November 11, 2020 — Armistice Day and Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours (Armistice Day commemorates the end of the terrible “First World War” in 1918 — a bitter struggle which gave a spiritual and psychological shock to all of Western civilization, which found itself after 1918 unable to fully process the intense evil that had led to millions and millions of deaths during the five years of 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918… a spiritual shock intensified by the horrors of World War II, and which still sends out its powerful, rippling effects over the world of our time…)
I would like to invite you to join me this evening
at 7:00 p.m. EST U. S. A. and Canada for a live Zoom
discussion on the McCarrick Report.
See below for more information. Click Here to register.
“Truly is it fitting and just, right and profitable to salvation, that we should honor Thee, almighty Lord, in the praises of Thy blessed priest and confessor Martin, who, being filled with the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, already in his preparation for the Faith was found to be so perfect, that he covered Christ in the person of a poor man, and with the garment that he received in his own poverty, clothed the Lord of the world. O happy the generosity that divinity performeth! O glorious the divison of the cloak that covered both the solder and the king!” —The Ambrosian Preface of St. Martin of Tours, whose Feast Day is November 11 — today. St. Martin, a soldier, seeing a poor and naked man, felt compassion for him, and divided his cloak with him. The text is translated from the original Latin by Gregory DiPippo at this link
“Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” —Jesus, speaking to his disciples about the tragic harm caused by human cruelty, sin, abuse, against the weak, poor, and innocent (Matthew 18:7)
“Francis, go, rebuild my house, which, as you can clearly see, is falling into ruins.” —The words that St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) heard as he knelt in prayer before a cross in the crumbling church of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy, in c. 1205, when he was 24 years old. At first Francis thought the voice was asking him to rebuild just San Damiano so he began to collect stones to shore up its walls. Only with time did Francis come to understand that his call was to build up again the entire Church, and he committed himself entirely to that task until the end of his life…
On this Armistice Day, which recalls the day in 1918 when the world’s first “world war” came to an end, I am moved to write a brief reflection on the crimes, scandals and divisions of these times.
These crimes, scandals and divisions must not mar the central fact, a fact that we believe, a fact which gives meaning to our lives, a fact which we cling to with all our strength, even as many urge us to set aside “old fables” appropriate only “for infants”: the central fact that Christ has saved the world.
This is the central mystery of our lives: that we know and believe this fact.
From this mystery of faith comes our central happiness: that we received the message, the “good news,” and, by grace, embraced it.
We have received the message — this “message in a bottle” that has somehow washed up on the beaches of our lives— from our parents, our parish priests, our school nuns, our pious friends… in spite of sins, abuses, betrayals, oppressions, cowardice, lies, humiliations, all the sorrows of human life.
This fact is our treasure. It is that “pearl of great price” that Christ spoke of in His parables: the knowledge of the Gospel, the “Good News,” that Christ, the very Logos (meaning, reason, word) of the universe, was indeed born in Bethlehem, lived in Galilee, suffered and died in Jerusalem, and in that same city of David, on the third day, rose again.
St. Martin of Tours and Christ
St. Martin was born during the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, and was the son of a Roman soldier. He himself entered the army at an early age, and was sent into Gaul with a regiment of cavalry. Among his comrades he was loved for his mildness of temper and his generosity.
It happened that he was stationed in the city of Amiens, during a winter of unusual severity.
There was great suffering among the poor, and many perished with cold and hunger.
St. Martin was riding one day through the city gate, when he passed a naked beggar shivering on the pavement.
Immediately he drew rein, and spoke pityingly to the poor creature.
The young soldier was wearing over his coat of mail a long mantle.
Slipping this garment from his shoulders he divided it with his sword, giving half to the beggar.
That same night, as Martin slept, he had a vision of Jesus clad in the portion of his mantle.
And Jesus, turning to the angels who accompanied him, said, “My servant Martin hath done this.”
St. Martin of Tours found Christ in the shivering frame of a poor man in Amiens, France.
Where do we find Christ now?
Where do we encounter this person we follow and believe in… but who so often seems hidden from our sight?
How do we go about “Finding Christ”?
There are hints in our tradition, and teachings in our Church, to guide us, though each of us must travel our own way.
We may find Christ in “the least of our brethren,” when these brothers and sisters look toward us with eyes brimming with tears, or fears, with pleas for help, or exclamations of gratitude.
We find Christ in the silences of prayer, and in the silences before and after prayer — for Christ’s personhood is woven into a fabric with our own, in baptism, in such a way that He is as much within us as outside of us, deeper to our personhood than our very personhood.
This is why we may rejoice: because we are ontologically united with the Lord whose humility was fathomless (meaning, He was and is worthy, He claims nothing for Himself, He simply Is the ultimate expression of Personhood, without all of the failings and fractures of our various imperfect human personhoods, which are all, now and always, simply “on the way,” on pilgrimage in this world, never complete, never “at home” entirely…).
We find Christ in the words of Scripture, in the fulfillment of the prophecies, in the grace of His many miracles, then and now, and in the sacraments of the Church, His Bride.
And we find Him in the clear-eyed innocence of children, in the eyes of little children.
We live in an age when faith is often ridiculed, when abuse is covered up, when wars can engulf the world and takes the lives of millions, but we also live in an age, our age, when the voice of the Lord still may speak to us, in all the ways I have just named.
We know that our modern technology, fast computers, coming “artificial intelligence,” has made us very (unduly) proud, causing us to imagine that we men are finally “like gods,” and so not subject to the laws of charity and self-sacrifice taught to us by our ancestors and our Church.
But this is all the more reason to listen once again to the words the Lord spoke to Francis in 1205, 815 years ago: “Go, rebuild my Church, which, as you can clearly see, is falling into ruin.”
This is the message I take from all of the confusion and division and arrogance and foolish pride of the men and women of our time, in and out of the Church.
We must take every occasion to seek anew the face of the Lord, to find in His words, in His teachings, in His very being through which he incorporates us into Himself in the Eucharist, that happiness, that blessedness, which all men seek but, due to the snares and deceptions of this world, so few ever truly find.
So let us return to the faith handed down to us, and to the charity displayed by the saints, like St. Martin, and together, with God’s grace, work to renew this ancient and seemingly tired and divided Church, and so once again let the light of Christ shine forth in this world, as a pledge of that eternal holiness which awaits all of those who love Him in the world to come…
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s First Response to The McCarrick Report
November 10, 2020
Today the official Report of the Holy See regarding the McCarrick case has been made public. Before I express myself on its merit, I will take time to analyze its content.
However, I cannot fail to note the surreal operation of mystification regarding who are the ones responsible for covering up the scandals of the deposed American cardinal, and at the same time I cannot help expressing my indignation in seeing the same accusations of cover up being made against me, when in fact I repeatedly denounced the inaction of the Holy See in the face of the gravity of the accusations concerning McCarrick’s conduct.
An unprejudiced commentator would note the more than suspicious timing of the report’s publication, as well as the attempt to throw discredit upon me, accused of disobedience and negligence by those who have every interest in delegitimizing the one who brought to light an unparalleled network of corruption and immorality. The effrontery and fraudulent character shown on this occasion would seem to require, at this point, that we call this suggestive reconstruction of the facts “The Viganò Report,” sparing the reader the unpleasant surprise of seeing reality adulterated once again. But this would have required intellectual honesty, even before love for justice and the truth.
Unlike many characters involved in this story, I do not have any reason to fear that the truth will contradict my denunciations, nor am I in any way blackmail-able. Anyone who launches unfounded accusations with the sole purpose of distracting the attention of public opinion will have the bitter surprise of finding that the operation conducted against me will not have any effect, other than giving further proof of the corruption and bad faith of those who for too long have been silent, made denials, and turned their gaze elsewhere, who today must be held accountable. The Vatican fiction continues.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
November 10, 2020