Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1970s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Augustine Thevarparampil (October 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Augustine Thevarparampil

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED AUGUSTINE THEVARPARAMPIL (APRIL 1, 1891-OCTOBER 16, 1973)

Indian Roman Catholic Priest and “Good Shepherd of the Dalits”

Blessed Augustine Thevarparampil, born in Ramapuram, Kerala, India, on April 1, 1891, ministered to “Untouchables” in India.  He came from a Roman Catholic family.  Our saint, the youngest of five children of Itty Iype and Eliswa, and baptized as an infant, was a nephew of two priests, Joseph and Thomas.  Blessed Augustine was short, hence his nickname, “Kurjachan,” or “little priest.”  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1921, was initially an assistant parish priest at Ramapuram (1921-1923) then at Kanadad (1923-1926).  He began to minister to Dalits at Ramapuram when he returned there to recuperate from an illness, in 1926.  He also opened schools for them because public schools did not admit Dalits.  Blessed Augustine was a priest to this population until he died at Ramapuram on October 16, 1973.  He was 82 years old.

Blessed Augustine, who followed God’s call to care for the least of marginalized in society, became a Servant of God (1987), a Venerable (2004), and a Blessed (2006).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARUTHAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MAYPHERKAT, AND MISSIONARY TO PERSIA

THE FEAST OF AMILIE JULIANE, COUNTESS OF SCHWARZBRG-RUDOLSTADT, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNARD OF PARMA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of Claus Westermann (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of Isaiah 40-66:  A Commentary (1969), October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CLAUS WESTERMANN (OCTOBER 7, 1909-JUNE 11, 2000)

German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar

Claus Westermann comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Biblical Studies section of my library, which his volume, Isaiah 40-66 (1969), graces.

Westermann, born in Berlin, Germany, on October 7, 1909, was a son of Diedrich and Katharina Westermann, formerly missionaries to Africa.  Our saint’s father had become a professor of African languages in Berlin by 1909.

Westermann became one of the major Old Testament scholars of the twentieth century.  He, educated at the Universities of Tübingen and Marburg, served as pastor of a church in Berlin-Dahlem prior to World War II.  Our saint, drafted into the German Army in 1940, served in Russia.  He resumed advanced studies after the war.  Westermann graduated from the University of Zurich with his doctorate in 1949; his dissertation was, “The Praise of God in the Psalms.”  Our saint, from 1949 to 1952 the pastor of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin, began to teach full-time in 1953.  He joined the faculty of the University of Heidelberg in 1958.  Our saint retired 20 years later.  The student of Gerhard von Rad wrote more than 70 published works.

Consider Isaiah 40-66 (1969), O reader.

Westermann, who accepted that there were three Isaiahs, acknowledged internal disagreements within chapters, as in Chapter 66.  He identified discrepancies within 66:18-24:  verses 18, 19, and 21 indicating a mission to the nations, and verses 20 and 22-24 emphasizing the primacy of worship in Jerusalem.  The second section amended the first, our saint wrote.  The presence of the two traditions, Westermann insisted,

made terribly clear that in the post-exilic period what people had to say about the way in which God was going to act upon Israel and upon the other nations lost all unanimity and took two different roads.

–Page 429

Westermann continued:

In the light of the New Testament our only course is to agree with the first, the one which proclaims the great missionary move out to the nations.  This means, then, that we must be critical of vv. 20, 22ff.  But over and above this, an Old Testament critic is bound to say that a theology which ordains one place of eternal annihilation for all God’s enemies along with the perpetuation of a worship restricted to one place is alien to the central core of the Old Testament.  Here, in the interests of rendering absolute a worship that is tied to a place and in the counterpart which the verses give this, the avowal of God’s action in history and towards the people who are travelling onwards, the avowal of very foundation, is abandoned.

–Page 429

Thus ended that commentary.

