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St. Francis Xavier – December 3

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), born of a noble Spanish family, Jesuit missionary and confessor, Apostle to the Far East and special patron saint of the Missions.

The biography of St. Francis Xavier by Daurignac reprints a section of a letter he wrote to Dom John III, King of Portugal:

St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier

St. Ignatius of Loyola with the young
St. Francis Xavier at the University of Paris
“My Lord, Your Highness should fear the moment when God will call you to stand before Him, which will happen without fail and perhaps when you least expect it. You should fear, great Prince, that an irate Judge will address you with these terrible words of accusation:
‘Why have you not proceeded with rigor against your ministers and subordinates who plotted against Me in India and did not fear to declare themselves in rebellion against Me? Why was your severity lax except when they failed to pay their taxes or were negligent in the administration of your finances?’
“My Lord, then you will answer God with the following excuse of little value:
‘For Thy glory I wrote to those countries every year recommending the greatest zeal in working for Thee and obeying Thy precepts.’
“Then the Lord will say to you:
‘Yes, you did so, but you did not punish all those who were indifferent to those orders.’”
(J. M.S. Daurignac, Vie de Saint Ignace de Loyola, Fondateur de la Compagnie de Jesus, Paris: Bray et Retaux, 1877)

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

It is a very beautiful text. You should consider that at that time the King of Portugal had important lands in India. In an annual letter to his subordinates, he recommended that they do everything possible to promote the Catholic Faith.

King John III of Portugal

King John III of Portugal
However, St. Francis Xavier, who was there making his apostolate, witnessed that those orders were not followed and that those officials even plotted to prevent the Catholic Faith from expanding. They were decadent men, probably linked to some sort of Masonry that was already secretly acting against the designs of the King of Portugal to sabotage the spread of the Catholic Faith.

St. Francis Xavier wrote to the King, giving him this warning: It is not enough to send orders; it is necessary to punish those who disobey you, because a command unaccompanied by punishment of those who flout it is a futile thing without value. It will not stand before God as the accomplishment of your duty.

He told him: You, the King, have the obligation to punish those who violate your orders to uphold and spread the Faith as strongly as you punished those who did not pay their taxes to the Crown. If you punished them for the taxes and not for religion, it means that you consider taxes more valuable than the Catholic Faith.

Then, the Saint warned the King: You should be aware that God may call you at any moment and then you will not be able to escape His judgment.

Indeed, at any moment he could have an accident, an attempt against his life could be made, he could become gravely ill, or some other such thing could bring him before the tribunal of God. Then, how would the King respond to God regarding the use of his power?

A statue of St. Francis Xavier, Quito

Statue of St. Francis Xavier in the Jesuit Church in Quito, Ecuador
St. Francis Xavier reminded him of two principles: first, the temporal power’s principal concern should be to expand the Catholic Faith rather than increase the royal fortune; second, the exercise of his power should be accompanied with the threat of punishment for those who disobey his orders. The King will have to answer to God for that.

It is admirable to see the liberty with which St. Francis Xavier addressed one of the powerful men of the time. In times past, when someone used this kind of frankness, it was termed in ecclesiastical language “apostolic frankness.” It is a beautiful expression that reveals the courage an apostle must have. He is a representative of God and must use the language of God. Therefore he has the right to say the most unpleasant things to the most powerful men, and he has the right to be heard.

St. Francis Xavier spoke to the King, realizing the serious possibility that his words might change the King’s way of acting. In any circumstance, he fulfilled his duty and the warning was given. From that moment on, the King had to answer for his actions in that matter before God.

You see how this behavior is logical, noble, and beautiful. But you also see that today it seems outdated. Not because such behavior became obsolete in itself, but rather because men became so decadent and lax that they no longer want to hear such words. For this reason, today’s progressivist Catholics would accuse St. Francis Xavier of lacking charity for speaking in this way. They would say that this kind of admonition showed that he was lacking in the Catholic spirit.

People who say this are wrong, because here we have the words of one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church, St. Francis Xavier, who spoke this way. The saints did not use the honeyed language of this false ecumenism that is everywhere in today’s Church.

This text of St. Francis Xavier is a confirmation that our anti-progressivist position is correct. The words of the true Catholic apostle should be like his. We should pray to him and to Our Lady that, until we die, we always have the courage to use this language.


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Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.

The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site.

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