Saint Anthony Mary Claret…

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…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • The remedy for the world consists in training a good and virtuous clergy – At the sight of good priests, the irreligious will lose their boldness and daring

[The Catholic Priests] neither study nor teach morality, but dedicate themselves to the pursuit of their ambitions and disorderly appetites. They do not preach the Gospel […] Priests abuse everything; nothing is sacred to them. They have profaned and debased everything: pulpit, confessional, conscience, family, all of society. They have been the ruin of everything. […] They should be the light of the world, but they fill it with darkness by their ignorance […] In conclusion: Flee from them, separate yourselves from them. They are twice-told impostors: voracious wolves instead of good shepherds. […] After much thought I have come to the conclusion that the remedy consists, on the one hand, of training a good, learned, virtuous, zealous, and prayerful clergy and, on the other, of catechizing and preaching to both children and adults and circulating good books and pamphlets. […] At the sight of the virtue and fortitude of good priests, the irreligious will lose their boldness and daring. (Saint Anthony Mary Claret. The Autobiography, pg. 120–121)

  • Woe betide us if we become a plague that drives people off!

Woe betide us if, instead of attracting the faithful by our good manners, we drive them away by our gross behavior and unmortified passions. Woe betide us if, instead of being Christ’s good odor everywhere, as the Apostle says, we become a plague that drives people off. (Saint Anthony Mary Claret. The Autobiography, pg. 130)

  • ‘I shall not be silent, even if I knew it meant that I should be cut to pieces’

O Immaculate Virgin and Mother of God, Queen and Mistress of grace: Deign out of charity to cast your glance upon this lost world. Consider how all have abandoned the way that your most holy Son deigned to teach them. His holy laws have been forgotten and so much has been perverted that one might well say: non est qui faciat bonum, non est usque ad unum. The virtue of faith has been extinguished in them, so that it can scarcely be found upon the earth. Ah, once this godly light goes out, all is dark and shadowy, and men cannot see where they are falling. And yet they rush with headlong strides along the path that leads them to eternal loss. And would you, my Mother, have me, who am a brother of these luckless ones, look on indifferently at their utter ruin? Ah, no! Neither the love that I bear God, nor that I bear my neighbor, could stand it. […] How can I have charity if, knowing that thieves and murderers are set to rob and kill all those who pass along a road, I do not warn all those who are heading there? How can I have charity if, knowing that ravenous wolves are devouring my Master’s flock, I hold my peace? How can I have charity if I am silent at the theft of those most precious jewels that cost the lifeblood of a God, or at the sight of people setting fire to the house and heritage of my most loving Father? Ah, my Mother, I cannot still my voice on such occasions. No, I shall not be silent, even if I knew it meant that I should be cut to pieces. I shall shout, cry out, lift up my voice to heaven and earth to remedy so great an evil. I shall not be silent, and when my voice is hoarse or mute from all my crying I shall lift up my hands to heaven, make my hair stand on end, and stamp my feet upon the ground to make up for my lack of speech. (Saint Anthony Mary Claret. The Autobiography, pg. 33–34)

  • The enthusiasm of those who came to listen to the word of God

Besides preaching, we distributed thousands of leaflets, pamphlets, and books. To facilitate this work we had large boxes of printed material sent ahead to each of the towns we were going to stop in. I simply can’t describe the enthusiasm with which everyone came to listen to the words of God, the effect it had on them, their eagerness to have some souvenir of it, and the love with which they cherished whatever we gave them, even if it was nothing but a leaflet. There were great conversion […] I have dealt with a large number of cases since I have been a priest, however unworthy; but I have never written about them because I have been too busy. […] Today, April 15, 1864, I was told that in the parish of Saint Andrew where I gave the Lenten Mission, 4,000 more souls fulfilled their Easter duty than in previous years. Blessed be God. Glory be to God. Confessions have been made by men who have not confessed for 40 years and by women who have not confessed for 30. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name give glory.” (Saint Anthony Mary Claret. The Autobiography, pg. 117.129)