"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven."   --Saint Pope Pius X


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Our Lady of Good Remedy Prayer

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America's Sin of Abortion
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October 24th

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth week in Ordinary Time


Letter to the Romans 5:12.15b.17-19.20b-21.
Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person's transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many.
For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.
The law entered in so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalms 40(39):7-8a.8b-9.10.17.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.

May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
and may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12:35-38.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants."







Anthony was born in Sallent, Spain, in 1807.  His father was a weaver.  He studied to be a Jesuit priest, but was unable to complete his work to be a priest and had to serve as a secular priest.  Later on he founded Catholic orders dedicated to the Blessed Mother, the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or the Claretians and also the order for Claretian nuns.  Between 1850 to 1857, he was the archbishop in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.  Later on he returned to Spain and became the confessor in the court of Queen Isabella II.  Saint Anthony participated in the First Vatican Council in 1868 and 1870. It was said that he cured many people of their illnesses through the power of Christ.  He died in 1870.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Anthony Mary Claret to intercede for your most urgent needs today.



Saint Anthony Mary Claret

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Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Antonio Claret.jpg
Bishop and founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Born December 23, 1807
Sallent, Barcelona, Spain
Died October 24, 1870 (aged 62)
Fontfroide, Narbonne, France
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified February 25, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Canonized May 7, 1950, Rome by Pope Pius XII
Major shrine Vic, Barcelona, Spain
Feast October 24
October 23 (local calendars and among Traditional Roman Catholics)
Attributes Bishop's robe, crozier, an open book, catechism, 2 students beside him at his side and having his bent arm pointing to the sky
Patronage Textile merchants, weavers, savings (taught the poor the importance of savings), Catholic press, Claretians, Dioceses of the Canary Islands, Claretian students, Claretian educators and Claretian educational institutions, Foundations

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, C.M.F. (Catalan: Antoni Maria Claret i Clarà; Spanish: Antonio María Claret y Clarà; December 23, 1807 – October 24, 1870) was a Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop and missionary, and was confessor of Isabella II of Spain. He founded the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians.




Antoni Maria Claret i Clarà was born in Sallent, in the county of Bages in the Province of Barcelona, on December 23, 1807, the fifth of the eleven children of Juan and Josefa Claret. His father was a woollen manufacturer. As a child he enjoyed pilgrimages to the nearby Shrine of Our Lady of Fussimanya.[1]

Claret received an elementary education in his native village, and at the age of twelve became a weaver. At the age of eighteen, he went to Barcelona to specialize in his trade, and remained there until he was 20 years old. Meanwhile, he devoted his spare time to study and became proficient in Latin, French and engraving.[2]

Recognizing a call to religious life, he left Barcelona. He wished to become a Carthusian monk but finally entered the diocesan seminary at Vic in 1829, and was ordained on June 13, 1835, on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. He received a benefice in his native parish, where he continued to study theology until 1839; but as missionary work strongly appealed to him, he proceeded to Rome. There he entered the Jesuit novitiate but had to leave due to ill health. He then returned to Spain and exercised his pastoral ministry in Viladrau and Girona, attracting notice by his efforts on behalf of the poor.[3] In an area despoiled by the Carlist civil war, he added the practice of rustic medicine to his other endeavors.

Recalled by his superiors to Vic, Claret was sent as Apostolic Missionary throughout Catalonia which had suffered from French invasions. He travelled from one mission to the next on foot. An eloquent preacher fluent in the Catalan language, people came from miles around to hear. After a lengthy time in the pulpit, he would spend long hours in the confessional. He was said to have had the gift of discernment of consciences. In 1848 Claret's life was threatened by anti-clerical enemies and he was sent to the Canary Islands where he gave retreats for 15 months. His missions were so well attended that he often preached from an improvised pulpit in the plaza before the church.[1]


Coat of arms of Anthony Mary Claret as archbishop of Santiago de Cuba.

On his return to Spain, he established the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (The Claretians) on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16, 1849), and founded the great religious library at Barcelona which was called "Librería Religiosa" (now "Llibreria Claret").[3] Pope Pius IX gave approval to the congregation on December 22, 1865.[4]


Pope Pius IX, at the request of the Spanish crown (Queen-regnant Isabella II of Spain), appointed him archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, in 1849. He was consecrated at Vic in October 1850. Before he embarked, he made three separate pilgrimages: to Our Lady of the Pillar, patroness of Spain; to the Virgin of Montserrat, patroness of Catalonia; and to Our Lady of Fussimanya, near his home village.[1]

The Santiago seminary was reorganized, clerical discipline strengthened, and over 9,000 marriages validated within the first two years of his arrival. He erected a hospital and numerous schools. Three times he made a visitation of the entire diocese, giving local missions incessantly.[3] Among his great initiatives were trade or vocational schools for disadvantaged children and credit unions for the use of the poor. He wrote books about rural spirituality and agricultural methods, which he himself tested first. In August 25, 1855, he founded the Religious of Mary Immaculate together with Venerable Mother Antonia Paris. The congregation was considered as the first women religious institute in Cuba. He also visited jails and hospitals, defended the oppressed and denounced racism. His work stirred up opposition and at Holguín his cheek was stabbed by a would-be assassin.[4]

In February 1857, Claret was recalled to Spain by Queen Isabella II, who made him her confessor. He obtained permission to resign his Cuban see and was appointed to the titular see of Trajanopolis. His influence was now directed solely to help the poor and to propagate learning; he lived frugally and took up his residence in an Italian hospice. For nine years he was rector of the Escorial monastic school, where he established a scientific laboratory, a museum of natural history, a library, college and schools of music and languages. In 1868, a new revolution dethroned the queen and sent her with her family into exile. Claret's life was also in danger, so he accompanied her to France.[4] This gave him the opportunity to preach the Gospel in Paris. He stayed with them for a while, then went to Rome where he was received by Pope Pius IX.

He continued his popular missions and distribution of books wherever he went in accompanying the Spanish Court. When Isabella recognized the new, secular government of a united Italy, he left the Court and hastened to take his place by the side of the pope. At the latter's command, however, he returned to Madrid with faculties for absolving the queen from the censures she had incurred.[3]

Last years

In 1869 he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council. Owing to failing health he withdrew to Prada de Conflent in the French Pyrenees, where he was still harassed by his Spanish enemies; shortly afterwards he retired to the Cistercian abbey at Fontfroide, Narbonne, southern France, where he died on October 24, 1870, aged 62.

His remains were buried in the Catalan city of Vic, in the Country of Osona.


Anthony Mary Claret wrote 144 books. By his sermons and writings he contributed greatly to bring about the revival of the Catalan language, although most of his works were published in Spanish, especially during his stay in Cuba and Madrid.

His printed works number more than one hundred, including "La escala de Jacob"; "Máximas de moral la más pura"; "Avisos"; "Catecismo explicado con láminas"; "La llave de oro"; "Selectos panegíricos" (11 volumes); "Sermones de misión" (3 volumes); "Misión de la mujer"; "Vida de Sta. Mónica"; "La Virgen del Pilar y los Francmasones."

In addition to the Claretians, which in the early 21st century had over 450 houses and 3100 members, with missions in five continents, Archbishop Claret founded or drew up the rules of several communities of religious sisters.


His zealous life and the wonders he wrought, both before and after his death, testified to his sanctity. Information was sought in 1887 and he was declared venerable by Pope Leo XIII in 1899. His relics were transferred to the mission house at Vic in 1897, at which time his heart was found incorrupt. His grave is visited by many pilgrims.

Anthony Mary Claret was beatified in Rome by Pope Pius XI on February 24, 1934. He was canonized 16 years later by Pope Pius XII on May 7, 1950. Pope John XXIII included him in the General Roman Calendar in 1960, and fixed his feast on October 23, where it remained for nine years until the 1969 revision of the calendar moved it to the day of his death, October 24, which had been the feast of Saint Raphael the Archangel since 1921.

Educational legacy

Many educational institutions ranging from kindergarten to undergraduate school are named after Claret and run by the Claretians in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. They are located in Catalonia (Barcelona, Valls and Sabadell), rest of Spain (Madrid,[5] Gran Canaria,[6] Sevilla,[7] and Valencia), Colombia (Cali), Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo), Peru (Trujillo, Huancayo, Arequipa and Lima), Argentina (Buenos Aires[8] and Bahía Blanca), Venezuela (Caracas,[9] Maracaibo and Mérida), Equatorial Guinea (Malabo), Chile (Temuco[10]), Costa Rica (Heredia[11]), the Philippines (Zamboanga City,[12] Quezon City[13]), India (Ziro), and Bangalore.

See also


  • St. Anthony Claret, Restless Apostle, Claretian Publications, Chicago, Illinois
  • Callahan, William James. Church, politics, and society in Spain, 1750-1874 p.298, 1984 "Antonio Claret (1807-1870), the son of a Catalan textile manufacturer, ... After serving as a parish assistant, he began a successful career as a missionary in Catalonia during the 1840's."
  • MacErlean, Andrew. "Ven. Antonio María Claret y Clará." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 16 (Index). New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1914. 31 Dec. 2012
  • "The Congregation", Claretian Missions-USA
  • Claretian order in Madrid website Archived August 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  • Claretian order in Gran Canaria website
  • Claretian order in Seville website Archived September 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  • Claretian order in Buenos Aires, Argentina website
  • Claretian order in Caracas, Venezuela website
  • Claretian order in Temuco website
  • Claretian order in Heredia website
  • Claretian order in Zamboanga City website Archived December 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  • Claretian order in Quezon City website


    October 23

    St. John Capistran, or, of Capistran, Confessor


    JOHN, the father of this saint, was a gentleman of Anjou, who going to serve in the army of the kingdom of Naples, settled at Aquila, and soon after at Capistran, a neighbouring town, where he took a young lady to wife. Our saint was born at Capistran, in 1385, and after learning Latin in his own country, studied the civil and canon law at Perugia, in which faculty he commenced doctor with great applause. By his fortune and abilities he soon made a figure in that city, and one of the principal men of the town gave him his daughter in marriage. In 1413, a grievous dissension fell out between the city of Perugia and Ladislas, king of Naples. John used his best endeavours to bring his fellow-citizens to a peace, and carried on a negotiation for some time with success, for which he undertook some journeys. Those who were more violent in this quarrel, taking it into their heads that he betrayed his citizens in favour of his former master, a party belonging to one of these factions, seized his person on the road, and confined him in the castle of Bruffa, five miles from Perugia. In this prison he had much to suffer, being loaded with chains, and being allowed no other subsistence than bread and water. Seeing himself here abandoned by King Ladislas himself, and from his own feeling experience meditating on the inconstancy of human things, and the treachery and falsehood of a vain and sinful world, he began seriously to enter into himself, and to become a new man. His lady dying in that interval of time, he resolved to embrace a penitential state in the holy Order of St. Francis. Impatient of delays, he begged to be immediately admitted; but the guardian refused to send him the habit whilst he continued a prisoner. He therefore cut his clothes into the shape of a religious habit, and his hair so as to form a tonsure. Obtaining his liberty shortly after, he went to Capistran, and selling his estate, with part of the price he paid his ransom, and the remaining part he distributed among the poor. Then returning to Perugia, he took the habit in the convent of the Franciscans De Monte at Perugia, in 1415, being thirty years old. The guardian, who understood how full he had been of a worldly spirit, the more effectually to try his vocation, and to extinguish in him secular pride and self-love, ordered him to ride on an ass, in a ridiculous dress, through all the streets of Perugia, with a paper cap on his head, on which many grievous sins were written in capital letters. This must appear a severe trial to a man of birth and reputation; but such was the fervour of the saint in his penitential course, that it seemed to cost him nothing. He was moreover twice expelled the convent without any reason, and admitted again on very hard conditions. 1

    The perfect spirit with which he underwent all humiliations and austerities that were imposed upon him, gave him in a short time so complete a victory over himself, that he never afterwards found any difficulty in the severest trials. Such was his ardour in the practice of penance, that to those enjoined by his rule or by obedience he added the most austere voluntary mortifications. To prepare himself for the first communion, which he made after his general confession upon taking the habit, he spent three days in prayer and tears, without taking any nourishment. From the time that he made his religious profession he ate only once a day, except in long fatiguing journeys, when he took an exceedingly small collation at night. For thirty-six years he never tasted flesh, except a very little out of obedience, when he was sick. Pope Eugenius IV. having commanded him in his old age to eat a little flesh meat, he obeyed, but took so very small a quantity that his holiness left him at liberty to use his own discretion. He slept on the boards, and took only three or sometimes four hours a night for his rest, employing the remaining part in prayer and contemplation; which exercises he for many years seemed never to interrupt but by preaching to the people, or short necessary repose. It would be too long to relate the admirable instances which are recorded of his perfect mortification, obedience, and humility, and the most profound sentiment of contempt of himself, which made him delight in the meanest employments. His spirit of compunction and gift of tears astonished and strongly affected those that conversed with him. He said mass every day with the most edifying devotion. By his zeal and ardent desire of the glory of God and the salvation of souls he seemed, in his actions and preaching, another St. Paul. Wherever he came, by his powerful words, or rather by that wonderful spirit of zeal and devotion with which he spoke, he beat down the pride and obstinacy of hardened sinners, filled their souls with holy fear, and softened their hearts into compunction. At the end of a sermon which he made at Aquila against the vanity, dangers, and frequent sins of the world with regard to dress, and amusements, the ladies brought together a great quantity of fine handkerchiefs, aprons, artificial heads of hair, 1 perfumes, cards, dice, and other such things, and made of them a great bonfire. The same was done at Nuremberg, Leipsic, Frankfort, Magdeburg, and several other places. He had a singular talent at reconciling the most inveterate enemies, and inducing them from their hearts to forgive one another. He made peace between Alphonsus of Arragon and the city of Aquila; also between the families of Oronesi and Lanzieni, and between many cities which were at variance, and he appeased the most violent seditions. 2

    St. Bernardin of Sienna established a reformation of the Franciscan Order, and was appointed by the general, William of Cassal, in 1437, and confirmed by Pope Eugenius IV., in 1438, the first vicar-general of the Observantin or Reformed Franciscans in Italy, in which office he continued six years from his nomination by his general in 1437, and five from his confirmation by the pope. St. John was twice chosen to the same office, each time for the space of three years, and exceedingly promoted this reformation. By one sermon which he preached on death and the last judgment in Bohemia, one hundred and twenty young men were so moved, as with great fervour to devote themselves to God in different religious Orders, of which sixty embraced his penitential institute. He inherited St. Bernardin’s singular devotion to the holy name of Jesus, and to the glorious Mother of God. The marquisate of Ancona, Apulia, Calabria, and Naples, were the first theatres of his zeal; he afterwards preached frequently in Lombardy and the Venetian territories; then in Bavaria, Austria, Carinthia, Moravia, Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary. 3

    St. John was often employed in important commissions by the Popes Martin V., Eugenius IV., Nicholas V., and Calixtus III. The council of Basil, which had been called by Martin V., assembled in July, 1431, under Eugenius IV., and was in the first sessions approved by him, till this pope, alleging that the place was at too great a distance to suit the convenience of the Greek emperor and the oriental prelates, removed it to Ferrara, in 1437. 2 Those prelates who obstinately opposed this removal proceeded at length to an open schism. The pope employed St. John in several important commissions to stem this evil, and many great personages, particularly Philip, duke of Burgundy, to whom his holiness sent the saint for that purpose, were withdrawn by his exhortations from the schism. The saint was sent nuncio by the same pope to the Duke of Milan, to Charles VII., king of France, and into Sicily, and his endeavours met everywhere with the desired success. He was one of the theologians employed by his holiness at the council of Florence in promoting the union of the Greeks. Certain vagabond friars called Frerots and Beroches, the remains of the Fratricelli, whose heresy was condemned by Boniface VIII. and John XXII. in the beginning of the fourteenth century, filled the marquisate of Ancona with disturbances, till St. John, having received a commission from Eugenius to preach against them, entirely cleared Italy of that pestilential seditious sect. Many parts of Germany being at that time full of disorders and confusion, the Emperor Frederick III., Æneas Sylvius, legate and bishop of Sienna, (afterwards Pope Pius II.,) and Albert, duke of Austria, the emperor’s brother, solicited Pope Nicholas that St. John might be sent into those countries, that the force of his example, zeal, and eloquence might give a check to the overflowings of vice and heresy. St. John, therefore, was invested with the authority of apostolic legate, and, attended with one colleague, travelled by Venice and Friuli into Carinthia, Carniola, Tirol, Bavaria, and Austria, preaching everywhere with incredible fruit. His sermons he delivered in Latin, and they were afterwards explained by an interpreter to those who did not understand that language. The like blessings attended his labours in Moravia, Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary. 3 He converted in Moravia four thousand Hussites. Rockysana, the head of that party in Bohemia, invited him to a conference; but King Pogebrac, fearing the consequences of such a disputation, would not allow him the liberty. St. John was mortified at this disappointment, and wrote a book against Rockysana. 4 It would be too long to follow the saint in his progresses through the provinces above-mentioned; also, through Brandenburg, Poland, and Hungary, or to mention the honours with which he was received by the electors and other princes, especially the Dukes of Bavaria and Saxony, the Marquess of Brandenburg, and the emperor himself, who often assisted at his sermons. 4

    Mahomet II. having taken Constantinople by assault on the 26th of May, 1453, Pope Nicholas V. sent a commission to St. John to exhort the Christian princes to take up arms to check the progress of the common enemy; which the saint executed with great success in several assemblies of princes of the empire. Nicholas V. dying in 1455, and Calixtus III. succeeding in the pontificate, St. John returned to Rome to receive the orders of the new pope. His holiness appeared more earnest than his predecessor had been to engage the Christians to undertake a general expedition against the infidels, who were carrying their victorious arms into the heart of Europe, 5 and he sent preachers to different parts to excite the princes to this war. St. John returned with ample powers to preach up the crusade in Germany and Hungary. Mahomet, after the taking of Constantinople, counted the western empire as already his own, and looked upon himself as master of all Christendom. Not doubting but he should soon plant the Ottoman crescent in the cities of Vienna and Rome, he marched his numerous victorious army into Hungary, and sat down before Belgrade on the 3d of June, in 1456. King Ladislas V. fled to Vienna; but John Corvin, commonly called Hunniades, 6 the brave Vayvode of Transylvania, and governor of Hungary, who had so often beat the Turks under Amurath, in Hungary, Transylvania, and Thrace, assembled his forces with all possible expedition, and sent to entreat St. John Capistran to hasten the march of forty thousand crusards, whom he had raised, to his assistance. The Turks covered the Danube with a fleet of two hundred ships of a particular construction for the navigation of that river, and had embarked on them an army of resolute veteran troops. Hunniades, with a fleet of a hundred and sixty saics, or small vessels, which were much lighter and much better commanded than those of the infidels, entirely discomfited them after a most obstinate and bloody engagement, and entered the town, which stands upon the confluence of the Danube and the Save. St. John Capistran attended him, animating the soldiers in the midst of all dangers, holding in his hands the cross that he had received from the pope. The Turks made several furious assaults upon the town, notwithstanding the slaughter of their bravest men was so great that they marched upon heaps of their own dead to the very walls. Thus at length they got into the town, and the Christians gave way before them. All things were despaired of, when St. John, appearing in the foremost rank, with his cross in his hand, encouraged the soldiers to conquer or die martyrs, often crying, with a loud voice, “Victory, Jesus, victory.” The Christians, thus animated, cut the infidels in pieces, threw them down from the ramparts, and drove them out of the town. In the sallies which the Christians made, they slew the Turks like sheep, and on every side repulsed their most determined and experienced troops. Mahomet, flushed with conquests and confidence of victory, became furious, and omitted nothing after every check to reanimate his troops, till at length, having lost his best officers and soldiers, and his own dearest friends, with sixty thousand soldiers, being himself wounded slightly in the thigh, and seeing the shattered remains of his great and haughty army, which he thought invincible, so dispirited, that he was no longer able, either by promises or severity, to make them face the Christians, shamefully raised the siege on the 6th of August; and, leaving behind him all his heavy artillery and baggage, and the greater part of his booty, retreated with precipitation. The next year he turned his arms, first against Trebizonde, and afterwards against the Persians; though, some time after, he again fell upon the West, when the brave Hunniades was no more. The glory of this victory is ascribed by historians not less to the zeal, courage, and activity of St. John Capistran than to the conduct of Hunniades. This great prince, who possessed the virtues of a Christian and all the qualifications of an accomplished general, was admirable for his foresight and precautions against all events, for his consummate knowledge of all the branches of the complicated art of war, for his undaunted courage in dangers, his alacrity, ardour, and cool presence of mind in action, and his skill in seizing the happy moments in battle upon which the greatest victories depend; which skill is so much the result of genius, improved by experience and deep reflection, that it may be called a kind of instinct, no less than the skill of able practitioners in physic in discerning the fatal, critical moments for applying powerful remedies in dangerous diseases, for strengthening nature in her efforts, or in checking, dissolving, correcting, or expelling morbid humours, &c. 5

    It is not, however, detracting in the least from the glory of this Christian hero, to give equal praise to the zeal, activity, address, and courage of a religious man, in whose authority, prudence, and sanctity the soldiers placed an entire confidence. After all, it was the finger of the Almighty which overthrew phalanxes that seemed invincible. God employs second causes, but in them his mercy and power are not less to be adored. The divine assistance in this happy deliverance was, doubtless, obtained by the prayers of the servants of God, especially of St. John Capistran, whose name was then famous for many miracles which had been wrought by him. The brave Hunniades was taken ill of a fever, which he contracted by the fatigues of this campaign, and died at Zemplin on the 10th of September the same year. When he lay dying, he would absolutely rise, and go to church to receive the viaticum, saying, he could not bear the thoughts that the King of kings should come to him. St. John Capistran never quitted him during his last sickness, and pronounced his funeral sermon. At the news of his death Pope Calixtus III. wept bitterly, and all Christendom was in tears: Mahomet himself grieved, saying, in his boast, there was no longer any prince left in the world whom it would be either an honour or a pleasure to vanquish. St. John did not long survive him, being seized with a fever, incurable dysentery, and bloody flux, with the gravel. Whilst he lay sick in his convent at Willech or Vilak, near Sirmich, in the diocess of Five Churches, he was honoured with the visits of King Ladislas, the queen, and many princes and noblemen. Under his pains he never ceased praising and glorifying God; frequently confessed his sins, and received the viaticum and extreme unction with many tears. He often repeated that God treated him with too great lenity, and would never be laid on a bed, but on the hard floor. In this posture he calmly expired on the 23d of October, in 1456, being seventy-one years old. When Willech fell into the hands of the Turks, his body was removed by the friars to another town where the Lutherans afterwards (having plundered the shrine) threw it into the Danube. The relics were taken out of the river at Illoc, and are preserved there to this day. Pope Leo X. granted an office in his honour, to be celebrated at Capistran, and in the diocess of Sulmona. The saint was canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690, and Benedict XIII. published the bull of his canonization in 1724. See his life compiled at length by F. Christopher of Variso, a Milanese, a disciple and companion; and again by F. Gabriel of Verona, another disciple. See also the letter of his religious companions, containing a relation of his death, to Card. Æneas Sylvius; Bonfinius, Dec. 3, l. 7; Æneas Sylvius, Hist. Boem. c. 65, and in Descr. Europæ, c. 8; Gonzaga in Austriacâ et Argentinâ Provincia, p. 451. F. Henry Sedulius, in Historia Seraphica, seu S. Francisci et aliorum hujus ordinis qui relati sunt inter sanctos, fol. Antv. 1611; and F. Wadding’s Annals, in eight vols. Fresnoy mistakes when he says, Wadding’s catalogue of writers makes his eighth volume: for there is an eighth volume of his annals printed at Rome, in 1654, after the others, very scarce before the new Roman edition. 6

    Note 1. Artificial heads of hair were used by some before bonnets became the fashion. [back]

    Note 2. The council of Basil was continued eighteen years, first at Basil, afterwards at Lausanne. Its proceedings in 1433 concerning the Hussites, and some points of ecclesiastical discipline, were approved and confirmed by Pope Eugenius IV. and this council is allowed to have been legal and general in the beginning, says Bellarmin; most theologians and canonists say, to the tenth session, held in 1433. During this session the pope, by a message, ordered it to be removed; and from this time the synod refused to admit his legates. By a few French theologians (whose number is very inconsiderable among those of that nation) it has been esteemed legal beyond this term to the twenty-sixth session, in 1437, when it was solemnly and finally dissolved by a bull of Eugenius, and the general council at the same time opened at Ferrara, to which Turrecramata, and a considerable part of those prelates that were assembled at Basil, then removed. Some, however, staid behind, and continued their sessions, but from this time schismatically, during the forty-five last sessions. In the thirty-sixth (schismatical) session, anno 1439, it was decreed, that the opinion which affirms the Blessed Virgin to have been conceived without original sin, is conformable to the Catholic faith, and to be held by all Catholics. The French Pragmatic sanction of Charles VII. relating chiefly to the collation of benefices, in 1438, was approved by this council. In the thirty-ninth session, in 1439, Amedius VII. formerly duke of Savoy, was chosen antipope, under the name of Felix V. This prince had governed his state with great prudence and virtue, and, in 1416, first erected the county of Savoy into a duchy. In 1434 he resigned his dominions to his two sons, and, turning hermit, retired to Ripailles, a most pleasant priory and solitude near the lake of Geneva; whence the proverb Faire Ripaille, for taking a pleasant country vacation. In 1439 he was prevailed upon by the schismatical prelates at Basil to receive from them a pretended pontificate; which he afterwards voluntarily resigned, in 1449, and, being created cardinal by Nicholas V., died piously at Geneva. The presence of the chief patriarchs, as principal prelates, (at least by their deputies,) and of bishops from the different kingdoms of the Catholic Church, who represent the body of the first pastors of the whole church, are conditions necessary to constitute a general council; which were wanting at Basil after the tenth session; these were even then holding a general council at Florence. The confirmation of the pope is also required by most canonists and theologians to a general council. If doubts arise whether a council be general, we are to consider whether it be looked upon by the church as such, and as the representative of the whole; or whether the whole church receives ex post facto, as they say, and acquiesces in its decisions. Thus the frivolous objection that the conditions of certain councils are ambiguous, falls to the ground, and we cannot in practice be at a loss where to fix this authority, though this may sometimes be obscure till circumstances are cleared up.

    The true general council of Florence met first at Ferrara in 1437; and thither John Palæologus, the Greek emperor, with his prelates, repaired. After sixteen sessions, a contagious distemper breaking out at Ferrara, the council was removed by Eugenius IV. to Florence, in 1439, and the same year, in the twenty-fifth session, (which was the tenth that was held at Florence,) on the 6th of July, the Greeks having renounced their schism and errors, (except Mark of Ephesus,) the decree of union was signed. After the departure of the Greeks the Armenians abjured their heresy, and subscribed a decree of union proposed by Eugenius IV. This council lasted three years after this, and was at length concluded at Rome, in the Lateran palace, in 1442. See Nat. Alex. Hist. Sæc. 15, Diss. 8, 9; Macquer; Le Fevre in Cont. Fleury, t. 22, l. 3, Graveson; Leo Allatius, de Consensu Eccl. Occid. et Orient; Berthier, Hist. l’Egl. Gallic t. 16, &c. [back]

    Note 3. Bohemia was at that time overrun with Hussites, and from the year 1415 had been a scene of blood and tumults. To revenge the death of John Huss, Zisca, (whose true name was John of Trocznou,) a veteran general, assembled an army of his followers, and plundered the whole country with unheard-of barbarity. After the death of King Wenceslas, in 1417, he opposed the election of Sigismund, who was Emperor of Germany, defeated his armies eight times, built the strong fortress which he called Thabor, amidst waters and mountains, and died in 1424. Sigismund had made peace with him before his death, and at the council of Basil promised the archbishopric of Prague to John Rockysana, a clergyman, who had been deputed by the Hussites to the council of Basil, but who abjured that heresy, upon condition that the laity in Bohemia might be allowed to communicate in both kinds. The deputies of the council of Basil, and the Catholic assembly at Iglaw, in the diocess of Olmutz, in 1436, acquiesced; but required this condition, that, in case of such a concession, the priest should declare before giving the communion in both kinds, that it is an error to believe that Christ’s body or blood is alone under either kind. This Rockysana boggled at: nor would the pope ever grant him his bulls. His partisans, however, styled him archbishop, and he appeared at their head till his death, which happened a little before that of George Pogebrac, in 1471, who had been king of Bohemia from the year 1458: though secretly a Hussite, he demolished the fortress of Thabor, that it might not serve for a retreat to rebels. [back]

    Note 4. The chief works of St. John Capistran are, A Treatise on the Authority of the Pope against the Council of Basil; The Mirror of Priests; A Penitential; On the Last Judgment; On Antichrist and the Spiritual Warfare; with some tracts on points of the civil and canon law. His books on the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Christ’s passion, (on which see Benedict XIV. de Canoniz. Sanct.) several against Rockysana, and the Hussites, &c., have never been printed. [back]

    Note 5. The victories of Tamerlane over Bajazet, in 1399, had not so weakened the Turks, but they raised their heads again in the reign of Mahomet I. who wrested from the Venetians several places of which they were then possessed on the coasts of Asia Minor and in Europe; for their dominions at that time extended from the Capo d’Istria to the walls of Constantinople. In 1420 this conqueror took from them Salonica, the capital of Macedon; which the Greek emperor had given them, because he was not in a condition himself to defend it. Mahomet’s two immediate successors, Amurath II. and Mahomet II. were the greatest conquerors that nation ever produced. The former, nevertheless, met with great checks from Hunniades and Scanderbeg. Hunniades defeated two armies, which he sent to invade Hungary, in 1442, and obtained for King Ladislas IV. a good peace. But that prince, thinking the opportunity of the crusade favourable, broke his treaty, by the advice of the legate, Cardinal Julian, on this false pretence, that the infidels never observed treaties with Christians, when it seemed their interest to break them; as if the injustice of others could excuse in them the same crimes. In punishment, whilst Hunniades routed the left wing of the Turks, the king, by his own rashness, lost the victory with his life, in the plains of Varne, in Bulgary, in 1444. Ladislas V. the son of Albert of Austria, a child only five years old, being chosen king, Hunniades was appointed governor of the kingdom, which he protected by his valour. At the same time reigned in Epirus the famous George Castriot, called by the Turks Scanderbeg, that is, Lord Alexander, who passed his youth among them, an hostage from his father in the court of Amurath II. His wonderful exploits and his victories over the numerous armies of Amurath and Mahomet II. are as well known as the name of King Arthur. (See his life written by Marinus Barlet, a contemporary priest of Epirus; and that compiled in French by F. Poncet, Jesuit, in 1709.) Scanderbeg, on his death-bed, in the sixty-third year of his age, with his children, recommended his dominions to the care and protection of the Venetians; but they soon after fell into the hands of the Turks. Matthias Corvinus, a son of the brave Hunniades, was chosen king of Hungary in 1458, and, so long as he lived, defended that kingdom from the insults of the infidels. [back]

    Note 6. Or Hugniades, pronounced Hunniades. [back]



    Saint Pope John Paul II

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      (Redirected from Saint John Paul II)
    Pope Saint
    John Paul II
    Bishop of Rome
    John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver, Colorado
    John Paul II in 1993
    Papacy began 16 October 1978
    Papacy ended 2 April 2005
    Predecessor John Paul I
    Successor Benedict XVI
    Ordination 1 November 1946
    by Adam Stefan Sapieha
    Consecration 28 September 1958
    by Eugeniusz Baziak
    Created Cardinal 26 June 1967
    by Paul VI
    Personal details
    Birth name Karol Józef Wojtyła
    Born 18 May 1920
    Wadowice, Republic of Poland
    Died 2 April 2005 (aged 84)
    Apostolic Palace, Vatican City
    Nationality Polish (with Vatican citizenship)
    Denomination Roman Catholic (Latin Church)
    Previous post
    Motto Totus Tuus
    (Totally yours)
    Signature John Paul II's signature
    Coat of arms John Paul II's coat of arms
    Feast day 22 October
    Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
    Beatified 1 May 2011
    St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
    by Pope Benedict XVI
    Canonized 27 April 2014
    St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
    by Pope Francis
    Other popes named John Paul
    Papal styles of
    Pope John Paul II
    John paul 2 coa.svg
    Reference style His Holiness
    Spoken style Your Holiness
    Religious style Holy Father
    Posthumous style Saint

    Pope Saint John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus II; Italian: Giovanni Paolo II; Polish: Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła;[a] Polish: [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛv vɔjˈtɨwa];[b] 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. He is called Saint John Paul the Great by some Catholics.[3][4][5]

    He was elected by the second Papal conclave of 1978, which was called after Pope John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after thirty-three days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted his predecessor's name in tribute to him.[6][7] John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.[8] John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. He upheld the Church's teachings on such matters as artificial contraception and the ordination of women, but also supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reforms.

    He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's bishops, and ordained many priests.[9] A key goal of John Paul's papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great religious armada".[10][11]

    John Paul II was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX, who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523. John Paul II's cause for canonisation commenced in 2005 one month after his death with the traditional five-year waiting period waived. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 (Divine Mercy Sunday) after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to his intercession, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease. A second miracle attributed to John Paul II's intercession was approved on 2 July 2013, and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later (two miracles must be attributed to a person's intercession to be declared a saint). John Paul II was canonised on 27 April 2014 (again Divine Mercy Sunday), together with Pope John XXIII.[12] On 11 September 2014, Pope Francis added John Paul II's optional memorial feast day to the worldwide General Roman Calendar of saints, in response to worldwide requests.[13] It is traditional to celebrate saints' feast days on the anniversary of their deaths, but that of John Paul II (22 October) is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.[14][15]




    Early life

    The wedding portrait of John Paul II's parents, Emilia and Karol Wojtyła Snr
    The courtyard within the family home of the Wojtyłas in Wadowice, Poland

    Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in the Polish town of Wadowice.[16][17] He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyła (1879–1941), an ethnic Pole,[18] and Emilia Kaczorowska (1884–1929), whose mother's maiden surname was Scholz.[19] Emilia, who was a schoolteacher, died in childbirth in 1929[20] when Wojtyła was eight years old.[21] His elder sister Olga had died before his birth, but he was close to his brother Edmund, nicknamed Mundek, who was 13 years his senior. Edmund's work as a physician eventually led to his death from scarlet fever, a loss that affected Wojtyła deeply.[18][21]

    As a boy, Wojtyła was athletic, often playing football as goalkeeper.[22] During his childhood, Wojtyła had contact with Wadowice's large Jewish community.[23] School football games were often organised between teams of Jews and Catholics, and Wojtyła often played on the Jewish side.[18][22] "I remember that at least a third of my classmates at elementary school in Wadowice were Jews. At elementary school there were fewer. With some I was on very friendly terms. And what struck me about some of them was their Polish patriotism."[24] It was around this time that the young Karol had his first serious relationship with a girl. He became close to a girl called Ginka Beer, described as "a Jewish beauty, with stupendous eyes and jet black hair, slender, a superb actress."[25]

    In mid-1938, Wojtyła and his father left Wadowice and moved to Kraków, where he enrolled at the Jagiellonian University. While studying such topics as philology and various languages, he worked as a volunteer librarian and was required to participate in compulsory military training in the Academic Legion, but he refused to fire a weapon. He performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright.[26] During this time, his talent for language blossomed, and he learned as many as 12 languages — Polish, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, German, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak and Esperanto,[27] nine of which he used extensively as pope.

    In 1939, Nazi German occupation forces closed the university after invading Poland.[16] Able-bodied males were required to work, so from 1940 to 1944 Wojtyła variously worked as a messenger for a restaurant, a manual labourer in a limestone quarry and for the Solvay chemical factory, to avoid deportation to Germany.[17][26] In 1940 he was struck by a tram, suffering a fractured skull. The same year he was hit by a lorry in a quarry, which left him with one shoulder higher than the other and a permanent stoop.[28] His father, a former Austro-Hungarian non-commissioned officer and later officer in the Polish Army, died of a heart attack in 1941,[19] leaving Wojtyła as the immediate family's only surviving member.[18][20][29] "I was not at my mother's death, I was not at my brother's death, I was not at my father's death," he said, reflecting on these times of his life, nearly forty years later, "At twenty, I had already lost all the people I loved."[29]

    The tomb of the parents of John Paul II at Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków, Poland

    After his father's death, he started thinking seriously about the priesthood.[30] In October 1942, while the war continued, he knocked on the door of the Bishop's Palace in Kraków and asked to study for the priesthood.[30] Soon after, he began courses in the clandestine underground seminary run by the Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha. On 29 February 1944, Wojtyła was hit by a German truck. German Wehrmacht officers tended to him and sent him to a hospital. He spent two weeks there recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury. It seemed to him that this accident and his survival was a confirmation of his vocation. On 6 August 1944, a day known as "Black Sunday",[31] the Gestapo rounded up young men in Kraków to curtail the uprising there, [31] similar to the recent uprising in Warsaw.[32][33] Wojtyła escaped by hiding in the basement of his uncle's house at 10 Tyniecka Street, while the German troops searched above.[30][32][33] More than eight thousand men and boys were taken that day, while Wojtyła escaped to the Archbishop's Palace,[30][31][32] where he remained until after the Germans had left.[18][30][32]

    On the night of 17 January 1945, the Germans fled the city, and the students reclaimed the ruined seminary. Wojtyła and another seminarian volunteered for the task of clearing away piles of frozen excrement from the toilets.[34] Wojtyła also helped a 14-year-old Jewish refugee girl named Edith Zierer,[35] who had escaped from a Nazi labour camp in Częstochowa.[35] Edith had collapsed on a railway platform, so Wojtyła carried her to a train and stayed with her throughout the journey to Kraków. Edith credits Wojtyła with saving her life that day.[36][37][38] B'nai B'rith and other authorities have said that Wojtyła helped protect many other Polish Jews from the Nazis. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a Jewish family sent its son, Stanley Berger, to be hidden by a Gentile Polish family. Berger's biological Jewish parents died during the Holocaust, and after the war Berger's new Christian parents asked a young Polish priest named Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, to baptise the boy. The future pope refused, claiming that the child should be raised in the Jewish faith of his birth parents and nation, not as a Catholic.[39] In September 2003, Emmanuelle Pacifici, the head of Italy's Jewish community, proposed that John Paul II receive the medal of a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a two-year-old Jewish boy by giving him to a Gentile Polish family to be hidden in 1942, when Karol Wojtyła was just a seminarian. After the war, this boy's Christian adopted parents asked the future Pope John Paul II to baptise the boy, yet once again he refused, as with Berger. After the war, Karol Wojtyła did everything he could to ensure that this Jewish boy he saved leave Poland to be raised by his Jewish relatives in the United States.[40] In April 2005, shortly after John Paul II's death, the Israeli government created a commission to honour the legacy of John Paul II. One of the proposed ways of honouring him was to give him the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations.[41] In Wojtyła's last book, Memory and Identity, he described the 12 years of the Nazi régime as "bestiality",[42] quoting from the Polish theologian and philosopher Konstanty Michalski.[43]


    Ordination history of
    Pope John Paul II
    Episcopal succession
    Source(s): [44][45]

    After finishing his studies at the seminary in Kraków, Wojtyła was ordained as a priest on All Saints' Day, 1 November 1946,[20] by the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Sapieha.[17][46][47] Sapieha sent Wojtyła to Rome's Pontifical International Athenaeum Angelicum, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, to study under the French Dominican Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange beginning on 26 November 1946. He resided in the Belgian Pontifical College during this time, under presidency of Mgr Maximilien de Furstenberg.[48] Wojtyła earned a licence in July 1947, passed his doctoral exam on 14 June 1948, and successfully defended his doctoral thesis titled Doctrina de fide apud S. Ioannem a Cruce (The Doctrine of Faith in St. John of the Cross) in philosophy on 19 June 1948.[49] The Angelicum preserves the original copy of Wojtyła's typewritten thesis.[50] Among other courses at the Angelicum, Wojtyła studied Hebrew with the Dutch Dominican Peter G. Duncker, author of the Compendium grammaticae linguae hebraicae biblicae.[51]

    According to Wojtyła's schoolmate the future Austrian Cardinal Alfons Stickler, in 1947 during his sojourn at the Angelicum Wojtyła visited Padre Pio, who heard his confession and told him that one day he would ascend to "the highest post in the Church".[52] Cardinal Stickler added that Wojtyła believed that the prophecy was fulfilled when he became a Cardinal.[53]

    Wojtyła returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 for his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowić, fifteen miles (24 kilometres) from Kraków, at the Church of the Assumption. He arrived at Niegowić at harvest time, where his first action was to kneel and kiss the ground.[54] He repeated this gesture, which he adapted from the French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney,[54] throughout his papacy.


    In March 1949, Wojtyła was transferred to the parish of Saint Florian in Kraków. He taught ethics at Jagiellonian University and subsequently at the Catholic University of Lublin. While teaching, he gathered a group of about 20 young people, who began to call themselves Rodzinka, the "little family". They met for prayer, philosophical discussion, and to help the blind and sick. The group eventually grew to approximately 200 participants, and their activities expanded to include annual skiing and kayaking trips.[55]

    In 1953, Wojtyła's habilitation thesis was accepted by the Faculty of Theology at the Jagiellonian University. In 1954, he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology,[56] evaluating the feasibility of a Catholic ethic based on the ethical system of the phenomenologist Max Scheler with a dissertation titled "Reevaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler"[57] (Ocena możliwości zbudowania etyki chrześcijańskiej przy założeniach systemu Maksa Schelera).[58] Scheler was a German philosopher who founded a broad philosophical movement that emphasised the study of conscious experience. However, the Communist authorities abolished the Faculty of Theology at the Jagellonian University, thereby preventing him from receiving the degree until 1957.[47] Wojtyła developed a theological approach that combined traditional Catholic Thomism with the ideas of personalism, a philosophical approach deriving from phenomenology, which was popular among Catholic intellectuals in Kraków during Wojtyła's intellectual development. He translated Scheler's Formalism and the Ethics of Substantive Values.[59]

    During this period, Wojtyła wrote a series of articles in Kraków's Catholic newspaper, Tygodnik Powszechny ("Universal Weekly"), dealing with contemporary church issues.[60] He focused on creating original literary work during his first dozen years as a priest. War, life under Communism, and his pastoral responsibilities all fed his poetry and plays. Wojtyła published his work under two pseudonyms—Andrzej Jawień and Stanisław Andrzej Gruda[26][60]—to distinguish his literary from his religious writings (under his own name), and also so that his literary works would be considered on their merits.[26][60] In 1960, Wojtyła published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility, a defence of traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.[26][61]

    While a priest in Kraków, groups of students regularly joined Wojtyła for hiking, skiing, bicycling, camping and kayaking, accompanied by prayer, outdoor Masses and theological discussions. In Stalinist-era Poland, it was not permitted for priests to travel with groups of students. Father Wojtyła asked his younger companions to call him "Wujek" (Polish for "Uncle") to prevent outsiders from deducing he was a priest. The nickname gained popularity among his followers. In 1958, when Wojtyła was named auxiliary bishop of Kraków, his acquaintances expressed concern that this would cause him to change. Wojtyła responded to his friends, "Wujek will remain Wujek," and he continued to live a simple life, shunning the trappings that came with his position as Bishop. This beloved nickname stayed with Wojtyła for his entire life and continues to be affectionately used, particularly by the Polish people.[62][63]

    Episcopate and cardinalate

    Where John Paul II once lived as priest and bishop on Kanonicza Street, Kraków (now an Archdiocese Museum)

    On 4 July 1958,[47] while Wojtyła was on a kayaking holiday in the lakes region of northern Poland, Pope Pius XII appointed him as the Auxiliary Bishop of Kraków. He was then summoned to Warsaw to meet the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, who informed him of his appointment.[64][65] He agreed to serve as Auxiliary Bishop to Kraków's Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak, and he received episcopal consecration (as Titular Bishop of Ombi) on 28 September 1958. Baziak was the principal consecrator. Principal co-consecrators were Bishop Boleslaw Kominek (Titular Bishop of Sophene and Vågå, auxiliary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław, and future Cardinal and Archbishop of Wrocław) and then-Auxiliary Bishop Franciszek Jop of the Catholic Diocese of Sandomierz (Titular Bishop of Daulia; later Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Wrocław and then Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Opole).[47] At the age of 38, Wojtyła became the youngest bishop in Poland. The following year, 1959, Wojtyla held Nowa Huta's first ever Mass, a Midnight Mass on Christmas Day. Baziak died in June 1962 and on 16 July Wojtyła was selected as Vicar Capitular (temporary administrator) of the Archdiocese until an Archbishop could be appointed.[16][17]

    In October 1962, Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965),[16][47] where he made contributions to two of its most historic and influential products, the Decree on Religious Freedom (in Latin, Dignitatis humanae) and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes).[47] Wojtyła and the Polish bishops contributed a draft text to the Council for Gaudium et spes. According to the historian John W. O'Malley, the draft text Gaudium et spes that Wojtyła and the Polish delegation sent "had some influence on the version that was sent to the council fathers that summer but was not accepted as the base text".[66] According to John F. Crosby, as pope, John Paul II used the words of Gaudium et spes later to introduce his own views on the nature of the human person in relation to God: man is "the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake", but man "can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself".[67]

    He also participated in the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.[16][17] On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Kraków.[68] On 26 June 1967, Paul VI announced Archbishop Karol Wojtyła's promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals.[47][68] Wojtyła was named Cardinal-Priest of the titulus of San Cesareo in Palatio.

    In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclical Humanae vitae, which dealt with the same issues that forbid abortion and artificial birth control.[47][69][70]

    In 1970, according to a contemporary witness, Cardinal Wojtyła was against the distribution of a letter around Kraków, stating that the Polish Episcopate was preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Polish–Soviet War.

    In 1973 Cardinal Wojtyła met philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, the wife of Hendrik S. Houthakker, Professor of Economy at Stanford University and Harvard University, and member of President Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers[71][72][73] Tymieniecka collaborated with Wojtyła on a number of projects including an English translation of Wojtyła's book „Osoba i czyn” (Person and Act). Person and Act, one of Pope John Paul II's foremost literary works, was initially written in Polish.[72] Tymieniecka produced the English-language version.[72] The two of them corresponded over the years, and grew to be good friends.[72][74] When Wojtyła visited New England, USA in summer 1976, Tymieniecka put him up as a guest in her family home.[72][74] Wojtyła enjoyed his holiday in Pomfret, Vermont kayaking and enjoying as he had done in his beloved Poland.[72][74][65] Photos of the two friends on holiday together; skiing, camping and picnicking, show Cardinal Wojtyła in his shorts, in his most relaxed state.[72][73][74]

    During Wojtyła's visits to Pomfret, Tymieniecka also organised his meeting with the American Cardinals through connections of her husband. These same Cardinals would be the ones who would give him most support at his eventual election to the papacy[75]



    The newly elected Pope John Paul II stands on the balcony at St. Peter's Basilica on 16 October 1978 in Vatican City.
    The coat of arms of Pope John Paul II displaying the Marian Cross with the letter M signifying the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus

    In August 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyła voted in the papal conclave, which elected Pope John Paul I. John Paul I died after only 33 days as pope, triggering another conclave.[17][47][76]

    The second conclave of 1978 started on 14 October, ten days after the funeral. It was split between two strong candidates for the papacy: Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, the conservative Archbishop of Genoa, and the liberal Archbishop of Florence, Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, a close friend of John Paul I.[77]

    Supporters of Benelli were confident that he would be elected, and in early ballots, Benelli came within nine votes of success.[77] However, both men faced sufficient opposition for neither to be likely to prevail. Giovanni Colombo, the Archbishop of Milan was considered as a compromise candidate among the Italian cardinal-electors, but when he started to receive votes, he announced that, if elected, he would decline to accept the papacy.[78] Franz Cardinal König, Archbishop of Vienna, suggested to his fellow electors another compromise candidate: the Polish Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła.[77] Wojtyła won on the eighth ballot on the third day (16 October) with, according to the Italian press, 99 votes from the 111 participating electors.

    Also among those cardinals who rallied behind Wojtyła were supporters of Giuseppe Siri, Stefan Wyszyński, most of the American cardinals (led by John Krol), and other moderate cardinals. He accepted his election with these words: "With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.[79][80]" The pope, in tribute to his immediate predecessor, then took the regnal name of John Paul II,[47][77] also in honour of the late Pope Paul VI, and the traditional white smoke informed the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square that a pope had been chosen. There had been rumours that the new pope wished to be known as Pope Stanislaus I in honour of the Polish saint of the name, but was convinced by the cardinals that it was not a Roman name.[76] When the new pontiff appeared on the balcony, he broke tradition by addressing the gathered crowd:[79]

    Dear brothers and sisters, we are saddened at the death of our beloved Pope John Paul I, and so the cardinals have called for a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a faraway land—far and yet always close because of our communion in faith and Christian traditions. I was afraid to accept that responsibility, yet I do so in a spirit of obedience to the Lord and total faithfulness to Mary, our most Holy Mother. I am speaking to you in your—no, our Italian language. If I make a mistake, please 'corrict' me ....[81][79][82][83][deliberately mispronouncing the word 'correct']

    Wojtyła became the 264th pope according to the chronological list of popes, the first non-Italian in 455 years.[84] At only 58 years of age, he was the youngest pope since Pope Pius IX in 1846, who was 54.[47] Like his predecessor, John Paul II dispensed with the traditional Papal coronation and instead received ecclesiastical investiture with a simplified Papal inauguration on 22 October 1978. During his inauguration, when the cardinals were to kneel before him to take their vows and kiss his ring, he stood up as the Polish prelate Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński knelt down, stopped him from kissing the ring, and simply hugged him.[85]

    Pastoral trips

    A statue of Pope John Paul II with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, near the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. The statue was made entirely of metal keys donated by the Mexican people.[86]

    During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries,[87] travelling more than 1,100,000 kilometres (680,000 mi) while doing so. He consistently attracted large crowds, some among the largest ever assembled in human history, such as the Manila World Youth Day, which gathered up to four million people, the largest Papal gathering ever, according to the Vatican.[88][89] John Paul II's earliest official visits were to the Dominican Republic and Mexico in January 1979.[90] While some of his trips (such as to the United States and the Holy Land) were to places previously visited by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House in October 1979, where he was greeted warmly by then-President Jimmy Carter. He was the first pope ever to visit several countries in one year, starting in 1979 with Mexico[91] and Ireland.[92] He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, in 1982, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. While in Britain he also visited Canterbury Cathedral and knelt in prayer with Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the spot where Thomas à Becket had been killed,[93] as well as holding several large-scale open air masses, including one at Wembley Stadium, which was attended by some 80,000 people.[94]

    He travelled to Haiti in 1983, where he spoke in Creole to thousands of impoverished Catholics gathered to greet him at the airport. His message, "things must change in Haiti," referring to the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, was met with thunderous applause.[95] In 2000, he was the first modern pope to visit Egypt,[96] where he met with the Coptic pope, Pope Shenouda III[96] and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.[96] He was the first Catholic pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque, in Damascus, Syria, in 2001. He visited the Umayyad Mosque, a former Christian church where John the Baptist is believed to be interred,[97] where he made a speech calling for Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together.[97]

    On 15 January 1995, during the X World Youth Day, he offered Mass to an estimated crowd of between five and seven million in Luneta Park,[89] Manila, Philippines, which was considered to be the largest single gathering in Christian history.[89] In March 2000, while visiting Jerusalem, John Paul became the first pope in history to visit and pray at the Western Wall.[98][99] In September 2001, amid post-11 September concerns, he travelled to Kazakhstan, with an audience largely consisting of Muslims, and to Armenia, to participate in the celebration of 1,700 years of Armenian Christianity.[100]

    In June 1979, Pope John Paul II travelled to Poland, where ecstatic crowds constantly surrounded him.[101] This first papal trip to Poland uplifted the nation's spirit and sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980, which later brought freedom and human rights to his troubled homeland.[69] Poland's Communist leaders intended to use the pope's visit to show the people that although the pope was Polish it did not alter their capacity to govern, oppress, and distribute the goods of society. They also hoped that if the pope abided by the rules they set, that the Polish people would see his example and follow them as well. If the pope's visit inspired a riot, the Communist leaders of Poland were prepared to crush the uprising and blame the suffering on the pope.[102]

    "The pope won that struggle by transcending politics. His was what Joseph Nye calls 'soft power' — the power of attraction and repulsion. He began with an enormous advantage, and exploited it to the utmost: He headed the one institution that stood for the polar opposite of the Communist way of life that the Polish people hated. He was a Pole, but beyond the regime's reach. By identifying with him, Poles would have the chance to cleanse themselves of the compromises they had to make to live under the regime. And so they came to him by the millions. They listened. He told them to be good, not to compromise themselves, to stick by one another, to be fearless, and that God is the only source of goodness, the only standard of conduct. 'Be not afraid,' he said. Millions shouted in response, 'We want God! We want God! We want God!' The regime cowered. Had the Pope chosen to turn his soft power into the hard variety, the regime might have been drowned in blood. Instead, the Pope simply led the Polish people to desert their rulers by affirming solidarity with one another. The Communists managed to hold on as despots a decade longer. But as political leaders, they were finished. Visiting his native Poland in 1979, Pope John Paul II struck what turned out to be a mortal blow to its Communist regime, to the Soviet Empire, [and] ultimately to Communism."[102]

    According to John Lewis Gaddis, one of the most influential historians of the Cold War, the trip led to the formation of Solidarity and would begin the process of Communism's demise in Eastern Europe:

    When Pope John Paul II kissed the ground at the Warsaw airport he began the process by which Communism in Poland—and ultimately elsewhere in Europe—would come to an end.[103]

    On later trips to Poland, he gave tacit support to the Solidarity organisation.[69] These visits reinforced this message and contributed to the collapse of East European Communism that took place between 1989/1990 with the reintroduction of democracy in Poland, and which then spread through Eastern Europe (1990–1991) and South-Eastern Europe (1990–1992).[82][87][101][104][105]


    As pope, John Paul II wrote 14 papal encyclicals and taught about sexuality in what is referred as the "Theology of the Body". Some key elements of his strategy to "reposition the Catholic Church" were encyclicals such as Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Reconciliatio et paenitentia and Redemptoris Mater. In his At the beginning of the new millennium (Novo Millennio Ineunte), he emphasised the importance of "starting afresh from Christ": "No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person." In The Splendour of the Truth (Veritatis Splendor), he emphasised the dependence of man on God and His Law ("Without the Creator, the creature disappears") and the "dependence of freedom on the truth". He warned that man "giving himself over to relativism and scepticism, goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself". In Fides et Ratio (On the Relationship between Faith and Reason) John Paul promoted a renewed interest in philosophy and an autonomous pursuit of truth in theological matters. Drawing on many different sources (such as Thomism), he described the mutually supporting relationship between faith and reason, and emphasised that theologians should focus on that relationship. John Paul II wrote extensively about workers and the social doctrine of the Church, which he discussed in three encyclicals: Laborem exercens, Sollicitudo rei socialis, and Centesimus annus. Through his encyclicals and many Apostolic Letters and Exhortations, John Paul II talked about the dignity of women and the importance of the family for the future of humanity.[69] Other encyclicals include The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) and Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One). Though critics accused him of inflexibility in explicitly re-asserting Catholic moral teachings against abortion and euthanasia that have been in place for well over a thousand years, he urged a more nuanced view of capital punishment.[69] In his second encyclical Dives in misericordia he stressed that divine mercy is the greatest feature of God, needed especially in modern times.

    Moral stances

    During a visit to Germany, 1980

    John Paul II was considered a conservative on doctrine and issues relating to human sexual reproduction and the ordination of women.[106]

    While he was visiting the United States in 1977, the year before becoming pope, Wojtyla said: "All human life, from the moments of conception and through all subsequent stages, is sacred."[107]

    A series of 129 lectures given by John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984 were later compiled and published as a single work titled Theology of the Body, an extended meditation on human sexuality. He extended it to the condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and virtually all capital punishment,[108] calling them all a part of the "culture of death" that is pervasive in the modern world. He campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.[69][106] He coined the term "social mortgage", which related that all private property had a social dimension, namely, that "the goods of this are originally meant for all."[109] In 2000, he publicly endorsed the Jubilee 2000 campaign on African debt relief fronted by Irish rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono, once famously interrupting a U2 recording session by telephoning the studio and asking to speak to Bono.[110]

    Pope John Paul II, who was present and very influential at the 1962–65 Second Vatican Council, affirmed the teachings of that Council and did much to implement them. Nevertheless, his critics often wished that he would embrace the so-called "progressive" agenda that some hoped would evolve as a result of the Council. In fact, the Council did not advocate "progressive" changes in these areas; for example, they still condemned abortion as an unspeakable crime. Pope John Paul II continued to declare that contraception, abortion, and homosexual acts were gravely sinful, and, with Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI), opposed liberation theology.

    Following the Church's exaltation of the marital act of sexual intercourse between a baptised man and woman within sacramental marriage as proper and exclusive to the sacrament of marriage, John Paul II believed that it was, in every instance, profaned by contraception, abortion, divorce followed by a 'second' marriage, and by homosexual acts. In 1994, John Paul II asserted the Church's lack of authority to ordain women to the priesthood, stating that without such authority ordination is not legitimately compatible with fidelity to Christ. This was also deemed a repudiation of calls to break with the constant tradition of the Church by ordaining women to the priesthood.[111] In addition, John Paul II chose not to end the discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy, although in a small number of unusual circumstances, he did allow certain married clergymen of other Christian traditions who later became Catholic to be ordained as Catholic priests.

    Apartheid in South Africa

    Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of apartheid in South Africa. In 1985, while visiting the Netherlands, he gave an impassioned speech condemning apartheid at the International Court of Justice, proclaiming that "No system of apartheid or separate development will ever be acceptable as a model for the relations between peoples or races."[112] In September 1988, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to ten Southern African countries, including those bordering South Africa, while demonstratively avoiding South Africa. During his visit to Zimbabwe, John Paul II called for economic sanctions against South Africa's government.[113] After John Paul II's death, both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised the pope for defending human rights and condemning economic injustice.[114]

    Capital punishment

    Pope John Paul II was an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, although previous popes had accepted the practice. At a papal mass in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States he said:

    A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.[115]

    During that visit, John Paul II convinced the then governor of Missouri, Mel Carnahan, to reduce the death sentence of convicted murderer Darrell J. Mease to life imprisonment without parole.[116] John Paul II's other attempts to reduce the sentence of death-row inmates were unsuccessful. In 1983, John Paul II visited Guatemala and unsuccessfully asked the country's president, Efraín Ríos Montt, to reduce the sentence for six left-wing guerrillas sentenced to death.[117]

    In 2002, John Paul II again travelled to Guatemala. At that time, Guatemala was one of only two countries in Latin America (the other being Cuba) to apply capital punishment. John Paul II asked the Guatemalan president, Alfonso Portillo, for a moratorium on executions.[118]

    European Union

    Pope John Paul II pushed for a reference to Europe's Christian cultural roots in the draft of the European Constitution. In his 2003 apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, John Paul II wrote that he "fully (respected) the secular nature of (European) institutions". However, he wanted the EU Constitution to enshrine religious rights, including acknowledging the rights of religious groups to organise freely, recognise the specific identity of each denomination and allow for a "structured dialogue" between each religious community and the EU, and extend across the European Union the legal status enjoyed by religious institutions in individual member states. "I wish once more to appeal to those drawing up the future European Constitutional Treaty so that it will include a reference to the religion and in particular to the Christian heritage of Europe," John Paul II said. The pope's desire for a reference to Europe's Christian identity in the Constitution was supported by non-Catholic representatives of the Church of England and Orthodox Churches from Russia, Romania, and Greece.[119] John Paul II's demand to include a reference to Europe's Christian roots in the European Constitution was supported by some non-Christians, such as Joseph Weiler, a practising Orthodox Jew and renowned constitutional lawyer, who said that the Constitution's lack of a reference to Christianity was not a "demonstration of neutrality," but, rather, "a Jacobin attitude".[120]

    At the same time, however, John Paul II was an enthusiastic supporter of European integration; in particular, he supported his native Poland's entry into the bloc. On 19 May 2003, three weeks before a referendum was held in Poland on EU membership, the Polish pope addressed his compatriots and urged them to vote for Poland's EU membership at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City State. While some conservative, Catholic politicians in Poland opposed EU membership, John Paul II said:

    I know that there are many in opposition to integration. I appreciate their concern about maintaining the cultural and religious identity of our nation. However, I must emphasise that Poland has always been an important part of Europe. Europe needs Poland. The Church in Europe needs the Poles' testimony of faith. Poland needs Europe.[121]

    The Polish pope compared Poland's entry into the EU to the Union of Lublin, which was signed in 1564 and united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into one nation and created an elective monarchy.[122]


    On 22 October 1996, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences plenary session at the Vatican, John Paul II said of evolution that "this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory." John Paul II's embrace of evolution was enthusiastically praised by American palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould,[123] with whom he had an audience in 1984.[124]

    Although generally accepting the theory of evolution, John Paul II made one major exception—the human soul. "If the human body has its origin in living material which pre-exists it, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God."[125][126][127]

    Iraq War

    In 2003 John Paul II criticised the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, saying in his State of the World address "No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity."[128] He sent Pío Cardinal Laghi, the former Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, to talk with George W. Bush, the American President, to express opposition to the war. John Paul II said that it was up to the United Nations to solve the international conflict through diplomacy and that a unilateral aggression is a crime against peace and a violation of international law. The pope's opposition to the Iraq War led to him being a candidate to win the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, which was ultimately awarded to Iranian attorney/judge and noted human rights advocate, Shirin Ebadi.[129][130]

    Liberation theology

    In 1984 and 1986, through Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, John Paul II officially condemned aspects of liberation theology, which had many followers in South America. Visiting Europe, Óscar Romero unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a Vatican condemnation of El Salvador's regime, for violations of human rights and its support of death squads. In his travel to Managua, Nicaragua, in 1983, John Paul II harshly condemned what he dubbed the "popular Church"[131] (i.e. "ecclesial base communities" supported by the CELAM), and the Nicaraguan clergy's tendencies to support the leftist Sandinistas, reminding the clergy of their duties of obedience to the Holy See.[131] During that visit Ernesto Cardenal, a priest and minister in the Sandinista government, knelt to kiss his hand. John Paul withdrew it, wagged his finger in Cardenal's face, and told him, "You must straighten out your position with the church."[132]

    Organised crime

    Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to actively fight against Mafia violence in Southern Italy. In 1993, during a pilgrimage to Agrigento, Sicily, he appealed to the Mafiosi: "I say to those responsible: 'Convert! One day, the judgment of God will arrive!'" In 1994, John Paul II visited Catania and told victims of Mafia violence to "rise up and cloak yourself in light and justice!"[133] In 1995, the Mafia bombed two historical churches in Rome. Some believed that this was the mob's vendetta against the pope for his denounciations of organised crime.[134]

    Persian Gulf War

    Between 1990 and 1991, a 34-nation coalition led by the United States waged a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which had invaded and annexed Kuwait. Pope John Paul II was a staunch opponent of the Gulf War. Throughout the conflict, he appealed to the international community to stop the war, and after it was over led diplomatic initiatives to negotiate peace in the Middle East.[135] In his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, John Paul II harshly condemned the conflict:

    No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war.[136]

    In April 1991, during his Urbi et Orbi Sunday message at St. Peter's Basilica, John Paul II called for the international community to "lend an ear" to "the long-ignored aspirations of oppressed peoples". He specifically named the Kurds, a people who were fighting a civil war against Saddam Hussein's troops in Iraq, as one such people, and referred to the war as a "darkness menacing the earth". During this time, the Vatican had expressed its frustration with the international ignoring of the pope's calls for peace in the Middle East.[137]

    Rwandan genocide

    John Paul II was the first world leader to describe as genocide the massacre by Hutus of Tutsis in the mostly Catholic country of Rwanda, which started in 1990 and reached its height in 1994. He called for a ceasefire and condemned the massacres on 10 April and 15 May 1990.[138] In 1995, during his third visit to Kenya before an audience of 300,000, John Paul II pleaded for an end to the violence in Rwanda and Burundi, pleading for forgiveness and reconciliation as a solution to the genocide. He told Rwandan and Burundian refugees that he "was close to them and shared their immense pain". He said:

    What is happening in your countries is a terrible tragedy that must end. During the African Synod, we, the pastors of the church, felt the duty to express our consternation and to launch an appeal for forgiveness and reconciliation. This is the only way to dissipate the threats of ethnocentrism that are hovering over Africa these days and that have so brutally touched Rwanda and Burundi.[139]

    Views on sexuality

    While taking a traditional position on human sexuality, maintaining the Church's moral opposition to homosexual acts, John Paul II asserted that people with homosexual inclinations possess the same inherent dignity and rights as everybody else.[140] In his book Memory and Identity he referred to the "strong pressures" by the European Parliament to recognise homosexual unions as an alternative type of family, with the right to adopt children. In the book, as quoted by Reuters, he wrote: "It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, more subtle and hidden, perhaps, intent upon exploiting human rights themselves against man and against the family."[69][141] A 1997 study determined that 3% of the pope's statements were about the issue of sexual morality.[142]

    Reform of canon law

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    John Paul II completed a full-scale reform of the Catholic Church's legal system, Latin and Eastern, and a reform of the Roman Curia.

