Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stanislaus and SOCIAL JUSTICE!

Reason #213 that bishops hate Mass Ad Deum-
The martyr of the day is St. Stanislaus of Poland. A bio reads:
The Polish bishop and martyr St. Stanislaus (1030-1079) was born near Krakow in Poland. After initial studies in Poland, he completed his education in Paris, where he spent seven years studying canon law and theology; this entitled him to a doctorate, but he refused it out of humility, and returned home. When his parents died, Stanislaus gave away his inheritance, and was ordained a priest.
Stanislaus was appointed as preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Krakow; his great eloquence and piety generated a spirit of renewal and conversion in the local community. When the bishop died in 1072, Stanislaus was unanimously elected as his successor; because of the importance of this position, he soon found himself involved in the political affairs of the Polish kingdom.
Bishop Stanislaus was outspoken in his attacks upon political and social injustice, particularly that of the bellicose and immoral King Boleslaus II, who warred with his neighbors and oppressed the peasantry. The king at first made a show of repenting, but soon returned to his evil ways. Stanislaus continued to denounce him, accusations of treason and threats of death notwithstanding.
In 1079 the bishop excommunicated Boleslaus. The enraged king ordered his soldiers to murder Stanislaus; when they refused, he killed the bishop with his own hands while Mass was being celebrated. Because of Stanislaus’ popularity, King Boleslaus was forced to flee to Hungary, where he’s said to have spent the rest of his life doing penance in a Benedictine monastery. St. Stanislaus is considered the patron of Poland.

From the very few accounts I've read, it would appear that Stanislaus was a one-man watchdog group in calling the king to task. It would make sense in a few ways:
1. At the time, the bishop was considered a political leader as well as a spiritual one. His "constituents" were not only the nobility but the poor.
2. Depending on the person and the region, bishops would be quick to warn against things that were contrary to the Faith especially if such things were carried out by the governing political bodies.
3. See #2 but add that the rulers were Catholic and would be seen as subject to the bishop.

I consider Stanislaus' example of "social justice" to be potent. He actually had some power over the king since he was his bishop. Stanislaus was concerned not only for the poor and mistreated but also for the king's salvation.

Social Justice Last Supper: Carlos Santana is featured because
he raised Michelle Branch's career from the dead
Taking a few notes from the saint of the day, consider this. When you hear about social justice from the pulpit, or from clergy or Catholic ministers or the..hahaha..Catholic..hahaha..paper (I know, we do have readers over 60 so yes, you probably read the..haha..paper), do a little soul-searching:
1. Does the goal of justice aim to bring harmony to the Christian body?
2. Does the goal of justice include a healthy regard for the teachings of the church in regard to the soul's salvation?
3. Is the one who speaks willing to die, as a Christian, for his/her message?

Stanislaus, by one account, was beloved but alone in his criticism of the king. As the readings this week from Acts tell, sometimes you just can't keep your mouth shut when it comes from the Gospel.

And if your speaking up has little to do with the Gospel? Then maybe you should keep your mouth shut.