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High Crimes and the Saints by Fr. George W. Rutler

High Crimes and the Saints

Fr. George W. Rutlersaint1
July 7, 2013

Our parish is blessed with a shrine to Saint Thomas More. The young artist who painted the saint’s image after Holbein was a refugee from communist Eastern Europe. He did such a good job that Cardinal Egan, dedicating it, said that he would not be surprised if this were the original.

We recently celebrated the joint feasts of Saint Thomas More, who was Chancellor of England, and Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. Their personalities were different in many ways, and it was almost a miracle that an Oxford man and a Cambridge man got on so well and eventually were canonized together. The Act of Succession and the Act of Supremacy were the challenges that King Henry VIII threw at them, and the saints returned the challenge. The issues were rooted in natural law: the meaning of marriage and the claims of government. These are the same issues that loom large today. Whatever our courts of law may decide about these matters, Saint Thomas says: “I am not bound, my lord, to conform my conscience to the council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom.” In 1919, G. K. Chesterton predicted with powerful precision that, great as More’s witness was then, “he is not quite so important as he will be in a hundred years’ time.”

For every courageous saint back then, there were many other Catholics who instead took the safe path of complacency. More’s own family begged him to find some loophole, and — after the sudden deaths of eight other bishops — Fisher was the only one left who acted like an apostle. Those who opted for comfort and wove the lies of their world into a simulation of truth had a banal and shallow faith that Pope Francis has called “rose water.” It is a good image, for rose water is not blood and cannot wash away sin.

The “Man for All Seasons” wrote to his beloved Margaret from his cell in the Tower of London: “And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”

The “Fortnight for Freedom” extended from the vigil of the feasts of Fisher and More to July 4th, but its prayers continue, as the Church’s many charitable and evangelical works are threatened by our present government’s disdain for the religious conscience, most immediately evident in the Health and Human Services mandate and the redefinition of marriage. In 1534 Henry VIII’s arrogation of authority over the Church was quickly followed by a Treasons Act which made it a high crime to criticize the King. In contemporary America as in Tudor England, the surest way to let that happen is to say, “It can’t happen here.”

Millions of Women Silently Suffer After Abortion, How Churches Can Help Them by Debby Efurd

Millions of Women Silently Suffer After Abortion, How Churches Can Help Them

postab2bby Debby Efurd | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 6/28/13 1:03 PM

You hear it everyday … TV, radio, internet, newspapers.  Forty years after legalization in the United States, abortion remains a hot and divisive issue.  But in the wake of the over 55 million abortions having been performed in the United States since 1973, remain the multitudes of “silent sufferers,” for whom abortion has been a traumatic life-changing experience.

Who are these “silent sufferers”?  They are family members, neighbors, co-workers, those sitting next to us in church.  With 43% of American women having had an abortion, there is a strong likelihood that half of the people you come in contact with have been affected from their   decision to abort, many exhibiting symptoms of Post Abortion Stress.

Haven’t heard of Post Abortion Stress?  Not surprising.

We hear about the effect on babies that are aborted, but little attention is paid to what happens after to those that are left behind living with the decision.   Post Abortion Stress is a term first coined in 1981 from a group of researchers who reported, and peer-reviewed research increasingly confirms since, that abortion functions as a stress that places women at higher risk for developing a range of mental health problems, such as depression, loss of self-esteem, self-destructive behavior, self-hatred, drug and alcohol abuse, sleep disorders, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, chronic problems with relationships, dramatic personality changes, anxiety attacks, guilt and remorse, difficulty grieving, increased tendency toward violence, chronic crying, difficulty concentrating, flashbacks, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and people, and difficulty bonding with later children.   It is not uncommon that symptoms lay dormant until later in life.

Fortunately, revival is beginning.   The unavoidable talk in the media is churning discussion about the consequences of abortion and spurring the “silent sufferers” to seek out recovery programs.  Every time the word “abortion” is featured, the inner pain of the post-abortive is triggered.  This is the revival we have prayed for.  But to whom do the “silent sufferers” turn and do they all seek help?

