Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catholic Popes: Pope Anicetus (Our 11th Pope)

By M. J. Joachim

Reigning from approximately 155 – 166 as successor to Pope Pius I, Pope Anicetus lived an exemplary and learned life. It seems fitting that his name means unconquered, for one of his most impressive tasks as Pope was to defend the Church against heresy, namely that of Montanism, a belief that prophecy was to be given more credence than faith in Christ and the Church. Pope Anicetus also took a firm stand against Gnosticism and Marcionism.

St. Polycarp, a direct disciple of St. John the Evangelist, had serious concerns about when to celebrate Easter. He was very old, one of the last living disciples of St. John, and firmly believed in keeping with tradition. According to Lives of the Popes, “It is important to note that, until this time, Rome itself observed no special feast of Easter.” Sunday was considered a holy day to celebrate the Resurrection, but Easter had yet to be deemed a separate holiday. Thus, an ongoing discussion between the two men continued until Anicetus and Polycarp concelebrated Eucharist together, parting in peace and continuing to celebrate Easter in their respective ways and times. 

Since the Council of Nicaea, Rome has celebrated Easter on the Sunday after Jewish Passover, while the Eastern & Orthodox rites celebrate on the 14th day of Nisan (the actual day of Jewish Passover).

Numerous references indicate Pope Anicetus was persecuted and died a martyr unwilling to deny the faith. These reports readily admit the difficulty in confirming this through documentation, due to the specific period in history. 

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Resources: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia, Lives of the Popes, Catholic Harbor of Faith & Morals, Defender of the Faith, Popes of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Anicetus – Princeton University

Photo Credit: Papa_Aniceto, Torvindus, Wikimedia, Creative Commons Attribution

Fire and Brimstone Be Damned!

By M. J. Joachim

With thoughts to post more on my Catholic Pope series, something that is far too long overdue, I started doing investigative research on Pope Anicetus; he also happens to be a saint in the Church. Much to my chagrin, some of the resources I happened on were full of fire and brimstone – the likes that shame anyone on their journey of faith, accusing all of us of being complete failures in this life, for not living the lives of saints like we are called to do. 

This is one place where I take issue with the Institution of the Catholic Church. Jesus, the second person in the Holy Trinity, was born a man and died on a cross as our Savior, not to condemn us for living, but to offer us the hope of salvation. This cannot be the same God who would cast us into Hell for doing so. 

I’m not denying the power of temptation and sin here. I’m simply struggling with the idea that we are to live our lives as hermits, who dismiss the many gifts we, and this world, has been given by God, to chastise ourselves for not being good enough in the first place. 

Living is part of life. Fear is of the devil. God is all loving, knowing and good. If we are afraid to live, are we not encouraging the temptation to doubt God and all His goodness? Who knows the heart and mind of God? Hey, who really knows his own heart and mind, for that matter? Lest we be arrogant enough to claim we know the heart and mind of another?

Sin is sin. I get that. But God is God too. He died for us, not to send us into the depths of hell, but to save us from ourselves. Do whatever love requires, and keep those guilt trips that prevent me from living the life God alone gave me, as far away as possible. I don’t want to sin and offend God anymore than the next guy, but if and when I do, I know God won’t be the enemy trying to send me into hell for it. 

Pope Anicetus post coming soon.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic,

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved