"What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity."

                          Pope John Paul II

Boston Catholic Journal

"I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy."

                          Pope Benedict XVI


Suggested Reading:

The Problem
of Evil

The Problem of Evil: Exonerating God

Exonerating God


CCD: Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

Crisis in
Catholic Doctrine:

the Grave State of Religious Education in America

Boston Catholic Journal

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Boston Catholic Journal

Today's Martyrology

Welcome Home to the One, True, Holy, Catholic Church

Welcome Home ... to the One, True, Holy, Catholic Church



“ Fawn upon no one and have no illusions. They can do nothing for us. The will of God alone can satisfy us." You ingratiate yourself  with others because you believe that it will bring you favor and advantage — but do not so much as bend your knee before God, from Whom you have all that is good and Who protects you with His very Angels. You are too proud to pray to God, but not to flatter men ... Are you greater than Saint Paul who said, "Do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Choose wisely whom you will serve. (cf. Imitatio Christi)



for Properly Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

DO NOT DO at Mass what you would never have done were you standing at the foot of the Cross with Christ visibly before you.

DO at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would have done were you standing before Christ hanging on the Cross in front of you — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross — really and truly.

Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing immediately before Christ upon the Cross, 
you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

DO, then, what you would have done ... and DO NOT DO what you would never have done.

This is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.





Handcuffs and Crucifix

Lingering Attachments to Sin



Think of the title of this article: "Lingering Shadows" ...

It is an apparent impossibility. How can shadows remain after the object of which they are the mere shadows is gone? When you have stood under a late afternoon sun, your shadow long in the west — have ever you moved and seen your shadow remain where once you stood and now stand no more?

The only way to make what is impossible otherwise possible is to take a photograph of the shadow alone as you stand before it. You can then keep the photograph of what had been and is no more, and return to the moment that was, and like the shadow, is no more. The analogy is clear.

Attachment to Sin

We have left the person, place, or thing —the occasion of sin — in which we once stood and have no intention of returning … but for all our efforts a shadow remains even as we ourselves have gone.
The shadow lingers despite all the years and the fierce and even faithful resolution that never would the sun find us there again.

We are there no more, but inexplicably the shadow still falls over our hearts. It mocks us, either filling us with melancholy desire, or imbuing us with unremitting guilt. If it has been sinful love, then likely it will dog you all your days.

The sin is no more. The person is long gone. We soberly recognize that the occasion can never be recaptured even should the person remain. So much has changed! We have grown older even as our illusions have not. The landscape has changed even as it has remained immutable in our memory.

And even could it be again, it would not be the same again. We know this. After all, we have fled it, and those once desperate pangs seize us no longer. Or do they ...?

This is the predicament of what is called attachment to sin.

The concept of "attachment to sin", however, is so ... clinical, remote, even austere. In dealing with the human heart, it appears heartless. We have — and so often with great difficulty and immeasurable pain — left the sin, have we not? We have fled Egypt. And even now ... even now, after these many years, we are gaunt and even crippled by the effort. There is no calculus sufficient to the cost, but we have fled nonetheless, urged on by grace. Despite the prompting of our hearts to look back at the lissome and distant smoke rising from the flesh-pots of Egypt that we have left for a freedom that we have not yet found, we set our faces like flint against an unrelenting wind that would turn them back ... that calls us to remembrance. Still we wander in the desert, the Jordan an open dream before us, the Red Sea a closed memory behind us.

Resolutely we press on. There are yet a host of sins to come that we must drive out before us, but none prove so strong as the enemy we fled.

No Canaanite or king of Midian has the might of our own personal Pharaoh — who would call us back to slavery and servitude. We fled him but we did not defeat him. His chariots pursued us to no avail, and it was not by our power that they were splintered and still litter the banks of our dreams. The Midianites had chariots of steel, yes — and we left them strewn in the desert behind us! But Pharaoh had fire! Alike he kindled the fleshpots without, and the deep craving within! Grimly we watched towers burn in Midian before us, but with what longing do we still look upon the burning fleshpots of Egypt behind us!

This is our plight in our attachment to sin

Spiritually, it is perhaps the most desperate, the most unrelenting, and in the end, the most deadly warfare of all. The victory is conclusive, but paradoxically the defeat is indecisive. The enemy has fled, but somehow his shadow remains. He has been subdued but not vanquished, defeated, but not put utterly to death. He is, in short, forever and irrevocably a threat: unleash him and he will contend with us to the death. It is true that he is no longer present, but it is equally true that by fault or misfortune he may find his way to us yet. As long as he lives his shadow falls over us, and nothing short of his death will free us from him.

Sin survives the sword. All your violence against the sin within will avail you nothing. Your flight from sin will not outrun its shadow. The root lies deeply within ... and it lives, and if allowed will spring to life again. The very soil itself must be subject to the furnace of holy love that leaves no seed of malice or sin dormant within, nor even its husk a scandal without.

You will never be free of the seed of death — which is sin — that lingers within you, as long as you cultivate remembrance of sin ... the very soil itself in which alone it takes root, thrives, and in the end throttles ...

It is not enough that we have left sin — the occasion, the intention, the act itself ... it is not enough and it will not suffice.

Unless our attachment to sin, our desire for what is sinful, is sundered to the last sinew, however tightly we bind it, it keeps us, in turn, captive. It is the proverbial wolf we hold by the ears, afraid to keep hold of it and afraid to let it go.

Relinquishing sin, especially that deeply personal sin (that deadly affront to God) that is unique to you in all history, must be a consciously total act. It is total war and one of you will die: the sin, together with your attachment to it, or you yourself …who will die to God because you refused to die to sin. I say “unique in all history” because you are unique in all history. The time period, the place in time, the time in the place, and all the people who were affected by your sin and all the lives that they in turn touched and changed as a result of your sin — to say nothing of the person with whom you have sinned, or who brought you to sin, or who became the occasion of your sin, and against whom also you have sinned. The web of sin is so taut — like a violin string tuned to the point of breaking, that who touches it at either end causes it to reverberate through the whole, leaving no fiber within it unmoved; its discordance affecting all, its dissonance touching every ear. Aware of our peril we nevertheless play upon it … until it snaps and recoils upon us with a lash like a springing viper. We are wounded by our sin and it has wreaked havoc on all around us.

False consolation

Do not seek consolation in the thought that many have sinned as you have, and attempt to excuse yourself by recourse to your human frailty and that inherent susceptibility to sin that we haplessly inherited from our First Parents in the Garden — rather, fear that it has the power to ensnare so many — from the most clever to the least, from the wise to the foolish, from the mighty to the most impoverished! All alike have fallen … but not all alike have risen. God will give you the grace to resist sin, but you must accept it, seize it, hold firmly to it. You must wage the war. He will give you the armor, but you must strap it upon yourself; He will give you the weapons but you must wield them: Faith, Hope and Charity. Chastity, Obedience, Truthfulness, HUMILITY. HUMILITY! HUMILITY!!!

Understand this: your foes are three and each of them unrelenting: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil — Satan, that father of lies (“There is no devil. You are too enlightened, too progressive; too intellectual, too learned to acknowledge so ancient an enemy. ‘I am a myth’”, he persuades you — and this, too, is a lie!” But he was a liar and a murderer from the beginning — and he seeks your immortal soul to bring that imago Dei, that image of God, that unutterably beautiful creation by God, to final despair, to endless torment and to utter ruin; to that frightful reality called the Second Death beyond which there is no rising to hope; to the reek of that charnel house that is the fume and fire of Hell … his everlasting abode.
But understand this more: nothing and no one can withstand God and He Alone is your strength, He Alone your defender.
“If God is with me, who can be against me?” And as though such help were lacking, there is more: the very Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, your Angel Guardian, the Holy Angels and the Company of Martyrs who intercede for you in your weakness and peril.

And understand this equally well: You cannot let go of sin, "a little". It is the commitment to the total repudiation of sin. As long as a thread remains to sustain it, sin will perch upon it.

Remember, that if you have not slain the wolf, you cannot hold him by one ear.

It is Lent —the acceptable time. Accept it.

Boston Catholic Journal

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The Little Apostolate — for All

"Numquid apertae sunt tibi portae mortis, et ostia tenebrosa vidisti?"
"Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?"
(Job 38.17)

Radical Islam and Mass Graves

any seek
some form of active Apostolate to serve Christ and the Church, especially in the way of helping those poor souls most in need of assistance ... they seek to assist, to be actively involved in the lives of others who desperately need help — and it has nothing to do with money.  Most of us do not have money, and even if we did, it would be of no avail whatever — although it involves the gravest, the most vital act of charity possible. What is more, you do not have to go anywhere. It will come to you.

