Catholic Tradition Newsletter A41: Holy Eucharist, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Saint Edward

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Vol 12 Issue 41 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
October 12, 2019 ~ Our Lady of the Pillar, opn!

1.     What is the Holy Eucharist
2.     Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
3.     Saint Edward
4.     Family and Marriage
5.     Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

Today we commemorate the bringing of the faith to the Americas: Columbus Day. The world finds this day as a sting to their conscience because they have rejected Christianity and want to return to a past that is not glorious, that is not dignified, that is humiliating to humanity: paganism and barbarism. The world attempts to destroy the vestiges that remind them of their evil, such as defacing and destroying the monuments. It is still found among those who have refused to accept Christianity and a neo-paganism is found among those who live in a Christianised society but have returned to paganism. What is paganism? Absence of recognition that God has created man for a life of goodness, a participation in His divine nature that raises man from a base seeking of material satisfaction to one of supernatural happiness. The consequences of paganism is what Saint Paul describes: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like (Galatians 5:19-21) This neo-paganism is apparent in society today.

Christopher Columbus (Please to not adopt Protestant anti-Catholic theories that are concocted to detract from the truth) was a Catholic Genoese (From Genoa, Italy), born in 1451. He began sailing as a mariner once he was 19 and, of course, learned the knowledge and stories of the sailing world. He was told that there was another land west, where there were another people living and the distance was not that great. Of course this is from the sailors from Scandinavia and Iceland and those inhabiting Greenland. They were talking of Newfoundland. Christopher Columbus desired to go to this land, believing it was Asia, and in the latitude of Spain and Portugal, he should reach India. As we know now and others then advised him, the distance to India was further than a few months journey.

Having driven the Mohammedans out of Spain and now free to compete with Portugal for a route to the Indies, Ferdinand and Isabella found it providential and accepted to finance Christopher Columbus’ voyage. Of course support would come only if Missionaries were to accompany and bring Christianity to the Indies and Christopher Columbus, as a good Catholic, was in complete agreement. His determination was blessed because he arrived at the Island of Watling in the Bahamas of the West Indies and on to Cuba and Hispaniola. The intention was to set up a Christian Society but one knows Christianity cannot be by force and the intentions of many going to the New World was to become rich quick and return to Europe wealthy. One cannot blame Christopher Columbus, the King and Queen of Spain, or the missionaries for the introduction of ravishing diseases but rather a mixture of uncleanliness of the indigenous native Americans and lack of precautions; the Europeans meeting the American Natives was bound to happen sooner than later. Reading the journals of many of the missionaries, they took it upon themselves to care and baptize those who succumbed to the diseases. Neither can one blame Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Rulers or the Catholic Religious leaders for the abuse of the indigenous people, but rogue adventurers and opportunists defying both the civil and spiritual arm that could no longer reach them. Bartolomeo Las Casas points this out in seeking redress for the native people.

The main objective to consider was the Catholic Faith was planted in the Americas and it would blossom fresh while in Europe it was withering—and the stories and conversions kept the faith alive even in those countries in Europe who supplied missionaries to the Americas. By the nineteenth century there would not be a part of the Americas that a Catholic priest would not have visited. Therefore, this is the day set to commemorate the event.

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor



By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

Vatican II:   

Fortesque points out the problem when using the word Liturgy:

Liturgy (λειτουργία) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Its elements are leitos (from leos = laos, people) meaning public, and ergo (obsolete in the present stem, used in future erxo, etc.), to do. From this we have leitourgos, “a man who performs a public duty”, “a public servant”, often used as equivalent to the Roman lictor; then leitourgeo, “to do such a duty”, λειτούργημα, its performance, and λειτουργία, the public duty itself.

At Athens the λειτουργία was the public service performed by the wealthier citizens at their own expense, such as the office of gymnasiarch, who superintended the gymnasium, that of choregus, who paid the singers of a chorus in the theatre, that of the hestiator, who gave a banquet to his tribe, of the trierarchus, who provided a warship for the state. The meaning of the word liturgy is then extended to cover any general service of a public kind. In the Septuagint it (and the verb λειτουργεῖν) is used for the public service of the temple (e.g., Exodus 38:27; 39:12, etc.). Thence it comes to have a religious sense as the function of the priests, the ritual service of the temple (e.g., Joel 1:9, 2:17, etc.). In the New Testament this religious meaning has become definitely established. In Luke 1:23, Zachary goes home when “the days of his liturgy” (αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ) are over. In Hebrews 8:6, the high priest of the New Law “has obtained a better liturgy”, that is a better kind of public religious service than that of the Temple.

