After studies at his father's school in Berkhamsted, he enrolled at Oxford and soon became editor of The Oxford Outlook. After graduating he published his first work, a collection of poems entitled "Babbling April" and went to work for the Nottingham Journal. Like a fellow British author who we covered last week, Evelyn Waugh, he was influenced by Cardinal John Henry Newman's work and having delved into research, realized the Anglican Church he had been raised in still left him unfulfilled. It was in one of his articles for the Outlook in 1925 that he used the term "worshipping the Blessed Virgin Mary" that proved beneficial for him because God works in mysterious ways. A young Roman Catholic lady responded, correcting him in his choice of nomenclature and explained that Catholics did not worship Mary but "venerate" her. The two began to discuss the teachings of the Church and, lo and behold Vivien Dayrell-Browning fell in love both with each other and the Church. On his conversion to Catholicism, he described it as "the only thing I ever did with a light heart." He was referring to his unhappy childhood and the fact that his outlook was generally gloomy and pessimistic. Without the Faith, he would have ended in despair but it was his Catholicism that saved him, beginning on February 1926, when, at the age of 22, he was baptized in St. Peter's Parish Church with Vivien present and received into the fullness of the Faith. Renewed, he was hired by the London Times as Sub Editor the next month and in October 1927, he and Vivien were married in the Church.
In 1929 he published his first novel, "The Man Within" which was a literary success and a year later, with a contract in hand from Heinemann Publishing, he resigned his job at the Times to devote full time to writing. The Books "The Name of Action," "Rumour at Nightfall," and "Stamboul Train" followed with the latter catapulting him into the higher sphere of prominence for it was about the "Orient Express" and captured the imagination of the public. Becoming a workaholic, Greene began reviewing films in 1932 becoming one of the first film critics in history and he was considered the finest of his time. One of his great joys was his and Vivien's first child, a daughter, born in December 1933. He continued to write, traveling through Europe for research material and to experience the flavor. In September 1936 the Greenes had a son, Francis and two years later he released one of his masterpieces "Brighton Rock" which became a classic thriller and set the standard for modern day thrill writers. The one constant factor through all of his novels was was the struggle between good and evil within man. His works were filled with moral, religious and social themes inspired by his Catholic Faith. Though many of his works were not specifically "Catholic", most of his major works dealt with moral and spiritual conflict. These include "Brighton Rock," "The Heart of the Matter," "The End of the Affair," and what is considered by many to be his masterpiece "The Power and the Glory." The latter book is set in Mexico during the early twentieth century, at a time of great persecution of the Church, and is the story of a priest lapsed from his vocation who ultimately dies for the faith. Greene had journeyed south of the border in 1938 to do research for a novel and it was there he discovered many alleged atrocities against the Church and set about discovering they were true. The result was not only "The Power and the Glory" which won him his first major literary prize, The Hawthornden, but a lesser known novel he released before the former, "The Lawless Road".
Returning to England, he enlisted to help England in their war with Germany and became a member of the SIS where he was assigned to Freetown in Sierra Leone in December 1941. After the war he returned home and a new profession awaited him, screenwriting. Already 13 of his novels had been translated to film and he was in demand. In 1949 he wrote the powerful film "The Third Man" which won First Prize at the Cannes Festival that year. He would go ont not only write 25 more movies, but act in some as well and produce several of them including such classics as "Saint Joan," "The Quiet American," "The Heart of the Matter," "The Tenth Man," "Strike it Rich," and his final film "This Gun for Hire." In addition he produced "The Power and the Glory" as a mini-series on television in 1961.
He died in Vevey, Switzerland on April 3, 1991 at the age of 87. Though he struggled with his own humanity throughout his life, his Catholicism kept him rooted and it could be said of Greene's work that his Christian vision was pre-pentecostal. Many of his characters are mediocre people who are frightened of heroism and the choices they must make between good and evil. The fact that evil was always present in his works and his take on the fact we must be aware of it in order to deal with it has seemingly been lost on many generations in the nineties who refuse to believe in hell or the devil. Reading the works of Graham Greene will point out, without a doubt that hell does exist but all is not lost for God wields the greater hand for He is the "Power and the Glory."
