25 April 2009

Saint Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira

At 10 a.m. on Sunday 26 April, third Sunday of Easter, the Pope will celebrate the Eucharist in St. Peter's Square and canonise five Blesseds, including one of the Blesseds of the Order of Malta, Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira (1360-1431), Portuguese religious of the Order of Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Although Saint Nuno later in life entered the Carmelite Order he was for a number of years a Knight of Malta and his feast celebrated by the Order on April 1st.

Let us ask now Saint Nuno Alvares Pereira to give us his courage and his piety to fight for the cause of Our Lady and the Holy Church so threatened in our days, even when we must fight against great odds. Also let us ask Our Lady to restore Christendom and establish her Reign, so that those magnificent values that existed in the time of Blessed Nuno can once again shine in society.

Here is an excerpt of an article from Inside the Vatican,

Almost a century ago, Pope Benedict XV beatified Nuno (January 23, 1918), and proposed him as a model for the Catholic soldiers then engaged in combat during World War 1. So one Pope Benedict, the 15th, beatified Nuno, and a second, Benedict XVI, will canonize him.

Nuno is considered the founder of the Bragança Royal Family Dynasty of Portugal which ruled from 1640 until 1910. (Nuno’s daughter, Beatriz, married Alfonso, son of John I, whom he helped bring to power, starting the Aviz Dynasty.) The majority of Catholic royal families in Europe and Brazil claim lineage from him, including the recently beatified Charles of Austria, the last Hapsburg Emperor. Queen Isabella of Spain was one of Nuno’s granddaughters.

Nuno even had descendants in the British royal family: Isabella’s daughter (his great-granddaughter) was Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, and her daughter (his great-great-granddaughter) was Queen Mary Tudor. Catherine of Aragon had many miscarriages, a still-born daughter and three short-lived sons before giving birth to Mary. King Henry VIII, desirous of a male hair, sought permission from Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) to annul his marriage to Catherine, but Clement refused, leading Henry to divorce her and break with Rome, beginning the Anglican Church.

Another descendant was Catherine of Bragança, wife of King Charles II (all his children were illegitimate to mistresses) who conversely became a Catholic on his deathbed in 1685.

Blessed Nuno is most highly regarded in his country for masterminding the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. There, Portugal, in concert with England, stopped an invasion by Castile. Both allied nations were then in obedience to Pope Urban VI in Rome, whilst Castile and France followed the Antipope of Avignon, Clement VII(1378-1394). Nuno fought and won many other battles between 1383 and 1411, and, after peace was established with Castile, Nuno participated in the expedition in 1415 to Ceuta in North Africa, an action that was considered the first European missionary effort.

Equine monuments to him are scattered throughout Portugal and in many former Portuguese overseas colonies. Long before the introduction of the Euro, his effigy was on Portugal’s currency. He was made the 3rd Count of Ourém in 1383, and his main feudal castle was in Ourém, the county where Fátima is located. He believed prayer, penance and commitment to the poor and needy, to be the true calling of nobility and, following the death of his wife, Nuno entered a Carmelite monastery he had established, taking the religious name Friar Nuno of Saint Mary.

He was renowned for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is considered the Founder of the Secular Order because the secular Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, better known as the Confraternity of the Holy Constable, which he founded in Lisbon to support his work with the poor with contributions from its noble members, eventually evolved into the present Carmelite Third Order. This original Confraternity was re-established last year on November 6 (Nuno’s Feast Day) and hopes to be an active branch of the Secular Order providing funds for work with the poor and homeless of Lisbon in remembrance of Dom Nuno.

When fighting the Castilians, he was renowned for his fairness to his enemies, and three times crossed the border to feed the peoples in the neighboring kingdom during famines, and to provide for the widows and orphans of the war.

05 April 2009

Interview on Cause for Canonization of Bishop Sheen

The following is an interview with Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Andrew Apostoli on the cause for canonization of Archbishop Sheen.
Part 2 of the interview.

03 April 2009

Should the Church Adapt to Modern Culture to Survive

In response to an editorial in the Chicago Tribune by Obama's campaign co-chair William Daley was this comment.

Yes. Human social institutions change and come and go. Capitalist economic institutions didn't really exist 2000 years ago; other types of economic institutions predominated. Representative democratic political institutions didn't really exist 2000 years ago; other types of political institutions predominated. Religions are also human social institutions. That the Catholic Christian institution still exists after 2000 years is remarkable. Its persistence probably is a result of the Church's successful adapting itself to other changing institutions in the world. Is it, then, reasonable to expect that the Church will continue forever? Is it reasonable to expect that the Church will even continue for much longer, especially if it insists on refusing to associate with the social institutions of today and tomorrow? Can it survive if it fails to find ways to 'live with' underlying consensus assumptions that support other predominant social institutions of our time? Is the noise about ND's speaker a sign of stress in the Church, resulting from some Church factions' inability to adapt to modern social realities?
The answer to the last question is Yes. There is a stress within the Church but it comes from the faction of dissenters who refuse accept the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church on the question of faith and morals. Throughout it's history there have been those who became infatuated with the customs of the day. The Arian heresy was one of those times. Many in the Church turned to this heresy no doubt due in measure to its popularity. The Protestant revolt was another and most of England followed Henry into apostasy, including most of the clergy. Today we are living with the re-emergence of the Modernist heresy, which St. Pius X aptly called the "synthesis of all heresies."

The writer incorrectly asserts that the Catholic Church is just a human social institution. The Church exists and will always exist because it was founded by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Therefore it is a Divine, not human, institution and will exist forever despite the fear of those who predict it's demise for refusing to "get with the times." Still it is true that it may not always be a large institution. Christ Himself questioned whether there would be any faith when He returned.

It has not survived for 2000 years because it adapted to the culture around it, it survives for the opposite reason, because it is counter-cultural. It stood in opposition to everything pagan Rome believed and was persecuted because of it. Yet the Church survives and Rome died. Today a pagan culture has re-appeared that parallels that of ancient Rome and once again the Church faces persecution. But now as before the Church will survive and it's enemies will disappear.

Many people like to throw out quotes from the Gospel, like a previous comment; "judge not lest ye be judged." Yet the Gospel is full of paradoxes. Jesus said that, but he also said He came to cause division. "Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter into my kingdom, only those who do the will of my Father." "I have not come to bring peace but a sword." Jesus warned his disciples that they wouldn't always be warmly received when they preached. Their mission was to preach the Gospel and to those who would not listen, Jesus instructed them to kick the dust from their sandals and leave that city.

In many of Gospels passages people went away who could not or would not accept this or that teaching of Jesus, even after He told them what was necessary for their salvation. But Jesus did not call them back to dialogue or find common ground. In fact at one point Jesus turned to his Apostles and asked them if they too wanted to leave. Peter's reply was clear, "to whom shall we go?"

The incessant cry from the enemies of the Faith, to "dialogue," to "reach consensus" is simply a deception meant to maintain the status quo for those who oppose the teachings of the Church. If they are unable to silence it, at least they hope to marginalize the Church's voice. The Devil once tried this tactic when he tempted Jesus in the desert. "All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me." But Jesus replied, "Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve."


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