Some will dig deeper into their pain, refusing to consider their past decision has any correlation with the agony they are experiencing.  The inner turmoil, never addressed, can be agonizing.  But quite often post-abortive will seek help within their church, since 79% of post-abortive profess to be Christians, 43% identify themselves as Protestant, and 27% identify themselves as Catholic.  Ministry leaders unequipped about the needs of the post-abortive are learning first-hand the particular agony that has festered within their congregations for many years.  Churches are now seeking resources and training to begin ministries to help the post-abortive to find God’s healing.

What can your church do to reach out to the Post-Abortive?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Understand the many factors that lead to an abortion decision:  pressure from others, lack of information, and the feeling they have no other choice.  This understanding enables us to avoid condemning.
  • Understand that because abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973, our society now considers it normal and acceptable.  People believe it is their right and bears no consequences.  Most importantly, realize that no one is addressing the severe emotional and physical effects of abortion.
  • Understand the cost our society has paid for legalized abortion.  If we fully realized the cost, in human suffering, abortion has caused since 1973 (suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, abuse of women and children), we would be shaken to our core.
  • Understand the pain someone experiences from an abortion.  Be compassionate and loving.
  • Understand the need to make your church a place where people can feel safe to share their pain caused by an abortion.  The post-abortive often sit in silence for decades, afraid to share their experience for fear of judgment.  Testimonies of individuals who have life-changing experiences from abortion are powerful tools to reach others in similar situations.
  • Understand their need for forgiveness.  Many believe that because they knew it was wrong and did it anyway, abortion is a sin too big for God to forgive and often are unable to forgive themselves.
  • Understand and address the need to develop a specific ministry for post-abortion healing within your church.
  • Understand the power of love … where they are … as they are.  Allow the post-abortive to see the love, hope and healing power of Jesus Christ.  When the hurting have walked through the healing process, they then can speak out, impassioned to take their message of pain and healing to the world around them, perpetuating the truth of the harmfulness of abortion and the healing found only in Jesus.

LifeNews Note: Debby Efurd is Director of Post-Abortion Support for Involved for Life, Inc., Dallas, Texas (Downtown Pregnancy Center, Uptown Women’s Center, Sonograms-On-Site), leading post-abortion Bible studies and facilitator training.

Rush Limbaugh: Abortion is at the Heart of Society’s Ills by Calvin Freilburger

abortion-060109-main-425x282Rush Limbaugh: Abortion is at the Heart of Society’s Ills

by Calvin Freiburger

On his radio show Friday, Rush Limbaugh delivered a powerful monologue (transcriptvideo) asserting that in addition to its innate monstrousness, abortion is “at the root of our cultural decay” as a nation, its impact stretching from respect for life and personal responsibility to crime, immigration, and the economy:

If you use the popularly accepted figure of 1.3 million abortions a year, go back to Roe vs. Wade 1973, 52 million taxpayers haven’t been born, is the way Washington looks at it. They don’t look at it morally. They don’t look at it in any kind of cultural way or any kind of cultural impact. They just say we’re 52 million people short. We have 52 million fewer people paying taxes. We gotta replace ‘em. Hello amnesty. The Democrat Party needs a permanent underclass in order to keep themselves alive as Santa Claus, to keep winning elections and stay in power […]

I just want to tell you something. I really think that abortion is at the root — you could do a flowchart — I think abortion is at the root of so much that has and is going wrong in this country. I think that the number of abortions themselves, but what in toto it all means, culturally, in terms of the sanctity of life, how that’s crumbled, I think it’s almost at the root of everything. And if it’s not at the root of everything, it’s clearly had a profound impact on our culture, our society, and our politics, I think in ways that people don’t even stop to consider.

