DHT, 4/26

From the Pillar:

Today is the feast of St Cletus, of course, was the third bishop of Rome, the second successor of St. Peter.

He is known today mostly as the guy who comes between Linus and Clement in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

But there is more to know about the great St. Cletus: The former pope is traditionally regarded as the one to divide the Diocese of Rome into 25 parishes, and thus to inaugurate the parish as the basic locus of the Christian life for most Catholics.

Cletus is remembered as a martyr for the faith, and was probably martyred in the first organized persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, which took place in 92 A.D.

He appears in St. Peter invective against abuses of office, authority, and power in Dante’s “Paradiso”:

The spouse of Christ has never nurtured been
On blood of mine, of Linus and of Cletus,
To be made use of in acquest of gold;

But in acquest of this delightful life
Sixtus and Pius, Urban and Calixtus,
After much lamentation, shed their blood.

Our purpose was not, that on the right hand
Of our successors should in part be seated
The Christian folk, in part upon the other

Nor that the keys which were to me confided
Should e’er become the escutcheon on a banner,
That should wage war on those who are baptized;

Nor I be made the figure of a seal
To privileges venal and mendacious,
Whereat I often redden and flash with fire.

Pray for us, St. Cletus, and for the Holy Church which you led, and for which you became a martyr