Archive for the ‘St. Pius X’ Tag

Feast of Leo XIII (July 20)   3 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, 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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Feast of George Tyrrell (July 16)   1 comment

Above:  The Union Jack

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE TYRRELL (FEBRUARY 6, 1861-JULY 15, 1909)

Irish Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian and Alleged Heretic

Anyone who was on the wrong side of Pope St. Pius X (in office 1903-1914) had a high statistical probability of being closer to God than the Supreme Pontiff.

The tension between tradition and modernity has long been a controversial subject in organized religion.  Some have converted tradition into an idol.  Others have thrown it out like a proverbial baby with the equally proverbial bathwater.  Some have made modernity into an idol.  Others have thrown it out with the bathwater too.  There have always been many shades between the polar opposite.

George Tyrrell strove to find the balance of tradition and modernity.  He, born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 6, 1861, grew up an Anglican.  At the age of 18 years he converted to Roman Catholicism.  He joined the Society of Jesus in 1880 and a priest in 1891.  As a Jesuit Tyrrell took the mandatory course in Scholastic theology.  That theology he found unsatisfactory and inadequate.  Tyrrell’s reading of Church Fathers and Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) led him to conclude that the Roman Catholic Church needed to teach the faith differently in the modern age.  Our saint accused Holy Mother Church of mistaking divine revelation for theology, resulting in the teaching of “truths” without connecting them to human experience.  Tyrrell also accused the Roman Catholic Church of committing the “dogmatic fallacy,” that is, turning prophetic mysteries into

principles of exactly determinable intellectual value.

Tyrrell, a friend of fellow Roman Catholic Modernists Baron Friedrich von Hügel (1852-1925) and Maude Dominica Petre (1863-1942), identified himself as a faithful Roman Catholic.  Pope St. Pius X and the Society of Jesus disagreed.  The Jesuits expelled Tyrrell in 1906.  The following year St. Pius X, a reactionary who cast a pall over Roman Catholic intellectual life for more than half a century, issued the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis.  He condemned Modernism as

the synthesis of all heresies

and required all priests to take an oath condemning Modernism.

Tyrrell, much like Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), another one of my favorite heretics who was not actually a heretic, was too caustic and sarcastic for his own good.  (In Tyrrell’s defense, how was he supposed not to be caustic and sarcastic when dealing with St. Pius X and his ilk?)  Tyrrell, a priest without a bishop and therefore lacking a ministry since 1906, was living and writing in a cottage that belonged to Maude Dominica Petre.  Our saint criticized the encyclical in strong terms.  He, alluding to the absolutist French King Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715), summarized the Pope’s position as,

The church, c’est moi.

St. Pius promptly excommunicated Tyrrell in 1908.  The excommunicated priest was defiant:

If, however, my offense lies in having protested publicly, in the name of Catholicism, against a document destructive of the only possible defense of Catholicism and of every reason for submitting, within due limits, to ecclesiastical authority–a document which constitutes the greatest scandal for thousands who, like myself, have been brought into, and kept in, the Church by the influence of Cardinal Newman and of the mystical theology of the Fathers and the Saints–for such a protest I am absolutely and finally impenitent.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 305

Tyrrell, aged 48 years, died of Bright’s Disease in Storrington, England, on July 15, 1909.  A sympathetic priest had administered the last rites, heard Tyrrell’s confession, and granted absolution.  The Church refused to bury our saint in hallowed ground, so his corpse went to repose in an Anglican cemetery instead.

His grave marker reads:

Of your charity

pray for the soul of

GEORGE TYRRELL

Catholic Priest who died

July 15, 1909, Aged 48 years

Fortified by the Rites

of the Church

R. I. P.

Tyrrell was one of the Roman Catholic theologians who, had he lived long enough to witness the Second Vatican Council (1959-1965), would have found vindication during his lifetime.

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Loving God of timeless truth, we praise and thank you for George Tyrrell and all others who,

standing within tradition, have not idolized it.