So in Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

We must now distinguish two senses in which the word was and is still commonly used. These two senses often lead to confusion.

On the one hand, liturgy often means the whole complex of official services, all the rites, ceremonies, prayers, and sacraments of the Church, as opposed to private devotions. In this sense we speak of the arrangement of all these services in certain set forms (including the canonical hours, administration of sacraments, etc.), used officially by any local church, as the liturgy of such a church — the Liturgy of Antioch, the Roman Liturgy, and so on. So liturgy means rite; we speak indifferently of the Byzantine Rite or the Byzantine Liturgy. In the same sense we distinguish the official services from others by calling them liturgical; those services are liturgical which are contained in any of the official books of a rite. In the Roman Church, for instance, Compline is a liturgical service, the Rosary is not.

The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only — the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass. This is now practically the only sense in which λειτουργία is used in Greek, or in its derived forms (e.g., Arabic al-liturgiah) by any Eastern Christian. When a Greek speaks of the “Holy Liturgy” he means only the Eucharistic Service. For the sake of clearness it is perhaps better for us too to keep the word to this sense, at any rate in speaking of Eastern ecclesiastical matters; for instance, not to speak of the Byzantine canonical hours as liturgical services. Even in Western Rites the word “official” or “canonical” will do as well as “liturgical” in the general sense, so that we too may use Liturgy only for the Holy Eucharist. (Liturgy in CE)

This is especially necessary to clarify because throwing everything—ceremonies, processions, public prayers, Sacraments, sacramentals, and Holy Mass in the same category as though all are equal. Some experienced this when they were told (in the late sixties) the Rosary doesn’t belong in the Church because it is not “liturgical”. The result is those sacramentals and rites that change because they were introduced by the Church and she can change them become applied to the Sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which were not introduced by the Church, but instituted by Christ. If one can distinguish the two—What the Church instituted and what Christ instituted—one can look at legitimate liturgical development and the problem of changing the Sacraments and Holy Mass. One can accept the papal approval liturgical movements and the condemnations of those seeking to change the Mass and the Sacraments.

Giuseppe Maria Tommasi (1649-1713), a Cardinal and Theatine, wanted to reduce the Divine Office to just the Psalms and Scriptures. He was not condemned, but his reforms were rejected by Innocent XII. He desired that the laity to have the Ritual for the Sacraments translated into the vernacular for their personal use so they could better understand the ceremony. This would be done later and gradually before Vatican II—but the Church still insisted that the priest say the Sacramental form in Latin guaranteeing the Sacrament was administered validly. Wojtyla made Tommasi a “saint” and patron of the Vatican II liturgical innovations.

Prosper Gueranger (1805-1875) must be recognized for two great works. The first was to combat the Gallicanism and Jansenism within France in order to bring the Church there in unity with the Roman Catholic Church. The French refused to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent completely—claiming independence in their dioceses. The result was the fall of France into Jansenism and liturgical abuse. It should be noted that the Gallican and Jansenist spirit did not die out, and as Vatican II returned liturgical and theological independence to the French Bishops the result is that little exists of Catholicism now in France but old decaying Churches. The second work of Dom Gueranger was the work, Liturgical Year, a fifteen volume explanation of the liturgical year to bring Catholics into an interest and participation in the Liturgy by celebrating with the Church the spirit of the Mass propers, readings and liturgical rites surrounding Holy Mass—including the Divine Office. For Dom Prosper Gueranger, the chanting of the Divine Office was obligatory in a Benedictine Monastery; and his desire was that the laity would be present for the Chanting. Here, the participation was not an active involvement, but the laity acknowledging the Choir Monks were expressing the thoughts and prayers of the Church throughout the year. Fortersque writes the following:

Meanwhile, since Pius V, a number of dioceses, chiefly in France and Germany, which at first kept their own missals on the strength of a prescription of two centuries, gradually conformed more and more, and, at last entirely to the Roman editions. But towards the end of the XVIIth century a contrary tendency began. A number of French bishops composed or authorized new missals and breviaries for their dioceses. These were in no sense relics of the mediaeval local rites; they were new compositions, sometimes excellent in their sober scholarship, but often absurd in their pseudo-classic latinity. It was the age of hymns in classical metres, like a schoolboy’s Latin verses, when heaven was “Olympus” and hell “Hades”—of which ridiculous time we have still too many traces in our liturgical books. These French offices then represent a new case of the old tendency towards local modification which the Council of Trent had meant to repress. They are commonly attributed to Gallican ideas and are supposed to be not free from Jansenist venom. Some of these local French uses survived almost to our own time. They were supplanted by the Roman books in the XIXth century, chiefly by the exertions of Dom Prosper Gueranger (+1875).

