The Martyr-Pontiffs and the Catholic Counter Revolution
Words from Dom Prosper Gueranger
Two bright stars appear this day on the Ecclesial Cycle, proclaiming the glory of our Jesus, the Conquerer of death. Again, they are two Pontiffs, and Martyr-Pontiffs. Cletus leads us to the very commencement of the Church, for he was a disciple of Peter, and his second Successor in the See of Rome. Marcellinus was a witness of the great Persecution under Dioclesian; he governed the Church on the eve of her triumph. Let us honor these two fathers of Christendom, who laid down their lives in its defense; and let us offer their merits to Jesus, Who supported them by His grace, and cheered them with the hope, that, one day, they would share in His Resurrection. Pray for us, holy Pontiffs, and look with fatherly love upon the Church on earth, which was so violently persecuted in your times, and at present day, is far from enjoying peace. The worship of idols is revived; and though they be not of stone or metal, yet they that adore them are as determined to propagate their worship as were pagans of former days to make all men idolators.
The gods and goddesses now in favour are called Liberty, Progress, and Modern Civilization. Every measure is resorted to, in order to impose these new divinities upon the world - that they refuse to adore them are persecuted; governments are secularized, that is, unchristianised; the education of youth is made independent of all moral teaching; the religious element is rejected from social life, as an intrusion: and all this is done with such a show of reasonableness, that thousands of well-minded Christians are led to be advocates, timid perhaps, and partial, but still its advocates.
Preserve us, O holy Martyrs! from being the dupes of this artful. impiety. It was not in vain that our Jesus suffered death, and rose again from the grave. Surely after this , He deserves to be what He is: Kind of the whole earth, under Whose power are all creatures. It is in order to obey Him, that we wish no other Liberty save that which He based upon His Gospel; no other Progress save that which follows the path He has marked out; no other Civilization save that which results from the fulfillment of the duties to our fellow men, which He has established. It is He that created human nature, and gave its laws; it is He that redeemed it, and restored it to its lost rights. Him alone, then do we adore. O holy Martyrs! pray that we may never become the dupes or slaves of the theories of human pride, not even should they that make or uphold them, have power to make us suffer, or die for our resistance.
Dom Prosper Gueranger (d.1875) - Brilliant Benedictine priest, scholar, abbot, and founder of what is now Solesmes Congregation in France.
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Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam