His dad was not thrilled that he ditched his practice for the seminary, but how can an eighteenth century Italian Catholic father say, No son, please don't become a priest. Well, probably just like that, with an earnest tone and furrowed brow, but fortunately for the Church, Papa Liguori didn't say that.
As a priest in Naples, Saint Alphonsus made the astute observation that missionary work should not be limited to the colonial lands where folks had their own religions. He didn't argue against evangelizing in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific islands, but he preferred to work the neglected Catholics outside his own door. He started with street kids whose neglect and deprivation was leading them to lives of crime, pain, and sin. Give them some food, a warm place to sleep, the Word of God, and a basic education -- all of a sudden their productive citizens and faithful congregants. And you never even needed a passport to be a missionary!
|Crest of the Redemptionists|
Alphonsus was ordered to become the bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti in spite of his protests. He hung in the job until age 78, at which point he was allowed to retire to a Redemptionist community, where he hung for twelve more years. A musician, painter, and poet, he had lots of things to occupy his time when he wasn't writing one of the 111 theological works, the most celebrated of which is Moral Theology. I'll confess right now that I don't understand (with sufficient depth to comment) the differences among probabilism, aequiprobabilism, and probabiliorism. I do understand that the Jansenists were alienating Christians by contending they were not morally rigorous enough to receive Communion. A quick search of the Gospel doesn't turn up any passages where Jesus turned away sincere folks because they had sinned at some point. Double-check: Nope, that's pretty much the complete opposite of my understanding.
Whatever else he may have written, I figure that Saint Alphonsus is rightly called a Doctor of the Church for having brushed the Jansenists back and taken the Word to the forgotten, marginalized Christians right there at home.