Welcome to the the Behind the Counter Catholic radio show where we take a “No Bull, just the truth” approach to the Catholic Faith. I’m Ian Rutherford, founder of Aquinasandmore.com. Thank you for taking the time to listen in today.
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Today is November 10th, feast of St. Leo the Great. St. Leo was born in Tuscany in the late 300’s. He was ordained a deacon in his 30’s and because of his eloquence and the respect everyone had for him, he was sent to Gaul to mediate a dispute between the two highest officials in the country. While he was in Gaul, Pope Sixtus III died and proving that you always get volunteered for things when you aren’t at the meeting, he was elected pope in 440.
During his papacy there was a dispute over the church in Gaul where Bishop Hillary refused to submit to the Pope’s authority. The pope appealed to Emperor Valentinian who in 445 issued a decree reasserting that the Pope in Rome held primacy in the Church based on his succession to Peter and the decrees of the First Council of Nicea. Bishop Hillary relented after the decree of Valentinian was issued.
During his reign, he combated several heresies including Pelagians, Manicheans and wrote a letter, called the Tome of Leo – Tome here being the word letter in Latin, not to a massive book – on Christology which was presented at the Council of Calcedon ending a dispute over Christ’s nature.
In 452, Attila the Hun invaded Italy and at the gates of Rome demanded the Emperor’s sister Honoria for his wife. The emperor sent three representatives including Pope Leo to negotiate with Attila and Pope Leo is credited with convincing Attila to withdraw without Honoria or any payment. No record of what agreement was made exists but tradition tells that Attila reported that a giant holding a bare sword stood behind Pope Leo during the negotiations and threatened to kill Attila and his entire army if he didn’t retreat.
Unfortunately, this was really the last gasp of the failing empire. In 455 the Vandals invaded Rome and started slaughtering the citizens and burning the city. Leo again went to negotiate with the invaders and convinced them to stop the destruction. Leo died in 461 on November 10th. He was the first pope to receive the title “The Great”.
St. Leo the Great is pictured in art holding his “Tome” and sometimes shown with Attila kneeling before him.
Other upcoming events and feasts include
- Veterans’ Day (11/11) – St. Martin of Tours
- St. Martin I (11/12) EF
- St. Frances Cabrini (11/13)
- St. Albert (11/15)
- St. Margaret of Scotland (11/16) EF
St. Martin of Tours traditions
While I was growing up, every year in November we would brave the cold, and sometimes snow, to attend a St. Martin’s Day party at a friend’s home. Typically this involved a house packed with people, a huge potluck dinner and a bonfire. All of the kids would get slips of paper about the life of St. Martin and some of the traditions associated with the season and would read them around the bonfire.
Some traditions your family can do:
- Serving roast goose – legend has it that when Martin found out he had been named a bishop, he tried to escape the people by hiding with a flock of geese which didn’t appreciate the intrusion.
- Make paper lanterns for a procession
- Give away unneeded clothes to the St. Vincent dePaul Society or other organization.
- Drink wine! St. Martin is patron of wine makers and in France the tasting of the first wine of the year is traditionally held on his feast.
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Even though it’s still a few weeks away, you should start preparing for Advent now. Advent is supposed to be a time of preparation for the coming of Christ – both His first AND last coming. This year, make plans ahead of time to celebrate the Advent season with your family and not to get carried away with the commercial buy, buy buy of the Christmas season. Get your advent candles and wreath and possibly an Advent calendar for the kids from your local Catholic store or Aquinasandmore.com ahead of time. I know that we typically sell out of candles shortly before the seasons starts.
Over the next few weeks I have several great interviews lined up. First, I’ll be speaking with Dale Ahlquist about Chesterton, Dale’s new book and, in light of an election season where the two major parties spent months and millions of dollars branding each other’s ideas about government as anti-Catholic, Chesterton’s view on government.
I will also be interviewing Matthew Bunson about St. Kateri. He and Margaret Bunson wrote the definitive biography of the new saint which includes a wonderfully complete look at the history and culture around her.
Father Pacwa will be on in a couple of weeks to talk about reading the Bible during the year of faith and kicking heretics with his cowboy boots.
I also have an interview with the Pope about his new Jesus of Nazareth book. Actually, no. I’m trying to get an interview with someone but even the publisher doesn’t think the pope is available.
Finally, during one or two of the shows at Christmas time I’ll be reading the story of the Other Wise Man. My great-grandmother gave me a copy of the book when I was a kid and I think it is one of the best Christmas stories ever. Martin Sheen played in a tv movie version called the Fourth Wiseman back in the 80’s.
Okay, changing gears a little, I’m sure some of you out there remember the Carol Burnett show. I’m too young to remember it on tv but thanks to Speech competitions during high school I was introduced to her writing. It’s really unfortunate that hilarious, mostly clean comedy of people like Bill Cosby and Carol Burnet has been replaced by the cesspool of what passes for funny today. Here’s a sample from the classic “The Wind Done Gone.” I only bring this up because my guest today is Randy Hain, a businessman from Atlanta who thinks that Carol Burnett took her role in the show much more seriously than Vivian Leigh.
Apart from Miss Leigh’s questionable acting chops, Randy Hain and I spoke about his latest book, The Catholic Briefcase. Stay with me after the break for the full interview.