Thursday, May 6, 2021

Saints for Today: Cornelius, Pope & Martyr

Must Read

Join us in Praying for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Robert Badger (1973-2021)

“He was an outstanding priest and a true son of the Church, which was expressed through the pastoral care of the people entrusted to him."

Newly-Ordained Priest Lives Vocation Courageously

On June 4, 2016, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Bishop James Wall ordained seminarian...

“Terror of Demons”: The Significance of the Year of St. Joseph

In this year of Saint Joseph, this title may well help us all to understand his particular patronage over the universal Church as well as his personal protection for all of us.
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Died 253 AD. Feast Day: September 16.

Cornelius is an example of a saint whose patronage is based on his name, combined with some confused iconography. The name Cornelius comes from the Latin word for “horn,” such as a bull or ram’s horn. In art, St. Cornelius is usually shown holding a horn, although more often than not it’s a curved brass horn, the type used in the Middle Ages to rally troops in battle. As it happens, these war horns look almost exactly like the ear trumpets or ear horns that hard-of-hearing people once used to amplify sounds. And so St. Cornelius has become the patron saint of those with hearing trouble.

Cornelius belonged to one of the most distinguished patrician families in Rome. He was a priest in the Church of Rome when he was chosen to succeed Pope Fabian. In 251, when he was elected pope, the Church in Rome was in disarray. Christians had just endured an especially violent period of persecution under the late emperor Decius. Across the realm were Christians who had abandoned their faith and sacrificed to the pagan gods, because of either torture or fear of a terrible death.

The main issue facing Cornelius was the treatment of Christians who had denied their faith during the persecutions. He supported St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, whose council provided for the restoration of Communion after various forms of penance, against Novatian, a Roman priest who asserted that the apostates should not be pardoned.

A faction within the Church insisted the lapsed Christians should never be permitted to return, but Pope Cornelius took a more lenient view. He rebuked the harshness of those who maintained that the lapsi (lapsed Christians) were unforgivable. Arguing that for sincere penitents God’s forgiveness had no limit, Cornelius declared that those who wished to return to the faith would be welcomed back after performing a proper penance.

Cornelius’s pontificate was short. In 252 a plague broke out in Rome, and the pagans blamed the Christians. Cornelius was seized and exiled to Civitavecchia, where he was so badly mistreated that he died in 253. Although his death was not violent, the Roman Christians venerated him as a martyr because of the sufferings he’d endured in exile.

St. Cornelius’s original tombstone can still be found in the catacomb of San Callisto, outside Rome. It reads simply, “Cornelius, Martyr.”

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Craughwell, Thomas J. “This Saint Will Change Your Life.” Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2007.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. “The Encyclopedia of Saints.” New York, NY: Checkmark Books, 2001.
Trigilio, Rev. John, Ph.D, Th.D, and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, Ph.D. “Saints for Dummies.” Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2010.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Join us in Praying for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Robert Badger (1973-2021)

“He was an outstanding priest and a true son of the Church, which was expressed through the pastoral care of the people entrusted to him."

Advertisement

Other recent stories:

“It is a privilege to be a Religious”: Three Gallup Sisters Celebrate 90 Combined Years of Consecrated Life

"I asked Our Lord: “Jesus, what do you want me to do? What do you want of me?”In my heart I felt a very soft voice that said: “You follow Me.” 

“Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus”: Sr. Rene Backe Reflects on 65 Years of Religious Life

"We need to pray for each other so that we will be faithful to the Gospel, the blessings, and the Sacraments God has given us through the Church."

Friday News Roundup: Attempt to Force Priests to Violate the Seal of Confession Fails in Arizona

Plus: St. Teresa School Raffle; Pro-life Fundraisers; Bishops' Joint Statement on US-Mexico Border

Annual Student Essay Content Winners Describe “Catholic Heroes and Heroines of the Southwest”

The eighth-grade winner examines the life of her grandmother, who fought for Pueblo water rights.

Advertisement

More Articles Like This