Westermann, aged 90 years, died in Heidelberg on the Day of Pentecost, June 11, 2000.  His wife, Anna, had predeceased him in 1991.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Claus Westermann and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Herbert G. May (October 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version, October 10, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HERBERT GORDON MAY (NOVEMBER 26, 1904-OCTOBER 7, 1977)

U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator

Herbert G. May comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction to and the exegesis of Ezekiel in Volume VI (1956).

May was an influential scholar and translator of the Bible.  He, born in Fair Haven, Vermont, on November 26, 1904, graduated from Wesleyan University (1927).  After earning his B.D. degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1930, he went to work on his Ph.D. (The University of Chicago, 1934).  May was Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Oberlin College (1934-1970) and Vanderbilt University (1966-1970).  In retirement he taught at Yale Divinity School and continued to teach at Oberlin College.  Our saint, one of the translators of the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952; Apocrypha, 1957; RSV II, 1971), chaired the translation committee (1966-1974) and its Old Testament section (1960-1977).  He also helped to edit the Oxford Bible Atlas (1962), The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (1962), and The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (1973, 1977).

Our saint, aged 72 years, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 7, 1977.  His wife, Helen (February 8, 1902-November 3, 1977), died shortly thereafter.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Herbert G. May and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Erik Routley (October 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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ERIK REGINALD ROUTLEY (OCTOBER 31, 1917-OCTOBER 8, 1982)

English Congregationalist Hymnodist

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…”pop” is normally utterly uncritical of musical statements which are pretentious, unbalanced, and foolish.  It exaggerates, sometimes cretinously.  It permits, and encourages, fantasies of grandeur.  It associates only too easily with extravagance and infantilism.

–Erik Routley, Twentieth Century Church Music (London:  Herbert Jenkins, 1964), 206

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That accurate statement gets to the point.

Erik Routley comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Routley, born in Sussex, England, on October 31, 1917, became a master hymnodist.  His parents were John Routley and Eleanor Routley.  Our saint graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford (B.A., 1940 M.A., 1943), with an emphasis in classics.  Routley, ordained a minister in the Congregational Union of England and Wales in 1943, married Margaret Scott the following year.  They had three children, born in 1947, 1949, and 1953.  Routley graduated from Oxford with his B.D. in 1946; his thesis became The Church and Music.  Six years later he earned his doctorate at Oxford; his dissertation became the basis of The Music of Christian Hymnody (1957).  Meanwhile, Routley was a parish minister in Wednesbury and Dantford (1943-1948) and at Edinburgh (1959-1974).  During the interim he served as Lecturer in Church History, Librarian, Chaplain, and Director of Music at Mansfield College, Oxford.  Our saint also edited The Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland from 1948 to 1974.  If that were not enough, he founded the Guild of Congregational Organists in 1951 and served as President from 1951 to 1959 and from 1970 to 1972.  Our saint became a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music in 1965, too.  Furthermore, Routley chaired the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the newly-merged United Reformed Church, starting in 1972.

Routley, who spoke at U.S. seminaries from 1962 to 1975, moved to the United States in 1975.  He became Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.  He also traveled across the country, lecturing, preaching, and leading workshops and hymn festivals.  Our saint, a master of hymnody, composed 34 hymns and wrote 37 books.  He understood the link between hymnody and theology, recognized changes to old harmonies, and knew the lyrics of hymns well.

Routley was not shy about expressing his opinions regarding hymnody.  In 1964, for example, he excoriated the music at Billy Graham crusades:

In secular life the natural pressure of the new “pop” drives out old “pop”.  The fittest survives–and what is the fittest of this week’s “pop” to survive into the next generation nobody can possibly tell by examination.  But a church has a disastrous squirrel-like propensity for hoarding.  Everything that has been put to sacred use must be preserved:  to throw it away seems to be sacrilege.  So music whose proper office is to be here today and gone tomorrow (and this is not to call it bad music) is hoarded and subjected to constant use for which its strength is simply unequal.

This is why “pop” there is a legitimate exaggeration, even caricature, of colour and emotion.  It is vulgar.  Of course it is vulgar!  It is as vulgar as the exaggerated colours of an advertisement for detergent.  It is designed to make an immediate impact and then go its way.  To repeat it, go on wallowing in it, is like putting up that advertisement for detergent in your drawing room and keeping it there thirty years.

