Friday, 22 February

23:53

Indulgences [Catholic Faith and Reason - Our Blog]

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Indulgences: Springboard for Revolution During the Time of Martin Luther

The Catholic Encyclopedia online notes: 

Once it is admitted that Christ left the Church the power to forgive sins, the power of granting indulgences is logically inferred. Since the sacramental forgiveness of sin extends both to the guilt and to the eternal punishment, it plainly follows that the Church can also free the penitent from the lesser or temporal penalty. This becomes clearer, however, when we consider the amplitude of the power granted to Peter (Matthew 16:19): ‘I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.’ (Cf. Matthew 18:18, where like power is conferred on all the Apostles.)[1]

Indulgences are a remnant of early penitential practice when penances were publically performed. Mortal sin was punished by exclusion from the Eucharist, sometimes for years of penance, during which fasting and prayer were called for.  The early Church withheld “absolution” (but not of guilt) until satisfaction was made.   “Regarding the nature of this absolution given by the bishop, various opinions have been put forward. According to one view, it was the remission, not of guilt but of the temporal punishment; the guilt had already been remitted by the absolution which the penitent received in confession before he entered on the public penance.”  Public penances for mortal sin could be severe.  Penances were lessened for those who were ill or in danger of death.   Among the forms of commutation of the penance were pilgrimages, especially to places like Jerusalem or Rome. It was the report of the ill treatment given these pilgrims by the Muslims that led to the Crusades. At the Council of Clermont in 1095 where the First Crusade was organized they provided: "Whoever, out of pure devotion and not for the purpose of gaining honor or money, shall go to Jerusalem to liberate the Church of God, let that journey be counted in lieu of all penance."

When individual confession became the rule, absolution was given immediately after confession (assuming the penitent was sorry for their sins and had a firm purpose of amendment) and lighter penances than those shown in the canons were assigned.   Secret confession goes back to the time of the Apostles but even in the days of Pope Leo the Great (440-461) he declares an abuse, “contrary to the Apostolic rule" the reading out in public of a written statement of their sins drawn up by the faithful.   Penance was said or done immediately after Confession.  Indulgences were a form of penance.  They could not forgive sins nor were they a substitute for true contrition. Rather, it was a remission of some or all of the punishment due from sins already forgiven granted by the Church to those who met all the conditions for the indulgence.  It was based on the Church’s “treasury of grace” earned by Christ for living persons through absolution and for the dead, as a petition.   The grace won by Christ is “God’s saving will in the fullness of love to individual human persons, which also includes purification and overcoming of the punishment due to sin.”   This is why the preconditions always include personal, genuine repentance by the sinner and the restoration of the damaged order in so far as this is possible. 

  The Church showed concern for the misuses and abuses of indulgences.  For example, Pope Boniface in 1382 condemned the practice of some religious who were claiming indulgences forgave sin and selling them for money.  In 1420 the Archbishop of Canterbury was reprimanded for initiating an indulgence by Pope Martin V.  In 1450 Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, then Apostolate Legate to Germany, corrected those claiming that indulgences forgave sins. Pope Sixtus IV reserved judgment to the Holy See in cases previously delegated to the Holy See.  By 1500 the papacy reserved for itself the right to grant indulgences because of abuses by bishops or priests.  Nonetheless, the uneducated did not always make the distinctions between eternal punishment and temporal punishment and some comforted themselves by thinking they were buying their salvation thanks to abuses which found their way back into Church before the Reformation.

Initiated by Pope Julius II and revived by Pope Leo X,  a plenary indulgence was offered to all those who confessed their sins, received the Eucharist, and contributed according to their means to construction costs of the new St. Peter’s (which is still in use today).   Some papal indulgences were administered by local bishops.  For example, the young and ambitious Archbishop Albert of Mainz and Magdeburg was one who decided to foster the sale of indulgences in his territories in an effort, in large part, to pay Rome for a dispensation permitting him to rule two dioceses.  He enlisted the Dominicans to proclaim the indulgence, but some like Johan Tetzle did this, Luther alleged, in such a crude way it seemed like grace was for sale. Was the problem was the way they were administered by Tetzle and others? Yes, but perhaps Tetzle was not the villain Luther made him out to be.  Recently historians say he received unmerited odium.  For example, Luther in his 95 theses accuses him of using the jingle, “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul out of purgatory springs.”  This goes back at least to 1482 and Teztle denies it. In fact, he wrote in his defense, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences. He went on to get his doctorate in theology but retired to a monastery in 1518, broken in spirit by what was probably unjust criticism. Luther himself wrote him “that the agitation was not that of his creation, but that the child had an entirely different father.” But Luther, nonetheless, falsely charged that Tetzle had preached impiously against the Virgin Mary.