Now, except for the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites, the local forms of Lyons and of a few religious orders, the whole Latin West uses a uniform Roman missal. The only trace of local variety left is the proper Masses of dioceses, provinces and religious orders. These, collected as appendices, affect the Calendar and produce the effect that the same Mass is by no means always said on the same day everywhere.

Since the Council of Trent the history of the Mass is hardly anything but that of the composition and approval of new Masses. The scheme and all the fundamental parts remain the same. No one has thought of touching the venerable liturgy of the Roman Mass, except by adding to it new Propers. There has not even been a new preface or a new Communicantes prayer. What has happened is an endless addition of Masses for new feasts. The old order of the Missal consists, first, of the Masses for the course of the Ecclesiastical year, the Proprium Missarum de tempore, revolving around Easter, which is supposed to be the normal Calendar. Then follows the Proprium Missarum de Sanctis, the feasts (chiefly of Saints) fixed to days of the civil year which occasionally overlapped the regular order “de tempore”. Then come the Common Masses, Votive Masses, various additional collects, Requiems and blessings. To this order a constantly growing series of appendices is added. We have Masses to be said “aliquibus in locis” (a large group), new Votive Masses, a further appendix for the province or diocese and sometimes another for the religious order of the celebrant. So the Proper of Saints, once an occasional exception, now covers very nearly the whole year, and the search for the Mass to be said has become a laborious process. The old Kalendarium, still printed at the beginning of the Missal, is merely a relic of earlier days. It is no more consulted than the directions for finding Easter. We now need a current “Ordo” that tells us which Mass to seek in which appendix. A further complication is caused by the popular modern plan of attaching a feast, not to a day of the month but to some Sunday or Friday. Such feasts are fitted awkwardly among the fixed ones.

The liturgical student cannot but regret that we so seldom use the old offices which are the most characteristic, the most Roman in our rite, of which many go back to the Gelasian or even Leonine book. And merely from an æsthetic point of view there can be no doubt that the old propers are more beautiful than modern compositions. It is these old propers that show the austere dignity of our liturgy, that agree in feeling with the Ordinary and Canon, happily still unaltered. It is the old collects that really are collects and not long florid prayers. A tendency to pile up explanatory allusions, classical forms that savour of Cicero and not at all of the rude simplicity that is real liturgical style, florid rhetoric that would suit the Byzantine rite in Greek rather than our reticent Roman tradition, these things have left too many traces in the later propers. It is astonishing that the people should have so little sense of congruity, apparently never think of following the old tradition, or of harmony with the old ordinary. 

Yet, after all, the new Masses have not absorbed the whole year. There are many days still on which we say the Mass that has been said for centuries, back to the days of the Gelasian and Leonine books. And when they do come, the new Masses only affect the Proper. Our Canon is untouched, and all the scheme of the Mass. Our Missal is still that of Pius V. We may be very thankful that his Commission was so scrupulous to keep or restore the old Roman tradition. Essentially the Missal of Pius V is the Gregorian Sacramentary; that again is formed from the Gelasian book, which depends on the Leonine collection. We find the prayers of our Canon in the treatise de Sacramentis and allusions to it in the IVth century. So our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Cæsar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our enquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours. (op. cit., 210-213)


The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal


MATTHEW ix. 1-8

At that time: Jesus, entering into a boat, passed over the water and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son. Thy sins are forgiven thee. And, behold, some of the scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise, and walk?

But that you may know that the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy), Arise, take up thy bed and go into thy house. And he arose and went into his house. And the multitude, seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.