Twentieth Century Church Music, 201

Routley, aged 66 years, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 8, 1982.  His great unfinished project was Rejoice in the Lord:  A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1985), the next official hymnal of the Reformed Church in America.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Erik Routley)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of William Scarlett (October 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM SCARLETT (OCTOBER 3, 1883-MARCH 28, 1973)

Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, and Advocate for Social Justice

Bishop William Scartlett comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible.

Scarlett, born in Columbus, Ohio, on October 3, 1883, grew up to become a courageous, progressive Christian leader on the vanguard of various moral causes.  He was what certain cynical reactionaries of 2018 would have called a “social justice warrior.”  So were Hebrew prophets.  Our saint, influenced at an early age by Washington Gladden (1836-1918) and Walter Rauschenbush (1861-1918), proponents of the Social Gospel, graduated from Harvard University with his A.B. degree in 1905.  Scarlett, unsure about whether to study for ministry or medicine, worked on a ranch in Nebraska for a year.  He matriculated at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1906, and graduated three years later.  Our saint, spent the rest of his life in ordained ministry marked by a dedication to social justice dictated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Scarlett cared deeply by outreach to the poor, the rights of industrial workers, civil rights, and other issues germane to human relations.  He was, in order:

  1. Assistant Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York (1909-1911);
  2. Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona (1911-1922);
  3. Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri (1922-1930);
  4. Bishop Coadjutor of Missouri (1930-1933); and
  5. Bishop of Missouri (1933-1952).

Friend Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) described our saint as

the conscience of the community.

Scarlett was on the avant-garde of The Episcopal Church with regard to social ethics.  He advocated for the liberalization of the denomination’s stance on remarriage after divorce.  In 1946 our saint edited Christianity Takes a Stand, in which various authors took a stand against societal sins such as racial segregation and the federal government’s recent internment of West Coast Japanese Americans.  Although the House of Deputies, at the General Convention of 1946, consented without debate to sponsor the publication of the book, the majority of Episcopalians were not ready to espouse those positions yet.

Scarlett, a Low Church Episcopalian and self-described Liberal Evangelical who wore a tie in lieu of a clerical collar, was a natural ecumenist.  He cooperated with members of other Christian denominations as easily as he did with Jews.  At Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, our saint scandalized many Anglo-Catholics by encouraging interdenominational Eucharists.  He also scrapped plans for a new Episcopal hospital in the city when he learned of a similar Presbyterian plan.  The result was cooperation, not competition, in the form of St. Luke’s Episcopal-Presbyterian Hospital.  He also favored the merger of The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in the 1940s.  The proposal did not survive the late 1940s.  It would probably have been impractical anyway.

(Aside:  I mean no disrespect to any Presbyterians, but the denominational cultures and certain theological-liturgical factors are too different for merger to be practical.  I suppose that many Presbyterians agree with that assessment.  Cooperation of many issues is feasible and desirable, however.)

Scarlett retired in late 1952.  His successor as Bishop of Missouri was Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (1900-1968), later the Presiding Bishop of the denomination.

In retirement Scarlett wrote the exposition on the Book of Jonah for The Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote, in part:

If God has a controversy with his people, it is because there has been in our world too little concern for our brother, too little recognition that his fate is bound up in ours, and ours in his, even to the least, too much forgetting that word of old, “We are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25) and if one member suffers, “all the members suffer with it” (I Cor. 12:26).  A plain fact of the nineteen-thirties is that Hitler climbed to power on the backs of the unemployed in Germany, and it was this frustration, this sense of uselessness, in millions of lives that made his way easy.

The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VI (1956), 877

That is a chilling text in 2018.

