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Thursday, November 3, 2016

St Charles Borremeo

"For many, ...conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their 'shame.'” Phil 3:18,19

Named Archbishop of Milan when he was 25yrs old, Charles Borremeo was hugely influential at the Council of Trent. For many years he was a church careerist, working to assure himself and his family a comfortable life, but when his elder brother died during the Council, everything changed. Aware that life was short, Charles became an avid church reformer who lived a very simple personal life and gave most of his income to the poor. More important, he insisted that everyone named bishop in his provincial council be an example to the faithful of men committed to the gospel, and be well trained in Scripture for their ministries. In fact, the education of the clergy became so important to him that he started the seminary system which continues, even today, to train priests all over the world.

When Charle came to power, the church was still reeling from the Protestant Reformation. The clergy had been disgraced, and although here was little trust in the institutional church, Charles did not shrink from the work of reform. Surely the saint was asked to act more discreetly in the world, to remember the prominent family from which he came, and not to offend those who might be helpful in civil affairs. But Charles would have none of it. He was determined to move forward for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, and while some of his decisions strike modern hearers as unnecessarily harsh, Charles was afraid the church was about to collapse. He, like St Paul, had to act.

Today, pray for the ongoing reform of the church.

What do you think are the key issues inhibiting Church reform?

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