This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28 -- Feast of Blessed Carino Pietro of Balsamo

Carino's on the left
Earlier this month, we celebrated Peter of Verona, a Dominican Inquisitor whom the Cathars rubbed out.  Two hit men did the job: Carino of Balsamo and and Manfredo of Clitoro.  Killing a priest would be a heavy crime, so 'Fredo ran for the Alps and lived among the Waldenses, a heterodoxical Christian sect.  Carino stuck around long enough to get picked up on the murder charge and held in Milan.  Knowing that he might be burned at the stake for killing a priest (two actually, since he also got another Dominican named Domenico),  he busted out one night and was down the road without waiting for breakfast. 

He spent about thirty years wandering around Italy, doing odd jobs and dodging the coppers.  Interpol wasn't quite as effective back then, I guess.  He wound up one day at a Dominican monastery.  Father Giacomo Salomoni heard Carino's confession, including the part about murdering the Dominican Inquisitors.  In a good example of practicing what he'd been preaching, Father Giacomo assured Carino of God's forgiveness.  He assigned penance, and welcomed the fugitive into the monastery at Forli.

Carino at left; Peter of Verona at right -- note: machete in head
Monks frequently take new names when they commit to monastic life.  Carino took the name Pietro, which was of course the name of the guy he killed thirty years prior.  He served humbly and reverently through the rest of his life, and the people of Forli began to venerate him immediately after his death.  The regulation of his cult became official in 1822; his body is buried in Forli, but his skull was translated to Cinesello Balsamo.  The body stretched out in the box is just an effigy in Forli.

"It's only a model." 
Some Christians question how to conduct the sacrament of reconciliation, or whether it is even a sacrament.  Some Evangelical churches have folks testify, i.e. confess to the whole congregation, often explaining that they can feel the power of God's forgiveness in them.  Catholics require individuals to confess to priests who absolve their sins, something reformers have criticized as usurping God's prerogative.  Whatever else may be said about penance as a ritual, it was comforting and constructive for Carino to have a path to redemption.  The secular world hopes that prisons will rehabilitate criminals, and sometimes it does, but you don't see much of it on NatGeoTV's Hard Time.  There are probably as many paths to reconciliation as there are sinners -- if the Dominicans could welcome Peter of Verona's murderer as a brother, any of us can find a path to redemption. 

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