The resurgence of fascism and of authoritarianism in general has been current reality in the world, from the Philippines to Europe to Brazil to Turkey to Europe for a few years now.  Many of the enablers of fascist and other authoritarian leaders have been professing Christians.  The call to “Make America Great Again” has echoed pre-World War II movements to make Italy and Germany great again.  The rhetoric of “America First,” originated before World War II in an openly anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi movement to keep the United States out of that war, has returned, still with racist overtones.  Calls for U.S. society and government to practice the Golden Rule have become subversive as many professing Christians have chosen to ignore the demands of that great commandment and embraced xenophobia and nativism, largely out of fear.

I encourage you, O reader, to read Scarlett’s exposition on the Book of Jonah and to oppose–resist–the deplorable resurgence of fascism and of authoritarianism in general.

Scarlett, aged 89 years, died in Castine, Maine, on March 28, 1973.  His wife, Leah Oliver Van Riper (b. 1889), had predeceased him in 1965.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Help us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant William Scarlett, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Ralph W. Sockman (October 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Christ Church, New York, New York, 1940

Image Source = Library of Congress

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RALPH WASHINGTON SOCKMAN (OCTOBER 1, 1889-AUGUST 29, 1970)

U.S. United Methodist Minister

I like to think we run a church that is intellectually responsible and spiritually redemptive.  In the center of town half of my congregation are visitors.  I take a principle and revolve it so that both the personal and social aspects flash.

–Ralph W. Sockman

Ralph W. Sockman comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on 1 Kings for Volume III (1954).

Sockman, born into a farming family of Mount Vernon, Ohio, on October 1, 1889, rose to become a prominent preacher and a household name.  Educated initially in a one-room school, our saint graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A., 1911) then Columbia University (M.A., 1913).  In New York City he joined Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, on 60th Street.  In 1916 Sockman graduated from Union Theological Seminary, became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (extant 1784-1939), and married Zellah Endly.  He also began to serve in Madison Avenue Church as assistant minister.  Sockman, senior minister (1917f), earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1917.  He also received Doctor of Divinity degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University, New York University, and Wesleyan University in 1923, 1932, and 1934, respectively.

Sockman served as senior pastor of two congregations during his career.  When he began to serve at Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, the structure was crumbling and the congregation was dwindling.  Our saint did much to build up attendance.  In 1933 Madison Avenue Church amalgamated with 61st Street Methodist Episcopal Church.  Sockman became the senior minister of the merged Christ Church and presided over the construction of the Romanesque-Byzantine edifice, complete with mosaics.  The architect was Ralph Adams Cram.  When Sockman retired at the end of 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and former President Dwight David Eisenhower sent messages to mark the occasion.

Sockman was a famous preacher and author.  He wrote more than 30 books and a nationally syndicated column, Lift for Living.  From 1928 to 1962 he preached on NBC radio’s National Radio Pulpit program.  Our saint’s sermons were practical without being overly emotional he populated them with rich intellectual content.

Sockman was active on other levels.  He was an associate professor at Union Theological Seminary (1950-1957), the President of the Board of World Peace of the Methodist Episcopal Church then of The Methodist Church (1928-1960), the Director of the Hall of Fame of Great Americans (1948-1970), and the Harry Emerson Fosdick Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary (1963-1964).

Sockman, who had rejected offers to become a Methodist bishop, died at home, in New York City, on August 29, 1970, after a brief illness.  He was 80 years old.

THE FEAST OF ANTHONY ASHLEY COOPER, LORD SHAFTESBURY, BRITISH HUMANITARIAN AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF MARIE-JOSEPH AUBERT, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF COMPASSION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMANUS THE MELODIST, DEACON AND HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MYSTIC

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Ralph W. Sockman,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

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Feast of St. Paul VI (September 26)   4 comments

Above:  St. Paul VI 

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PAUL VI (SEPTEMBER 26, 1897-AUGUST 6, 1978)

Bishop of Rome

Born Giovanni Battista Montini

This post, as of the drafting and publication of this post, is slightly anticipatory.  Documentation tells us that Pope Benedict XVI declared Paul VI a Venearble in 2012 and that Pope Francis beatified Montini in 2014.  According to news reports, Pope Francis is set to canonize Paul VI on October 14, 2018.  Given that fact, plus the reality that, for me, differences among Venerables, Blesseds, and full Saints are purely semantic, I choose to proceed with calling the deceased Supreme Pontiff St. Paul VI, although he will remain a Blessed Paul VI for about one more month.

The feast day for St. Paul VI is September 26, the anniversary of his birth.  Usually a saint’s feast day falls on the anniversary of his or her death, but that date, for Montini, is the Feast of the Transfiguration.

Giovanni Battista Montini, born in Concescio, Italy, on September 26, 1897, came from a devout family.  His father was an attorney and a member of parliament.  Montini, devoted to his mother, became a priest on May 29, 1920.  Graduate studies in Rome ensued.

Montini’s star rose quickly in the Church.  In 1922 he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State.  He, the Nuncio to Poland from May to November 1923, resigned for health reasons.  On July 8, 1931, our saint became a domestic prelate to the Holy See.  Montini, assistant to Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) from December 13, 1937, worked closely with Pacelli/Pius XII until 1954.

Montini must have severely offended the Holy Father, for Pius XII exiled our saint to Milan.  On November 1, 1954, Montini began his duties as the Archbishop of Milan, far from being a plumb assignment.  In Milan, Montini was the “workers’ archbishop,” winning the approval of disaffected industrial workers.  He presided over an archdiocese still recovering from World War II.  Furthermore, Montini’s ecumenism became evident when he conducted dialogues with a group of Anglicans–a revolutionary practice prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).

In 1958 Pope St. John XXIII succeeded the late Pius XII.  On December 5, 1958, St. John XXIII made Montini a Cardinal.  (Five years prior our saint had declined a similar offer from Pius XII, who had never repeated the offer.)  Cardinal Montini and St. John XXIII were two of the primary shapers of Vatican II.  St. John XXIII died in June 1963.  The conclave elected Cardinal Montini to succeed him; our saint became Pope Paul VI.  He presided over the final sessions of Vatican II.

St. Paul VI was doctrinally conservative and socially radical.  That has been a combination common in Christian history.  Many of the English Tractarians, for example, were open about their Christian Socialism.  Actual Jewish and Christian orthodoxy has, by definition, been conservative.  It has also challenged entrenched social structures and institutions, ended chattel slavery in much of the world, condemned the economic exploitation of the poor by the rich, championed labor unions, and opposed racial segregation.

If one is to understand the legacy of St. Paul VI, one must grasp the combination of theological orthodoxy and social and political radicalism.  What, for example, is more theologically orthodox and, sadly, socially and politically radical than the Golden Rule?

Life in the Roman Catholic Church since 1965 has been, depending on one’s perspective, either too liberal or too conservative.  St. Paul VI, who met with Archbishops of Canterbury Michael Ramsey (in 1966) and Donald Coggan (in 1977) and, in 1965, with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras, lifted the mutual anathemas dating to 1054, angered many traditionalists.  St. Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967), which condemned the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the Third World and committed the Church to addressing that problem constructively, was consistent with the Law, the Prophets, Jesus, and Pope Leo XIIIHumanae Vitae (1968), which maintained the condemnation of artificial contraception, has been controversial from day one.  The decision to sell the papal tiara and give the proceeds to help the poor was at least a good gesture.  St. Paul VI sought to balance innovation and the integrity of ecclesiastical teaching.  The extent to which he succeeded has never ceased to be a topic of disagreement.

St. Paul VI, aged 80 years, died on August 6, 1978.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK J. MURPHY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCISCUS CH’OE KYONG-HWAN, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR, 1839; SAINTS LAWRENCE MARY JOSEPH IMBERT, PIERRE PHILIBERT MAUBANT, AND JACQUES HONORÉ CHASTÁN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS, MISSIONARIES TO KOREA, AND MARTYRS, 1839; SAINT PAUL CHONG HASANG, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1839; AND SAINTS CECILIA YU SOSA AND JUNG HYE, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1839

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant St. Paul VI

to be a bishop in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all bishops the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 719

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