Sunday 18th February 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Damasus I

December 5, 2017 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Our Lord gave us a very comforting promise in Matt. 16:18 when He said, “And I say to thee: ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’.” The Catholic Church has survived the intrigues of numerous antipopes. An antipope is a “false claimant to the Holy See in opposition to the Pope canonically elected” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, p. 31).
Pope St. Damasus was the fourth Pope who had to persevere against an antipope: Ursinus (366-367).
Damasus’ parents originally came from Lusitania, an ancient Iberian Roman province. His father, Antonius, and his mother, Laureatia, lived in Rome when he was born, around the year 304. The exact year of Laurentia’s death is not known; but Antonius, after serving as a reader and lector, became a priest. Antonius then served in the Church of St. Lawrence in Rome where Damasus later served as a deacon and then as a priest.
In 313, the Western Roman Emperor Constantine I, and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, issued the Edict of Milan, effectively giving Christians in the Roman Empire religious freedom.
With the ascendancy of Constantine II as Emperor, Pope Liberius was exiled in 354. Damasus, who was archdeacon at the time, followed the Pope. Soon Damasus returned to Rome and helped to lead the Church until Pope Liberius returned to Rome.
In that era, papal succession, as well as the succession of bishops, was fraught with infighting and political maneuvering. With the increasing number of Christians in local churches — from all walks of life and levels of society — rival claimants made for hostile episcopal elections.
The papacy also had its troubles since the emperors thought that they should have the final say in who should be Pope. In the midst of this time of ecclesiastical upheaval, Damasus became Pope when Pope Liberius died on September 24, 366. The laity supported Deacon Ursinus who had served the Pope, but others supported Damasus, who had ruled during the exile of Pope Liberius.
Damasus was elected in San Lorenzo in Lucina, thus leading Ursinus — incensed by such a defeat — to hold his own “election.” He gathered some bishops and priests together to name him bishop of Rome. This action was contrary to the canons of the Roman Church and thus invalid.
This development led Juventius, the prefect of Rome, to banish Ursinus from Rome. When he and his priests were gathered up and sent into exile, Ursinus’ supporters revolted, with the conflict leaving 137 persons dead.
After one year in exile, Ursinus was allowed to return to Rome. However, the ensuing trouble caused by his presence resulted in Emperor Valentinian banishing him again. Ursinus’ supporters took control of St. Agnes Church, but Valentinian ordered them to relinquish it to Damasus.
Sadly, the city magistrate, Maximin, an overzealous supporter of Damasus, captured and tortured some of the malcontents.
Historians such as St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and Rufinus recognized Damasus as Pope and also recorded that Ursinus was connected to the Arian heresy.
Of course those schismatics accused Pope Damasus of being an accessory to such proceedings, but he was cleared of the charges. Rather he prayed to those who died in the conflict as one would pray to martyrs, imploring their intercession for the conversion of the errant clerics. Upon their conversion, these same people adorned the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs.
As the struggle for the papacy continued, the installation of Damasus proved successful. Twelve years after his election, Damasus’ papacy was confirmed and Ursinus’ election condemned at the synod held in 378. Although Damasus was exonerated, Ursinus continued his efforts to undermine the rightful Pope, and he later even tried to claim the papacy again when Damasus died.
Finally those who supported Ursinus recognized the papacy of Damasus. Then in the Council of Aquileia in 381, Damasus was formally declared Pope of the Church after a similar council in Rome in 378 had also confirmed his election.
During this era of ecclesiastical indulgence, priests and bishops living in luxury reached new heights — or depths. St. Jerome’s admiration of the Pope indicated that Damasus was not one of those greedy clerics.
A number of heresies continued to prevail. Arianism still remained in the East, raising its head during Damasus’ reign since Emperor Valens supported it. With the orthodox assistance of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, truth triumphed and the Arian bishops as well as Valens were condemned by the Church.
In addition, Apollinarianism — which held that Jesus had no human intellect — was condemned by at the Council of Alexandria in 360. In 374 at the Council in Rome, Pope Damasus again soundly condemned the heresy. Sadly, Bishop Apollinarius died in his error.
Another achievement during the reign of Pope St. Damasus was the completion of the Vulgate, the only version of Sacred Scripture to have received the formal approval of the Church. The great doctor of the Church St. Jerome served as secretary to Damasus from 382 to 384. Pope Damasus instructed Jerome to revise all the Old Latin versions of the Bible into a more accurate rendering based on the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint.
In 382 the Council of Rome approved a list of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. This list of the books of both Testaments is generally the same as the one ratified by the Council of Trent.
Damasus also lived long enough to witness the 380 Edict of Thessalonica, proclaiming Nicene Christianity to be the religion of the Roman State.
Because of his support of Patriarch Peter II of Alexandria, who was being persecuted by the Arians, Damasus facilitated the reconciliation between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch.
In addition, he encouraged the veneration of the Christian martyrs by restoring the catacombs of Rome and improving access to them. He also had a great devotion to the martyr St. Lawrence and reputedly built a church in his honor in his own house.
On December 11 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Pope St. Damasus — the day he died in 384.
Dear Lord, by the intercession of your faithful servant Damasus, grant us the grace to persevere in the midst of the many heresies and errors that are besieging your Church on Earth. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

