Saint Francis of Paola

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Saint Francis of Paola, Confessor

Paola, a small town in Calabria, a province of Naples, was the favored place where St. Francis, who is so celebrated on account if his miracles and virtues, was born. Hence, he is called St. Francis of Paola, to distinguish him from other saints who bear the name of Francis. His parents were not wealthy, but they were very pious. They had been married 16 years, and had no heir, when they made a vow, that if God would give them a son, they would devote him to the service of Religion in the order of St. Francis of Assisi. God heard their prayer, and they, therefore, gave the child the name of Francis. A bright flame was visible over the house of his virtuous parents at the time of the birth of this child of grace, and was considered a sign of his future sanctity.When Francis had reached his 13th year, his parents took him to the monastery in the city of St. Mark that he might in accordance with their vow serve the Franciscan priests living there. From this time, he accustomed himself to a very strict mode of living, which he ever afterwards observed. After a year, he went to a wilderness where he spent six entire years in continued prayer, great austerity and contemplation.He not only abstained from meat, but also from every other food which is pleasing to the taste. Hard bread or a few wild roots were his only food, water his only drink, and he usually partook of his scant repast only in the evening. His bed was a hard stone or the bare ground; he always went barefoot, and daily scourged himself most cruelly.  Continue reading

Second Lateran Council (1139)

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Second Lateran Council (1139)

The death of Pope Honorius II (February, 1130) was followed by a schism. Petrus Leonis (Pierleoni), under the name of Anacletus II, for a long time held in check the legitimate pope, Innocent II, who was supported by St. Bernard and St. Norbert. In 1135 Innocent II celebrated a Council at Pisa, and his cause gained steadily until, in January, 1138, the death of Anacletus helped largely to solve the difficulty. Nevertheless, to efface the last vestiges of the schism, to condemn various errors and reform abuses among clergy and people Innocent, in the month of April, 1139, convoked, at the Lateran, the tenth ecumenical council. Nearly a thousand prelates, from most of the Christian nations, assisted. The pope opened the council with a discourse, and deposed from their offices those who had been ordained and instituted by the antipope and by his chief partisans, Ægidius of Tusculum and Gerard of Angoulême. As Roger, King of Sicily, a partisan of Anacletus who had been reconciled with Innocent, persisted in maintaining in Southern Italy his schismatical attitude, he was excommunicated. The council likewise condemned the errors of the Petrobrusians and the Henricians, the followers of two active and dangerous heretics, Peter of Bruys and Arnold of Brescia. The council promulgated against these heretics its twenty-third canon, a repetition of the third canon of the Council of Toulouse (1119) against the Manichæans. Finally, the council drew up measures for the amendment of ecclesiastical morals and discipline that had grown lax during the schism. Twenty-eight canons pertinent to these matters reproduced in great part the decrees of the Council of Reims, in 1131, and the Council of Clermont, in 1130, whose enactments, frequently cited since then under the name of the Lateran Council, acquired thereby increase of authority.

Canon 4: Injunction to bishops and ecclesiastics not to scandalize anyone by the colours. the shape, or extravagance of their garments, but to clothe themselves in a modest and well-regulated manner.
Canons 6, 7, 11: Condemnation and repression of marriage and concubinage among priests, deacons, subdeacons, monks, and nuns.
Canon 10: Excommunication of laymen who fail to Pay the tithes due the bishops, or who do not surrender to the latter the churches of which they retain possession, whether received from bishops, or obtained from princes or other persons.
Canon 12 fixes the periods and the duration of the Truce of God.
Canon 14: Prohibition, under pain of deprivation of Christian burial, of jousts and tournaments which jeopardize life.
Canon 20: Kings and princes are to dispense justice in consultation with the bishops.
Canon 25: No one must accept a benefice at the hands of a layman.
Canon 27: Nuns are prohibited from singing the Divine Office in the same choir with monks or canons.
Canon 28: No church must be left vacant more than three years from the death of the bishop; anathema is pronounced against those (secular) canons who exclude from episcopal election “persons of piety” — i.e. regular canons or monks.

About this page

APA citation. Leclercq, H. (1910). Second Lateran Council (1139). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Leclercq, Henri. “Second Lateran Council (1139).” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

St. Richard

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St. Richard, Bishop and Confessor

A.D. 1253.

ST. RICHARD was born at the manor of Wiche, famous for its salt wells, four miles from Worcester, being second son to Richard and Alice de Wiche. In order to keep faithfully his baptismal vows, he from his infancy always manifested the utmost dislike to gay diversions, and ever held in the highest contempt all worldly pomp: instead of which his attention was wholly employed in establishing for himself a solid foundation of virtue and learning. Every opportunity of serving others he regarded as his happiness and gain. The unfortunate situation of his eldest brother’s affairs gave him an occasion of exercising his benevolent disposition. Richard condescended to become his brother’s servant, undertook the management of his farms, and by his industry and generosity effectually retrieved his brother’s before distressed circumstances. Having completed this good work, he resumed at Paris those studies he had begun at Oxford, leading with two select companions a life of piety and mortification, generally contenting himself with coarse bread and simple water for his diet; except that on Sundays and on particular festival she would, in condescendence to some visitors, allow himself a little meat or fish. Upon his return to England, he proceeded master of arts at Oxford, from whence he went to Bologna, in Italy, where he applied himself to the study of the canon law, and was appointed public professor of that science. After having taught there a short time, he returned to Oxford, and, on account of his merit, was soon promoted to the dignity of chancellor in that university. St. Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, having the happiness of gaining him for his diocess, appointed him his chancellor, and intrusted him with the chief direction of his archbishopric; and Richard was the faithful imitator of his patron’s piety and devotions. The principal use he made of his revenues was to employ them to charitable purposes, nor would he on any terms be prevailed on to accept the least present in the execution of his office as ecclesiastical judge. He accompanied his holy prelate in his banishment into France, and after his blessed death at Pontigni, retired into a convent of Dominican friars in Orleans. Having in that solitude employed his time in improving himself in theological studies, and received the order of priesthood, he returned to England to serve a private curacy, in the diocess of Canterbury. Boniface, who had succeeded St. Edmund in that metropolitan see, compelled him to resume his office of chancellor with the care of his whole diocess. Ralph Nevil, bishop of Chichester, dying in 1244, King Henry III. recommended to that see an unworthy court favourite, called Robert Passelew: the archbishop and other prelates declared the person not qualified, and the presentation void, and preferred Richard de Wiche to that dignity. He was consecrated in 1245. But the king seized his temporalities, and the saint suffered many hardships and persecutions from him and his officers, during two years, till his majesty granted him a replevin: upon which he recovered his revenues, but much impaired. Afterwards having pleaded his cause at Rome before Pope Innocent IV. against the king’s deputies, and obtained a sentence confirming his election, he had permitted no persecution, fatigue, or difficulty to excuse him to himself for the omission of any part of his duty to his flock: so now, the chief obstacles being removed, he redoubled his fervour and attention. He in person visited the sick, buried the dead, and sought out and relieved the poor. When his steward complained that his alms exceeded his income: “then,” said he, “sell my plate and my horse.” Having suffered a great loss by fire, instead of being more sparing in his charities, he said, “Perhaps God sent us this loss to punish our covetousness;” and ordered upon the spot more abundant alms to be given than usual. Such was the ardour of his devotion, that he lived as it were in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. He preached the word of God to his flock with that unction and success, which only an eminent spirit of prayer could produce. The affronts which he received, he always repaid with favours, and enmity with singular marks of charity. In maintaining discipline he was inflexible, especially in chastising crimes in the clergy: no intercession of the king, archbishop, and several other prelates could prevail with him to mitigate the punishment of a priest who had sinned against chastity. Yet penitent sinners he received with inexpressible tenderness and charity. Whilst he was employed in preaching a holy war against the Saracens, being commissioned thereto by the pope, he fell sick of a fever, foretold his own death, and prepared himself for it by the most melting ejaculations of divine love and thanksgiving. He died in an hospital at Dover, called God’s House, on the 3d of April, in the year of our Lord 1253, of his episcopal dignity the ninth, of his age the fifty-sixth. His body was conveyed to Chichester, and interred before the altar which he himself had consecrated in his cathedral to the memory of St. Edmund. It was removed to a more honourable place in 1276, on the 16th of June, on which day our ancestors commemorated his translation. The fame of miraculous cures of paralytic and other distempers, and of three persons raised to life at his tomb, moved the pope to appoint commissaries to inquire into the truth of these reports, before whom many of these miracles were authentically proved upon the spot; and the saint was solemnly canonized by Urban IV. in 1262.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.