Golden Jubilee)
  • Fr Milton Foster (Golden Jubilee)
  • Fr Des Murphy (Golden Jubilee)
  • Fr Laurence Murphy SDS (Golden Jubilee)
  • Fr Peter Whitely (Ruby Jubilee)
  • Fr Ian Johnson (Ruby Jubilee)
  • Fr Reg Smith (Ruby Jubilee)
  • Fr Leon Anderson OMI (Ruby Jubilee)
  • Fr Richard Rutkauskas (Silver Jubilee)
  • Fr Greg D’Almeida (Silver Jubilee)
  • Fr Stanislaw Bendkowski SDS (Silver Jubilee)
  • SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH

AFRICA : DEM. REP. OF CONGO : 6 KILLED IN ETHNIC VIOLENCE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "In the region of Masisi (North Kivu), the population is suffering the consequences of interethnic conflict that is ignored by the international community, while it continues to focus its attention only on the M23" sources of the local Church tell Fides, which for safety reasons request anonymity. The M23 is the main guerrilla movement operating in North Kivu, but there are also several others.
In Masisi the conflict is between the Hutus and Hunde community with the involvement of various armed groups operating in the area (Nyatura, Raia Mutomboki, FDC).
"On November 3, after days of relative calm, thanks to the intervention of the local authorities aimed at sensitizing the population on the pacific cohabitation among communities, a new massacre of innocent people devastated the area" refer our sources. "4 Hunde women and two children were killed with machetes by members of the Hutu militia Nyatura. The women were surprised by their murderers while they were collecting bananas in a field and were raped before being killed. "
The massacre sparked the protest of the Hunde population. "The victims’ bodies were carried in front of the office of the Territory Administration in Masisi Centre. Tension was very high. The Hunde asked the local authorities to act to guarantee the security of the population. Moreover, several youth participating in the action promised a prompt vengeance against the Hutu."
Between the two population, Hutu and Hunde, there is a climate of mutual fear. "If the interethnic conflict in Masisi continues to be ignored, more innocent people will die in the indifference of the Congolese authorities, international organizations and the media", conclude our sources. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 10/11/2012)

EUROPE : POLAND : SPECIAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY FOR EGYPT

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Polish Church rallies support for Christians in Egypt
Polish Church rallies support for Christians in Egypt | Mgr Tadeusz Kukla, Peace in Egypt, Aid to the Church in Need
Churches across Poland are holding a special day of solidarity with Christians in Egypt today, Mgr Tadeusz Kukl, former head of the Polish chaplaincy in the UK, writes.
Egypt is one of 14 countries where most violations of human rights and religious freedom. Reminds the fourth Day of Solidarity with the persecuted Church. We celebrate it on 11 November under the theme "Peace with Egypt".
The Pontifical Association of Aid to the Church in Need this year want Poles to realize that in Egypt, which is a popular beach holiday destination for Poles, Christians are suffering grave persecution - much more so since the Arab Spring.

There have been many attacks on Christian churches and settlements and villages inhabited by Christians; there is discrimination against Christians in access to key positions in the state administration and departments at the university.
These are just some of the issues that the visiting Metropolitan Bishop Kyrillos Asjutu Kamal William Samaan is speaking about.
The Bishop has come to Poland as a guest of the Polish section of Aid to the Church in Need. He is speaking at Masses and chuerch groups appealing for support.
Prayer and talk about the dramatic situation of Christians in Egypt is not the only form of assistance to the needy. Between 2006- 2011 Polish Aid to the Church in Need sent 10 million Zloty to support the Church in Egypt.
For more information and to make a donation online or through SMS see: www.pokojdlaegiptu.pl

REMEMBRANCE DAY - WEARING A POPPY TO HONOR WAR VETS AND VICTIMS


 (IMAGE SOURCE : THE GUARDIAN/GOOGLE) On November 11, many people wear a red poppy in memory of the war veterans and victims. It was at 11 o'clock on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the Armistice was signed signaling the end of World War I. At that point the guns stopped after 4 years of war.
The Poppy comes from the famous poem of remembrance:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Let us pray for these victims and all victims of war. May we learn to live in peace with one another and with God.

