Feast of Saint Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church – Mass Propers

St. Jerome in his study

Feast of Saint Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

Wednesday in the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Double / White Vestments

Missa “In medio Ecclesiae”

INTROIT: Ps. 36: 30, 31

In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.

Ps. 91: 2

It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

In the midst of the Church…

In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus epiritu sapientiae, et intellectus: stolam gloriae induit eum.

Ps. 91: 2

Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancti sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et saecula saeculorum. Amen.

In medio Ecclesiae…

St. Jerome in study removing a thorn from a lion's paw

St. Jerome in study removing a thorn from a lion’s paw.


O God, Who didst vouchsafe to provide for Thy Church blessed Jerome, Thy confessor, a great Doctor for the expounding of the Sacred Scriptures, grant, we beseech Thee, that through his merits we may be enabled, by Thine assistance, to practise what both by word and deed he hath taught us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

EPISTLE: 2 Timothy 4: 1-8

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy

Dearly beloved, I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His Kingdom. Preach the word: be instant in season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience, and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labor in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed; and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to themalso that love His coming.

GRADUAL: Psalm 36: 30-31

The mouth of the just man shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment.

The law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not be supplanted.


Alleluia, alleluia – Ecclus. 45: 9

The Lord loved him and adorned him: he clothed with a robe of glory. Alleluia.

St. Jerome - Jacopo Palma il Giovane

GOSPEL:   Matthew 5: 13-19

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples,“You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house; so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For, amen I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven: but he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.”

Jerome in the desert, tormented by his memories of the dancing girls of Rome – Francisco de Zurbarán

OFFERTORY:    Psalm 88: 25

My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.

Jerome in the desert, tormented by his memories of the dancing girls of Rome - Francisco de Zurbarán

Jerome in the desert, tormented by his memories of the dancing girls of Rome – Francisco de Zurbarán


By Thy heavenly gifts, O Lord, grant us, we pray, to serve Thee with untrammeled minds, that the offerings we bring may, by the intercession of blessed Jerome, Thy confessor, effect our healing and our glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God…

PREFACE   Common Preface

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Last Communion of St. Jerome - Sandro-Botticelli

Last Communion of St. Jerome by Sandro Botticelli

COMMUNION:   Luke 12: 42

A faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord set over His family; to give them their measure of wheat in due season.


Filled with Heavenly nourishment, we pray Thee, O Lord, that by the intercession of blessed Jerome, Thy confessor, we may be found worthy to obtain the favor of Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God…

Jerome translated Holy Bible to Latin

Saint Jerome –  Father of the Mother Tongue

St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church was the wise and talented translator of the Holy Bible into the Latin Vulgate. Born of wealthy parents anywhere from 329 to 342 in Dalmatia, which is today the former Yugoslavia, Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius had the benefit and opportunity to study at the great universities. We know him by his Christian name Saint Jerome. He chose Rome, studying the languages under the great pagan grammarian Donatus. Through his intellectual curiosity towards literature, Christian writings and Scripture, he came to realize the Truth and was baptized in 360 by Pope Liberius himself.

Jerome, yearning for more, gave up the pagan culture and the social trappings and sought the life of a hermit for four years where he studied Hebrew which he later called “the language of hissing and broken-winded words.” At the conclusion of this seclusion, he became a priest around 379 and journeyed to Constantinople where he studied Scripture with St. Gregory Nazianzen as his tutor. When Gregory retired as Bishop of Constantinople and left for Asia Minor, Jerome was drawn to Rome where, accompanied by Bishop Paulinus, he was introduced to Pope Saint Damasus I. So taken was the pontiff that he appointed Jerome as his secretary and commissioned him to undertake his greatest contribution: translating the Greek and Hebrew texts of Sacred Scripture into Latin.

At that time the language of the common people of the empire in the west was Latin, yet most of the writings had been in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and thus understandable only to the learned. Urged on by Pope Damasus, Jerome accepted the tremendous task of translating the entire bible into Latin to which we are all grateful for the Latin Vulgate Edition of St. Jerome. It took great skill and discernment to express the meaning of the Word of God in Latin and to know which words to choose.

Jerome was given another gift, that of being able to express the Word in the simplest and most meaningful way and honing in even more on the true essence of all that was written by the prophets and evangelists. Within a short time the people were able to read and understand the “Good News” of the New Testament. This played a major role in the people rejecting the heresy of Arianism in the West for they could now read first hand the truth.

While he was working on this massive project, Jerome had also become spiritual director to three holy women who had come from nobility but wanted more than the world offered. Many believe these ladies – Marcella, Paula and Eustochia were the first religious nuns. Because of her wealth and strong faith, Paula built a monastery in Bethlehem for the women to live and when Damasus died in 384 Jerome graciously declined Pope Saint Siricus’ offer to stay on as secretary, opting instead to become full time spiritual director at the Bethlehem monastery where he could also devote more time to translating the greater part of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin.

For nine years from 393 to 404 many Arian clergymen sought to discredit him and cast scandal on Jerome, the sisters, and the Church just as is happening today with the post-conciliar Modernists who are discrediting the Church by their cover-ups and embracing heresies. Jerome, through his faithfulness and the grace of God, withstood these attacks and staunchly defended the orthodox doctrine of his faith just as faithful Roman Catholics are seeking the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church today in the face of fierce subterfuge and open opposition.

St. Jerome had intended to return to Rome at the urging of Pope Saint Innocent I who was elected the 40th successor to Peter on December 22, 401 but in 404 two events occurred. First, Sister Paula died, saddening Jerome and, after much prayer, decided to stay on at the monastery; and secondly, he received the terrible news that Rome was being sacked by the Goth Alaric and he prayed intensely for the Holy Father’s safety and all of the Roman people, some of whom, in 410, had sought shelter at the monastery when the Saracens invaded Palestine. Jerome interrupted his work on Ezekiel to take the Roman refugees in, taking the opportunity to teach them all he knew during the decade they were together.

It’s also interesting to know that Jerome began in 405 a series of scriptural commentaries which helped explain some of his discernment of the Latin Vulgate. Ten years later, he soundly denounced Pelagianism in his work Dialogi contra Pelagianos and faced the wrath of the heretics when a band of armed Pelagian monks bearing torches burned down several monasteries in Bethlehem. Through the grace of God Jerome escaped and the Pelagians were left to fight amongst themselves in abject poverty for in their fury they destroyed all means for survival as well.

Shortly after they departed Bethlehem in failure, Jerome returned and began helping to rebuild the monastery. In 420 he died near the age of 90 on what is believed to be September 30th which remains the day of his feast in the universal Church. He was buried in the monastery which had now also become a hospice for many and would soon be the site for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the same site that was under an intense five-week siege that thankfully ended in early May.

