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The Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret
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Autobio of St. Anthony Claret > 1. Along the Way

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John Seymour | 1856 comments Mod
1. Use this thread to post your thoughts and reflections while reading.


message 2: by Manuel (last edited Apr 04, 2019 01:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
I have two editions of this book, one in Spanish, the other in English, provided by Tania. I'm surprised because in this English edition some parts (paragraphs 176 and 178) are deleted, with the following footnote:

[112] (Translator's note) In this chapter and in chapters 12 and 14 of the Continuation, some rather quaint and involved accounts, as well as certain other reserved cases that the Saint included for the indoctrination of priests, have been suppressed, both in this edition and in that of the B.A.C. Their omission is indicated by a series of dots. (Cf. Writings, p. 178.) The omitted material may be found in the earlier English translation of the Autobiography (Trans. Louis l. Moore, C.M.F., Compton, 1945), as well as in the 1916 Spanish edition of the Autobiography.

Reading the Spanish edition, I have found that the two cases deleted have in some sense to deal with sex. One tells about the cure of a sick woman who was about to go into labor, the other affects certain young women who had suffered of a sprain in the upper part of the thorax. St. Anthony explains that these women were prone to sex abuse by those who were supposed to cure them (mainly quacks), so fearing that he could be accused of the same, he taught an old woman how to apply a sticking plaster to the young women, so that they would be cured by proxy.

I wonder why the translator of this English edition decided to delete those paragraphs.

Reading the Spanish edition, I had noticed paragraph 178, as it proves that the current frenzy about sex abuse by priests was already in effect, apparently, in the nineteenth century.


Steven R. McEvoy (srmcevoy) | 72 comments Manuel Could you provide a translation of the missing paragraphs?


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
Steven R. wrote: "Manuel Could you provide a translation of the missing paragraphs?"

I have found this English translation in Google Play.

176. In one of the outlying areas of the town of Viladrau, there was a married woman who suffered form rheumatic pain; so intense was her suffering that the power of the sickness had tightened the nerves to the extent that the poor lady became like a ball. Despite this lamentable condition, she conceived, and was in labor for the nine months right up to the delivery. Precisely this occurred, while I was in the parish of Seva preaching a novena for departed souls; since they knew when I was to be back, they met me and told that that woman was having labor pains and was without any hope of surviving, such that the assistant parish priest had administered to her the sacraments of penance, viaticum and anointing of the sick and that death was eminent. But all her family members and even the sick lady herself wished to see me. At once I went to the house to see her without going to the parish rectory; I saw her critical situation and knew the remedy to be applied. But I told her husband that I should not do it and that it was absolutely necessary that they go to Taradell to find a medical surgeon. They went for him with my letter in which I explained all in detail and the doctor after reading the letter, saw the hopeless condition of the case, excused himself and did not want to come. They communicated to me the reply and so, I told the people of the house to take certain herbs, boil them and make her take deep breaths of the vapor of the boiled herbs while remaining seated and the result was that she had a safe delivery and upon recovering, she was healed from the rheum; she got well in such a way that within a few days she came to the Mass on her own.

178. In that town and in its surroundings there were many young girls from 15 to 19 years of age who suffered from a sickness called espatlladas or naurella and occurs when kneading flour for bread or fetching water, fire wood and other tedious works above their strength that cause a fissure and later on makes them to suffer pain. And since the one who seeks remedy does not find it in the doctors, she goes to local healers who with their quackery says that they can cure her but do not, and collect money; and often they do indecent things with such sick people; seeing or knowing this, I entrusted the matter to God Our Lord, and I found the remedy to be applied; it consists of applying a sticking plaster and remaining still for a few days; this remedy healed all without any exception; but since it is known that others were doing very indecent things in the name of healing and because of fear that people would think that I was doing such things, I made use of this means. I told a very virtuous old widow of the same town, “when a young girl comes with her mother, tell her that it is espatllada and to apply this sticking plaster in such and such way.” And I sent all those girls who came to me with their mothers asking for the treatment for this illness, to that widow and she applied the sticking plaster and all were cured. Thus I did not have to get myself involved in this.

