Friday, September 23, 2011

St. Padre Pio's response to persecution from within the Church


Today is the feast day of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.  Padre Pio often comes to the minds of people when they feel a priest is being persecuted from within the Catholic Church.  What they don't consider is how the saint responded. 

+ + + + + + +

First, it is important to point out that when I use the word "persecution", it could be real, or perceived.  Of course, the public always has a fraction of the facts in any case, so it is easy to see persecution where it may, or may not, exist.  Misunderstandings also happen, and are often quite painful.  Projecting past experiences into any case is never helpful, either.  Another point to consider is that even when Catholic authorities are wrong about something in the end, it is possible that any reasonable person could have come to a similar conclusion with the information that was available to them at a given time.   For example, in the case of St. Faustina, faulty translations caused Church authorities to consider her writings suspect, but it took from 1959 to the late 1970's for that to get cleared up (1).  Since those of us not directly involved with a case have nothing more than the tip of an information iceberg at our disposal, we must be careful not to fall into rash judgment, either way.

Looking back, we know that St. Pio suffered greatly at the hands of Church authorities.  These kinds of trials should not come as a surprise to any priest or religious; they should almost be expected in one's life time. Pearls are created by friction; gold is tested in fire.  Catholics who understand the concept of redemptive suffering  (Col 1:24) often think only to apply it to things like illness or physical pain.  When we feel we have been misunderstood, or believe we are experiencing an injustice, that interior pain can be offered up in a very God-pleasing way as a sacrifice. The list of things these to which these sufferings may be applied is broad: There are souls to be released from purgatory, sinners to be converted, reparations to be made for offenses committed by clerics, for sanctification of the priesthood and vocations,  to save lives - in and out of the womb, for people suffering famine and war, etc.  Therefore, the most important thing in the spiritual life isn't that one is suffering these things; rather, we ought to consider the response to them.

First, let us look at what happened to Padre Pio (2):

As his spiritual influence increased, so did the voices of his detractors. Accusations against Padre Pio poured in to the Holy Office (today the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith). By June 1922, restrictions were placed on the public’s access to Padre Pio. His daily Mass time varied each day, without announcement to diminish the crowds, and he was ordered not to answer correspondence from people seeking spiritual direction. It was also rumored that plans were being developed to transfer Padre Pio. However, both local and Church authorities were afraid of public riots and decided that a more remote and isolated place than San Giovanni Rotondo could not be found.


Despite the restrictions and controversies, Padre Pio’s ministry continued. From 1924 – 1931 various statements were made by the Holy See that denied the supernaturality of Padre Pio’s phenomena. On June 9, 1931, the Feast of Corpus Christi, Padre Pio was ordered by the Holy See to desist from all activities except the celebration of the Mass, which was to be in private. By early 1933, Pope Pius XI ordered the Holy See to reverse its ban on Padre Pio’s public celebration of Mass, saying, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed."

In the book Padre Pio: The True Story by Bernard Ruffin (3), he recounts that after Vespers on June 11, 1931, Padre Raffaele summoned Pio to the friary parlor to read the decree received, without comment:

"Padre Pio is to be stripped of all faculties of his priestly ministry except the faculty to celebrate the Holy Mass, which he may continue to do provided it is done in private, within the walls of the friary, in the inner chapel, and not publicy in church".

Saint Pio's response:
"God's will be done,"...then he covered his eyes with his hands, lowered his head, and murmured, "The will of the authorities is the will of God."

While this caused immense suffering for Pio, which was confided privately to his friend and former teacher, Padre Agostino, he did not complain or make objections, especially in a public way. Padre Agostino asked him how he spent his time and Pio replied, "I pray and I study as much as I can, and then I annoy my Brothers." Pio went on to elaborate that he jokes with his brothers. With regards to study, he spent much time reading Sacred Scripture, and he especially studied the Fathers of the Church.  This positive attitude in the face of such a trial brings to mind the following passage, in another context:






"And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matt 6: 16-18)


God permitted these things to happen to him and he chose to deal with it, the way Scripture tells us to handle fasting.  Second only to giving up one's life for another, is to give up one's will, for the will of another.  Padre Pio did not allow his "fasting" to be "seen".


