Monday, August 27, 2018

Saint August 28 : St. Moses the Black : Patron of #Africa

Life of St. Moses the Black

Feast Day:
August 28
330; Ethiopian ancestry
Died: 405, Scetes, Egypt
Major Shrine:
Paromeos Monastery, Scetes, Egypt
Patron of:
Saint Moses Murin the Black lived during the fourth century in Egypt. He was an Ethiopian, and he was black of skin and therefore called “Murin” (meaning “like an Ethiopian”). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined a band of robbers.
Because of his bad character and great physical strength they chose him as their leader. Moses and his band of brigands did many evil deeds, both murders and robberies. People were afraid at the mere mention of his name.
Moses the brigand spent several years leading a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would not be driven away nor silenced. He continued to ask that they accept him.
St Moses was completely obedient to the igumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many tears of sorrow for his sinful life. After a certain while St Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent the time in prayer and the strictest fasting in a very austere lifestyle.
Once, four of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of St Moses. He had lost none of his great physical strength, so he tied them all up. Throwing them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked the Elders what to do with them. The Elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, followed his example: they repented and became monks. Later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about the repentance of St Moses, then they also gave up their thievery and became fervent monks.
St Moses was not quickly freed from the passions. He went often to the igumen, Abba Isidore, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the Elder taught him never to eat too much food, to remain partly hungry while observing the strictest moderation. But the passions did not cease to trouble St Moses in his dreams.
Then Abba Isidore taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, so he would not fall asleep. From his prolonged struggles St Moses fell into despondency, and when there arose thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidore instead strengthened the resolve of his disciple.
In a vision he showed him many demons in the west, prepared for battle, and in the east a still greater quantity of holy angels, also ready for fighting. Abba Isidore explained to St Moses that the power of the angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.
St Moses undertook a new effort. Making the rounds by night of the wilderness cells, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the Elders, who lived far from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. Once, kneeling over the well, St Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there a whole year crippled. Having recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the igumen, that he would continue to live in asceticism. But the Lord Himself put limits to this struggle of many years: Abba Isidore blessed his disciple and said to him that the passions had already gone from him. The Elder commanded him to receive the Holy Mysteries, and to go to his own cell in peace. From that time, St Moses received from the Lord power over demons.
Accounts about his exploits spread among the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. When he heard of this, St Moses decided to hide from any visitors, and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met servants of the governor, who asked him how to get to the cell of the desert-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: “Go no farther to see this false and unworthy monk.” The servants returned to the monastery where the governor was waiting, and they told him the words of the Elder they had chanced to meet. The brethren, hearing a description of the Elder’s appearance, told them that they had encountered St Moses himself.
After many years of monastic exploits, St Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop clothed him in white vestments and said, “Now Abba Moses is entirely white!” The saint replied, “Only outwardly, for God knows that I am still dark within.”
Through humility, the saint believed himself unworthy of the office of deacon. Once, the bishop decided to test him and he bade the clergy to drive him out of the altar, reviling him as an unworthy Ethiopian. In all humility, the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained St Moses to be presbyter. St Moses labored for fifteen years in this rank, and gathered around himself 75 disciples.
When the saint reached age 75, he warned his monks that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all that were there. The saint blessed his monks to leave, in order to avoid violent death. His disciples began to beseech the monk to leave with them, but he replied: “For many years already I have awaited the time when the words which my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be fulfilled: “All who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword” (Mt. 26: 52). After this, seven of the brethren remained with the monk, and one of them hid nearby during the attack of the robbers. The robbers killed St Moses and the six monks who remained with him. Their death occurred in about the year 400.

Saint August 28 : St. Augustine : Doctor of the #Church : Patron of #Theologians and Printers

