31 March 2024

Pope Francis and Caiaphas: A Tale of Two High Priests

Despite Francis's fascination with Judas Iscariot, Dr Zmirak thinks he's much more like Caiphas, the High Priest who condemned Our Lord. 

From The Stream

By John Zmirak, PhD

One thing we know about Pope Francis: He has an unhealthy obsession with Judas. In his private apartments, a crude painting hangs which depicts the risen Jesus ministering to Judas’s body after his suicide. Francis has repeatedly mused that Judas might have been saved — in support of the suggestion that no one is finally damned. That’s a heresy the early Church condemned for turning the drama of our salvation into a farce with a forced happy ending.

You might think Francis is simply a little “too merciful.” Read my three-part analysis of the dark, perverse motivations that more likely lie behind his defense of the one human being whom the Church has always regarded as doomed — based on the words of Jesus.
Not Judas, But Caiaphas

Don’t expect here an essay comparing Francis to Judas, though. There’s a much closer parallel in salvation history: the high priest Caiaphas. No, not just because both he and the pope have served as high priests of the one true religion on earth; that would work with any pope. (So we Catholics believe, calling the bishop of Rome “pontifex maximus.”)

What called to mind Caiaphas in particular was a recent papal statement that Lifesitenews covered in detail, in which Francis tore into Christians who refused the COVID vaccine — especially those of us who rejected it as immoral because it relies on DNA from a kidney cut out of a baby being aborted, most likely while she was still alive, since otherwise such tissue is useless. (Yes, other medications depend on such research. That’s deplorable as well and we should avoid them. But none of those vaccines or medications have been forced on people by the government and their employers.)

Francis clearly feels strongly about the vaccine; he violated canon law to remove a fellow bishop for refusing to segregate the unvaccinated at Mass. Francis taught officially that Catholics weren’t just permitted to take this vaccine (which his own bishops had warned Donald Trump would be immoral); he said we were obliged to out of “love of neighbor.”

For a detailed analysis of the Natural Law criteria for using medicines derived unethically — in ordinary and in emergency situations — see “The Vaccine Is a Toxic Sacrament of Globalism, Paternalism, and Abortion,” Parts I and II.

Francis told bishops not to support religious exemptions from taking the vaccine — thus undermining our religious freedom vis a vis the State. He issued a Vatican Euro coin celebrating the useless, harmful vaccination of children. He even sneered at his critic Cardinal Raymond Burke, who’d refused the vaccine and came down with COVID: “There were even a few anti-vaxxers among the bishops: some came close to death.”

As Lifesite reports:

Referring to the COVID-related lockdowns as a “grim scenario,” Francis stated that “[t]his grim scenario began to change with the arrival of the first vaccines,” failing to mention the multitude of side effects linked to the rollout of the experimental jabs, including upticks in heart, brain and blood diseases, among other issues.

 Lies in Defense of Moral Compromise

Some unprincipled Catholics supported Francis’s position on the vaccine, impatiently dismissing the longtime pro-life objection to using abortion-derived medicines. One prominent Dominican priest and scientist supported that stance by spreading the falsehood that the origin of the fetal cells used in each of the COVID vaccines “might” have been a miscarriage. That priest knew better. We documented here at The Stream that the researcher who created the human embryonic kidney cell line involved testified under oath to the FDA that the “donor” had been a healthy child, killed by abortion. That child even has a name, given her by pro-lifers who wish to restore her humanity: Johanna Vera Alderliesten.

And of course, Johanna was not the only innocent whose death benefited COVID research. The Center for Medical Progress, among others, reported that dozens of abortions were coordinated with COVID researchers to provide still more fetal organs for the National Institutes of Health. The same COVID panic which justified massive lockdowns, lax ballot practices, and crushing media censorship was used to unleash “open season” on unborn kids and their body parts.

Blessing Organ Harvesting in China

And Pope Francis thinks all that was justified. He said nothing about the further abortions and organ harvesting. That’s not a surprise, since he sent his right-hand man, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, to a conference in Communist China of that regime’s organ thieves — who (as Forbes reports) harvest hundreds of organs cut from the living bodies of Uyghurs and other prisoners of conscience. Sorondo addressed the conference and praised the attendees for their work.

That’s what brings us back to Caiaphas. In some ways, he’s even harder to understand than Judas. This is the man who, during Jesus’s ministry, was the highest religious authority on earth — the one man who could enter the Holy of Holies (just once a year) and speak the secret name of God. Did Caiaphas realize that Jesus was indeed the Messiah? Did he at least suspect it? Why else during Jesus’s trial did he bother to suborn perjured testimony, which failed to secure a conviction until Jesus at last announced His divine nature — giving Caiaphas the excuse for putting Him to death?

Caiaphas knew on some level that Jesus’s death would prove redemptive, even if he interpreted that in a degraded, political sense. As St. John recounts in his gospel:

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” (John 11:49-50)

Did Pope Francis “understand” that it was “expedient” for Johanna, as well as untold numbers of other unborn babies vivisected for organs, to die in the name of COVID research so “that the whole nation should not perish”?

Does that dark moral compromise on some level haunt the pontiff? That would explain why he is still fulminating against Christians who refused to accept that deal — even as medical authorities warned us that we were risking our own deaths. Did it outrage him that some of us don’t think life bought at such a price is worth the exchange?

