Could there be a more diverse group of people? The Saints the Catholic Church has elevated to the Honours of the Altar are an extraordinarily diverse group.
The young and the old, the halt and the lame, the hale and the hearty, the poor and the wealthy,workers and Kings, doorkeepers and Emperors,housewives and nuns, dashing young men and aged scholars -apart from their very real humanity, the only thing they have had in common is their heroic holiness and virtue.
To-day the Church celebrates their achievement of eternal life with God in Heaven. She holds them up to us as gleaming examples of the reality that we can all, no matter what our station in life, respond successfully to the universal call to holiness.
Sadly on this same date, 1st November we look back to yesterday with its concentration on the occult and evil, when some protestants have come to choose to commemorate the day in 1517 when the less than saintly Martin Luther nailed his personal manifesto to the church door in the German city of Wittenberg,setting in train the events which were to constitute the protestant Deformation of the Church Christ founded. This anniversary will no doubt loom larger as we approach the 500th Anniversary of the tragic event.
As Catholics, we need to be prepared to counter the inevitable barrage in the media. Completely devoid of interest in truth, the modern media concentrates on sensation - for sensation sells, it generates income. They will unthinkingly assimilate the word "Reformation"( most Catholics do the same) and, leaping from that springboard will, with relish, rehash clerical abuse scandals in events which mainly occurred 30/40 years ago.
We need to be ready to highlight:
the reality of "Deformation"( not reformation),
the corrupt personality of Luther - drunkard,liar,vicious anti-semite,hypocrite, blasphemer,toady to political power .All of these aspects of his being we will progressively evidence often out of his own mouth( for his followers kept detailed accounts of his table talk - interestingly, we have the same knowledge of Adolf Hitler who felt such an admiration for Luther).
So let us celebrate the Saints in Heaven whilst we regret and lament the perverse life of the once obscure cleric Martin Luther. And let us be prepared to take the initiative in defense of the Truth against those who would seek to deny it and who would celebrate the Deformation of Christ's Church.