None of it good and it’s caused all kinds of horrible problems that nobody knows how to fix. Because they refuse to even accept that abortion is more than what it is. To most people, it’s just a woman’s right to choose, and it’s nobody’s business, and leave it alone and I don’t want to talk about it. But it’s really had much more impact on this country than just that. It’s had impact on crime. It’s had a profound impact on our politics. It is at the root of our cultural rot and decay. Continue reading

Christopher Dawson & Christendom by Bradley J. Birzer

Christopher Dawson & Christendom

Dawson books

by Bradley J. Birzer

The Christendom trilogy served as the last great work of English-Welsh historian and man of letters Christopher Dawson (1889-1970).  Sort of.  The trilogy derived, originally, from lectures Dawson had delivered while teaching at Harvard University between 1958 and 1962. As desired, the Christendom trilogy would consist of The Formation of Christendom (1967); The Dividing of Christendom (1965); and The Return to Christian Unity. (1)  In the broad, each volume represented one of three great periods of the Christian world: the ancient-medieval nexus; the Reformation and Counter Reformation; and the Church in the age of democracy, nationalisms, and ideologies.

(We hope you will read this excellent essay by TIC co-founder Bradley Birzer on Christopher Dawson. The complete essay can be found here on The Catholic World Report.)

Books mentioned in or related to this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Essays by Dr. Birzer may be found here.

Dr. Bradley J. Birzer is co-founder of The Imaginative Conservative and a Senior Contributor. He is the author of Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher DawsonJ.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth, and American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll. He is also author of The Humane Republic: The Imagination of Russell Kirk (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky). Dr. Birzer also teaches Catholics in the Public Square  for Catholic Courses. This essay appears in full onThe Catholic Word Report and is linked here with the permission of the author.

——-

Radical Christianity vs. Radical Islam By Trevor Thomas

Battle Knight 28, 2013

Radical Christianity vs. Radical Islam

By Trevor Thomas

.
Finally, Bill Maher got something right.  Following the Boston bombings, Maher responded to Brian Levy, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino (a great example of needed reforms in public higher education), “[T]here’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet.  There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith.”

There you have it.  Even a flaming atheist can recognize the difference between a religion of peace and one full of bloodlust.  The Tsarnaevs are just the most recent example of the tragic bitter fruit produced by radical Islamists.  To further Maher’s point, consider and contrast the efforts of radical Islamists with those of radical Christians.

Just what is a “radical Christian”?  Some might call them (with apologies to DC Talk) “Jesus Freaks.”  Examples are all around us, and most are virtually unknown outside their home towns (mainly because they don’t make the news by killing people).  They plant churches, feed the poor, heal the sick; they open orphanages and pregnancy resource centers; they visit prisoners and deliver the oppressed; in other words, they have sold themselves out to be the hands and feet of the One they worship. Continue reading

Patrick Henry Warned About Infringement on Liberty by Thomas S. Kidd

Patrick Henry Warned About Infringement on Liberty

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

by Thomas S. Kidd

At the conclusion of Virginia’s 1788 ratification convention, a meeting tasked with voting on the new Constitution, Patrick Henry strode to the assembly floor, convinced that the future of American liberty hung in the balance. In his mind’s eye, the great orator warned, he could see angels watching, “reviewing the political decisions and revolutions which in the progress of time will happen in America, and the consequent happiness or misery of mankind–I am led to believe that much of the account on one side or the other, will depend on what we now decide.”

To Americans familiar only with Henry’s blazing “Liberty or Death” oration of 1775, it may come as a shock to learn that Henry opposed the adoption of the Constitution. Henry always had a flair for the dramatic, but on this occasion Mother Nature offered him an improbable assist: As he thundered against the dangers of the new centralized government, a howling storm rose outside the Richmond hall. Frightened delegates scurried to take cover.

A memorable scene, to be sure, but how could the man who cried “give me liberty or give me death,” this patriot who penned Virginia’s resolves against the Stamp Act in 1765, not support the Constitution? The answer was pretty simple: Henry thought that the American Revolution was, at root, a rebellion against the coercive power of the British government. In particular, it was a rebellion against unjust British taxes. Henry therefore thought it was madness for Americans to place that same kind of consolidated political authority over themselves again. Continue reading

Ronald Knox on “The Modern Distaste for Religion”

Ronald Knox on “The Modern Distaste for Religion” Print E-mail
By George J. Marlin
WEDNESDAY, 03 APRIL 2013

In the moments of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he was abdicating the Chair of St. Peter, secularists began demanding that the College of Cardinals choose a less rigid, more progressive pontiff; in other words, a pope who would repudiate Church teachings on chastity, same-sex “marriage,” divorce, contraception, abortion, and priestly celibacy.

Leading the charge was The New York Times, which devoted plenty of front page, above-the-fold space to castigating the Church and Benedict. The op-ed editor published, ad nauseam, the usual tired-old Catholic critics, including Garry Wills and Hans Küng.

And the moment secularists realized that Pope Francis is not a South American liberation theologian, but a bona fide Roman Catholic, a smear campaign against him commenced. He was falsely accused of being sympathetic to authoritarian Argentine governments and responsible for the deaths of two outspoken anti-government Jesuits (who were liberation theologians).

We should not be discouraged by this viciousness: attacks on the Church and demands that it abandon dogmas are hardly new. Secularist objections to many Church teachings go back generations and in some cases centuries.

To get a sense of these age-old battles, I recommend readers turn to the writings of the British convert Monsignor Ronald Knox.

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (1885-1957) was the son and grandson of Anglican bishops, attended Eton and Oxford, became a fellow at Trinity College, and then an Anglican cleric in 1912. While serving as a chaplain at Oxford, he embraced Catholicism in 1917, and two years later was ordained a priest. A noted preacher, essayist, and literary stylist, he published numerous collections of sermons, retreat talks, and radio broadcasts.

Like his contemporaries, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Martin D’Arcy, Knox was a champion of what T.S. Eliot called the “permanent things.”  He believed that to effectively combat modernists one must merely “trust orthodox tradition to determine what he is to believe, and common sense to determine what is orthodox tradition.”

The forebears of contemporary Modernism, who today promote pantheism in cosmology and voluntarism in ethics, were peddling a similar agenda in Knox’s time. He wrote that there existed:

philosophers who question the adequacy of thought itself as a method of arriving at speculative truth; there are psychologists who deny the reality of human free will; there are anthropologists who would explain away religion as an illusion of the nursery; and meanwhile, aiming their shafts more directly at the Church to which I belong, historians are for ever turning up flaws in our title-deeds, and prophets of the age arraign our narrow outlook before the tribunal of human progress.

To counter these and other assaults on faith, Knox penned a work of classic apologetics entitled The Belief of Catholics (1927).

Msgr. Ronald Knox

        

In the first chapter, “The Modern Distaste For Religion,” he concedes that “agitators, publicists and quack physicians” have had a negative impact, with the result that religion “as a factor in English public life has steadily and visibly declined.”

For instance, the early twentieth-century Church of England experienced declining clerical vocations, falling charitable donations, weakening “Churchmanship” in the public square, and declining numbers of laity in the pews. In reaction, High Anglican churches panicked and abandoned many doctrines inherited from Catholic antiquity. They not only tolerated “the expression of views which their fathers would have branded as unorthodox” but became “infected by the contagion of their surroundings, and los[t] the substance of theology while they embrace[d] its shadow.”

To accommodate the latest secular trends, fundamental Christian dogmas were “subjected more and more to criticism and restatement.” Broadminded Anglican ministers preached that hell no longer existed and said very nearly the same about sin. Their churches became places one visited, not to hear a Gospel message, but to listen to good music and be served tea and cookies afterwards.

Knox concluded that the decline in church membership goes hand in hand with the decline in dogma: “The average citizen expects any religion which makes claims upon him to be a revealed religion; and if the doctrine of Christianity is a revealed doctrine, why all the perennial need of discussion and restatement? Is the stock [he put the question in a commercial context] really a sound investment, when those who hold it are so anxious to unload it on any terms?”

This is precisely what has happened to U.S. mainline Protestant denominations. The reducing of their doctrines to fashionable platitudes has not attracted people back to the pews, but instead has driven people out of institutions that seem now to stand for nothing much at all.