Christ paid the price of our sins with His own life. But He did it willingly, as the culmination of His mission; indeed, it was the very reason He came into the world. That’s starkly, profoundly different from mothers offering their children to the high priests of Science. What our government did during COVID, and Pope Francis still defends, was a satanic parody of the Passion.

Monday in the Octave of Easter

Today's Holy Mass from Corpus Christi Church, Tynong, VIC, Australia. You may follow the Mass at Divinum Officium.

Easter Monday ~ Dom Prosper Guéranger

Easter Monday

From Dom Prosper Guéranger's The Liturgical Year

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

So ample and so profound is the mystery of the glorious Pasch, that an entire week may well be spent in its meditation. Yesterday, we limited ourselves to our Redeemer’s rising from the tomb, and showing Himself, in six different apparitions, to them that were dear to Him. We will continue to give Him the adoration, gratitude, and love, which are so justly do to Him for the triumph, which is both His and ours; but it also behooves us respectfully to study the lessons conveyed by the Resurrection of our divine Master, that thus the light of the great mystery may the more plentifully shine upon us, and our joy be greater.

And first of all, what is the Pasch? The Scriptures tell us that it is the immolation of the lamb. To understand the Pasch, we must first understand the mystery of the lamb. From the earliest ages of the Christian Church, we find the lamb represented, in the mosaics and frescoes of the basilicas, as the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and triumph. Its attitude of sweet meekness expressed the love wherewith our Jesus shed His Blood for us; but it was put standing on a green hill, with the four rivers of Paradise flowing from beneath its feet, signifying the four Gospels which have made known the glory of His name throughout the earth. At a later period, the lamb was represented holding a cross, to which was attached a banner: and this is the form in which we now have the symbol of the Lamb of God.

Ever since sin entered the world, man has need of the lamb. Without the lamb he never could have inherited heaven, but would have been, for all eternity, an object of God’s just anger. In the very beginning of the world, the just Abel drew down upon himself the mercy of God by offering on a sod-made altar the fairest lamb of his flock: he himself was sacrificed, as a lamb, by the murderous hand of his brother, and thus became a type of our divine Lamb, Jesus, who was slain by His own Israelite brethren. When Abraham ascended the mountain to make the sacrifice commanded him by God, he immolated, on the altar prepared for Isaac, the ram he found amidst the thorns. Later on, God spoke to Moses, and revealed to him the Pasch: it consisted of a lamb that was to be slain and eaten. A few days back, we had read to us the passage from the Book of Exodus where God gives this rite to His people. The Paschal Lamb was to be without blemish; its blood was to be sprinkled as a protection against the destroying Angel, and its flesh was to be eaten. This was the first Pasch. It was most expressive as a figure, but void of reality. For fifteen hundred years was it celebrated by God’s people, and the spiritual-minded among the Jews knew it to be the type of a future Lamb.

In the age of the great prophets, Isaias prayed God to fulfill the promise He made at the beginning of the world. We united in this his sublime and inspired prayer, when, during Advent, the Church read to us his magnificent prophecies. How fervently did we repeat those words: “Send forth, Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth!” (Isaias 16:1) This Lamb was the long-expected Messias; and we said to ourselves: what a Pasch will that not be, wherein such a Lamb is to be victim! What a Feast, wherein He is to be the food of the feasters!

“When the fullness of time came and God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4) upon our earth, this Word made Flesh, after thirty years of hidden life, manifested himself to men. He came to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing. No sooner did the holy Baptist see him, than he said to his disciples: “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him who taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) By these words the saintly Precursor proclaimed the Pasch; for he was virtually telling men that the earth then possessed the true lamb, the Lamb of God, of whom it had been in expectation four thousand years. Yes, the lamb who was fairer than the one offered by Abel, richer in mystery than the one slain by Abraham on the mount, and more spotless than the one the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice in Egypt, had come. He was the lamb so earnestly prayed for by Isaias; the lamb sent by God Himself; in a word, the Lamb of God. A few years would pass, and then the immolation. But three days ago we assisted at His sacrifice; we witnessed the meek patience wherewith He suffered His executioners to slay Him; we have been laved with His precious Blood, and it has cleansed us from all our sins.

The shedding of this redeeming Blood was needed for our Pasch. Unless we had been marked with it, we could not have escaped the sword of the destroying Angel. It has made us partake of the purity of the God who so generously shed it for us. Our neophytes have risen whiter than snow from the font, wherein that Blood was mingled. Poor sinners, that had lost the innocence received in their Baptism, have regained their treasure, because the divine energy of that Blood has been applied to their souls. The whole assembly of the faithful are clad in the nuptial garment, rich and fair beyond measure, for it has been “made white in the Blood of the Lamb.” (Apoc 7:14)

But why this festive garment? It is because we are invited to a great banquet: and here again, we find our lamb. He Himself is the food of the happy guests, and the banquet is the Pasch. The great Apostle St. Andrew, when confessing the name of Christ before the pagan proconsul Ægeas, spoke these sublime words: “I daily offer upon the altar the spotless lamb, of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat; the lamb that is sacrificed, remains whole and living.” Yesterday, this banquet was celebrated throughout the entire universe; it is kept up during all these days, and by it we contract a close union with the Lamb, who incorporates Himself with us by the divine food He gives us.