CHRYSOSTOM, Homily 29 in Matthew: Prior to this Christ had shown His greatness through teaching, for He taught them as one having power (Mt. vii. 29); through the leper, when He said: I will, be thou made clean; through the Centurion, who had said: But only say the word, and my servant shall be healed; through the sea, which He had calmed with a word; through the demons, who had confessed Him. Here again, in another and greater way, He compels His enemies to confess His equality of honour with the Father. And to show this, there follows:

V. 1. And, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water and came into his own city.

Entering into a boat, He crosses over Who could cross the sea on foot: but it was not His will to work miracles at all times, lest He take from the purpose of the Incarnation. CHRYSOLOGOS: The Creator of all things, the Lord of the world, after He had for us straitened Himself within our flesh, began to have an earthly fatherland, began to be a citizen of a Jewish state, began to have parents: He Who is Himself the Parent of all parents; that love might draw those whom fear had driven away. CHRYSOSTOM: His own city here means Capharnaum. One city received Him at birth: Bethlehem; another reared Him: Nazareth; yet another received Him as an inhabitant: Capharnaum.

AUGUSTINE, Harmony of the GospelsII, 25, 58: Or again: That Matthew here writes of the Lord’s own city, and Mark of Capharnaum, would be more difficult to reconcile if Matthew had said Nazareth. Now since Galilee itself could be called Christ’s city (civitas=state), since Nazareth was in Galilee; as the whole Roman Empire composed of many cities is called the Civitas Romana (Roman state); who will doubt that the Lord coming into Galilee, is rightly said to have come into His own city, to whatever town of Galilee He came: especially Capharnaum, since it had become important in Galilee, and was regarded as its metropolis? JEROME: Or wc may understand as His own city, none other than Nazareth: from which He was also called a Nazarene.

AUGUSTINE, as above: And in accord with this, we may say that Matthew passed over all Jesus did after He had come into His own city, until He came to Capharnaum, and here added the account of the healing of the paralytic; just as the Evangelists do in many places, omitting things that took place in between, as though what they then add had followed without any interval; and in this way here is added:

V.2. And, behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed.

CHRYSOSTOM: This paralytic is not the one spoken of by John (v. 5). For he lay beside the pool; this was in Capharnaum. The first had no one to help him; this man had friends to care for him, who, carrying him, had brought him there. JEROME: They brought him lying on a bed; for he was unable to come in by himself.

CHRYSOSTOM: Not everywhere does He ask of the sick only that they should have faith; as for instance when they were mad, or for any reason out of their mind. So here is added: And Jesus seeing their faith. JEROME: Not his faith who was brought to him; but theirs who had brought him. CHRYSOSTOM: Because they reveal such faith, He reveals His Power; with full authority forgiving his sins. Hence follows: Jesus said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son. Thy sins are forgiven thee.

CHRYSOLOGOS: How much will a man’s own faith avail with God, with Whom the faith of others availed so much, that He healed the man both within and without. The paralytic hears the words of pardon, and is silent; giving no thanks: for he longed rather for the healing of his body than of his soul. Rightly therefore does Christ regard the faith of those who bring him, rather than the folly of the sick man.

CHRYSOSTOM: Or, great also was the faith of this sick man: For he would not have suffered himself to be let down through the roof, as another Evangelist relates, unless he believed. JEROME: O wondrous humility! Despised and weak, all his members enfeebled; yet He calls him son whom the priests would not deign to touch. Son also, because his sins are forgiven: by which we are given to understand, that many bodily infirmities befall us because of sin. And therefore perhaps his sins were first forgiven, that the cause of his infirmity removed, his health might then be restored.

CHRYSOSTOM: The Scribes in their eagerness to defame the Lord, unwittingly proclaim what happened. Christ uses their envy to make known this wonder: for in the superabundance of His wisdom, He proclaims what He has done by means of His enemies. Hence follows:

V. 3. And, behold, some of the Scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth.

JEROME: We read in the Prophet: I am he that blot out thy iniquities (Is. xliii. 25). And so the Scribes, because they believed Jesus was a man, and because they did not understand the words of God, accuse Him of the crime of blasphemy. Seeing their thoughts, He showed Himself God, Who knows the hidden things of the heart, and though silent as it were says: By the same power by which I see into your thoughts, I also forgive men their sins. See yourselves what happened to the paralytic. So there follows:

V. 4. And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do ye think evil in your hearts?

CHRYSOSTOM: He did not dissipate their suspicion regarding Himself; thinking He had said these words as God. For if He were not equal to God the Father, He should have said: ‘I am far from having this power: To forgive sin.’ Instead He confirms the contrary, by His words and by the sight of a miracle. So there follows:

V. 5. Which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

The more the soul is greater than the body, the greater is it to forgive sin than to heal the body. But because the former is not visible, and the latter is, He does what is the lesser but more evident, to prove something greater, but less evident.

