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    Celtic cross with quill and ink

    Saint Patrick

    Ireland, AD 450

    The Church Writes to the State

    March 25, 2020
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    Patrick, who first brought the gospel to Ireland, was serving there as a bishop when the British tyrant Coroticus invaded with a band of marauding soldiers, killing many. Patrick wrote the following to Coroticus and his men.

    I am Patrick, yes a sinner and indeed untaught; yet I am established here in Ireland where I profess myself bishop. I am certain in my heart that all that I am, I have received from God. So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God. He himself testifies that this is so. I never would have wanted these harsh words to spill from my mouth; I am not in the habit of speaking so sharply. Yet now I am driven by the zeal of God; Christ’s truth has aroused me. I speak out too for love of my neighbors who are my only sons; for them I gave up my home country, my parents and even pushing my own life to the brink of death. If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples.

    And so, now you, Coroticus, and your gangsters, rebels all against Christ, now where do you see yourselves? You gave away girls like prizes: not yet women, but baptized. All for some petty temporal gain that will pass in the very next instant. Like a cloud passes, or smoke blown in the wind, so will sinners, who cheat, slip away from the face of the Lord. But the just will feast for sure with Christ. They will judge the nations and unjust kings; they will lord over for world after world. Amen.

    May God inspire [Coroticus and his followers] sometime to come to their senses in regard to God again, so that they may repent of their grave crimes, namely homicide against the brothers of the Lord, and that they free these baptized women whom they have taken, so that then they may deserve to live to God and be made whole once more, here, now and for eternity. 

    Source: John Skinner, trans., The Confession of Saint Patrick (Crown, 2010), xxvii.

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