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March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Thursday, August 13, 2009

St. Hippolytus - 13 August 2009

As a presbyter in Rome, Hippolytus (the name means “a horse turned loose”) was at first “holier than the Church.” He censured the pope for not coming down hard enough on a certain heresy—calling him a tool in the hands of one Callistus, a deacon—and coming close to advocating the opposite heresy himself. When Callistus was elected pope, Hippolytus accused him of being too lenient with penitents, and had himself elected antipope by a group of followers. He felt that the Church must be composed of pure souls uncompromisingly separated from the world, and evidently thought that his group fitted the description. He remained in schism through the reigns of three popes. In 235 he was also banished to the island of Sardinia. Shortly before or after this event, he was reconciled to the Church, and died with Pope Pontian in exile.

Saint Hippolytus was a priest in the Church of Rome in the late second and early third centuries. Known for his extensive and profound teaching, he is undoubtedly the most important Roman theologian of the third century, in a time when the liturgy and all teaching of the Church in Rome was done in Greek. When Callistus, whom he considered to be a liberal, was elected to the Papacy, St. Hippolytus contested the election, apparently setting himself up as an anti-pope. His separation from full communion with the Church lasted for several years. Yet ultimately he and Pope Callistus' lawful successor, Pontianus, found themselves suffering side by side during a wave of persecution. They reconciled and died together for their faith in the mines of Sardinia in 235 AD.

St. Hippolytus' great work "The Apostolic Tradition" was only rediscovered in the 20th century, providing an elightening and extensive glimpse into the liturgical and devotional life of Roman Christians around the year 200 AD.

Easter Prayer of St. Hippolytus

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

St. Hippolytus of Rome (AD 190-236)

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