Fr Doyle and the new Motu Proprio Maiorem hac dilectionem

Consider the following quotes from Fr Doyle:

May 1893:

Darling Mother Mary, in preparation for the glorious martyrdom which I feel assured thou art going to obtain for me, I, thy most unworthy child, on this the first day of thy month, solemnly commence my life of slow martyrdom by earnest hard work and constant self-denial. With my blood I promise thee to keep this resolution, do thou, sweet Mother, assist me and obtain for me the one favour I wish and long for: To die a Jesuit Martyr.

January 1911:

Jesus, you know my longing to become a saint. You know how much I thirst to die a martyr. Help me to prove that I am really in earnest by living this life of martyrdom.

November 1914:

My offering myself as war chaplain to the Provincial has had a wonderful effect on me. I long to go and shed my blood for Jesus, and, if He wills it, to die a martyr of charity. The thought that at any moment I may be called to the Front, perhaps to die, has roused a great desire to do all I can while I have life. I feel great strength to make any sacrifice and little difficulty in doing so. I may not have long now to prove my love for Jesus.

November 1914:

I have volunteered for the front as military chaplain, though perhaps I may never be sent. Naturally I have little attraction for the hardship and suffering the life would mean; but it is a glorious chance of making the ‘ould body’ bear something for Christ’s dear sake. However, what decided me in the end was a thought that flashed into my mind when in the chapel: the thought that if I get killed I shall die a martyr of charity and so the longing of my heart will be gratified. This much my offering myself as chaplain has done for me: it has made me realise that my life may be very short and that I must do all I can for Jesus now.

Spring 1916:

You know my desire for the foreign missions because I realised that the privation and hardships of such a life, the separation from all naturally dear to me, would be an immense help to holiness. And here I am a real missioner, if not in the Congo, at least with many of the wants and sufferings and even greater dangers than I should have found there. The longing for martyrdom God has gratified times without number, for I have had to go into what seemed certain death, gladly making the offering of my poor life, but he did not accept it, so that the ‘daily martyrdom’ might be repeated.

July 1917:

I have again offered myself to Jesus as His victim to do with me absolutely as He pleases. I will try to take all that happens, no matter from whom it comes, as sent to me by Jesus and will bear suffering, heat cold, etc with joy as part of my immolation in reparation for the sins of priests.

Consider the fact that Fr Doyle did, indeed, die as a “martyr of charity” while rescuing wounded soldiers on 16 August 1917, and that this was a willing offering he made of his own life, and that this offering was made innumerable times, with innumerable similar risks, during his time as chaplain.

Consider now the Motu Proprio of Pope Francis published today establishing a new path to beatification. The following is a rough translation:

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)”

There are worthy of special consideration and honor those Christians who, following very closely the footsteps and the teachings of the Lord Jesus, freely and willingly offered their lives for others and persevered on till death in this intention.

It is certain that the heroic offering of life, prompted and sustained by charity, expresses are true, full, and exemplary imitation of Christ and, therefore, is worthy of that admiration which the community of the faithful is accustomed to reserve to those who voluntarily accepted martyrdom of blood or have exercised in a heroic level. The Christian virtues.

With the comfort of the favorable opinion expressed by the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, which in the Plenary Session of 27 September 2016, studied closely whether these Christians merit beatification, I establish that the following norms be observed:

Art. 1

The offering of life is our new particular case of the “iter” of beatification and canonization, distinct from the case of martyrdom or of heroic virtues.

Art. 2

The offering of life, in order that it be valid and efficacious for the beatification of a servant of God, must correspond to the following criterion:
a) the free and willing offering of life and heroic acceptance propter caritatem of our certain death and in our brief time limit;
b) the exercise, at least in an ordinary degree, of the Christian virtues before the offering of life and, thereafter, until death;
c) the existence of reputation of holiness (fama sanctitatis) and signs, at least after death;
d) the necessity of a miracle for beatification, taking place after the death of the servant of God and through his intercession.

Is there anyone whose life seems more suited to this new pathway to beatification???

Thoughts for the Feast of St Benedict from Fr Willie Doyle

St Benedict

Avoid haste and want of control of bodily movements. The interior man, no matter how burdened with work or pressed for time, is never in a hurry. He is swift and expeditious in all he does, but never rushes; and by a jealous watchfulness over odd moments, “gathering up the fragments” of a full day “that none of them may be lost,” he finds time for all things. He knows that the Almighty is never in a hurry; that the great works of God in nature as in the soul are done silently and calmly, and that there is much wisdom in the old monastic saying, “The man who rushes will never run to perfection.”

COMMENT: In today’s quote, Fr Doyle speaks to us about the importance of balance and moderation. Even when busy we should not be in an excessive hurry, but always maintain our equilibrium. Perhaps this is one area where Fr Doyle had to struggle. He was naturally hot tempered and extraordinarily zealous. However, it is clear that by the end of his life he had mastered this aspect of his temperament. He was a source of peace and tranquillity for others. Consider the image of Fr Doyle below. Consider the purity and serenity in his eyes – they display a deeply tranquil and balanced man. His eyes are reservoirs of peace. He had just volunteered as a military chaplain, and  was just about to head to the war. He knew what he was facing, yet he retained his calmness. By all accounts, he remained serene and peaceful right to the very end. This man, who had a nervous breakdown slightly more than 20 years before, was now a rock of strength and peace for others.


Today is the feast of St Benedict, one of the patron saints of Europe and indeed the Father of the West. Monks following his rule were instrumental in saving western civilisation after the fall of the Roman empire. By preserving the heritage of classical learning, and indeed by preserving the faith itself within their monasteries, the Benedictine monks played a pivotal role in the development of Christendom and indeed of western civilisation itself. We owe many historical inventions and advances in learning, as well as practical developments in agriculture, engineering and even brewing to the dedication and application of the Benedictines.

The motto of the Benedictine order is Pax – Peace. The Rule of St Benedict is renowned for its balance and moderation, especially compared to the harsher rule of life adopted by the Eastern monks. St Benedict tells us that it is important that people in the house of God (and by extension in the Christian family) should not be vexed or anxious, for this destroys the peace which so readily assists in the growth of holiness. Commenting on the Rule of St Benedict, Pope Emeritus Benedict tells us:

For its moderation, humanity and sober discernment between the essential and the secondary in spiritual life, his Rule has retained its illuminating power even to today.

We live in an increasingly frenetic world. The technology that was supposed to alleviate our work has often only served to complicate our lives further. Let us pray that we may acquire the moderation and balance that both Fr Doyle and St Benedict speak of, and that this spiritual equilibrium will better equip us to serve God and our neighbour more effectively.