    On 18 October 1990, when promulgating the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, John Paul II stated

    By the publication of this Code, the canonical ordering of the whole Church is thus at length completed, following as it does...the "Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia" of 1988, which is added to both Codes as the primary instrument of the Roman Pontiff for 'the communion that binds together, as it were, the whole Church'[143]

    In 1998 Pope John Paul II issued the motu proprio Ad tuendam fidem, which amended two canons (750 and 1371) of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and two canons (598 and 1436) of the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

    1983 Code of Canon Law

    On 25 January 1983, with the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges John Paul II promulgated the current Code of Canon Law for all members of the Catholic Church who belonged to the Latin Church. It entered into force the first Sunday of the following Advent,[144] which was 27 November 1983.[145] John Paul II described the new Code as "the last document of Vatican II".[144] Edward N. Peters has referred to the 1983 Code as the "Johanno-Pauline Code"[146] (Johannes Paulus is Latin for "John Paul"), paralleling the "Pio-Benedictine" 1917 code that it replaced.

    Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

    Pope John Paul II promulgated the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) on 18 October 1990, by the document Sacri Canones.[147] The CCEO came into force of law on 1 October 1991.[148] It is the codification of the common portions of the Canon Law for the 23 of the 24 sui iuris churches in the Catholic Church that are the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is divided into 30 titles and has a total of 1540 canons.[149]

    Pastor Bonus

    John Paul II promulgated the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the Roman Curia. Pastor Bonus laid out in considerable detail the organisation of the Roman Curia, specifying precisely the names and composition of each dicastery, and enumerating the competencies of each dicastery. It replaced the previous special law, Regimini Ecclesiæ universæ, which was promulgated by Paul VI in 1967.[150]

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    On 11 October 1992, in his apostolic constitution Fidei depositum (The Deposit of Faith), John Paul ordered the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    He declared the publication to be "a sure norm for teaching the faith … a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms". It was "meant to encourage and assist in the writing of new local catechisms [both applicable and faithful]" rather than replacing them.

    Role in the collapse of dictatorships

    Pope John Paul II has been credited with inspiring political change that not only led to the collapse of Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Eastern Europe, but also in many countries ruled by dictators. In the words of Joaquín Navarro-Valls, John Paul II's press secretary:

    The single fact of John Paul II's election in 1978 changed everything. In Poland, everything began. Not in East Germany or Czechoslovakia. Then the whole thing spread. Why in 1980 did they lead the way in Gdansk? Why did they decide, now or never? Only because there was a Polish pope. He was in Chile and Pinochet was out. He was in Haiti and Duvalier was out. He was in the Philippines and Marcos was out. On many of those occasions, people would come here to the Vatican thanking the Holy Father for changing things.[151]


    Before John Paul II's pilgrimage to Latin America, during a meeting with reporters, he criticised Augusto Pinochet's regime as "dictatorial". In the words of The New York Times, he used "unusually strong language" to criticise Pinochet and asserted to journalists that the Church in Chile must not only pray, but actively fight for the restoration of democracy in Chile.[152]

    During his visit to Chile in 1987, John Paul II asked Chile's 31 Catholic bishops to campaign for free elections in the country.[153] According to George Weigel and Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, he encouraged Pinochet to accept a democratic opening of the regime, and may even have called for his resignation[154] According to Monsignor Sławomir Oder, the postulator of John Paul II's beatification cause, John Paul's words to Pinochet had a profound impact on the Chilean dictator. The pope confided to a friend: "I received a letter from Pinochet in which he told me that as a Catholic he had listened to my words, he had accepted them, and he had decided to begin the process to change the leadership of his country."[155]

    During his visit to Chile, John Paul II supported the Vicariate of Solidarity, the Church-led pro-democracy, anti-Pinochet organisation. John Paul II visited the Vicariate of Solidarity's offices, spoke with its workers, and "called upon them to continue their work, emphasizing that the Gospel consistently urges respect for human rights".[156] While in Chile, Pope John Paul II made gestures of public support of Chile's anti-Pinochet democratic opposition. For instance, he hugged and kissed Carmen Gloria Quintana, a young student burned alive by Chilean police and told her that "We must pray for peace and justice in Chile."[157] Later, he met with several opposition groups, including those that had been declared illegal by Pinochet's government. The opposition praised John Paul II for denouncing Pinochet as a "dictator", for many members of Chile's opposition were persecuted for much milder statements. Bishop Carlos Camus, one of the harshest critics of Pinochet's dictatorship within the Chilean Church, praised John Paul II's stance during the papal visit: "I am quite moved, because our pastor supports us totally. Never again will anyone be able to say that we are interfering in politics when we defend human dignity." He added: "No country the Pope has visited has remained the same after his departure. The Pope's visit is a mission, an extraordinary social catechism, and his stay here will be a watershed in Chilean history."[158]

    Some have erroneously accused John Paul II of affirming Pinochet's regime by appearing with the Chilean ruler in public. However, Cardinal Roberto Tucci, the organiser of John Paul II's visits, revealed that Pinochet tricked the pontiff by telling him he would take him to his living room, while in reality he took him to his balcony. Tucci claims that the pontiff was "furious".[159]


    Pope John Paul II visited Haiti on 9 March 1983, when the country was ruled by Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. He bluntly criticised the poverty of the country, directly addressing Baby Doc and his wife, Michèle Bennett in front of a large crowd of Haitians:

    Yours is a beautiful country, rich in human resources, but Christians cannot be unaware of the injustice, the excessive inequality, the degradation of the quality of life, the misery, the hunger, the fear suffered by the majority of the people.[160]

    John Paul II spoke in French and occasionally in Creole, and in the homily outlined the basic human rights that most Haitians lacked: "the opportunity to eat enough, to be cared for when ill, to find housing, to study, to overcome illiteracy, to find worthwhile and properly paid work; all that provides a truly human life for men and women, for young and old." Following John Paul II's pilgrimage, the Haitian opposition to Duvalier frequently reproduced and quoted the pope's message. Shortly before leaving Haiti, John Paul II called for social change in Haiti by saying: "Lift up your heads, be conscious of your dignity of men created in God's image...."[161]

    John Paul II's visit inspired massive protests against the Duvalier dictatorship. In response to the visit, 860 Catholic priests and Church workers signed a statement committing the Church to work on behalf of the poor.[162] In 1986, Duvalier was deposed in an uprising.


    The collapse of the dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay was linked, among other things, to Pope John Paul II's visit to the South American country in 1989. Since Stroessner's taking power through a coup d'état in 1954, Paraguay's bishops increasingly criticised the regime for human rights abuses, rigged elections, and the country's feudal economy. During his private meeting with Stroessner, John Paul II told the dictator:

    Politics has a fundamental ethical dimension because it is first and foremost a service to man. The Church can and must remind men—and in particular those who govern—of their ethical duties for the good of the whole of society. The Church cannot be isolated inside its temples just as men's consciences cannot be isolated from God.[163]

    Later, during a Mass, Pope John Paul II criticised the regime for impoverishing the peasants and the unemployed, claiming that the government must give people greater access to the land. Although Stroessner tried to prevent him from doing so, Pope John Paul II met opposition leaders in the one-party state.[163]

    Role in the fall of Communism

    Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting John Paul II in June 2000

    John Paul II has been credited with being instrumental in bringing down Communism in Central and Eastern Europe,[69][82][87][104][105][164] by being the spiritual inspiration behind its downfall and catalyst for "a peaceful revolution" in Poland. Lech Wałęsa, the founder of Solidarity and the first post-Communist President of Poland, credited John Paul II with giving Poles the courage to demand change.[69] According to Wałęsa, "Before his pontificate, the world was divided into blocs. Nobody knew how to get rid of Communism. In Warsaw, in 1979, he simply said: 'Do not be afraid', and later prayed: 'Let your Spirit descend and change the image of the land … this land'."[164] It has also been widely alleged that the Vatican Bank covertly funded Solidarity.[165][166]

    US President George W. Bush presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to John Paul II in June 2004

    US President Ronald Reagan's correspondence with the pope reveals "a continuous scurrying to shore up Vatican support for U.S. policies. Perhaps most surprisingly, the papers show that, as late as 1984, the pope did not believe the Communist Polish government could be changed."[167]

    The British historian Timothy Garton Ash, who describes himself as an "agnostic liberal", said shortly after John Paul II's death:

    No one can prove conclusively that he was a primary cause of the end of communism. However, the major figures on all sides—not just Lech Wałęsa, the Polish Solidarity leader, but also Solidarity's arch-opponent, General Wojciech Jaruzelski; not just the former American president George Bush Senior but also the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev—now agree that he was. I would argue the historical case in three steps: without the Polish Pope, no Solidarity revolution in Poland in 1980; without Solidarity, no dramatic change in Soviet policy towards eastern Europe under Gorbachev; without that change, no velvet revolutions in 1989.[168]

    Graffiti showing Pope John Paul II with quote "Do not be afraid" in Rijeka, Croatia

    In December 1989, John Paul II met with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican and each expressed his respect and admiration for the other. Gorbachev once said "The collapse of the Iron Curtain would have been impossible without John Paul II."[82][104] On John Paul II's death, Mikhail Gorbachev said: "Pope John Paul II's devotion to his followers is a remarkable example to all of us."[105][164]

    On 4 June 2004 US President George W. Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honour, to John Paul II during a ceremony at the Apostolic Palace. The president read the citation that accompanied the medal, which recognised "this son of Poland" whose "principled stand for peace and freedom has inspired millions and helped to topple communism and tyranny".[169] After receiving the award, John Paul II said, "May the desire for freedom, peace, a more humane world symbolised by this medal inspire men and women of goodwill in every time and place."[170]

    Communist attempt to humiliate John Paul II

    In 1983 Poland's Communist government unsuccessfully tried to humiliate John Paul II by falsely saying he had fathered an illegitimate child. Section D of Służba Bezpieczeństwa (SB), the security service, had an action named "Triangolo" to carry out criminal operations against the Catholic Church; the operation encompassed all Polish hostile actions against the pope.[171] Captain Grzegorz Piotrowski, one of the murderers of Jerzy Popiełuszko, was the leader of section D. They drugged Irena Kinaszewska, the secretary of the Kraków-based weekly Catholic magazine Tygodnik Powszechny where Karol Wojtyła had worked, and unsuccessfully attempted to make her admit to having had sexual relations with him.[172]

    The SB then attempted to compromise Cracow priest Andrzej Bardecki, an editor of Tygodnik Powszechny and one of the closest friends of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła before he became pope, by planting false memoirs in his dwelling, but Piotrowski was exposed and the forgeries were found and destroyed before the SB could "discover" them.[172]

    Relations with other denominations and religions

    John Paul II travelled extensively and met with believers from many divergent faiths. At the World Day of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi on 27 October 1986, more than 120 representatives of different religions and denominations spent a day of fasting and prayer.[173]


    John Paul II had good relations with the Church of England. He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, in 1982, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He preached in Canterbury Cathedral and received Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He said that he was disappointed by the Church of England's decision to ordain women and saw it as a step away from unity between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.[174]

    In 1980 John Paul II issued a Pastoral Provision allowing married former Episcopal priests to become Catholic priests, and for the acceptance of former Episcopal Church parishes into the Catholic Church. He allowed the creation of the Anglican Use form of the Latin Rite, which incorporates the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. He helped establish Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, together with Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio, Texas, as the inaugural parish for the Anglican Use liturgy.[175]


    In his book-length interview Crossing the Threshold of Hope with the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori published in 1995, John Paul II draws parallels between animism and Christianity. He says:

    … it would be helpful to recall … the animist religions which stress ancestor worship. It seems that those who practice them are particularly close to Christianity, and among them, the Church's missionaries also find it easier to speak a common language. Is there, perhaps, in this veneration of ancestors a kind of preparation for the Christian faith in the Communion of Saints, in which all believers—whether living or dead—form a single community, a single body? […] There is nothing strange, then, that the African and Asian animists would become believers in Christ more easily than followers of the great religions of the Far East.[176]

    In 1985, the pope visited the African country of Togo, where 60 per cent of the population espouses animist beliefs. To honour the pope, animist religious leaders met him at a Catholic Marian shrine in the forest, much to the pontiff's delight. John Paul II proceeded to call for the need for religious tolerance, praised nature, and emphasised common elements between animism and Christianity, saying:

    Nature, exuberant and splendid in this area of forests and lakes, impregnates spirits and hearts with its mystery and orients them spontaneously toward the mystery of He who is the author of life. It is this religious sentiment that animates you and one can say that animates all of your compatriots.[177]

    During the investiture of President Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin as a titled Yoruba chieftain on 20 December 2008, the reigning Ooni of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Olubuse II, referred to Pope John Paul II as a previous recipient of the same royal honour.[178]

    Armenian Apostolic Church

    John Paul II had good relations with the Armenian Apostolic Church. In 1996, he brought the Catholic Church and the Armenian Church closer by agreeing with Armenian Archbishop Karekin II on Christ's nature.[179] During an audience in 2000, John Paul II and Karekin II, by then the Catholicos of All Armenians, issued a joint statement condemning the Armenian genocide. Meanwhile, the pope gave Karekin the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first head of the Armenian Church that had been kept in Naples, Italy, for 500 years.[180] In September 2001, John Paul II went on a three-day pilgrimage to Armenia to take part in an ecumenical celebration with Karekin II in the newly consecrated St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan. The two Church leaders signed a declaration remembering the victims of the Armenian genocide. [181]


    Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, visited John Paul II eight times. The two men held many similar views and understood similar plights, both coming from nations affected by Communism and both serving as heads of major religious bodies.[182][183] As Archbishop of Kraków, long before the 14th Dalai Lama was a world-famous figure, Wojtyła held special Masses to pray for the Tibetan people's non-violent struggle for freedom from Maoist China.[184] During his 1995 visit to Sri Lanka, a country where a majority of the population adheres to Theravada Buddhism, John Paul II expressed his admiration for Buddhism:

    In particular I express my highest regard for the followers of Buddhism, the majority religion in Sri Lanka, with its … four great values of … loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity; with its ten transcendental virtues and the joys of the Sangha expressed so beautifully in the Theragathas. I ardently hope that my visit will serve to strengthen the goodwill between us, and that it will reassure everyone of the Catholic Church's desire for interreligious dialogue and cooperation in building a more just and fraternal world. To everyone I extend the hand of friendship, recalling the splendid words of the Dhammapada: "Better than a thousand useless words is one single word that gives peace...."[185]

    Eastern Orthodox Church

    In May 1999, John Paul II visited Romania on the invitation from Patriarch Teoctist Arăpaşu of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This was the first time a pope had visited a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054.[186] On his arrival, the Patriarch and the President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, greeted the pope.[186] The Patriarch stated, "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the Church; the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity."[186]

    On 23–27 June 2001 John Paul II visited Ukraine, another heavily Orthodox nation, at the invitation of the President of Ukraine and bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.[187] The Pope spoke to leaders of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, pleading for "open, tolerant and honest dialogue".[187] About 200 thousand people attended the liturgies celebrated by the Pope in Kiev, and the liturgy in Lviv gathered nearly one and a half million faithful.[187] John Paul II said that an end to the Great Schism was one of his fondest wishes.[187] Healing divisions between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches regarding Latin and Byzantine traditions was clearly of great personal interest. For many years, John Paul II sought to facilitate dialogue and unity stating as early as 1988 in Euntes in mundum, "Europe has two lungs, it will never breathe easily until it uses both of them."

    During his 2001 travels, John Paul II became the first pope to visit Greece in 1291 years.[188][189] In Athens, the pope met with Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the Church of Greece.[188] After a private 30-minute meeting, the two spoke publicly. Christodoulos read a list of "13 offences" of the Catholic Church against the Eastern Orthodox Church since the Great Schism,[188] including the pillaging of Constantinople by crusaders in 1204, and bemoaned the lack of apology from the Catholic Church, saying "Until now, there has not been heard a single request for pardon" for the "maniacal crusaders of the 13th century".[188]

    The pope responded by saying "For the occasions past and present, when sons and daughters of the Catholic Church have sinned by action or omission against their Orthodox brothers and sisters, may the Lord grant us forgiveness", to which Christodoulos immediately applauded. John Paul II said that the sacking of Constantinople was a source of "profound regret" for Catholics.[188] Later John Paul II and Christodoulos met on a spot where Saint Paul had once preached to Athenian Christians. They issued a 'common declaration', saying "We shall do everything in our power, so that the Christian roots of Europe and its Christian soul may be preserved.... We condemn all recourse to violence, proselytism and fanaticism, in the name of religion."[188] The two leaders then said the Lord's Prayer together, breaking an Orthodox taboo against praying with Catholics.[188]

    The pope had said throughout his pontificate that one of his greatest dreams was to visit Russia, but this never occurred. He attempted to solve the problems that had arisen over centuries between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, and in 2004 gave them a 1730 copy of the lost icon of Our Lady of Kazan.


    John Paul II was the first Pope to enter and pray in a mosque, visiting the tomb of John the Baptist at Damascus' Umayyad Mosque.

    John Paul II made considerable efforts to improve relations between Catholicism and Islam.[190]

    On 6 May 2001 he became the first Catholic pope to enter and pray in a mosque, namely the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. Respectfully removing his shoes, he entered the former Byzantine era Christian church dedicated to John the Baptist, who is also revered as a prophet of Islam. He gave a speech including the statement: "For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness."[97] He kissed the Qur'an in Syria, an act that made him popular among Muslims but that disturbed many Catholics.[191]

    In 2004 John Paul II hosted the "Papal Concert of Reconciliation", which brought together leaders of Islam with leaders of the Jewish community and of the Catholic Church at the Vatican for a concert by the Kraków Philharmonic Choir from Poland, the London Philharmonic Choir from the United Kingdom, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from the United States, and the Ankara State Polyphonic Choir of Turkey.[192][193][194][195] The event was conceived and conducted by Sir Gilbert Levine, KCSG and was broadcast throughout the world.[192][193][194][195]

    John Paul II oversaw the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which makes a special provision for Muslims; therein, it is written, "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in 'the first place amongst whom are the Muslims'; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."[196]


    In 1995, Pope John Paul II held a meeting with 21 Jains, a sect that broke away from mainstream Hinduism in 600 BC, organised by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He praised Mohandas Gandhi for his "unshakeable faith in God", assured the Jains that the Catholic Church will continue to engage in dialogue with their religion and spoke of the common need to aid the poor. The Jain leaders were impressed with the pope's "transparency and simplicity", and the meeting received much attention in the Gujarat state in western India, home to many Jains.[197]


    Relations between Catholicism and Judaism improved dramatically during the pontificate of John Paul II.[69][99] He spoke frequently about the Church's relationship with the Jewish faith.[69]

    In 1979 John Paul II visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where many of his compatriots (mostly Jews) had perished during the Nazi occupation in World War II, the first pope to do so. In 1998 he issued We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, which outlined his thinking on the Holocaust.[198] He became the first pope known to have made an official papal visit to a synagogue, when he visited the Great Synagogue of Rome on 13 April 1986.[199][200]

    On 30 December 1993 John Paul II established formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, acknowledging its centrality in Jewish life and faith.[199]

    On 7 April 1994 he hosted the Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust. It was the first-ever Vatican event dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews murdered in World War II. This concert, which was conceived and conducted by American conductor Gilbert Levine, was attended by the Chief Rabbi of Rome Elio Toaff, the President of Italy Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, and survivors of the Holocaust from around the world. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, actor Richard Dreyfuss and cellist Lynn Harrell performed on this occasion under Levine's direction.[201][202] On the morning of the concert, the pope received the attending members of survivor community in a special audience in the Apostolic Palace.

    In March 2000 John Paul II visited Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust memorial in Israel, and later made history by touching one of the holiest sites in Judaism, the Western Wall in Jerusalem,[99] placing a letter inside it (in which he prayed for forgiveness for the actions against Jews).[98][99][199] In part of his address he said: "I assure the Jewish people the Catholic Church … is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place," he added that there were "no words strong enough to deplore the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust."[98][99] Israeli cabinet minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, who hosted the pope's visit, said he was "very moved" by the pope's gesture.[98][99]

    It was beyond history, beyond memory.[98]

    We are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.[203]

    In October 2003, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement congratulating John Paul II on entering the 25th year of his papacy. In January 2005, John Paul II became the first pope known to receive a priestly blessing from a rabbi, when Rabbis Benjamin Blech, Barry Dov Schwartz, and Jack Bemporad visited the Pontiff at Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace.[204]

    Immediately after John Paul II's death, the ADL said in a statement that he had revolutionised Catholic-Jewish relations, saying, "more change for the better took place in his 27-year Papacy than in the nearly 2,000 years before."[205] In another statement issued by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, "The Pope will be remembered for his inspiring spiritual leadership in the cause of freedom and humanity. He achieved far more in terms of transforming relations with both the Jewish people and the State of Israel than any other figure in the history of the Catholic Church."[199]

    With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.[206]

    In an interview with the Polish Press Agency, Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, said that never in history did anyone do as much for Christian-Jewish dialogue as Pope John Paul II, adding that many Jews had a greater respect for the late pope than for some rabbis. Schudrich praised John Paul II for condemning anti-Semitism as a sin, which no previous pope had done.[207]

    On John Paul II's beatification the Chief Rabbi of Rome Riccardo Di Segni said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "John Paul II was revolutionary because he tore down a thousand-year wall of Catholic distrust of the Jewish world." Meanwhile, Elio Toaff, the former Chief Rabbi of Rome, said that:

    Remembrance of the Pope Karol Wojtyła will remain strong in the collective Jewish memory because of his appeals to fraternity and the spirit of tolerance, which excludes all violence. In the stormy history of relations between Roman popes and Jews in the ghetto in which they were closed for over three centuries in humiliating circumstances, John Paul II is a bright figure in his uniqueness. In relations between our two great religions in the new century that was stained with bloody wars and the plague of racism, the heritage of John Paul II remains one of the few spiritual islands guaranteeing survival and human progress.[208]










    St. Philip, Bishop of Heraclea, and Companions, Martyrs

    October 22

    From their original acts, published by Mabillon, in Vetera Analecta, t. 4, p. 134, and more correctly by Ruinart, p. 409, Tillemont, t. 5. [BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS]

    A.D. 304.

    PHILIP, a venerable old man, bishop of Heraclea, the metropolis of Thrace, was an illustrious martyr of Christ in the persecution of Dioclesian. Having discharged every duty of a faithful minister in the characters of deacon and priest in that city, he was raised to the episcopal dignity, and governed that church with great virtue and prudence when it was shaken by violent storms. To extend and perpetuate the work of God, he was careful to train up many disciples in the study of sacred learning, and in the practice of solid piety. Two of the most eminent among them had the happiness to be made companions of his martyrdom; namely, Severus, a priest, whose laborious and penitential life proved him to be a true disciple of the cross; and Hermes, a deacon, who was formerly the first magistrate of the city, and in that office, by his charity and universal benevolence, had gained the esteem and affection of all the citizens; but after he was engaged in the ministry, gained his livelihood with his own hands, and brought up his son to do the same. Dioclesian’s first edicts against the Christians being issued out, many advised the holy bishop to leave the city; but he would not even stir out of the church, continuing to exhort the brethren to constancy and patience, and preparing them for the celebration of the feast of the Epiphany. Whilst he preached to them, Aristomachus, the stationary, (that is, an officer of the town,) came, by the governor’s order, to seal up the door of the church. The bishop said to him: “Do you imagine that God dwells within walls, and not rather in the hearts of men?” He continued to hold his assemblies before the doors of the church. The next day certain officers came, and set their seal upon the sacred vessels and books. The faithful, who beheld this, were much grieved: but the bishop who stood leaning against the door of the church, encouraged them with his discourses. Afterwards the governor Bassus finding Philip and many of his flock assembled before the church door, gave orders that they should be apprehended, and brought before him. Being seated on his tribunal, he said to them: “Which of you is the teacher of the Christians?” Philip replied: “I am the person you seek.” Bassus said: “You know that the emperor has forbidden your assemblies. Surrender into my hands the vessels of gold and silver which you make use of, and the books which you read.” The bishop answered: “The vessels and treasure we will give you; for it is not by precious metal but by charity that God is honoured. But the sacred books it neither becomes you to demand nor me to surrender.” The governor ordered executioners to be called into court, and commanded Muccapor, the most noted among them for his inhumanity, to torture the holy prelate. Philip bore his torments with invincible courage. Hermes told the governor that it was not in his power to destroy the word of God, even though he should take away all the writings in which the true doctrine is contained. The judge commanded him to be scourged. After this he went with Publius, the governor’s successor, to the place where the sacred writings and plate were hid. Publius would have conveyed away some of the vessels, but being hindered by Hermes, he gave him such a blow on the face that the blood followed. The governor Bassus was provoked at Publius for this action, and ordered the deacon’s wound to be dressed. He distributed the vessels and books among his officers; and, to please the infidels and terrify the Christians, caused Philip and the other prisoners to be brought to the market-place, surrounded with guards, and the church to be uncovered by taking off the tiles. In the mean time, by his orders, the soldiers burned the sacred writings, the flames mounting so high as to frighten the standers by. This being told to Philip in the market-place, he took occasion from this fire to discourse of the vengeance with which God threatens the wicked, and represented to the people how their gods and temples had been often burned, beginning with Hercules, protector of their city, from whom it derived its name. By this time Caliphronius, a Pagan priest, appeared in the market-place with his ministers, who brought with them the necessary preparations for a sacrifice and a profane feast. Immediately after, the governor Bassus came, followed by a great multitude, some of whom pitied the suffering Christians; others, especially the Jews, clamoured loudly against them. Bassus pressed the bishop to sacrifice to the gods, to the emperors, and to the fortune of the city. Then pointing to a large and beautiful statue of Hercules he bid him consider what veneration was due to that piece. Philip showed the absurdity of adoring a base metal, and the work of a drunken statuary. Bassus asked Hermes if he at least would sacrifice. “I will not,” replied Hermes, “I am a Christian.” Bassus said: “If we can persuade Philip to offer sacrifice, will you follow his example?” Hermes answered he would not; neither could they persuade Philip. After many useless threats, and pressing them to sacrifice at least to the emperors, he ordered them to be carried to prison. As they went along, some of the rabble insolently pushed Philip, and often threw him down; but he rose with a joyful countenance, without the least indignation or grief. All admired his patience, and the martyrs entered the prison joyfully, singing a psalm of thanksgiving to God. A few days after they were allowed to stay at the house of one Pancras, near the prison, where many Christians and some new converts resorted to them to be instructed in the mysteries of faith. After some time they were remanded to a prison, contiguous to the theatre, which had a door into that building with a secret entry. They there received the crowds that came to visit them in the night. 1

    In the mean time, Bassus going out of office at the expiration of his term, one Justin succeeded him. The Christians were much afflicted at this change, for Bassus often yielded to reason, his wife having for some time worshipped the true God herself: but Justin was a violent man. Zoilus, the magistrate of the city, brought Philip before him, who declared to the saint the emperor’s order, and pressed him to sacrifice. Philip answered: “I am a Christian, and cannot do what you require. Your commission is to punish our refusal, not to force our compliance.” Justin said: “You know not the torments which shall be your portion.” Philip replied: “You may torment, but will not conquer me: no power can induce me to sacrifice.” Justin told him, he should be dragged by the feet through the streets of the city, and if he survived that punishment, should be thrown into prison again to suffer new torments. Philip answered: “God grant it may be so:” Justin commanded the soldiers to tie his feet and drag him along. They dashed him against so many stones, that he was torn and bruised all over his body. The Christians carried him in their arms, when he was brought back to his dungeon. The enraged idolaters had long been in quest of Severus, the priest, who had hid himself, when inspired by the Holy Ghost, he at length surrendered himself, and was carried before the governor, and committed to prison. Hermes was likewise steady in his examination before Justin, and was treated in the same manner. The three martyrs were kept imprisoned in a bad air seven months, and then removed to Adrianople, where they were confined in a private country house, till the arrival of the governor. The next day, holding his court at the Thermæ, he caused Philip to be brought before him, and to be beaten with rods till his bowels appeared bare. His courage astonished the executioners and Justin himself, who remanded him to prison. Hermes was next examined, and to him all the officers of the court were favourable, because having been formerly decurio or chief magistrate of the city of Heraclea, he had obliged them all on several occasions, though he declared in his examinations that he had been a Christian from his cradle. He persisted in this profession, and was sent back to prison, where the holy martyrs joyfully gave thanks to Jesus Christ for this beginning of their victory. Philip, though of a weak and delicate constitution, did not feel the least inconvenience. Three days after this, Justin caused them to be brought again before his tribunal, and having in vain pressed Philip to obey the emperors, said to Hermes: “If the approach of death makes this man think life not worth preserving, do not you be insensible to its blessings, and offer sacrifice.” Hermes replied by showing the blindness and absurdity of idolatry: so that Justin being enraged, cried out: “Thou speakest as if thou wouldst fain make me a Christian.” Having then advised with his assessor and others, he pronounced sentence in these terms: “We order that Philip and Hermes, who, despising the commands of the emperor, have rendered themselves unworthy of the name of Romans, be burned, that others may learn to obey.” They went joyfully to the pile. Philip’s feet were so sore that he could not walk, and therefore he was carried to execution. Hermes followed him with much difficulty, being afflicted also in his feet; and he said to him: “Master, let us hasten to go to our Lord. Why should we be concerned about our feet, since we shall have no more occasion for them?” Then he said to the multitude that followed them: “The Lord revealed to me that I must suffer. While I was asleep, methought I saw a dove as white as snow, which, entering into the chamber, rested on my head, and descending upon my breast, presented me some meat which was very agreeable to the taste. I knew that it was the Lord that called me, and was pleased to honour me with martyrdom.” Fleury remarks, that this delicious meat seems to mean the eucharist, which the martyrs received before the combat. When they came to the place of punishment, the executioners, according to custom, covered Philip’s feet and legs with earth up to the knees; and having tied his hands behind his back, nailed them to the pile. They likewise made Hermes go down into a ditch, who, supporting himself upon a club, because his feet trembled, said smiling: “O demon, thou canst not suffer me even here.” Immediately the executioners covered his feet with earth; but before they lighted the fire, he called upon Velogus, a Christian, and said to him: “I conjure you by our Saviour Jesus Christ, tell my son Philip from me, to restore whatever was committed to my charge, that I may incur no fault: even the laws of this world ordain it. Tell him also, that he is young, and must get his bread by labour, as he has seen me do; and behave himself well to every body.” He spoke of the treasures of the church, or of deposits lodged in his hands. Hermes having spoken thus, his hands were tied behind his back, and fire was set to the pile. The martyrs praised, and gave thanks to God as long as they were able to speak. Their bodies were found entire; Philip having his hands stretched out as in prayer; Hermes with a clear countenance only his ear a little blue. Justin ordered their bodies to be thrown into the Hebrus: but certain citizens of Adrianople went in boats with nets, and fished them out whilst they were entire, and hid them for three days at a place called Ogestiron, twelve miles from the city. Severus the priest, who had been left alone in prison, being informed of their martyrdom, rejoiced at their glory, and earnestly besought God not to think him unworthy to partake in it, since he had confessed his name with them. He was heard, and suffered martyrdom the day after them. The order for burning the holy Scriptures and destroying the churches, points out the time of their suffering to have been after the first edicts of Dioclesian. The 22nd of October is consecrated in the Martyrologies to their memory. 2

    A just and humble fear, the assiduous practice of penance, and all other virtues, the most fervent use of the sacraments, prayer, and meditation on eternal truths, a contempt of the world, and of the goods and evils of this life, and a constant attention to those to come, were the weapons with which the martyrs stood always prepared for the combat, and the source of the courage and strength which they obtained of God, and by which they triumphed. The spiritual persecutions of the world are often more dangerous than those of the sword, and they corrupt far more souls. The allurements of pleasure and riches; the pomps of vanity, and the snares of pride and ambition, murder more souls than the Neros and Dioclesians murdered bodies. We run into the arms of certain death if we expose ourselves to our enemies bereft of our weapons. Constant watchfulness, penance, prayer, and the like means above mentioned are the bucklers with which we must be always shielded, that we may be rendered invincible against the devil. 3









    PETER, while still a youth, left his home at Alcantara in Spain, and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, but his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the "Strict Observance." The cells of the friars resembled graves rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down ; he ate but once in three days; his sackcloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth. Amongst those whom he trained to perfection was St. Teresa. He read her soul, approved of her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms. St. Peter died, with great joy, kneeling in prayer, October 18th, 1562, at the age of sixty-three.

