Posted by: fvbcdm | July 18, 2012

Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis (18 July 2012)

One of the most dramatic and the saddest events in modern history has been the capture, the imprisonment, and the murder in cold blood of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife the Czarina Alexandra, their five children, and several employees who remained with them in those terrible days before they were shot by the Bolsheviks in the year 1918.  The killing of the royal family took place on July 17, give or take a day or two.  Since Russia followed a different calendar from that of western Europe and America, it is a little difficult to know the exact date on our calendar.   

That was one of the atrocities that occurred during the seventy years of godless dictatorship in Russia and the other nations which she invaded and dominated. Fortunately, all of that is a nightmare which has ended, and in 2005 my travel group and I made a wonderful cruise in Russia, beginning in Saint Petersburg and ending in Moscow, threading our way through a number of rivers and lakes from the old capital of that vast nation to its present one. In the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg, we visited the cathedral of Kazan (it seems that the Orthodox call all their churches “cathedrals”) and there we watched as a long line of devout people slowly making their way to venerate a picture on the wall of the royal family, all of whom have been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church and are depicted with halos on their heads.  I wondered when I saw that how the canonization of Orthodox saints would affect the relationship between  Orthodoxy and Catholicism if and when we get to the point of organic unity.  The same is true of the Anglican Church which has canonized several of its members, like King Charles I of England who was killed by the enemies of the monarchy during the 17th century.  Just a few blocks from where I live, there is an Episcopal church in which one of its stained glass windows depicts King Charles I of England, executed by his enemies.  What effect will THAT have upon our movement toward reunion, which is apparently a great deal closer than that with the Orthodox?  As far as we Catholics are concerned, the ability to canonize saints belongs to the Papacy, and is to be exercised only with the authorization of the Pope.  Let us pray that there WILL be a reunion of Orthodoxy and Anglicanism with Rome, and that these canonizations of their members will not stand in the way of reunion one day. 

We cannot see into the future, but we can pray regularly for the union of all Christians, that eastern Orthodoxy can come into union with Rome as one of our “eastern rites,” and that Anglicanism can take advantage of the papal initiatives in setting up “Anglican Usages” which are totally  in union with Rome.  Without the Pope, there can be no Catholic Church; with the Pope, many things are possible, and it is exciting to think of what the years ahead may bring.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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