JEROME: Whether the paralytic’s sins were forgiven or not He alone knew Who forgave them. But both the man who arose, and those who saw him rise, were able to confirm the truth of the words: Arise, and walk; though one and the same is the power to heal the body and to forgive sins. But between saying and doing, there is a wide distance. Let there be therefore a visible sign, that the spiritual wonder may be proved. Hence follows:

V.6. But that you may know that the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.

CHRYSOSTOM: Above, He did not say to the paralytic: I forgive thee thy sins; but, Thy sins are forgiven thee. But because the Scribes had begun to resist Him, He shows His higher power, saying: That the son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins. And to show He is Equal to the Father, He does not say: ‘The Son of man needs power to forgive sin’; but: that He has it.

GLOSS (interlinear): These words, that you may know, may be either Christ’s, or the Evangelist’s. As though the Evangelist said: These doubted His power to forgive sin, but, that you may know that the son of man has power, He says to the paralytic. If, however, we say Christ spoke those words, we must understand them in this way: You doubt that I can forgive sin: but, that you may know that the son of man hath power to forgive sin; and here the sentence is imperfect, but action follows in place of a consequent. Then we read: Then saith he to the man sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed and go into thy house.

CHRYSOLOGOS: So that that which had been the proof of his infirmity might become a witness to his healing. And go into thy house: lest healed by Christian faith you may die in the unbelief of the Jews. CHRYSOSTOM: He commanded this, so that what had been done might not be looked upon as a delusion. Accordingly, to show the reality of what had been done, there is added:

V.7. And he arose, and went into his house.

Nevertheless those standing about were still earth-minded in thought; hence there follows:

V.8. And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.

For had they truly reflected within themselves, they would have acknowledged He was the Son of God. Meanwhile it was no small gain that they should esteem Him as greater than all men, and as come from God.

HILARY: Mystically; rejected by Judea, He returns to His own city. The City of God is the believing people. Into this He enters by a boat; the Church. CHRYSOLOGOS: Christ did not need the ship, but the ship had need of Christ: for without celestial guidance, the ship of the Church cannot cross the sea of this world. to gain the heavenly harbour.

HILARY: In the paralytic, all the Gentiles are brought to Him to be healed. He accordingly is brought by the ministry of angels; he is called son, because he is the work of God; the sins of his soul are forgiven, which the Law could not forgive. For faith only justifies. Then he manifests the power of the resurrection, when, by taking up his bed, he teaches that in heaven bodies shall be without infirmity.

JEROME: In figure, the soul lying sick in its body, its power enfeebled, is offered to the Lord, the Perfect Physician, to be cured. AMBROSE: For everyone who is ill should seek helpers (monitores) in prayer, to pray for his restoration to health; through whom the faltering feet of our actions may be reformed by the remedy of the heavenly word. They therefore are monitors of the mind, who raise the spirit of the hearer to the higher things; even though it now lies listless in the feebleness of the outward body.

CHRYSOLOGOS: In this world the Lord does not consider the inclinations of the foolish, but looks rather to the faith of another; neither does the physician consult the inclinations of the sick, when the infirm man asks for what is harmful. RABANUS: To rise means to withdraw the soul from carnal desires. To take up thy bed, is to raise the body above earthly desires to the delights of the spirit. To go into his house is to return to paradise, or, to internal watchfulness of one’s self, lest it should sin again.

GREGORY, Morals in Job, xxxiii, 19: Or, by the bed bodily pleasure is signified. He is therefore bidden that now restored to health he should bear that on which he had lain sick: for every man who still delights in sin, lies sick in his bodily lusts; but healed, he bears this: for after this he endures the affiictions of this same flesh, in whose desires he before found rest.

HILARY: And the multitudes seeing it, feared. It is a fearful thing to be dissolved in death with our sins unforgiven by Christ: for there is no return to the eternal home for those whose sins remain unforgiven. But this fear ended, glory is given to God, that by His Word power has been given to men and a way to the forgiveness of sin, to the resurrection of the body, to our return to heaven.



AFTER the neglect, quarrelling and oppression of the reigns of the two Danish sovereigns Harold Harefoot and Harthacanute, the people of England gladly welcomed the representative of the old English line of kings, known in history as Edward the Confessor. “All men took him as was his right”, and, for the peace and relief that prevailed during his reign, he was undoubtedly one of the most popular of English sovereigns, though his significance was much exaggerated later by the Normans, whose friend he had been. And the noble qualities for which Edward is venerated as a saint belonged to him rather as a man than as a king; he was devout, gentle and peace-loving but with hardly sufficient force to stand up to some of the strong characters by whom he was surrounded. On the other hand he was not feeble and pietistic, as is now sometimes alleged: he was handicapped by lack of physical strength, but had a quiet determination which enabled him to cope successfully with opposing influences. Edward was the son of Ethelred the Redeless by his Norman wife Emma, and during the Danish supremacy was sent to Normandy for safety, with his brother Alfred, when he was ten years old. Alfred came to England in 1036 but was seized and mutilated, and died by the brutality of Earl Godwin. Thus Edward did not set foot again in his native land until he was called to be king in 1042: he was then forty years old. Two years later he married Edith, the daughter of Godwin: a beautiful and religious girl, “whose mind was a school of all the liberal arts”. It is traditionally claimed as an aspect of Edward’s sanctity that, for love of God and greater perfection, he lived with his wife in absolute continence. The fact is not certain, nor, if it were so, is his motive certain either. William of Malmesbury, eighty years later, says that the continency of the king and his wife was notorious, but adds, “I have not been able to discover whether he acted thus from dislike of her family or out of pure regard for chastity”. The chronicler Roger of Wendover says the same thing, but thinks that Edward was certainly unwilling “to beget successors of a traitor stock”, which seems rather far-fetched. However, the difficulty common to these cases—Why did they marry at all?—perhaps does not arise in this one: Edward knew that his security was threatened by Earl Godwin more than by any other power.

Godwin for his part was the chief opponent of a certain Norman influence which had its centre at the royal court and made itself felt in appointments to bishoprics and offices as well as in lesser matters. After a series of “incidents”, things came to a crisis and Godwin and his family were banished; even his daughter, Edward’s queen, was confined to a convent for a time. In the same year, 1051, William of Normandy visited the English court, and it can hardly be doubted that Edward then offered him the succession to the crown: the Norman conquest began, not at the battle of Hastings, but at the accession of St Edward. It was not many months before Godwin returned, and as both sides were averse from a civil war the king restored him, and the council  outlawed all Frenchmen that aforetime disregarded the law, gave unjust judgements, and counselled ill counsel in the land”. The Norman archbishop of Canterbury and another bishop fled overseas “in a crazy ship”. Nothing is more praised at this time than the “laws and customs of good King Edward” and the realm’s freedom from war. The only serious fighting was between Harold of Wessex (Godwin’s son) and Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in the Welsh Marches, and the expeditions under Earl Siward to assist Malcolm III of Scotland against the usurper Macbeth. The king’s religious and just administration caused him to reign in the hearts of his people. The love, harmony and agreement seen in retrospect between him and the great council of the nation became the traditional measure of the people’s desires in all succeeding reigns, the law and government of King Edward being petitioned and strenuously contended for by English commons and Norman barons. Not the least popular of his acts was the remission of the heregeld or army-tax; the amount of the tax in hand collected in his reign was handed over by Edward to the poor.

William of Malmesbury gives a personal picture of St Edward, in which he says that he was “a man by choice devoted to God, living the life of an angel in the administration of his kingdom, and therefore directed by Him. . . . He was so gentle that he would not say a word of reproach to the meanest person.” He was generous to the poor and strangers, especially if they were from abroad, and a great encourager of monks. His favourite diversions were hunting and hawking, at which he would go out for days on end, but even then never omitted to be present at Mass every morning. In appearance he was tall and well built, with a ruddy face and white hair and beard.

St Edward during his exile in Normandy had made a vow to go on pilgrimage to St Peter’s tomb at Rome if God should be pleased to put an end to the misfortunes of his family. When he was settled on the throne he held a council, in which he declared the obligation he lay under. The assembly commended his devotion, but represented that the kingdom would be left exposed to domestic divisions and to foreign enemies. The king was moved by their reasons, and consented that the matter should be referred to Pope St Leo IX. He, considering the impossibility of the king’s leaving his dominions, dispensed his vow upon condition that by way of commutation he should give to the poor the sum he would have expended in his journey and should build or repair and endow a monastery in honour of St Peter. King Edward selected for his benefaction an abbey already existing close to London, in a spot called Thomey. He rebuilt and endowed it in a magnificent manner out of his own patrimony, and obtained of Pope Nicholas II ample exemptions and privileges for it. From its situation it had come to be called West Minster in distinction from the church of St Paul in the east of the city. The new monastery was designed to house seventy monks, and, though the abbey was finally dissolved and its church made collegiate and a “royal peculiar” by Queen Elizabeth, the ancient community is now juridically represented by the monks of St Laurence’s Abbey at Ampleforth. The present church called Westminster Abbey, on the site of St Edward’s building, was built in the thirteenth century and later.

