Tag Archives: confession

Give us Silence or Give us Death: A Priest will accept death rather than violate this vow

St. John Napomucene                                                               aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

On July 1, 2019, The Vatican issued the Note of the Apostolic Penitentiary about the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal aka the Seal of Confession.

A Sacrament is of God—not man. “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.”  CCC 2490

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Part 2 in the Series; Give us Silence or Give us Death; Saint John of  Nepomuk aka John Nepomucene

John of Nepomuk (also known as John Nepomucene) was born sometime during the spring of 1345 in a place called Nepomuk in Bohemia  (Czech Republic). Not much is known about his parents or his early life, but it is known that he attended Charles University in Prague and then continued his studies at the University of Padua. John was ordained to the priesthood in 1373.

Father John continued his studies at Padua and in 1387, earned s doctorate in canon law. His credentials helped advance his career and soon after he was named Vicar-General for the Archdiocese of Prague. Unfortunately for Father John,  this was during the period of the Great Schism, and his sentiments were opposite those of the ruthless King Wenceslas IV. The King supported the Pope in Avignon. The Archbishop was loyal to the Pope in Rome.

It followed that as Vicar-General,  John followed his church and archbishop.  King Wenceslas IV and the Archbishop were in a power struggle over the creation of a new cathedral. The King wanted the Abbey turned into a cathedral and ordered that no new abbot could be appointed once the present abbot died.

Rarek the Abbot died in 1393.  However, the monks of the abbey decided to avoid the King’s order and quickly nominated a successor, named Odelenus. It was the Vicar-General, John Nepomucene,  who confirmed the new abbot, not the archbishop. King Wenceslas was furious and had Father John arrested and taken to the Prague Castle to be tortured.

The truth was King Wenceslas  had a ‘hidden agenda.’  Father John was the Queen’s confessor and her husband had become suspicious that she was unfaithful to him. He was obsessing more and more about this and decided he would get the information he wanted from John. King Wenceslas chose to torture the priest himself. He was determined to ‘do it effectively.”

Wenceslas tortured Father John with fire. He burned his sides and committed awful acts against the man, demanding he tell him what his wife had confessed to him. The King’s cruelty was to no avail because even though John was forced to endure incredible pain, he held fast to his resolve and never said anything.

King Wenceslas finally gave up and had John sign an oath of secrecy about his treatment. Then the priest was released. But he was already dying from the brutal treatment he had received, and the King did not want anyone to see the condition he was in. After all, he was the Vicar-General and second in rank to the Archbishop. The King reneged on the oath of secrecy and had John arrested again. This time they gagged him, tied him, and brought him to the Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava River. In the darkness of the night, they tossed him from the bridge and into the water below, where he drowned. The date was March 20, 1393.

John’s body was recovered from the Vtala River and buried in St. Vitus Cathedral. The Archbishop of Prague, Jan of Jenstejn, hurried to Rome traveling with the new abbey of Kladruby. He began referring to John Napomucene as “the holy martyr.” Several years later, miracles began being reported that were attributed to him. It is also said that five stars appeared where John’s body entered the water. To this day, a cross marks the spot where John was thrown to his death, and statues and pictures of John usually display five stars surrounding his head.

There was controversy surrounding the reasons for John’s execution. Some had said that it was strictly because of his going against the King’s wishes by anointing the new abbot. Others said it was because of being the Queen’s confessor and not revealing what she confessed to him. Much research was done, and many writings read and analyzed. The church decided that he was killed because of refusing to break the Sacred Seal of the Confessional.  CCC 2490

John Napomucene was canonized a saint by on March 19, 1729, by Pope Benedict XIII. He is the Proto-Martyr of the Seal of the Confessional and the Patron Saint of the Seal of Confession. Some consider him the patron of confessors, but that title belongs primarily to St. Alphonsus Liguori.

St. John Napomucene, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

“Give us Silence or Give us Death”—This is the message to the world from the Catholic Church regarding the Sacramental Seal of Confession and the Priesthood.

Mateo Correa Magallanes wikipedia.jpg

On July 1, 2019, The Vatican issued the Note of the Apostolic Penitentiary about the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal aka the Seal of Confession.  The highlighted links will give you the full documents.

A Sacrament is of God—not man. “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.”  CCC 2490

 

THE STORY OF SAINT MATEO CORREA MAGALLANES

Correa Magallanes was born in Tepechitian, Mexico on July 23, 1866. His family was poor, and his initial elementary education was not of high quality. He possessed excellent academic skills, and benefactors stepped in and assisted the boy in getting into a much better school in Guadalajara. He finished his elementary schooling in 1879. In January of 1881, he was able to enter the conciliar seminary that was located in Zacatecas.

He was ordained a priest at the seminary in Zacatecas on August 20, 1893. Father Magallanes quickly became well-known in the area he served. His enthusiasm for his priestly work and his dedication made him stand out.

He was an excellent homilist and managed to inspire many people to return to confession. His zeal and love for the faith inspired many of the youth to become part of the Catholic Association of Mexican Youth in the area. Father, joined the Knights of Columbus, becoming a member of Council #2140 in Zacatecas.

After several years, Father’s talents were not to be localized. He initially assumed he would be assigned to a specific parish and stay there. But that did not happen. Instead, his priestly ministry began requiring him to serve in many different positions in various places. He was chaplain at San Miguel in Valparaiso, then he was appointed the assistant vicar in the same place. He became the chaplain of Mazapil in Zacatecas, a parish priest in Concepcion del Oro, Colotlan, Jalisco, Noria de Los Angeles, Guadalupe, and others. In 1923 he was assigned as vice-rector of the conciliar seminary from where he was ordained 30 years earlier.

In 1924 Plutarco Calles became President of Mexico. He hated Catholics and using the power of the revised constitution, which basically shut down all things Catholic,  he set out to fully implement these “laws.” His actions would result in what is known as the Cristero War, and many thousands would lose their lives. Calles main focus was on the priesthood and religious throughout Mexico.

Under Calles, the persecution, imprisonment, and executions of priests, religious, and  Catholics in general escalated quickly.  Father Magallanes, like many other priests, tried to do his ministerial work in secret. He would say Mass in people’s homes, in their barns, in fields, or wherever he could without being detected. He would visit the sick and administer Last Rites and hear confessions as much as possible. However, he could not hide forever.

It was the beginning of February of 1927 when Father Magallanes was caught by the soldiers. He was on his way to bring Viaticum to a dying woman. When he saw the soldiers coming, he quickly consumed the consecrated Host to avoid it being desecrated. Father was arrested and taken to a nearby jail.

There were other prisoners in the jail and after a few days the commanding officer, general Eulogio Ortiz, gave Father Magallanes permission to hear their confessions. Father gladly did his priestly duty, knowing most of these prisoners would be dying very soon.

As soon as he had heard the confessions, General Ortiz brought him into a room and demanded that he tell him what the prisoners had told him in confession. Father refused. General Ortiz told the priest they would “make him tell.” Father told him, “You may try do so, but you ignore the fact, General, that a priest must keep the secret of confession. I am ready to die.”

Father Correa Magallanes underwent several days of torture but would not relent. At dawn on  February 6, 1927, Father was taken to a nearby cemetery. General Ortiz pointed a gun at his head and told him he had one more chance to save his life. Father Magallanes looked at him and the other soldiers holding their rifles pointed at him. His answer was quite simple, “Viva Cristo Rey.” (Long Live Christ the King)

The priest died as a volley of bullets tore through his body. Once again, the Sacred Seal of Confession was not broken.

Father Magallanes was canonized a saint by Pope St. John Paul II on May 21, 2000 along with 25 other martyrs, mostly priests, from the Cristero War.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Give us Silence or Give us Death: A Priest will accept death rather than violate this vow

Pedro Marielux                                                                             aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

On July 1, 2019, The Vatican issued the Note of the Apostolic Penitentiary about the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal aka the Seal of Confession.

A Sacrament is of God—not man. “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.”  CCC 2490

Part 3 in the Series; Give us Silence or Give us Death;  Meet Father Peter Marielux

*Information about dialogue that took place between Father Marielux and the Commandant was found in a copy of the December 17, 1925, edition of the Freeman’s Journal; a publication in Sydney, Australia. Anything taken from there will be italicized.

His name was Pedro Marieluz Garces, but we can call him Peter Marielux. He was born in 1780 in Tama, Peru. From an early age, Peter knew in his heart he was called to be a priest, and he followed that calling without ever looking back. He joined the Camillian Order and was ordained to the priesthood in 1805. Eventually he would be appointed a chaplain for the Spanish military which managed Peru for the Spanish government.

The Peruvian War of Independence had started in 1811. The end of this war was in sight as the rebels had laid siege to the Port of Callao. The siege had begun in 1824, and nine months later the rebels had fortified their positions, and the Spanish army was in desperate need of supplies and ammunition. It was now 1825, and things were coming ta head.

The Spanish soldiers had been held in the fort without supplies or reinforcements able to get in. The garrison was under the command of Don Raymond Rodil. With food being almost gone and rationing down to crumbs, many of the soldiers began grumbling.

The chaplain to the troops was Father Peter Marielux. Father Peter had been doing his best to keep the spirit of the soldier upbeat, but it was getting to be a difficult task. Lack of food and necessities plus increasing illness was wearing them down.

Despair was beginning to spread, and then Don Rodil was told of a plot to take him prisoner and surrender to the rebels. Included in the group were some of his most trusted officers. Hearing this he became enraged even though he was not even sure if the rumors were true. He wasted not a moment and had those he suspected arrested.

None of them would confess to anything. It did not matter to Don Rodil. It was around 6 P.M. The “merciful” commandant gave the accused three hours to confess to the chaplain.   They would all be executed at 9 P. M. The number of men executed is unknown but suffice it to say, they all died at 9 P.M.

But the commandant was not finished. He knew the confessor, Father Peter, would know the dead men’s secrets. Even though they were now dead, it did not matter. He called the chaplain into his office.

Rodil: “Father, these scoundrels just executed have, no doubt, revealed in Confession all their plans and all the details on which they had placed their hopes. You must now disclose everything to me, and in the King’s name, I command you do so without concealing a name or a detail.”

 Father M: “General,” answered Father Marielux, “you ask an impossible thing from me. I shall NEVER sacrifice the salvation of my soul by revealing the secret of a penitent. If the King were here in person, God defend me from obeying a similar order.”

 The Brigadiers face crimsoned, and, taking the priest by the arm, he shook him violently, shouting in a commanding tone as he did so: “You must disclose everything to me or I will shoot you.”

 Father M: “If God desires my martyrdom, may His Will be done. A minister of the altar can reveal nothing of what is confided to him in the confessional.”

 Rodil: “Do not speak to me in this way—“You are a traitor to your King, your flag, your country, and your superior officer.”

 Don Rodil then gave the order to the captain of the guards to get four soldiers with loaded guns. When they arrived, he told the priest to kneel down, then in an imperious tone, turning toward the holy victim, he said: “For the last time, in the King’s name, I command you to reveal all you know to me.”

 Father M: “In God’s name, I refuse to speak,” answered the priest, in a weak but determined voice.

 Rodil:  “Madman!”

 The command was given and the shots fired. Father Marielux, the illustrious martyr of the Sacramental Seal, fell mortally wounded, his chest pierced with bullets. This occurrence took place on the 22nd of September, 1825.

Father Peter Marieloux  (Pedro Marieluz)  willingly accepted martyrdom rather than violate the Sacred Seal of Confession.

 copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

I Watched in Awe as the Priest Stepped into the Sandals of Christ

By Larry Peterson

What follows is about a priest in a crowd, a famous poem, and a moment in time. The moment was like seeing a tiny flower growing out of a crack in a concrete sidewalk. That tiny flower is another example of God’s creative beauty that surrounds us yet is barely noticed by anyone. The fate of that tiny flower is ominous. Even though no person anywhere at any time could ever create that fragile, work of living beauty, it more than likely will be ignored, stepped upon or sprayed with weed killer to get rid of it. Ah well, we “smarties” have no time for such trivialities and petty annoyances.

 

The poem I refer to is, “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. Written in 1913, it has a timely message. There is a line in the poem that reads, “A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray: the tiny flower in the concrete is a smaller version, is it not? So what about the priest in the crowd?

 

I was at a parish event the other evening which featured as speakers our Bishop, an author, a radio station personality, and our pastor. The Knights of Columbus (which included me) were the ones who prepared and served the free dinner to over 300 guests. The parish center was packed and when the final speaker had finished we began to serve the dessert.  I sensed something special was going on nearby. I do not know if anyone else but me was paying attention but I was about to witness one of those special moments in time.

 

There were a number of local parish priests in attendance and one of them was the chaplain at the local VA hospital. I was working in the kitchen assisting getting the cake plates on trays and handing the trays to those serving the guests. Outside the kitchen and to my left against the wall was the drink table where coffee, tea, cold drinks etc were available. At any given time there were at least ten people standing in line. Five feet away from the drink table was the first row of dinner tables. Father was sitting at the end of the first table talking to a woman.

 

At this point, the chatter was quite loud and people were up and moving about visiting other tables saying “HI” to other folks they knew. I noticed Father looking at the young lady very intently and purposefully. I knew this priest had put his Jesus’ sandals on.

 

I kept working and watching the two of them. They were at least twenty feet away from me and, with all the activity and noise and people milling about and all around them, they had managed to be alone. The priest listened and listened and listened some more.  I watched as best I could because this was so awe-inspiring. I was witnessing Christ do His thing through His priest. This happens every time we attend Mass but how many of us think about what actually IS happening? We hear of this happening in other places but how often do we get to watch it happen? Hardly ever.

 

After a while, Father leaned his head to the right a bit and rested his chin on his upraised fist. He was not looking directly at the woman he was now sort of looking downward. He inconspicuously blessed her and, I assume, she was being given absolution. I was not positive because  I had heard nothing and never even saw her face. But it did not matter. Whatever was happening between them was spiritual and beautiful.

 

Like the tiny flower popping its little lavender petal through a crack in concrete or Kilmer’s magnificent tree looking at God all day lifting its “leafy arms to pray” this moment was those moments. Few people notice the stunning Oak tree standing majestically alongside a roadway or a blade of grass pushing its way through a hairline crack in a slab of cement. Sadly, more and more people are losing sight of Christ in our midst and the hand of the Creator smiling down on His creations. I was blessed. I caught a glimpse the other night.

 

Joyce Kilmer’s poem finishes up with the poignant words: “Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”  We need to remember that.

Artwork from SimpleMassingPriest.com