Standing quite in contrast to the false ecumenism of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, which is one of its fundamental "counter-marks," if you will, of its apostate nature, is the genuine apostolic zeal for the conversion of those steeped in the heresies and errors of Protestantism that was displayed by the great saint we honor today, Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, who was put to death this day by those wretched creatures called Calvinists in the year 1622.
Saint Fidelis was a member of the Capuchin branch of the Order of Friars Minor. As a true son of Saint Francis of Assisi, who sought the conversion of the Muslims (see Frank Rega's Saint Francis of the Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims, published by TAN Books and Publishers), Saint Fidelis was zealous for the salvation of the souls of those whose immediate ancestors had defected from the Faith and unleashed a bloody reign of terror against those who adhered to the true Faith that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entrusted exclusively to the teaching authority and the sanctifying offices of the true Church that He Himself founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope.
Here is an account of this faithful Catholic priest's great zeal for souls as found in Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year:
Our Risen Lord would have around him a bright phalanx of martyrs. Its privileged members belong to the different centuries of the Church's existence. Its ranks open to-day to give welcome to a brave combatant, who won his palm, not in a contest with paganism, as those did whose feasts we have thus far kept, but in defending his mother, the Church, against her own rebellious children. They were heretics that slew this day's martyr, and the century that was honoured with this triumph as the seventeenth.
Fidelis was worthy of his beautiful name. Neither difficulty nor menace could make him fail in his duty. During his whole life, he had but the glory and service of his divine Lord in view: and when the time came for him to face the fatal danger, he did so, calmly but fearlessly, as behooved a disciple of that Jesus who went forth to meet his enemies. Honour, then, be to-day to the brave son of St. Francis ! truly he is worthy of his seraphic Patriarch, who confronted the Saracens, was a martyr in desire !
Protestantism was established and rooted by the shedding of torrents of blood; and yet Protestants count it as a great crime that, here and there, the children of the true Church made an armed resistance against them. The heresy of the sixteenth century was the cruel and untiring persecutor of men, whose only crime was their adhesion to the old faith--the faith that had civilized the world. The so-called Reformation proclaimed liberty in matters of religion, and massacred Catholics who exercised this liberty, and prayed and believed as their ancestors had done for long ages before Luther and Calvin were born. A Catholic who gives heretics credit for sincerity when they talk about religious toleration proves the he knows nothing about the past or the present. There is a fatal instinct in error, which leads it to hate the Truth; and the true Church, by its unchangeableness, is a perpetual reproach to them that refuse to be her children. Heresy starts with an attempt to annihilate them that remain faithful; when it has grown tired of open persecution it vents its spleen in insults and calumnies; and when these do not produce the desired effect, hypocrisy comes in with its assurances of friendly forbearance. The history of Protestant Europe, during the last three centuries, confirms these statements; it also justifies us in honouring those courageous servants of God who, during that same period, have died for the ancient faith.
Let us now respectfully listen to the account given us, in the Liturgy, of the life and martyrdom of St. Fidelis; we shall find that the Church has not grown degenerate in her Saints.
Fidelis was born at Sigmaringen, a town of Swabia. His parents, whose name was Rey, were of a respectable family. He was remarkable, even when a child, for his extraordinary gifts both of nature and grace. Blessed with a talent of a high order, and trained to virtue by an excellent education, he received at Freiburg the well-merited honours of Doctor in Philosophy and in Civil and Canon Law, at the same time that, in the school of Christ, he strove to attain to the height of perfection by the assiduous practice of all virtues. Being requested to accompany several noblemen in their travels through various countries of Europe, he lost no opportunity of encouraging them, both by word and example, to lead a life of Christian piety. In these travels, he moreover mortified the desires of the flesh by frequent austerities; and such was the mastery he gained over himself, that in the midst of all the troubles and excitement, he was never seen to lose his temper in the slightest degree. He was a strenuous upholder of law and justice, and, after his return to Germany, he acquired considerable reputation as an advocate. But finding that this profession was replete with danger, he resolved to enter on the path that would best lead him to eternal salvation. Then enlightened by the divine call, he shortly afterwards asked to be admitted into the Seraphic Order, among the Capuchin Friars.
His pious wish being granted, he showed from the very commencement of his novitiate how thoroughly he despised the world and himself; and when, with spiritual joy, he had offered to God the vows of solemn profession, his regular observance was such as to make him the admiration of, and a model to, all around him. He devoted himself to prayer and to sacred studies; as also to preaching, for which he had a special grace, and by which he not only converted Catholics from a life of wickedness to one of virtue, but also drew heretics to knowledge of the truth. He was appointed superior as several convents of his Order, and fulfilled his office with admirable prudence, justice, meekness, discretion and humility. His zeal for strict poverty was so great, that he would allow nothing to be in the convent which was not absolutely necessary. He practised severe fasting, watching and disciplines, out of holy hatred against himself; whereas his love towards others was that of a mother for her children. A contagious fever having broken out among the Austrian soldiers, causing frightful mortality, he devoted his whole energies to untiring acts of charity in favour of the sick, whose sufferings were extreme. So admirable was he, both in advice and action, in settling disputes, and relieving everyone in trouble or trial, that he won for himself the name of the Father of his country.
He was extremely devout to the Virgin Mother of God, and a zealous promoter of the Rosary. He besought of God, through the intercession of this Blessed Mother firstly, and then through that of all the Saints, that he might be allowed to shed his blood and lay down his life for the Catholic faith. This ardent desire was increased by the daily and devout celebration of the Holy Sacrifice; and at length, by the wonderful providence of God, this valiant soldier of Christ was placed at the head of the missions recently established among the Grissons, by the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith. Fidelis undertook the arduous task with a ready and cheerful heart, and laboured in it with such earnestness, that he converted many heretics to the true faith, and inspired the hope that the whole of that people would be reconciled to the Church and to Christ. He had the gift of prophecy, and frequently predicted the calumnies that were to befall the Grissons, as also his own death at the hands of the heretics. Being fully aware of the plot laid against him, he prepared himself for the combat, and on the twenty-fourth day of April, in the year 1622, he repaired to the church of a place called Seewis. Hither had the heretics, on the previous day, invited him to come and preach, pretending that they wished to be converted. Whilst he was preaching he was interrupted by their clamours. They rushed upon him cruelly struck and wounded him even to death. He suffered it with courage and joy, thus consecrating by his blood the first-fruits of the martyrs of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith. His name was rendered illustrious by many miracles, especially at Coire and Veitkirch, where his relics are kept, and honoured by the people with exceeding great veneration.
Here is another account of his apostolic work for the conversion of the Calvinists and of his martyrdom, found in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
From the beginning of his apostolic career he was untiring in his efforts to convert heretics nor did he confine his efforts in this direction to the pulpit, but also used his pen. He wrote many pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism though he would never put his name to his writings. Unfortunately these publications have long been lost. Fidelis was still guardian of the community at Feldkirch when in 1621 he was appointed to undertake a mission in the country of the Grisons with the purpose of bringing back that district to the Catholic Faith. The people there had almost all gone over to Calvinism, owing partly to the ignorance of the priests and their lack of zeal. In 1614 the Bishop of Coire had requested the Capuchins to undertake missions amongst the heretics in his diocese, but it was not until 1621 that the general of the order was able to send friars there. In that year Father Ignatius of sergamo was commissioned with several other friars to place himself at the disposal of this bishop for missionary work, and a similar commission was given to Fidelis who however still remained guardian of Feldkirche. Before setting out on this mission Fidelis was appointed by authority of the papal nuncio to reform the Benedictine monastery at Pfafers. He entered upon his new labours in the true apostolic spirit. Since he first entered the order he had constantly prayed, as he confided to a fellow-friar, for two favours: one, that he might never fall into mortal sin; the other, that he might die for the Faith. In this Spirit he now set out, ready to give his life in preaching the Faith. He took with him his crucifix, Bible, Breviary, and the book of the rule of his order; for the rest, he went in absolute poverty, trusting to Divine Providence for his daily sustenance. He arrived in Mayenfeld in time for Advent and began at once preaching and catechizing; often preaching in several places the same day. His coming aroused strong opposition and he was frequently threatened and insulted. He not only preached in the Catholic churches and in the public streets, but occasionally in the conventicles of the heretics. At Zizers one of the principal centres of his activity, he held conferences with the magistrates and chief townsmen, often far into the night. They resulted in the conversion of Rudolph de Salis, the most influential man in the town, whose public recantation was followed by many conversions.