Throughout his priestly life Jerome wrote countless theses and letters exhibiting a tremendous knowledge of history, sociology and geography, not to mention prose. Many call him the “Father of the Mother Tongue” for he promoted Latin more enthusiastically than anyone before him. Jerome is also renowned for his bibliography of ecclesiastical writers, chronicled in his work De viris illustribus.

The Virgin and the Child with St Lawrence and St Jerome.

The Virgin and the Child with St Lawrence and St Jerome.

Jerome’s masterful translation of the Latin Vulgate, passed down by the monks and Fathers of the Church served as the Word in all of Christendom until the Faith was fractured with the Protestant Revolution in the 16th century. That same century saw the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent which made the Latin Vulgate the official Bible of Holy Mother Church. This stood for nearly 500 years until 1979 when that, too, was shelved by the Newchurch in the takeover and auto-demolition of all that was held sacred and holy for so many centuries with the “New Vulgate” – the translation of which is more vulgar than Vulgate.

It’s interesting to note that during this period in history when Jerome translated the bible into Latin, Ufila, the Bishop of the Western Goths, was doing the same into Gothic, but it was the Latin version that would last the test of time and become the standard for all of Christendom until man decided he knew the Word better than those inspired by the Holy Ghost. Thanks to God’s Providence we have the essence of what the Advocate truly handed down and infused in this exceptional priest and outstanding Doctor of the Church – St. Jerome.



St Dominic Rosary



A Plea for Reparation

“Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” Our Lady of Fatima


O Mary Immaculate, who appeared at Fatima to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta to ask for the conversion of a sinful world, I beg thee for the grace to grieve sincerely over my own sins and over those that weigh so heavily upon the souls of men, sins that crushed thy Divine Son beneath the Cross and then nailed Him to it upon the heights of Calvary.

O Advocate of Sinners, compenetrate my heart with true contrition and an intense gratitude and love for so good a God. In union with thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, I offer my poor heart, such as it is, with all its miseries, its weakness and good desires, in reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – thy Son and our God – for the many sins, outrages, blasphemies, sacrileges, and offenses by which He is so grievously offended.

  (Here mention your request)

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.      

Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, pray for us.


st michael defend us

Feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael the Archangel

St. Michael – Feast of Michaelmas

This is the original feast of the leader of the Heavenly armies, Saint Michael. The captain of the heavenly armies, the angel named in the Canon of the Mass, held from early times the first place in the Liturgy among the other angels; wherefore many churches dedicated to St. Michael in the Middle Ages were simply known as churches “of the holy angel.” St. Michael, whose name signifies “who is like unto God” cast the evil spirit out of Heaven, and overcame Satan in the struggle for possession of the body of Moses. God has entrusted our defense, in the combat with the devil, to the angels. The reason of this is easily understood. The devil is a spirit who has lost none of the powers inherent to his nature. In order, therefore, that the struggle should not be unequal, God has placed at our side defenders of the same nature as Lucifer, that is to say pure spirits, who are, however, greater and more powerful than he is.

There are several feasts of St. Michael in the Liturgy. Very ancient is the commemoration of the dedication of the celebrated Lombard sanctuary on Sant’ Angelo on Monte Gargano in Apulia, near the ancient Sipontum. There is a tradition that St. Michael appeared on this mountain and requested that a church be erected to him and all the angels. In the Old and the New Testament St. Michael, in the struggle against the Evil One, is always depicted as the invincible champion of God. The mystery of iniquity which, according to St. Paul, shall be boldly revealed in the last ages of the world and which has already begun its work of perversion, meets at present with an obstacle which hinders its full development. This obstacle is usually said to be the protection of St. Michael. St. Michael is appointed by God Himself to be the protector and defender of the Church.

After the protective duty conferred on St. Joseph, there is no work on earth of such great importance and sublimity as that entrusted to St. Michael.

The Epistle treats the charge to St. John by an Angel to write to the seven Churches in Asia. In the Gospel Christ teaches humility, to beware of scandal, and to flee the occasions of sin, for our Guardian Angels see the face of God.


Feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael the Archangel – Tuesday in the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

       Double / First Class / White

Missa “Benedicite Dominum” – MICHAELMAS DAY

INTROIT: Psalm 102: 20

Bless the Lord, all ye His angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute His word, harkening to the voice of His orders.

Ps. 102:

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Bless the Lord…

Benedícite Dóminum, omnes Angeli ejus: poténtes virtúte, qui fácitis verbum ejus, ad audiéndam vocem sermónem ejus.

Ps.102: 1

Bénedic, ánima mea, Dómino: et ómnia, quæ intra me sunt, nómini sancto ejus. v. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancti sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Benedicite Dominum…


O God, Who dost in wonderful order dispose the ministries of angels and men, mercifully grant that our lives be fortified by those who continually stand in Thy presence and minister before Thee in heaven. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God…

Glorious St. Michael, Defend us in battle…

Glorious St. Michael, Defend us in battle…

EPISTLE: Apocalypse 1: 1-15

Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of blessed John the Apostle

In those days: God signified the things which must shortly come to pass, sending by His angel to His servant John, who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy, and keepeth those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace from Him that is, and that was, and that is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.

GRADUAL: Psalm 102: 20, 1

Bless the Lord all ye His angels: you that are mighty in strength, that do His will.

O my soul, bless thou the Lord: and all that is within me praise His holy name.


Alleluia, alleluia. Holy archangel Michael, defend us in battle, that we perish not in the dreadful judgment. Alleluia. The sea was shaken, and the earth trembled, when the archangel Michael descended from Heaven. Alleluia.

Better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck...than that he should offend one of these little ones!

GOSPEL:   Matthew 18: 1-10

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who, thinkest Thou, is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven? And Jesus calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child he is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven: and he that shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me; but he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals: for it must needs be that scandals come; but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand, or thy foot, scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. See that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in Heaven.”

OFFERTORY: Apocalypse 8: 3-4

An angel stood near the altar of the temple, having a golden censer in his hand: and there was given to him much incense: and the smoke of the perfumes ascended before God, alleluia.


We offer Thee sacrifices of praise, O Lord, humbly praying that Thou be pleased to receive them, through the angelic intercession in our behalf, and grant that they may avail for, our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

PREFACE   Common Preface

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

SANCTUS, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.

SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

COMMUNION: Daniel 3: 58

All ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: sing a hymn, and exalt Him above all forever, alleluia.


Relying upon the intercession of blessed Michael, Thine archangel, O Lord, we Thy suppliants pray that what we perform with our lips we may attain with our hearts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God.

Complete Prayer to Saint Michael

The following is the longer version of the vital prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 after his startling vision as to the future of the Church. This prayer was dedicated for the Feast of St. Michael 1448 years from the date of the election of the first Leo – Pope Saint Leo the Great. Everyone is familiar with the first prayer below which was mandated by His Holiness as part of the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. After Vatican II, in legion with the devil Giovanni Montini outlawed this necessary prayer and then one wonders how “the smoke of satan” got into the sanctuary?

St Michael slaying the dragon, WIERIX, Hieronymus


Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

 Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.

 The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.

 Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

 As we have hoped in Thee.

 O Lord hear my prayer.

 And let my cry come unto Thee.

 Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. Amen.



The Chaplet of St. Michael is a wonderful way to honor this great Archangel along with the other nine Choirs of Angels. What do we mean by Choirs? It seems that God has created various orders of Angels. Sacred Scripture distinguishes nine such groupings: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels and Angels (Isa. 6:2; Gen. 3:24; Col. 1:16; Eph. 1:21; Rom. 8:38). There may be more groupings but these are the only ones that have been revealed to us. The Seraphim is believed to be the highest Choir, the most intimately united to God, while the Angelic Choir is the lowest.

The history of this Chaplet goes back to a devout Servant of God, Antonia d’Astonac, who had a vision of St. Michael. He told Antonia to honor him by nine salutations to the nine Choirs of Angels.

St. Michael promised that whoever would practice this devotion in his honor would have, when approaching Holy Communion, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for those who would recite the Chaplet daily, he promised his continual assistance and that of all the holy angels during life.

st michael fall of rebel angels

    The Chaplet of St. Michael

O God, come to my assistance;

O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,  and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now,  and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


A Prayer to St. Michael / Our Lady of Ransom


In honor of St. Michael – Feast Day September 29

A Prayer to St. Michael

Glorious St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who standest always ready to give assistance to the people of God; who didst fight with the dragon, the old serpent, and didst cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defendest the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat thee to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I have to sustain against the same formidable foe. Be with me, O mighty Prince! that I may courageously fight and wholly vanquish that proud spirit, whom thou hast by the Divine Power, so gloriously overthrown, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, so completely overcome; to the end that having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with thee and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.

Our Lady of Ransom

Feast of Our Lady of Ransom

Double Major / White Vestments

Missa “Salve, sancta parens”

The Order of Our Lady of Ransom was founded in the Thirteenth Century by St. Peter Nolasco (Jan. 31) and St. Raymond of Pennafort (Jan. 23), aided by King James of Aragon. The object of the Order was to redeem Christians held in slavery by the Mohammedans. Pope Gregory IX instituted the feast of Our Lady of Ransom and afterwards it was extended by Pope Innocent XII to the Universal Church.

 INTROIT: Sedulius

Hail, holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King who rules heaven and earth for ever and ever. Ps. 44: 2 – My heart hath uttered a good word : I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Hail, holy Mother… Salve, sancta parens, enixa puerperal Regem: qui caelum, terramque regit in saecula saeculorum. Ps. 44: 2 – Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum : dico ego opera mea Regi. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Salve, sancta parens…

Battle of Lepanto

Battle of Lepanto


God, Who for the ransoming from slavery of the Christians held captive by pagans wast pleased, through the most glorious mother of Thy Son to enrich Thy Church by a new order: grant, we beseech Thee, that she, whom we piously venerate as the founder of so great a work, may, through her merits and prayers, deliver us from all our sins and from the captivity of the devil. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.

 EPISTLE: Eccles. 24. 14-16

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom

From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him. And so I was established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of y God his inheritance, ad my abode is in the full assembly of saints.


Thou art blessed and venerable, O Virgin Mary, who with purity unstained was found to be the Mother of our Savior. Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world was unable to contain enclosed Himself in thy womb, being made man.


Alleluia, alleluia. V. After childbirth thou didst remain a virgin: O Mother of God, intercede for us. Alleluia.

 GOSPEL: Luke 11: 27-28

At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: ‘Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said :’Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the world of God and keep it.’

 OFFERTORY: Luke 1: 28, 42

Let us pray. Hail, Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.


By Thy mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary, ever virgin, may this oblation profit us unto eternal and present prosperity and peace. Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God.

Our Lady of Ransom -

PREFACE Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary

It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. That on the Festival of the blessed Virgin Mary, we should praise, bless and proclaim Thee. For she conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost; and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the Dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly Hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:

 SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

holy mass Altar at Notre Dame

COMMUNION: Hebrews 9: 28

Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.


Lord, grant, we beseech Thee, that, having received the aids of our salvation, we may always and everywhere be protected by the patronage of Blessed Mary ever virgin, in veneration of whom we have made this offering to Thy majesty. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.

Pope St. Pius V, ora pro nobis!

Pope St. Pius V, ora pro nobis!


 Novena in Honor of Our Lady of La Salette                             

                     NINTH DAY 

The days of my novena have come to an end, and I have hardly begun to meditate upon the teachings of thy Apparition. How solacing for our wearied hearts to contemplate thee and to pour forth our humble prayers at thy feet! Hours spent with thee are but as instants which pass with a flight as rapid as that of the lightning-flash. But, as thou didst once say to the shepherds enraptured by thy sight: “Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people”; so now thou addressest me with the same warning: Well, my child, you will make my teachings known to all my people. Love rejoices to express itself by sacrifices and devotedness. Teach, then, all those about you the necessity of serving God. Make known to them the religious observances, and the delight found in the service of God. And, to fulfill this sacred duty, meditate upon the teachings of my Apparition. O my child, let your heart be inflamed like that of your Mother with the fire of holy zeal for God’s glory! Remember that by edifying your fellow-creatures, and procuring their salvation, you secure your own. Yes! heaven is the prize!


Make the Stations of the Cross for the Souls in Purgatory.

Our Lady of La Salette, ora pro nobis!


Novena in Honor of Our Lady of La Salette

                       EIGHTH DAY

O loving Mother, how vividly real do the secrets of thy maternal heart appear in thy merciful Apparition! How greatly they increase and strengthen my confidence in thee! O amiable Mother, how mercifully thou bearest the rebukes encountered in thy endeavors to bring back to God the hearts of thy erring children. One may remain deaf to the call of thy love and engaging goodness; but he will yield to thy tears. For the tears of a mother go straight to the heart and melt it. But, as regards those whose hardened hearts despise even thy tears, thou hast awful threats and terrible chastisements in store for them. Yet, even then, how much like those of a mother are thy reproofs and punishments! With one hand thou strikest, while with the other thou upholdest. Even when we go astray, thy watchful and maternal eyes

follow us in the minutest details of life, to detect the slightest good sentiments of our hearts, in order to reward them. Who would not strive to inflame every heart with love and respect for thee?


Speak to one of your friends and acquaintances of Our Lady of La Salette.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr

St. Cyprian of Carthage

(Thaschus Cæcilius Cyprianus).

St. CyprianBishop and martyr. Of the date of the saint’s birth and of his early life nothing is known. At the time of his conversion to Christianity he had, perhaps, passed middle life. He was famous as an orator and pleader, had considerable wealth, and held, no doubt, a great position in the metropolis of Africa. We learn from his deacon, St. Pontius, whose life of the saint is preserved, that his mien was dignified without severity, and cheerful without effusiveness. His gift of eloquence is evident in his writings. He was not a thinker, a philosopher, a theologian, but eminently a man of the world and an administrator, of vast energies, and of forcible and striking character. His conversion was due to an aged priest named Caecilianus, with whom he seems to have gone to live. Caecilianus in dying commended to Cyprian the care of his wife and family. While yet a catechumen the saint decided to observe chastity, and he gave most of his revenues to the poor. He sold his property, including his gardens at Carthage. These were restored to him (Dei indulgentiâ restituti, says Pontius), being apparently bought back for him by his friends; but he would have sold them again, had the persecution made this imprudent. His baptism probably took place c. 246, presumably on Easter eve, 18 April.

Cyprian’s first Christian writing is “Ad Donatum”, a monologue spoken to a friend, sitting under a vine-clad pergola. He tells how, until the grace of God illuminated and strengthened the convert, it had seemed impossible to conquer vice; the decay of Roman society is pictured, the gladiatorial shows, the theatre, the unjust law-courts, the hollowness of political success; the only refuge is the temperate, studious, and prayerful life of the Christian. At the beginning should probably be placed the few words of Donatus to Cyprian which are printed by Hartel as a spurious letter. The style of this pamphlet is affected and reminds us of the bombastic unintelligibilty of Pontius. It is not like Tertullian, brilliant, barbarous, uncouth, but it reflects the preciosity which Apuleius made fashionable in Africa. In his other works Cyprian addresses a Christian audience; his own fervour is allowed full play, his style becomes simpler, though forcible, and sometimes poetical, not to say flowery. Without being classical, it is correct for its date, and the cadences of the sentences are in strict rhythm in all his more careful writings. On the whole his beauty of style has rarely ben equalled among the Latin Fathers, and never surpassed except by the matchless energy and wit of St. Jerome.

Another work of his early days was the “Testimonia ad Quirinum”, in two books. It consists of passages of Scripture arranged under headings to illustrate the passing away of the Old Law and its fulfillment in Christ. A third book, added later, contains texts dealing with Christian ethics. This work is of the greatest value for the history of the Old Latin version of the Bible. It gives us an African text closely related to that of the Bobbio manuscript known as k (Turin). Hartel’s edition has taken the text from a manuscript which exhibits a revised version, but what Cyprian wrote can be fairly well restored from the manuscript cited in Hartel’s notes as L. Another book of excerpts on martyrdom is entitled “Ad Fortunatum”; its text cannot be judged in any printed edition. Cyprian was certainly only a recent convert when he became Bishop of Carthage c. 218 or the beginning of 249, but he passed through all the grades of the ministry. He had declined the charge, but was constrained by the people. A minority opposed his election, including five priests, who remained his enemies; but he tells us that he was validly elected “after the Divine judgment, the vote of the people and the consent of the bishops”.

Illustration of a Catalanoaragonese manuscript of Saint Cyprian's Epistolae


The prosperity of the Church during a peace of thirty-eight years had produced great disorders. Many even of the bishops were given up to worldliness and gain, and we hear of worse scandals. In October, 249, Decius became emperor with the ambition of restoring the ancient virtue of Rome. In January, 250, he published an edict against Christians. Bishops were to be put to death, other persons to be punished and tortured till they recanted. On 20 January Pope Fabian was martyred, and about the same time St. Cyprian retired to a safe place of hiding. His enemies continually reproached him with this. But to remain at Carthage was to court death, to cause greater danger to others, and to leave the Church without government; for to elect a new bishop would have been as impossible as it was at Rome. He made over much property to a confessor priest, Rogatian, for the needy. Some of the clergy lapsed, others fled; Cyprian suspended their pay, for their ministrations were needed and they were in less danger than the bishop. Form his retreat he encouraged the confessors and wrote eloquent panegyrics on the martyrs. Fifteen soon died in prison and one in the mines. On the arrival of the proconsul in April the severity of the persecution increased. St. Mappalicus died gloriously on the 17th. Children were tortured, women dishonoured. Numidicus, who had encouraged many, saw his wife burnt alive, and was himself half burnt, then stoned and left for dead; his daughter found him yet living; he recovered and Cyprian made him a priest. Some, after being twice tortured, were dismissed or banished, often beggared.

But there was another side to the picture. At Rome terrified Christians rushed to the temples to sacrifice. At Carthage the majority apostatized. Some would not sacrifice, but purchased libelli, or certificates, that they had done so Some bought the exemption of their family at the price of their own sin. Of these libellatici there were several thousands in Carthage. Of the fallen some did not repent, others joined the heretics, but most of them clamoured for forgiveness and restoration. Some, who had sacrificed under torture, returned to be tortured afresh. Castus and Æmilius were burnt for recanting, others were exiled; but such cases were necessarily rare. A few began to perform canonical penance. The first to suffer at Rome had been a young Carthaginian, Celerinus. He recovered, and Cyprian made him a lector. His grandmother and two uncles had been martyrs, but his two sisters apostatized under fear of torture, and in their repentance gave themselves to the service of those in prison. Their brother was very urgent for their restoration. His letter from Rome to Lucian, a confessor at Carthage, is extant, with the reply of the latter. Lucian obtained from a martyr named Paul before his passion a commission to grant peace to any who asked for it, and he distributed these “indulgences” with a vague formula: “Let such a one with his family communicate”. Tertullian speaks in 197 of the “custom” for those who were not at peace with the Church to beg this peace from the martyrs. Much later, in his Montanist days (c. 220) he urges that the adulterers whom Pope Callistus was ready to forgive after due penance, would now get restored by merely imploring the confessors and those in the mines. Correspondingly we find Lucian issuing pardons in the name of confessors who were still alive, a manifest abuse. The heroic Mappalicus had only interceded for his own sister and mother. It seemed now as if no penance was to be enforced upon the lapsed, and Cyprian wrote to remonstrate.