May we faithfully engage the outside world,

regarding it as our neighborhood, not as the enemy camp,

and shining the light of Christ into it in effective and reverent ways, to the glory of your Name;

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

Job 12:1-6

Psalm 84

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Feast of Blessed Enrico Rebushini and St. Luigi Guanella (May 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of the Vatican

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENRICO REBUSCHINI (APRIL 28, 1860-MAY 10, 1938)

Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick

helped by

SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA (DECEMBER 9, 1842-OCTOBER 24, 1915)

Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph

His feast transferred from October 24

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O my Jesus, draw me entirely to you.  Draw me with all the love of my heart.  If I knew that one fiber of my heart did not palpitate for you, I would tear it out at any cost.  But I know that I could not speak without your help.  Draw me, O my Jesus, draw me completely.  I know it well, my heart cannot rest until it rests in you.

–St. Luigi Guanella

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We need assistance from each other to become what we ought to be spiritually.  To function as an instrument of God in that way is a high calling.

Above:  Blessed Enrico Rebuschini

Image in the Public Domain

Blessed Enrico Rebuschini, born in Gravedona, Como, Italy, on April 28, 1860, encountered obstacles in his spiritual path and received help in overcoming them.  His mother, Sophia, was devout, but his father, Domenico, a tax inspector for the province of Como, had no use for religion.  Young Enrico, the second of five children, discerned a vocation to the religious life, but his father’s opposition frustrated plans for acting on that call.  Our saint studied mathematics at Pavia for one year.  He left due to the anticlericalism rampant at the university.  Rebuschini, back home, performed his year of mandatory military service.  The devout young man graduated (with honors) with a college degree in accounting in 1882.  Then he went to work as an administrator in the silk firm of a brother-in-law.  This employment did not satisfy our saint, prone to severe depression.  Finally, in the summer of 1884, Domenico permitted his son to pursue a religious vocation.  The intervention of St. Luigi Guanella was partially responsible for this decision.

Above:  Saint Luigi Guanella

Image in the Public Domain

Guanella was a priest who acted to help many people with regard to their practical needs.  He, born in Francisco di Campodolino, Sondrio, Italy, on December 9, 1842, was the ninth of thirteen children of the poor and pious Lawrence and Maria Guanella.  Our saint, who started his seminary studies at age 12, became a priest on May 26, 1866.  As a parish priest Guanella opened schools for the poor, founded a nursing home, started an orphanage, and founded a home for the handicapped.  From 1875 to 1878 he had worked with St. John Bosco in caring for homeless children.  Our saint was a friend and advisor of Pope St. Pius X and St. Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1850-1921), from 1894 the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.  Guanella also founded three religious orders–the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity (of the Guanellians, for men), and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph (to pray for the dying).

Guanella suffered a stroke in 1915.  He died of complications of that stroke on October 24 of that year.  He was 72 years old.

Pope John XXIII declared Guanella a Venerable in 1962.  Pope Paul VI declared our saint a Blessed in 1964.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized Guanella in 2011.

Rebuschini was content in 1885, for he was, partially due to help from Guanella, living into his vocation.  Rebuschini was studying for the priesthood at the Gregorian University, Rome.  There was a major problem, however.  In March 1886 our saint fell into a nervous depression that lasted through May 1887.  He returned home.  Rebuschini, pondering that stage of his life in real time, wrote:

There are moments when the hand of God has weighed down on us and has plunged us into suffering…what a month of silence and what suffering at this time.  May God at least put an end to this and give us back our treasure.

Eight years later our saint wrote:

I was sent to a spa.  There God restored my health by giving me total confidence in His infinite goodness and mercy.

Yet Rebuschini never fully recovered his health.  He suffered occasional bouts of depression, although they were not as severe as the period of March 1886-May 1887.  He would have fared better had he lived during a time when better treatments existed.

Rebuschini, who had a devotion to St. Mary, the Mother of God, chose to help those who needed the most.  In 1887 he worked briefly in a hospital, losing his job because he insisted on working not in the assigned department, but instead among the poorest and most isolated patients.  On September 27 of that year our saint joined the Camillians (the Company of the Servants of the Sick) of Verona.  He, ordained a priest on April 14, 1889, made his profession in that order on December 8, 1891.  Among his duties for a few years was to be a hospital chaplain in Verona.

