Archive for the ‘St. Paul VI’ Tag

Feast of Venerable John Paul I (August 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Venerable John Paul I

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBINO LUCIANI (OCTOBER 17, 1912-SEPTEMBER 28, 1978)

Bishop of Rome

Venerable John Paul I comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.  This Ecumenical Calendar is my project, one of my hobbies.  Therefore, I reserve the right to establish feast days as I see fit.  I see fit to set this feast on August 26, for Albino Luciani became Pope John Paul I on August 26, 1978.

Luciani was the third son and the fourth child of Bortola Tancon (c. 1879-1947) and bricklayer Giovanni Luciani (c. 1872-1952).  Our saint, born in Forno di Canale (now Canale d’Agordo), Belluno, Italy, perceived his priestly vocation as a boy.  After graduating from seminary and getting turned away from the Society of Jesus, Luciani received the sacrament of Holy Orders on July 7, 1935.

Father Luciani spent the next 35 years serving in various capacities.  He was a curate in his hometown until 1935.  Next, our saint served as a professor of several subjects (from theology to sacred art) and vice-rector of the Belluno seminary, his alma mater.  Luciani worked on his Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, from 1941 to 1947.  Then, in 1947, our saint began to serve on the diocesan level in the Diocese of Belluno.  He was the chancellor (1947-1954) then the Vicar General (1954-1959).  Opportunities for promotion to bishop came and went.  Luciani’s fragile health was one reason for his delayed promotion.  In the meantime, our saint developed ideas he carried forward in his ministry in the subsequent years.  For example, Luciani argued for proper catechesis, in language and methods all people can understand.

Pope St. John XXIII appointed Father Luciani the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto.  This appointment took effect on January 11, 1959.  Bishop Luciani vowed on that day to be both a teacher and a servant.  As the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, our saint participated in the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).

Pope St. Paul VI appointed Bishop Luciani the Patriarch of Venice, effective February 1969.  As the Patriarch of Venice and, as of March 5, 1973, Cardinal Luciani, our saint affirmed Roman Catholic social teaching.  He acknowledged that the developed world owed the Third World a financial and moral debt.  Therefore, in 1971, he suggested that dioceses in the developed world give one percent of their income to dioceses in the developing world as “reparation for social sin.”  Cardinal Luciani also opposed the liberalization of divorce laws, as well as the participation of priests in the Italian Communist Party.  Furthermore, our saint led by example when he sold a gold cross and its gold pectoral chain to raise funds to help disabled children.  The cross and chain, formerly property of Pope Pius XII, had been a gift from Pope St. John XXIII.  Cardinal Luciani, generally on the side of the poor, was not on their side as much as he should have been, though.  For example, he opposed the worker priest movement and labor strikes.

Pope St. Paul VI died on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1978.  He was the first of three Popes that year.  Cardinal Luciani expressed his desire that the conclave not elect him.  He even said that he would refuse election.  Yet the conclave elected him on that August 26, and he accepted election.

The new Pope was too conservative for some and too liberal for others.   A conspiracy theory grew up around his election.  Yet the consensus position became that Venerable John Paul I was “God’s candidate.”  The new Supreme Pontiff, also known as the “Smiling Pope” and “the Smile of God,” had a down-to-earth style.  He spoke of himself as “I,” eschewing the royal “we.”  He refused the Papal crown and referred to his installation as an inauguration, not a coronation.

Pope John Paul I was an orthodox Roman Catholic.  (This should not surprise anyone.)  His change was one of style; he was more pastoral than his illustrious immediate successor had been.  Divine mercy, manifested by people in society, was the new Pope’s main theme.  He encouraged the faithful to behave mercifully and to transform society for the better.

Upon election on August 26, 1978, Pope John Paul I had said his papacy would be brief.  He was objectively correct.  He died on September 28, 1978.  His papacy had lasted a mere 33 days.  The application of Ockham’s Razor has established that he died of natural causes.  Conspiracy theories have continued to flourish, though.

According to reports, Pope John Paul I died with a smile on his face.

Pope Francis declared Pope John Paul I a Venerable in 2017.

Pope Francis seems to have modeled himself after Pope John Paul I.  The current Supreme Pontiff is an orthodox Roman Catholic, despite what some very conservative Roman Catholics claim.  Like Pope John Paul I, Pope Francis’s major difference relative to his immediate predecessor is stylistic–smiling.  I mean no disrespect to Pope St. Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI, by the way.

A good friend–a devout Presbyterian in Athens, Georgia–died in early 2013.  His epitaph has remained engraved on my memory:

God’s love smiled through him.

God’s love smiled through Pope John Paul I.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC AND HYMN WRITER

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Venerable John Paul I,

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 full stature

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of St. Maxim Sandovich (August 7)   1 comment

Above:  Grab, Poland

Image Source = Google Earth

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SAINT MAXIM TIMOFEYEVICH SANDOVICH (FEBRUARY 1, 1888-AUGUST 6, 1914)

Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1914

Also known as Saint Maxim of Gorlice

Alternative feast day = September 6

Saint Maxim Sandovich comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Orthodox Church in Poland, the Orthodox Church in America, and the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).

