MARCH 28 – ST. GONTRAN, KING.
- St. Guntramnus (Guntran), Patron of repentant murderers and divorcees. King, (Historical)
- St. John of Capistrano, Patron of jurists. Patron or Patroness, Priest. (Traditional)
ST. GONTRAN was son of King Clotaire, and grandson of Clovis I. and St. Clotildis. Being the second son, whilst his brothers Charibert reigned at Paris, and Sigebert in Austrasia, residing at Metz, he was crowned king of Orleans and Burgundy in 561, making Chalons his capital. When compelled to take up arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made no other use of his victories, under the conduct of a brave general called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. The crimes in which the barbarous manners of his nation involved him he effaced by tears of repentance. The prosperity of his reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who think that human poly cannot be modeled by the maxims of the Gospel, whereas nothing can render a government more flourishing. He always treated the pastors of the Church with respect and veneration. He was the protector of the oppressed, and the tender parent of his subjects. He gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day as a victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of His justice, to avert His indignation which he believed he himself had provoked and drawn down upon his innocent people. He was a severe punisher of crimes in his officers and others, and, by many wholesome regulations, restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops; but no man was more ready to forgive offenses against his own person. With royal magnificence he built and endowed many churches and monasteries. This good king died on the 28th of March, in 593, in the sixty eighth year of his age, having reigned thirty-one years and some months.
REFLECTION: There is no means of salvation more reliable than the practice of mercy, since our Lord has said it: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.”
WORD OF THE DAY
ECUMENICAL THEOLOGY. Systematic reflection on the principles and postulates of the ecumenical movement, notably among Protestant and Eastern theologians. They hope to find the way that leads beyond mere co-operation to a true unity that will make it clear to the whole world that, as there can only be one Body of Christ, so there is only on Body which is the church of his people. The basic problem therefore, is ecclesiological.
At one extreme are theologians who believe there is strength in doctrinal divergence, for whom the ecumenical movement should lead only to a federated co-operation among the churches with no ambition to organic unity. they are “keenly sensitive to the gains in vitality” that come from Church differences. At the other extreme are Eastern churchmen for whom the unity of the Church already exists and in fact is to be found within the exclusive limits of their own communion.
Between these extreme lie the majority of Protestant and Orthodox positions in the ecumenical movement. They are undecided either on the nature of the Church or on the kind of unity it is supposed to have. Some maintain that “the unity of the Catholic (not Roman) church is an existing historic reality” within certain theoretical boundaries. Their problem is in defining these boundaries, within which the Church may be united and beyond which diversity is allowed.
Others believe that the Church is a purely invisible entity, a community known only to God. Its unit, therefore, is also known only to him, and the task of theology is to give better expression to this existent–so far mostly invisible–unity among the divided members.
Still others hold that the Church is essentially all those who profess and call themselves Christians, however diverse their belief and practice. This seems to be the majority opinion in the present World Council of Churches.
The Roman Catholic Church has not been indifferent to the efforts of scholars outside her ranks to reunite a dismembered Christian world. Catholic theologians have promoted the most extensive study of church unity since the Reformation. While holding firm to their conviction that unity is possible only through union with the See of Peter, they stress the sincerity of ecumenical efforts outside of Rome and the presence of the Holy Spirit in such deliberations.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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