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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saint OLIVER PLUNKET, Archbishop, on the Scaffold, 1681



"I WAS brought to the bar here after six months' imprisonment for a crime for which before I was arraigned in Ireland; a fact almost without precedent in five hundred years. Five weeks were allowed me to bring over my records and witnesses, which, owing to many difficulties, was insufficient. I asked for five days more. This was refused, and I was exposed, with my hands tied, as it were, to these merciless perjurers. You see what position I am in, and you have heard the protestations of my innocency, and I hope you will believe the words of a dying man. In support of my credit I assure you that I was offered my life if I would accuse other conspirators, but as I know of none I could not. I admit that I endeavoured to establish a proper discipline among the clergy according to my duty, and you see how I am rewarded. By false oaths they have brought me to this untimely death. But this wicked act, being a defect of person, ought not to reflect on the Order of St. Francis or on the Roman Catholic clergy. There was a Judas among the Apostles, and a Nicholas among the seven deacons, and as St. Stephen, the holy deacon, prayed for his enemies, so do I."

And so he went to his reward.

"Them that sin reprove before all, that the rest may have fear."—1 TIM. iv. 20.

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