Tuesday, July 31, 2007

St. Ignatius, St. Edmund Campion, and ecumenism

Ignatius, courtier and knight, was wounded at the siege of Pampeluna. During his long convalescence the reading of the lives of the Saints revealed to him that the Church militant needed an army of glorious soldiers to fight the forces of Satan: Pagans, Mohammedans, Protestants, etc. He founded the Society of Jesus and as first General of this new spiritual chivalry he moved to the attack under the motto: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam - To the greater glory of God!" He died with the Holy Name of Jesus on his lips in 1556.

It just so happened that this morning, on the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, my wife and I were reading Evelyn Waugh's biography of one of Ignatius's most glorious spiritual sons: Edmund Campion - A Life. This passage caught our attention as particularly noteworthy in today's ecumaniacal world:

"The next question [addressed by the Synod of Southwark] was one of vital importance to the laymen: the rule governing their attendance at Protestant services. A committee of the Council of Trent had already given a decision, but there had been no official promulgation of it (except to individuals here and there by Dr. Sanders) and many had found it convenient to profess ignorance. Theycould plead, with some reason, that there was nothing specifically anti-Catholic in the Morning Prayer, which would secure them immunity from persecution; it consisted of the recital of a creed identical with their own, readings from the scriptures, psalms and prayers mostly translated from Catholic sources... But no compromise was allowed. By the very importance which the Government attached to it, attendance at the new service constituted an act of adherence to the Elizebethan settlement; it was not merely participicio in sacris, but a formal admission of the spiritual supremacy of the State. Accordingly Persons pronounced an absolute prohibition which placed anyone observing the law outside the Catholic body, in the words, 'So public an act as is going to the church, where profession is made to impugn the truth and to deface, alienate and bring into hatred Christ's Catholic Church, is the highest iniquity that can be committed.'" (pp. 118-119)

O GOD, Who to spread the greater glory of Thy name, didst, by means of blessed Ignatius, srengthen the Church militant with a new army: grant that with his help and through his example we may so fight on earth as to become worthy to be crowned with him in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

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