Being an Eastern Orthodox Christian in the Austro-Hungarian Empire could be hazardous to one’s health.  The Roman Catholic establishment of the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire regarded its Eastern Orthodox subjects as being disloyal to the Hapsburg Dynasty and loyal to the Russian Empire.  Religious persecution in the name of imperial security was par for the course.

St. Caesarius of Arles (468/470-543), writing regarding Christ’s command to take up one’s cross and follow him, commented:

What does this mean, “take up a cross”?  It means he will bear with whatever is troublesome, and in this very act he will be following me.  When he has begun to follow me according to my teaching and precepts, he will find many people contradicting him and standing in his way, many do not only deride but even persecute him.  Moreover, this is true, not only of pagans who are outside the church, but also of those who seem to be in it visibly, but are outside of it because of the perversity of their deeds.  Although these glory merely in the title of Christian, they continually persecute faithful Christians.  Such belong to the body of the church in the same way that bad blood is in the body.  

–Quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament II:  Mark (1998), 112

St. Maxim Sandovich came from a Greek Catholic family.  He, born in Zdynia, Poland, Austria-Hungary, on February 1, 1888, was a son of farmers Tymoteusz (Timofej) and Krystina Sandowicz (Sandovich).  The father was a cantor in the local Greek Catholic parish.  After attending local schools, our saint served spent several months as a novice at the Greek Catholic monastery in Krakow.  Yet attempts to Latinize the Greek Catholic Rite dissatsfied him.  Our saint left the Basilian Order and the monasery in 1904.  

St. Maxim left the Austro-Hungarian Empire for the Russian Empire.  There he became a novice at the Pochaev Lavra, a monastery now in the Ukraine.  Our saint went on to study for the Russian Orthodox priesthood at the seminary in Zhitomir (now in the Ukraine).  He graduated in 1911.  That year, St. Maxim also married Pelagia, a Russian Orthodox woman, and became a deacon then a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church.  Then he returned to his homeland as a missionary and the parish priest at Grab (Hrab).

World War I was on the horizon.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire were enemies; each one belonged to a different coalition.  St. Maxim became a casualty of international politics and “national security.”

St. Maxim settled in at Grab (Hrab) with his family.  He celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at the parish on December 2, 1911.  Immediately, imperial officials forbade any more Divine Liturgies.  Our saint violated that edict repeatedly; he conducted Divine Liturgies in homes.  Austro-Hungarian officials kept fining and arresting him.  St. Maxim kept breaking the law.  He, arrested shortly before Pascha (Easter) 1912, remained in prison without trial for nearly two years.  The trial, which began on March 9, 1914, ended in an acquittal.  Immediately, our saint resumed his priestly duties in Grab (Hrab).

One may think of Acts 4:1-31 and 5:12-42, in which religious authorities in Jerusalem arrested Apostles and commanded them to cease preaching.  One may also remember the Apostles’ disobedience to that order:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council.  And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

–Acts 5:27-29, Revised Standard Version–Second Edition (1971)

Postconventional Morality is superior to Conventional Morality.  Obedience to unjust laws and orders is immoral.

Shortly after St. Maxim’s release, World War I started.  He became a political prison again on August 4, 1914.  His parents, brothers, and wife joined him, on a forced, shackled march about 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) to prison in Gorlice.  In prison, each member of the family, unable to see other members of the family, spent time in his or her own cell.  On August 6, 1914, a firing squad executed the 28-year-old priest.

Pelagia, our saint’s wife, gave birth to the couple’s son, Maxim, in prison, in Gorlice.  The younger Maxim (d. 1991) eventually became an Orthodox priest and ministered in Gorlice.

Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I lifted the mutual excommunications, in effect since 1054.  The official position of the Roman Catholic Church regarding Eastern Orthodox churches is that the Eastern Orthodox have valid Apostolic orders.  Theological differences between the two communions have not ceased, but they have ceased telling each other they will go to Hell, at least.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 26, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONIO VALDIVIESO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF LEON, AND MARTYR, 1495

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EMILY MALBONE, MORGAN, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE COMPANIONS OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF JAKOB HUTTER, FOUNDER OF THE HUTTERITES, AND ANABAPTIST MARTYR, 1536; AND HIS WIFE, KATHARINE HUTTER, ANABAPTIST MARTYR, 1538

THE FEAST OF PAULA OF SAINT JOSEPH OF CALASANZ, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF MARY

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power, your holy martyr Saint Maxim Sandovich

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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The Chronicle: News from the Edge–Episode 17: Hot from the Oven (2001)   4 comments

Above:  HOT FROM THE EVIL OVEN!

All images in this post are screen captures.