Two years later, on March 14, 1933, Pope Pius XI, sent personal representatives to see Padre Pio, who had been "imprisoned" (as he referred to it), without the ability to celebrate Mass publicly since June of 1931. Monsignor Luca Pasetto and Monisgnor Felice Bevilaqua. Bernard Ruffin continues in his book:

"They found no wild-eyed fanatic, no crazed neurotic, no embittered rebel, but a pleasant, humorous man. According to [Padre] Raffaele, Pasetto was very much impressed with Pio's humility, his docility, and the whole of his conduct. He recognized Pio as a man of prayer and entirely godly."

Docility is a word that comes into play here. The great master catechist, theologian, and Servant of God, John A. Hardon, SJ, speaking on docility in an article on "Childlikeness", wrote (4):

It means therefore to be willing to learn from God and here’s the hard one: the willingness to learn from God not of course as though God will, though of course He might, send us His own divine angelic messenger, normally not. Normally God teaches us through the circumstances of our daily lives. Especially those most painful circumstances called other people. That’s where we tend to be less than docile. Openness then to God’s teaching us especially through all whom He places into our lives. It is great, great wisdom to be so disposed as to be ready to learn from and I mean it, everyone from the youngest child to the oldest speaking to religious golden or diamond jubilarian .


St. Pio's postulator - Father Florio Tessari, in an inteview in L'Osservatore Romano had this to say about him in a June, 2009 article (5):

Padre Pio was “a friar, a religious priest who profoundly observed the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience) in his life. He suffered difficulties in silence like an authentic Cyrenean and at the same time was crucified without a cross..."

He went on to point to two fundamental elements that led to Padre Pio’s canonization: “Faith to the bitter end and obedience also to the bitter end, despite the difficulties he encountered in his life..."

Of course, that faith and obedience to the bitter end was within the Institution of the Church, in communion with his superiors, bishops, and other authorities working in the name of the Holy Father.  He did not throw in the towel, but abandoned himself to the path that God permitted him to suffer.


But what about defending one's good name?  St. Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life in the chapter, "Of Patience" (6) looks at this question more deeply.  He also explains how we should respond to various forms of persecution.  He emphasizes earlier in the chapter that it is easier to suffer persecution from the wicked, and much more difficult to suffer it at the hands of relatives, friends and others with whom we are close.  He goes so far as to say that the devout soul should desire it more than the former.  He then explains what one should do, if innocent, and accusations persist.  This is taken from a Google Book version written in 1891 by Longman's, Green & Co., London:


"The following advice of St. Gregory is useful: whenever you are 'justly accused' of a fault, humble yourself, and candidly confess that you deserve more than the accusation which is brought against you; but, if the charge be false, excuse yourself meekly, denying your guilt, for you owe this respect to truth, and to the edification of your neighbor. But if, after your true and lawful excuse, they should continue to accuse you, trouble not yourself nor strive to have your excuse admitted; for, having discharged your duty to truth, you must also do the same to humility, by which means you neither offend against the care you ought to have of your reputation, nor the love you owe to peace, meekness of heart, and humility."

I would like to quote more, but the section really should be read in it's entirety. 

We should reflect, given this information, had the Internet been available back in those days, would Padre Pio have sent out messages to supporters via multimedia and interviews giving his side of the story? Would he have bothered to point to past support in a public way? Would he create judgment on suspicion among his followers for Church authorities in subtle, or not so subtle, ways? 

There is something to learn from the great saint in the way he handled a particular situation involving supporters.  St. Pio learned that some men were going so far as to expose scandalous information about high-ranking members of the hierarchy in a book. The effort was aimed at freeing him from his "imprisonment". Ruffin explains Pio's response:

When Padre Pio, however, learned of the forthcoming book, he seized Morcaldi by the throat. "You devil, you!" he roared. "Go, throw yourself at the foot of the Church instead of writing this garbage! Don't you set yourself up against your Mother!"

Even after he learned later from Bevilacqua during that visitation that the allegations were true, St. Pio continued trying to dissuade efforts to end his "imprisonment" through the use of what amounted to blackmail.  He did not want scandals exposed, even if they were true, because of the harm that would come to Holy Mother Church, and how it would affect unity. Pio knew that even bishops are not immune to the effects of Original Sin, but that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt 16:18). He accepted what befell him through imperfect men (Matt 23:3), by imperfect means, and he made the best of the situation. In fact, those misguided efforts to free him backfired at one point, bringing even greater trials for St. Pio. He was a man whose virtues were refined like a pencil put into a sharpener, and like steel which is hardened in fire.