What, then, is this most needful act of charity, and in the direst need possible in any person's entire life?

It is this: Whenever you read of or hear about another's death — in the news, in your town, in another and remote part of the world ... no matter who it is ... you should immediately make the Sign of the Cross and beg God's mercy on the person who has died, and His pardon for their sins, and to bring that soul to final repentance and everlasting life in God's presence.

He alone is the just Judge. It matters not to us who it is that has died: not his faith or his lack of it; that soul is in dire need of God's mercy and forgiveness ... and so often has no one else to pray for them.

Stop what you are doing for the moment, even if it is within yourself, and pray for them. It will take a few seconds ... but could mean the salvation of a soul in and through the immeasurable mercy of Christ Jesus.

You will be surprised how active — even demanding — you will find this quiet and hidden apostolate to be.

What is more, carry it a step further: when you hear the wail of an ambulance, do likewise, and pray for the healing of the soul to whose need it is going. If they are in peril of death (and you know not!) pray for God's mercy and forgiveness.

This way, you will accompany so many souls on their last and often most perilous journey: from this life to the next; from this world to Heaven, despite the very real danger of Hell.

One day you will need the prayers of others — and perhaps one single person's prayer will open the gates of Heaven ... and shut the gates of Hell. Your prayer to our merciful God may be the one that makes the difference.

Remember this the next time you read the news or browse the Internet. Especially in these evil days.


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The Perpetual Authority of the Latin Mass

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

What part of the word "Forever" do we no longer understand?



Pope St. Pius V - July 14, 1570


April 3, 1969: When "forever" came to mean 399 years

On the third day of April 1969 the temporally elusive concept of "forever" was finally and definitively quantified by Pope Paul VI — much to the perplexity of historians and physicists — as 399 years, or to be precise, 399 years, 9 months, and 11 days. On that day Pope Paul tampered with time and eternity by expurgating or otherwise expunging the ancient Latin rite of the Mass and replacing it, by a tour de force, with his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, otherwise known as the Novus Ordo, or The New Mass. "Forever", it appears, has a terminus after all ... and does not mean ... well ... forever.

From a purely philosophical point of view, this quantification of the term "forever" poses significant — even insuperable — problems in any discussion concerning the nature of temporal discourse. Let us look at a few instances.

If "forever" does not mean uninterrupted continuity without end, then "never" does not mean at no time, either in the past, the present or the future. What is more, "now" does not mean at this moment or at this present time, nor does "before" mean preceding or anteceding the present; nor do we understand by "past" what had preceded the present which, like "now", no longer means at this moment, and which, reciprocally no longer corresponds to the "present" or "now". Got it?

Now let us add the following into the mix to reveal further temporal permutations which no longer connote, or mean, what we had erstwhile understood them to be in the temporal ordering of any state of affairs:

  • FOREVER / never

  • NOW / before or after

  • PRESENT / past, future, soon

  • EARLY / late

  • OLD / new

  • MODERN / ancient

  • FIRST / last, second, third, etc. (i.e. a series) also, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade, century, millennium, etc.

  • ETERNAL / temporal /

As we see, quite a bit follows from "forever" no longer being understood as forever but rather, as 399 years at which time "forever" expires. We must understand that "forever" subsumes all the temporal categories and inflections under it, all of which are determinate and finite extensions of time relative only to "forever" (for all time and  into eternity) which had erstwhile been understood as indefinite and indeterminate — as so many parts, or segments, if you will, of a greater concept (forever) that is indeterminate by definition. In a word, if "forever" is arbitrarily determined as a finite quantum, all that it subsumed beneath it and understood relative to it is also susceptible to arbitrary determination and we can no longer coherently enter into temporal discourse of any kind that presumes to bind any state of affairs to a determinate referent in time. A week, or month, for example, is only what we arbitrarily understand it to be according to our purpose at hand.

The implications of "implicitly" redefining the temporal concept of "forever" are enormous. Think of it. They pertain, according to the canons of reason, not only to the simplest geometric concept of a line ("A line has only one dimension: length. It continues forever in two directions.") , but to the trajectory, and ultimately, the destiny of the human soul according to the most fundamental notions of Christian doctrine: the eternity of God and the immortality of the soul.

If you have other ideas, write us. But first read something about "forever", as we had always understood it, prior to the Second Vatican Council:


and now ...




