Malachi Brendan Martin was born on July 21, 1921 in County Kerry, Ireland and died of a fall on this past July 27th in New York City after suffering a stroke a few months before hand which greatly limited his activities. The cause of his death was a head injury. He was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He made many converts over his 78 years and many enemies as well. Outspoken as to the reforms of Vatican II and his own Society of Jesus Order - the Church's largest religious order - he chose to walk rather than compromising his principles. Throughout his life he was never one to compromise or accept change. Perhaps this dates back to his early, strict Irish upbringing, perhaps to other factors for not very much is known about his early life since he was very secretive about personal matters. We do know he attended Belvedere College in Dublin and at the age of 18 entered the Jesuit seminary. He received his bachelor's degree in Semitic languages and Oriental history and one in Assyriology from Trinity College, followed by Masters in Philosophy, Theology, Semitic Languages, Archeology and Oriental History obtained from the University of Louvain in Belgium and the University of Oxford as well as the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. On August 15, 1954 - the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary - he became priest of the Society of Jesus.
This vocation came after venturing into archeology in his earlier years where the lure of history and hieroglyphics of Old Testament times took him on a sojourn to Egypt in the fifties. As he lay on his back in the sand and dust studying the ancient scrawlings in various caverns and caves, searching for clues as to God' chosen people during their exile, the thought kept haunting him, "What am I doing lying in this cave." He realized this work was passive and he wanted to be active. It was a turning point in his life for his major goal, he finally figured out in his mind and heart, was to become "a priest to hear confessions, to say Mass, and to minister to people."
After his ordination he returned to the mid-east where he became somewhat of an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, publishing over twenty-five articles on Semitic Paleography and his first book The Scribal Character of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was the first of sixteen he would publish. This text book - a research book - would be a far cry from the style that would evolve into the John Le Carre style he would exhibit in later books.
In 1958 he was called to Rome where he would work for the next six years. It was here where he established a close relationship with Pope John XXIII and the Secretariat of State Cardinal Augustin Bea. Both charged Father Malachi with extremely sensitive missions of the highest priority and confidentiality. Many believe these missions give validity to his later novels which might not be as fictional as some think. Besides his clandestine mission for the Holy See, he also taught Hebrew, Aramaic, Paleography and Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
The ironic aspect of his a close friendship with John XXIII and Cardinal Bea was that the two latter principals were the major architects of the ecumenical council which Malachi would turn his back on in 1964. Some believe many of the reforms Father Martin had recommended did not involve the liturgy as much as other areas, mostly government within the Church. When the Church began adopting reforms and many things were introduced that Father Malachi knew were not from the Council Fathers, he became alarmed. But he had also subsequently been silenced by his superior. When the reform began to take place within his own Order, and pressure within to conform or else, he became disillusioned by the changes and the inordinate push for liberation theology which he truly despised. He met with Pope Paul VI and requested a release from his vows as a Jesuit priest in 1964. The Holy Father gave him a dispensation from the vows of poverty and obedience, but Martin remained loyal to his vow of chastity as a priest forever "according to the Order of Melchisedech."
In 1965, according to an account by Colin B. Donovan, STL on behalf of EWTN, we quote, "Malachi Martin states, and the Holy See will confirm if asked, that 'In 1965, Mr. Martin received a dispensation from all privileges and obligations deriving from his vows as a Jesuit and from priestly ordination.' [Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 25 June 1997, Prot. N. 04300/65]. Malachi Martin alleges that he has the permission of the then Pope, Paul VI, to say the Mass in private. Although laicized priests are prohibited from performing the sacraments, except in certain cases provided for in Canon Law, there is no way to verify whether he has such an exception, and the Congregation would not necessarily know if the Pope verbally assured him he could celebrate Mass in private. Generally a man should be taken at his word unless there is evidence to the contrary." It reminds us of the verbal permission Pope Pius XII gave to the Servite Fathers to promulgate the book Poem of the Man-God which has been challenged. As Donovan wrote, there is no way of knowing but if indeed Martin did receive permission from His Holiness, then he is in full accord with Holy Mother Church.
After receiving his dispensation Martin relocated to Paris but decided a whole new scene was necessary and so, flew across the pond to New York where he would remain for the rest of his life. He set about dedicating his life to writing and supplemented his income with brief stints as a dishwasher and a cab driver, eventually becoming an American citizen. He had already published another book in 1964, entitled The Pilgrim under the pseudonym Michael Serafian on anti-Semitism backlash against the Vatican. In 1970 he got his first breakthrough with his book The Encounter which was the result of his expertise in the study of Judaism, Christianity and Islamism. Six years later he released the first of his best-sellers, Hostage of the Devil which dealt with possession and the exorcism of five Americans. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for the book was published shortly after the film The Exorcist was released. Two years later The Final Conclave hit the best-seller's list and a sign of the type of books yet to come from Malachi Martin, now becoming a famous novelist nationally and internationally. In this book Martin claimed he wrote it to alert the world "of the Marxist influence in the Church that could affect the choice of the next Pope. I see these two great institutions in danger - the Roman Catholic Church and the United States. It was my duty as a Catholic and an American to reveal the secret negotiations now going on. Silence would have been the highest treason...There are 'moles' in the Vatican informing Moscow."