Snowballing from that is one more interesting point made by Fr. Hardon in his article, Humility and Obedience in the Priest (7)(which should be required reading in seminaries).  Fr. Hardon writes:


Priests are told that, "The priestly ministry, being the ministry of the Church itself, can only be fulfilled in the hierarchical union of the whole body of the Church." Consequently, a priest is obedient and obediently working with and under and through the hierarchy, or his work will not be blessed by God. There is no such thing as a priest going off on his own, independent of ecclesiastical obedience, and expecting God to grace his labors. A priest is not ordained for himself; he is ordained as the Vulgate has it "ad alios", for others. But being a priest, he is not only ordained for others; he must also work with others, "cum allis", and those others are his fellow priests united under the hierarchy..

This point by Fr. Hardon, is crucial.  God knows more than anyone else about the talents He has given a priest.  If God wants those talents used, then everything will fall into place. God opens those doors; He can shut them without explanation.  A priest should pursue the avenues given to him by the Church, while following lawful directives in the midst of dispute, with docility.  This will make formal appeals all the more credible and God-pleasing.  He must abandon himself to the will of God as it comes through the appeals process.  If all rightful and lawful attempts fail, then God's will has been manifested and what is left is redemptive suffering, or some other plan for one's life.  No one's reward is here in this life; rather it is with hope that we look for it in the next.

We may be perplexed at the fact that God would hinder someone from using what seems to be their best talents, even for some great good.  However, God also knows, intimately, what needs sharpening or correcting in a soul.  Those remedies are often bitter.  Lastly, for those who have already reached high levels of perfection, God knows how to make a priest reach higher.  Few will experience the Evil One visibly as did St. John Vianney.  Rather, the near perfect will be made more perfect through persecution and injustice, which are among the most bitter pills to swallow.

Let us reflect then, not on the fact that St. Pio of Pietrelcina suffered such trials from within the Church.  This is a cross many saints have carried.  It is a cross many will have to carry in their life time.  What we must study is the response of the saints, and Padre Pio shows us how to imitate Christ who suffered the greatest persecution known to mankind without  complaint. 


Works Cited

  1. Stackpole, Dr. Robert. "The Mercy Devotion Spreads — Is Banned — and Spreads Again!" The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. http://www.thedivinemercy.org/library/article.php?NID=2320.
  2. "Padre Pio The Man - Biography." Global Catholic Television Network | EWTN. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. http://www.ewtn.com/padrepio/man/biography2.htm.
  3. Note: Full citation forthcoming.
  4. "Fr. Hardon Archives - Childlikeness." The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association. Web. 22Sept. 2011. http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Virtues/Virtues_005.htm.
  5. Catholic News Agency. "Padre Pio Is Cure of Ars for Today, Says Franciscan Postulator :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)." Catholic News Agency. Accessed: Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/padre_pio_is_cure_of_ars_for_today_says_franciscan_postulator/
  6. "Introduction to the Devout Life - Saint Francis (de Sales)." Google Books. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.
    (Version published in 1891 by Longman's, Green & Co, London)
  7. "Humility and Obedience in the Priest." The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/priesthd/humility.htm.
Blogpost Notes: 

Edited September 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm to clarify certain points.  A quote at bottom by Fr. John Hardon, and a Scriptural quote with related text was included.

Edited also September 24, 2011 at 5:16 am to include a relevant quote by St. Francis de Sales; "Works Cited" list was added at 1:15 p.m.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

23 comments:

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Comments are welcome in this thread provided they do not mention any names or cases. I hope you will understand how this could open up a number of "rabbit holes" (side discussions).

Richard W Comerford said...

Re: St. John of the Cross

St. John was arrested by his lawful religious superiors, imprisoned and tortured. Among other things St, John was stripped and flogged weekly before the assembled brothers. After 9-months of this he broke out of his cell, escaped from his monastery and hid from his religious superiors. St. John then refused orders from his lawful superiors in religion to return to his monastery.

The Catholic Church is not the Waffen SS. Obedience must walk hand in hand with Justice and Charity to be truly Christian. In dealing with celebrity priests, or any priest, our Bishops must bear the parable of the Prodigal Son in mind.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous said...

I have love Padre Pio and hand out copies of Ruffin's book to people. That said, a few things to note: 1) Padre Pio lived in community. He had brothers near him 24 hours a day that offered him loving support. That is not true of most diocesan priests, who live a fairly lonely lifestyle. Even famous priests who travel. 2) Padre Pio was set aside by God in holiness in a way that is highly unusual. Who knows the special graces he had to strengthen him in his persecution? Your average priest while a heck of a lot more holy than me, likely does not have the graces that PP had. 3) All involved in the current priestly persecutions (if they can be fairly characterized in that way) would benefit from prayers to Padre Pio begging his intercession.