SUNDAY MASS ONLINE : NOVEMBER 11, 2012

Nov 11, 2012 - 32nd Sun Ordinary Time






1 Kings 17: 10 - 16
10 So he arose and went to Zar'ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 And she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
13 And Eli'jah said to her, "Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"
15 And she went and did as Eli'jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli'jah.
Psalms 146: 7 - 10



7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
Hebrews 9: 24 - 28



24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Mark 12: 38 - 44



38 And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."

TODAY'S SAINT: NOV. 11: ST. MARTIN OF TOURS

 St. Martin of Tours
BISHOP, CONFESSOR
Feast: November 11
Information:
Feast Day:
November 11
Born:
316, Savaria, Hungary
Died:
November 8, 397, Candes, France
Patron of:
gainst poverty; against alcoholism; beggars; Beli Manastir; Buenos Aires; Burgenland; cavalry; Dieburg; Edingen equestrians; Foiano della Chiana; France; geese; horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Kortrijk; diocese of Mainz; Olpe; Pietrasanta; Pontifical Swiss Guards; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart; soldiers; tailors; Utrecht; vintners; Virje; wine growers; wine makers; Wissmannsdorf

St. Martin, called "the glory of Gaul," was born about the year 316 of pagan parents in Sabaria, Upper Pannonia, a province comprising northern Yugoslavia and western Hungary. His father was an officer in the Roman army who had risen from the ranks. While Martin was still a child, his father was transferred to a new station in Pavia, north Italy. Here the boy learned of Christianity, felt drawn to it, and became a catechumen. As the son of a veteran, at the age of fifteen he was required to begin service in the army. Though never shirking his military duty, he is said to have lived more like a monk than a soldier.
Young Martin was stationed at Amiens, in Gaul, when the incident occurred which tradition and art have rendered so famous. As he rode towards the town one winter day, he noticed near the gates a poor man, thinly clad, shivering with cold, and begging alms. Martin saw that none who passed stopped to help the miserable fellow. He had nothing with him but the clothes he wore, but, drawing his sword from its scabbard, he cut his great woolen cloak in two pieces, gave one half to the beggar, and wrapped himself in the other. The following night, the story continues, Martin in his sleep saw Jesus Christ, surrounded by angels, and dressed in the half of the cloak he had given away. A voice bade him look at it well and say whether he knew it. He then heard Jesus say to the angels, "Martin, as yet only a catechumen, has covered me with his cloak." Sulpicius Severus, the saint's friend and biographer, says that as a consequence of this vision Martin "flew to be baptized."
When Martin was about twenty, some Teutonic tribes invaded Gaul, and with his comrades he went before the Emperor Julian to receive a war-bounty. Suddenly he was moved to refuse it. "Up to now," he said to Julian, "I have served you as a soldier; allow me henceforth to serve Christ. Give the bounty to these others who are going out to battle. I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." Julian, angered, accused Martin of cowardice; the young man replied that he was ready to go into battle the next day unarmed, and advance alone against the enemy in the name of Christ. He was taken off to prison, but discharged as soon as a truce had been made. He then went down to Poitiers, where the renowned Hilary had been bishop for many years. Hilary gladly received this early "conscientious objector" and ordained him deacon.
Having heard in a dream a summons to revisit his home, Martin crossed the Alps, and from Milan went over to Pannonia. There he converted his mother and some other persons; his father he could not win. While in Illyricum he took sides against the Arians with so much zeal that he was publicly scourged and forced to leave. Back in Italy once more, on his way to Gaul, he learned that the Gallic Church was also under attack by the Arians, and that his good friend Hilary had been banished. He remained at Milan, but soon the Arian bishop, Auxentius, drove him away. Martin took refuge with a priest on the island of Gallinaria, in the gulf of Genoa, and stayed there until Hilary returned to Poitiers in 360. It had become Martin's desire to pursue his religious calling in solitude, and Hilary gave him a small piece of land in central France, now called Liguge. He was joined by other hermits and holy men, and the community grew into a monastery, the first, it is said, to be founded in Gaul. It survived until 1607; in 1852 it was rebuilt by the Benedictines of Solesmes.
For ten years Martin lived there, directing the life of his disciples and preaching in outlying places. Many miracles were attributed to him. About the year 371, Lidorius, bishop of Tours, died, and the people demanded Martin in his place. Martin was so reluctant to accept the office that they resorted to stratagem and called him to the city to give his blessing to a sick person, then forcibly conveyed him to the church. When neighboring bishops were summoned to confirm this choice, they thought the monk's poor and unkempt appearance proved him unfit for the office, but they were overruled by the acclamations of the local clergy and the people. Even as a bishop, Martin lived an austere life. Unable to endure the constant interruptions, he retired from Tours to a retreat that was later to become the famous abbey of Marmoutier. The site was enclosed by a steep cliff on one side and by a tributary of the Loire River on the other. Here Martin and some of the monks who followed him built cells of wood; others lived in caves dug out of the rock. In a short time their number grew, with many men of high rank among them. From this time on bishops were frequently chosen from Marmoutier, for the holy Martin took the greatest pains in the training of priests.