The last year of St Edward’s life was disturbed by troubles between the Northumbrians and their earl, Tostig Godwinsson, whom eventually the king was constrained to banish. At the end of the year, when the nobles of the realm were gathered at the court for Christmas, the new choir of Westminster abbey-church was consecrated with great solemnity, on Holy Innocents’ day, 1065. St Edward was too ill to be present; he died a week later, and was buried in his abbey.

In 1161 he was canonized, and two years later his incorrupt body was translated to a shrine in the choir by St Thomas Becket, on October 13, the day now fixed for his feast; the day of his death, January 5, is also mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. There was a further translation, in the thirteenth century, to a shrine behind the high altar, and there the body of the Confessor still lies, the only relics of a saint (except those of the unidentified St Wite at Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorsetshire) remaining in situ after the violence and impiety of Henry VIII and those who followed him. To St Edward the Confessor was attributed the first exercise of the power of “touching for the King’s Evil” (scrofula and allied affections), as was done subsequently by many others, and cures apparently obtained. Alban Butler states that, “Since the revolution [of 1688] only Queen Anne has touched for this distemper”, but Cardinal Henry Stuart (de iure King Henry IX; died 1807) also did so. St Edward is the principal patron of the city of Westminster and a lesser patron of the archdiocese; his feast is not only kept all over Great Britain but throughout the Western church since 1689.

(Butler’s Lives of the Saints)



Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons

By Mary Reed Newland (1956)




The anointing prayers also offer an excellent means of teaching children to ponder the right use of the senses. For example, the day after we had read these prayers together for the first time, John and I were in the drugstore. He came over from a rack of paper-back mysteries with his eyes popping. “Mother! Come here—wait till you see.”

We went back to the display and he pointed to a cover showing a voluptuous lady in hardly any clothes. “Look—isn’t that awful! Not half enough clothes on.”

“Yes, it’s terrible. It’s too bad. God makes people and gives them fine bodies and they do such things as this with them. You know, don’t you, that it isn’t a body that is bad—but what you do with one, or to one, or how you look at one or think about one, that can be bad. It makes you think of those anointing prayers, doesn’t it?

“This is a good example of how you use your sense of sight. You see things with it—both good and bad, and what you must do is make the decision what to look at, and what not to look at. You see, it is quite possible that if you stood looking at these books long enough, you’d no longer be shocked to see the immodest ladies on the covers. The devil would try very hard to make you more curious, and if you continued to gaze at them, you could begin to like seeing them. You could then start to have immodest thoughts, and in time say it isn’t wrong at all to stand around and look at them. That is how the devil tries to make you abuse your sense of sight. In the end, if you were not careful, you could commit serious sin with it. You have committed no sin today because you happened to see them accidentally and you know they are improper. But remember now that such things are wrong, that you must walk away and refuse to look at them.”

It is not too soon to begin teaching him to think about how he uses his eyes. He is living in a world where pictures of sexy ladies are on most of the magazines in the paper store, on paperback mysteries in the drugstore, most of the movie posters, many of the television shows, hanging on the walls of barracks (and he may be there sooner than one likes to think). He needs years of practice to learn a Christian “custody of the eyes.”

When we got home and were all together again in the evening, we talked some more about it.

“It helps you to remember how great your body is if you remember how the Church feels about it. When you were baptized your body was anointed. Father made the Sign of the Cross on your forehead and above your heart, and prayed that you might be a fitting temple of God. After he poured the water over your head and original sin was washed from your soul, he made another Sign of the Cross on the crown of your head, because you were now a Christian and shared a royal Kingship with Christ, our King. He asked Almighty God to make that anointing a blessing unto ‘life everlasting.’

“When you know that at the end of your life, each of your senses will be anointed and the priest will ask God to forgive your abuses of them, it makes you think about how carefully you should use them.”

Having had a practical example of the possible abuse of sight, the day before, we tried to think of examples of the abuse of the others. For instance, what wrongs could you commit with touch?