Nor does the mystery of the lamb end here. Isaias besought God to “send the lamb” who was to be “the ruler of the earth.” He comes, therefore, not only that He may be sacrificed, not only that He may feed us with His sacred Flesh, but likewise that He may command the earth and be King. Here, again, is our Pasch. The Pasch is the announcement of the reign of the lamb. The citizens of heaven thus proclaim it: “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David hath conquered!” (Apoc 5:5) But, if he be the Lion, how is he the Lamb? Let us be attentive to the mystery. Out of love for man, who needed redemption, and a heavenly food that would invigorate, Jesus deigned to be as a Lamb: but he had, moreover, to triumph over his own and our enemies; he had to reign, for “all power was given to him in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) In this his triumph and power, he is a Lion; nothing can resist him; his victory is celebrated, this day, throughout the whole world. Listen to the great Deacon of Edessa, St. Ephrem: “At the twelfth hour, he was taken down from the Cross as a Lion that slept.” (In sanctam Paraceven, et in Crucem et Latronem) Yea, verily, our Lion slept; for, his rest in the sepulcher “was more like sleep than death,” as St. Leo remarks. (First Sermon, On the Resurrection) Was not this the fulfillment of Jacob’s dying prophecy? This Patriarch, speaking of the Messias that was to be born of his race, said: “Juda is a lion’s whelp. To the prey, my son, thou art gone up! Resting thou hast couched as a Lion. Who shall rouse him?” (Genesis 49:9) He has roused Himself, by His own power. He has risen; a Lamb for us, a Lion for His enemies; thus uniting, in his person, gentleness and power. This completes the mystery of our Pasch: a Lamb, triumphant, obeyed, adored. Let us pay Him the homage so justly due. Until we be permitted to join, in heaven, with the millions of Angels and the Four-and-twenty Elders, let us repeat, here on earth, the hymn they are forever singing: “The Lamb that was slain, is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory, and benediction!” (Apoc 5:12)

Formerly, the whole of this week was kept as a Feast, with the obligation of resting from servile work. The edict, published by Theodosius in 389, forbidding all law proceedings during the same period, was supplementary to this liturgical law, which we find mentioned in the Sermons of St. Augustine, (On our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount) and in the Homilies of St. John Chrysostom. The second of these two holy Fathers thus speaks to the newly baptized: “You are enjoying a daily introduction during these seven days. We put before you a spiritual banquet, that thus we may teach you how to arm yourselves and fight against the devil, who is now preparing to attack you more violently than ever; for the greater is the gift you have received, the greater will be the combat you must go through to preserve it … During these following seven days, you have the word of God preached to you, that you may go forth well prepared to fight with your enemies. Moreover, you know it is usual to keep up a nuptial feast for seven days: you are now celebrating a spiritual marriage, and therefore we have established the custom of a seven days’ solemnity.” (Homily v. de Resurrectione)

So fervently did the faithful of those times appreciate and love the Liturgy, so lively was the interest they took in the newly-made children of holy mother Church, that they joyfully went through the whole of the Services of this week. Their hearts were filled with the joy of the Resurrection, and they thought it but right to devote their whole time to its celebration. Councils laid down canons, changing the pious custom into a formal law. The Council of Mâcon, in 585, thus words its decree: “It behoves us all to fervently celebrate the Feast of the Pasch, in which our great High Priest was slain for our sins, and to honor it by carefully observing all it prescribes. Let no one, therefore, do any servile work during these six days (which followed the Sunday), but let all come together to sing the Easter hymns, and assist at the daily Sacrifice, and praise our Creator and Redeemer in the evening, morning, and mid-day.” (Canon II, Labbe, t. v.) The Councils of Mayence (813) and Meaux (845) lay down similar rules. We find the same prescribed in Spain in the 7th century, by the edicts of kings Receswind and Wamba. The Greek Church renewed them in her Council in Trullo; Charlemagne, Louis the Good, Charles the Bald, sanctioned the in their Capitularia; and the canonists of the 11th and 12th centuries, Burchard, St. Ivo of Chartres, Gratian, tell us they were in force in their time. Finally, Pope Gregory IX inserted them in one of his decretals, in the 18th century. But their observance had then fallen into desuetude, at least in many places. The Council held at Constance, in 1094, reduced te solemnity of Easter to the Monday and Tuesday. The two great liturgists, John Belethus in the 12th, and Durandus in the 13th century, inform us that, in their times, this was the practice in France. It gradually became the discipline of the whole of the western Church, and continued to be so, until relaxation crept still further on, and a dispensation was obtained by some countries, first for the Tuesday, and finally for the Monday.

In order fully to understand the Liturgy of the whole Easter Octave (Low Sunday included), we must remember that the neophytes were formerly present, vested in their white garments, at the Mass and Divine Office of each day. Allusions to their Baptism are continually being made in the chants and Lessons of the entire Week.

At Rome, the Station for today is the basilica of St. Peter. On Saturday, the catechumens received the Sacrament of regeneration in the Lateran basilica of our Savior; yesterday, they celebrated the Resurrection in the magnificent church of St. Mary; it is just that they should come, on this third day, to pay their grateful devotions to Peter, on whom Christ has built His whole Church. Jesus our Savior, Mary Mother of God and of men, Peter the visible head of Christ’s mystical Body, these are the three divine manifestations whereby we first entered, and have maintained our place in, the Christian Church.


