Ss. Cletus and Marcellinus
POPES AND MARTYRS
The Liturgical Year – Ven. Abbot Dom Guéranger
Two bright stars appear this day on the Ecclesiastical Cycle, proclaiming the glory of our Jesus, the Conqueror of death. Again, they are two Pontiffs, and Martyr-Pontiffs. Cletus leads us to the very commencement of the Church, for he was a disciple of Peter, and his second Successor in the See of Rome. Marcellinus was a witness of the great Persecution under Diocletian; he governed the Church on the eve of her triumph. Let us honour these two fathers of Christendom, who laid down their lives in its defense; and let us offer their merits to Jesus, who supported them by his grace, and cheered them with the hope, that, one day, they would share in his Resurrection.
In the short notice on the life of St. Marcellinus, the reader will meet with a circumstance, which, by some learned historians, is rejected as utterly untrue, whilst, by others equally learned, it is considered as authentic. The holy Pontiff is said to have flinched before his persecutors, and to have gone so far as to offer incense to the idols; but the statement adds, that he repaired his fault by a second and courageous profession of his faith, which secured for him the crown of Martyrdom. The plan of our work does not admit critical disquisitions; we shall therefore not attempt to clear up this difficulty of history; it is enough for us to know that all are agreed upon the Martyrdom of this holy Pope. At the time when the Lesson, which is now in the Breviary, was drawn up, — the fall of Marcellinus was believed as a fact; later on, it was called in question, and the arguments used against it are by no means to be despised; the Church, however, has not thought well to change the Lesson as it first stood, the more so as questions of this nature do not touch upon Faith. We scarcely need to remind the reader, that the fall of Marcellinus, supposing it to be a fact, would be no argument against the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. The Pope cannot teach error, when he addresses himself to the Church; but he is not impeccable in his personal conduct.
The following is the account given on St. Cletus by the Liturgy.
Cletus, the son of Emilianus, was a Roman, of the fifth Region, and of the Patrician street. He governed the Church during the reigns of the emperors Vespasian and Titus. Agreeably to the order given him by the Prince of the Apostles, he established five and twenty priests in the City. He was the first, who, in his letters, used those words: “Health and Apostolic benediction.” Having put the Church into admirable order, and having governed it twelve years, seven months, and two days, he was crowned with martyrdom under the emperor Domitian, in the second Persecution following that of Nero, and was buried in the Vatican, near the body of St. Peter.
The Life of St. Marcellinus is thus given in the Breviary.
Marcellinus, a Roman by birth, was overcome by fear in the terrible persecution under the emperor Diocletian, and offered incense to the idols of the gods. But such was his sorrow for his fall, that he immediately repaired to Sinuessa, where a council of several Bishops was being held, and, entering in, covered with sackcloth, and shedding floods of tears, he publicly confessed his sin. No one, however, dared to condemn him, but all, with one voice, exclaimed: “Judge thyself by thine own lips, not by our judgment; for the first See is judged by no one.” They added, that Peter, too, sinned through the same weakness, and, by the like tears, obtained pardon from God.
Having returned to Rome, Marcellinus went to the emperor, and severely reproached him for having driven him to so great a crime. Whereupon, the emperor ordered him to be beheaded, together with three other Christians, Claudius, Cyrinus, and Antoninus. Their bodies, by the emperor’s order, were left six and thirty days without burial, after which, the blessed Marcellus, (in consequence of his receiving, whilst asleep, an admonition from St. Peter,) had them buried in the Cemetery of Priscilla, on the Salarian Road: at which burial were present many Priests and Deacons, who, with torches in their hands, sang hymns, in honour of the Martyrs. Marcellinus governed the Church seven years, eleven months, and twenty-three days. During this period, he gave two Ordinations in December, at which four were made Priests, and five Bishops for divers places.
Pray for us, O holy Pontiffs, and look with fatherly love upon the Church on earth, which was so violently persecuted in your times, and, at the present day, is far from enjoying peace. The worship of idols is revived; and though they be not of stone or metal, yet they that adore them are as determined to propagate their worship as were the Pagans of former days to make all men idolaters. The gods and goddesses now in favour are called Liberty, Progress, and Modern Civilization. Every measure is resorted to, in order to impose these new divinities upon the world; — they that refuse to adore them are persecuted; governments are secularized, that is, unchristianized; the education of youth is made independent of all moral teaching; the religious element is rejected from social life, as an intrusion: and all this is done with such a show of reasonableness, that thousands of well-minded Christians are led to be its advocates, timid perhaps, and partial, but still its advocates. Preserve us, O holy Martyrs! from being the dupes of this artful impiety. It was not in vain that our Jesus suffered death, and rose again from the grave. Surely, after this, he deserves to be what he is, — King of the whole earth, under whose power are all creatures. It is in order to obey Him, that we wish no other Liberty save that which he has based upon his Gospel; no other Progress save that which follows the path He has marked out; no other Civilization save that which results from the fulfillment of the duties to our fellow men, which He has established. It is He that created human nature, and gave it its laws; it is He that redeemed it, and re stored it to its lost rights. Him alone, then, do we adore. O holy Martyrs! pray that we may never become the dupes or slaves of the theories of human pride, not even should they that make or uphold them, have power to make us suffer or die for our resistance.
Sts. CLETUS AND MARCELLINUS
POPES AND MARTYRS
Semi-double – Red vestments
Missa ‘Si Diligis Me’
INTROITUS – John 21: 15-17
Si diligis me, Simon Petre, pasce agnos meos, pasce oves meas. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Exaltábo te, Dómine, quóniam suscepísti me, nec delectásti inimícos meos super me. Gloria Patri.
If thou lovest Me, Simon Peter, feed My lambs; feed My sheep. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me. Glory be to the Father.
Eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favourably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee to guard and keep for evermore through the blessed Cletus and Marcellinus Thy Martyrs and Supreme Pontiffs, whom Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherds of the whole Church. Through our Lord.
COLLECT IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy ‘servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind; and by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, be delivered from all present sorrow, and come to that joy which is eternal.
COLLECT AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church: that, all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure liberty. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE – I Peter 5: 1-4, 10-11
Dearly beloved: the ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre’s sake, but voluntarily: neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart. And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
Alleluia, alleluia. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.
Alleluia. Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth: they shall remember Thy name. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Matthew 16: 13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Cæsarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some, John the Baptist, and other some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven: and I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.
OFFERTORY – Jeremiah 1: 9-10
Behold I have given My words in thy mouth: lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to waste and to destroy, and to build and to plant. Alleluia.
In Thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, Lord, be moved by the offering of our gifts and enlighten Thy Church: that Thy flock may prosper everywhere and the shepherds, under Thy guidance, may be rendered acceptable to Thee. Through our Lord.
IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
By thine own mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, may this oblation procure us peace and happiness, both in this life, and in that which is to come.
AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that, being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee, both in body and mind. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that at all times, but more especially at this season, we should extol Thy glory, O Lord, when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world. Who by dying hath overcome our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus, Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNION – Matthew 16: 18
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church. Alleluia.
We who have been refreshed by heavenly food and drink, humbly entreat Thee, O our God, that we may be strengthened also by the prayers of him, in whose commemoration we have received them. Through our Lord.
IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Having received, O Lord, what is to advance our salvation; grant we may always be protected by the patronage of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, in whose honor we have offered this Sacrifice to thy majesty.
AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life, those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.