NOVEMBER 16 – ST. EDMUND OF CANTERBURY.
ST. EDMUND left his home at Abingdon, a boy of twelve years old, to study at Oxford, and there protected himself against many grievous temptations by a vow of chastity, and by espousing himself to Mary for life. He was soon called to active public life, and as treasurer of the diocese of Salisbury showed such charity to the poor that the dean said he was rather the treasure than the treasurer of their church. In 1234 he was raised to the see of Canterbury, where he fearlessly defended the rights of Church and State against the avarice and greed of Henry III; but finding himself unable to force that monarch to relinquish the livings which he kept vacant for the benefit of the royal coffers, Edmund retired into exile sooner than appear to connive at so foul a wrong. After two years spent in solitude and prayer, he went to his reward, and the miracles wrought at his tomb at Pontigny were so numerous that he was canonized in 1246, within four years of his death.
REFLECTION: The Saints were tempted even more than ourselves; but they stood where we fall, because they trusted to Mary, and not to themselves.
WORD OF THE DAY
UNBAPTIZED INFANTS. Children, whether born or unborn, who die without baptism of water. The difficult question of whether they can attain the beatific vision in heaven has been discussed for centuries and has become especially grave since abortion is now legalized in so many countries. There is no unqualified answer to this question from the Church’s magisterium. But there are two principles of Catholic doctrine that must be reconciled.
On the one hand, the Church teaches that even those who die with only original sin on their souls cannot reach the beatific vision. The Second Council of Lyons (1274) and the Council of Florence (1438-45) explicitly define that those who die with “only original sin” (Peccato vel solo originali) do not reach heaven. There is also the Church’s condemnation of the Jansenists, who claimed that it is a myth to hold there is a place “which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children,” for the souls of those who depart this life with only the guilt of original sin (Pius VI, Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, Proposition 26, August 28, 1794).
On the other hand, we also know that, according to God’s universal salvific will, somehow he gives all persons the opportunity of reaching heaven. This is authoritatively expressed by the Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too can achieve eternal salvation” (Lumen Gentium, 16). By implication, their children who die before the age of reason can also be saved.
Saying all of this, one should emphasize how deeply the Church is concerned that children be baptized as soon after birth as possible. “As for the time of Baptism,” the Roman ritual states, “the first consideration is the welfare of the child, that it may not be deprived of the benefit of the sacrament.” Therefore, “if the child is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without delay.”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!)
This article, NOVEMBER 16 – ST. EDMUND OF CANTERBURY. is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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