Today is the memorial of Our Lady Help of Christians, a title first used by Saint John Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople, in 345, and invoked ever since. Pope Saint Pius V urged Catholics to plead for her intercession in the war against the onslaught of the Islamic Ottoman Turks in the latter half of the 16th century, which was, fortunately for the future of Europe, successful. The Pope had the title inserted into the Litany of Loreto, in thanksgiving for the victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 against overwhelming odds (although see my piece yesterday for today’s Islamic threat). Pope Pius VII instituted the official feast day in the midst of his struggle against Napoleon Bonaparte at the dawn of the 19th century. More recently, during his own pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has asked Catholics to intercede for the Church in China, still mired in many of the evils of Communism, one of which is to set up a State-controlled ‘patriotic Church’, that Catholics in the country remain faithful to the Holy Father in the midst of all the persecution and confusion this causes.
Our Lady Help of Christians is a title under which Mary, the Mother of God, may offer aid to any one of her children in need of assistance, which includes all of us, at some times more than others. We may pray today the prayer written to her by one of those devoted sons, Saint John Bosco:
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christian,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children,
how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners.
Grant through your intercessions many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.
Speaking of needing help, a comment on Justin Trudeau’s reception of Holy Communion by the hand of none other than the Archbishop of Montreal: LifeSite news has a write-up about this, to which I will not add much, except to say that the notion of denying Communion to an individual, even such canonical penalties as excommunication and interdict (so rarely used nowadays) are not retributive punishment, a ‘getting back’ at someone, nor are they primarily a judgement on the state of someone’s soul. Rather, they are medicinal, an act of mercy, a means of leading someone in a state of ‘public, manifest grave sin’ to reflect upon their actions, and mend their ways. I wrote of this concerning some of the (mis)-applications of Amoris Laetitia, and giving Communion to those living in adultery or cohabiting without matrimony: The danger here of not correcting them, even supporting their actions, are the sins of scandal and complaisance, wherein, to keep the peace and please the person, we allow them to continue to live in such a way that poses a grave danger to their souls and the souls of others.
As Pope John Paul II declared in 1981 in Familiaris Consortio concerning denying such individuals Communion, in a statement that applies analogously to Justin Trudeau’s own situation:
However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. (par. 84)
Any ‘condition of life’ that ‘objectively contradicts’ the ‘union of love between Christ and the Church’ is a scandal, that is, an occasion of grave sin to the person who commits the act, and to those who witness, and especially participate in, the act.
Justin Trudeau makes no qualms about his public, manifest and unmitigated support for abortion right up until birth which, to avoid euphemism, means the wholesale murder of the unborn, paid for by the State. Now, he and his government are also directly responsible for the legalization of physician-assisted murder and suicide. And this says nothing about his public, manifest support for homosexual ‘marriage’, transgenderism, radical feminism, drug use, and on it goes. To witness him receiving Communion in a public Liturgy signifies that he is in ‘communion’ with the Church, and all that the Church stands for, which he most manifestly and publicly is not.
This is not to ‘judge’ the state of his soul, whether he is in mortal sin or not, something only God and, to some extent Mr. Trudeau himself, knows. It is to asses the objective state of his actions, which put his soul and the souls of many others in grave spiritual danger, and must be remedied, rectified and repented.
Of course, such resistance to the culture of death requires courage, for there will be backlash, ridicule, even persecution, but it has been so since the time of the Apostles themselves, as we currently read in the Liturgy in the Book of Acts.
As Christ predicted to His own disciples, and to all of us, such is the price we must pray for standing in the truth, and with the Truth Himself. For it is through only through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
Domina nostra, Auxilium Christianorum, ora pro nobis!