About John Lilburne
The New Martyrology
1216 L Thu 14 Feb 2002
The first reading today promotes the family. Israel is about
to cross the Jordan and Moses tells them:
If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin
on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways,
if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you wil
live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the
land which you are entering to make you own. But if your heart
strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn
into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today
you will most certainly perish; you will not live long in the
land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call
heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you
life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, ... [Deuteronomy
30:15-20, Jerusalem Bible].
Today the Office of Readings has a similar theme from the
beginning of Exodus. The Egyptian king is worried about the Israelites
"Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty
for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply,
and if war befall us, they join our enemies and fight against
us and escape from the land. ...
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of
whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 'When you serve as
midwife to the Hebrew women, and set them upon the birthstool,
if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter,
she shall live." [Exodus 1].
But somehow the western world seems to have chosen death rather
than life. The feminist Germaine Greer talks about it in The
Whole Woman (1999) when discussing what was won by the Roe
vs Wade decision on abortion:
What women 'won' was the 'right' to undergo invasive procedures
in order to terminate unwanted pregnancies, unwanted not just
by them but by their parents, their sexual partners, the governments
who would not support mothers, the employers who would not employ
mothers, the landlords who would not accept tenants with children,
the schools who would not accept students with children. (page
How do humans, a life form having evolved through sexual reproduction,
get to this point?
Today is Saint Valentine's day. According to the Oxford Dictionary
VALENTINE (3rd century), martyr. Two Valentines are
listed in the Roman Martyrology on 14 February: one a Roman priest
martyred on the Flaminian Way, supposedly under Claudius, the
other a bishop of Terni who was martyred at Rome, but whose relics
were translated to Terni. The Acts of both are unreliable and
the Bollandists assert that these two Valentines were in fact
one and the same. Neither of them seems to have any clear connection
with lovers or courting couples. The reason for this famous patronage
is that birds are supposed to pair on 14 February, a belief at
least as old as Chaucer ... On the other hand, some authorities
see the custom of choosing a partner on Saint Valentine's Day
as the survival of elements of the Roman Lupercalia festival,
which took place in the middle of February. ...
I wonder if the new Roman Martyrology (published last year)
retained both, one or no Valentines. If retained then it seems
priests could celebrate a Mass for Saint Valentine, even though
he does not have a feast day. It seems this cannot happen during
Lent, but it is unusually early this year. This is based on what
the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on
the Liturgy, wrote in their Newsletter for October/November 2001:
What role does the Martyrology play in the choice
of texts for the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours?
In this regard, readers may find paragraph 33 of the Congregations'
"Notification on Proper Calendars and Proper Liturgical
Texts" to be helpful. The BCL's unofficial translation of
this September 20, 1997 document, reads:
"It is good to remember, in addition, the possibilities
offered by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (nn.
316b, 316c) to the priest celebrating on the weekdays of Ordinary
Time, or those of Advent before December 17th, or of the Christmas
season from January 2nd onwards, or on those of the Easter season.
In such periods, even when there is an optional Memorial,
the priest can celebrate either the Mass of the weekday or that
of any Saint inscribed that day in the Roman Martyrology.
The same holds, analogously, for the celebration of the Liturgy
of the Hours (cf. General Instruction of the Liturgy
of the Hours, n. 244).
It is perfectly legitimate, therefore, in such circumstances,
to celebrate in honor of a Saint found in neither the General
Calendar nor in a proper calendar. Obviously, such cases call
for the exercise of pastoral good sense on the part of the celebrant."
1218 L Fri 22 Feb 2002
I wrote to Father Murray Watson who has a copy of the new
martyrology about Saint Valentine. He replied:
Yes, there is still a St. Valentine on February 14 in the
new edition of the martyrology. The relevant entry (#2 on February
14, after Sts. Cyril and Methodius) reads: "In Rome, on
the Via Flaminia near the Milvian Bridge: St. Valentine, martyr."
That's all it records.
HOWEVER, there are a number of OTHER Valentines recalled in the
Martyrology (at least in the Latin form of their names). Just
for the sake of reference, they are:
* Blessed Valentinus (Vincentius) Jaunzaras Gomez (18 September,
died in 1936)
* St. Valentinus Berrio Ochoa (24 November, died in 1861)
* Sts. Valentinus and Hilarius (November 3, century uncertain)
* St. Valentinus, bishop of Rhaetia (January 7, died around 450)
* St. Valentinus, hermit in Spain (October 25, died around 715)
* St. Valentinus, martyr of Rome (February 14, century uncertain)
* St. Valentinus, priest and hermit (July 4, around the 5th century)
I wonder if there will be eight Valentine's Days.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne 14 February 2002. Last updated