Whether or not Tetzle was guilty is not as significant as the fact that the Church was not sufficiently guarding against abuses in indulgences to preclude Luther using this issue as a springboard for his revolution against the Catholic Church. Certainly the Church addressed this problem and many other needed reforms in the Council of Trent, when they ended all selling of indulgences.  But a great irony is pointed out by Msgr. Patrick O’Hare in his book, Luther: The Facts About, when he notes:

What hypocrisy to roll up the white’s of one’s eyes in pretence of holy horror at the Catholic doctrine of indulgences, which is severity itself compared with their sweeping act of faith which alone suffices to wash all man’s sins away, and put him at once, without penance or purgatory, into the company of angels in Heaven.”


[1] “Indulgences,” Catholic Encyclopedia online.


10:59

Catholic Church [Infallible Catholic]

The Vatican

The following article is the Sixth part of a series of articles taken from the book, "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation" which is written by, and is therefore the intellectual product of Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B of the Most Holy Family Monastery, to whom sole credit belongs:

The readers are encouraged to click on this link: [Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation] for the entire document contained in this blog.

6. The One Church of the Faithful 

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: “THERE IS INDEED ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF THE FAITHFUL, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice.” 

The first dogmatic definition from the Chair of Peter on Outside the Church There is No Salvation (from Pope Innocent III) taught that the Catholic Church is the one Church “of the faithful,” outside of which no one at all is saved.  But who are “the faithful”?  Can one who has not been baptized be considered part of “the faithful”? If we look to Catholic Tradition, the answer is a resounding “No.” 

As many of you know, the Catholic Mass is divided into two parts: the Mass of the Catechumens (those preparing to be baptized) and the Mass of the Faithful (those baptized). 

In the early Church, the unbaptized catechumens (i.e., those who had not received the Sacrament of Baptism) had to leave after the Mass of the catechumens, when the faithful professed the Creed.  The unbaptized were not allowed to stay for the Mass of the faithful, because it is only by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism that one becomes one of the faithful. This is the teaching of Tradition

Casimir Kucharek, The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:In Canon 19 of the Synod of Laodicea (A.D. 343-381), for example, we read: ‘After the sermons of the bishops, the prayer for the catechumens is to be said by itself first; when the catechumens have gone out, the prayer for those who are doing penance; and after these . . . there should then be offered the three prayers of the faithful . . .’” 

Here we see the 4th century Synod of Laodicea affirming the tradition that unbaptized catechumens were to depart from the Liturgy before the Mass of the Faithful began. And this distinction between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful was a staple in the ancient rites of the Catholic Church. Hence, Fr. Casimir Kucharek, in his large work on the Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, says that the Liturgy of the Catechumens is “present in all Rites . . .” In other words, all of the ancient Catholic rites testified to the fact that no unbaptized person could be considered part of the faithful because they all dismissed unbaptized catechumens before the Mass of the Faithful began

Hence Fr. Casimir Kucharek further writes: 

“[St.] Athanasius mentions that they (catechumens) were not allowed to be present at the mysteries, while Cyril of Alexandria speaks of their departure before the more solemn parts of the service.” 

The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges the same teaching of Tradition. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Faithful,” Vol. 5, p. 769: “St. Augustine (says): ‘Ask a man: are you a Christian? If he be a pagan or Jew, he will reply: I am not a Christian. But if he say: I am a Christian, ask him again: are you a catechumen, or one of the faithful?’” 

In the third century, the early Church father Tertullian criticized the custom of certain heretics who disregarded this crucial distinction between the unbaptized and the faithful

The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Catechumen,” Vol. 3, p. 430: “Tertullian reproaches the heretics with disregarding it; among them, he says, one does not know which is the catechumen and which the faithful, all alike come [to the mysteries], all hear the same discourses, and say the same prayers.” 

Finally, I will quote a prayer from the ancient Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The prayer was recited at the dismissal of the catechumens before the Mass of the Faithful began. 

Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Dismissal of the Catechumens: “Let us, the faithful, pray for the catechumens, that the Lord have mercy on them… Lord and God, Jesus Christ, as the salvation of mankind: look down upon your servants, the catechumens, who bow their heads before you. In due time make them worthy of the waters of regeneration, the forgiveness of their sins, and the robe of immortality. Unite them to your holy, catholic, and apostolic church, and number them among your chosen flock." 

Here we see that the ancient eastern rite liturgy of St. John Chrysostom makes a forceful distinction between the unbaptized (the catechumens) and the faithful. It confirms that because the catechumens are not baptized into the faithful, they are not forgiven their sins or united to the Catholic Church. The unbaptized do not belong to the one Church of the faithful. This is part of the ancient Catholic Faith. And obviously this fact is not proven to be part of the ancient Catholic Faith simply because an early Church father stated it – for a statement from a given early Church father doesn’t prove this definitively; but rather it is proven because the testimonies of the aforementioned saints are in perfect harmony with the clear teaching of Catholic liturgical worship, which divides the Mass of Catechumens from the Mass of the Faithful. It is, therefore, the teaching and rule of Catholic worship that no unbaptized person is to be considered part of the faithful. And this is why all who died without the Sacrament of Baptism were refused Christian burial everywhere in the universal Church since the beginning

And because this was the universal rule of worship in the Catholic Church, it was the expression of the universal Faith and Tradition of the Catholic Church. 

Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (# 12), Dec. 11, 1925: “The perfect harmony of the Eastern liturgies with our own in this continual praise of Christ the King shows once more the truth of the axiom: Legem credendi lex statuit supplicandi. The rule of faith is indicated by the law of our worship.” 

Therefore, it would be contrary to Tradition to assert that a person who has not received the Sacrament of Baptism is part of the faithful

St. John Chrysostom (Hom. in Io. 25, 3), (4th Century): “For the Catechumen is a stranger to the Faithful . . . One has Christ for his King; the other sin and the devil; the food of one is Christ, of the other, that meat which decays and perishes . . . Since then we have nothing in common, in what, tell me, shall we hold communion? . . . Let us then give diligence that we may become citizens of the city above . . . for if it should come to pass (which God forbid!) that through the sudden arrival of death we depart hence uninitiated [unbaptized], though we have ten thousand virtues, our portion will be none other than hell, and the venomous worm, and fire unquenchable, and bonds indissoluble." 

St. Ambrose, (4th Century) Bishop and Doctor of the Church: “I shall now begin to instruct you on the sacrament you have received; of whose nature it was not fitting to speak to you before this; for in the Christian what comes first is faith. And at Rome for this reason those who have been baptized are called the faithful (fideles)." 

This teaching of Tradition is why in the Traditional Rite of Baptism, the unbaptized catechumen is asked what he desires from holy Church, and he answersFaith.” The unbaptized catechumen does not have “the Faith,” so he begs the Church for it in the “Sacrament of Faith” (Baptism), which alone makes him one of “the faithful.” This is why the Sacrament of Baptism has been known since apostolic times as “the Sacrament of Faith.” 

Catechism of the Council of Trent, On Baptism – Effects of Baptism: “. . . Baptism . . . the Sacrament of faith . . .” 

Catechism of the Council of Trent, On Baptism – Second Effect: Sacramental Character: “. . . Baptism . . . By it we are qualified to receive the other Sacraments, and the Christian is distinguished from those who do not profess the faith.” 

Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “ . . . all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith . . .” 

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 7 on Justification, ex cathedra: “ . . . THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, WHICH IS ‘THE SACRAMENT OF FAITH . . . THIS FAITH, IN ACCORDANCE WITH APOSTOLIC TRADITION, CATECHUMENS BEG OF THE CHURCH BEFORE THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, when they ask for ‘faith which bestows life eternal,’ (Rit. Rom., Ordo Baptismi).” 

And with these facts in mind (that a catechumen “begs” for the faith because he isn’t part of the faithful), remember the definition of Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council: “There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved . . .” The original Latin reads: “Una vero est fidelium universalis ecclesia, extra quam nullus omnino salvatur . . .” The Latin words nullus omnino mean “absolutely nobody.” Absolutely nobody outside the one Church of the faithful is saved.  Since the one Church of “the faithful” only includes those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism – as apostolic tradition, liturgical tradition and Church dogma show – this means that absolutely nobody is saved without the Sacrament of Baptism.

09:41

The Sacrament of Baptism [Infallible Catholic]


The following article is the Fifth part of a series of articles taken from the book, "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation" which is written by, and is therefore the intellectual product of Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B of the Most Holy Family Monastery, to whom sole credit belongs:

The readers are encouraged to click on this link: [Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation] for the entire document contained in this blog. 

5. The Sacrament of Baptism is the only Way into the Church

The Catholic Church has always taught that receiving the Sacrament of Baptism is the only way into Christ’s Church, outside of which there is no salvation.

Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, On the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Sess. 14, Chap. 2, ex cathedra: “But in fact this sacrament [Penance] is seen to differ in many respects from baptism.  For, apart from the fact that the matter and form, by which the essence of a sacrament is constituted, are totally distinct, there is certainly no doubt that the minister of baptism need not be a judge, since the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not previously entered it by the gate of baptism.  For what have I to do with those who are without (1 Cor. 5:12), says the Apostle.  It is otherwise with those of the household of the faith, whom Christ the Lord by the laver of baptism has once made ‘members of his own body’ (1 Cor. 12:13).”

This definition is particularly significant because it proves that only through water baptism is one incorporated into the Body of the Church. The significance of this will become clearer in the later sections where it is proven that Body membership is necessary for salvation.

Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church.  And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943: “Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith.”

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 27), June 29, 1943: “He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church.”

Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei (# 43), Nov. 20, 1947: “In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of holy orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration.”

08:36

Other Popes [Infallible Catholic]

Painting of Popes and Bishops by Jan van Eyck called, "Ghent Altarpiece", finished 1432.

The following article is the Fourth part of a series of articles taken from the book, "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation" which is written by, and is therefore the intellectual product of Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B of the Most Holy Family Monastery, to whom sole credit belongs:

The readers are encouraged to click on this link: [Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation] for the entire document contained in this blog.

4.  Other Popes on Outside the Church There is No Salvation

In addition to the ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) proclamations of the popes, a Catholic must also believe what is taught by the Catholic Church as divinely revealed in her Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (Magisterium = the teaching authority of the Church).

Pope Pius IX, Vatican I, Sess. III, Chap. 3, ex cathedra: “Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.”

The teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium consists of those doctrines which popes, by their common and universal teaching, propose to be believed as divinely revealed. For instance, in their common and universal teaching, approximately 10 popes have denounced the heretical concept of liberty of conscience and worship as contrary to revelation. A Catholic cannot reject that teaching. The teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium can never contradict the teaching of the Chair of Peter (the dogmatic definitions), of course, since both are infallible. Thus, the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium does not actually have to be considered at all in regard to Outside the Church There is No Salvation, because this dogma has been defined from the Chair of Peter and nothing in the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium can possibly contradict the Chair of Peter.  So beware of those heretics who try to find ways to deny the Church’s dogmatic teaching on Outside the Church There is No Salvation by calling fallible, non-magisterial statements which contradict this dogma, part of the “Ordinary and Universal Magisterium,” when they aren’t.  This is a clever ploy of the heretics.

But the following quotations from many popes are reaffirmations of the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation. These teachings of the popes are part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium – and are therefore infallible – since they reiterate the universal teaching of the Chair of St. Peter on the Catholic dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation.
  
Pope St. Gregory the Great, quoted in Summo Iugiter Studio, 590-604: “The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.”

Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208: “By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved.”

Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience to the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”

Pope St. Pius V, Bull excommunicating the heretic Queen Elizabeth of England, Feb. 25, 1570: “The sovereign jurisdiction of the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, has been given by Him [Jesus Christ], unto Whom all power in Heaven and on Earth is given, the King who reigns on high, but to one person on the face of the Earth, to Peter, prince of the
Apostles. . . If any shall contravene this Our decree, we bind them with the same bond of anathema.”

Pope Leo XII, Ubi Primum (# 14), May 5, 1824: “It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members . . . by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptism . . . This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church.”
  
Pope Leo XII, Quod hoc ineunte (# 8), May 24, 1824: “We address all of you who are still removed from the true Church and the road to salvation. In this universal rejoicing, one thing is lacking: that having been called by the inspiration of the Heavenly Spirit and having broken every decisive snare, you might sincerely agree with the mother Church, outside of whose teachings there is no salvation.”

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: “With the admonition of the apostle, that ‘there is one God, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that ‘those who are not with Christ are against Him,’ (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, ‘without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (Athanasian Creed).”

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”

Pope Pius IX, Ubi primum (# 10), June 17, 1847: “For ‘there is one universal Church outside of which no one at all is saved; it contains regular and secular prelates along with those under their jurisdiction, who all profess one Lord, one faith and one baptism.”

Pope Pius IX, Nostis et Nobiscum (# 10), Dec. 8, 1849: “In particular, ensure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation. (This doctrine, received from Christ and emphasized by the Fathers and Councils, is also contained in the formulae of the profession of faith used by Latin, Greek and Oriental Catholics).”

Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Modern Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 - Proposition 16: “Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation.” – Condemned

Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi futura prospicientibus (# 7), Nov. 1, 1900: “Christ is man’s ‘Way’; the Church also is his ‘Way’ . . . Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”

Pope St. Pius X, Iucunda sane (# 9), March 12, 1904: “Yet at the same time We cannot but remind all, great and small, as Pope St. Gregory did, of the absolute necessity of having recourse to this Church in order to have eternal salvation . . .”

Pope St. Pius X, Editae saepe (# 29), May 26, 1910: “The Church alone possesses together with her magisterium the power of governing and sanctifying human society. Through her ministers and servants (each in his own station and office), she confers on mankind suitable and necessary means of salvation.”

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 11), Jan. 6, 1928:  “The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship.  This is the fount of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation.”

05:49

Saint Catherine Labouré [Infallible Catholic]


This is the incorrupt body of Saint Catherine Labouré entombed in a glass coffin at the side altar of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal often simply called by its address, 140 Rue du Bac in Paris, France.

Catherine was born Zoe Labouré on the evening of May 2, 1806 at Fain-lès-Moutiers, Côte-d'Or, Burgundy, France to farmer, Pierre Labouré and Louise Labouré was the ninth of eleven children. The day after her birth, on the feast of The True Cross, she was baptized Catherine Madeleine Labouré.

From an early age felt a call to the religious life. When Catherine was nine years old, her saintly mother died on October 9, 1815. After the burial service, little Catherine retired to her room, stood on a chair, took our Lady's statue from the wall, kissed it, and said: "Now, dear Lady, you are to be my mother." Her father's sister suggested that she care for his two youngest children, Catherine and Tonine. After he agreed, the sisters moved to their aunt's house at Saint-Rémy, a village nine kilometers from their home.

On January 25, 1818, Catherine made her First Communion. One day she had a dream in which a priest said to her: "My daughter, you may flee me now, but one day you will to come to me. Do not forget that God has plans for you." Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine, she noticed a priest's picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he might be, and was told: "Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul." This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream. Catherine knew she was in the right place.

St. Catherine Laboure
Later, on January 1830, at the age of 24, Catherine began her postulancy at Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul at Chatillon-sur-Seine. On April 21, 1830, Catherine Labouré entered the novitiate located at their Mother House, in Rue du Bac 140, Paris taking the name Catherine. On the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, July 19, the Sister Superior spoke to the novices about the virtues of their Holy Founder and gave each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder's surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to Saint Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God.

On July 18, 1830, on the eve of the feast of St. Vincent 1830, Catherine woke up after hearing the voice of a "shining child," who she later took to be her Guardian Angel, calling her to the chapel, where she saw and heard the Virgin Mary say to her, "God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world."

Several months later in the same year, on November 27, 1830, Catherine again saw Our Lady in the chapel during the community evening meditation. The Blessed Virgin Mary shown herself inside an oval frame, standing upon a globe, wearing many rings of different colors, most of which shone rays of light over the globe. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words: "Ô Marie, conçue sans péché, priez pour nous qui avons recours à vous" (O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee). As Catherine watched, the frame seemed to rotate, showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter "M" surmounted by a cross, and the stylized Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary underneath. Asked why some of her rings did not shed light, Our Lady replied: "Those are the graces for which people forget to ask." Catherine then heard an interior voice spoke, telling her to take these images to her father confessor, Fr. Aladel, a Vincentian priest, to have a medal struck on this model, promising that  "All who wear them will receive great graces."

Click [here] for Our Lady's Messages to Catherine in Rue de Bac.

Catherine did so, and in 1836, after two years of investigation and observation of Catherine's character and behavior, Fr. Aladel took the information to the Archbishop de Quelen of Paris without revealing Catherine's identity. The Archbishop initiated an official canonical investigation into the visions. The tribunal, basing its opinion on the stability of her confessor and Catherine's character, decided to favor the authenticity of the visions. The apparitions were approved as authentic by the Archbishop, confirming that the Miraculous Medal was supernaturally inspired and responsible for genuine miracles.

The design of the medallions was commissioned through French goldsmith, Adrien Vachette and the first medal was struck on June 20, 1832. The Medal was distributed, and rapidly earned the title of the "Miraculous Medal." She urged devotion to it, and, because of the power working through it, numerous documented answered prayers, conversions, and miraculous healing, including those of people for whom there was totally no hope, were attributed to the Miraculous Medal.

The Miraculous Medal
The Medal has since been reproduced, now over a billion times and distributed around the world. It was an important element in reviving Catholic belief in France. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had not yet been officially promulgated by the Church at the time, but the Medal with its "conceived without sin" served in preparing the way for the proclamation of the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

Catherine lived her remaining years as an ordinary nursing sister in the hospices of her Order. She was pleasant and well liked by patients and her fellow nuns. After receiving permission from the Virgin Mary, Catherine told Sister Dufes, the Mother Superior, of her visions and only a few people knew that Catherine was the one who brought the Miraculous Medal to the world. 

Catherine Labouré died on December 31, 1876 and her body was laid to rest on January 3, 1877 in a triple lined coffin  in the crypt of the chapel at Reuilly as a requirement back then for religious orders by Paris authorities. Her remains were interred there until the time of her beatification in 1933.

In 1895, her Cause for Beatification was introduced in Rome. On July 19, 1931, Catherine was declared venerable by Pope Pius XI (Decree of Heroic Virtues). 

On March 21, 1933, Catherine's tomb was opened and her body was exhumed after entombed for fifty seven years. The outer wooden coffin had already disintegrated but her body miraculously remained perfectly intact seen by several eye witnesses including representatives from the Archdiocese of Paris, the Daughters of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission, and medical examiners. A detailed medical examination of Catherine's exhumed remains concluded: "The body is in perfect state of preservation, and its joints are still supple." After a detailed examination, the body was taken to the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. 

Months later, on May 28, 1933, Pope Pius XI beatified Catherine. After the celebration of the beatification, the body of Catherine was placed and now  lies in a glass coffin under the renovated side altar of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (often simply called by its address, 140 Rue du Bac), Paris, one of the spots of the apparition, honoring the "Virgin of the Globe" where countless pilgrims have gathered close to pray for her intercession, and that of the Blessed Virgin, and where numerous miracles were reported at her tomb. 

On July 27, 1947, she was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII. The Feast Day of St. Catherine Labouré is November 28 (it was formerly celebrated on December 31).

The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Rue de Bac in Paris, France where the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure lies in the side altar shown in this photograph.

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