Thomas M. Reid, OCDS said...

In response to Mr. Comerford,

First of all the arresting Friars were not his lawful superiors. The Papal Nuncio gave St. John direct permission to pursue a separate Order for the reformed Friars. There was a dispute between the Papal Nuncio and the Superiors of the Calced division over the Reform of St. Teresa. The permission to proceed with the Reform came directly from the Papacy for both the Nuns and the Friars. The arrest was an attempt to over-ride the Papal permission by squelching the individuals pursuing the Reform

There was never a lawful order to return to his monastery. Quite the contrary. The Constitutions were very soon after approved by Rome, and this freed Teresa to pursue Foundations all over Spain. St. John became the spiritual director of many of the Foundations; and later died in the monastery where the Prior thereof disliked St. John. On his death bed St. John was asked by this Friar for forgiveness, and of course it was granted. The same thing happened to St. Pio, but he  was silenced by his LAWFUL superiors to stop the commotion around San Giovani Rotundo.

Anonymous said...

Diane, where did you get that picture of Padre Pio? I would love to have a holy card with that picture on it. Who of us hasn't prayed like that at one time or another in great anguish of heart, mind and soul?

Veronica

Martin said...

I think the saints of the Church can be grateful for the lack of an internet. I suspect the temptation to simply turn to a keyboard and blog about your troubles would be irrepressible to some. Even writing a letter to someone requires a little thought before sending it and disseminating it from there takes further effort. One click of a keyboard and your stupidest thoughts are shared with all. Just ask Mark Shea :)

(That's a joke by the way).

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I would like to thank Tom Reid for his response to Mr. Comerford. Full aware of his knowledge of the subject matter, I asked him for a response, explaining that I had seen this argument on the web before, but felt it was lacking some context.

Mr. Reid is currently the president of my secular Carmelite community in Detroit, and was the formation director for many years. His Carmelite books are held together with rubber bands and I've seen notes, on top of notes. He is also the author of several works found at Little Flower Press, the most recent of which is St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross on The Beatitudes

Anonymous said...

from Bill Foley

Thank you, Diane, for the wonderful article. I sent it on to various persons. Thank you also for the link to Father Hardon's article. I have sent it to a recently-ordained priest.

Thank you, Thomas Reid, for your clarification re St. John of the Cross. It saved me from doing so.

What happened to Padre Pio is very common in the lives of saints. Some who have founded religious orders and institutes have even been dismissed from the same order or institute. There is no substitute for humility and obedience; humility is the foundation of the whole spiritual life--see the diagram of the spiritual life by St. John of the Cross or read Father Garrigou-Lagrange.

Thank you again for the article.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To the first "anonmyous" above, I would like to respond to the following:

1) Padre Pio lived in community. He had brothers near him 24 hours a day that offered him loving support. That is not true of most diocesan priests, who live a fairly lonely lifestyle. Even famous priests who travel.

The deeper virtues practiced by Padre Pio are not relative, in my mind. Even St. Dominic Savio - the teenage saint - practiced virtue in the face of injustice.

Injustices happen. If we desire to imitate Christ, we should expect them. They are a particular heavy cross to carry, especially when they come from those who are responsible for our care, be it a religious superior, a bishop, a parent, a teacher, etc.

2) Padre Pio was set aside by God in holiness in a way that is highly unusual. Who knows the special graces he had to strengthen him in his persecution? Your average priest while a heck of a lot more holy than me, likely does not have the graces that PP had.

We are all called to holiness. It is a cop-out to look upon the saints as if they were a special breed of people.

Granted, Padre Pio was given extraordinary graces in the kind of mystical phenomena he was most known for. But, those responsible for reviewing his case were not nearly as impressed with his ability to bi-locate, or his stigmata, as much as they were his humility and obedience in the face of such adversity. We may fall numerous times with such a cross, but we must get back up and continue on the path of holiness.

3) All involved in the current priestly persecutions (if they can be fairly characterized in that way) would benefit from prayers to Padre Pio begging his intercession.

As I stated in my first comment, we are not going to discuss any current or recent cases.

However, you are absolutely right that they should seek St. Pio's intercession.

A suffering priest needs to first look to Our Lord Jesus Christ who was subjected to far worse injustice than all of us put together.

Anonymous said...

from Bill Foley again

Diane, I came from Pew Sitter to your blog, and I just went back to Pew Sitter, from which I went to America Needs Fatima blog. Viola! There I read that an elderly priest was suspended in his diocese for giving a homily in which he denounced abortion and homosexual behavior. Padre Pio pray for us.

D.A.Howard said...

Not all Saints are the same. Saint Jerome stood outside the window to a Church to receive communion, when his bishop said he could not receive communion in "any Church." St. Jerome did not sit still and take it quietly.

"Now, as humility forbids us to aim at excelling or being preferred to others, it likewise forbids us to aim at praise, honour, and glory; but it allows us to give heed, as the Wise Man says, to our good name..." (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life)

Nick Childers said...

If a priest like Padre Pio can be a saint, than anyone can be a saint. Glory to God, our Santificer.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

@D.A. Howard - With regards to the story about St. Jerome, I would like to see the source of this information so that I may read it in full context. As we see with the case of St. John of the Cross, there are myths which get perpetuated by word of mouth (I saw that claim many times on the Internet, which is why I turned to a man well-versed in John of the Cross for context).

With regards to the quote by St. Francis de Sales, here again, context is everything. In this case, we should evaluate the quote you provided with this, which is also in the Intro to the Devout Life (of Patience)

When any evil befalls you, apply the remedies that may be in your power, agreeably to the will of God; for to act otherwise would be to tempt divine Providence Having done this, wait with resignation for the success it may please God to send; and, should the remedies overcome the evil, return Him thanks with humility, but if, on the contrary, the evils overcome the remedies, bless Him with patience.


"The following advice of St. Gregory is useful: whenever you are 'justly accused' of a fault, humble yourself, and candidly confess that you deserve more than the accusation which is brought against you; but, if the charge be false, excuse yourself meekly, denying your guilt, for you owe this respect to truth, and to the edification of your neighbor. But if, after your true and lawful excuse, they should continue to accuse you, trouble not yourself nor strive to have your excuse admitted; for, having discharged your duty to truth, you must also do the same to humility, by which means you neither offend against the care you ought to have of your reputation, nor the love you owe to peace, meekness of heart, and humility."

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Please note that my post has been updated with some clarifications, and additional quotes.

Anonymous said...

Strict Obedience is highly technical and formal. The proper Superior must give a direct order on a matter that is sufficiently grave, and it must be
given in the presence of witness(es).
Even then, before compliance, the subject who is being ordered can - and SHOULD - request that circumstances to the order be presented that show it is not arbitrary, but the result of a sincere process of discernment on the part of the Superior. This is very important because power is so easily abused, or misused. If the Superior gives evidence that his order has not sufficiently considered critical aspects of the case, then he hasn't done his homework and is not standing in the persona of God the Father from whom his authority comes. What I write is the true Spirit of Obedience! The Church, in the words of St. Jerome, is a "winepress that crushes out the Blood of Christ," - and not just for underlings, for those in authority too. It ALL must be done in concord and the light of Christ, but obedience, like all the vows, can be a real wrestling match, like Jacob and the Angel.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of St. Phillip Neri, a layman who was organizing Sunday afternoon picnics for very large masses of people, where he performed miracles of various kinds. Church authorities (whom I do not recall) ordered him to become a priest, or face excommunication. So, Phillip submitted and became a priest. Then, under obedience he was ordered confined inside Vatican buildings, where he stayed for the last 50 years of his life. He too made many jokes and annoyed the cardinals!

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Strict Obedience is highly technical and formal.

The subject of obedience is one that could take up an entire semester of course work.

The aim of this post is how to respond to things that are outside the control of a priest in some situations, such as what happened to Padre Pio.

It could be that a priest who teaches the truth concerning contraception in the confessional angers his pastor who "ordered" him not to "make waves" in such a way. The priest in this case has not only a right, but a duty, to teach the truth. In such a case, he is not being disobedient because he is being ordered to do something which is not in harmony with Church teaching. It is the pastor who is in error.

However, if the pastor complains to the bishop, and the bishop tells the priest he must go to another parish, or assigns him to a nursing home chaplaincy, he has no grounds to disobey in such a case because the bishop has a right to send a priest where he wills.