He followed this with The Vatican in 1986 further delving on machinations within the sacred halls of this most august institution, always with a reverence for papal authority but showing how some curial members had gone bad. Speaking of bad, in 1987 he wrote an expose of his former order, called simply The Jesuits in which he lamented how far the once proud religious order founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola to uphold the faith and protect the Pope had sunk and how it had now become such a proponent of liberation theology and its emphasis on political change. It was an eye-opener to what the Society of Jesus had become and an alarming indication of what is happening in so many institutes of higher learning administered by Jesuits, chief among them Georgetown University which has shown a sharp turn to the left in the past few decades.
With that novel he showed why he had cut all ties with the Order and rather than staying and being assigned to teaching or a parish, he embraced a new parish after 1964 - the Parish of Best Sellers and Talk Radio via Art Bell, a conservative talk show host who made Father Malachi Martin a frequent guest and which, to the testimony of many, effected countless conversions. Strange though it seems so did his novels which painted a picture of a Holy See under siege and sent many in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament remembering Christ's words in Matthew 16: 18, "...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" and Matthew 28: 20, "...and behold I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."
He released his final full novel, a thriller called Windswept House in 1996 which depicted the Church at the brink of the millennium and a slavic Pope. Very similar to Pope John Paul II except in name, Martin illustrated the struggle of Fatima vs. satan and how the antichrist stands ready to wrest control of the papacy amid international intrigue, the influence of nations in forming the New World Order and the Church's supposed role in all of this.
This book, which outsold all others, was to be his "last hurrah" for he died this year while working on his next book which promised to be the most controversial and detailed work ever, called Primacy: How the Institutional Roman Catholic Church became a Creature of the New World Order. Those who know said it was to be a book about the political scene in the Church today and a forecast of how papal power would have an impact on the world in the third millennium. Whether it will be published posthumously is yet to be determined for few know how far Martin got and who is qualified to complete such a complicated, intense novel that will carry with it the same impact he became famous for.
This Irish American Catholic priest began as an Indiana Jones type of character in real life, evolved into an Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier type and became one of the great modern writers in the genre of Le Carre and John Grisham with an insight into the inner workings of the Church and world politics that no one else could convey. His imagination and grasp of real flesh-and-blood "fictional" characters in his novels not only prodded millions to spend hours page-turning, unable to put his novels down, but, much more importantly, tweaked the consciences of countless converts and Catholics who began to take their faith seriously as a result of many revelations revealed in his books. The scope of the impact of his novels? Only Heaven knows the true story.
We've heard all the theories. "If we allow women and married priests, vocations will come flooding back." (Though there's nothing to show that would occur. In fact, there's evidence that the opposite would occur. For example, for many women who refuse to follow the Church now, why do we think they'd follow if they were ordained?)
If churches are having a hard time making ends meet now, what makes anyone think that priests having families to feed will make it better? "Remove the notion that illicit sexual contact (homosexual, pre and extra marital sex) is a sin, and allow abortions and artificial contraception and the pews would fill in a second." (Forgoing truth in favor of desire) "Allow any and all notions to be accepted as valid expressions of the faith (Universal as meaning everything is acceptable)."
But this is the 'curse' of Protestantism, encouraging separation instead of unity. "Allow people to form their own 'spirituality' regardless how 'unchristian' they may be. One can worship Odin, Shiva, Isis, whoever, as long as it's the 'Creator' who is worshiped."
But this attitude actually encourages empty pews, lower vocations, etc. But there is an answer.
In the 13th century, the town of Assisi was under siege by an army intent on conquering Italy and forcing the Pope to submit to their will. St. Clare of Assisi, hearing the approaching battle, rushed to the Sacristy, and taking the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance, went to the cities walls. There, she held the Blessed Sacrament on high. The armies, without reason, began to panic and retreat. The crisis was over.
St. John Bosco had a vision of the Church as a great ship of State. In turbulent seas, she was attacked by a flotilla of smaller boats, bombarding the great ship with pamphlets, books, etc. The captain of the ship, the Pope, was mortally wounded, but another immediately took his place, and steered the great ship to safety, anchored between twin pillars of the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Whereupon, the attacking flotilla panicked and sank in defeat.
