Let’ s see if I can relate a few unrelated things in my accustomed, exiguous weekly 400 words.

First, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the brave Doctor of the Church, St Lawrence of Brindisi, whose feast was 21 July. It also happens that that same day was the anniversary of the 1773 suppression of the Jesuits by Papa Ganganelli, Pope Clement XIV, of happy memory.

Speaking of Clement, after that suppression another Doctor of the Church, the founder of the Redemptorists, a deep moral theologian and bishop of Sant’Agata Dei Goti, wrote Clement a letter to communicate how much he prayed for the harassed Pontiff. This was, of course, St Alphonsus Maria Liguori, whose feast day we just observed this passing week on 1 August (Novus Ordo) and 2 August (Traditional).

Speaking of Clement XIV and Alphonsus, on 21 September 1774, after saying Mass, Alphonsus had a prolonged ecstasy lasting into the next day. When he came out of it, he said that he had been with Clement XIV as he lay dying. Hence, Alphonsus bilocated and was with Papa Ganganelli at his dead bed.

Speaking of founders of religious orders, we celebrate this coming week the feast of the 13th century progenitor of the Order of Preachers, also called Black Friars from their inky habits, or Dominicans after St Dominic de Guzmán, whose feast we shall observe on 4 August (Traditional) and 8 August (Novus Ordo).

Speaking of Sts Dominic and Alphonus, Alphonsus wrote in a collection of Sunday sermons an “Instruction to Preachers” which has a harrowing incipit: “If all preachers and confessors fulfilled the obligations of their office the whole world would be sanctified. Bad preachers and bad confessors are the ruin of the world. By bad preachers and confessors I mean those that do not fulfill their duty as they ought.”

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