Meanwhile official news had arrived from Rome of the death of Pope Fabian, together with an unsigned and ungrammatical letter to the clergy of Carthage from some of the Roman clergy, implying blame to Cyprian for the desertion of his flock, and giving advice as to the treatment of the lapsed. Cyprian explained his conduct (Ep. xx), and sent to Rome copies of thirteen of the letter he had written from his hiding-place to Carthage. The five priests who opposed him were now admitting at once to communion all who had recommendations from the confessors, and the confessors themselves issued a general indulgence, in accordance with which the bishops were to restore to communion all whom they had examined. This was an outrage on discipline, yet Cyprian was ready to give some value to the indulgences thus improperly granted, but all must be done in submission to the bishop. He proposed that libellatici should be restored, when in danger of death, by a priest or even by a deacon, but that the rest should await the cessation of persecution, when councils could be held at Rome and at Carthage, and a common decision be agreed upon. Some regard must be had for the prerogative of the confessors, yet the lapsed must surely not be placed in a better position than those who had stood fast, and had been tortured, or beggared, or exiled. The guilty were terrified by marvels that occurred. A man was struck dumb on the very Capitol where he had denied Christ. Another went mad in the public baths, and gnawed the tongue which had tasted the pagan victim. In Cyprian’s own presence an infant who had been taken by its nurse to partake at the heathen altar, and then to the Holy Sacrifice offered by the bishop, was though in torture, and vomited the Sacred Species it had received in the holy chalice. A lapsed woman of advanced age had fallen in a fit, on venturing to communicate unworthily. Another, on opening the receptacle in which, according to custom, she had taken home the Blessed Sacrament for private Communion, was deterred from sacrilegiously touching it by fire which came forth. Yet another found nought within her pyx save cinders. About September, Cyprian received promise of support from the Roman priests in two letters written by the famous Novatian in the name of his colleagues. In the beginning of 251 the persecution waned, owing to the successive appearance of two rival emperors. The confessors were released, and a council was convened at Carthage. By the perfidy of some priests Cyprian was unable to leave his retreat till after Easter (23 March). But he wrote a letter to his flock denouncing the most infamous of the five priests, Novatus, and his deacon Felicissimus (Ep. xliii). To the bishop’s order to delay the reconciliation of the lapsed until the council, Felicissimus had replied by a manifesto, declaring that none should communicate with himself who accepted the large alms distributed by Cyprian’s order. The subject of the letter is more fully developed in the treatise “De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate” which Cyprian wrote about this time (Benson wrongly thought it was written against Novatian some weeks later).

St. Cyprian

This celebrated pamphlet was read by its author to the council which met in April, that he might get the support of the bishops against the schism started by Felicissimus and Novatus, who had a large following. The unity with which St. Cyprian deals is not so much the unity of the whole Church, the necessity of which he rather postulates, as the unity to be kept in each diocese by union with the bishop; the unity of the whole Church is maintained by the close union of the bishops who are “glued to one another”, hence whosoever is not with his bishop is cut off from the unity of the Church and cannot be united to Christ; the type of the bishop is St. Peter, the first bishop. Protestant controversialists have attributed to St. Cyprian the absurd argument that Christ said to Peter what He really meant for all, in order to give a type or picture of unity. What St. Cyprian really says is simply this, that Christ, using the metaphor of an edifice, founds His Church on a single foundation which shall manifest and ensure its unity. And as Peter is the foundation, binding the whole Church together, so in each diocese is the bishop. With this one argument Cyprian claims to cut at the root of all heresies and schisms. It has been a mistake to find any reference to Rome in this passage (De Unit., 4).


About the time of the opening of the council (251), two letters arrived from Rome. One of these, announcing the election of a pope, St. Cornelius, was read by Cyprian to the assembly; the other contained such violent and improbable accusations against the new pope that he thought it better to pass it over. But two bishops, Caldonius and Fortunatus, were dispatched to Rome for further information, and the whole council was to await their return-such was the importance of a papal election. Meantime another message arrived with the news that Novatian, the most eminent among the Roman clergy, had been made pope. Happily two African prelates, Pompeius and Stephanus, who had been present at the election of Cornelius, arrived also, and were able to testify that he had been validly set “in the place of Peter”, when as yet there was no other claimant. It was thus possible to reply to the recrimination of Novatian’s envoys, and a short letter was sent to Rome, explaining the discussion which had taken place in the council. Soon afterwards came the report of Caldonius and Fortunatus together with a letter from Cornelius, in which the latter complained somewhat of the delay in recognizing him. Cyprian wrote to Cornelius explaining his prudent conduct. He added a letter to the confessors who were the main support of the antipope, leaving it to Cornelius whether it should be delivered or no. He sent also copies of his two treatises, “De Unitate” and “De Lapsis” (this had been composed by him immediately after the other), and he wishes the confessors to read these in order that they may understand what a fearful thing is schism. It is in this copy of the “De Unitate” that Cyprian appears most probably to have added in the margin an alternative version of the fourth chapter. The original passage, as found in most manuscripts and as printed in Hartel’s edition, runs thus:

If any will consider this, there is no need of a long treatise and of arguments. ‘The Lord saith to Peter: ‘I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; to thee I will give the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what thou shalt have bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what thou shalt have loosed shall be loosed in heaven.’ Upon one He builds His Church, and though to all His Apostles after His resurrection He gives an equal power and says: ‘As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost, whosesoever sins you shall have remitted they shall be remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins you shall have retained they shall be retained’, yet that He might make unity manifest, He disposed the origin of that unity beginning from one. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, endowed with a like fellowship both of honour and of power, but the commencement proceeds from one, that the Church may be shown to be one. This one Church the Holy Ghost in the person of the Lord designates in the Canticle of Canticles, and says, One is My Dove, My perfect one, one is she to her mother, one to her that bare her. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he believe that he holds the Faith? He who strives against and resists the Church, is he confident that he is in the Church?

The substituted passage is as follows:

. . . bound in heaven. Upon one He builds His Church, and to the same He says after His resurrection, ‘feed My sheep’. And though to all His Apostles He gave an equal power yet did He set up one chair, and disposed the origin and manner of unity by his authority. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the primacy is given to Peter, and the Church and the chair is shown to be one. And all are pastors, but the flock is shown to be one, which is fed by all the Apostles with one mind and heart. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded, is he confident that he is in the Church?

Coat of Arms of Adelindis of Swabia, of Atto of Tragant and of other persons (including that of Eleonore von Montfort, abbess 1596-1610, under the depiction of Our Lady); illumination of an archival finding aid of the Imperial Abbey of Buchau, written in 1605. St. Cyprian is on the right.

These alternative versions are given one after the other in the chief family of manuscripts which contains them, while in some other families the two have been partially or wholly combined into one. The combined version is the one which has been printed in man editions, and has played a large part in controversy with Protestants. It is of course spurious in this conflated form, but the alternative form given above is not only found in eighth- and ninth-century manuscripts, but it is quoted by Bede, by Gregory the Great (in a letter written for his predecessor Pelagius II), and by St. Gelasius; indeed, it was almost certainly known to St. Jerome and St. Optatus in the fourth century. The evidence of the manuscripts would indicate an equally early date. Every expression and thought in the passage can be paralleled from St. Cyprian’s habitual language, and it seems to be now generally admitted that this alternative passage is an alteration made by the author himself when forwarding his work to the Roman confessors. The “one chair” is always in Cyprian the episcopal chair, and Cyprian has been careful to emphasize this point, and to add a reference to the other great Petrine text, the Charge in John, xxi. The assertion of the equality of the Apostles as Apostles remains, and the omissions are only for the sake of brevity. The old contention that it is a Roman forgery is at all events quite out of the question. Another passage is also altered in all the same manuscripts which contain the “interpolation”; it is a paragraph in which the humble and pious conduct of the lapsed “on this hand (hic) is contrasted in a long succession of parallels with the pride and wickedness of the schismatics “on that hand” (illic), but in the delicate manner of the treatise the latter are only referred to in a general way. In the “interpolated” manuscripts we find that the lapsed, whose caused had now been settled by the council, are “on that hand” (illic), whereas the reference to the schismatics — meaning the Roman confessors who were supporting Novatian, and to whom the book was being sent — are made as pointed as possible, being brought into the foreground by the repeated hic, “on this hand”.

