Monday, September 02, 2013

Crows and Vipers

Théodule Ribot  (1823-1891)
Saint Vincent
Oil on canvas
98  x 130 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Blois (Lille)

The saint and martyr is Saint Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Vincent the Martyr, Vincent of Huesca or Vincent the Deacon. He  is the patron saint of Lisbon and Valencia. 

He was martyred in AD 304

A pious legend found in The Golden Legend states that after his death, crows and ravens protected St. Vincent's body from being devoured by vultures, until his followers could recover the body. 

Unfortunately St Vincent was not that great an advocate or a diplomat. When he attempted to defend himself and his bishop, he so antagonised the Roman governor that the governor put him to death. The governor let the bishop off with exile.

Unfortunately it was not this type of crow which protected St Vincent that a great servant of the Church spoke about recently in the context of being assailed by "crows and vipers"

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone the (still) Secretary of State is a man of great integrity and ability. 

He is also a man of unimpeachable loyalty. Many a time while in office he took a bullet for his boss, Pope Benedict XVI and the Church

When they attacked Bertone, everyone knew that the real target was Benedict

We and the Church owe the Cardinal much.

May he have a long and happy and peaceful retirement free from the pricks of  the darts of lesser men. 

It is clear from Pope Francis`s homily today that one of his main tasks is to stop the fratricidal bickering in Rome and the clergy and laity which seems to pass as "peer criticism" in some circles

Vatican Radio reported this about the Pope`s homily:
"And Pope Francis reflected on the reading pointing out that a situation which had started off with admiration was to end with a crime: they wanted to kill Jesus. Because of jealousy and envy. This – he said – is not just something that happened two thousand years ago: “this kind of thing happens every day in our hearts, in our communities”.  
And he made the example of when somebody new enters a community, on the first day – he said - people speak well of him; on the second not so well; and from the third on gossip and badmouthing starts to spread and end up skinning him”. 
The Pope elaborated on the concept quoting from the First Letter of St. John 3, 15 in which he says: “He who hates his brother is a murderer”. We are used to gossip – he continued – “but how many times our communities, even our families have become a hell in which we criminally kill our brother with words”. "
As the story of St Vincent of Saragossa shows, even crows can change their nature. Let us hope they do before the next victim is struck.