[Note: Espatllat or espatllada: refers to the sick person (man or woman) affected by some sprain or dislocation produced by a sudden movement or gesture, especially in the upper part of the thorax. Neurella: means shoulder blade, specifically the cartilage which ends with the sternum, which corresponds to the area called the pit of the stomach.]


Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments Thank you Manuel.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
In paragraph 200 he writes: You know that men nearly always do whatever it is they do for one or another of the following reasons: (1) for gain or money, (2) for pleasure, (3) for fame.

In paragraph 357 he writes: I... found that this world is nothing but the love of riches, the love of honor, and the love of sensual pleasure.

In both places he has omitted the fourth great temptation, according to Boetius: the love of power. Curious, for he should have been subject to this temptation, having held important positions in the Spanish court and as an Archbishop. Apparently he didn't ever notice that this was even a temptation.

It's curious also, as the love of power is one of Christ's three temptations in the desert (all this I'll give you if you worship me).


message 7: by MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) (last edited Apr 06, 2019 01:22AM) (new) - added it

MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) In my reading, I have noticed that priests and men of God frequently avoid women as a matter of course. Pope John XXIII, in his autobiography, mentioned on many occasions how he kept his eyes down (custody of the eyes) around women, he avoided occasions of being alone with women, etc. I think it was much more common in those days when chastity and modesty were desired characteristics. Pope John also spoke of talking only of holy things and fled if the discussions with peers turned to less holy things.

Although, I am sure there were exceptions (as there are in every era) I would think it was much more a point of modesty then scandal. It seems to be a trait of the saints.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) wrote: "In my reading, I have noticed that priests and men of God frequently avoid women as a matter of course. Pope John XXIII, in his autobiography, mentioned on many occasions how he kept his eyes down ..."

Claret explains in detail his own position about this in paragraphs 394-396.


message 9: by Tania (last edited Apr 10, 2019 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments What have changed in church that now is so common to see priest involved in politics ? Do you think the posture of St. Anthony related to politics should be set as example today ?


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "What has changed in church that now it's so common to see priest involved in politics ? Do you think the posture of St. Anthony related to politics should be set as example today ?"

I don't see so many priests involved in politics, although there are some. The official position of the Church is that priests shouldn't deal with politics. Thus the famous public reprimand by John Paul II to Ernesto Cardenal, who at the time of the Pope's visit to Nicaragua in 1983 was Minister of Culture in the Sandinist government.

In this respect, Claret dealt perfectly with this issue, for he refused to let himself dragged into politics, even though he was in a position where that was almost unavoidable (confessor of the Queen).


Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s. Nowadays Pope Francis and Nuncio Waldemar Stawnislaw had worked for the dialogue in my country - you can also see how Pope Francis work for the peace recently in countries of Africa at war - and incredibly one of the elements working against peace and dialogue came from the church.
Many priest have also given their opinion related to the elections in the USA based in the matter of abortion.

So, my question is not that simple I guess .
In some matters we can say that is even necessary for the church to have a posture .
in other matters it’s transform in an obstacle.

I admire the posture of Saint Anthony, I guess is not as easy as it seems .


message 12: by Manuel (last edited Apr 15, 2019 12:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "Many priests have also given their opinion related to the elections in the USA based in the matter of abortion."

I don't think the matter of abortion is political, so if a priest speaks about it, he isn't messing with politics. Science makes it very clear that every abortion is a homicide. See here: This is what science says about human life, and its Spanish version: Lo que dice la ciencia sobre la vida humana.


Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments Totally agree with you. This is the valid point of saying “I can’t vote for x person for this reason” that many priest expressed . Don’t get me wrong I think it’s valid.


Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments It called my attention that St. Anthony starts having premonitions ? I have read some of the life of the Saints, but this is the first that I remember, that stated in front of a crowd something about to happen.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "It called my attention that St. Anthony starts having premonitions ? I have read some of the life of the Saints, but this is the first that I remember, that stated in front of a crowd something about to happen."

I think St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) is also supposed to have formulated predictions, although in his case they weren't stated in front of crowds, and some are controversial.


message 16: by Ramón (new)

Ramón S. | 20 comments I guess that Saint Francisco Ferrer had premonitions too. Saint John Bosco had his famous dreams about the future of the Church


Steven R. McEvoy (srmcevoy) | 72 comments I am finding this a hard book to read. Maybe it is the translation that I am using. But I find I am going back and rereading sections often. I am about 65% done, and am beginning to find parts of it very repetitive. I am finding some incredible gems in the book. But it has been a struggle overall, which is very unusual for me.


message 18: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Seymour | 1856 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s. Nowadays Pope Francis and Nuncio Waldemar Stawnislaw ..."

Hi Tania, I apologize if you've said this before - what country are you from?


message 19: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Seymour | 1856 comments Mod
St. Claret avoided meat and wine for most of his life, which I can understand to the extent of avoiding placing these good things of God's bounty before God himself, but they this seems excessive.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1437 comments Mod
John wrote: "St. Claret avoided meat and wine for most of his life, which I can understand to the extent of avoiding placing these good things of God's bounty before God himself, but this seems excessive."

I agree. Many masters of ascetics defended the rule that "if you like it, don't do it, as a sacrifice to God" and many saints took that for granted. So it's a relief to see that some saints did not follow the rule, such as John Paul II, who had a sweet tooth and enjoyed very much deserts (:-)

Seeing that Christ did not avoid wine, for instance, should be enough counterexample.

Anyway, there are people who abstain completely from eating meat (vegan) and drinking wine (teetotal) and many of them don't do it as a sacrifice to God, but to their ideologies.


Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments John wrote: "Tania wrote: "Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s. Nowadays Pope Francis and Nuncio Waldem..."
Nicaragua.


message 22: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Seymour | 1856 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "John wrote: "Tania wrote: "Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s. Nowadays Pope Francis and ..."

Oh, we just visited there recently - only a day. Are priests in Nicaragua involved in politics?

I think there is a difference between getting involved in actual government and other political matters and advocating the church's position on moral matters that impact policy - though the line is perhaps not always clear. The clear positions are easy - priests can't hold government office, and shouldn't be involved with political parties. Priests should preach and work against abortion and other social evils, including reminding the faithful of the difficulties in voting for politicians who support such evils. But perhaps the lines between these gets blurry?


message 23: by Tania (last edited Apr 24, 2019 06:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tania (tmartnez) | 105 comments John wrote: "Tania wrote: "John wrote: "Tania wrote: "Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s. Nowadays Pop..."
I agree 100% with you in the rol of priests relating moral principles. My priest is advocating for love and reconciliation, my dear Padre Toñito is a man of God. He is always talking about unifying us even when we think different.
There were other priests that have pained the church being the leaders of political protests. Right now, for the first time in history in Nicaragua - and I believe is a consequence of the social crisis - the Catholicism is minority, this has never happened before.

Bishop Silvio Baez has been called from Rome, and he is leaving Nicaragua where 600,000 signatures were filled and sent to the Pope requesting precisely his departure. - In name of the truth I'm not certain the reason of the Pope for the new assignment of Bishop Baez. But there is this reacting of the Holy See.

So, I do believe that Claret's legacy is very important to be studied and applied by us and also by everyone with religious vocation.

I'm glad you have visited by country. I hope there will be a time were you can stay longer and enjoy the natural beauty. :)


message 24: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Seymour | 1856 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "John wrote: "Tania wrote: "John wrote: "Tania wrote: "Perhaps my comment had to do with the social context my country is going through, precisely Pope John II reprimanded Cardenal back in the 80’s...."

I hope so as well.


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