The Introit, which is taken from the Book of Exodus, is addressed to the Church’s new-born children. It reminds them of the milk and honey which were given to them on the night of Saturday last, after they had received Holy Communion. They are true Israelites, brought into the Promised Land. Let them, therefore, praise the Lord, who has chosen them from the pagan world, that he might make them his favoured people.


The Lord hath brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia: let then the law of the Lord be ever in your mouth. Alleluia, alleluia.

Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: publish his works among the Gentiles. ℣. Glory, etc. The Lord, etc.

At the sight of Jesus, her Spouse, now freed from the bonds of death, holy Church prays God that we, the members of this divine Head, may come to that perfect liberty of which the Resurrection is the type. Our long slavery to sin should have taught us the worth of that liberty of the children of God which our Pasch has restored to us.


God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity, hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.


Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles 10:37-43

You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, Not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he arose again from the dead; And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

St. Peter spoke these words to Cornelius, the centurion, and to the household and friends of this Gentile who had called them together to receive the Apostle whom God had sent to him. He had come to prepare them for Baptism, and thus make them the first-fruits of the Gentile world, for up to this time, the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. Let us take notice how it is St. Peter, and not any other of the Apostles, who throws open to us Gentiles the door of the Church, which Christ has built upon him, as upon the impregnable rock. This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is an appropriate Lesson for this day, whose Station is in the basilica of St. Peter: it is read near the Confession of the great Apostle, and in presence of the neophytes, who have been converted from the worship of false gods to the true faith. Let us observe, too, the method used by the Apostle in the conversion of Cornelius and the other Gentiles. He begins by speaking to them concerning Jesus. He tells them of the miracles He wrought; then, having related how He died the ignominious death of the cross, he insists on the fact of the Resurrection as the sure guarantee of His being truly God. He then instructs them on the mission of the Apostles, whose testimony must be received—a testimony which carries persuasion with it, seeing it was most disinterested, and availed them nothing save persecution. He, therefore, that believes in the Son of God made Flesh, who went about doing good, working all kinds of miracles; who died upon the cross, rose again from the dead, and entrusted to certain men, chosen by Himself, the mission of continuing on earth the ministry He had begun—he that confesses all this is worthy to receive, by holy Baptism, the remission of his sins. Such is the happy lot of Cornelius and his companions; such has been that of our neophytes.

Then is sung the Gradual, which repeats the expression of Paschal joy. The Verse, however, is different from yesterday’s, and will vary every day till Friday. The Alleluia-Verse describes the Angel coming down from heaven, that he may open the empty sepulcher, and manifest the self-gained victory of the Redeemer.


This is the day which the Lord hath made: Let us be glad and rejoice therein.

℣. Let Israel now say, that the Lord is good: that his mercy endureth forever.

Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. An Angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and coming, he rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, is from Easter Sunday.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke 24:13-35

And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.

Let us attentively consider these three travelers on the road to Emmaus, and go with them in spirit and affection. Two of them are frail men like ourselves, who are afraid of suffering; the cross has disconcerted them; they cannot persevere in the faith unless they find it brings them glory and success. O foolish and slow of heart! says the third: ought not Christ to have suffered, and so to enter into His glory? Hitherto, we ourselves have been like these two disciples. Our sentiments have been more those of the Jew than of the Christian. Hence our love of earthly things, which has made us heedless of such as are heavenly, and has thereby exposed us to sin. We cannot, for the time to come, be thus minded. The glorious Resurrection of our Jesus eloquently teaches us how to look upon the crosses sent us by God. However great may be our future trials, we are not likely to be nailed to a cross between two thieves. It is what the Son of God had to undergo: but did the sufferings of the Friday mar the kingly splendor of the Sunday’s triumph? Nay, is not His present glory redoubled by His past humiliations?

Therefore, let us not be cowards when our time for sacrifice comes; let us think of the eternal reward that is to follow. These two disciples did not know that it was Jesus who was speaking to them; and yet, He no sooner explained to them the plan of God’s wisdom and goodness, than they understood the mystery of suffering. Their hearts burned within them at hearing Him explain how the cross leads to the crown; and had He not held their eyes that they should not know Him, they would have discovered from his words that their instructor was Jesus. So will it be with us, if we will allow Him to speak to us. We shall understand how the disciple is not above the Master. (Matthew 10:21) Let us, this Easter, delight in gazing at the resplendent glory of our Risen Lord, and we shall exclaim with the Apostle: No! “the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Now that the efforts made by the Christian for his conversion are being recompensed with the honor of approaching the holy banquet clothed in the nuptial-garment, there is another consideration that forces itself upon our attention, from the reading of today’s Gospel. It was during the breaking of bread that the eyes of the two disciples were opened to recognize their Master. The sacred Food which we receive, and whose whole virtue comes from the word of Christ, gives light to our souls, and enables them to see what before was hidden. Yes, this is the effect produced in us by the divine mystery of our Pasch, provided we be of the number of those who are thus described by the pious author of the Following of Christ: “They truly know their Lord in the breaking of Bread, whose heart burneth so mightily within them, from Jesus’ walking with them.” (Book 4, ch xiv) Let us, therefore, give ourselves unreservedly to our Risen Jesus. We belong to him now more than ever, not only because of his having died, but also for his having risen, for us. Let us imitate the disciples of Emmaus, and, like them, become faithful, joyful, and eager to show forth, by our conduct, that newness of life of which the Apostle speaks, (Romans 6:4) and which we owe to ourselves, seeing that Christ has so loved us, as to wish his own Resurrection to be ours also.

The reason for the choice of this Gospel for today is that the Station is held in the basilica of St. Peter. St. Luke here tells us that the two disciples found the Apostles already made cognizant of the Resurrection of their Master: He hath, said they, appeared to Simon! We spoke yesterday of the favor thus shown to the Prince of the Apostles, which the Roman Church so justly commemorates in today’s Office.

The Offertory consists of a text from the holy Gospel, referring to the circumstances of our Lord’s Resurrection.


An Angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and said to the women: He whom you seek, is risen, as he told you, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church prays that the Paschal Sacrament may be to her children a food nourishing them to immortality, and may unite them, as members, to their divine Head, not only for time, but even for eternity.


Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offerings of these hosts: that what is consecrated by those Paschal mysteries, may, by the help of thy grace, avail us to eternal life. Through, etc.

During the Communion, the Church reminds the Faithful of the visit paid by the Saviour, after his Resurrection, to St. Peter. The faith of the Resurrection is the faith of Peter, and the faith of Peter is the foundation of the Church, and the bond of Catholic unity.


The Lord hath risen, and appeared to Peter, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church again prays that her children, who have been fellow-guests at the feast of the Lamb, may have that spirit of concord which should reign among the members of one and the same family, whose union has been again cemented by this year’s Pasch.


Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal Sacrament, may, by thy goodness, live in perfect concord. Through, etc.


The “Vespers are the same as yesterday, with the exception of the Magnificat- Antiphon and the Collect.


ANT. What are these discourses that ye hold one with another, and are sad? Alleluia.


O God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.

Let us glorify the Son of God for his having, on this the second day of the Creation, made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under from those that were above it. The Holy Fathers have, in commenting these mysterious words, preferred the spiritual to the material sense. Here we recognize the powerful hand of God, who strengthened his work, and established an equilibrium between those elements which lay confounded together in chaos. The Mozarabic Liturgy gives us the following beautiful Prayer, wherewith to praise our Creator in this portion of his work.


O Christ, our God, who, by creating the firmament on the second _ day, didst prefigure the solidity of the Scriptures on which rests thy Church; and who, by separation of the waters from the waters, didst designate the separation of the heavenly choirs of Angels from the weak and inferior-creation, — man: O thou, the Author of the two Testaments, who didst fulfill the figure of the ancient sacrifice by the new covenant of the immolation of thy Body: grant, that by understanding and wisdom, we may be associated to the angelic Powers, as to the Waters that are above us, and may ever tend to heavenly things. May the solidity of the two Laws be so fixed in our hearts, that the power of thy Resurrection may lead us to infinite joy.

Let us close the day with two Prefaces on the mystery of the Resurrection. The first is the one used, by the Ambrosian Liturgy, on Easter Sunday.


It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks and devout praise to thee, O holy and Almighty God, adorable Father, Author and Creator of all things! for that Christ Jesus, thy Son, though the Lord of majesty, did deign to suffer the Cross for the redemption of mankind. It was this that Abraham, so many ages past, prefigured in his son; it was this that the Mosaic people typified by the immolation of a spotless lamb. This is he of whom sang the holy Prophets, who was to bear upon him the sins of all men, and wipe away their crimes. This is the Pasch, ennobled by the Blood of Christ, which makes the Faithful exult with especial devotion. O mystery full of grace! O ineffable mystery of God’s munificence! O ever to be honoured Feast of feasts! whereon Christ gave himself to men that they might slay him, and this that he might ransom slaves. O truly blessed Death, which loosed the bonds of death! Now let the prince of hell feel that he is crushed; now let us, who have been snatched from the abyss, rejoice that we have been exalted to the kingdom of heaven.

The following Preface is the one used by the ancient Church of Gaul, in celebrating the mystery of our Paschal Lamb.


It is right and just, that we give thanks to thee, Almighty and Eternal God, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord; by whom thou gavest life to mankind, and wouldst have thy servants Moses and Aaron celebrate the Pasch by the sacrifice of a lamb. This same rite thou didst command to be observed and remembered in after times, even to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He is the spotless Lamb, that was slain by God’s first people, when they kept their first Pasch in Egypt. He is the ram taken from the thorns on the top of a high mountain, destined for sacrifice. He is the fatted calf, slain under the tent of our father Abraham, that it might be served up to his guests. We celebrate his Passion and Resurrection; we look forward, with hope, to his last coming.

And now let us warm our hearts to the Paschal mystery, by this admirable Sequence of Adam of Saint-Victor:


Hail, thou Day of days! happy Day of Jesus’ victory! Day worthy of ceaseless joy! O first of days!

It was on this Day, that the divine Light gladdened the blind with its brightness: that Christ robbed hell of its spoils, conquered death, and made peace between heaven and earth.

