CATHOLIC PewPOINT for Friday-Thursday, September 8-14, 2000
The Best Formula for Sanctity
The Church is so wise in her liturgy. Last month we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, and a week later the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. This month we celebrate a similar octave with the feast on Friday of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and follow that octave next Friday with the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Next month we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th.
Michael Cain, editor
If September 8th is celebrated in the universal Church as the day of her birth, then her "natural day" or "conception day" would have to be December 8th. See how the Church functions? For those who don't know, December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception which means just that: she was conceived in the womb of her mother Anne from the seed of Joachim without the stain of original sin. That's a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, defined in 1854 by Blessed Pope Pius IX, who was beatified this past Sunday.
Speaking of Pius, we want to address the confusion that was stirred up by the slander against this holy man swirling up in a vicious vortex last week leading up to his beatification. A few have written us asking why we didn't put anything in our profile of Pius about Edgardo Mortaras and the charges of anti-semitism leveled at Pius IX. We didn't mainly because it was, in truth, a non-issue. Yet, clinging to any bit of ammunition they could manufacture against him, they dug up the Mortaras incident and made a mountain out of a molehill. First of all, the instigators were radical Jewish interests, the same ones who
vehemently oppose Pope Pius XII (despite the overwhelming testimonials on his
behalf from rabbis, Jewish historians and scholars). They want to foment any opposition they can and, in the time-held axiom that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they've stirred up a tempest helped out by the willing foils of the fourth estate - better known as the liberal, secular media. It's
called the blame game and if you can pin the blame on someone else, then you
can justify your own actions. Since the media are experts at this strategy
they are excellent conductors for minority dissidents who cry out against the
The truth of the matter in the Edgardo Mortaras case is that when
he was a young infant the Catholic nanny/maid taking care of him and working
for the Mortaras family, thought he was close to death one day and baptized
him as a Catholic out of a genuine concern for his eternal life. A few years later, the pastor discovered this and,
realizing the young Jewish boy was actually a sacramental Catholic, asked
for permission to bring him up Catholic. Politics ensued and, Pius' only
error was to allow his Secretary of State to order the Papal Guards to take
young Edgardo away from the family (much as the US did with Elian Gonzalez).
Was that wrong? Yes. Were the motives wrong? No, and the subsequent
treatment of young Edgardo was above reproach. In fact he was treated
royally while he studied the Catholic faith under the supervision of the
Pontiff himself who came to deeply care for the young man's soul.
You'll note the same people who were accusing Pius IX's action were strangely silent
regarding little Elian's case and cause. There is a double standard here for little Elian was used as a
political tennis ball for Bill Clinton to serve and volley with his buddy Fidel Castro with Janet Reno holding up the net of deceit. While many agreed Elian should be with his natural father, he really had no choice. He will someday and that will be the proof of the pudding. In that same vein,
what the secular media does not include in the Edgardo Mortaras case is the fact that Edgardo was allowed to
return to his Jewish roots and family after his education. Yes some will say he was "brainwashed." If that is the case then anyone who attends school is "brainwashed." But even those who are "brainwashed" have a free-will and so did Edgardo, who decided, of his own free
will, not only to remain a Catholic, but to become a priest. You
don't hear that from the secular media.
Consider the times: the early part of the second half of the nineteenth century. There was already much resentment toward Catholics and many were fleeing to the United States to escape persecution. It is understandable that Edgardo's Jewish family would be outraged. First of all because of ignorance of the Faith and secondly, because of what they had been fed by those opposed to the Church. The outrage at someone in the
family becoming a priest in those days was often bitter even in some Catholic families who didn't fully understand what a calling from God was. Therefore one can imagine the resentment by Jewish family members. This grudge has carried on through the years, fed by anti-Catholic rhetoric by those who use
this isolated incident in Pius' life to besmudge this man's reputation and
good character. They forget that Jesus offered the Jews His Gospel and the
fulfillment of all they had been waiting for and they rejected Him. Likewise Saint
Paul also offered the Christian teaching to the Jews but again they refused
to hear or accept the New Covenant.
The fact of the ghettos is true. It has been true of history for one minority or another since the time of Christ when lepers were forced into ghettos up to today when ghettos are synonomous for places where the poor dwell.
The Jewish ghettos in the 1800's were, unfortunately, part and parcel of those political times. Many blame Pius for promoting this without taking into account that the Italian regime of King Victor Emmanuel, in his rise to power, encouraged that Jews be kept in check by gathering them into areas where they could be "controlled" - ergo, ghettos. It's interesting to note also that this policy was strongly advocated by another north of Italy - Prince Otto von Bismarck of Germany. And you thought Hitler's idea was original! This paranoia was a result of centuries of corruption on all peoples' part and all faiths share the blame, including the Roman Catholic Church which, at that time was at the twilight of her temporal power. All of these causes were a direct result of the Napoleonic wars. When studying history, dates don't mean a thing. It's the causes and effects that shape history and reshape it. As we indicated, the bitterness of the German Bismarck would carry over and spawn, a century later, the monster Hitler in Germany against the Church. Also understand another player in this game: the powerbrokers within the powerful Rothschild family, a Jewish well-to-do clan that could easily have come to the aid of the Jews in Rome if it were a "religious issue." But it was not. It was a financial and political issue in a chess match for control. Paranoia was rampant throughout Europe and nations were ripe for the taking by those who were establishing the Illuminati in
accordance with the Masonic mandate. Nationalism was at an all time high
as Europe clung to its traditions as its moral fiber was being corroded all
around it and from within...just as is happening in America today. Our splendid columnist Pat Ludwa puts it all in perspective in referring to G.K. Chesterton's words "When one loses their
faith, it isn't that they believe nothing, but rather, they'll believe anything."
That was the climate during Pius IX's 32-year regime as he steadfastly clung to preserving the Church from this temblor of modernism rumbling through the Old World. Politically he was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Pope John Paul II said in his statement last Sunday, "the world did not always understand him: the 'hosannas' at the beginning of his pontificate were soon followed by accusations, attacks, and calumnies." Yet, as the Holy Father explained, "He was always indulgent to his enemies. The spirit of poverty, faith in God, and abandonment to Providence, coupled with an extraordinary sense of humor, helped him overcome the most difficult moments. He often said, 'My politics is: Our Father, Who art in Heaven.' In this way, he showed that 'God, in Whom he had total confidence, was his guide in the decisions of life and the governing of the Church." That's basically all the time our present Vicar of Christ lingered on in addressing the trumped-up accusations against this holy Pope who "guided the Barque of Peter's for almost 32 years in the midst of violent tempests." In essence Our Lord summed up Pius' plight in John 15: 25, "They have hated Me without cause."
If anyone has suffered the slings and arrows of modernists it is John Paul II who has been labeled as a man "out of touch" with society today. Pius XII was called many names as well, but he will survive and eventually take his rightful place in the list of Blesseds despite the vortex of vendettas heaped upon him by radical groups desperately searching for someone to serve as a scapegoat. Both Piuses have served themselves up willingly and posthumously with no defense except the way they lived their lives. That is good enough to be beatified. If these men pass the excruciating, long and meticulous scrutiny of the designated "devil's advocate" in the tedious, failsafe and snail's pace procedure of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, then that's good enough for us! End of discussion!
Two common bonds these noble Pontiffs all had was, first, their unyielding fiat to the Triune Divinity in accepting whatever crosses God chose for these servants of the servants of God. "If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him Who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also" (John 15: 20-23). Fittingly the road always leads first to the cross and by giving our fiat to God it doesn't make our journey to Calvary any easier, just more bearable and if we persevere we, too, will share in the Triumph of the Cross, a special feast we celebrate on Thursday. Only in the triumph of the Cross can we have the resurrection to eternal life. The cross is our only sure ticket to Heaven.
Secondly, these persecuted Popes all had or have a special devotion to God's Own Blessed Mother. It is something we should all emulate for it is Mary who guides our footsteps up that steep hill of humanity towards perfection. On her birthday we could rattle off a litany of reasons why Blessed Mary is so honored by the Church at God's behest, but it's better to say the Litany of Loreto which lists her many cherished titles in asking for her unceasing intercession. As you pray the litany, just remember that it was Our Lady who set the bar for how we should live our lives: by giving our wills unconditionally to God and embracing the cross. That is the best formula for sanctity.
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