    REFLECTION.-If men do not go about barefoot now, nor under-go sharp penances, as St. Peter did, there are many ways of trampling on the world; and our Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary courage.



    INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Saint Teresa of Avila said concerning Saint Peter of Alcantara that, "The Lord once told me that no one should ask Him for anything in his name and not be heard."

    Saint Peter of Alcantara, please pray for us today [state your prayer request.]










                                                 THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY











    Our Lady of the Rosary
    Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario by Damián Domingo
    Our Lady of Victory, Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
    Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
    Major shrine Our Lady of Victory Basilica,
    Basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris
    Feast October 7
    Attributes Blessed Virgin Mary, Infant Jesus, crown, rosary
    Patronage Rosary, Roman Catholic Diocese of Malaga, Toledo, Rosario, Santa Fe, Melilla, Trujillo, Cáceres, Colombia, Manizales, Puyo, Pastaza, North Carolina, Bohol, Guatemala, Surigao del Norte, Manila, Quezon City, West Virginia, Seseña, Ontígola, Olías del Rey, Montearagón, Toledo, Lagartera, Huerta de Valdecarábanos, Brenes


    Our Lady of the Rosary

    Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Rosary. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is on October 7, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined Christian fleet in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, defeating an Ottoman fleet off western Greece. It was formerly sometimes known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    According to Dominican tradition, in 1214, St. Dominic was in Prouille, France attempting to convert the Albigensians back to the Catholic faith. The young priest had little success until one day he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who gave him the Rosary as a tool against heretics.[1] While Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is generally acknowledged as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic, including the 15th century priest and teacher, Alanus de Rupe.[2]

    On December 3, 1836, Fr. Charles Eléonor des Genettes had an interior locution directing him to dedicate the parish of Our Lady of Victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[3]

    On October 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told the shepherd children, "I am the Lady of the Rosary".[4]

    In 1987, during the civil war with the anti-clerical Sandinista government in Nicaragua, sacristan Bernardo Martinez reported seeing an apparition of Our Lady who urged him to pray the rosary and work for peace. One of the appearances was in the parish church of Our Lady of Victories near Cuapa.





    ST. FRANCIS, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born  in that city A.D. 1182.  Chosen by God to be a living  manifestation to the world of Christ's poor and suffering life on earth, he was early inspired with a high esteem and burning love of poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, Who had no where to lay His head,  led him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and worldly station which he abhorred. The scorn and hard usage which he met with from his father and townsmen when he appeared among them in the garb of poverty were delightful to him. "Now,"   he exclaimed, "I can say truly,  'Our Father Who art in heaven.' " But divine love burned in him too mightily not to kindle like desires in other hearts. Many joined themselves to him, and were constituted by Pope Innocent III  into a religious Order, which spread rapidly throughout Christendom.  St. Francis, after visiting the East in the vain quest of martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master---now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation.  During one of these retreats he received on his hands, feet, and side the print of the five bleeding wounds of Jesus.  With the cry, "Welcome, sister Death,"  he passed to the glory of his God  October 4, 1226.

    REFLECTION.—" My God, and my all," St. Francis's constant prayer, explains both his poverty and his wealth.

    INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Francis to intercede for your needs today.

    SEE: THE LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS,  a book about the life of Saint Francis.








    Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.

    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.







    GOD does not abandon to mere chance any of His handiworks; by His providence He is everywhere present; not a hair falls from the head of a sparrow to the ground without His knowledge. Not content, however, with yielding such familiar help in all things, not content with affording that existence which He communicates and perpetuates through every living being, He has charged His angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding every one of His creatures that behold not His face. Kingdoms have their angels assigned to them, and men have their angels; these latter it is whom religion designates as the Holy Guardian Angels, Our Lord says in the Gospel, "Beware lest ye scandalize any of these little ones, for their angels in heaven see the face of my Father." The existence of Guardian Angels is, hence, a dogma of the Christian faith : this being so, what ought not our respect be for that sure and holy intelligence that is ever present at our side; and how great should our solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which are ever bent upon us in all our ways !

    REFLECTION.-Ah! let us not give occasion, in the language of Holy Scripture, to the angels of peace to weep bitterly.

    INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Today, thank your guardian angel for his work in which he always strives to keep us close to Jesus.  Ask you guardian angel to guide your steps in the upcoming days, weeks, months and years.




    Spouse of the Blessed Virgin and Patron of the Universal Church.

    ST. JOSEPH was by birth of the royal family of David, but was living in humble obscurity as a carpenter when God raised him to the highest sanctity, and fitted him to be the spouse of His Virgin Mother, and foster-father and guardian of the Incarnate Word. Joseph, says the Holy Scripture, was a just man; he was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls. His conversation was with angels rather than with men. When he learned that Mary bore within her womb the Lord of heaven, he feared to take her as his wife; but an angel bade him fear not, and all doubts vanished. When Herod sought the life of the divine Infant, an angel told Joseph in a dream to fly with the Child and His Mother into Egypt. Joseph at once arose and obeyed. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses; nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all His servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation. "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear. He rejoices at the Child's birth, but a great fear succeeds: the furious king seeks to destroy the Child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away His life. This is followed by another joy, the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises: he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus, all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled and in many places fell to the ground. The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in Saints. After the death of King Herod, of which St. Joseph was informed in another vision, God ordered him to return with the Child and His Mother into the land of Israel, which our Saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus had succeeded Herod in that part of the country, and apprehensive that he might be infected with his father's vices, he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done for the education of the Child; and therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth. St. Joseph, being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Our Saviour, now int the twelfth year of His age, accompanied His parents thither. Having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast,they were returning with many of their neighbors and acquaintance towards Galilee; and never doubting but that Jesus was with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey before they discovered that He was not with them. But when night came on and they could hear no tidings of Him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem. After an anxious search of three days they found Him in the Temple, discoursing with the learned doctors of the law, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard Him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of His understanding; nor were His parents less surprised on this occasion. When His Mother told Him with what grief and earnestness they had sought Him, and asked, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold Thy Father and I sought Thee in great affliction of mind," she received for answer, "How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But though thus staying in the Temple unknown to His parents, in all other things He was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them. As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt that he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments; whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that hour.

     Reflection.  -St. Joseph, the shadow of the Eternal Father upon earth, the protector of Jesus in His home at Nazareth, and a lover of all children for the sake of the Holy Child, should be the chosen guardian and pattern of every true Christian family.


    Lord, have mercy on us.
    Christ, have mercy on us.

    Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
    Christ, graciously hear us.

    God the Father of Heaven,
    Have mercy on us.

    God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
    Have mercy on us.

    God the Holy Spirit,
    Have mercy on us.

    Holy Trinity, One God,
    Have mercy on us.

    Holy Mary, spouse of St. Joseph,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, confirmed in grace,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, guardian of the Word Incarnate,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, favorite of the King of Heaven,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, ruler of the family of Jesus,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, spouse of the ever-blessed Virgin,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, foster father to the Son of God,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, example of humility and obedience,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, mirror of silence and resignation,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, patron of innocence and youth,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, exited with Christ into Egypt,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, intercessor for the afflicted,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, advocate of the humble,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, model of every virtue,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, honored among men,
    Pray for us.

    Saint Joseph, in whom is the union of all Christian perfections,
    Pray for us.

    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
    Spare us, O Lord.

    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
    Graciously hear us, O Lord.

    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
    Have mercy on us.

    V. Pray for us, O holy Saint Joseph,
    R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let Us Pray.

    Assist us, O Lord,
    we beseech Thee,
    by the merits of the spouse
    of Thy most holy Mother,
    that what our unworthiness cannot obtain,
    may be given us by his intercession with Thee,
    Who livest and reignest with God the Father
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, world without end.



    O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O thou Saint Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me from thy divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee, and Jesus asleep in thy arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me.  Amen!









    Workers and the Unemployed.

    That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.







    Queen of Heaven and earth,
    most Holy Virgin,
    we venerate thee.
    Thou art the beloved daughter
    of the Most High God,
    the chosen mother of the
    Incarnate Word,
    the immaculate spouse of
    the Holy Spirit,
    the sacred vessel of the
     Most Holy Trinity.
    O Mother of the Divine Redeemer,
    who under the title of
    Our Lady of Good Remedy
    comes to the aid of all
    who call upon thee,
    extend thy maternal protection to us.
    We depend on thee,
    dear Mother,
    as helpless and needy children
    depend on a tender and caring mother.

    Pray the Hail Mary...

    O Lady of Good Remedy,
    source of unfailing help,
    grant that we may draw
    from thy treasury of graces
    in our time of need.
    Touch the hearts of sinners,
    that they may seek
    reconciliation and forgiveness.
    Bring comfort to
    the afflicted and the lonely;
    help the poor and the hopeless;
    aid the sick and the suffering.
    May they be healed in body
    and strengthened in spirit
    to endure their sufferings
    with patient resignation
    and Christian fortitude.

    Pray the Hail Mary...

    Dear Lady of Good Remedy,
    source of unfailing help,
    thy compassionate heart knows a remedy
    for every affliction and misery
    we encounter in life.
    Help me with thy prayers and intercession
    to find a remedy for my problems and needs,
    especially for...

    (Mention your personal intention)

    On my part,
    O loving Mother,
    I pledge myself to a more intensely Christian lifestyle,
    to a more careful observance of the laws of God,
    to be more conscientious
    in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life,
    and to strive to be a source of healing
    in this broken world of ours.

    Dear Lady of Good Remedy,
    be ever present to me,
    and through thy intercession,
    may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind,
    and grow stronger in the faith
    and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.

    Pray the Hail Mary...

    V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
    R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son,
    and make the world alive with His Spirit.














    Of Conversation; and, first, how to Speak of God.

    PHYSICIANS judge to a great extent as to the health or disease of a man by the state of his tongue, and our words are a true test of the state of our soul. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," 1 the Saviour says. We are apt to apply the hand quickly to the place where we feel pain, and so too the tongue is quick to point out what we love. If you love God heartily, my child, you will often speak of Him among your relations, household and familiar friends, and that because "the mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." 2 Even as the bee touches nought save honey with his tongue, so should your lips be ever sweetened with your God, knowing nothing more pleasant than to praise and bless His Holy Name,--as we are told that when S. Francis uttered the Name of the Lord, he seemed to feel the sweetness lingering on his lips, and could not let it go. But always remember, when you speak of God, that He is God; and speak reverently and with devotion,--not affectedly or as if you were preaching, but with a spirit of meekness, love, and humility; dropping honey from your lips (like the Bride in the Canticles 3 ) in devout and pious words, as you speak to one or another around, in your secret heart the while asking God to let this soft heavenly dew sink into their minds as they

    1 S. Matt. xii. 37. 2 Ps. xxxvii. 30. 3 Cant. iv. 11.

    hearken. And remember very specially always to fulfil this angelic task meekly and lovingly, not as though you were reproving others, but rather winning them. It is wonderful how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts. Take care, then, never to speak of God, or those things which concern Him, in a merely formal, conventional manner; but with earnestness and devotion, avoiding the affected way in which some professedly religious people are perpetually interlarding their conversation with pious words and sayings, after a most unseasonable and unthinking manner. Too often they imagine that they really are themselves as pious as their words, which probably is not the case.


    Of Unseemly Words, and the Respect due to Others.

    SAINT JAMES says, "If any man offend not in word, the same is, a perfect man." 1 Beware most watchfully against ever uttering any unseemly expression; even though you may have no evil intention, those who hear it may receive it with a different meaning. An impure word falling upon a weak mind spreads its

    1 S. James iii. 2.

    infection like a drop of oil on a garment, and sometimes it will take such a hold of the heart, as to fill it with an infinitude of lascivious thoughts and temptations. The body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear; and the tongue which does the deed is a murderer, even when the venom it has infused is counteracted by some antidote preoccupying the listener's heart. It was not the speaker's fault that he did not slay that soul. Nor let any one answer that he meant no harm. Our Lord, Who knoweth the hearts of men, has said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." 1 And even if we do mean no harm, the Evil One means a great deal, and he will use those idle words as a sharp weapon against some neighbour's heart. It is said that those who eat the plant called Angelica always have a sweet, pleasant
    breath; and those who cherish the angelic virtues of purity and modesty, will always speak simply, courteously, and modestly. As to unclean and light-minded talk, S. Paul says such things should not even be named 2 among us, for, as he elsewhere tells us, "Evil communications corrupt good manners." 3 Those impure words which are spoken in disguise, and with an affectation of reserve, are the most harmful of all; for just as the sharper the

    1 S. Matt. xii. 34. 2 Eph. v. 3. 3 1 Cor. xv. 33.

    point of a dart, so much deeper it will pierce the flesh, so the sharper an unholy word, the more it penetrates the heart. And as for those who think to show themselves knowing when they say such things, they do not even understand the first object of mutual intercourse among men, who ought rather to be like a hive of bees gathering to make honey by good and useful conversation, than like a wasps' nest, feeding on corruption. If any impertinent person addresses you in unseemly language, show that you are displeased by turning away, or by whatever other method your discretion may indicate. One of the most evil dispositions possible is that which satirises and turns everything to ridicule. God abhors this vice, and has sometimes punished it in a marked manner. Nothing is so opposed to charity, much more to a devout spirit, as contempt and depreciation of one's neighbour, and where satire and ridicule exist contempt must be. Therefore contempt is a grievous sin, and our spiritual doctors have well said that ridicule is the greatest sin we can commit in word against our neighbour, inasmuch as when we offend him in any other way, there
    may still be some respect for him in our heart, but we are sure to despise those whom we ridicule.
    There is a light-hearted talk, full of modest life and gaiety, which the Greeks called Eutrapelia, and which we should call good conversation, by which we may find an innocent and kindly amusement out of the trifling occurrences which human imperfections afford. Only beware of letting this seemly mirth go too far, till it becomes ridicule. Ridicule excites mirth at the expense of one's neighbour; seemly mirth and playful fun never lose sight of a trustful, kindly courtesy, which can wound no one. When the religious around him would fain have discussed serious matters with S. Louis at meal-times, he used to say, "This is not the time for grave discussion, but for general conversation and cheerful recreation,"--out of consideration for his courtiers. But, my daughter, let our recreation always be so spent, that we may win all eternity through devotion.