But, after he goes with docility to his new assignment as he is directed, he can, and should, make use of the internal processes available to him to correct the fact that his transfer involved his desire to teach the fullness of the faith, and he was directed to do otherwise.

It's the response. A priest should never disobey a lawful directive in the midst of a dispute, on the basis that he is suffering some wrong. The Church has procedures in place for these things and the congregations who would review such cases would see a priest as much more credible if dociliity were visible.

You don't grandstand, or use social media, television, radio, and rile up the faithful in your defense while you await any appeals to be settled or answers to come forth from the Holy See.

I would suggest that, any priest who suspects that he will have difficulty with a pastor or bishop for teaching the fullness of the faith from the pulpit, to use prepared homilies, and record it if possible.

If a dispute arises between priest and pastor, this paperwork can be submitted to the bishop for his discernment. If there is audio it is all the better because the bishop can hear how it was delivered (some will complain about tone).

If the flak comes from the bishop, these things can be used in any communications with the necessary congregations.

What is essential, however, for the sake of unity within the Church, is that such things be worked out in privacy the way family disputes are carried out in the home and not in the street.

This is the part that has me concerned with recent cases is that the media is being used to form opinion about a case when the people have no authority to form judgments.

Immense suffering can take place in a priest as he awaits silently for months, or even years, for settlement in a dispute. This is where a priest must understand the value of redemptive suffering. It is not meaningless to celebrate Mass, even privately, and to offer up whatever work comes his way.

helgothjb said...

Diane,
Padre Pio exercised heroic virtue. Obedience does not demand heroic virtue. Not practicing heroic virtue, while not as saintly, is not sinful. St. Dominic said that if any of the brethren thought the rule was binding under sin he would go through all the convents and cut up their copies of the rule with his knife! It seems that canon law affords more avenues that you.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Based on the link to your blog, may I presume I am addressing Dr. Lillies?

It seems that canon law affords more avenues that you.

I don't see where I suggested that one should not take canonical recourse. In fact, I stated the opposite by suggesting that people should use the available avenues when they feel there is an injustice or a wrong.

I agree that obedience does not demand heroic virtue. Here again, I don't believe I suggested that not exercising heroic virtue constitutes a sin, but I'd be interested to know what I wrote that may have given you this impression.

As I stated in another comment, I am aware that the subject of obedience is quite complex - enough to probably create a course on it.

Perhaps we both agree that we are all called to holiness, and the pursuit of virtue.

My main point was that when faced with an injustice/persecution (real or perceived), and all available avenues have been pursued to no avail, what else is left but to abandon oneself to God's will and the redemptive suffering that goes with it?

Hypothetically, if a decision comes down from the Apostolic Signatura, rejecting or ruling against someone's appeal, would it then be ok to take one's case to the pubic in new media to form public opinion?

Is it an appropriate response for a priest to take to the media or make use of new media to form public opinion on a matter which for which they have no authority to judge? What does this do to the unity of the Church?

These are questions I ponder in recent years given high profile cases (which we are leaving out of discussion). It seems to me that priests need to look to the saints and not merely dismiss them as to heroic, or too great, to imitate in their own painful situations.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, so if there is something you can point to in my writing that prompted your comment, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

+
+
+
ADMIN NOTE
+
+
+
+

I regret that I had to reject a comment which went into detail about a specific case. There is no specific case or persons mentioned in this post, so I ask that people frame their comments likewise. The information provided, as well as your contributions, are meant to be timeless.

Please refer back also, to the very first comment in this thread.


+
+
+
+
+
+
+

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

With regards to the rejected comment mentioned above, I would ask the person to re-frame it. I thnk it is a point worthy for discussion, but it cannot reference a specific case.

Be creative. There will be other opportunities to discuss specific cases, but not in this thread.

susie said...

Very insightful post, Dianne. Thank you. I do love Padre Pio so much and I pray to him often, or rather I should say I "ask" him often, (not to confuse some who think to "pray to" a saint equals 'worshiping' them.) I ask his blessed assistance and intercession and I have had instances, not lately but a few years ago, where I "knew" he was near, or was praying for me. By the way, I included my blog address but I don't blog much anymore, as you can tell. :) God bless you.

Anonymous said...

A wholly Catholic analysis on the holy life of one of my favorite saints. Bookmarked for reference on how to be holy. Love the quotes. Saint Francis is a classic favorite for me too. Servant of God John Hardon is my modern favorite. Wonderful priests, pray for us! Thanks for your writing, Diane. -Dylan