The saint’s remonstrance had its effect, and the confessors rallied to Cornelius. But for two or three months the confusion throughout the Catholic Church had been terrible. No other event in these early times shows us so clearly the enormous importance of the papacy in East and West. St. Dionysius of Alexandria joined his great influence to that of the Carthaginian primate, and he was very soon able to write that Antioch, Caesarea, and Jerusalem, Tyre and Laodicea, all Cilicia and Cappadocia, Syria and Arabia, Mesopotamia, Pontus, and Bithynia, had returned to union and that their bishops were all in concord (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VII, v). From this we gauge the area of disturbance. Cyprian says that Novatian “assumed the primacy” (Ep. lxix, 8) and sent out his new apostles to very many cities; and where in all provinces and cities there were long established, orthodox bishops, tried in persecution, he dared to create new ones to supplant them, as though he could range through the whole world (Ep. lv, 24). Such was the power assumed by a third-century antipope. Let it be remembered that in the first days of the schism no question of heresy was raised and that Novatian only enunciated his refusal of forgiveness to the lapsed after he had made himself pope. Cyprian’s reasons for holding Cornelius to be the true bishop are fully detailed in Ep. lv to a bishop, who had at first yielded to Cyprian’s arguments and had commissioned him to inform Cornelius that “he now communicated with him, that is with the Catholic Church”, but had afterwards wavered. It is evidently implied that if he did not communicate with Cornelius he would be outside the Catholic Church. Writing to the pope, Cyprian apologizes for his delay in acknowledging him; he had at least urged all those who sailed to Rome to make sure that they acknowledged and held the womb and root of the Catholic Church (Ep. xlviii, 3). By this is probably meant “the womb and root which is the Catholic Church”, but Harnack and many Protestants, as well as many Catholics, find here a statement that the Roman Church is the womb and root. Cyprian continues that he had waited for a formal report form the bishops who had been sent to Rome, before committing all the bishops of Africa, Numidia, and Mauretania to a decision, in order that, when no doubt could remain all his colleagues “might firmly approve and hold your communion, that is the unity and charity of the Catholic Church”. It is certain that St. Cyprian held that one who was in communion with an antipope held not the root of the Catholic Church, was not nourished at her breast, drank not at her fountain.

Stained glass window of Pope St. Cornelius protecting the cattle from the diseases at Saint Cornely Church, in Brittany.

So little was the rigorism of Novatian the origin of his schism, that his chief partisan was no other than Novatus, who at Carthage had been reconciling the lapsed indiscriminately without penance. He seems to have arrived at Rome just after the election of Cornelius, and his adhesion to the party of rigorism had the curious result of destroying the opposition to Cyprian at Carthage. It is true that Felicissimus fought manfully for a time; he even procured five bishops, all excommunicated and deposed, who consecrated for the party a certain Fortunatus in opposition to St. Cyprian, in opposition to St. Cyprian, in order not to be outdone by the Novatian party, who had already a rival bishop at Carthage. The faction even appealed to St. Cornelius, and Cyprian had to write to the pope a long account of the circumstances, ridiculing their presumption in “sailing to Rome, the primatial Church (ecclesia principalis), the Chair of Peter, whence the unity of the Episcopate had its origin, not recollecting that these are the Romans whose faith was praised by St. Paul (Rom., i, 8), to whom unfaith could have no access”. But this embassy was naturally unsuccessful, and the party of Fortunatus and Felicissimus seems to have melted away.



With regard to the lapsed the council had decided that each case must be judged on its merits, and that libellatici should be restored after varying, but lengthy, terms of penance, whereas those who had actually sacrificed might after life-long penance receive Communion in the hour of death. But any one who put off sorrow and penance until the hour of sickness must be refused all Communion. The decision was a severe one. A recrudescence of persecution, announced, Cyprian tells us, by numerous visions, caused the assembling of another council in the summer of 252 (so Benson and Nelke, but Ritsch and Harnack prefer 253), in which it was decided to restore at once all those who were doing penance, in order that they might be fortified by the Holy Eucharist against trial. In this persecution of Gallus and Volusianus, the Church of Rome was again tried, but this time Cyprian was able to congratulate the pope on the firmness shown; the whole Church of Rome, he says, had confessed unanimously, and once again its faith, praised by the Apostle, was celebrated throughout the whole world (Ep. lx). About June 253, Cornelius was exiled to Centumcellae (Civitavecchia), and died there, being counted as a martyr by Cyprian and the rest of the Church. His successor Lucius was at once sent to the same place on his election, but soon was allowed to return, and Cyprian wrote to congratulate him. He died 5 March, 254, and was succeeded by Stephen, 12 May, 254.



Tertullian had characteristically argued long before, that heretics have not the same God, the same Christ with Catholics, therefore their baptism is null. The African Church had adopted this view in a council held under a predecessor of Cyprian, Agrippinus, at Carthage. In the East it was also the custom of Cilicia, Cappadocia, and Galatia to rebaptize Montanists who returned to the church. Cyprian’s opinion of baptism by heretics was strongly expresses: “Non abluuntur illic homines, sed potius sordidantur, nec purgantur delicta sed immo cumulantur. Non Deo nativitas illa sed diabolo filios generat” (“De Unit.”, xi). A certain bishop, Magnus, wrote to ask if the baptism of the Novatians was to be respected (Ep. lxix). Cyprian’s answer may be of the year 255; he denies that they are to be distinguished from any other heretics. Later we find a letter in the same sense, probably of the spring of 255 (autumn, according to d’Ales), from a council under Cyprian of thirty-one bishops (Ep. lxx), addressed to eighteen Numidian bishops; this was apparently the beginning of the controversy. It appears that the bishops of Mauretania did not in this follow the custom of Proconsular Africa and Numidia, and that Pope Stephen sent them a letter approving their adherence to Roman custom.St. Cyprianus