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Hot from the Oven

Canadian Television Rating = PG

Hyperlink to Episode

Aired February 15, 2002

Production Number = 5009-01-108

Starring

Chad Willett as Tucker Burns

Jon Polito as Donald Stern

Reno Wilson as Wes Freewald

Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

Octavia L. Spencer as Ruby Rydell

Main Guest Cast

Shawn Christian as Dennis

Maurice Godin as Dumont

Jeff Kelly as Kenny

Bob Papenbrook as Cole Nelson

Behind the Camera

Writer = Javier Grillo-Marxuach

Director = Jay Tobias

Consulting Producer = Naren Shankar

Above:  The Evil Oven

Brief Summary

In New York City, on a Sunday in late September 2001, Monsieur Dumont, a graduate of the Cordon Bleu, is making final preparations before opening his very expensive restaurant.  Mr. Fussy’s helper in getting everything ready is Kenny, his long-suffering nephew.  Dumont calls in Cole Nelson, an oven repairman, to get the newly-acquired antique oven working.  Kenny witnesses a light of unknown origin emanate from the oven immediately before the repairman disappears into the oven.  Kenny calls the police, much to his uncle’s chagrin.

Donald Stern pages Tucker Burns, Wes Freewald, and Grace Hall shortly later.  Grace is in the middle of breaking up with her newest boyfriend, Dennis.  He is handsome, police, and kind.  Dennis is also a rocket scientist.  He is confused about why Grace is breaking up with him.  Grace’s problem has nothing to do with Dennis or any other boyfriend.  As those who know her well understand, she has not had a boyfriend for longer than three weeks since high school because she fears rejection once a man learns of her alien abductions.  Grace fears that he will break up with her, so she breaks up with him.

The police are still on the scene when Tucker, Wes, and Grace arrive.  Given the relatively low production number of the episode, Detective Hector Garibaldi is not one of the officers.  (His first episode was Bring Me the Head of Tucker Burns, the twelfth episode produced and the eighth one broadcast.)  The police on the scene are just as clueless and useless as Garibaldi, though; they reject Kenny’s eyewitness testimony and think that Cole Nelson simply walked away.  Kenny points out, however, that Nelson’s tools are still in the kitchen.  Why would a repairman abandon his tools?

Susan Nelson, wife of Cole Nelson, fills in her husband’s background.  Cole used to be a truck driver.  One night years ago, he drove drunk and killed someone.  Cole dried out in prison for a year.  He also learned how to become a repairman.  Cole, released, has married Susan and remained sober.

Donald Stern knows which oven this is, and he has a vendetta against it.  The appliance is rare and occult.  It has consumed gourmands, including one of his friends.  The oven is also a portal to another realm.  One previous victim, Orlando Franchetti, a sous-chef, returned from the oven a few eggs short of a dozen.  The publisher takes great interest in this story.  He brings Ruby Rydell, the staff psychic, along to the kitchen, to detect the presence anyone who has passed through the portal and remains.  She perceives the presence of Cole Nelson.  The oven doors fling open, and a slime-covered shoe emerges.

In the archives, Donald Stern identifies the slime as P.E.S.–Pan-dimensional Emotional Secretion, or the emotionally-sensitive mucus membrane that separates dimensions.  Wes likens it to “a nose blow from another plane existence,” but Grace prefers to compare it to a “supernatural mood ring.”  Donald Stern unveils a vial of super holy water.  Every pope since the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy has blessed this holy water, so this papal holy water makes ordinary holy water “look like Fruitopia.”  The publisher intends to fire the super holy water, “the ecclesiastical equivalent of Draino,” into the oven, thereby causing the appliance to release anyone there “like a backed-up sewer pipe.”

The attempt to use the super holy water on the oven fails, and the oven claims Wes, Tucker and Grace instead.  There are human skeletons on the other side of the portal.  The only way one can escape is to overcome one’s greatest fear.  Wes overcomes his fear of clowns.  Grace overcomes her fear of rejection.  Tucker overcomes his fear of not being able to save everyone from danger.  Cole Nelson, sadly, never overcomes his greatest fear.  Dumont hires two Italian-American workmen to remove the oven.  Donald Stern buys Tucker, Grace, and Wes time by dissuading the workmen from removing the oven prematurely.  He, speaking Italian, promises to pay their expenses and buy airline tickets for them and their entire families to the Vatican, to meet the Pope.

Wes, Tucker, and Grace, covered in slime, emerge from the oven.  Then Donald Stern has the appliance disconnected and transferred to the archives at the World Chronicle.

Later, at the offices, after everybody has cleaned up, Dennis brings flowers for Grace.  He also accepts the existence of extraterrestrials.  This relationship will last longer than three weeks.

Above:  The Balloongram Clown

Character Beats

Wes Freewald’s greatest fear (until late in this episode) is of clowns.  This fear has its origin in the drunk clown at his sixth birthday party.

Donald Stern’s background becomes more mysterious.  He refers in the present tense to an ally in the Vatican.  Stern and this ally fought in a war not recorded in history books.  The result of this war affected “the Papal Encyclical of ’73.”  Given that Pope Paul VI did not issue an encyclical in 1973, this seems to be a reference to Quartus Supra (1873), from the time of Pius IX.  How old is the publisher of the World Chronicle?  And how old is his ally?

Wes Tucker quotes Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope (1977) again.

Donald Stern is fluent in Italian.

Above:  Donald Stern

Great Lines

Headline:  “LOCH NESS MONSTER EATS HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT!”

Headline:  “MUMMY TO FILE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT ON SEATTLE ROCK BAND FOR INFRINGEMENT.”

Wes Freewald, speaking of a clown delivering a birthday balloongram to the office:  “Tuck, tell this John Wayne Gacy Krishna to get out of my face now!”

Donald Stern:  “What?  Do I look like Betty Crocker to you?”

Donald Stern, threatening Monsieur Dumont with coverage that will attract occultists from all over the world:  “They will stake this place out like a weenie roast at Stonehenge.”

Above:  Grace and Dennis

In-Universe

In the broadcast order of episodes this is the last time we see Ruby Rydell.

We will never see Dennis again.  (See comments for a note about the production order versus the broadcast order.)

Donald Stern taught John Paul II how to ski.

Donald Stern has enough pull with John Paul II to arrange for someone to meet the Supreme Pontiff.

Above:  On the Other Side of the Portal

Comments

Hot from the Oven is the ninth produced and seventeenth broadcast episode.

The events of Hot from the Oven occur in late September 2001, shortly after those of Man and Superman, the fifteenth produced and sixteenth broadcast episode.

Five episodes remain after this one.  The next one is The Stepford Cheerleaders, the fifth episode produced and the eighteenth one broadcast.  The last four episodes broadcast are the last four episode produced.  I am sufficiently observant and close to the end of The Chronicle to write authoritatively about chronological hiccups and discrepancies when some episodes go to broadcast wildly out of production order.  In Touched By an Alien, the fourteenth episode produced and the eleventh one broadcast, Tucker Burns says that the last time Donald Stern became so involved in a story, he (Tucker) spent the night in a man-eating oven.  That description fits this episode.  Noticing such issues is what I get for being observant and taking notes in longhand.  My hypothesis is that the Sci-Fi Channel aired episodes out of order.

To my case I add this wrinkle:  In Hot from the Oven, Wes Freewald refers to the previous year’s office Christmas party, at which somebody spiked the punch with truth serum.  Tucker was not there.  Ockham’s Razor, applied to production numbers and circumstantial evidence, points to inconsistency regarding the internal timeline of the series early in production.

Hot from the Oven is an enjoyable episode with some wonderful lines.  It adds to the mystique of the internal universe of the series.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Robert McAfee Brown (May 28)   3 comments

Above:  Stanford University

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-21158

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ROBERT MCAFEE BROWN (MAY 28, 1928-SEPTEMBER 4, 2001)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, Activist, and Ecumenist

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In conscience, I must break the law.

–Robert McAfee Brown, October 31, 1967

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Robert McAfee Brown comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via my library.

Above:  Two Books by Robert McAfee Brown

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Brown stood in the finest tradition of the Hebrew prophets and centuries of Christian tradition.  He, born in Carthage, Illinois, on May 28, 1928, was a son of Ruth McAfee (Brown) and Presbyterian minister George William McAfee.  Our saint was also a grandson of Cleland Boyd McAfee, a professor at McCormick Theological Seminary.  Brown, a 1944 graduate of Amherst College, married Sydney Elise Thomson on June 21, 1944.  The couple had three sons and a daughter.  Our saint, a student at Union Theological Seminary from 1943 to 1945, studied under Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).  After graduating, Brown served as a chaplain in the United States Navy in 1945 and 1946.

Brown spent most of his life as an academic.  He was an assistant chaplain and an instructor in religion at Amherst College in 1946-1948.  Then he studied at Mansfield College, Oxford, in 1949 and 1950.  Our saint, an instructor at Union Theological Seminary in 1950 and 1951, earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1951.  He led the Department of Religion, Malacaster College, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1951-1953.  Our saint served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in 1953-1962.  Then, in 1962-1976, our saint was a Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University.  Brown returned to Union Theological Seminary in 1976 as Professor of Ecumenics and World Christianity.  Our saint was Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, in 1979-1984.  Then he retired.

