How Cardinal d’Arezzo Admonished Sinners

The venerable Cardinal d’Arezzo, a man most zealous for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, was peculiarly anxious that the ecclesiastical functions should be performed with all possible propriety and perfection. Yet when he saw any of his subjects fail in this, though his heart was deeply moved, all were surprised at the mildness of his correction.

But when he heard that any of his flock, and especially any ecclesiastic, was living in some habitual sin, or had fallen into a grave transgression, it caused him such pain and affliction that he often wept, and after supplicating God, with fervent and loving prayer, to have compassion on human miseries and frailty, he would turn all his thoughts and efforts towards providing some remedy.

First of all, in such cases, he would promulgate anew the decrees and orders of synods, with their penalties annexed, to the end that the guilty parties might be reminded of the danger in which they stood, and might do at least from fear, what they would not do from virtue. Afterwards, if necessary, he would give an admonition in private, but with admirable tact, and with especial tokens of confidence and familiarity.

He sometimes sent for priests and even for seculars, who were known to be leading evil lives, and invited them to dine with him. After dinner, he took them to his own room, and began to admonish them, dilating upon the heinousness of their sin and its enormity before God, with such zeal and affection, that he wept copiously himself, and moved them also to tears and conversion. In this way he gained the greatest results, and admirable changes of life were witnessed, to the extraordinary edification of the people.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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