1029 Tue 28 Aug 2001
Today is the feast day of Saint Augustine (354-430). I have been reading his autobiography "Confessions". In tomorrow's class I expect to be giving a three minute talk on Victorinus, who Augustine tells us about in Book 8 of Confessions.
Augustine knew Victorinus as a translator of works by Platonist philosophers. He describes him as "at one time rhetor in the city of Rome, who had, I had heard, died a Christian". He learns more about him from the priest, Simplicianus, who had known Victorinus intimately in Rome.
Victorinus had told the priest that he was already a Christian. The priest replied:
Augustine describes how he had the option of making the "profession of faith" in private.
Last night I had a class for "The Church in Asia" about Japan. In 1549 Francis Xavier started preaching there leading to about 300,000 converts. In 1597 there were 26 Christians crucified on a hill in Nagasaki. In 1614 the Tokugawa regime issued an edict banishing Christianity and were serious about doing it.
Rather than producing mayrters, the process was to make apostates - those who would publicly renounce the faith, demonstrating this by stepping on a crucifix or icon. High profile people did this, including the head of the Jesuites in Japan. Today 0.35% of the Japanese population are Catholics (according to the1995 Harper-Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, page 688).
I am trying to convey the importance of publicly doing the correct thing. It damaged the Catholic Church when Archbishop Milingo "got married". It strengthens the Roman Rite when ceremonies are done correctly, according to the liturgical laws.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 28 August 2001.