Brown was an ecumenist.  In the early 1950s, when unapologetic anti-Roman Catholicism was prominent in U.S. Protestantism, our saint campaigned for Minnesota Congressman Eugene McCarthy, whose Roman Catholicism was a political difficulty.  Brown and Gustave Weigel (1906-1964) collaborated on An American Dialogue:  A Protestant Looks at Catholicism and a Catholic Looks at Protestantism (1960).  Time magazine called Brown

Catholics’ favorite Protestant

in 1962.  Our saint was even an observer (on behalf of global Calvinism) at the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) in 1963 and 1965.  Brown also attended the Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches as a delegate in 1968.  Seven years later, he delivered the keynote address (“Who is This Jesus Who Frees and Unites?”) at the Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

Social justice was essential to Brown’s faith.  He, a pacifist, had no moral difficulty serving as a military chaplain after World War II.  Our saint’s pacifism led him to oppose the Vietnam War, of course.  His conscience led him to protest the military draft, to speak and write against the war, to commit civil disobedience, and to go to jail for doing so in 1971.  That conscience also let Brown to join a delegation that met with Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) in  January 1973 about ending the Vietnam War.

Brown was also a longtime civil rights activist at home and abroad.  He, a Freedom Rider in 1961, went to jail in Tallahassee, Florida.  Our saint addressed the immorality of Apartheid when he spoke at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa in September 1972.  Brown also advocated for women’s liberation and the civil rights of homosexuals.  Furthermore, he was active in the Sanctuary Movement, for he cared deeply about justice in Central America.  This led our saint to collaborate with Liberation Theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez (b. 1928).

Brown also helped to raise consciousness about the Holocaust.  He, a friend of Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) since the middle 1970s, served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1979 to 1985.  Our saint resigned after President Ronald Reagan visited Bitburg Cemetery, containing graves of Waffen SS troups.

Brown became a novelist late in life.  He published Dark the Night, Wild the Sea in 1998.

Brown, aged 81 years, died in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on September 4, 2001.

One of Brown’s volumes invaluable for Bible study is Unexpected News:  Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes (1984).  Passages covered came from Luke, Exodus, 2 Samuel, Jeremiah, Matthew, and Daniel.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLGA OF KIEV, REGENT OF KIEVAN RUSSIA; SAINT ADALBERT OF MAGDEBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT ADALBERT OF PRAGUE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MARTYR, 997; AND SAINTS BENEDICT AND GAUDENTIUS OF POMERANIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 997

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE OF MOLOKAI, WORKERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT FLAVIA DOMITILLA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NOBLEWOMAN; AND SAINTS MARO, EUTYCHES, AND VICTORINUS OF ROME, PRIESTS AND MARTYS, CIRCA 99

THE FEAST OF SAINT HUNNA OF ALSACE, THE “HOLY WASHERWOMAN”

THE FEAST OF LUCY CRAFT LANEY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN EDUCATOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

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

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

Help us, like your servant Robert McAfee Brown,

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, 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 Leon Bloy, Jacques Maritain, and Raissa Maritain (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  The Flag of the French Republic

Image in the Public Domain

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LÉON BLOY (JULY 11, 1846-NOVEMBER 3, 1917)

French Roman Catholic Novelist and Social Critic

godfather of

JACQUES MARITAIN (NOVEMBER 18, 1882-APRIL 28, 1973)

French Roman Catholic Philosopher

husband of

RAÏSSA OUMANSOV MARITAIN (1883-NOVEMBER 4, 1960)

Russian-French Roman Catholic Contemplative

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The worst evil is not to commit crimes, but to have failed to do the good one might have done.

–Léon Bloy, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 477

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If Christians were to renounce…the desire for sanctity, this would be an ultimate betrayal against God and against the world.

–Jacques Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 503

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It is an error to isolate oneself from men….If God does not call one to solitude, one must live with God in the multitude, must make him known there and make him loved.

–Raïssa Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 480

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Alors il leva les yeux sur ses disciples et dit:

Heureux vous les pauvres, car le royaume de Dieu à vous!…

Mais malheur à vous, les riches, car vous avez votre consolation.

Luc 6: 20 et 24, La Sainte Bible, Nouvelle Version Segond Révisée (1976)

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As Léon Bloy understood, Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor

and

Woe to you who are rich.

The novelist, who internalized that value system, railed against the dominant social value that says

Woe to you who are poor

and

Blessed are the rich.

Bloy, born in Notre-Dame-de-Sanihac, France, on July 11, 1846, grew up an agnostic hostile to Roman Catholicism.  His father was Jean-Baptiste Bloy; our saint’s mother was Anne-Marie Carreau.  In 1869 Bloy converted to Roman Catholicism, however.  He was a frequently controversial figure with a temper, which he brought to bear on social ills, including greed, injustice, materialism, and anti-Semitism.  Our saint also led a difficult, impoverished life.  His writings did not sell well, and poverty contributed to the deaths of two of his children.  The self-critical novelist died at the age of 71 years on November 3, 1917, in Bourg-la-Reine, France.

Bloy did, despite his self-recriminations for having done too little for God, help to bring the Maritains to faith.

Jacques Maritan, born in Paris, France, on November 11, 1882, became a prominent philosopher.  He, raised in a Protestant family, had lost his faith by the time he matriculated at the Sorbonne in 1899.  Yet the search for the truth still mattered to Maritain.  At the Sorbonne he met and fell in love with another troubled seeker, Raïssa Oumansov.

The Oumansov family, formerly of Rostov and Mariupol, the Russian Empire, was Jewish.  The family, with daughters Raïssa and Vera, had moved to Paris in 1893, to escape official anti-Semitism and to provide better educational opportunities for the daughters.  Raïssa, as an adolescent, lost her faith.  She sought the truth in vain at the Sorbonne (1900f).  She did, however, meet Jacques Maritain when he asked her to sign a petition protesting the Czarist government’s treatment of socialist students.

The Maritains, married in 1904, eventually became despondent over having not found the truth that they made a suicide pact.  They agreed that they would take their lives if, within a year, they did discover the meaning of life.  Bloy befriended them, though, and led them, as well as Vera Oumansov, into the Roman Catholic Church.  He stood as their godfather in 1906.  Jacques, Raïssa, and Vera eventually chose to become Oblates of St. Benedict, and to make vows of perpetual chastity.

Jacques immersed himself in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and spent much of his life applying Thomism to the modern world.  He, a professor at the Institut Catholique, Paris, from 1914 to 1939, offended many conservative Roman Catholics by favoring constitutional government and opposing the Spanish fascist leader Francisco Franco.  Jacques, with Raïssa acquainted with Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, also favored what he called “Integral Humanism,” or the infusion of Christian values into the world via what he called “Lay Spirituality.”  Jacques, an opponent of the Vichy government, taught in the United States and Canada from 1940 to 1945.  After World War II he served as the French Ambassador to the Vatican.  During that period (1945-1948), he befriended Angelo Roncalli, the Nuncio to France.  Roncalli went on to become St. John XXIII, Bishop of Rome, in 1958.  Jacques taught at Princeton University from 1948 to 1960.

Raïssa became a poet and a contemplative.  She understood that God was calling her to share in divine suffering, and kept a spiritual journal.  She died on November 4, 1960.  Jacques had her spiritual journal published posthumously.

Jacques, as a widower, joined the Little Brothers of Jesus, the order Blessed Charles de Foucauld founded in the Algerian desert in 1933.  Jacques became a notice at Toulousse in 1961; he made his vows nine years later.  Pope St. Paul VI recognized our saint in person at the Vatican in 1965.  The Supreme Pontiff presented our saint with a copy of the Vatican II document on the Church and the Modern World.  Jacques, aged 90 years, died in Toulousse on April 28, 1973.

Part of the meaning of life is to help each other live faithfully, to glorify God, to enjoy God, and to show the light of Christ in our lives.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of St. Paul VI (September 26)   7 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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Feast of Leo XIII (July 20)   9 comments

Above:  His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII

Image in the Public Domain

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GIACCHINO VINCENZO PECCI (MARCH 2, 1810-JULY 20, 1903)

Bishop of Rome

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I want to see the church so far forward that my successor will not be able to turn it back.

–Pope Leo XIII, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 308

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That successor, St. Pius X (1903-1914), turned the Church back for more than half a century, until Popes St. John XXIII (1958-1963) and Blessed Paul VI (1963-1978) presided over the Second Vatican Council (1959-1965).

One of the patterns in organized Christianity since the Enlightenment has been conflict between traditions (especially in theology) and the modern world.  Sometimes, as Leo XIII understood well, conflicts have been unnecessary–even detrimental to the Church, while having their origins in the Church.

Giacchino Vincenzo Pecci, born in Carpinto, near Rome, on March 2, 1810, came from lesser nobility.  At an early age he manifested a keen intellect, which he used throughout his life.  Pecci, studying at Viterbo (1818-1824), the Roman College (1824-1832), and the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics (1832-1837), joined the ranks of priests in 1837.

Father–later Archbishop, Bishop, and Cardinal–Pecci engaged with the realities of industrial Europe.  He, the Titular Archbishop of Damietta in 1843 and simultaneously the nuncio to Belgium (1843-1846), served as the Bishop of Perugia (1846-1878).  Our saint, Cardinal Pecci from 1853, modernized the curriculum of the seminary in his diocese, encouraged Scholastic theology, and, by 1878, had become the Camerlengo of the Church.  In 1878, Blessed Pius IX, a reactionary Supreme Pontiff who preferred Medieval Catholicism, favored the divine right of kings, considered constitutional government incompatible with Christianity, and practiced Anti-Semitism, died.  Pecci, as the Camerlengo, was in charge between Popes. In February 1878 he became the next Pope as Leo XIII.  He was 67 years old and not in the best of health.  The man predicted to be a stop-gap Pope served for a quarter of a century, until 1903, dying at the age of 93.

Leo XIII stood firmly within Roman Catholic tradition, for better and worse.  In some ways he was quite conservative when he should not have been.  He sought the restoration of Papal temporal power, the Index survived, and, in 1896, the Church declared Anglican holy orders invalid, for example.  Yet Leo XIII was also relatively progressive.  In 1879 he elevated Father John Henry Newman (1801-1890), suspected of heterodoxy, to the College of Cardinals.  (How conservative must one have been to call Newman too liberal?)  This decision upset many conservatives in the Church.  When Leo XIII recognized the French Third Republic, he scandalized French Roman Catholic monarchists.  Lifting Blessed Pius IX’s ban on Roman Catholics voting in Italian elections was another indication of liberalism.  Roman Catholicism and representative government, Leo XIII declared, are not mutually exclusive, contradicting his predecessor.

Economic justice was crucial, Leo XIII.  He condemned Marxism, communism, and laissez-faire capitalism.  The Pope wrote in favor of labor unions, the right of collective bargaining, a living wage, and safe working conditions.  All of this was a matter of ethics and the dignity or work, for the Supreme Pontiff.

Leo XIII was also open to science and scholarship.  He encouraged some critical scholarship of the Bible (St. Pius X did not encourage any.), reopened the Vatican Observatory, opened the Vatican Library to scholars without regard to creed, and encouraged Roman Catholic scholars to do their work objectively.  The author of 86 encyclicals in 25 years stood within the strain of Roman Catholicism that found faith and reason compatible.  That strain included St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), whose theology Leo XIII had long encouraged people to study.

Leo XIII, while affirming his papal authority (of course), engaged the non-Roman Catholic Christian world.  The 1896 decree about the invalidity of Anglican holy orders was a setback, but he did call non-Roman Catholic Christians “separated brothers.”  St. John XXIII (1958-1963) did the same in a more ecumenical age.  Leo XIII also invited “separated brothers” to reunite with Holy Mother Church.

Leo XIII would have made St. Justin de Jacobis (1800-1860) glad.  The Pope encouraged evangelization, especially outside Europe.  Leo XIII also favored educating indigenous priests, an effective strategy in missions.

Leo XIII, aged 93 years, died at the Vatican on July 20, 1903.  He was simultaneously conservative and liberal, by the standards of his time.  He foreshadowed reforms that started decades after his death.

Consider ecclesiastical politics, O reader.  The reactionary Pius IX is a Blessed, on the path to canonization.  Leo XIII is not even a Venerable.  Pius X, slightly less reactionary than Pius IX, is a full saint.  The less one says and writes about Pius XII, a Venerable, the better.  John XXIII, who opened Vatican II, is a full saint.  (How can Pius X and John XXIII both be full saints?)  Paul VI, who concluded the Second Vatican Council, is a Blessed.  The very nice John Paul I, who forgot to take his medicine and therefore had a brief Pontifficate, is a Venerable.  And John Paul II is a full saint, due to a fast-tracked canonization process.  To some extent one can identify the legacy of Leo XIII in each of his successors.  The legacy of Leo XIII is especially strong in Pope Francis.

I, as an Episcopalian, a member of a church with valid holy orders, belong to a tradition that teaches that history makes saints.  I count legacies, not miracles.  I, one of those “separated brothers” of whom Leo XIII and St. John XXIII wrote and spoke, hereby enroll Leo XIII, Servant of the Servants of God, in my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DE CHERGÉ AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS OF TIBHIRINE, ALGERIA, 1996

THE FEAST OF EUGENE DE MAZENOD, BISHOP OF MARSEILLES AND FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE MISSIONARIES, OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANZ JÄGGERSTÄTTER, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR AND MARTYR, 1943

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ADDISON AND ALEXANDER POPE, ENGLISH POETS

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Pope Leo XIII.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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World Day of Peace (January 1)   Leave a comment

broken-rifle

Above:  The Broken Rifle, Symbol of Resistance to War

Image in the Public Domain

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January 1 is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.  My standard practice on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to reserve a date upon which such a Biblical feast falls for that feast.   I make this exception to my rule, however.

On April 11, 1963, Pope John XXIII (now St. John XXIII) issued the encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth).  In it he argued for, among other things, economic justice, freedom to worship God according to one’s conscience, the maintenance of the common good, the proper treatment of minorities, and respect for the rights of refugees.  He also condemned militarism and encouraged the recognition of human interdependence.  Pope Paul VI (now Blessed Paul VI), inspired by the encyclical, observed the first World Peace Day on January 1, 1968.  Pontiffs have used the occasion of World Peace Day to speak on subjects such as those elaborated upon in Pacem in Terris.

In the Law of Moses one finds timeless principles and culturally specific examples thereof.  Among these timeless principles are the following:

  1. We depend upon God for everything;
  2. We depend upon each other;
  3. We are responsible to each other;
  4. We are responsible for each other; and
  5. We have no right to exploit each other.

These ethics inform Pacem in Terris and World Peace Day.  The fact that so many of we human beings need reminding of them often speaks negatively of us.  We have a long history of violating them and of justifying our behavior to ourselves and others, often invoking the name of God in the process.  Yes, sometimes we have no good choices and must choose between lesser and greater evils, but, short of those occasions, we have a moral obligation to refrain from committing certain acts.  Some deeds are always wrong; torture is among them.  Most wars are unnecessary, but some are necessary.  Although most violence is wrong, sometimes the use of violence is morally defensible.  Stating principles is easy, but contextualizing actions is more complicated.

One final note:  I am writing and publishing these words on November 11, the anniversary of the armistice at the end of World War I.  This is an example of serendipity.  Certainly this is an especially appropriate day to think about matters of war, peace, and the devastating consequences of the short-sighted actions of those in authority upon civilians and military personnel alike.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Lord God, accept our humble confession of the wrongs we have done,

the injustice to which we have been party,

and the countless denials of your mercy we have expressed.

Turn us toward the love offered in your Son,

and cleanse us by your grace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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Almighty God, in penitence we come before you, acknowledging the sin that is within us.

We share the guilt of all those who, bearing the name Christian,

slay their fellow human beings because of race or faith or nation.

Forgive us and change us by your love, that your word of hope

may be heard clearly throughout the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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Nehemiah 1:4-11a

Psalm 6

1 John 1:5-2:2

Luke 15:11-32

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 62

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Posted November 11, 2016 by neatnik2009 in January 1

Tagged with , , ,

Feast of George Kennedy Allen Bell (October 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  George Kennedy Allen Bell

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL (FEBRUARY 4, 1883-OCTOBER 3, 1958)

Anglican Bishop of Chichester

George Kennedy Allen Bell, the son of a priest of the Church of England, entered the world on Hayling Island, Hampshire, on February 4, 1883.  He, like his father, became a deacon (1907) then a priest (1908). Bell worked among the industrial workers of Leeds from 1907 to 1910.  Then he became an academic tutor and student minister at Christ Church, Oxford, where he remained until 1914.

In 1914 Bell became chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Randall Davidson.  In this capacity Bell became active in ecumenism.  During World War I he worked with Swedish Lutheran Bishop Nathan Soderblom, a close friend, for exchanges of prisoners of war.  During the 1920s Bell became involved deeply in the Life and Work movement, which related Christian faith to society, politics, and economics.   This movement was a precursor to the World Council of Churches, formed in 1948.

From 1925 to 1929 Bell was Dean of Canterbury.  He started the Canterbury Festival, which encouraged music, poetry, and drama.

Perhaps Bell made his greatest contributions to human society as Bishop of Chichester (1929-1958).  During the Great Depression he allied himself with struggling workers.  And when Adolf Hitler won the support of much of German Christianity, Bell supported the dissident (non-Nazi) faction, the Confessing Church.  The Bishop even passed useful intelligence to German resistance leaders (often also leaders of the Confessing Church) during World War II.

Bishop Bell sought justice for human beings, regardless of politics or the relative popularity of his opinions.  So he helped refugees, displaced persons, interned Germans, and British conscientious objectors.  And he condemned the Churchill government’s policy of area bombing.  Bell said and wrote repeatedly that the bombing of unarmed civilians was immoral.  This displeased the Prime Minister, who selected the new Archbishop of Canterbury in 1944, after William Temple died.  Churchill did not choose Bell.

After World War II Bell’s moral sensibility continued to contradict government policies.  He opposed the nuclear arms race and advocated nuclear disarmament during the Cold War.

Bell’s ecumenical engagement remained a recurring theme until he died.  One of his dear friends was Cardinal Giovanni Montini, who became Pope Paul VI in 1963.  Also, Bell supported the 1947 creation of the Church of South India.  In addition, he served as joint chairman of Anglican-Methodist Conversations, begun in 1955.  The 1968 final report proposed a union of the Church of England and the Methodist Church of Great Britain.  This has not happened.

Furthermore, Bell wrote the hymn, “Christ is the King! O Friends Upraise,” which is #614 in The Hymnal 1982.

KRT

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Christ is the King! O Friends Upraise

1. Christ is the King! O friends upraise

anthems of joy and holy praise

for brave saints of ancient days,

who with a faith forever new

followed the King,

and round him drew

thousands of servants brave and true.

2. O Christian women, Christian men,

all the world over, seek again

the Way disciples followed then.

Christ through all ages is the same:

place the same hope in this great Name,

with the same faith his word proclaim.

3. Let Love’s unconquerable might

your scattered companies unite

in service to the Lord of light:

so shall God’s will on earth be done,

new lamps be lit, new tasks begun,

and the whole Church at last be one.

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God of peace, you sustained your bishop George Kennedy Allen Bell

with the courage to proclaim your truth and justice

in the face of disapproval in his own nation:

As he taught that we, along with our enemies, are all children of God,

may we stand with Christ in his hour of grieving,

that at length we may enter your country where there is no sorrow nor sighing,

but fullness of joy in you; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Amos 7:10-15

Psalm 46:4-11

Revelation 11:15-18

Mark 13:1-13

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 619