Cyprian, being consulted by a Numidian bishop, Quintus, sent him Ep. lxx, and replied to his difficulties (Ep. lxxi). The spring council at Carthage in the following year, 256, was more numerous than usual, and sixty-one bishops signed the conciliar letter to the pope explaining their reasons for rebaptizing, and claiming that it was a question upon which bishops were free to differ. This was not Stephen’s view, and he immediately issued a decree, couched apparently in very peremptory terms, that no “innovation” was to be made (this is taken by some moderns to mean “no new baptism”), but the Roman tradition of merely laying hands on converted heretics in sign of absolution must be everywhere observed, on pain of excommunication. This letter was evidently addressed to the African bishops, and contained some severe censures on Cyprian himself. Cyprian writes to Jubainus that he is defending the one Church, the Church founded on Peter-Why then is he called a prevaricator of the truth, a traitor to the truth;? (Ep. lxxiii, 11). To the same correspondent he sends Epp. lxx, lxxi, lxxii; he makes no laws for others, but retains his own liberty. He sends also a copy of his newly written treatise “De Bono Patientiae”. To Pompeius, who had asked to see a copy of Stephen’s rescript, he writes with great violence: “As you read it, you will note his error more and more clearly: in approving the baptism of all the heresies, he has heaped into his own breast the sins of all of them; a fine tradition indeed! What blindness of mind, what depravity!” — “ineptitude”, “hard obstinacy” — such are the expressions which run from the pen of one who declared that opinion on the subject was free, and who in this very letter explains that a bishop must never be quarrelsome, but meek and teachable. In september, 256, a yet larger council assembled at Carthage. All agreed with Cyprian; Stephen was not mentioned; and some writers have even supposed that the council met before Stephen’s letter was received (so Ritschl, Grisar, Ernst, Bardenhewer). Cyprian did not wish the responsibility to be all his own. He declared that no one made himself a bishop of bishops, and that all must give their true opinion. The vote of each was therefore given in a short speech, and the minutes have come down to us in the Cyprianic correspondence under the title of “Sententiae Episcoporum”. But the messengers sent to Rome with this document were refused an audience and even denied all hospitality by the pope. They returned incontinently to Carthage, and Cyprian tried for support from the East. He wrote to the famous Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Firmilian, sending him the treatise “De Unitate” and the correspondence on the baptismal question. By the middle of November Firmilian’s reply had arrived, and it has come down to us in a translation made at the time in Africa. Its tone is, if possible, more violent than that of Cyprian. (See FIRMILIAN.) After this we know no more of the controversy.

Stephen died on 27 August, 257, and was succeeded by Sixtus II, who certainly communicated with Cyprian, and is called by Pontius “a good and peace-loving bishop”. Probably when it was seen at Rome that the East was largely committed to the same wrong practice, the question was tacitly dropped. It should be remembered that, though Stephen had demanded unquestioning obedience, he had apparently, like Cyprian, considered the matter as a point of discipline. St. Cyprian supports his view by a wrong inference from the unity of the Church, and no one thought of the principle afterwards taught by St. Augustine, that, since Christ is always the principal agent, the validity of the sacrament is independent of the unworthiness of the minister: Ipse est qui baptizat. Yet this is what is implied in Stephen’s insistence upon nothing more than the correct form, “because baptism is given in the name of Christ”, and “the effect is due to the majesty of the Name”. The laying on of hands enjoined by Stephen is repeatedly said to be in poenitentiam, yet Cyprian goes on to argue that the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands is not the new birth, but must be subsequent to it and implies it. This has led some moderns into the notion that Stephen meant confirmation to be given (so Duchesne), or at least that he has been so misunderstood by Cyprian (d’Alès). But the passage (Ep. lxxiv, 7) need not mean this, and it is most improbable that confirmation was even thought of in this connection. Cyprian seems to consider the laying on of hands in penance to be a giving of the Holy Ghost. In the East the custom of rebaptizing heretics had perhaps arisen from the fact that so many heretics disbelieved in the Holy Trinity, and possibly did not even use the right form and matter. For centuries the practice persisted, at least in the case of some of the heresies. But in the West to rebaptize was regarded as heretical, and Africa came into line soon after St. Cyprian. St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Vincent of Lérins are full of praise for the firmness of Stephen as befitting his place. But Cyprian’s unfortunate letters became the chief support of the puritanism of the Donatists. St. Augustine in his “De Baptismo” goes through them one by one. He will not dwell on the violent words quae in Stephanum irritatus effudit, and expresses his confidence that Cyprian’s glorious martyrdom will have atoned for his excess.


Ep. lxviii was written to Stephen before the breach. Cyprian has heard twice from Faustinus, Bishop of Lyons, that Marcianus, Bishop of Arles, has joined the party of Novatian. The pope will certainly have been already informed of this by Faustinus and by the other bishops of the province. Cyprian urges:

You ought to send very full letters to our fellow-bishops in Gaul, not to allow the obstinate and proud Marcianus any more to insult our fellowship…Therefore send letters to the province and to the people of Arles, by which, Marcianus having been excommunicated, another shall be substituted in his place…for the whole copious body of bishops is joined together by the glue of mutual concord and the bond of unity, in order that if any of our fellowship should attempt to make a heresy and to lacerate and devastate the flock of Christ, the rest may give their aid…For though we are many shepherds, yet we feed one flock.

It seems incontestable that Cyprian is here explaining to the pope why he ventured to interfere, and that he attributes to the pope the power of deposing Marcanus and ordering a fresh election. We should compare his witness that Novatian usurped a similar power as antipope. Another letter dates perhaps somewhat later. It emanates form a council of thirty seven bishops, and was obviously composed by Cyprian. It is addressed to the priest Felix and the people of Legio and Asturica, and to the deacon Ælius and the people of Emerita, in Spain. It relates that the bishops Felix and Sabinus had come to Carthage to complain. They had been legitimately ordained by the bishops of the province in the place of the former bishops, Basilides and Martialis, who had both accepted libelli in the persecution. Basilides had further blasphemed God, in sickness, had confessed his blasphemy, had voluntarily resigned his bishopric, and had been thankful to be allowed lay communion. Martialis had indulged in pagan banquets and had buried his sons in a pagan cemetery. He had publicly attested before the procurator ducenarius that he had denied Christ. Wherefore, says the letter, such men are unfit to be bishops, the whole Church and the late Pope Cornelius having decided that such men may be admitted to penance but never to ordination; it does not profit them that they have deceived Pope Stephen, who was afar off and unaware of the facts, so that they obtained to be unjustly restored to their sees; nay, by this deceit they have only increased their guilt. The letter is thus a declaration that Stephen was wickedly deceived. No fault is imputed to him, no is there any claim to reverse his decision or to deny his right to give it; it is simply pointed out that it was founded on false information, and was therefore null. But it is obvious that the African council had heard only one side, whereas Felix and Sabinus must have pleaded their cause at Rome before they came to Africa. On this ground the Africans seem to have made too hasty a judgment. But nothing more is known of the matter.



