Christus Apostata: Scorsese’s “Silence”

Christus Apostata: Scorsese’s “Silence”

When St. Francis Xavier brought Catholicism to Japan in 1549, conversions were hard to come by. Xavier struggled to learn Japanese, and initially relied on imagery, usually illustrations of Christ, Mary, and the saints to tell the Christian story. He died just three years into his mission.

Yet hundreds of thousands did convert, and the Japanese Church flourished for more than a generation, until the persecutions began. In 1597, twenty-six Christians were crucified in Nagasaki. Then beginning in the following year and continuing into the 1630s, another 205 were martyred throughout the country. And by the time the two Portuguese priest-heroes of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel, Silence, came to Japan in 1639, an additional 206 had been killed for being Kirishitan.

What Japanese authorities had taken to be a curious adjunct of trade with Western nations was now considered a lethal threat to the nation’s cultural patrimony. Missionary work was dangerous, and those fictional priests, based on real missionaries, fully expected to die for Jesus.

But Endō’s book (and Martin Scorsese’s new film version of it) isn’t about martyrdom; it’s about avoiding it. Above all, the authorities want apostasy (sincere or not), and most of the main characters apostatize.

Now it’s easy at the distance of half a millennium to look with disdain upon a priest who knows the risks and yet abandons the profession of faith to which his ordination bound him. Scorsese seems to ask: What would you do when asked to trample on a sacred image of Jesus, if doing so would save the lives of others? Kirishitans are hanging upside down in a pit, small incisions in their necks, slowly bleeding to death, and only you can save them. All you have to do is stamp your foot on a fumi-e – a sort of demonic icon depicting Christ. What would you do?

Well, those hundreds of real Japanese martyrs, saints one and all, perished because they refused to apostatize – because they believed their lives, though ending in agony, were redeemed by Christ. Eternal joy awaited them.

Endō was a Catholic convert, and it’s fair to wonder how complete his conversion was. Martin Scorsese is a cradle Catholic who, despite meeting with Pope Francis during promotion of his movie (which premiered on December 23rd), shows no signs of being a faithful Catholic.

Rest of the story here

Blood of St Januarius fails to liquefy.Oh Boy.A 627-year-old blood miracle’ of San Gennero (Saint Januarius) failed to occur.

Blood of St Januarius fails to liquefy

Pope Francis holds a relic believed to be the blood of St Januarius, the patron of Naples (AP)

The failure of the saint’s blood to liquefy has become associated with previous disastrous events

The blood of St Januarius has failed to liquefy at the expected time prompting concerns about what it might signify.

St Januarius was a Bishop of Naples who is believed to have been martyred around the year 305 during the Diocletian persecution.

His blood is kept in a sealed glass ampoule in Naples Cathedral and traditionally liquefies three times a year: on September 19, December 16 and the Saturday before the first Sunday of May.

But during Mass at the Royal Chapel at Naples Cathedral on Friday, the Abbot of the Chapel, Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, revealed that the blood had failed to become liquid, according to reports.

The Abbot asked the faithful to keep praying while waiting but by 7.15pm, the vial was returned to the shrine, “undoubtedly solid,” as stated by Abbot Vincenzo.

Before ending the ritual, he said: “We shouldn’t think of tragedies and calamities. We are men of faith and we must keep on praying.”

As far as many people of Naples are concerned, the blood remaining solid can be a premonition of evil.

The same things happened in 1980, when a earthquake hit South Italy; 1973, when Naples endured an outbreak of cholera; 1939, when World War II began; 1940, when Italy joined the War and 1943, when Italy was occupied by the Nazis.

The blood partially liquefied in the presence of the Pope, during his visit to Naples in March 2015.

The Rosary stops a serial killer 1978 Ted Bundy-short read

The Rosary stops a serial killer 1978

“At 3: 00 am on January 15 Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University and murdered two girls before heading off to search for more victims. When he entered a third girl’s room with a bat for a weapon, he saw a rosary clutched in her hand, dropped the bat and fled.

Later the girl told authorities that before she left for college she had promised her grandmother that she would pray the rosary every night for protection, even if she fell asleep in the process. This is what she had done that night, and she was still holding the rosary when the murderer entered her room. Bundy later confessed to over thirty murders.

Father Joseph M. Esper says in his book With Mary to Jesus, “Ironically, when Ted Bundy was on death row, awaiting execution for his crimes, he asked Monsignor Kerr to serve as a spiritual counselor, and the priest took the opportunity to ask about that terrible night. Bundy explained that when he entered the girl’s room, he had fully intended on murdering her; some mysterious power was preventing him.”

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