"From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship, We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure liturgy, and We strove with God's help, by every means in our power, to accomplish this purpose. For, besides other decrees of the sacred Council of Trent, there were stipulations for Us to revise and re-edit the sacred books: the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary. With the Catechism published for the instruction of the faithful, by God's help, and the Breviary thoroughly revised for the worthy praise of God, in order that the Missal and Breviary may be in perfect harmony, as fitting and proper —  for it is most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass — We deemed it necessary to give our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, viz, the re-editing of the Missal as soon as possible.

Hence, We decided to entrust this work to learned men of our selection. They very carefully collated all their work with the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and with reliable, preserved or emended codices from elsewhere. Besides this, these men consulted the works of ancient and approved authors concerning the same sacred rites; and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection, We commanded that the finished product be printed and published as soon as possible, so that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor; and thus, priests would know which prayers to use and which rites and ceremonies they were required to observe from now on in the celebration of Masses.

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women — even of military orders — and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.

This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.

All other of the churches referred to above, however, are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be discontinued entirely and absolutely; whereas, by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.

We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.

Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription — except, however, if more than two hundred years' standing.

It is Our will, therefore, and by the same authority, We decree that, after We publish this constitution and the edition of the Missal, the priests of the Roman Curia are, after thirty days, obliged to chant or read the Mass according to it; all others south of the Alps, after three months; and those beyond the Alps either within six months or whenever the Missal is available for sale. Wherefore, in order that the Missal be preserved incorrupt throughout the whole world and kept free of flaws and errors, the penalty for nonobservance for printers, whether mediately or immediately subject to Our dominion, and that of the Holy Roman Church, will be the forfeiting of their books and a fine of one hundred gold ducats, payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. Further, as for those located in other parts of the world, the penalty is excommunication latae sententiae, and such other penalties as may in Our judgment be imposed; and We decree by this law that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to accept books of this nature without Our approval and consent, or without the express consent of the Apostolic Commissaries of those places, who will be appointed by Us. Said printer must receive a standard Missal and agree faithfully with it and in no wise vary from the Roman Missal of the large type (secundum magnum impressionem).

Accordingly, since it would be difficult for this present pronouncement to be sent to all parts of the Christian world and simultaneously come to light everywhere, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, also at the Apostolic Chancery, and on the street at Campo Flora; furthermore, We direct that printed copies of this same edict signed by a notary public and made official by an ecclesiastical dignitary possess the same indubitable validity everywhere and in every nation, as if Our manuscript were shown there. Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Should anyone dare to contravene it, know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."

     Given at St. Peter's in the year of the Lord's Incarnation, 1570, on the 14th of July of the Fifth year of Our Pontificate.

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Boston Catholic Journal

Boston Catholic Journal


Why we have Lost God

The Primacy of Matter and the Loss of Faith


We live in a world of matter

Matter is the substance of the senses. It is apprehensible. We touch it, feel it, manipulate it, make things of it, and even destroy it (yes, I know the principle of “the conservation of matter”, but you get the point.) It is tactile, sensuous, and often pleasing to the eye, the touch, and our other senses. It alternately excites us and repels us. It is what we see when we open our eyes, what we feel when we touch anything.

It is the world we know

Increasingly, it is the only world we know. Every other “possible world” has receded before the incursion of the senses and the accompanying demand for instantaneity: pleasure now, satisfaction now, information now, fulfillment now — and on a broader level, peace now, justice now and equality now. We have all heard the political and social mantra that first came to us from the tumultuous and purple-hazed 60’s by now, and we even know its cadence. The “cause” matters not, for the response has by now become childishly reflexive: “What do we want?” (insert whatever here) “When do we want it? Now!”

Again. And again. And again, as though repeatedly demanding what we want like a spoiled child will produce it … because it worked when we were children. Our parents taught us by example, by collapsing before the incorrectitude of the negative “No!” We always got what we wanted.

And so did our parents.

Do you want anything — however absurd? Then agitate, demand, and never take “no” as an answer, however unimpeachable the authority. Not even from God. Not even from His Church which we hold to be both the the Bride and the Body Christ. We want to “feel” justified, be “affirmed” in our childishness, and have our way if “the other” is unwilling — however clear, however ontologically defining the principles upon which and in which it exists in se —and if we are denied our desires, then we will legislate them, find some obscure or unbalanced “academic” to "authenticate" us, a celebrity “in solidarity” with our petulance to publicize us, and a venal politician to “empower” us … until our desires become our laws — which is to say, until our senses grasp, seize, what they lust for.

Politics is the venue of power, not mind. Hollywood is the venue of entertainment, not reality which, despite the protestations of the senses, is only discernible through the mind and that impetuously inconvenient faculty called reason that we abhor because it defies us.

The Parallax of Reason ... and Sensation

We do not want reason. We do not want mind. We want sensation — the stimulation and the satisfaction of the senses! What have we to do with inflexible reason? With God? With things less than rhapsodic, with lasting concepts … even purported everlasting realities … with the deliverances of anything devoid of tactility, before the contempt of the court of immediacy that governs the senses?

We ourselves are composed of matter — we recognize this even if we have forgotten that it is only half the equation of our being human, for the other half is spirit … the immaterial soul which is not apprehensible by the senses, only by the mind, a concept perhaps best expressed by the German noun, “Geist” that alternately denotes, “the mind”, “the psyche”, “spirit”, “soul”, and even “ghost”.

We are profoundly more than our appetites. Just as God is profoundly more than “feeling good about oneself.” Eternity extends before us — and we know it, but we treat it as we treat time: passing, changing, mutable, pliable to our desires. And for a while it is so.

But we know that it will not always be so. We sense “ending”. We intuit that there is a terminus to our being in time and that something must lie beyond it — even if it is the skeptic's cold, sterile, embalmed "nothing" that we nevertheless irresistibly perceive as something in what we persist in describing as "nothingness". Because we are permeated with time and insensible (and this is not the same as “inapprehensible”) to the eternal, we even perceive “nothingness” — despite our insistence that it is otherwise — as somehow perduring. It is a tentative state of utter suspension — even while we declare that nothing is suspended. It is a kind of eternal obit that will declare, somehow inscribe, even monumentally testify to our being long after it has ceased and presumably never to be read.

When we lost God — whenever that might have been — we lost our raison d'être. We do not know it because we refuse to confront it and we do not confront it because we have not known God, or once having known Him have repudiated Him, even denied Him, in favor of our own temporal desires which, like their objects in space and time, will surely pass. Only God remains. History testifies to this.

Desistite, et agnoscite me Deum: "Be still and know that I am God!"

Our restlessness is both an invitation by God and the testimony to our blindness apart from Him.


Boston Catholic Journal


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Boston Catholic Journal

"What is Holiness?"

Holiness — sanctity — is simply the conformity of the will to the will of God.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Law of Love If you listen to no other homily on being a Catholic and your obligation to love God and your neighbor ... listen   to this: The Law of Love by Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen



Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in


for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50



Sunday March 1st in the Year of Grace 2015

Holy Season of Lent

This Day, the First Day of March

At Rome, two hundred and sixty holy martyrs, condemned for the name of Christ. Claudius ordered them to dig sand beyond the Salarian gate, and then to be shot dead with arrows by soldiers in the amphitheatre.

Also, the birthday of the holy martyrs Leo, Donatus, Abundantius, Nicephorus, and nine others.

At Marseilles, the holy martyrs Hermes and Adrian.

At Heliopolis, in the persecution of Trajan, St. Eudoxia, martyr, who, being baptized by bishop Theodotus and fortified for the combat, was put to the sword by the command of the governor Vincent, and thus received the crown of martyrdom.

The same day, St. Antonina, martyr. For deriding the gods of the Gentiles, in the persecution of Diocletian, she was, after various torments, shut up in a cask and drowned in a marsh near the city of Cea.

At Kaiserswerth, the bishop St. Swidbert, who, in the time of Pope Sergius, preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Friesland, Holland, and to other Germanic peoples.

At Angers, St. Albinus, bishop and confessor, a man of most eminent virtue and piety.

At Le Mans, St. Siviard, abbot.

At Perugia, the translation of St. Herculanus, bishop and martyr, who was beheaded by order of Totila, king of the Goths. Forty days after his decapitation his body, as Pope St. Gregory relates, was found as sound and as firmly joined to the head as if it had never been touched by the sword.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.


Roman Martyrology by Month

January February March April May June
July August September October November December



Why the Martyrs Matter

Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2. “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.

Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal

Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised "De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs" for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.



by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore

THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? "Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted." Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannon's mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion "If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this world's evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?"

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day's models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

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1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15


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