Born: November 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras, Algeria)
Died: August 28, 430, Hippo Regius, Numidia (now modern-day Annaba, Algeria) 'Major Shrine: San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Patron of: brewers; printers; theologians
From his birth to his conversion (354-386) Augustine was born at Tagaste on 13 November, 354. Tagaste, now Souk-Ahras, about 60 miles from Bona (ancient Hippo-Regius), was at that time a small free city of proconsular Numidia which had recently been converted from Donatism. Although eminently respectable, his family was not rich, and his father, Patricius, one of the curiales of the city, was still a pagan. However, the admirable virtues that made Monica the ideal of Christian mothers at length brought her husband the grace of baptism and of a holy death, about the year 371.
Augustine received a Christian education. His mother had him signed with the cross and enrolled among the catechumens. Once, when very ill, he asked for baptism, but, all danger being soon passed, he deferred receiving the sacrament, thus yielding to a deplorable custom of the times. His association with "men of prayer" left three great ideas deeply engraven upon his soul: a Divine Providence, the future life with terrible sanctions, and, above all, Christ the Saviour. "From my tenderest infancy, I had in a manner sucked with my mother's milk that name of my Saviour, Thy Son; I kept it in the recesses of my heart; and all that presented itself to me without that Divine Name, though it might be elegant, well written, and even replete with truth, did not altogether carry me away" (Confessions I.4).
But a great intellectual and moral crisis stifled for a time all these Christian sentiments. The heart was the first point of attack. Patricius, proud of his son's success in the schools of Tagaste and Madaura determined to send him to Carthage to prepare for a forensic career. But, unfortunately, it required several months to collect the necessary means, and Augustine had to spend his sixteenth year at Tagaste in an idleness which was fatal to his virtue; he gave himself up to pleasure with all the vehemence of an ardent nature. At first he prayed, but without the sincere desire of being heard, and when he reached Carthage, towards the end of the year 370, every circumstance tended to draw him from his true course: the many seductions of the great city that was still half pagan, the licentiousness of other students, the theatres, the intoxication of his literary success, and a proud desire always to be first, even in evil. Before long he was obliged to confess to Monica that he had formed a sinful liaison with the person who bore him a son (372), "the son of his sin" — an entanglement from which he only delivered himself at Milan after fifteen years of its thralldom. Two extremes are to be avoided in the appreciation of this crisis. Some, like Mommsen, misled perhaps by the tone of grief in the "Confessions", have exaggerated it: in the "Realencyklopädie" (3d ed., II, 268) Loofs reproves Mommsen on this score, and yet he himself is too lenient towards Augustine, when he claims that in those days, the Church permitted concubinage. The "Confessions" alone prove that Loofs did not understand the 17th canon of Toledo. However, it may be said that, even in his fall, Augustine maintained a certain dignity and felt a compunction which does him honour, and that, from the age of nineteen, he had a genuine desire to break the chain. In fact, in 373, an entirely new inclination manifested itself in his life, brought about by the reading Cicero's "Hortensius" whence he imbibed a love of the wisdom which Cicero so eloquently praises. Thenceforward Augustine looked upon rhetoric merely as a profession; his heart was in philosophy. Unfortunately, his faith, as well as his morals, was to pass though a terrible crisis. In this same year, 373, Augustine and his friend Honoratus fell into the snares of the Manichæans. It seems strange that so great a mind should have been victimized by Oriental vapourings, synthesized by the Persian Mani (215-276) into coarse, material dualism, and introduced into Africa scarcely fifty years previously. Augustine himself tells us that he was enticed by the promises of a free philosophy unbridled by faith; by the boasts of the Manichæans, who claimed to have discovered contradictions in Holy Writ; and, above all, by the hope of finding in their doctrine a scientific explanation of nature and its most mysterious phenomena. Augustine's inquiring mind was enthusiastic for the natural sciences, and the Manichæans declared that nature withheld no secrets from Faustus, their doctor. Moreover, being tortured by the problem of the origin of evil, Augustine, in default of solving it, acknowledged a conflict of two principles. And then, again, there was a very powerful charm in the moral irresponsibility resulting from a doctrine which denied liberty and attributed the commission of crime to a foreign principle. Once won over to this sect, Augustine devoted himself to it with all the ardour of his character; he read all its books, adopted and defended all its opinions. His furious proselytism drew into error his friend Alypius and Romanianus, his Mæcenas of Tagaste, the friend of his father who was defraying the expenses of Augustine's studies. It was during this Manichæan period that Augustine's literary faculties reached their full development, and he was still a student at Carthage when he embraced error. His studies ended, he should in due course have entered the forum litigiosum, but he preferred the career of letters, and Possidius tells us that he returned to Tagaste to "teach grammar." The young professor captivated his pupils, one of whom, Alypius, hardly younger than his master, loath to leave him after following him into error, was afterwards baptized with him at Milan, eventually becoming Bishop of Tagaste, his native city. But Monica deeply deplored Augustine's heresy and would not have received him into her home or at her table but for the advice of a saintly bishop, who declared that "the son of so many tears could not perish." Soon afterwards Augustine went to Carthage, where he continued to teach rhetoric. His talents shone to even better advantage on this wider stage, and by an indefatigable pursuit of the liberal arts his intellect attained its full maturity. Having taken part in a poetic tournament, he carried off the prize, and the Proconsul Vindicianus publicly conferred upon him the corona agonistica. It was at this moment of literary intoxication, when he had just completed his first work on æsthetics (now lost) that he began to repudiate Manichæism. Even when Augustine was in his first fervour, the teachings of Mani had been far from quieting his restlessness, and although he has been accused of becoming a priest of the sect, he was never initiated or numbered among the "elect," but remained an "auditor" the lowest degree in the hierarchy. He himself gives the reason for his disenchantment. First of all there was the fearful depravity of Manichæan philosophy — "They destroy everything and build up nothing"; then, the dreadful immorality in contrast with their affectation of virtue; the feebleness of their arguments in controversy with the Catholics, to whose Scriptural arguments their only reply was: "The Scriptures have been falsified." But, worse than all, he did not find science among them — science in the modern sense of the word — that knowledge of nature and its laws which they had promised him. When he questioned them concerning the movements of the stars, none of them could answer him. "Wait for Faustus," they said, "he will explain everything to you." Faustus of Mileve, the celebrated Manichæan bishop, at last came to Carthage; Augustine visited and questioned him, and discovered in his responses the vulgar rhetorician, the utter stranger to all scientific culture. The spell was broken, and, although Augustine did not immediately abandon the sect, his mind rejected Manichæan doctrines. The illusion had lasted nine years.
But the religious crisis of this great soul was only to be resolved in Italy, under the influence of Ambrose. In 383 Augustine, at the age of twenty-nine, yielded to the irresistible attraction which Italy had for him, but his mother suspected his departure and was so reluctant to be separated from him that he resorted to a subterfuge and embarked under cover of the night. He had only just arrived in Rome when he was taken seriously ill; upon recovering he opened a school of rhetoric, but, disgusted by the tricks of his pupils, who shamelessly defrauded him of their tuition fees, he applied for a vacant professorship at Milan, obtained it, and was accepted by the prefect, Symmachus. Having visited Bishop Ambrose, the fascination of that saint's kindness induced him to become a regular attendant at his preachings.
However, before embracing the Faith, Augustine underwent a three years' struggle during which his mind passed through several distinct phases. At first he turned towards the philosophy of the Academics, with its pessimistic scepticism; then neo-Platonic philosophy inspired him with genuine enthusiasm. At Milan he had scarcely read certain works of Plato and, more especially, of Plotinus, before the hope of finding the truth dawned upon him. Once more he began to dream that he and his friends might lead a life dedicated to the search for it, a life purged of all vulgar aspirations after honours, wealth, or pleasure, and with celibacy for its rule (Confessions VI). But it was only a dream; his passions still enslaved him.
Monica, who had joined her son at Milan, prevailed upon him to become betrothed, but his affianced bride was too young, and although Augustine dismissed the mother of Adeodatus, her place was soon filled by another. Thus did he pass through one last period of struggle and anguish. Finally, through the reading of the Holy Scripture light penetrated his mind. Soon he possessed the certainty that Jesus Christ is the only way to truth and salvation. After that resistance came only from the heart. An interview with Simplicianus, the future successor of St. Ambrose, who told Augustine the story of the conversion of the celebrated neo-Platonic rhetorician, Victorinus (Confessions VIII.1, VIII.2), prepared the way for the grand stroke of grace which, at the age of thirty-three, smote him to the ground in the garden at Milan (September, 386). A few days later Augustine, being ill, took advantage of the autumn holidays and, resigning his professorship, went with Monica, Adeodatus, and his friends to Cassisiacum, the country estate of Verecundus, there to devote himself to the pursuit of true philosophy which, for him, was now inseparable from Christianity.
From his conversion to his episcopate (386-395)
Augustine gradually became acquainted with Christian doctrine, and in his mind the fusion of Platonic philosophy with revealed dogmas was taking place. The law that governed this change of thought has of late years been frequently misconstrued; it is sufficiently important to be precisely defined. The solitude of Cassisiacum realized a long-cherished dream. In his books "Against the Academics," Augustine has described the ideal serenity of this existence, enlivened only by the passion for truth. He completed the education of his young friends, now by literary readings in common, now by philosophical conferences to which he sometimes invited Monica, and the accounts of which, compiled by a secretary, have supplied the foundation of the "Dialogues." Licentius, in his "Letters," would later on recall these delightful philosophical mornings and evenings, at which Augustine was wont to evolve the most elevating discussions from the most commonplace incidents. The favourite topics at their conferences were truth, certainty (Against the Academics), true happiness in philosophy (On a Happy Life), the Providential order of the world and the problem of evil (On Order) and finally God and the soul (Soliloquies, On the Immortality of the Soul).
Here arises the curious question propounded modern critics: Was Augustine a Christian when wrote these "Dialogues" at Cassisiacum? Until now no one had doubted it; historians, relying upon the "Confessions", had all believed that Augustine's retirement to the villa had for its twofold object the improvement of his health and his preparation for baptism. But certain critics nowadays claim to have discovered a radical opposition between the philosophical "Dialogues" composed in this retirement and the state of soul described in the "Confessions". According to Harnack, in writing the "Confessions" Augustine must have projected upon the recluse of 386 the sentiments of the bishop of 400. Others go farther and maintain that the recluse of the Milanese villa could not have been at heart a Christian, but a Platonist; and that the scene in the garden was a conversion not to Christianity, but to philosophy, the genuinely Christian phase beginning only in 390. But this interpretation of the "Dialogues" cannot withstand the test of facts and texts. It is admitted that Augustine received baptism at Easter, 387; and who could suppose that it was for him a meaningless ceremony? So too, how can it be admitted that the scene in the garden, the example of the recluses, the reading of St. Paul, the conversion of Victorinus, Augustine's ecstasies in reading the Psalms with Monica were all invented after the fact? Again, as it was in 388 that Augustine wrote his beautiful apology "On the Holiness of the Catholic Church," how is it conceivable that he was not yet a Christian at that date? To settle the argument, however, it is only necessary to read the "Dialogues" themselves. They are certainly a purely philosophical work — a work of youth, too, not without some pretension, as Augustine ingenuously acknowledges (Confessions IX.4); nevertheless, they contain the entire history of his Christian formation. As early as 386, the first work written at Cassisiacum reveals to us the great underlying motive of his researches. The object of his philosophy is to give authority the support of reason, and "for him the great authority, that which dominates all others and from which he never wished to deviate, is the authority of Christ"; and if he loves the Platonists it is because he counts on finding among them interpretations always in harmony with his faith (Against the Academics, III, c. x). To be sure such confidence was excessive, but it remains evident that in these "Dialogues" it is a Christian, and not a Platonist, that speaks. He reveals to us the intimate details of his conversion, the argument that convinced him (the life and conquests of the Apostles), his progress in the Faith at the school of St. Paul (ibid., II, ii), his delightful conferences with his friends on the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the wonderful transformations worked in his soul by faith, even to that victory of his over the intellectual pride which his Platonic studies had aroused in him (On The Happy Life, I, ii), and at last the gradual calming of his passions and the great resolution to choose wisdom for his only spouse (Soliloquies, I, x).
It is now easy to appreciate at its true value the influence of neo-Platonism upon the mind of the great African Doctor. It would be impossible for anyone who has read the works of St. Augustine to deny the existence of this influence. However, it would be a great exaggeration of this influence to pretend that it at any time sacrificed the Gospel to Plato. The same learned critic thus wisely concludes his study: "So long, therefore, as his philosophy agrees with his religious doctrines, St. Augustine is frankly neo-Platonist; as soon as a contradiction arises, he never hesitates to subordinate his philosophy to religion, reason to faith. He was, first of all, a Christian; the philosophical questions that occupied his mind constantly found themselves more and more relegated to the background" (op. cit., 155). But the method was a dangerous one; in thus seeking harmony between the two doctrines he thought too easily to find Christianity in Plato, or Platonism in the Gospel. More than once, in his "Retractations" and elsewhere, he acknowledges that he has not always shunned this danger. Thus he had imagined that in Platonism he discovered the entire doctrine of the Word and the whole prologue of St. John. He likewise disavowed a good number of neo-Platonic theories which had at first misled him — the cosmological thesis of the universal soul, which makes the world one immense animal — the Platonic doubts upon that grave question: Is there a single soul for all or a distinct soul for each? But on the other hand, he had always reproached the Platonists, as Schaff very properly remarks (Saint Augustine, New York, 1886, p. 51), with being ignorant of, or rejecting, the fundamental points of Christianity: "first, the great mystery, the Word made flesh; and then love, resting on the basis of humility." They also ignore grace, he says, giving sublime precepts of morality without any help towards realizing them.
It was this Divine grace that Augustine sought in Christian baptism. Towards the beginning of Lent, 387, he went to Milan and, with Adeodatus and Alypius, took his place among the competentes, being baptized by Ambrose on Easter Day, or at least during Eastertide. The tradition maintaining that the Te Deum was sung on that occasion by the bishop and the neophyte alternately is groundless. Nevertheless this legend is certainly expressive of the joy of the Church upon receiving as her son him who was to be her most illustrious doctor. It was at this time that Augustine, Alypius, and Evodius resolved to retire into solitude in Africa. Augustine undoubtedly remained at Milan until towards autumn, continuing his works: "On the Immortality of the Soul" and "On Music." In the autumn of 387, he was about to embark at Ostia, when Monica was summoned from this life. In all literature there are no pages of more exquisite sentiment than the story of her saintly death and Augustine's grief (Confessions IX). Augustine remained several months in Rome, chiefly engaged in refuting Manichæism. He sailed for Africa after the death of the tyrant Maximus (August 388) and after a short sojourn in Carthage, returned to his native Tagaste. Immediately upon arriving there, he wished to carry out his idea of a perfect life, and began by selling all his goods and giving the proceeds to the poor. Then he and his friends withdrew to his estate, which had already been alienated, there to lead a common life in poverty, prayer, and the study of sacred letters. Book of the "LXXXIII Questions" is the fruit of conferences held in this retirement, in which he also wrote "De Genesi contra Manichæos," "De Magistro," and, "De Vera Religione."
Augustine did not think of entering the priesthood, and, through fear of the episcopacy, he even fled from cities in which an election was necessary. One day, having been summoned to Hippo by a friend whose soul's salvation was at stake, he was praying in a church when the people suddenly gathered about him, cheered him, and begged Valerius, the bishop, to raise him to the priesthood. In spite of his tears Augustine was obliged to yield to their entreaties, and was ordained in 391. The new priest looked upon his ordination as an additional reason for resuming religious life at Tagaste, and so fully did Valerius approve that he put some church property at Augustine's disposal, thus enabling him to establish a monastery the second that he had founded. His priestly ministry of five years was admirably fruitful; Valerius had bidden him preach, in spite of the deplorable custom which in Africa reserved that ministry to bishops. Augustine combated heresy, especially Manichæism, and his success was prodigious. Fortunatus, one of their great doctors, whom Augustine had challenged in public conference, was so humiliated by his defeat that he fled from Hippo. Augustine also abolished the abuse of holding banquets in the chapels of the martyrs. He took part, 8 October, 393, in the Plenary Council of Africa, presided over by Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, and, at the request of the bishops, was obliged to deliver a discourse which, in its completed form, afterwards became the treatise "De Fide et symbolo".
As bishop of Hippo (396-430)
Enfeebled by old age, Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, obtained the authorization of Aurelius, Primate of Africa, to associate Augustine with himself as coadjutor. Augustine had to resign himself to consecration at the hands of Megalius, Primate of Numidia. He was then forty two, and was to occupy the See of Hippo for thirty-four years. The new bishop understood well how to combine the exercise of his pastoral duties with the austerities of the religious life, and although he left his convent, his episcopal residence became a monastery where he lived a community life with his clergy, who bound themselves to observe religious poverty. Was it an order of regular clerics or of monks that he thus founded? This is a question often asked, but we feel that Augustine gave but little thought to such distinctions. Be that as it may, the episcopal house of Hippo became a veritable nursery which supplied the founders of the monasteries that were soon spread all over Africa and the bishops who occupied the neighbouring sees. Possidius (Vita S. August., xxii) enumerates ten of the saint's friends and disciples who were promoted to the episcopacy. Thus it was that Augustine earned the title of patriarch of the religious, and renovator of the clerical, life in Africa. But he was above all the defender of truth and the shepherd of souls. His doctrinal activities, the influence of which was destined to last as long as the Church itself, were manifold: he preached frequently, sometimes for five days consecutively, his sermons breathing a spirit of charity that won all hearts; he wrote letters which scattered broadcast through the then known world his solutions of the problems of that day; he impressed his spirit upon divers African councils at which he assisted, for instance, those of Carthage in 398, 401, 407, 419 and of Mileve in 416 and 418; and lastly struggled indefatigably against all errors. To relate these struggles were endless; we shall, therefore, select only the chief controversies and indicate in each the doctrinal attitude of the great Bishop of Hippo.
The Manichæan controversy and the problem of evil