Rebuschini had a reputation as a kind man who sought to focus on the best characteristics of people he met.  He admitted that doing this was difficult for him much of the time; he relied on God to help him succeed.  Our saint was most critical of himself, however; his perfectionist tendencies, applied to himself, led him to regard himself as unworthy of taking on many tasks assigned to him.  He followed through on those tasks anyway.

On a happy note, Rebuschini was a punster.  Obviously he had an excellent sense of humor and a fine vocabulary.

Our saint, a hospital chaplain at Verona (1890-189?) and vice-novice master and professor of theology in that city (by 1895), left for Cremona in 1899.  At Cremona he served as the first chaplain to the Camillian Sisters.  A few years later he took on a second portfolio–that of bursar, which he performed for between 34 and 35 years, until 1937.  During that time Rebuschini also served as superior for 11 years.  In 1938, shortly before he died of pneumonia at the age 78 years, our saint asked forgiveness from all those he thought he might have offended.

Pope John Paul II declared Rebuschini a Venerable in 1995 then a Blessed two years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

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

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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 to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Saviour 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), page 60

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Feast of Friedrich von Hugel (May 5)   1 comment

Above:  Baron Friedrich von Hugel

Image in the Public Domain

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BARON FRIEDRICH MARIA ALOYS FRANZ KARL VON HÜGEL (MAY 5, 1852-JANUARY 27, 1925)

Roman Catholic Independent Scholar and Philosopher

Baron Friedrich von Hügel was a paradox.  He was, on one hand, a theological modernist–not a bad kind of person to be, especially in the light of deepening knowledge of science and the past.  On the other hand, von Hügel was simultaneously a by-the-book Roman Catholic who did not permit himself to express doubts regarding church teachings.  He should have been more critical.

Von Hügel, born at Florence, Tuscany (where his father was an ambassador), on May 5, 1852, grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family.  His father, Karl von Hügel (1795-1870), was an explorer and an Austrian diplomat.  The family relocated to England in 1867.  Three years later, while in Vienna, our saint, due to ill health, had to abandon his program of studying law.  This prompted a spiritual crisis, followed by a conversion experience.

Von Hügel, independently wealthy, worked as an independent scholar and philosopher.  In 1873 he married Lady Mary Herbert (daughter of Sidney Herbert, Lord Herbert of Lea).  The couple resided at London for the rest of their lives.  Our saint, a champion of theological Modernism, met Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) in Paris in 1884.  The two men collaborated and built a network of Roman Catholic Modernists.  Nevertheless, von Hügel was more conservative than the eventually excommunicated Loisy, who lamented that Christ had promised us the Kingdom of God and all we got was the Church.  (Loisy did have something of a valid point.)  Von Hügel, who considered the Roman Catholic Church to be overly centralized, refused to express doubts regarding official teachings.  He was a Modernist in the sense that he shifted emphases, thereby implicitly abandoning the dogmatic tradition of Roman Catholicism.  Pope (now Saint) Pius X’s anti-Modernist encyclical of 1907 devastated von Hügel, who quietly fell in line, sort of.

The variety of Modernism von Hügel embraced post-encyclical was

a permanent, never quite finished, always sooner or later, more or less, re-beginning set of attempts to express the old Faith and its permanent truths and helps–to interpret it according to what appears the best and most abiding elements in the philosophy and the scholarship and the science of the later and latest times.  Such work never ceases for long, and to it I shall try to contribute my little share.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 199

After the encyclical of 1907 von Hügel switched his focus of study to mysticism and spirituality.  The masterpiece from the latter portion of his life was The Mystical Element of Religion (two volumes, 1923), focusing on St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510).

Our saint, in the realm of his own spirituality, remained devout to the end.  He went to confession weekly, prayed the rosary, and regularly spent hours at a time in devotion before the Blessed Sacrament.

Von Hügel, aged 72 years, died on January 27, 1925.

I have a complicated relationship with Roman Catholicism.  I find much in it that is commendable yet much that I dislike.  The combination of my United Methodist upbringing and my inherent quasi-Catholic predisposition does much to explain this.  I am, simply put, too Protestant to be a Roman Catholic and too Roman Catholic to be a Protestant.  Certainly I reject the propositions that the Bible and Holy Mother Church are infallible.  I, a practicing Episcopalian, am content to remain one while questioning teachings of many denominations, including my own, which, fortunately, lacks a magisterium.

Thus von Hügel interests me.  As much as I respect his piety and intellectual inquiry, his attachment to a centralized authority (the Papacy) in a church he considered to be excessively centralized is alien to my way of thinking and being.  Although I am an orderly person Anglican-style theological diversity appeals to me.  I prefer some degree of chaos to rigid, enforced orthodoxy.  Yes, I understand the difference between the Roman Catholicism of 1870-1965 and that since Vatican II.  Yes, I prefer post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism, folk masses and Marty Haugen‘s schlocky music not withstanding.  Yet Holy Mother Church insists that I, as one of the “separated brethren,” lack the fullness of the faith.  At least that official position is more generous than the one it replaced.

My reservations aside, von Hügel is a fine addition to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I wonder how much he would have thrived in the more open intellectual and theological climate to Roman Catholicism since Vatican II.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Friedrich von Hügel 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 Marc Sangnier (April 3)   1 comment

marc-sangnier

Above:  Stamp Featuring the Image of Marc Sangnier

Image in the Public Domain

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MARC SANGNIER (APRIL 3, 1873-MAY 28, 1950)

Founder of the Sillon Movement

Sangnier, born at Paris, France, on April 3, 1873, came from a wealthy family.  Our saint learned the lesson that God expects much of he who has received much.  Sangnier, from an early age, had a deep concern for social justice in the light of Roman Catholic social teaching.  Of particular concern to him were the conditions of members of the working class.  Sangnier, as a student, organized a small group of like-minded people to study and ponder these moral concerns.  Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891), regarding capital and labor, provided encouragement.

Sangnier became a force in public life in his twenties and continued his activism afterward.  In 1894 he founded Le Sillon (The Furrow), a newspaper devoted to the effort to reconcile Roman Catholicism, social justice, and democracy.  The newspaper led to the Sillon Movement, which attracted many idealistic youth and established study centers for workers in French cities in the 1890s.  Pope St. Pius X was initially supportive of the movement.  In 1905 Sangnier founded a second publication, L’Esprit democratique, devoted to promoting democracy.  The Sillon Movement had become more political than it had been.  St. Pius X changed his opinion of the movement.  Did democracy threaten divine authority?  Was possibly seeking to introduce democracy into the Roman Catholic Church heretical?  Therefore the Supreme Pontiff condemned the Sillon Movement in a letter dated August 25, 1910.

Sangnier, a loyal Roman Catholic, disbanded the Sillon Movement rather than leave the Church or oppose the Vatican.  The movement did, however, have a number of alumni who continued to promote social activism in the Church.  Sangnier chose to channel his activism in the arena of politics.  In 1912 he founded the Young Republic League, a socialist political party.

He died, aged 77 years, in Paris on May 28, 1950.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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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 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), page 60

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Feast of Marie-Joseph Lagrange (March 10)   2 comments

marie-joseph_lagrange

Above:  Marie-Joseph Lagrange

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIE-JOSEPH LAGRANGE (MARCH 7, 1855-MARCH 10, 1938)

Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

Born Albert Marie-Henri Lagrange

Marie-Joseph Lagrange honored God with his faith and his intellect.

Albert Marie-Henri Lagrange, born at Bourg-en-Bresse, France, on March 7, 1855, did not seek a religious life at first.  He studied law then worked as an attorney for five years.  Eventually, after studying at seminary at Issy, Lagrange decided to join a religious order.  In 1880 he joined the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans, and took the name Marie-Joseph Lagrange.  After completing one stage of study at Salamanca, Spain, Lagrange became a priest in 1883.  Next he studied oriental languages at Vienna.  In 1890 Lagrange founded the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francais de Jerusalem.  Our saint accepted modern science and biblical criticism.  He rejected the old idea that Moses wrote the Torah and pondered the chronological difficulties of the Book of Daniel.  Lagrange also applied archeology to the study of the Bible.  He found support for all this in Pope Leo XIII‘s encyclical, Providentissimus Deus (1893), a theologically conservative document that encouraged biblical scholarship in the light of “new” knowledge and the inspiration of scripture.  The reactionary Pope St. Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) launched a decades-long assault on theological modernism.  Lagrange became a casualty of this reality; he had to leave the Ecole Biblique in 1912.