The sentence of the Eternal King concluded all under sin, that the weak might be made strong by heavenly grace.

And when the whole world was going headlong to the abyss, the Power and Wisdom of God softened his anger by his Mercy.

The old enemy, the author of sin, insulted us in our misery, for that there was no hope left us of the pardon of our sins.

The world despaired of a remedy: when lo! whilst all things were in quiet silence, God the Father sent his Son to them that had no hope.

The greedy thief, the hellish monster, saw the Flesh, but not the snare: he grasped at the hook, and was caught.

We were restored to our former dignity by Jesus, whose Resurrection now gladdens us.

He, the restorer of mankind, rose again free from the dead; he carried his sheep, on his shoulders, back to heaven.

Peace is made between angels and men; the heavenly ranks are filled up: praise, eternal praise is due to our triumphant Lord.

Let the voice of Mother Church blend in harmony with that of heaven; let the Faithful sing now, without ceasing, their Alleluia.

A triumph has been won over the power of death; let us rejoice in the triumph. Peace on earth, and jubilee in heaven! Amen.

Easter Monday: The Author of the Scriptures Explains Everything

A sermon for today. Please, remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest.

St Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness, in Scotland

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints:

HAVING administered that see with great sanctity for twenty years (and founding the Cathedral of Dornoch, now dedicated to him-JW), he died on the 1st of April, 1240. See the Aberdeen Breviary. 1

St Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, Confessor

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints:

THE FIRST tincture of the mind is of the utmost importance to virtue; and it was the happiness of this saint to receive from his cradle the strongest impressions of piety by the example and care of his illustrious and holy parents. He was born at Chateau-neuf, in the territory of Valence in Dauphiné, in 1053. His father, Odilo, served his country in an honourable post in the army, in which he acquitted himself of his duty to his prince with so much the greater fidelity and valour, as he most ardently endeavoured to sanctify his profession and all his actions by a motive of religion. Being sensible that all authority which men receive over others is derived from God, with an obligation that they employ it, in the first place, for the advancement of the divine honour, he laboured, by all the means in his power, to make his soldiers faithful servants of their Creator, and by severe punishments to restrain vices, those especially of impurity and lying. By the advice of his son, St. Hugh, he afterward became a Carthusian monk, when he was upwards of fourscore years old, and lived eighteen years in great humility and austerity under St. Bruno, and his successors, in the great Chartreuse, where he died one hundred years old, having received extreme unction and the viaticum from the hands of his son.—Our saint likewise assisted, in her last moments, his mother, who had for many years, under his direction, served God in her own house, by prayer, fasting, and plenteous alms-deeds.—Hugh, from the cradle, appeared to be a child of benediction. He went through his studies with great applause, and his progress in piety always kept pace with his advancement in learning. Having chosen to serve God in an ecclesiastical state, that he might always dwell in his house and be occupied in his praises, he accepted a canonry in the cathedral of Valence. In this station, the sanctity of his life, and his extraordinary talents, rendered him the ornament of that church; and the gentleness and affability of his deportment won him the affection of all his colleagues. He was tall, and very comely, but naturally exceedingly bashful; and such was his modesty, that, for some time, he found means to conceal his learning and eloquence: nevertheless, his humility served only to show afterward those talents to more advantage and with greater lustre. For no virtue shines brighter with learning than modesty, as nothing renders scholars more odious or despicable than haughtiness and pride, which they discover by their obstinacy and clamours, by the contempt with which they treat those who dissent from them in opinion, and by their ostentatious pedantry in embracing every occasion of exhibiting their supposed superior wit and extraordinary parts. 1

Hugh, then bishop of Die, but soon after archbishop of Lyons, and also cardinal legate of the holy see, was so charmed at first sight of the saint, when he happened to come to Valence, that he would not be contented till he had taken the good man into his household. He employed him in extirpating simony, and in many other affairs of importance. In 1080, the legate Hugh held a synod at Avignon, in which he took under consideration the desolate condition and the grievous disorders into which the church of Grenoble was sunk, through the sloth and bad example of its late mercenary pastor. The eyes of the legate and of the whole council were fixed on St. Hugh as the person best qualified, by his virtue and prudence, to reform these abuses, and restore the ancient glory of that church; and with them the voice of the whole city conspired. But his reluctance and fears were not to be overcome till he was compelled by the repeated commands of the legate and council. The legate took our newly appointed bishop with him to Rome, in order to his receiving the episcopal consecration from the hands of Gregory VII., who then sat in the chair of St. Peter. The servant of God was glad of this opportunity of consulting the vicar of Christ concerning his own conscience; for, during a great part of his life, he had been extremely molested with troublesome temptations of importunate blasphemous thoughts against the divine providence. Pope Gregory, who was a man very well versed in the interior trials of souls, assured him that this angel of Satan was permitted by God, in his sweet mercy, to buffet him only for his trial and crown: which words exceedingly comforted the saint, and encouraged him to bear his cross with patience and joy. A devout soul, under this trial, which finds these suggestions always painful and disagreeable, ought not to lose courage; for by patience and perseverance she exceedingly multiplies her crowns, and glorifies God, who has laid it upon her shoulders, and who will, when he sees fit, scatter these mists, and on a sudden translate her from this state of bitterness and darkness into the region of light, joy, and the sweetest peace. St. Hugh prayed earnestly to be freed from this enemy; but received for a long time the same answer with St. Paul. 1 In the mean while, his patience and constancy were his victory and his crown: and assiduous meditation on the sufferings of our divine Redeemer, who was made for us a man of sorrows, was his comfort and support. 2

