Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon

Today is the feast day of St. Irenaeus of Lyon. He is the linchpin in my spiritually geneology as a Catholic. St. Irenaeus was a disciple of St. Polycarp of Smyrna. St. Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist to whom Jesus entrusted the care of His mother Mary (thus making her our Mother as well). St Irenaeus talked about the stories St. Polycarp would share about being St. John's disciple.

He was 1 of the first great Christian theologians. He was 1 of those leading the battle against the heresy of gnosticism. With gnosticism playing a huge part in the New Age movement & other heretical movements these days, his teachings as a Church Father are just as important as ever.

In his writing he emphasized the traditional elements in the Catholic Church that still are there today, especially the episcopate, Scripture, & Tradition. Obviously, St. Irenaeus was a supporter of the primacy of Rome (papal primacy). He wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept 1 doctrinal authority—episcopal councils in union with the bishop of Rome - Against Heresies (III.3) .

He also placed strong emphasis on the importance of apostolic succession as the sure protection of the authentic faith. "Wherefore we must obey the priests of the Church who have succession from the Apostles, as we have shown, who, together with succession in the episcopate, have received the certain mark of truth according to the will of the Father; all others, however, are to be suspected, who separated themselves from the principal succession." Adversus Haereses (Book IV, Chapter 26).

Which leads me to why I consider him a linchpin in my spiritual geneology as a Catholic. St. Irenaeus eventually ended up in Lyon (then known as Lugdunum, Gaul.) There he became the 2nd Bishop in 177 AD. In the 1st part of the 19th Century, on 12 November 1815, St. Irenaeus' successor ordained 2 priests. 1 of those priests we know as the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney. The other was Matthias Loras. In the seminary Loras was St. John's Latin tutor. That was a difficult task as Vianney had trouble learning the language. 1 day Loras got so fustrated that he slapped the future saint. (They did remain friends throughout life.) Fr. Loras eventually ended up in the USA & on 28 July 1837 the then Diocese of Dubuque was created & Fr. Loras named the 1st Bishop. He was ordained Bishop on 10 December 1837.
Fast forward to 1955 when I was born. On 2 October 1955 I was baptised into the Catholic faith at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oelwein, IA. As a part of the now Archdiocese of Dubuque I was now a part of the Catholic Church under the care of a successor to Bishop Loras. I am a part of the 1 true Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church that was founded by Jesus with St Peter as it's head here on earth. & while not everyone is so blessed to know exactly how they are connected to the origins of the Church, every Catholic regardless of which sui iuris Church they are a part of in the Catholic Church can still claim that they are a part of the 1 true Church started by Jesus that has upheld the same Traditions & Teachings handed down by the Apostles.


  • At 28/6/11 4:11 PM , Blogger TH2 said...

    St. Irenaeus: The Prince of the Heresy Hunters. He is one of the inspirations that prompted your truly to start a blog.

  • At 28/6/11 8:45 PM , Blogger Al said...

    I can understand why he inspired you. He is an excellent role model to follow.


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