The empire was surrounded by barbarian hordes who poured in on all sides. The danger was the signal for a renewal of persecution on the part of the Emperor Valerian. At Alexandria St. Dionysius was exiled. On 30 August, 257, Cyprian was brought before the Proconsul Paternus in his secretarium. His interrogatory is extant and forms the first part of the “Acta proconsularia” of his martyrdom. Cyprian declares himself a Christian and a bishop. He serves one God to Whom he prays day and night for all men and for the safety of the emperor. “Do you persevere in this?” asks Paternus. “A good will which knows God cannot be altered.” “Can you, then, go into exile at Curubis?” “I go.” He is asked for the names of the priests also, but replies that delation is forbidden by the laws; they will be found easily enough in their respective cities. On September he went to Curubis, accompanied by Pontius. The town was lonely, but Pontius tells us it was sunny and pleasant, and that there were plenty of visitors, while the citizens were full of kindness. He relates at length Cyprian’s dream on his first night there, that he was in the proconsul’s court and condemned to death, but was reprieved at his own request until the morrow. He awoke in terror, but once awake he awaited that morrow with calmness. It came to him on the very anniversary of the dream. In Numidia the measurers were more severe. Cyprian writes to nine bishops who were working in the mines, with half their hair shorn, and with insufficient food and clothing. He was still rich and able to help them. Their replies are preserved, and we have also the authentic Acts of several African martyrs who suffered soon after Cyprian.

St. Pontius witnesses the martydom of St. Cyprian.

In August, 258, Cyprian learned that Pope Sixtus had been put to death in the catacombs on the 6th of that month, together with four of his deacons, in consequence of a new edict that bishops, priests, and deacons should be at once put to death; senators, knights, and others of rank are to lose their goods, and if they still persist, to die; matrons to be exiled; Caesarians (officers of the fiscus) to become slaves. Galerius Maximus, the successor of Paternus, sent for Cyprian back to Carthage, and in his own gardens the bishop awaited the final sentence. Many great personages urged him to fly, but he had now no vision to recommend this course, and he desired above all to remain to exhort others. Yet he hid himself rather than obey the proconsul’s summons to Utica, for he declared it was right for a bishop to die in his own city. On the return of Galerius to Carthage, Cyprian was brought from his gardens by two principes in a chariot, but the proconsul was ill, and Cyprian passed the night in the house of the first princeps in the company of his friends. Of the rest we have a vague description by Pontius and a detailed report in the proconsular Acts. On the morning of the 14th a crowd gathered “at the villa of Sextus”, by order of the authorities. Cyprian was tried there. He refused to sacrifice, and added that in such a matter there was no room for thought of the consequences to himself. The proconsul read his condemnation and the multitude cried, “Let us be beheaded with him!” He was taken into the grounds, to a hollow surrounded by trees, into which many of the people climbed. Cyprian took off his cloak, and knelt down and prayed. Then he took off his dalmatic and gave it to his deacons, and stood in his linen tunic in silence awaiting the executioner, to whom he ordered twenty-five gold pieces to be given. The brethren cast cloths and handkerchiefs before him to catch his blood. He bandaged his own eyes with the help of a priest and a deacon, both called Julius. So he suffered. For the rest of the day his body was exposed to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. But at night the brethren bore him with candles and torches, with prayer and great triumph, to the cemetery of Macrobius Candidianus in the suburb of Mapalia. He was the first Bishop of Carthage to obtain the crown of martyrdom.



The correspondence of Cyprian consists of eighty-one letters. Sixty-two of them are his own, three more are in the name of councils. From this large collection we get a vivid picture of his time. The first collection of his writings must have been made just before or just after his death, as it was known to Pontius. It consisted of ten treatises and seven letters on martyrdom. To these were added in Africa a set of letters on the baptismal question, and at Rome, it seems, the correspondence with Cornelius, except Ep. xlvii. Other letters were successively aggregated to these groups, including letters to Cyprian or connected with him, his collections of Testimonies, and many spurious works. To the treatises already mentioned we have to add a well-known exposition of the Lord’s Prayer; a work on the simplicity of dress proper to consecrated virgins (these are both founded on Tertullian); “On the Mortality”, a beautiful pamphlet, composed on the occasion of the plague which reached Carthage in 252, when Cyprian, with wonderful energy, raised a staff of workers and a great fund of money for the nursing of the sick and the burial of the dead. Another work, “On Almsgiving”, its Christian character, necessity, and satisfactory value, was perhaps written, as Watson has pointed out, in reply to the calumny that Cyprian’s own lavish gifts were bribes to attach men to his side. Only one of his writings is couched in a pungent strain, the “ad Demetrianum”, in which he replies in a spirited manner to the accusation of a heathen that Christianity had brought the plague upon the world. Two short works, “On Patience” and “On Rivalry and Envy”, apparently written during the baptismal controversy, were much read in ancient times. St. Cyprian was the first great Latin writer among the Christians, for Tertullian fell into heresy, and his style was harsh and unintelligible. Until the days of Jerome and Augustine, Cyprian’s writings had no rivals in the West. Their praise is sung by Prudentius, who joins with Pacian, Jerome, Augustine, and many others in attesting their extraordinary popularity.



The little that can be extracted from St. Cyprian on the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation is correct, judged by later standards. On baptismal regeneration, on the Real Presence, on the Sacrifice of the Mass, his faith is clearly and repeatedly expressed, especially in Ep. lxiv on infant baptism, and in Ep. lxiii on the mixed chalice, written against the sacrilegious custom of using water without wine for Mass. On penance he is clear, like all the ancients, that for those who have been separated from the Church by sin there is no return except by a humble confession (exomologesis apud sacerdotes), followed by remissio facta per sacerdotes. The ordinary minister of this sacrament is the sacerdos par excellence, the bishop; but priests can administer it subject to him, and in case of necessity the lapsed might be restored by a deacon. He does not add, as we should at the present day, that in this case there is no sacrament; such theological distinctions were not in his line. There was not even a beginning of canon law in the Western Church of the third century. In Cyprian’s view each bishop is answerable to God alone for his action, though he ought to take counsel of the clergy and of the laity also in all important matters. The Bishop of Carthage had a great position as honorary chief of all the bishops in the provinces of Proconsular Africa, Numidia, and Mauretania, who were about a hundred in number; but he had no actual jurisdiction over them. They seem to have met in some numbers at Carthage every spring, but their conciliar decisions had no real binding force. If a bishop should apostatize or become a heretic or fall into scandalous sin, he might be deposed by his comprovincials or by the pope. Cyprian probably thought that questions of heresy would always be too obvious to need much discussion. It is certain that where internal questions of heresy would always be too obvious to need much discussion. It is certain that where internal discipline was concerned he considered that Rome should not interfere, and that uniformity was not desirable — a most unpractical notion. We have always to remember that his experience as a Christian was of short duration, that he became a bishop soon after he was converted, and that he had no Christian writings besides Holy Scripture to study besides those of Tertullian. He evidently knew no Greek, and probably was not acquainted with the translation of Irenaeus. Rome was to him the centre of the Church’s unity; it was inaccessible to heresy, which had been knocking at its door for a century in vain. It was the See of Peter, who was the type of the bishop, the first of the Apostles. Difference of opinion between bishops as to the right occupant of the Sees of Arles or Emerita would not involve breach of communion, but rival bishops at Rome would divide the Church, and to communicate with the wrong one would be schism. It is controverted whether chastity was obligatory or only strongly urged upon priests in his day. The consecrated virgins were to him the flower of his flock, the jewels of the Church, amid the profligacy of paganism.