Taking things is obvious, but not always common. It has not been one of our problems so far. But that famous childhood curiosity, possessed by the Newlands’ child as well as the Elephant’s, is relative to this. No sin, this: it seems as nothing to adults removed from the world of children. But out of its temptations resisted can grow obedience, patience, the allaying of curiosity—and it demands reciprocal virtues from parents: that they understand the torments of the young and curious. These small struggles with obedience (“Now please, dear, do not touch!”), related with simplicity and love to the right use of the sense of touch, do not hint at the serious sins of touch, but help awaken a sense of the proper custody of the gift.

What of smell? I cannot imagine there are childhood abuses of this lovely gift, but we can talk about abuses to which it can lead. Part of gluttony is an unholy anticipation, perhaps whetted for some by the delicious smells of foods and beverages. We should rejoice when our food smells good, but never forget that eating is a habit of humans, in order that they may stay alive and do God’s work; it is not the purpose of living. It must always be kept under control.

The delights of cosmetic smells easily become a form of sensuality for women, spinning a web that can trap a soul deep in self-indulgence. I remember walking into one of the great beauty salons—into that startling other-world of scent, powder, handsome decor, delicate mannerism—and sensing the danger there. One could so easily be persuaded this “world of loveliness” was the reality. Lovely scents can praise God and lift our thoughts to Him; after all, we use incense in our worship and flowers praise Him with their scent. But evil can smell lovely, too, and sanctity can sometimes smell so evil.

Girls and mothers find many opportunities to ponder the right use of smell, especially when there are babies in the house who sometimes smell so bad. Yet the loving attendance on them can be the most exquisite prayer. How many times we have thought, when asking with the Church that our prayers rise to Him as a sweet odor, that many’s the “sweet odor of prayer” that goes up from a houseful of children!

To be clean and sweet and smell good is to be socially acceptable, and we all try to teach our children the habits of good grooming; but we must be very sure they understand that sweetness within is more important than sweetness without, and that they must use their sense of smell, and all the good things to smell, to give glory to God.

The sense of taste, of course, is companion to the sense of smell. It is easy to find examples of this.

The sense of hearing is not such a subtle offender, and with it goes the power to speak. A fragment of a telephone conversation gives an example.

“Did you hear what______ said? No? Neither did I, but I know because I was told by _________, who heard it and told me, and I said I thought it was awful. Don’t you think it’s awful?”

But if __________is awful for saying something, what about__________who heard ________ say it, and repeated it to____________, who listened and then repeated it to ____________ and asked if it wasn’t awful?

Perhaps this is not a serious sin this time, or the next time, or the time after that, but doing it can become a habit, possibly serious, potentially sinful. Gossip and giving scandal have no place on the list of Christian accomplishments. We have no right to circulate and thereby multiply the revelation of secrets that are the concern of some single soul and God.

What of the power of motion?

“My goodness, what sins can you commit with your feet?” “I know—kicking!”

“If you kicked someone on purpose, it would probably be a sin. Certainly a dreadful imperfection. But there is more to the power of motion than kicking. We do know someone who, this day, went to you-know-who’s house when he was told not to. That was disobedience and it had to be punished. What got him there?”


“Right. Many times we use our power of motion in disobedience. When you grow up there will be places you must not go to because they are occasions of sin. While you are little, you practice making the right kind of decisions about going and coming by being obedient to your parents and using your power of motion in obedience. Think of where you are going when your feet take you somewhere. If it is not good to go there, say to them: ‘Feet! Turn around and go back!'”

They are great gifts, these powers. The right use of them is part of the battle for perfection.


Last Saturday the Archdiocese of Los Angeles sponsored the following:

Southern California Christian Forum:  Ecumenical Bible Study and Prayer Service, Saturday, October 5, in El Segundo

Join the Southern California Christian Forum on Saturday, October 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., for an ecumenical Bible study and prayer service.  The theme for this gathering is Lay Ecumenism.  We will discuss the central role that the laity play in local and global ecumenical efforts, throughout history and across theological traditions.  Margaret Kelly of Focolare, a lay ecumenical movement, will also present.  This will be a wonderful opportunity for prayer, reflection on scripture (Acts 2:42-47), worship, and fellowship with Christian leaders from across the region. Lunch is provided.  All are welcome!  The event will be held at Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church, 538 Concord Street, El Segundo, CA 90245.

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