St. Hermenegild was a Visigoth Prince matyred for the faith in 585. He was put to death by his father, the Arian King Leovigild for holding firm to the Catholic faith. His father cast him into a dungeon and after several months, sent an Arian Bishop to him on Easter Sunday to offer him a pardon if he would accept Communion from him. By his firm refusal to yield his faith to heresy, even his father’s heresy, he earned a martyr’s crown.
Here is Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais on St. Hermenegild:
“I spoke this morning to the children about Saint Hermenegild. He was a young martyr, seventeen years old, who lived in the sixth century. He was Catholic, but his father was a heretic, an Arian. He was supposed to inherit the throne of Spain, but his father, furious that his son was a Catholic, forbade him the throne and sentenced him to prison.
“Hermenegild – whom we celebrate on April 13th (a month ago) was in prison for several months as Easter approached. He wanted to receive Communion, Holy Communion for Easter. His father was thinking the same thing and sent him a bishop carrying Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! What a joy for Hermenegild to be able to make his Easter communion! Except that when the bishop entered the prison cell, he presented himself thus: “I am the Bishop of Huesca, I am an Arian and I bring you Holy Communion!” “I am Arian,” that is to say “I am a heretic, I’m not Catholic.”
“It was a bishop who was not Catholic, dear faithful, who brought Holy Communion to Hermenegild. What did Hermenegild do? What would you have done in his place? Would you still have accepted to receive Holy Communion? In order to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, is it not worth making some compromises, receiving even from unworthy hands the Lord Jesus? This bishop celebrated Mass validly though he did not believe that Jesus is God, because that was the Arian religion. He did not even believe that Jesus was God! But we do think he could validly celebrate Mass and he was bringing Jesus in the Eucharist!
“Well, in the twinkling of an eye, inspired by one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost – whom we are celebrating today − the gift of Counsel, he said: “No. I will not receive communion from your sacrilegious hands! As for me, I am in chains but I am free to work my salvation. You, my lord, are free but you are a slave of the devil because you have a false faith, you’re not Catholic! And I will not receive Holy Communion from sacrilegious hands!”
“What an example for us, my dear faithful! All the beautiful gifts coming from Rome, we are not prepared to accept them without examination, without considering the circumstances in which this gift would be made. We demand to be able to maintain our public and entire profession of the Catholic Faith. We cannot receive poisoned gifts that would condemn us to compromise with Modernism. This is the example of Saint Hermenegild, inspired by the Holy Ghost.”
When the Arian heresy swept throughout Christendom, and nearly destroyed the Church, the remnant remained steadfast, even to martyrdom and their prayers and sacrifices eventually achieved the extirpation of the evil heresy of Arianism.
Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies is our modern day counterpart to the ancient evil of Arianism and in the face of this corrosive threat, we are once again called to stand firm and defend our faith with prayer and sacrifice.
If the diabolical disorientation of the post-Conciliar Church continues, and it does appear to be actually accelerating since the abdication of Benedict and the accession of Francis, traditional Catholics are going to have to decide whether to support the true remnant, the Society of St. Pius X, or to continue to receive communion from a Church that has disobeyed the Mother of God for nearly a century.
It is not an easy choice and one that I am torn over, due to my weakness of character. But our help is in the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who conquers all heresies. And so, pray the Rosary and confound the devil!
~ evensong ~