Attack on the Spiritual Mission of Christina Gallagher
The following piece is a commentary by Rev Dr Gerard McGinnity PhD
The More Powerful The Work, The Greater The AttackIn regard to the matter of attacks upon spiritual missions, research remarkably shows that the more powerful the work, the greater the attack. Studying the lives of the mystics who lived throughout the centuries of Church history, I have been invariably struck by this fact that the more significant the work given them to accomplish, the more extreme the attack upon it and upon them. Even to refer to some out of such a large number, we find such remarkable resemblances to the gratuitous attacks upon Christina...
In Cathleen Medwick's well-known biography (1999) entitled Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul , we read that when Teresa of Avila was pressing onwith the establishment of the houses of her foundation in Spain, she had left Villanueva after working hard to transform a hermitage into something resembling a convent and with her companions was passing through a small town where they stopped to visit the church. Teresa's fame had gone before her -but not the truth about her, rather a poisonous defamation of her character. The townspeople were incited to hatred: they were outraged that she presumed to enter their church and they were becoming increasingly violent when Antonio (one of the men who was helping her) fended them off, allowing Teresa to reach her coach. Soon after she arrived at Toledo on that journey, she became seriously ill.
When Pope Benedict was canonising Mary McKillop in Rome on October 17, 2010, how many people realised that during her earthly lifetime, as she went about establishing the houses for her mission in Australia, she was actually excommunicated by Bishop Sheil of Adelaide on September 22, 1871? In his biography Blessed Mary MacKillop A Woman Before Her Time, a priest of the diocese of Adelaide, Fr.Modystack wrote in 1982, "It was sad that the sick Bishop had had his mind so poisoned by the malicious tongues of those who were supposed to be loyal, honest people that he should have reacted so unreasonably towards the Sisters" (page 62) (He accused her of disobedience when she could not accept his making himself superior and changing their rule as he chose. She was canonically entitled not to accept this imposition but he wronged her and expelled 43 sisters from his diocese when they chose not to accept the imposition. The following year, on his death-bed the bishop repented and withdrew the excommunication.). In his preface to the biography Archbishop James Gleeson of Adelaide remarks of his predecessors in that era (ie. bishop and priest-advisors), "It is even more difficult for us to understand how they could seemingly be so unjust and outrageous in their judgements and actions towards Mary MacKillop...
In his book Padre Pio Man of Hope, Renzo Allegri relates in a chapter entitled 'The Second Persecution' (page 218) how his superors wanted Padre Pio to hand over to them control of the money donated at his appeal to build a House for the Relief of Suffering when the Capuchin order was facing financial disaster. When he "refused, new accusations were made against Padre Pio, and new criticisms were invented. In an effort to destroy him, hidden microphones were placed in his confessional, violating the seal" of the sacrament and also "in his cell" (page 219). Allegri himself observes, "Unfortunately, these poor souls, who felt threatened by such a pure and holy man, found a ready audience when they denounced the humble monk as a hypocritical exhibitionist, and denounced the charismatic gifts that evoked so much faith from his followers as deceptive and fraudulent."
Allegri goes on to quote words from Cardinal Siri, "The ones who should have first recognised Jesus Christ are those who sentenced him to be crucified. The same thing happened also to Padre Pio...He was made an outcast, stripped...and made and isolated..."
At least Christina, as she is subjected to the same vituperative treatment, is 'in good company', although she would never dream of considering herself worthy of sharing his rank.
Biographers of John Vianney such as Fr. Francis Trochu in his The Cure D'ARS when describing how he too was unjustly persecuted by way of slander and false accusation, notes how the works used to draw back souls in the greatest danger are sometimes "allowed by God to become victims of the vilest calumnies". He describes how "John Vianney's front door was splashed with dirt and night after night, under his windows stood a miserable creature insulting and reproaching him as if he had been guilty of leading a disorderly life. Apparently, he was to be spared no humiliation, no anguish of mind. Anonymous letters, full of venom were sent to his bishop... Not surprising that towards the end of his life, he one day remarked, 'If on my arrival at Ars I had foreseen all that I was to suffer there, I would have died on the spot!'"
God cannot bring about enormous miracles such as giving back life to a child medically certified dead in the womb, healing cancer of the pancreas, thyroid gland, liver, stomach,bladder, lung,breast, tongue and mouth, leukaemia, rheumatoid arthritis, deep vein thrombosis, brain tumor, brain haemmorage, brain death, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, blindness, chronic asthma and countless other conditions leading to over 700 testimonies, including psychiatric and nevous healings, conversions, vocations to religious life and priesthood drawing such abundant fruitfuless from a tree that is not good! As Jesus says in the Gospel, "A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and a good tree cannot produce bad fruit. By their fruits you shall know them".