Throught the winter Fidelis laboured indefatigably and with such success that the heretic preachers were seriously alarmed and set themselves to inflame the people against him by representing that his mission was political rather than religious and that he was preparing the way for the subjugation of the country by the Austrians. During the Lent of 1622 he preached with especial fervour. At Easter he returned to Feldkirch to attend a chapter of the order and settle some affairs of his community. By this time the Congregation of the Propaganda had been established in Rome, and Fidelis was formally constituted by the Congregation, superior of the mission in the Grisons. He had, however, a presentiment that his laborers would shortly be brought to a close by a martyr's death. Preaching a farewell sermon at Feldkirch he said as much. On re-entering the country of the Grisons he was met everywhere with the cry: "Death to the Capuchins!" On 24 April, being then at Grusch, he made his confession and afterwards celebrated Mass and preached. Then he set out for Sevis. On the way his companions noticed that he was particularly cheerful. At Sevis he entered the church and began to preach, but was interrupted by a sudden tumult both within and without the church. Several Austrian soldiers who were guarding the doors of the church were killed and Fidelis himself was struck. A Calvinist present offered to lead him to a place of security. Fidelis thanked the man but said his life was in the hands of God. 0utside the church he was surrounded by a crowd led by the preachers who offered to save his life if he would apostatize. Fidelis replied: "I came to extirpate heresy, not to embrace it", whereupon he was struck down. He was the first martyr of the Congregation of Propaganda. His body was afterwards taken to Feldkirch and buried in the church of his order, except his head and left arm, which were placed in the cathedral at Coire. He was beatified in 1729, and canonized in 1745. St. Fidelis is usually represented in art with a crucifix and with a wound in the head; his emblem is a bludgeon. His feast is kept on 24 April. (CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen.)
"I came to extirpate heresy, not to embrace it." Ah, what a contrast between Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen and the faithless ones of the counterfeit church of conciliarism who embrace heresy and the false religions of idolaters and who do not seek to extirpate these things. "God bless the Methodists, "God bless the Baptists, "...on the sacred Mount Hiei." These are the sorts of words that issued from the mouth of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, not the fidelity of the faithful Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen.
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen did not believe in "inter-religious" dialogue. He sought with urgency the unconditional conversion of the Calvinists to the true Faith, the Catholic Faith. He did not mince words. He was entirely devoted to Our Lady. Saint Fidelis did what Catholics had done for nearly sixteen centuries before him: seek out the lost sheep while being willing to lay down his own life in behalf of their salvation in imitation of the Good Shepherd Himself, Who gave this injunction to the Eleven before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory on Pentecost Sunday:
Going, therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Mt. 28:19-20)
Saint Fidelis's martyrdom came some eighteen and one-half months before that of Saint Josaphat Kuncevyc on November 12, 1683, at the hands of the Orthodox whose conversion he had been seeking with great urgency. Saint Fidelis's zeal for the conversion of the Protestants came within a very short time after the apostolic work of Saint Peter Canisius, S.J., whose feast we commemorate this Sunday, April 27, 2007, and more or less contemporaneously with that of Saint Francis de Sales, who was his senior by seven years and who died just one year before his own martyrdom. Both Saint Peter Canisius and Saint Francis de Sales sought to convert the Calvinists. Their work bore much fruit. Over 60,000 Calvinists returned to the true Faith at the preaching of Saint Francis de Sales.
The Catholic Church has never abandoned the conversion of souls for the diabolical lunacy of the "new evangelization's" "let's listen and learn from each other without compromising the truth or giving any impression of religious indifferentism as we all remain faithful to our respective traditions and structures" program of "inter-religious dialogue" and to exercise the "spiritual ecumenism" (inter-religious prayer) pioneered by a disciple of the late Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., Abbe Paul Couturier, whose pioneering efforts in syncretism were praised by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II (in footnote fifty of Ut Unum Sint, May 25, 1995) and by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in his address to Protestant and Orthodox representatives in Cologne, Germany, on Friday, August 19, 2005. As Dom Prosper Gueranger noted in his commentary on the life of Saint Fidelis:
There is a fatal instinct in error, which leads it to hate the Truth; and the true Church, by its unchangeableness, is a perpetual reproach to them that refuse to be her children.
The Catholic Church is unchangeable! She cannot be the source of the very changeableness that has been exhibited ceaselessly by the scions of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Her official documents and statements cannot contradict anything that she has taught from time immemorial. Her children are taught to imitate the lives of her saints who were zealous for the conversion of the souls of non-Catholics. A non-martyr, Saint John Bosco, had this zeal when he was but a teenaged boy:
There were in John's class, at the school in Chieri, several Jews who were in difficulties about their Saturday's work. For them it was the Sabbath, when all work was forbidden. But the older boys used to laugh at them as if it were an extra vacation day. John, who saw that it was a question of conscience, used to send them a list of the work given out, with the explanations. In consequence, they vowed him an eternal friendship, and one of them, who used to frequent the restaurant where John worked, became very intimate with him. One day this young fellow, whose name was Jonas, got mixed up in a school scrape and, anxious about the consequences, came to consult his friend.
"If you were a Christian," said John, "I should take you straight off to Confession, but that can't be done."
"Why not? We can go to Confession if we like."
"Perhaps, but you have no Sacrament of Penance, no power to forgive sins, no guarantee of secrecy."
"I will go to a Catholic priest if you like."
"You can't unless you are baptized and believe in Jesus Christ."
"What would they say at home?"
"If God calls you to this, He will protect you."
"What would you do if you were in my place?" asked the young Jew.
"I would begin to study the catechism," said John.
The advice was taken; John prayed. Light and conviction came to Jonas, but the catechism was discovered. Irate parents took it to the Rabbi and accused John of betraying the friendship and ruining the soul of their son. Both friends had a good deal to suffer; there were even threats of violence. Jonas had to leave home, but he stood firm in his determination to become a Catholic. In the end, friends came to his assistance, the young Jew was baptized and the tumult died down. Several others followed him into the Church. (F. A. Forbes, Saint John Bosco, reprinted by TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, pp. 25-27.)
Catholics seek the conversion of non-Catholics, being willing to give up their lives to do so. This is not the spirit of the faithless ones who populate the levers of power in the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
As noted in yesterday's commentary (which has been purged of all typographical errors, most of which were caused by a "y" key on my computer that does not depress properly when struck by my forefinger), Connecting with Betrayal, one of the most faithful priests of the past fifty years has been His Excellency Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P. Although the Feast of the Most Holy Crown of Thorns in the Dominican Rite takes precedence over the Feast of Saint Fidelis, the latter will be commemorated today at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut.
We cannot express our gratitude sufficiently to His Excellency for his own years of fidelity in this era of apostasy and betrayal, for his zeal to serve souls as he continues to work absolutely tirelessly in his eighty-first year (he will turn eighty-one years of age on July 8, 2008) to defend the Catholic Faith, as he did so eloquently this past Sunday, the Fourth Sunday after Easter, April 20, 2008, in an excellent discourse against the heresy of religious liberty that had been promoted at almost every turn during Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's visit to the United States of America.
Each sermon that His Excellency gives is a catechism lesson in the Faith, helping to fortify the souls of those who drive many, many miles to assist at Holy Mass offered in the unreformed Dominican Rite. Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna has never once relented in his zeal for souls. Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen must be praying for his namesake, who is also so tenderly devoted to Our Lady and an untiring apostle of her Most Holy Rosary, to maintain his zeal no matter how much his work for souls is ignored or held in contempt by those who think that they have all the answers, that they have "figured everything out" and do not need even to listen just once to have their "answers" challenged by Catholic giants such as Bishop McKenna, a son of Saint Dominic de Guzman, and Father Martin Stepanich, a son of Saint Francis of Assisi.
On this feast of the one who was faithful in his own day, Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, may we offer at least one of our Rosaries today in gratitude for one by the same name who has remained faithful in our own day, His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P. His Excellency has the priestly soul of Saint Dominic, who was given the Rosary by Our Lady to fight the Albigensian heresy, and the same zeal that motivated each of the great Catholic missionaries, including Saint Dominic and Saint Fidelis, to see to it that the truths of the Faith are preached in all of their holy integrity and that souls outside of the maternal bosom of the Catholic Church be converted with urgency. Can we offer this good servant of Our Lady and so true a son of Saint Dominic and so worthy a namesake of Saint Fidelis just one of our Rosaries today?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
(Remember to keep praying the Salve Regina and the Magnificat in reparation for the dishonor shown the Mother of God by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI during his American visit.)
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. ad te clemamus exsules filii Evae, ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte; et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genetrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. Amen.
Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante praeparasti: da, ut cujus commemoratione laetamur; ejus pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, who by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to become a dwelling-place meet for thy Son: grant that as we rejoice in her commemoration; so by her fervent intercession we may be delivered from present evils and from everlasting death. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, pray for us.
Faithful then, Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen. Faithful now, His Excellency Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P.
See also: A Litany of Saints