The pious Countess Maud would needs be at the whole charge of the ceremony of his consecration: she also gave him a crosier and other episcopal ornaments, with a small library of suitable books, earnestly desiring to be instructed by his good counsels, and assisted by his prayers. St. Hugh, after his ordination, hastened to his flock; but being arrived at Grenoble could not refrain his tears, and was exceedingly afflicted and terrified when he saw the diocess overrun with tares which the enemy had sown while the pastor slept. He found the people in general immersed in a profound ignorance of several essential duties of religion, and plunged in vice and immorality. Some sins seemed by custom to have lost their name, and men committed them without any scruple or sign of remorse. The negligence and backwardness of many in frequenting the sacraments, indicated a total decay of piety, and could not fail introducing many spiritual disorders in their souls, especially a great lukewarmness in prayer and other religious duties. Simony and usury seemed, under specious disguises, to be accounted innocent, and to reign almost without control. Many lands belonging to the church were usurped by laymen; and the revenues of the bishopric were dissipated, so that the saint, upon his arrival, found nothing either to enable him to assist the poor, or to supply his own necessities, unless he would have had recourse to unlawful contracts, as had been the common practice of many others, but which he justly deemed iniquitous; nor would he by any means defile his soul with them. He set himself in earnest to reprove vice, and reform abuses. To this purpose he endeavoured by rigorous fasts, watchings, tears, sighs, and prayer, to draw down the divine mercy on his flock. And so plentiful was the benediction of heaven upon his labours, that he had the comfort to see the face of his diocess in a short time exceedingly changed. After two years, imitating therein the humility of some other saints, he privately resigned his bishopric, presuming on the tacit consent of the holy See; and putting on the habit of St. Bennet, he entered upon a noviciate in the austere abbey of Chaise-Dieu, or Casa-Dei, in Auvergne, of the reformation of Cluni. There he lived a year a perfect model of all virtues to that house of saints, till Pope Gregory VII. commanded him in virtue of holy obedience to resume his pastoral charge. Coming out of his solitude, like another Moses descending from the conversation of God on the mountain, he announced the divine law with greater zeal and success than ever. The author of his life assures us that he was an excellent and assiduous preacher. 3

St. Bruno and his six companions addressed themselves to him for his advice in their pious design of forsaking the world, and he appointed them a desert which was in his diocess, whither he conducted them in 1084. It is a frightful solitude, called the Chartreuse, or Carthusian mountains, in Dauphiné, which place gave name to the famous Order St. Bruno founded there. The meek and pious behaviour of these servants of God took deep root in the heart of our holy pastor; and it was his delight frequently to visit them in their solitude, to join them in their exercises and austerities, and perform the meanest offices amongst them, as an outcast and one unworthy to bear them company. Sometimes the charms of contemplation detained him so long in this hermitage, that St. Bruno was obliged to order him to go to his flock, and acquit himself of the duties which he owed them. He being determined to sell his horses for the benefit of the poor, thinking himself able to perform the visitation of his diocess on foot, St. Bruno, to whose advice he paid an implicit deference, opposed his design, urging that he had not strength for such an undertaking. For the last forty years of his life he was afflicted with almost continual headaches, and pains in the stomach; he also suffered the most severe interior temptations. Yet God did not leave him entirely destitute of comfort; but frequently visited his soul with heavenly sweetness and sensible spiritual consolations, which filled his heart under his afflictions with interior joy. The remembrance of the divine love, or of his own and others’ spiritual miseries, frequently produced a flood of tears from his eyes, which way soever he turned them; nor was he able sometimes to check them in company or at table, especially whilst he heard the holy Scriptures read. In hearing confessions, he frequently mingled his tears with those of his penitents, or first excited theirs by his own. At his sermons it was not unusual to see the whole audience melt into tears together; and some were so strongly affected, that they confessed their sins publicly on the spot. After sermon, he was detained very long in hearing confessions. He often cast himself at the feet of others, to entreat them to pardon injuries, or to make some necessary satisfaction to their neighbours. His love of heavenly things made all temporal affairs seem to him burdensome and tedious. Women he would never look in the face, so that he knew not the features of his own mother. He never loved to hear or relate public news or reports, for fear of detraction, or at least of dissipation. His constant pensioners and occasional alms (in the latter of which he was extremely bountiful) were very expensive to him: insomuch, that though, in order to relieve the poor, he had long denied himself everything that seemed to have the least appearance of superfluity, still, for the extending his beneficent inclination, he even sold, in the time of famine, a gold chalice, and part of his episcopal ornaments, as gold rings and precious stones. And the happy consequence of St. Hugh’s example this way was, that the rich were moved by it to bestow of their treasures to the necessitous, whereby the wants of all the poor of his diocess were supplied. 4

