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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today is the Feast of Bl. Agathangelus and Cassian, Priests and Martyrs, First Order


Agathangel was born in Vendome in 1589 and Cassian in Nantes in 1607. Both received the habit of the Franciscan Order among the Capuchins and were sent to the African missions shortly after they had completed their studies. They met in Cairo. There they learned of the persecution of the Christians in Abyssinia. Filled with a desire to labor and suffer for Christ among their separated brethren, they went to that country. They had scarcely begun their work when they were seized and put in chains. They languished in prison for the space of a month, and then during another 25 days they were dragged to Gondar amid unheard-of treatment and during the extreme heat of a July sun. The king intended to force them to renounce their faith.

Father Cassian replied with firm determination: "We wish to live and die as children of the Catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church, outside of which there is no salvation. We do not wish to purchase our lives with the price of infamous apostasy. We do not wish to enjoy honors and riches, which you offer us at the price of our immortal souls."

Both confessors were then sentenced to he hanged. When the executioners were looking about for ropes, the two confessors, inflamed with a desire for martyrdom, called out: "If you need ropes, use our cords." So it was done. A few moments later the holy missionaries had won the crown of martyrdom. This happened on August 7, 1638. Pope Pius X beatified them with great solemnity.


1. Because it has been founded by Christ as the institution of salvation, the Catholic Church is the only one in which we can be saved. Christ always speaks of only one Church: "On this rock, I will build My Church," "he who will not hear the Church...", "there will be but one flock and one shepherd..." The Church would forfeit its own rights where it to recognize any other churches. The martyrs eloquently proclaimed this truth to the world by laying down their lives for the Faith and in defence of the only saving Church. -- We too must have the spirit of the martyrs; we must be ready to act as they did.

2. The Catholic Church, as the body of Christ, is the only saving Church. It is the mystical body of Christ, the incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Is it possible to think of more than one body belonging to this Head? That is plainly impossible. Besides, it is the task of the Church to lead souls to God. There is only one such goal, and there cannot be various ways which are opposed to one another, as in the non-Catholic churches. The Catholic Church, therefore, says with Christ: "I am the way" (John 14:6). Be faithful to this way.

3. The Catholic Church is the only saving Church for all men. Of her it can be said: "Neither is there salvation in any other" (Acts 4:12). That is: He who attains to salvation is saved through the Church. either as a member of the Church or as belonging to the soul of the Church. Non-Catholics and heathens will be saved through the Church, if they live according to the dictates of their conscience and co-operate with the necessary graces which God gives them and thus belong to the soul of the Church. -- Rejoice that you are a member of the Church, and pray for those who are not within the fold.


O God, who didst inflame Blesseds Agathangel and Cassian with Thy love and grant them to shed their blood for Thee, graciously grant at their intercession we may in this life so struggle against the enemy of our salvation that we may merit to be crowned by Thee in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press

(below is from a online translator of Spanish to English - will be errors)

From a letter of Blessed Agathangelus
Cardinal Prefect
of  the Propagation of the Faith Congregation

Eminence and Patron: Finding myself last month in Jerusalem, Reverend Father Guardian showed me the letter from the eminent Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation, in which it was stated that:"Your Paternity we notified the father apparently Paul of Lodi on the legality and desirability of visiting the churches of heretics and schismatics, keeping heart inside the security in the Catholic faith. This review is judged wrong by the Sacred Congregation, so you can not maintain this practice. "After I moved to Egypt and I submitted the question to three Our Fathers, theologians, and the trial of Father Archangel of Pistoia. The opinion of these parents is according to my staff, so I venture to submit to your Eminence as the youngest son, and I judge to be the most suitable for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, but always ready to accept any correction that I deserve, if I am not in the truth. The parents mentioned theologians studied the problem thoroughly, identified several recitals, we can reduce to four: that such communication does not result in Divinis scandal that there is no danger of losing the faith is not involved in any criminal act or ceremony which may mean heresy suppose not expressly approved such heresy or heretical rite.To obtain an accurate and judge aright these four conditions, timely insight into the true circumstances of place, time, existing rites classes here and other special situations, and the full knowledge it will never correct formation theologians and doctors of Christianity, by ignoring the specific customs of these places. So, in my humble opinion, I think this problem should be subject to the conscience of the missionaries, who think that communication with heretics and schismatics have to stay here and not be impeded for any reason, because otherwise would practice to eliminate the possibility of finding other means, other roads and other hope of doing good in these missions, and even create serious impediments existing peaceful relations.Given these important considerations and several others which I omit for the sake of brevity, allow me to quote the judgment of the glorious martyr and saint Pope Martin: "It is safe rule in times of persecution to be condescending, provided that this does not trespass or contempt, but rather narrowness and distress, that the need will always judge things with mercy, being benign and omitting, for better times, greater demands. " Copts abound here, and I took the trouble to examine their liturgical books, not finding in them no error except the heretics invocation Dioscorus and Severus. This is why I allowed our priests to use these books in the celebration of Mass, omitting only invoking heretics aforementioned, and so they do not have originated in this scandal any faithful people.

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