Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Who are the Holy Innocents of today?



Vatican Radio: Why bother remembering the Holy Innocents every year on the 28th of December? Why spoil the Christmas season by bringing to mind such a horrendous episode? As Monsignor Peter Fleetwood explains : "...these young boys lost their lives because somebody realised how powerful Jesus Christ really was: He didn't understand why Jesus was powerful , or how he would eventually exercise that power, but he knew there was something special about Jesus, and recognised there was not enough room in the kingdom for both of them- or so he thought."...

Listen to Monsignor Peter Fleetwood in a programme produced by Veronica Scarisbrick for the series: "Why Bother? Staying Catholic despite it All"

In this reflection Father Peter  highlights the meaning of this feast for us today:"...It is important to ask whose patron saints the Holy Innocents are. The answer is quite shocking . This has become the day when Catholics in many countries remember innocent lives that are destroyed in our own day because there is no room for them in our society, This is the day when children whose lives were deliberately terminated before birth are remembered . They had no choice. They could not defend themselves. It is good to remember them on this day , but I cannot remember them without thinking of the women who live with what must have been an excruciating decision. Never forget that....This is also a day to remember the innocent victims of war, the thousands of children who die every year because they do not have enough to eat, children who were born with HIV-AIDS, those who have been killed because they were made to fight as soldiers....I am sure we should remember other innocent people whose lives have been ruined , even if they have not died ...refugees, far from their home country , just like Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus. They are innocent but often hated and despised in the countries where they eventually find refuge .."

While Father Peter concludes by saying he doesn't wish to cast a shadow on Christmas, he also insists it is worth remembering some people's experience of Christmas is totally different from ours; don't ask "who were the Holy Innocents' but "who are they today ?"


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