Column: From the Pastor
Last Sunday was the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, a conflict that saved civilization on the seventh of October, 1571. The day after that anniversary marked the celebration of the life of Christopher Columbus, an observance that has become muted by polemicists who do not understand the significance of events. Were it not for the courage of the 41-year-old Columbus braving the uncharted ocean to the west to avoid the Mediterranean blockade by Islamic jihadists in 1492, and the valor of the 24-year-old Don Juan of Austria, who commanded the Holy League fleet in the Straits of Corinth in 1571, we would not exist today in what we still call a civilized form of nature.
Columbus invoked the Blessed Virgin’s protection each day, ringing the Angelus bell. On his arrival in the West Indies, a grateful local populace thanked him for saving them from marauding Carib cannibals. The Franciscans who accompanied him proclaimed the Gospel, putting a stop to the Aztec sacrifices of about fifty thousand human victims annually. The spread of the Gospel was so rapid that Don Juan’s flagship in 1571 carried an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that had been touched to the original miraculous image imprinted on Saint Juan Diego’s tilma exactly forty years earlier.
Columbus could not have made it to the New World without the astrolabe, whose design had been perfected four centuries before by a young Benedictine monk, Blessed Hermann of Reichenau. Blessed Hermann had been so crippled by congenital deformities, that many barbaric modern doctors acting on the results of amniocentesis would have aborted him. Countless are the discoveries that could have been made by recent generations of those whose right to life was erased by an autonomous decree of our Supreme Court.
The Holy See has convened a Synod on Youth, with laudatory intent to form the next generation of Catholics. But its draft syllabus has been supine, expressing a desire to “accompany” and “learn” from youth rather than instruct them. The sailors with Columbus and Don Juan would have laughed at that. It is not the job of the Church to “accompany” the young in their ways of naiveté, but to commission youthful vigor to spread the joy of the Gospel.
Pope Saint Gregory did not pander to young people by flattering them: “Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins. The name of prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and they consequently lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.”
Fr. George Rutler, S.T.D., is a brilliant scholar, author, convert, former pastor of Our Saviour in Midtown Manhattan, now the pastor of St Michael’s parish in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. A donation of any amount may be made to the parish at: www.StMichaelNYC.com.
View Articles Father Rutler was ordained to the diaconate in Rome by His Eminence William Cardinal Baum in 1980 and received priestly ordination in St. Patrick's... MORE »