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Dear Friends in Christ,
St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226), whose feast is celebrated on October 4, was one of the most remarkable saints in history. Unfortunately, in recent times he has been caricatured into a man St. Francis himself would not recognize.
Many modern Catholics, including many modern churchmen, look upon Francis as an apostle of ecumenism, a forerunner to interreligious dialogue, and even a patron saint of ecology. These are false, sentimental images that strip Francis of who he truly was, namely, a no-nonsense proponent of militant Catholicism. His biographer, Fr. Cuthbert, OFSC, wrote in 1916 that St. Francis was “apt to be impatient with meddlers and heretics to the end.”
Francis himself said, “Those are doomed who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, which is consecrated with the words of the Lord on the altar and by the hand of the priest in the form of bread and wine, but who do not see in it the Spirit and Divinity and have not believed that it really is Our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy Body and Blood.” This is a far cry from today’s effeminate ecumenical approach that gives non-Catholics the impression they are on the road to salvation despite their rejection of the Eucharist.
During the Fifth Crusade (1218-1221), St. Francis met with the Mohammadan Sultan in Egypt and urged him to convert to Christ. The sultan was impressed, but when he ultimately refused to convert, Francis left the sultan’s presence and had no further contact. The saint’s mission was to convert souls to Christ, not to talk about how both religions could join forces in service to humanity. He certainly never would have approved of the interreligious “Abrahamic Family House” campus in Abu Dhabi.
Finally, St. Francis’ great love of nature was not a pagan love of nature itself, as is the case with too many modern environmentalists. Rather, his love of nature was rooted in the love of God. He saw the beauties of every aspect of nature as a reflection of the many attributes of God’s power and goodness. His view was thoroughly God-centered.
Here at Catholic Family News, we stand with the true St. Francis of Assisi — the one who is thoroughly Catholic — and not the false caricature too often presented. And just as Our Lord told our saint, “Francis, go and repair My House, which, as thou seest, is falling utterly into ruin,” we at CFN are likewise devoted to working for the restoration of Holy Mother Church in our times — through this monthly journal, our website, and our videos and audio podcasts. To help support our efforts, please subscribe or renew your subscription today and consider purchasing gift subscriptions for family and friends. It is only through your continued support that we are able to keep CFN going.
Sincerely in Christ through Our Lady,