He earnestly solicited Pope Innocent II. for leave to resign his bishopric, that he might die in solitude; but was never able to obtain his request. 2 God was pleased to purify his soul by a lingering illness before he called him to himself. Some time before his death, he lost his memory for everything but his prayers: the Psalter and the Lord’s Prayer he recited with great devotion, almost without intermission: and he was said to have repeated the last three hundred times in one night. Being told that so constant an attention would increase his distemper, he said, “It is quite otherwise: by prayer I always find myself stronger.” In the time of sickness, a certain frowardness and peevishness of disposition are what the best of us are too apt to give way to, through weakness of nature and a temptation of the enemy, who seeks to deprive a dying person of the most favourable advantages of penance and patience, and to feed and strengthen self-love in the soul while upon the very cross itself, and in the crucible into which she is thrown by a singular mercy, in order to her coming forth refined and pure. In this fiery trial, the virtue of the saints shows itself genuine, and endued with a fortitude which renders it worthy its crown. By the same test is pretended virtue discovered: self-love can no longer disguise itself: it cries out, murmurs, frets, and repines: the mask which the hypocrite wore is here pulled off: saints, on the contrary, under every degree of torture cruelty can invent, preserve a happy patience and serenity of soul. Hence the devil would not allow the virtue of Job to be sincere before it had been approved under sickness and bodily pain. 3 St. Hugh left us by his invincible patience a proof of the fervour of his charity. Under the sharpest pains, he never let fall one word of complaint, nor mentioned what he suffered: his whole concern seemed only to be for others. When any assisted him, he expressed the greatest confusion and thankfulness: if he had given the least trouble to any one, he would beg to receive the discipline, and because no one would give it him, would confess his fault, as he called it, and implore the divine mercy with tears. The like sentiments we read of in the relation of the deaths of many holy monks of La Trappe. Dom. Bennet, under the most racking pains, when turned in his bed, said: “You lay me too much at my ease.” Dom. Charles would not cool his mouth with a little water in the raging heat of a violent fever. Such examples teach us at least to blush at and condemn our murmurs and impatience under sickness. The humility of St. Hugh was the more surprising, because every one approached him with the greatest reverence and affection, and thought it a happiness if they were allowed in anything to serve him. It was his constant prayer, in which he begged his dear Carthusians and all others to join him, that God would extinguish in his heart all attachment to creatures, that his pure love might reign in all his affections. One said to him: “Why do you weep so bitterly, who never offended God by any wilful crime?” He replied: “Vanity and inordinate affections suffice to damn a soul. It is only through the divine mercy that we can hope to be saved, and shall we ever cease to implore it?” If any one spoke of news in his presence, he checked them, saying: “This life is all given us for weeping and penance, not for idle discourses.” He closed his penitential course on the 1st of April, in 1132, wanting only two months of being eighty years old, of which he had been fifty-two years bishop. Miracles attested the sanctity of his happy death; and he was canonized by Innocent II. in 1134. 5

There is no saint who was not a lover of retirement and penance. Shall we not learn from them to shun the tumult of the world, as much as our circumstances will allow, and give ourselves up to the exercises of holy solitude, prayer, and pious reading? Holy solitude is the school of heavenly doctrine, where fervent souls study a divine science, which is learned by experience, not by the discourses of others. Here they learn to know God and themselves; they disengage their affections from the world, and burn and reduce to ashes all that can fasten their hearts to it. Here they give earthly things for those of heaven, and goods of small value for those of inestimable price. In blessed solitude, a man repairs in his soul the image of his Creator, which was effaced by sin, and, by the victory which he gains over his passions, is in some degree freed from the corruption of his nature, and restored in some measure to the state of its integrity and innocence by the ruin of vice, and the establishment of all virtues in his affections; so that, by a wonderful change wrought in his soul, he becomes a new creature, and a terrestrial angel. His sweet repose and his employments are also angelical, being of the same nature with those of the blessed in heaven. By the earnest occupation of the powers of his soul on God and in God, or in doing his will, he is continually employed in a manner infinitely more excellent and more noble than he could be in governing all the empires of the world; and in a manner which is far preferable to all the vain occupations of the greatest men of the world during the whole course of their lives. Moreover, in the interior exercises of this state, a soul receives certain antepasts of eternal felicity, by which she intimately feels how sweet God is, and learns to have no relish for anything but for him alone. O my friends, cried out a certain pious contemplative, I take leave of you with these words, and this feeling invitation of the Psalmist: Come, taste yourselves, and see by your own experience how sweet the Lord is. But these and other privileges and precious advantages only belong to the true solitary, who joins interior to exterior solitude, is never warped by sloth or remissness, gives no moments to idleness, uses continual violence to himself, in order perfectly to subdue his passions, watches constantly over his senses, is penetrated to the heart with the wholesome sadness of penance, has death always before his eyes, is always taken up in the exercises of compunction, the divine praises, love, adoration, and thanksgiving, and is raised above the earth and all created things by the ardour of his desires of being united to God, the sovereign good. 6

Note 1. 2 Cor. xii. 9. [back]
Note 2. St. Hugh is ranked among ecclesiastical writers, chiefly on account of his Chartulary, or collection of Charters, with curious historical remarks, kept in MS. at Grenoble: from which Dom. Maur. d’Antine has borrowed many things in his new edition of Du Cange’s Glossary, &c. [back]
Note 3. Job xi. 5. [back]