American Catholicism suffered similar losses after Vatican II for some of the same reasons. Vacillating bishops, rebellious priests and nuns, and revisionist theologians caused confusion in parishes, Church schools, and Catholic colleges. As a result, weekly Church attendance, 75 percent in 1960, dropped to 25 percent by 1980.

During the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Church once again promoted and defended its core teachings, and the results are promising: the Church is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa and Asia; a generation of “John Paul II priests” has been ordained; orders of nuns loyal to the Magisterium, have waiting lists; and trendy bishops of the Seventies have mostly been replaced with orthodox ones.

But the effort to re-instill the doctrine that God, not man, is the measure of all things is far from complete. It will take years of patience and hard work to undo two generations of damage.

No doubt Pope Francis will carry on the work of his two predecessors and would agree with Monsignor Knox’s observation that as Catholics, “we shall have to face, more and more, the glare of the world’s hostility. For that reason, we must rally closer than ever round our bishops, our clergy, our churches, our schools; we must be active Catholics, instructed Catholics, if need be combative Catholics, to meet the demands of the new age.”

George J. Marlin is an editor of The Quotable Fulton Sheen and the author of The American Catholic VoterHis most recent book isNarcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative.

© 2013 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be Christian by Joseph Pearce

Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be Christian

  
March 21, 2013
 
In these dark days in which the power of secular fundamentalism appears to be on the rise and in which religious freedom seems to be imperiled, it is easy for Christians to become despondent. The clouds of radical relativism seem to obscure the light of objective truth and it can be difficult to discern any silver lining to help us illumine the future with hope.

In such gloomy times the example of the martyrs can be encouraging. Those who laid down their lives for Christ and His Church in worse times than ours are beacons of light, dispelling the darkness with their baptism of blood. “Upon such sacrifices,” King Lear tells his soon to be martyred daughter Cordelia, “The gods themselves throw incense.”

It is said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and, if this is so, more bloody seed has been sown in the past century than in any of the bloody centuries that preceded it. Tens of millions have been slaughtered on the blood-soaked altars of national and international socialism in Europe, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. Today, in many parts of the world, millions upon millions are being slaughtered in the womb in the name of “reproductive rights.”

In such a meretricious age the giant figure of Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerges as a colossus of courage. Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people. Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party.

Serving in the Soviet army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War he witnessed cold blooded murder and the raping of women and children as the Red Army took its “revenge” on the Germans. Disillusioned, he committed the indiscretion of criticizing the Soviet leader Josef Stalin and was imprisoned for eight years as a political dissident.

While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery. Continue reading

Faith and Freedom by Joseph Pearce

Faith and Freedom

February 26, 2013
 
by Joseph Pearce
 
Liberty itself must be limited in order to be possessed.– Edmund Burke
 
Anarchy, Freedom’s own Judas, the vile prodigal License who steals the gold of liberty– Oscar Wilde
 

In an age that seems to believe that Christianity is an obstacle to liberty, it will prove provocative to insist, contrary to such belief, that Christian faith is essential to liberty’s very existence. Yet, as counter-intuitive as it may seem to disciples of the progressivist zeitgeist, it must be insisted that faith enshrines freedom. Without the shrine that faith erects to freedom the liberties that we take for granted will be eroded and ultimately destroyed. Faith preserves freedom. It protects it. It insists upon it. Where there is faith there is freedom. Where faith falters, so does freedom. This truth, so uncomfortably perplexing for so many of our contemporaries, was encapsulated by G. K. Chesterton when he asserted that “the modern world, with its modern movements, is living on its Catholic capital.  It is using, and using up, the truths that remain to it out of the old treasury of Christendom.”[1]

One of the truths of Christendom which lays the very foundations of freedom is the Christian insistence on the mystical equality of all people in the eyes of God and the insistence on the dignity of the human person that follows logically, inexorably and inescapably from such an insistence. If everyone is equal in the eyes of God, it doesn’t matter if people are black or white, healthy or sick, able-bodied or handicapped, or whether babies are inside the womb or out of it. It doesn’t matter that people are different, in terms of race, age or innate abilities; they are all equal in the eyes of God and, therefore, of necessity, in the eyes of Man also. This is the priceless inheritance of Christendom with which our freedoms are established and maintained. If everyone is equal in the eyes of God and Man, everyone must also be equal in the eyes of the law.

If, however, the equality of man is denied, freedom is imperiled. The belief of Nietzsche, adopted by the Nazis, that humanity consists of übermenschen and untermenschen, the “over-men” and the “under-men”, led to people being treated as subhuman, worthy of extermination and victims of genocide. The progressivist belief of Hegel, adopted by Marx and his legion of disciples, that a rationalist dialectic, mechanistically determined, governs the progress of humanity, led to the deterministic inhumanity of communism and the slaughter of those deemed to be enemies of “progress”. The French Revolution, an earlier incarnation of atheistic progressivism and the progenitor of communism, had led to the invention of the guillotine as the efficient and effective instrument of the Great Terror and its rivers of blood. The gas chamber, the Gulag and the guillotine are the direct consequence of the failure to uphold the Christian concept of human equality and the freedom it enshrines. In our own time, the same failure to accept and uphold human equality has led to babies in the womb being declared subhuman, or untermenschen, without any protection in law from their being killed at the whim of their mothers.

Apart from the connection between freedom and equality, the other aspect of freedom enshrined by Christianity is the freedom of the will and the consequences attached to it. If we are free to act and are not merely slaves to instinct as the materialists claim, we have to accept that we are responsible for our choices and for their consequences.Before proceeding to the paradoxical relationship between freedom and responsibility, let’s return to the philosophical ramifications of materialism, which is to say the removal of God from the picture of reality. Materialists are forced, if they are honest enough to follow the logic of their own first principles, to believe that none of us are free but that we are all slaves to our biologically determined instincts. Continue reading

The Feast of St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

The 2004 edition of the Roman Martyrology includes the following simple entry for February 14th:

At Rome, on the Via Flaminia, near the Milvian Bridge, Saint Valentine, martyr.

How is it that a simple entry on the death of a martyr could inspire the holiday we celebrate today in the United States with flowers, candy, and romance?  

This is what we know from tradition about St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr: 

The emperor, Claudius II, after questioning him, “turned Valentine over to the prefect to be held in custody.  When Valentine came into this man’s house, he said: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, true Light, enlighten this house and let all here know you as true God!’  The prefect said: ‘I wonder at hearing you say that Christ is light.  Indeed, if he gives light to my daughter who has been blind for a long time, I will do whatever you tell me to do!’  Valentine prayed over the daughter, her sight was restored, and the whole household was converted to the faith.  Then the emperor ordered Valentine to be beheaded, about AD 280” (Voragine. The Golden Legend. Vol I. p. 160). 

His grave is in the basilica dedicated to his honor in Rome.  “The church in which he is buried existed already in the fourth century and was the first sanctuary Roman pilgrims visited upon entering the Eternal City” (Parsch. The Church’s Year of Grace. Vol 2. pg. 369). 

There are actually three St. Valentines listed in early martyrologies for the date of February 14th.  How these martyrs came to be associated with “a celebration in honor of lovers seems to have been more an accident than a design, though there are interesting complications that conspired to make this so” (Newland, The Year and Our Children. Image, 1956; p. 109). 

“Long ago the Romans celebrated the eve of their Lupercalia on February 14.  This being a time of great festivity it is thought by some that the martyrdom of the saints on this day was merely an added attraction to the pagan celebration.  Still another possibility connects the Roman celebration in honor of Juno with this feast.  The drawing of partners for the festival by maidens and youths oftentimes degenerated into extreme improprieties, and it is thought the desire to redeem the day suggested to the Christians that they fix it as the date of the martyrs’ feasts.  Pope Gelasius appointed it an official feast in the fifth century and named St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers” (109-110). Continue reading

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