St Martin of Tours and Building a Christian Counter-Culture

St Martin of Tours offers an example for Christians in these times of aggressive secularism.

According to a recent CNA article, Professor John Bequette, of the University of St Francis, says that “Martin of Tours challenged a dying Roman culture by presenting a radical Christian counter-culture.”

The article says in part:

St Martin of Tours gives half his cloak to a beggar.

Washington D.C., Nov 10, 2012 / 04:04 pm (CNA).- St. Martin of Tours’ “Christian valor” is an example of how to sustain and rebuild Christian culture in a time of “moral exhaustion” and cultural decay, theology professor John P. Bequette said.

“Martin of Tours challenged a dying Roman culture by presenting a radical Christian counter-culture, rooted in Christian valor,” Bequette, a professor at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind. wrote in Crisis Magazine Nov. 8.

“This re-orientation saved what was truly worthwhile of Roman culture and give it new life within the emerging Christian culture.”

“As Christians, we have a responsibility to build a distinct, living culture in the twenty-first century, just as our forebears had the same responsibility in their time, a culture which will manifest itself in education and humanitarian institutions.”

Bequette recounted the life of St. Martin of Tours in the fourth century Roman Empire, comparing it to the contemporary United States.

He said the Roman populace had lost its traditional civic devotion and its readiness to sacrifice, instead engaging in “an impoverished attitude of hedonism and self-promotion.”

“The cultural foundation of Rome was disintegrating, and since political life follows culture, Roman civic life was collapsing,” he said. The Catholic Church was cultivating “an alternative culture and alternative civic life” by “transforming what was good in the Roman legacy .” ….

…. Bequette said that in the present day the Church is “increasingly under attack by a new, secular imperium which would strip the Church of her right to evangelize, educate, and minister.”

“This new imperium is possessed of the same ferocious hostility that beset the Church in reign of the pagan emperors,” the theology professor concluded. “In the face of this new, militant paganism, may God grant us the full measure of the Christian valor of Saint Martin of Tours.” (Read the full article here.)


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