    Of Hasty Judgments.

    JUDGE not, and ye shall not be judged," said the Saviour of our souls; "condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:" 1 and the Apostle S. Paul, "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness,

    1 S. Luke vi. 37.

    and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1 Of a truth, hasty judgments are most displeasing to God, and men's judgments are hasty, because we are not judges one of another, and by judging we usurp our Lord's own office. Man's judgment is hasty, because the chief malice of sin lies in the intention and counsel of the heart, which is shrouded in darkness to us. Moreover, man's judgments are hasty, because each one has enough to do in judging himself, without undertaking to judge his neighbour. If we would not be judged, it behoves us alike not to judge others, and to judge ourselves. Our Lord forbids the one, His Apostle enjoins the other, saying, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 2 But alas! for the most part we precisely reverse these precepts, judging our neighbour, which is forbidden on all sides, while rarely judging ourselves, as we are told to do. We must proceed to rectify rash judgments, according to their cause. Some hearts there are so bitter and harsh by nature, that everything turns bitter under their touch; men who, in the Prophet's words, "turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth." 3 Such as these greatly need to be dealt with by some wise spiritual physician, for this bitterness being

    1 1 Cor. iv. 5. 2 1 Cor. xi. 31. 3 Amos v. 7.

    natural to them, it is hard to conquer; and although it be rather an imperfection than a sin, still it is very dangerous, because it gives rise to and fosters rash judgments and slander within the heart. Others there are who are guilty of rash judgments less out of a bitter spirit than from pride, supposing to exalt their own credit by disparaging that of others. These are self-sufficient, presumptuous people, who stand so high in their own conceit that they despise all else as mean and worthless. It was the foolish Pharisee who said, "I am not as other men are." 1 Others, again, have not quite such overt pride, but rather a lurking little satisfaction in beholding what is wrong in others, in order to appreciate more fully what they believe to be their own superiority. This satisfaction is so well concealed, so nearly imperceptible, that it requires a clear sight to discover it, and those who experience it need that it be pointed out to them. Some there are who seek to excuse and justify themselves to their own conscience, by assuming readily that others are guilty
    of the same faults, or as great ones, vainly imagining that the sin becomes less culpable when shared by many. Others, again, give way to rash judgments merely because they take pleasure in a philosophic analysis and dissection of their

    1 S. Luke xviii. 11.

    neighbours' characters; and if by ill luck they chance now and then to be right, their presumption and love of criticism strengthens almost incurably. Then there are people whose judgment is solely formed by inclination; who always think well of those they like, and ill of those they dislike. To this, however, there is one rare exception, which nevertheless we do sometimes meet, when an excessive love provokes a false judgment concerning its object; the hideous result of a diseased, faulty, restless affection, which is in fact jealousy; an evil passion capable, as everybody knows, of condemning others of perfidy and adultery upon the most trivial and fanciful ground. In like manner, fear, ambition, and other moral infirmities often tend largely to produce suspicion and rash judgments.

    What remedy can we apply? They who drink the juice of the Ethiopian herb Ophiusa imagine that they see serpents and horrors everywhere; and those who drink deep of pride, envy, ambition, hatred, will see harm and shame in every one they look upon. The first can only be cured by drinking palm wine, and so I say of these latter,--Drink freely of the sacred wine of love, and it will cure you of the evil tempers which lead you to these perverse judgments. So far from seeking out that which is evil, Love dreads meeting with it, and when such meeting is unavoidable, she shuts her eyes at the first symptom, and then in her holy simplicity she questions whether it were not merely a fantastic shadow which crossed her path rather than sin itself. Or if Love is forced to recognise the fact, she turns aside hastily, and strives to forget what she has seen. Of a truth, Love is the great healer of all ills, and of this above the rest. Everything looks yellow to a man that has the jaundice; and it is said that the only cure is through the soles of the feet. Most assuredly the sin of rash judgments is a spiritual jaundice, which makes everything look amiss to those who have it; and he who would be cured of this malady must not be content with applying remedies to his eyes or his intellect, he must attack it through the affections, which are as the soul's feet. If your affections are warm and tender, your judgment will not be harsh; if they are loving, your judgment will be the same. Holy Scripture offers us three striking illustrations. Isaac, when in the Land of Gerar, gave out that Rebecca was his sister, but when Abimelech saw their familiarity, he at once concluded that she was his wife. 1 A malicious mind would rather have supposed that there was some unlawful connection between them, but

    1 Gen. xxvi.

    Abimelech took the most charitable view of the case that was possible. And so ought we always to judge our neighbour as charitably as may be; and if his actions are many-sided, we should accept the best. Again, when S. Joseph found that the Blessed Virgin was with child, 1 knowing her to be pure and holy, he could not believe that there was any sin in her, and he left all judgment to God, although there was strong presumptive evidence on which to condemn her. And the Holy Spirit speaks of S. Joseph as "a just man." When a just man cannot see any excuse for what is done by a person in whose general worth he believes, he still refrains from judging him, and leaves all to God's Judgment. Again, our Crucified Saviour, while He could not wholly ignore the sin of those who Crucified Him, yet made what excuse He might for them, pleading their ignorance. 2 And so when we cannot find any excuse for sin, let us at least claim what
    compassion we may for it, and impute it to the least damaging motives we can find, as ignorance or infirmity. Are we never, then, to judge our neighbour? you ask. Never, my child. It is God Who judges criminals brought before a court of law. He uses magistrates to convey His sentence to us; they are His interpreters, and have only to

    1 S. Matt. i. 2 S. Luke xxiii. 34.

    proclaim His law. If they go beyond this, and are led by their own passions, then they do themselves judge, and for so doing they will be judged. It is forbidden to all men alike, as men, to judge one another. We do not necessarily judge because we see or are conscious of something wrong. Rash judgment always presupposes something that is not clear, in spite of which we condemn another. It is not wrong to have doubts concerning a neighbour, but we ought to be very watchful lest even our doubts or suspicions be rash and hasty. A malicious person seeing Jacob kiss Rachel at the well-side, 1 or Rebecca accepting jewels from Eleazer, 2 a stranger, might have suspected them of levity, though falsely and unreasonably. If an action is in itself indifferent, it is a rash suspicion to imagine that it means evil, unless there is strong circumstantial evidence to prove such to be the case. And it is a rash judgment when we draw condemnatory inferences from an action which may be blameless. Those who keep careful watch over their conscience are not often liable to form rash judgments, for just as when the clouds lower the bees make for the shelter of their hive, so really good people shrink back into themselves, and

    1 Gen. xxix. 11. 2 Gen. xxiv. 22.

    refuse to be mixed up with the clouds and fogs of their neighbour's questionable doings, and rather than meddle with others, they consecrate their energies on their own improvement and good resolutions. No surer sign of an unprofitable life than when people give way to censoriousness and inquisitiveness into the lives of other men. Of course exception must be made as to those who are responsible for others, whether in family or public life;--to all such it becomes a matter of conscience to watch over the conduct of their fellows. Let them fulfil their duty lovingly, and let them also give heed to restrain themselves within the bounds of that duty.




    XXIX. On Slander . . .




    Unfailing Novena To The Virgin Mary Untier of Knots

    Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

    Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

    [Mention your request here]

    I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

    Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.







    Pray hard for him.  If you have time now please say one Hail Mary and One Glory Be for him now. Pray that he would do God's will while working as President for our country.  That he would protect the unborn, help the poor and keep peace throughout this world.





    Each standard size cross-mark  represents 50,000 people killed.  The smaller cross-marks represent less than 50,000 deaths.   The war casualties represent all American combat-related deaths.  Statistics from 1982 World Almanac.
    REVOLUTIONARY WAR                    25,324    
    CIVIL WAR                                          496,332    †††††††††
    WORLD WAR I                                   116,708    ††
    WORLD WAR II                                  407,316    ††††††††
    KOREAN WAR                                     54,246  
    VIETNAM WAR                                     58,655        

     WAR ON UNBORN CHILDREN      OVER  59,440,015  
    ...since abortion was legalized in 1973

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    These promises were given by the Blessed Mother to Saint Dominic and Blessed Alan.

     1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.

    2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

    3. The rosary shall be a powerful armour against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

    4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

    5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.

    6. Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

    7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

    8. Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

    9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

    10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

    11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

    12. All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

    13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

    14. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son Jesus Christ.

    15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.


    THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY(by Saint Louis De Montfort)


    Graces Derived from Going to Mass
    (Note:  Assisting at Mass simply means attending Mass.  By attending a Mass Catholics are actually assisting in Mass.) 

    THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE PIETA PRAYER BOOKLET, Published in U.S.A. by  MLOR Corporation, 1186 Burlington Drive, Hickory Corners, MI  49060-9330:

    1. The Mass is Calvary continued.

    2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of our Lord's life, sufferings and death.

    3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.

    4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolation.

    5. Every Mass will go with you to judgment and plead for pardon.

    6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervor.

    7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the sacred humanity of Our Lord the greatest homage.

    8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

    9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed.  The power of Satan over you is diminished.

    10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

    11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.

    12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you.  You shorten your Purgatory.

    13. Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.

    14. You receive the priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.

    15. You kneel amidst a multitude of holy angels, who are present at the adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.

    16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

    In eternity, we shall fully realize that it was certainly worthwhile to have assisted at Holy Mass daily.  PRAY FOR PRIESTS THAT THEY MAY OFFER THE MASS WITH HOLY LOVE AND REVERENCE.



    "WHY Should I Go To Mass Every Day?"

    "The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"

    For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.  (revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the great).

    Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, the world could exist more easily without the sun than without the Mass.

    The Cure'd' Ars, St. Jean Vianney said, if we knew the value of the Mass we would die of joy.

    A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death.  St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than  many after it.

    "The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."  (Pope Benedict XV).

    Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord, "How can I thank you?"  Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS".




     Saint Louis De Montfort stresses that people should give there hearts and wills to Jesus through Mary and that by doing this a soul will be able to soar toward God.  See Saint Louis's book True Devotion To Mary. Saint Louis warns of the devil's great ability to deceive souls, including souls of saints:

    "Because the devils, who are skillful thieves, wish to surprise us unawares, and to strip us.  They watch day and night for the favorable moment.  For that end they go round about us incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, all the graces and merits we have gained for many years.   Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues, better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity, have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged.  Ah!  How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all their height and their brightness!  Whence comes that sad and curious change?  It was not for want of grace, which is wanting to no man; but it was for want of humility.  They thought themselves capable of guarding their own treasures.  They trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves.  They thought their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep the precious treasure of grace.  It is because of that scarcely perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to themselves.  Alas!  If they had but known the admirable devotion which I will unfold presently, they would have confided their treasure to a Virgin powerful and faithful, who would have kept it for them as if it had been her own possession; nay, who would have even taken it as an obligation of justice on herself to preserve it for them".



    Holy Mary, my Queen and sovereign Lady, I give you myself, trusting in your fidelity and your protection. I surrender myself entirely to your motherly tenderness, my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I possess,  for the whole of this day, my life,  and especially at the hour of my death. I entrust to you once more all my hopes, all my consolations, all my anxieties, all my troubles, my life, my dying breath, so that by your prayers and merits, I may have, in all I do, one only goal, your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son.  Amen!



    The Chaplet of St. Michael

    One day, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Antonia d'Astonac, a most devout Servant of God and told her that he wished to be honoured by nine salutations corresponding to the nine Choirs of Angels, which should consist of one Our Father and three Hail Marys in honour of each of the Angelic Choirs.

    Promises of St. Michael

    "Whoever would practice this devotion in his honour would have, when approaching the Holy Table, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for the daily recital of these nine salutations, he promised his continual assistance and that all the holy angels during life, and after death deliverance from Purgatory for themselves and all their relations."




    The Chaplet of St. Michael

    O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.

    [Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]



    1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.

    2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.

    3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.

    4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.

    5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

    6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.

    7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

    8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.

    9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.

    Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.


    Concluding prayers:

    O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

    Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

    Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.    Amen.




    Welcome to this Catholic Spiritual Direction Web Site.   It is the intention of this site to lead people to a closer relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit through the promotion of prayer and Christian teaching which will enable Christians to adhere to the straight and narrow path Jesus speaks of in the Gospels. Included in these web pages are the Douay-Rheims Bible and the works of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas ÃÆ’  Kempis and Saint Louis de Montfort, and the works of other saints of the Catholic faith, all of whose teachings on spiritual direction have been followed by priests, ministers, clergymen, Popes and Saints. These teachings adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site is dedicated to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (Biography) (1774-1824) Mystic, Stigmatist, Prophet, and Great Visionary, a saintly Augustinian nun from Flamske, Germany. Her highly descriptive visions of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, The Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are presented here. In time more works from the Saints of the Catholic Church will be added to these pages.



    When difficulties come to us at work or at home it important to pray your way through these difficulties.  At work, it could be trouble with a supervisor or a co-worker, with the result that misery is brought into our lives.  Or at home a wife or a husband, or a child or a relative may be causing you trouble.  It is important to pray your way through these difficulties.  The different forms of prayers listed above, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Saint Michael, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Holy Mass, can move God to assist us with the things the bother us the most during our lives.  Try these prayers, they work. 

     And sometimes, it takes the prayers of others to help change the current situations that are going on in our lives.   On the following web page, there are several prayer groups that will pray for yours needs; this a great tool against our daily problems and against the assaults of demons.  Sometimes it takes the prayers of many people to change things.



    From the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila , Chapter 31. 1562 A.D.

    "From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation. In fact, it is quite usual for me to be conscious of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling an inward joy which comforts my whole soul. This is not fancy, or something which has happened to me only once it has happened again and again and I have observed it most attentively. It is let us say, as if someone very hot and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he would feel the refreshment throughout his body. I often reflect on the great importance of everything ordained by the Church and it makes me very happy to find that those words of the Church are so powerful that they impart their power to the water and make it so very different from water which has not been blessed."

    The Catholic Church around the world uses Holy Water in every church to make the church a fortress against the demons which assault men and women.  The Holy Water is usually situated near every entrance to the church for people to use to anoint themselves with the Sign of the Cross.  When an individual puts on Holy Water any demons present will flee.  Catholics should put Holy Water in containers and place them in their homes and their offices; by doing so they make their homes and offices fortresses against the demons which are always lurking about.  Catholics should also consider carrying the Holy Water in small containers in their pockets to ward off demonic attacks during each day.



    "because they include a movement of reverence for God and Divine things; and in this way a bishop's blessing, the sprinkling of holy water, any sacramental anointing, a prayer said in a dedicated church, and anything else of the kind, conduce to the remission of venial sins."  Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica









    Saint John XXIII, you spent your life deeply immersed in the truths of the Catholic Faith.  You led us by your great example of sacrifice and love as you successively led millions to love Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. 

    We now ask for your intercession for those who are troubled and in need:

      Saint John XXIII, please pray for the Holy Catholic Church and for the following prayer request:
    [state your prayer request.]



    SEE:  EWTN  Biography on Pope John Paul II


    O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
    for having graced the Church with
    Saint John Paul II and for allowing
    the tenderness of your fatherly care,
    the glory of the Cross of Christ
    and the splendor of the Spirit of love
    to shine through him.

    Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
    and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
    he has given us a living image of
    Jesus the Good Shepherd.
    He has shown us that holiness
    is the necessary measure of ordinary
    Christian life and is the way of
    achieving eternal communion with you.
    Grant us, by his intercession,


    and according to your will,
    the graces we implore,
    through Christ our Lord. Amen.


    Prayer of Saint Catherine of Siena
    for Physical and Spiritual Healing

    PRECIOUS BLOOD, ocean of divine mercy:
    Flow upon us!
    Precious Blood, most pure offering:
    Procure us every grace!
    Precious Blood, hope and refuge of sinners:
    Atone for us!
    Precious Blood, delight of holy souls:
    Draw us! Amen.


    Are you sick or do you know someone who is ill.  Say the  prayer above for them everyday.  Also, there is greater power of prayer when many people are praying for the sick.  Ask many fellow Catholics to join in prayer with you for the sick.  You can send prayer requests to Catholic Groups that will join you in prayer at: