You listened to her, O Lord, and did not despise her tears, which moistened the earth, whenever she prayed. (Antiphon for today’s Memorial of St. Monica)
St. Monica. She prayed for her son… Augustine. That he would embrace Catholicism.
She prayed. And he did. He embraced our religion, big time. The Catechism quotes Monica’s son more than any other theologian. Reading St. Augustine’s sermons has given me endless inspiration and insight. There is no one whom I admire more.
What separated Augustine from the hypocrites? Maybe his slavish humility before the sacred text of the Scriptures? Maybe his total personal devotion to Jesus his Savior? Maybe his tireless readiness to seek the truth? This made him the kind of pastor who could answer questions without prevarication.
Let’s take one Augustine quote from the Catechism.
To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts.
From this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only God (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence). [CCC 1809]
There’s enough wisdom in that one paragraph to organize your whole life on.
To live well is to love God.
Loving God keeps love pure and temperate.
Loving God makes love strong, even in the face of great difficulties.
Loving God keeps love honest and just, since the Lord sits on His throne to judge everyone, with all truth.
And loving God keeps love prudent, since a brave, pure, and honest love can see through nonsense and root itself in facts, in reality.
The best reaction I have heard so far to the publication of the famous Archbishop Viganó dossier: “I am shocked above all to learn that an Italian official spent time working during the second half of August.”
Seriously, though. We find ourselves at a terrible impasse. Our Holy Father had a chance yesterday to deny the truth of what the Archbishop alleges. On the papal plane heading home from Ireland, a reporter asked the pope directly, “Is it true that you knew about McCarrick?”
But Pope Francis would not say, “No. It is not true. Had I known I would have acted. Acted on behalf of those victimized by McCarrick’s predations. I’m only sorry I found out about it so late, and it breaks my heart to think about all the people that this man has hurt.”
The pope could have said all this. If it were true. But he did not. He said, “You must draw your own conclusions.”
To repeat: A reporter had asked the pope about a private conversation between himself and an Archbishop. The Archbishop had written: “I told Pope Francis about McCarrick in June of 2013.” So, Holy Father, is that true? Answer: “Draw your own conclusions.”
You might have wondered what I meant above, when I used the word ‘prevarication.’ Our Holy Father’s answer to a simple Yes or No question, a question that only he can answer: “Draw your own conclusions.”
That’s what we call prevarication, my dear ones.