Showing posts from April, 2021

St Peter Canisius, bringing people to their senses using the “new media” of his day

Saint Peter Canisius was a monumental figure of the counter-reformation. That movement which grew out of the Council of Trent and produced so many great saints, leaves him in the shadow of such luminaries as Saint Philip Neri, Saint Ignatius Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross. Yet our saint was a prolific writer and preacher who saved the faith in Germany from oblivion and whose influence extended across Europe, notably in Poland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to mention only a few examples. For fifty years he effectively led the counter-reformation in central Europe. Of all his works, probably the most influential was his set of catechisms. With pastoral genius, he produced versions for adults, teenagers, and children, teaching the faith straightforwardly and accessibly in answer to the subtle and manifold versions of errors against the faith that confused and troubled ordinary people.

Our Easter Faith: Not a Pious Crème Fraiche

In public life, some basically well-meaning figures have the graciousness to wish us well at Easter and to recognise the importance of the Christian feast day. Perhaps they might assure us that their thoughts are with us at this time. That is kind of them and in Christian charity we should thank them for their kindness, but Easter should be a great deal more than that for us. We must believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the grave, in the flesh, and lives for eternity. We cannot treat Easter as a jolly holiday that heralds spring, or the remembrance of a significant event from the past. It must change us today and every day, change who we are and what we do. The Christian faith cannot be a mild custard or blancmange of religiosity. (I am showing my age. Nowadays, I should say that it cannot be reduced to a pious crème fraiche .) We bow down and adore the King of Kings, risen from the tomb, who, “[…] continues for ever,

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