On the Feast of St. Francis de Sales

Source: FSSPX News

Saint François de Sales

January 29 is the feast of St. Francis de Sales who was proclaimed the patron of Catholic journalists by Pius XI, for the missionary zeal of the Bishop of Geneva inspired him to print pamphlets in order to reach the Protestants who fled his preaching.

On January 29, 1959, during a Mass celebrated for journalists in Rome, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, secretary of the Congregation of the Holy Office, pronounced the following words:

Providence has placed a weapon in your hands: the pen, arma veritatis. And it has done so in aedificationem. And this spiritual edification will become a reality if the image of Jesus, a reflection, so to speak, of the countless faces of your readers, is ever present in your mind’s eye. (…) The face of Jesus who, while still on the Cross, expressed in words of love and forgiveness the supreme law of the redeemed world, will teach you how to speak to your adversaries. (…)

Say the truth but say it with love. Only thus will you make the sense of Christian peace prevail in the ulcerated hearts of men, empoisoned by the propaganda of error and hatred; only thus will you honor and imitate your patron saint who wrote: ‘He who preaches with love preaches enough against heretics, even if he does not pronounce a single word of dispute against them.’ And speaking with love does not mean speaking without strength. Love is a strength that no other strength can resist; it conquers all and wins over all.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for “all those who, by the publication of newspapers or other writings, explain, propagate and defend Christian doctrine.” May they, like you, know how to “exhibit at all times that strength joined always to moderation and charity.” (Pius XI, Encyclical Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, January 26, 1923).