ROME, January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview two weeks after issuing a profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is inviting his brother bishops around the world to join in raising a common voice…Continue Reading

Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As Katholisch.de, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

Where are all the Catholics at the nation’s largest Catholic school

When Selena Miller, a practicing Catholic, applied to DePaul, she had no idea it was a Catholic university. Damita Meneves, another practicing Catholic, said she has met only one other Catholic student in her first year at DePaul. DePaul is…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: It is a “source of anguish” to hear suggestions “that I would lead a schism”

His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, spoke recently with Thinking with the Church, hosted by Chris Altieri, who is also a regular contributor to Catholic World Report. Cardinal Burke responds to questions regarding the interpretation and reception of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Planned Parenthood Sues President Trump After He Defunded Its Programs Pushing Sex on Kids

There’s nothing, it seems, that the abortion chain Planned Parenthood won’t sue over. On Thursday, affiliates of the abortion chain in seven states sued the Trump administration for cutting funding for their questionable teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Daily Nonpareil reports the lawsuits argue that the Trump administration wrongly cut their funding prematurely and without cause. Nine groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, South C

Scholar stumps Cardinal Cupich, asks if Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ means ‘radical’ doctrinal change

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice. Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge Universityin which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lect

Cardinal Schönborn outraged at bishop’s critique of blessings for homosexual unions

VIENNA, Austria, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Austria’s bishops, led by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, are indignant over a retired bishop’s passionate defense of Catholic teaching in opposing Church “blessings” for homosexual unions. After Bishop Andreas Laun, the retired Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, Austria, published Monday his strong rebuke of the German bishops for proposing to bless homosexual couples, there has been an inten

The Clarity of Cardinal Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme, as when in September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics. When he was bishop of Rapid City, he called for “civility and clarity” in discussing legislation that would limit abortion, but he…Continue Reading

Catholics warn of church schism if Vatican makes a deal with China

BEIJING — A group of influential Catholics published an open letter Monday express their shock and disappointment at report that the Vatican could soon reach a deal with the Chinese government, warning that it could create a schism in the church in China. The Holy See has been in negotiations for several years with the Chinese Communist Party and is now belie

Advertisement(2)

President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a week of taking office on January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, which bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. The expanded policy prohibits $9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from funding foreign organizations that perform or…Continue Reading

Approval Of Miracle Opens Door To Paul VI’s Canonization

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Pope Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year. According to Vatican Insider, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle by a…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A Catholic Reaction To Trump And The Media

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also cofounder and president of…Continue Reading

Priest Says… Excommunicate 14 Catholic Senators Who Voted Against Late-Term Abortion Ban

By LISA BOURNE (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews ran this story on February 5.) + + + A Catholic priest is calling on bishops to excommunicate the 14 Catholic-identifying U.S. senators who voted two weeks ago against banning late-term abortions. He is also calling on priests to deny the Catholic pro-abortion senators Holy Communion. “Today is the…Continue Reading

Limbo And Eastern Orthodoxy

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The centuries-old theological debate concerning the existence of Limbo for unbaptized babies (the limbo puerorum as a state of natural happiness) led to the 2007 publication of the document The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized by the International Theological Commission (ITC). The commission concluded there are “serious…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

By DON FIER For a variety of reasons (a defect of consent, a diriment impediment, or a defect of the required form), many supposed modern-day marriages entered into by Catholic persons are invalid from their origin in the eyes of God and the Church. However, as we saw last week, depending on the circumstances, the Church has procedures by which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

Abraham Had To Be Tested

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Lent Readings: Gen. 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9:2-10 In the first reading today we hear about Abraham’s nearly incomprehensible act of faith and love for God shown in his willingness to sacrifice his own son. We have to be careful not to read this in a vacuum. This test, which…Continue Reading

Questioning Humanae Vitae?… The Vatican Has Already Had Its Say

By ANDREA GAGLIARDUCCI (Wanderer Editor’s Note: Catholic News Agency on February 3 published a commentary concerning a 1989 Vatican response to dissent against Humanae Vitae. Below is an excerpted version of that commentary. Following that, we reprint the full text of the 1989 Vatican response, which, as the CNA commentary explains, is now available on the Vatican’s website. Please also…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Bishops Promote Sin “In Some Cases”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A joke sometimes recounted among clergy goes along these lines: Someone greets a wise old priest by asking, “What’s new?”, and he responds, sagely, “Christ is risen!” The humor here is less about what’s new than about the fact that everything, other than the only true revolution of Christ’s Incarnation and triumph over death, is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Joseph Allamano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the lives of the saints one thing is very common: They have such a strong desire to do God’s will that nothing will hinder their work. Many saints, despite illness, weak health, or many other obstacles achieved their goals. Frequently the amount of work accomplished by such individuals seems humanly impossible — and, of course, it…Continue Reading