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Monday, July 23, 2018
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Daily Saint

December 11: St. Damasus 1

Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church. He was a priest who was generous and self-sacrificing. When Pope Liberius died in 366, Damasus became the pope. He faced many grave difficulties. There was a false pope named Felix. He and his followers persecuted Damasus. They lied about him, especially about his personal moral life. The pope had to stand trial before the Roman authorities. He was proved innocent, but he suffered very much through it all. His great friend, St. Jerome, spoke emphatically for the virtue of this pope. And Jerome had high standards. Pope Damasus realized that the city clergy were living too wealthy a lifestyle. The country priests were much more austere. Damasus asked the priests to simplify their lifestyles and not to accumulate money and possessions. He set a wonderful example himself.

There were also many false teachings during his time as pope. Damasus explained the true faith. He also called the Second Ecumenical Council which was held in Constantinople. Pope Damasus greatly encouraged love of the scriptures. He assigned St. Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin. He also changed the official language of the liturgy from Greek-except for the Kyrie-to Latin.

Pope St. Damasus died at the age of about eighty on December 11, 384. He was buried with his mother and sister in a little chapel he had built.

Reflection: Pope Damasus suffered much from false accusations. How often do I give others the benefit of the doubt?