After Augustine became bishop the zeal which, from the time of his baptism, he had manifested in bringing his former co-religionists into the true Church, took on a more paternal form without losing its pristine ardour — "let those rage against us who know not at what a bitter cost truth is attained. . . . As for me, I should show you the same forbearance that my brethren had for me when I blind, was wandering in your doctrines" (Contra Epistolam Fundamenti 3). Among the most memorable events that occurred during this controversy was the great victory won in 404 over Felix, one of the "elect" of the Manichæans and the great doctor of the sect. He was propagating his errors in Hippo, and Augustine invited him to a public conference the issue of which would necessarily cause a great stir; Felix declared himself vanquished, embraced the Faith, and, together with Augustine, subscribed the acts of the conference. In his writings Augustine successively refuted Mani (397), the famous Faustus (400), Secundinus (405), and (about 415) the fatalistic Priscillianists whom Paulus Orosius had denounced to him. These writings contain the saint's clear, unquestionable views on the eternal problem of evil, views based on an optimism proclaiming, like the Platonists, that every work of God is good and that the only source of moral evil is the liberty of creatures (City of God XIX.13.2). Augustine takes up the defence of free will, even in man as he is, with such ardour that his works against the Manichæan are an inexhaustible storehouse of arguments in this still living controversy.
In vain have the Jansenists maintained that Augustine was unconsciously a Pelagian and that he afterwards acknowledged the loss of liberty through the sin of Adam. Modern critics, doubtless unfamiliar with Augustine's complicated system and his peculiar terminology, have gone much farther. In the "Revue d'histoire et de littérature religieuses" (1899, p. 447), M. Margival exhibits St. Augustine as the victim of metaphysical pessimism unconsciously imbibed from Manichæan doctrines. "Never," says he, "will the Oriental idea of the necessity and the eternity of evil have a more zealous defender than this bishop." Nothing is more opposed to the facts. Augustine acknowledges that he had not yet understood how the first good inclination of the will is a gift of God (Retractions, I, xxiii, n, 3); but it should be remembered that he never retracted his leading theories on liberty, never modified his opinion upon what constitutes its essential condition, that is to say, the full power of choosing or of deciding. Who will dare to say that in revising his own writings on so important a point he lacked either clearness of perception or sincerity?
The Donatist controversy and the theory of the Church
The Donatist schism was the last episode in the Montanist and Novatian controversies which had agitated the Church from the second century. While the East was discussing under varying aspects the Divine and Christological problem of the Word, the West, doubtless because of its more practical genius, took up the moral question of sin in all its forms. The general problem was the holiness of the Church; could the sinner be pardoned, and remain in her bosom? In Africa the question especially concerned the holiness of the hierarchy. The bishops of Numidia, who, in 312, had refused to accept as valid the consecration of Cæcilian, Bishop of Carthage, by a traditor, had inaugurated the schism and at the same time proposed these grave questions: Do the hierarchical powers depend upon the moral worthiness of the priest? How can the holiness of the Church be compatible with the unworthiness of its ministers? At the time of Augustine's arrival in Hippo, the schism had attained immense proportions, having become identified with political tendencies — perhaps with a national movement against Roman domination. In any event, it is easy to discover in it an undercurrent of anti-social revenge which the emperors had to combat by strict laws. The strange sect known as "Soldiers of Christ," and called by Catholics Circumcelliones (brigands, vagrants), resembled the revolutionary sects of the Middle Ages in point of fanatic destructiveness — a fact that must not be lost sight of, if the severe legislation of the emperors is to be properly appreciated.
The history of Augustine's struggles with the Donatists is also that of his change of opinion on the employment of rigorous measures against the heretics; and the Church in Africa, of whose councils he had been the very soul, followed him in the change. This change of views is solemnly attested by the Bishop of Hippo himself, especially in his Letters, 93 (in the year 408). In the beginning, it was by conferences and a friendly controversy that he sought to re-establish unity. He inspired various conciliatory measures of the African councils, and sent ambassadors to the Donatists to invite them to re-enter the Church, or at least to urge them to send deputies to a conference (403). The Donatists met these advances at first with silence, then with insults, and lastly with such violence that Possidius Bishop of Calamet, Augustine's friend, escaped death only by flight, the Bishop of Bagaïa was left covered with horrible wounds, and the life of the Bishop of Hippo himself was several times attempted (Letter 88, to Januarius, the Donatist bishop). This madness of the Circumcelliones required harsh repression, and Augustine, witnessing the many conversions that resulted therefrom, thenceforth approved rigid laws. However, this important restriction must be pointed out: that St. Augustine never wished heresy to be punishable by death — Vos rogamus ne occidatis (Letter 100, to the Proconsul Donatus). But the bishops still favoured a conference with the schismatics, and in 410 an edict issued by Honorius put an end to the refusal of the Donatists. A solemn conference took place at Carthage, in June, 411, in presence of 286 Catholic, and 279 Donatist bishops. The Donatist spokesmen were Petilian of Constantine, Primian of Carthage, and Emeritus of Cæsarea; the Catholic orators, Aurelius and Augustine. On the historic question then at issue, the Bishop of Hippo proved the innocence of Cæcilian and his consecrator Felix, and in the dogmatic debate he established the Catholic thesis that the Church, as long as it is upon earth, can, without losing its holiness, tolerate sinners within its pale for the sake of converting them. In the name of the emperor the Proconsul Marcellinus sanctioned the victory of the Catholics on all points. Little by little Donatism died out, to disappear with the coming of the Vandals.
So amply and magnificently did Augustine develop his theory on the Church that, according to Specht "he deserves to be named the Doctor of the Church as well as the Doctor of Grace"; and Möhler (Dogmatik, 351) is not afraid to write: "For depth of feeling and power of conception nothing written on the Church since St. Paul's time, is comparable to the works of St. Augustine." He has corrected, perfected, and even excelled the beautiful pages of St. Cyprian on the Divine institution of the Church, its authority, its essential marks, and its mission in the economy of grace and the administration of the sacraments. The Protestant critics, Dorner, Bindemann, Böhringer and especially Reuter, loudly proclaim, and sometimes even exaggerate, this rôle of the Doctor of Hippo; and while Harnack does not quite agree with them in every respect he does not hesitate to say (History of Dogma, II, c. iii): "It is one of the points upon which Augustine specially affirms and strengthens the Catholic idea.... He was the first [!] to transform the authority of the Church into a religious power, and to confer upon practical religion the gift of a doctrine of the Church." He was not the first, for Dorner acknowledges (Augustinus, 88) that Optatus of Mileve had expressed the basis of the same doctrines. Augustine, however, deepened, systematized, and completed the views of St. Cyprian and Optatus. But it is impossible here to go into detail. (See Specht, Die Lehre von der Kirche nach dem hl. Augustinus, Paderborn, 1892.)
The Pelagian controversy and the Doctor of Grace
The close of the struggle against the Donatists almost coincided with the beginnings of a very grave theological dispute which not only was to demand Augustine's unremitting attention up to the time of his death, but was to become an eternal problem for individuals and for the Church. Farther on we shall enlarge upon Augustine's system; here we need only indicate the phases of the controversy. Africa, where Pelagius and his disciple Celestius had sought refuge after the taking of Rome by Alaric, was the principal centre of the first Pelagian disturbances; as early as 412 a council held at Carthage condemned Pelagians for their attacks upon the doctrine of original sin. Among other books directed against them by Augustine was his famous "De naturâ et gratiâ". Thanks to his activity the condemnation of these innovators, who had succeeded in deceiving a synod convened at Diospolis in Palestine, was reiterated by councils held later at Carthage and Mileve and confirmed by Pope Innocent I (417). A second period of Pelagian intrigues developed at Rome, but Pope Zosimus, whom the stratagems of Celestius had for a moment deluded, being enlightened by Augustine, pronounced the solemn condemnation of these heretics in 418. Thenceforth the combat was conducted in writing against Julian of Eclanum, who assumed the leadership of the party and violently attacked Augustine.
Towards 426 there entered the lists a school which afterwards acquired the name of Semipelagian, the first members being monks of Hadrumetum in Africa, who were followed by others from Marseilles, led by Cassian, the celebrated abbot of Saint-Victor. Unable to admit the absolute gratuitousness of predestination, they sought a middle course between Augustine and Pelagius, and maintained that grace must be given to those who merit it and denied to others; hence goodwill has the precedence, it desires, it asks, and God rewards. Informed of their views by Prosper of Aquitaine, the holy Doctor once more expounded, in "De Prædestinatione Sanctorum", how even these first desires for salvation are due to the grace of God, which therefore absolutely controls our predestination.
Struggles against Arianism and closing years
In 426 the holy Bishop of Hippo, at the age of seventy-two, wishing to spare his episcopal city the turmoil of an election after his death, caused both clergy and people to acclaim the choice of the deacon Heraclius as his auxiliary and successor, and transferred to him the administration of externals. Augustine might then have enjoyed some rest had Africa not been agitated by the undeserved disgrace and the revolt of Count Boniface (427). The Goths, sent by the Empress Placidia to oppose Boniface, and the Vandals, whom the latter summoned to his assistance, were all Arians. Maximinus, an Arian bishop, entered Hippo with the imperial troops. The holy Doctor defended the Faith at a public conference (428) and in various writings. Being deeply grieved at the devastation of Africa, he laboured to effect a reconciliation between Count Boniface and the empress. Peace was indeed reestablished, but not with Genseric, the Vandal king. Boniface, vanquished, sought refuge in Hippo, whither many bishops had already fled for protection and this well fortified city was to suffer the horrors of an eighteen months' siege. Endeavouring to control his anguish, Augustine continued to refute Julian of Eclanum; but early in the siege he was stricken with what he realized to be a fatal illness, and, after three months of admirable patience and fervent prayer, departed from this land of exile on 28 August, 430, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.
Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia

#BreakingNews Archdiocese of Washington FULL TEXT Statement Against Archb. Vigano Testimony "...not produced in his testimony any objectively verifiable proof..."

Statement Regarding Archbishop Viganò’s “Testimony”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, has published a “testimony” in which he presents his views on Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and his appointment to Washington. Archbishop Viganò states that he “learned with certainty” that “Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis.” He then says that he (Archbishop Viganò) “repeated them to Cardinal McCarrick” at the Archbishop’s first meeting with him at the Nunciature. Cardinal Wuerl has categorically denied that any of this information was communicated to him.
Archbishop Viganò has not produced in his testimony any objectively verifiable proof that he in any way communicated to Cardinal Wuerl restrictions imposed on Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI. In fact, Archbishop Viganò’s testimony says that he did not.
Cardinal Wuerl has indicated that during his entire tenure as Archbishop of Washington no one has come forward to say to him, “Cardinal McCarrick abused me” or made any other like claim. The only ground for Cardinal Wuerl to challenge the ministry of Archbishop McCarrick would have been information from Archbishop Viganò or other communications from the Holy See. Such information was never provided.
Perhaps the starting point for a serene and objective review of this testimony is the inclusion of Archbishop Viganò’s tenure as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in the mandate of the Apostolic Visitation already called for by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
FULL TEXT Media Release from the Archdiocese of Washington