In the Holy Father's Consistory of February 2, 1983 Cardinal Meisner was honored with the red-hat and the titular church of St. Prudenziana. After eight years as the shepherd of the sprawling Berlin Diocese, he was promoted to his current post as head of the wealthier Archdiocese of Cologne on December 20, 1988 in charge of what many consider the "8th Wonder of the world" - the magnificent Cathedral of Cologne which is a gothic marvel with more detail than any church or edifice in the world. It was shortly after he assumed command of Cologne that the Berlin Wall came down, something he had predicted would happen for he truly had a pulse on the community on both sides of the wall.
Despite his many duties as Archbishop of Cologne, he also serves membership in the Roman Curia with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, and the Congregation for the Clergy as well as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Office of Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Presently he is 66 years old but not experienced enough to be seriously considered for papal possibilities. He is quite content in Cologne on the edge of the beautiful Bavarian forests where he resides at Kardinal-Frings-Strasse 10, D-50668 Koln 1, Bundesrepublik, Germany. The street where he lives is dedicated to the late Cardinal Joseph Frings, who nurtured a young protege named Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
On this day I wish all of my little children to have special recourse to my beloved chaste spouse, St. Joseph.
O! If you but knew how powerful is his intercession before the Throne of God, you would seek his help at all times.
My little children,, how often have I beseeched you to pray from your heart? Have I not asked that you put aside the things of the world and be openly and humbly obedient to God?
But you are anxious and fearful over many things, and because of this you cannot pray from your heart, nor are you able to detach yourself from worldly things.
St. Joseph was a husband, father and provider. All the cares of the Holy Family belonged to him, but his recourse was first and always to seek Divine guidance. O! What great faith did Joseph possess. How full was his trust and how ardent his love.
Therefore, in your daily prayers ask him to help you to become detached. Make him a true model for every family, for every worker in God's vineyard. Man must cease to work solely for the temporal care of his mortal body, which for many is their god. Rather, all must look first to God and be humble, obedient children filled with faith, hope and love.
Little ones, my time to be among you draws to a close. Many of my messengers have fulfilled their mission and must live my Divine Son's Gospel message fully.
I do solemnly tell you that as I speak less and my apparitions diminish, you shall experience a fuller awareness of my Divine Son's presence if you are open and praying from your heart.
Time is so critically short and satan destroys you in big and little ways, because you allow him to bring confusion into your lives.
Receive the Peace of my Divine Son. Cling to His sacred Cross. Adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament and pray for my beloved Pope John Paul II. All this I ask that you might be prepared.
Thank you for responding to my Call!
To all the world I solemnly say unto you: The day of decision is now. You cannot proclaim Me and live by violence. Violence begets violence.
Do you not yet see the signs of the times in which you live? O! How My Sacred Heart is pierced anew as each day I Who Am recede from your life and am replaced by man-made ideas of right and wrong.
I say to all the world: ENOUGH! Let all men lay down their weapons! Let all weapons be banished from sight. In their place, come to Me, and I shall give you True Peace! I am Peace, but you cannot have My Peace if your heart is filled with selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness. O! Let Me melt your hard hearts, so that having My heart the earth might be renewed through the Triumph of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, as Scripture foretells.
You must decide, My children. Follow Me, and carry no weapon lest the evil one seduce you into using it to harm any of My children. Leave all justice to Me, Who alone knows the hearts of men.
Let your weapon be Me, reverently received in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Arm yourself with frequent Confession and daily attendance at Holy Mass as often as you can! Pray much. Pray the Rosary, which is a powerful link to all heavenly aid.
Do not be afraid of what can harm your mortal body! Fear nothing if you have Me, for I do not abandon My own.
O! Hear Me, My children. Abandon the ways of violence, and disarm your enemy with Love and Mercy. Be the instruments I ask you to be, for love of Me! If you do this, who shall be victorious over you? Who can harm you if I am with you? Therefore, hear Me well, o world! Unless you become humble, obedient little children with gentle, contrite hearts, then the full chastisements shall come and all the earth shall tremble! The sword has fallen from My hand! It plunges toward the earth. It is Justice, Divine and Perfect.
Only through prayers and sacrifice can you mitigate the fullness of the Justice. Abandon your lives to Me!
Trust Me in all things.
Be obedient to all I have commanded.
Love one another as I have loved you, and you shall persevere in this time of spiritual darkness.
Heed My words. Prepare! I solemnly tell you, I Come!
Death of Saint John Baptist Vianney, priest and confessor. For more on this humble saint, see DAILY LITURGY.
Pope Leo XIII issues his third encyclical Aeterni Patris on the restoration of Christian philosophy. This would lead to a revival of scholastic philosophy and a rise in the philosophy promoted by the great Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas.