March 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 71
A Letter To The Rulers

From Saint Francis of Assisi

    In these times that modernists feel things are relative and some within the Magisterium fear retaliation from those who would dull or even silence the Church and her teachings, I offer the mendicant magic that the gentle spiritual giant Francis of Assisi counseled his charges and would ask the bishops to contemplate:    

    To all Magistrates and consuls, to all judges and governors all over the world and to everyone else who receives this letter, Brother Francis, your poor and worthless servant in the Lord, sends greetings and peace.

        Consider and realize that the day of death is approaching (ref. Genesis 47:29) I therefore beg of you with all the respect I am capable of that you do not forget God or swerve from his commandments because of the cares and anxieties of this world which you have to shoulder. For all who forget Him and turn away from His commandments (Psalm 118:21) shall be forgotten by Him (Ezekiel 33:13). When the day of death comes, all that they thought their own will be taken away from them (ref. Luke 8:18). The more wisdom and power they enjoyed in this life, the greater the torments they will have to endure in hell (ref. Wisdom 6:7).

        And so my lords, this is my advice. Put away all worries and anxiety and receive the holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ fervently in memory of Him. See to it that God is held in great reverence among your subjects; every evening, at a signal given by a herald or in some other way, praise and thanks should be given to the Lord God almighty by all the people. If you refuse to see to this, you can be sure that you will be held to account for it at the day of judgment before Jesus Christ, your Lord and God.

        Those who keep a copy of this letter and put it's prescriptions into practice can rest assured that they have God's blessing."

    St. Francis of Assisi

    It's hard to add to the words of a saint, and yet, I feel I must say something to the Bishops and all Catholic leaders in politics and business. If they take it as admonishment, then so be it. I would hope they would follow the wise counsel of Francis. His track record speaks for itself - both on earth and in the Heavens. I pray the Bishops and Catholic lay leaders in all walks of life would strive to live and exhibit his wisdom, insight and holiness. I pray they would strive to emulate his austerity in all things for the greater honor and glory of God.

    You are the signal to be given to the people you represent. Don't fool yourself with pious sounding words such as, "Well, I'm personally opposed to abortion, but.." These words are no better than your counterparts who said, "I'm personally opposed to slavery, but.." Or even those who said "I'm personally opposed to what is being done to the Jews, but..." You're 'god' shouldn't be political expediency, but God. You're intelligent enough to know that, though God judges by one's conscience, He doesn't 'wink' at the conscience killed through political expediency, or one's personal wants or desires.

    As St. Thomas More pointed out, the patron saint of politicians, the statesman who forgoes his conscience for the sake of his public duties, leads his people, by a short route, to chaos.

    If you honestly cannot see this and refuse to follow the teaching of the Church you profess to belong to, then you should at least be honest enough, as your predecessors were in the days of King Henry VIII, to say that you are no longer Catholic, since, by word and deed you have already left the Church you profess to belong to.

Pax Christi,

Pat Ludwa

For past columns by Pat Ludwa, see VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives

March 17, 2001
volume 12, no. 76
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column
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