FULL TEXT Flight Interview with Pope Francis "I will not say a single word" on Allegations by Mons. - with Video

[25-26 AUGUST 2018]
Papal flight
Sunday, 26 August 2018
[Multimedia] - Original Text Replaced by Vatican Official Translation on 08/30/18

Greg Burke
Good evening, Holy Father.
Pope Francis
Good evening.
Greg Burke
Thank you for this time that you are dedicating to us, after two very intense days.  There have certainly been difficult moments in Ireland – there is always the abuse question – but also very beautiful moments: the festival of families, the testimonies of the families, the meeting with young couples and also the visit to the Capuchins, who are helping the poor so much.
May we give the microphone to the journalists, beginning with the Irish… But perhaps you would like to say something first…
Pope Francis
[I would like] to say thank-you, because if I am tired, then I think about you, who have work, work, work… I thank you very much for your efforts, for your work.  Thank you so much.
Greg Burke
The first question, as is our custom, comes from a journalist from the country [you visited]; he is Tony Connelly, from RTÉ - Irish Radio and Television.
Tony Connelly, RTÉ
Your Holiness, on Saturday you spoke about the meeting you had with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; you said how you were touched by what she told you about the homes for mothers and children.  What exactly did she say to you?  And were you so moved because it was the first time you heard of these homes?
Pope Francis
The Minister first said something to me not so much about mothers and children; she said – briefly – “Holy Father, we have found mass graves of children, of children interred.  We are looking into this.  Does the Church have any role in this?”, but she said it very politely indeed, with great respect.  I thanked her; this touched my heart, so much so that I wanted to mention it in my speech.  It was not at the airport – I was mistaken – it was at the meeting with the President.  At the airport, there was another lady – a government minister, I think – and I got confused.  But she said to me: “I will send you a memo”.  She sent me the memo, but I wasn’t able to read it.  I saw that she had did send me a memo.  She was very balanced in what she said to me: there is a problem, and even though the investigation is not yet completed, she made me feel that the Church too had some involvement in the matter.  In my opinion, this was an example of constructive cooperation, prior to… I don’t want to use the “protest”, but [before] lamenting, lamenting about what the Church may have favoured in the past.  That lady had a great dignity which touched my heart.  And now I have that memo, which I shall study when I return home.  Thank you.
Greg Burke
Now to another Irishman, Paddy Agnew, from the Sunday Independent, living in Rome but an Irish journalist.
Pope Francis
Not the only Irishman in Rome!
Paddy Agnew, of the Sunday Independent
Holy Father, thank you and good evening.  Yesterday, Marie Collins, the victim Marie Collins, whom you know well, indicated that you are not favourable to setting up new Vatican courts of enquiry concerning the problem of sexual abuse, and in particular, so-called courts of enquiry concerning bishops and bishop accountability.  Why do you feel that these are not needed?
Pope Francis
No, no, that isn’t it.  That isn’t it.  Marie Collins puts much emphasis on the idea…  I have great respect for Marie Collins, sometimes in the Vatican we call her to give a presentation – she emphasizes the idea of the [2016 Motu Proprio] As a Loving Mother, in which it was said that to judge bishops, it would be good to set up a special tribunal.  It was subsequently seen neither to be feasible nor suitable for the different cultures of the bishops who should be judged.  We are taking the recommendation of As a Loving Motherand setting up a jury for each bishop, but that is not the same thing.  A particular bishop has to be judged and so the Pope sets up a jury more capable of taking that case.  It is something that works better, also because, for a group of bishops to leave their dioceses… for this reason it is not possible.  So the tribunals and the juries change. 
This is the way we have done things up to now.  A number of bishops have been judged this way: the latest was the archbishop of Guam, who appealed his sentence and I decided – because it was a very, very complex case – to make use of the right that I have, hear his appeal on my own, and not to send him to the appeal court that carries out its work with priests.  I took it up personally.  I set up a commission of canon lawyers to help me, and they told me that, in a short time, a month at most, they would offer a “recommendation” so that I could make a judgement.  It is a complicated case on the one hand, but not difficult, because the evidence is extremely clear; from the standpoint of evidence, it is clear.  But I cannot pre-judge.  I am waiting for the report and then I will pass judgement.  I say that the evidence is clear because that is what led the court of the first instance to its verdict.  This was the most recent case.  Now there is another in progress; we will see how it ends.  But it’s clear, and I said this to Marie: the spirit and the recommendation of As a Loving Mother are being put into effect: a bishop must be judged by a tribunal, but not always the same tribunal, because that is not possible.  She [Marie Collins] didn’t understand this entirely, but when I see her – because she comes to the Vatican sometimes, we call her – I will explain it to her more clearly.  I like her.
Greg Burke
And now the Italian group, Holy Father: here is Stefania Falasca from Avvenire.
Stefania Falasca, Avvenire
Good evening, Holy Father.  You said, today even, that it is always a challenge to welcome the migrant and the outsider.  Just yesterday a painful episode was resolved, that of the “Diciotti” ship.  Is your “paw” behind this resolution?  Were you involved, are you part of it?
Pope Francis
The paw is the devil’s, not mine! (laughter). The paw is the devil’s…
Stefania Falasca
Then too, many people see Europe being blackmailed and these people having to pay the price.  What do you think?
Pope Francis
Welcoming migrants is as ancient as the Bible.  In Deuteronomy, God commands this in the commandments: welcome the migrant, the “stranger”.  This is ancient and in the spirit of divine revelation and the spirit of Christianity.  It is a moral principle.  I spoke about this, and then I saw that I needed to make it a little clearer, because this is not just about welcoming [migrants] willy-nilly, but in a reasonable way.  And this is true for all of Europe.  When did I realize what this reasonable welcoming has to be like?  It was after the attack in Zaventem [Belgium]: the young men, the fighters who carried out the attack on Zaventem were Belgian, but were sons of immigrants who were not integrated; they were “ghettoized”.  That is, they had been received by the country, but left there, and had become a ghetto: they were not integrated.  That is why I emphasized this; it is important. 
Then, I remembered my trip to Sweden – and Franca [Giansoldati] made mention of this in an article, and of how I developed my thinking; when I went to Sweden I spoke about integration, and I knew about this, because during the dictatorship in Argentina, from 1976 to 1983, a great number of Argentinians and Uruguayans fled to Sweden.  And there the government took them in immediately, made them study the language and gave them work, integrated them.  To such a point that – and this is an interesting anecdote – the Minister who came to bid me farewell at Lund airport was the daughter of a Swede and an African migrant; and this African migrant had been integrated to the extent that his daughter became a minister of the country.  Sweden was a model.  But, at that moment [the time of my visit], Sweden was beginning to have difficulties: not because it did not have good intentions, but because it did not have the capacity for integration.  This was the reason why Sweden stopped somewhat, [why] it took this step.  Integration. 
Then too, I spoke here, at a press conference with you, of the virtue of prudence which is the virtue of governance, and I spoke of the prudence of peoples concerning numbers or possibilities:  a people that can accept but does not have the possibility of integrating, [is] better not accepting.  There is an issue of prudence here.  That I think is really the painful note with today’s dialogue in the European Union.  We have to keep on speaking: solutions can be found…
What happened with the “Diciotti”?  I did not put my “paw” there.  The one who did the work with the Ministry of the Interior was Father Aldo, good Father Aldo, who is the one who follows the organization of Father Benzi, which the Italians know well, and work at freeing prostitutes, those who experience exploitation and so many things…  And the Italian Bishops’ Conference got involved, Cardinal Bassetti, who was here but followed all the mediation on the telephone, and it was one of the two undersecretaries, Monsignor Maffeis, who negotiated with the Ministry.  And I think Albania got involved…  Albania, Ireland and Montenegro took a certain number of migrants, I think, but I’m not sure.  The Bishops’ Conference took responsibility for the others; I don’t know whether under the umbrella of the Vatican or not…  I don’t know how the matter was negotiated; but they are going to Mondo Migliore Centre in Rocca di Papa; they will be accommodated there.  I think there are more than a hundred of them.  And there they will start to learn the language and do the work done with migrants already integrated. 
I had a very gratifying experience.  When I went to the Roma III University, there were students who wanted to ask me questions and I saw a female student… [I thought:] “I know that face”: she had come with me as one of the thirteen people I brought back with me from Lesvos.  That young woman at the university!  How?  Because the Sant’Egidio Community, from the day she arrived, took her to school to learn: go, keep going…  And they integrated her at university level.  This is what it is to work with migrants.  [First] there is an openness of heart to all [those who] suffer; then there is integration, as a condition for being welcomed; and then prudence on the part of government leaders to do this.  I saw… I have secret footage, what happens to those who get sent back and who are taken again by traffickers: it is horrible, the things they do to these men, to women and children… they sell them, but they inflict more sophisticated tortures on the men.  There was one there, a spy, who was able to make that film, which I sent to my two undersecretaries for migration.  For this reason, before sending them back, one has to think very, very, very carefully…
And one last thing.  There are these migrants who come; but there are others who are tricked when they arrive: “We will give you work…”  They give them all papers,  and they end up on the sidewalk as slaves, threatened by traffickers in women… This is it. 
Greg Burke
Thank you, Holy Father. The next question is from the English-speaking group: Anna Matranga, from the American television network CBS.
Anna Matranga, CBS
Good evening, Holy Father!  I would like to return to the topic of “abuse” about which you have already spoken.  In a document issued early this morning, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò says that in 2013 he had a personal conversation with you at the Vatican, and that in this meeting he spoke explicitly with you about the sexual abuse by former Cardinal McCarrick.  I wanted to ask you if this is true.  Another question I wanted to ask of you: the Archbishop also said that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed sanctions on McCarrick, telling him not to live in the seminary, not to celebrate Masses in public and not to travel; the Church imposed sanctions on him. Can I ask you if these two things are true?
Pope Francis
Just one thing, I would prefer – even though I will answer your question – that we speak about the trip [to Ireland] and then move on to other topics... but I will answer your question.  I read the statement this morning.  I read it and sincerely I must tell you, and all those who are interested: read it yourselves carefully and make your own judgment.  I will not say a single word on this.  I believe the memo speaks for itself, and you are capable enough as journalists to draw your own conclusions.  This is an act of trust: when some time has passed and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak.  But I ask that you use your professional maturity in doing this: it will do you good, really. That is enough for now.
Anna Matranga, CBS
Marie Collins said, after you met her during your meeting with victims, that she spoke directly with you about former Cardinal McCarrick.  She said that you were very harsh in your condemnation of McCarrick.  I wanted to ask you: when did you first hear about the abuses committed by the former cardinal?
Pope Francis
This is part of the statement on McCarrick: study it and then I will say something.  But since I had not read it yesterday, I did want to speak clearly with Marie Collins and the group [of victims] in the meeting that lasted for a good hour and a half, and which I found very painful.  But I think it was necessary to listen to those eight people; from this meeting emerged the proposal – which I made, and which they accepted and helped me to carry out – to ask forgiveness today in the Mass, but for concrete things.  For example, the last, which I had never heard: those mothers – in what was called the women’s laundry – when a woman became pregnant out of wedlock, she would be sent to a hospital or an institution, I forget what it was called ... but it was run by sisters and then they gave the children up for adoption.  And there were children at that time, who tried to find their mothers to know if they were alive, they did not know... and they told them it was a mortal sin to do this; and also to mothers who were looking for their children; they also told them that it was a mortal sin.  So I ended today by saying that it is not a mortal sin; it is [about] the fourth commandment.  And some of the things I have said today I did not know beforehand, and it was painful for me, but with the consolation of being able to help clarify these things.  And I am waiting for your comment on that document; I would like to hear it! Thank you.
Greg Burke
Thank you, Holy Father.  Now Cecile Chambraud of “Le Monde”
Cecile Chambraud, “Le Monde”
Good evening, Holy Father.  I hope you don’t mind if I ask my question in Spanish but I ask that you answer in Italian for all my colleagues.  In your address to the Irish authorities, you referred to your recent Letter to the People of God.  In that Letter, you invited all Catholics to take part in the fight against abuse in the Church.  Can you explain to us concretely what Catholics can do, each in their own way, to fight against abuse?  In this regard, in France, a priest has written a petition calling for the resignation of Cardinal Barbarin, accused by victims.  Do you think this initiative is adequate or not?
Pope Francis
If there are suspicions, or proofs or even half-proofs, I see no problem in conducting an investigation, but always based on the fundamental legal principle: Nemo malus nisi probetur, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Frequently there is the temptation not only to investigate, but to publish that an investigation was carried out and the reason..., and so some media – not yours, I don’t think – begin to create a climate of guilt.  And I would like to mention something that happened recently, which will help in this, because for me it is important how one proceeds and how the media can help.  Three years ago, more or less, the issue of so-called paedophile priests came up in Granada – a small group of seven, eight or ten priests, who were accused of abuse of minors and of holding parties, orgies and such things.  I received the accusation directly in a letter sent by a twenty-three year old man, who claimed to have been abused; he gave names and details.  He was a young man who was working in a very prestigious religious school in Granada; the letter was perfectly written...  And he asked me what he should do to report it.  I replied: “Go to the Archbishop, the Archbishop will know what you should do”.  The Archbishop did everything he was supposed to do, the matter even went to the civil court.  There were two trials.  The local media began to talk, and talk… Three days later the words “paedophile priests”, and similar expressions, appeared all over the parish, and so there was a sense that these priests were criminals.  Seven of them were interviewed, and nothing was found; in three cases the investigation went ahead, they remained in custody for five days, two days, and one day – Father Roman, who was the parish priest – for seven days.  For almost three years they suffered the hatred and insults of everyone: they were criminalized, they weren’t able to go out, and they suffered humiliations during the jury’s attempt to prove the young man’s accusations, which I do not dare to repeat here.  After three years and more, the jury declared the priests innocent, all of them innocent, but above all these three – the others were already out of the case – and the accuser guilty.  Because they had seen that that young man had quite an imagination; he was very intelligent and was working in a Catholic school, and thus had a certain prestige which gave the impression that he was telling the truth.  He was sentenced to pay the costs and all that, and they were innocent.  These men were condemned by the media rather than by the justice system.  For this reason, your work is very sensitive: you have to follow things; you have to speak about things, but always with this legal presumption of innocence, and not the legal presumption of guilt!  And there is a difference between a reporter, who provides information about a case without deciding the matter beforehand, and the detective, who plays Sherlock Holmes, with the presumption that everyone is guilty.  When we look at Hercule Poirot’s method, we see that, for him, everyone was guilty.  But that is the job of a detective.  They are two different roles.  But reporters must always start from the presumption of innocence, stating their own impressions, doubts..., but without condemning.  This case that occurred in Granada is, for me, an example that will do us all good, in our [respective] professions.
Greg Burke
In the first part [of the preceding question], she asked what the people of God could do in this regard…
Pope Francis
Yes.  When you see something, speak up at once. I will say something else, a bit unpleasant.  Sometimes it is the parents who cover up the abuse by a priest.  Often you see this in the sentences.  [They say,] “But no…”  They don’t believe it, or they convince themselves that it is not true, and the boy or girl is left like that.  I usually speak to one or two persons a week, by and large, and I spoke to one person, a lady, who had suffered from this scourge of silence for forty years because her parents had not believed her.  She had been abused when she was eight years old.  Speaking out, this is important.  True, for a mother, to see this…, It would be better that it were not true, and so she thinks that maybe the child has imagined it… [But there is a need] to speak up.  To speak with the right persons, speak with those who can begin a judgment, at least a prior investigation.  To speak with the judge or the bishop, or if the parish priest is good, to speak with the parish priest.  This is the first thing that the people of God can do.  These things must not be covered up.  A psychiatrist told me some time ago – but I don’t want this to be offensive to women – that out of their maternal sense women are inclined to cover up matters affecting the child than men.  I don’t know if it’s true or not…  But this is: to speak up.  Thank you.
Greg Burke
From the Spanish group there is Javier Romero of “Reme Reports TV”.
Javier Romero
Holiness, I would like to ask you two questions.  The first is that the Prime Minister of Ireland, who was very pointed in his speech, is proud of a new model of family that differs from the one that the Church has traditionally proposed up to now: I am speaking of homosexual marriage.  And this is perhaps one of the models that generates the most tension, especially in the case of Catholic families when one of the members of the family declares that he or she is homosexual.  Holiness, the first question I would like to ask you is: what do you think, what would you like to say to a father whose son says he is homosexual and wants to go to live with his companion.  This is the first question.  The second, and you also spoke about in this in your address with the Prime Minister, is abortion; we have seen how Ireland has changed greatly in recent years and it seems that the Minister was satisfied with these changes, one of which was abortion.  We have seen that in recent months, in recent years, the question of abortion has been raised in many countries, including Argentina, your own country.  How do you feel when you see that this is a subject on which you speak out often, and there are many countries where it is allowed…
Pope Francis
I see.  I’ll begin with the second, but there are two points – thank you for this – because they are tied to the questions we are discussing.  On abortion, you know what the Church thinks.  The issue of abortion is not a religious issue: we are not opposed to abortion for religious reasons.  No.  It is a human issue and has to be addressed as such.  To consider abortion starting from religion is to step over [that realm of] thought.  The abortion question has to be studied from an anthropological standpoint.  There is always the anthropological question of how ethical it is to eliminate a living being in order to resolve a problem.  This is the real issue.  I would only emphasize this: I never allow the issue of abortion to be discussed starting with religion.  No.  It is an anthropological problem, a human problem.  This is my thinking.
Second.  There have always been homosexuals and persons with homosexual tendencies.  Always.  The sociologists say, but I don’t know if it’s true, that at times of epochal change certain social and ethical phenomena increase, and that this would be one of them.  This is the opinion of some sociologists. Your question is clear: what would I say to a father who sees his son or daughter has that tendency.  I would tell him first of all to pray.  Pray.  Don’t condemn, [but] dialogue, understand, make room for his son or daughter. Make room for them to say what they have to say.  Then too, at what age does this concern of the child become evident?  This is important.  It is one thing when it shows up in childhood when there are so many things that one can do to see how the matter stands; it is another when it is shows up at twenty years of age or so.   But I would never say that silence is the answer; to ignore a son or daughter with a homosexual tendency is not good parenthood.  You are my son, you are my daughter, just as you are.  I am your father or your mother, let’s talk about this.  And if you, as a father or mother, can’t deal with this on your own, ask for help, but always in dialogue, always in dialogue.  Because that son and daughter has a right to family, and their family is this family, just as it is.  Do not throw them out of family.  This is a serious challenge for parenthood.  Thank you for the question.
Greg Burke
Thank you, Holy Father.
Pope Francis
Now, I would like to say something for the Irish who are with us.  I found great faith in Ireland.  Great faith.  True, the Irish people have suffered greatly because of the scandals.  But there is faith in Ireland, and strong faith.  Also, the Irish people know how to distinguish, and here I would repeat something I heard today from a bishop.  “The Irish people know how to distinguish between truths and half-truths: deep down they have this ability”.  True, they are in a process of working things out, of healing from this scandal.  True, some are becoming open to positions that seem increasingly distant from the faith.  But the Irish people have a deeply rooted and strong faith.  I want to say this, because it is what I saw, what I heard and what I learned in these two days.
Thank you for your work, thank you very much!  And please pray for me.
Greg Burke