Martin's piety and preaching resulted in the decline of paganism in that part of Gaul. He destroyed temples and felled trees which the heathen held sacred. Once when he had demolished a certain temple, he proceeded to the cutting down of a pine tree that stood near. The chief priest and other pagans there offered to cut it down themselves, on condition that he who trusted so strongly in his God would stand under it wherever they would place him. The bishop agreed and allowed himself to be tied and placed on the side towards which the tree was leaning. Just as it seemed about to fall on him, he made the sign of the cross, at which the tree fell in the other direction. Another time, as he was pulling down a temple in the vicinity of Autun, a crowd of pagans fell on him in fury, one brandishing a sword. Martin stood and bared his breast, at sight of which the armed man fell backwards, and in terror begged forgiveness. These marvels are narrated by Sulpicius Severus, who also describes various revelations and visions with which Martin was favored.
Once a year the bishop visited each of his parishes, traveling on foot, or by donkey or boat. He continued to set up monastic communities, and extended the bounds of his episcopate from Touraine to such distant points as Chartres, Paris, Autun, and Vienne. At Vienne, according to his biographer, he cured Paulinus of Nola of a disease of the eyes. When a brutal imperial officer, Avitianus, arrived at Tours with a band of prisoners he planned to torture to death on the following day, Martin, on being informed of this, hurried in from Marmoutier to intercede for them. Reaching the city near midnight, he went straight to the quarters of Avitianus and did not leave until the officer promised mercy to his captives.
The churches of other parts of Gaul and in Spain were being disturbed by the Priscillianists, an ascetic sect, named for its leader, Priscillian, bishop of Avila. A synod held at Bordeaux in 384 had condemned his doctrines, but he had appealed to Emperor Maximus. Meanwhile, Ithacius, the orthodox bishop of Ossanova, had attacked him and urged the emperor to have him put to death. Neither Ambrose at Milan, however, nor Martin at Tours would hold communion with Ithacius or his supporters, because they had appealed to the emperor in a dispute over doctrine, and now were trying to punish a heretic with death. Martin wrote to reprove Ithacius severely. It was sufficient, he said, that Priscillian should be branded as a heretic and excommunicated by the bishops. Maximus, yielding to Martin's remonstrances, ordered the trial deferred and even promised that there should be no bloodshed, but afterwards he was persuaded to turn the case over to his prefect Evodius. He found Priscillian and some others guilty on several charges and had them beheaded. At this news, Martin went to Treves to intercede for the lives of all the Spanish Priscillianists who were threatened with a bloody persecution, and also for two men under suspicion as adherents of the late Emperor Gratian. As a condition before granting this request, Maximus stipulated that Martin should resume communion with the intolerant Ithacius and his party. Since they were not excommunicated, this was no violation of any canon, and he accordingly promised the emperor that he would do so, provided the emperor would pardon the two partisans of Gratian and recall the military tribunes he had sent to Spain. The next day Martin received the Sacrament with the Ithacians in order to save so many people from slaughter; yet he was afterwards troubled in conscience as to whether he had been too yielding. For their part in the affair both the emperor and Ithacius were censured by Pope Siricius. It was the first judicial death sentence for heresy, and it had the effect of spreading Priscillianism in Spain.
Martin had premonitions of his approaching death and predicted it to his disciples, who besought him not to leave them. "Lord," he prayed, "if Thy people still need me, I will not draw back from the work. Thy will be done." When his final sickness came upon him, he was at Candes, in a remote part of his diocese. The monks entreated him to allow them at least to put a sheet under him and make his last hours comfortable. "It becomes not a Christian," said Martin, "to die otherwise than upon ashes. I shall have sinned if I leave you any other example." He lay with eyes and hands raised to Heaven, until the brothers begged him to turn on one side to rest his body a little. "Allow me, my brethren," he answered, "to look towards Heaven rather than to earth, that my soul may be ready to take its flight to the Lord."
On November 8 he died, and three days later was buried at Tours. Two thousand monks and nuns gathered for his funeral. His successor built a chapel over his grave, which was replaced by a fine basilica. A still later church on this site was destroyed during the French Revolution, but a modern one has since been built there. Throughout the Middle Ages, the knightly Martin, who shared his cloak with a beggar, was the subject of innumerable anecdotes, which expressed the love and veneration of the people. His tomb became a national shrine in France, of which country he is patron saint, and one of the most popular pilgrimage places of Europe. St. Martin is patron of the cities of Wurtburg and Buenos Aires. Many churches in France and elsewhere have been dedicated to him. His emblems are a tree, armor, a cloak, and a beggar.