See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

An outspoken, popular Roman Catholic preacher: Accused of anti-Semitism.



St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P.
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Today is the memorial of one of the most popular Dominican preachers in Church history.  The Spanish Dominican, St. Vincent was a fiery preacher of great fame, preparing his generation for the Last Judgement.  The Saint even proclaimed that he himself represented the angel of the Book of Revelation - in fact, in Spanish Colonial art he is often shown with angel wings.  I think that is why I developed a devotion to him from an early age.  Ferrer involved himself in the politics of his day and is also known to have converted numerous Jews to the faith - although some sources say many of them were forced conversions.  Likewise the Saint is believed to have encouraged the social separation of Jews from gentiles, as well as other anti-Semitic city ordinances discriminating against Jews.  In addition, he is credited with converting a synagogue or two into Catholic churches.  That was then and this is now.  It doesn't make him a bad saint.  It is said he had the gift of tongues since he preached throughout Europe.  (That would be the real charism - not the popularized charismatic type.)  Despite his fame and popularity his success as an evangelist never went to his head, as one biographer notes:  "Popular acclaim, however, did not distract him from a life of asceticism and poverty."

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Another popular Dominican, in many ways very much like St. Vincent, was Girolamo Savonarola, who was born  some 30 years after the death of St. Vincent.  His influence was largely in Italy - but he preached pretty much along the same lines as St. Vincent.  Both Dominicans felt the end of all things was imminent.  Savonarola may have overstepped his bounds a bit as regards the politics, economics and morals of the day, even inciting his followers to riot and provoke a civil rebellion of sorts.  The outcry against him finally reached the Pope, who had him excommunicated and burned at the stake.  His reputation wasn't damaged too severely, since not a few Dominicans and others would like to see him canonized one day.  Much like St. Vincent, he led a life of strict asceticism and poverty and shunned celebrity and vanity.  In fact he invented the bonfire of the vanities.
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One would think these two men might make excellent examples for the evangelists of today: What to do, and what not to do in the new evangelization, and how not to over do...
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Art: St. Vincent H/T Western Confucian
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Bonfire of the Vanities...
wigs, make-up, jewelry, tights, mirrors, hair dye, shavers, DVD's, gym equipment, spandex, drugs, massage tables - up in flames!
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What?

       

4 comments:

  1. tights? tights?!

    You think we should wear long johns and socks under our skirts? Or just go barelegged all year round?

    ReplyDelete
  2. A great podcast about St. Vincent Ferrer:

    St. Vincent Ferrer, the Angel of the Apocalypse.

    Great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Berenike - I was thinking of men in tights.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Berenike - I was thinking of men in tights.

    Got something against Carey Elwes and Mel Brooks?

    ReplyDelete


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