Thank you.  Have a good dinner and a good rest.


#Novena Prayer to St. Monica - Patron of #Mothers + #Converts - SHARE - #Miracle Prayer


(Say this for 9 Days)

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perserveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats 
But with prayerful cries to heaven. 

Intercede for all mothers in our day 
So that they may learn 
To draw their children to God. 

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children, 
Even the prodigal sons and daughters 
Who have sadly gone astray. 

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, 
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime. 
Yet you never despaired or lost faith. 
With confidence, persistence and profound faith, 
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius 
And your beloved son, Augustine. 

Grant me that same fortitude, 
Patience and trust in the Lord. 
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, 
That God may favorably hear my plea 

[State your petition here.) 

And grant me the grace 
To accept his will in all things, 
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
One God forever and ever.

Pray Hail Mary 3 times 
Pray Glory Be 3 times 
St. Monica, pray for us

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday August 27, 2018 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Monica
Lectionary: 425

Reading 12 THES1:1-5, 11-12

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters,
as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more,
and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God
regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions
and the afflictions you endure.

This is evidence of the just judgment of God,
so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God
for which you are suffering.

We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 4-5

R. (3) Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.
For great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the LORD made the heavens.
R. Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men.
You do not enter yourselves,
nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You traverse sea and land to make one convert,
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna
twice as much as yourselves.

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
Blind fools, which is greater, the gold,
or the temple that made the gold sacred?
And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing,
but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
You blind ones, which is greater, the gift,
or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
one who swears by the temple swears by it
and by him who dwells in it;
one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God
and by him who is seated on it."