Lagrange remained a faithful Roman Catholic despite the way the Church treated him.  He also remained an active scholar; his oeuvre contained 1,786 articles and books.  Some of the more notable volumes were commentaries on the Gospels of Mark (1911), Luke (1920), Matthew (1923), and John (1925).  He died at Marseille, France, on March 10, 1938, aged 83 years.

Lagrange would have approved of Vatican II.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MACRINA THE ELDER, HER FAMILY, AND SAINT GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS THE YOUNGER

THE FEAST OF CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYRS AND ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF KRISTEN KVAMME, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT SAVA I, FOUNDER OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF SERBS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Marie-Joseph Lagrange 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 Karl Rahner (March 5)   Leave a comment

karl-rahner

Above:  Karl Rahner

Image in the Public Domain

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KARL RAHNER (MARCH 5, 1904-MARCH 30, 1984)

Jesuit Priest and Theologian

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The number one cause of atheism is Christians.  Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

–Karl Rahner

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Karl Rahner, probably the greatest Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, characterized his life in modest terms:

I do not know what’s happened to my life.  I did not lead a life; I worked, wrote, taught, tried to do my duty and earn my living.  I tried in this ordinary everyday way to serve God–that’s it.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 103

Our saint, born at Freiburg, Germany, on March 5, 1904, came from a devout Roman Catholic family.  An older brother, Hugo Rahner (1900-1968), became a Jesuit in 1919 then went on to become a scholar of patristics.  Karl joined the Society of Jesus three years later and became a priest in 1932.  He studied philosophy at the University of Freiburg.  There Rahner sought to expand his horizons beyond neo-Thomism.  The inquisitive pupil attended lectures by Martin Heiddeger (1889-1976), an existentialist philosopher.  Rahner wrote a thesis, Spirit in the World (published in 1939), a study of the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas in the context of philosophy from Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) to Heiddeger.  Our saint’s neo-Thomist professor rejected it.  Rahner completed a degree at the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.  In 1937 he joined the theological faculty there.  Two years later, however, Nazis closed the university.

Rahner, ever a priest, worked as a pastor in Vienna during World War II.

Our saint was also a natural academic.  He taught at Pullach, Bavaria, from 1945 to 1948.  Then he returned to the University of Innsbruck, becoming Professor of Dogmatic Theology in 1949.  Rahner, ultimately author of more than 4000 articles and books, became the subject of Vatican censorship before his return to favor in 1962.  That year he became an architect of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), for which he contributed to the documents on the church, revelation, and the church in the world.  Rahner was Professor of Religion at the University of Munich from 1964 to 1967 then Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Munster from 1967 to 1971.  Finally our saint retired to Munich then, in 1981, to Innsbruck.  He continued to be an active theological writer in retirement.

Rahner died at Innsbruck on March 30, 1984.  He was 80 years old.

Our saint, rooted in Roman Catholic tradition, sought to make that tradition intelligible to the modern, pluralistic, post-Enlightenment world.  He began this project during the repression of modernism instituted by Pope St. Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) and not ended until Vatican II.  Despite more openness from Vatican II forward, many conservative Roman Catholics have never approved of Rahner’s theology.  He has been an agent of the degradation of true faith, they have concluded to the present day.

Rahner emphasized the role of human experience in divine revelation.  He argued that, for people to perceive divine revelation, the communication of it must be comprehensible via human experience.  Our saint also wrote that the infinite mystery of God is the root of all human existence, so religious experience is not a category separate from the rest of life.  Rahner also insisted that grace is intrinsic to human nature, which God has ordained to be open to receiving grace.  Therefore, he wrote, opening oneself to grace in every situation is the way to salvation.

One might quibble with aspects of Rahner’s theology, but the emphasis on grace is positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

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O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom,

to others the word of knowledge,

and to others the word of faith.

We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Karl Rahner,

and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 720

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