I forget who had this vision, but it was of a woman. She was being attacked by demons and thugs. Surrounded by the ruins, of the Church and the world. Fleeing from her attackers, she came before the one remaining structure, the Tabernacle. As she came before the Lord in the Tabernacle, she bowed low in homage and praise. The demons and thugs fled from her and were defeated.
Yes, the answer may be right under our noses. What will save the Church? The Blessed Sacrament.
Not everyone is called to apologetics (the active defense of the faith), nor to teach, or to be an activist in one sort or another to defend the faith. For most, we are called to help in other ways. "Then the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.' So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near, and said, 'Wilt Thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?' And the LORD said, 'If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.' Abraham answered, 'Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt Thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?' And He said, 'I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.' Again he spoke to Him, and said, 'Suppose forty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of forty I will not do it.' Then he said, 'Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.' He answered, 'I will not do it, if I find thirty there.' He said, 'Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.' Then he said, 'Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.' And the LORD went His way, when He had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place" (Genesis 18:24-33).
All over the world, there are a handful of men and women who spend their lives primarily remaining before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration for the sake of the world. Who knows what disasters these 'few' have saved the world from?
We cannot love someone we do not know. And if we don't love someone, why would we be expected to do what pleases them? Even if we wanted to do what pleased them, how could we know what would if we do not know them?
At his ordination, Fulton J. Sheen made two resolutions. One was to "spend a continuous Holy Hour every day in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament." (Treasure in Clay; Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen) He noted that the Holy Hour was to encourage a deep personal encounter with Christ. To converse with Him, tell Him our hopes and concerns. To refresh our souls.
He went on to say: "Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are preceded by a personal encounter with Him. When Moses saw the burning bush in the desert, it did not feed on any fuel. The flame, unfed by anything visible, continued to exist without destroying the wood. So personal dedication to Christ does not deform any of our natural gifts, disposition or character; it just renews without killing. As the wood becomes fire and the fire endures, so we become Christ and Christ endures." (Ibid)
Eucharistic Adoration is not just for the Church, but also for each of us individually. The Hebrews of Christ's time expected the Messiah to overturn the world, to drive out and defeat the Roman Empire and establish a Heavenly kingdom on earth. But Christ didn't do that. Rather, He overturned the Empire by first overturning a person's heart. The Roman Empire grew by preying on the hearts of men. What they couldn't entice, they threatened or destroyed.
"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander" (Matthew 15:19).
Yet God's ways are not our ways. Christ changes things from within. The more we come to know Him, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we are able to withstand the disappointments and crisis's in our life. The more we love Him, the more we become like Him It begins with one, just as Christ's mission began simply by declaring the coming of the Kingdom in His local synagogue. Slowly then, through God's grace, we find ourselves longing to be with Him. Not just at Eucharistic Adoration, but in the Mass as well. First one, then another. When we receive Christ worthily in Eucharist, we become one with Him. And when others do this also, He becomes one with them, and so we are then one with them, through Christ: The real community of Christ.
So churches begin to fill again and vocations rise. We begin to find ourselves saying "Thy will be done" instead of "My will be done." Fear of the Lord (that is we fear hurting Him through sin) increases, and true love (agape) begins to replace selfish love (eros). Like a single match placed in a stack of dry straw, so too Eucharistic Adoration can't help but ignite the world with a true fire of love.
Just one hour, just one hour of sacrifice can lead to wonderful returns. One hour with the Lord can change our lives.
Pax Christi, Pat
The responsibilities of this council, headed by Bishop Javier Lozano Barragan as President, are to stimulate and promote the work of formation, study and action performed by various international Catholic organizations in the health care field.
This council is only 11 years old, having been established as a commission by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and made an official council on June 28, 1988 with his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus.
This dicastery, headed by Bishop Julian Herranz as President is responsible for the authentic interpretation of the universal laws of the Roman Church.
The origins of this Council began on January 2, 1984 when John Paul II established this as the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law but was changed to its present title through the Holy Father's Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus on June 28, 1988 and its functions expanded. It was expanded even further in 1991 to include the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Church which was promulgated in 1990.
The primary function of this council is to promote studies and dialogue with the intent of increasing a mutual understanding among Christians and non-Christians. Attached to this council is the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims which was instituted by Paul VI on October 22, 1974 with Cardinal Francis Arinze as President of both the Council and Commission. He has been a busy man what with the issues in Africa, his homeland, in the mid-east, and now in East Timor.
This council began on May 19, 1965 when Paul VI established it as a Secretariat for Non-Christians and again, John Paul II gave it its current title and functions on June 28, 1998 with his Motu Proprio Pastor Bonus which, by and large updated all the councils.