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St Leo IX
Pope (entered heaven this day in 1054)
In your last note, I detected a most displeasing tinge of disdain for your spiritual mother, the Catholic Church. I understand that many influential people around you (some professors, for instance) would gladly obliterate the Church at the slightest opportunity. Some such persons cloak their real reasons for such misdirected zeal behind fancy arguments based on the latest historical, sociological, psychological, political, socio-political, psycho-social, et alia research. Don’t be deceived. In the first place, the next issue of the appropriate academic research journal will reverse 99% of such “arguments.” In the second place, 99% of the Church’s detractors only detract because the Church pricks their conscience; certain behaviors that they like very much would have to go out the window if they entered the Cathedral door. Keeping that in mind will be of use in your many conversations with anti-Catholics. It might help as well to brush up a bit on your Church history. Certainly, we are the first ones to admit that many Christians through the centuries have not lived up to our Lord’s universal call to holiness, but what’s really amazing is how many have lived up to it. Take today’s saint, for example. St Leo (Bruno was his name before he became Pope) took the Papal tiara when the clerical abuses of the Middle Ages were at their height. Counts and Barons were buying and selling ecclesiastical positions like lollipops, and clergymen were shamelessly neglecting their flocks in favor of their concubines. Pope Leo came bravely to the defense of the true faith, legislating against all kinds of widespread corruption, programming substantial reform, and even traveling extensively (without modern comforts, mind you) back and forth across Europe in order to ensure the prompt implementation of his decrees. They called him the “Apostolic Pilgrim” because he traveled so much. You see, God never abandons his Church; for every Judas, he raises up plenty of Peters – just be sure you’re always one of the latter and not the former.