On the day of the spectacular descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostles were so filled with strength and courage, that Saint Peter went out and converted three thousand people that very day with his preaching. From these conversions we have the first ecclesial testimony: ‘They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life. […] All who believed were together and had all things in common’ (Acts 2: 42–44).
In concentration camps, diabolical methods of torture abound. Besides the various forms of physical abuse, prisoners are also subjected to harrowing psychological pressures.
One of Cicero’s famous sayings defines history as a thing ‘which bears witness to the passing of the ages, sheds light upon reality, gives life to recollection and guidance to human existence, and brings tidings of ancient days’ (De Oratore II, 9, 36). And it is precisely the witness of history that shows us how the ancient peoples lived, with their cultures given to idolatry, slavery and even human sacrifice.
There is a brief observation we would like to make to Francis. It can be noted in his prolific pronouncements that he often mentions the Church as if it were merely a socio-economic organization, rather than a divine institution. There is almost no situation or aspect of the Church that he has spared criticism.
Let’s imagine a ship from the era of the explorers, manned by valiant souls, setting off on a noble mission – to bring the treasure of the faith and civilization to distant, inhospitable lands. Their endeavors would not only win them earthly glory but, above all, a heavenly reward for having opened wide the doors of Redemption to numerous souls.
‘My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me’ (Jn 10:27). No one can but be enchanted at the sight of a flock led by its shepherd.
‘He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him’ (Prov 13:24).
The natural love that parents have for their children such that they are even willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of their offspring is familiar to all. Due to this love, parents experience much concern when a young person begins to take the wrong path… They must teach them, reprehend and warn them, and when necessary, resort to a more severe measure: punishment.