Category Archives: History

History

Brother Francis has a tremendous appreciation for the history of the Church. He likes to call Church history “the laboratory of wisdom.” Why? Because the history of the Church is the history of human salvation, and choosing the best means to save one’s soul is the highest prudence. And prudence, says St. Thomas Aquinas, is wisdom in action.

History is the laboratory of wisdom, but the application today of the lessons learned from history is prudence.

How, for example, are we to understand what St. Pius X meant when he said that “modernism is the synthesis of all heresies,” if we are ignorant of the history of the Church’s battles against heresy? How are we to evaluate the causes of what Pope Benedict referred to a “crisis of Faith,” if we unfamiliar with any of the twenty ecumenical councils that preceded Vatican II?

There are twenty-two books of the Bible that are history books: the first nineteen of the Old Testament, the two books of Machabees, which end the Old Testament, and the Acts of the Apostles in the New.

A knowledge of Church History is a knowledge of the life of the Body of Christ extended in time throughout the past twenty centuries. It is a glorious history, with its martyrs, confessors, saints of the desert, great doctors and popes, apostles of nations, proliferation of contemplative orders, active orders, teaching orders, advances in science, medicine, the arts, missionary life, and victories over the enemies of true religion, who engaged her by pen and sword.

Without a knowledge of history, of its facts, dates, and events, a Catholic is ill-prepared to defend the Church against those who would gainsay her by misrepresentation, misinformation, or deliberate disinformation. Nor can we forget that we all have an obligation to instruct the ignorant who have been misled by error and who, in their hearts, nurture an affinity for the truth.

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Jamestown Captain Archer May Have Been Catholic

The Atlantic: After 400 years in the Virginia dirt, the box came out of the ground looking like it had been plucked from the ocean. A tiny silver brick, now encrusted with a green patina and rough as sandpaper. Buried beneath it was a human skeleton. The remains would later be identified as those of Captain Gabriel Archer, one of the most prominent leaders at Jamestown, … More →

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England and Always: When the King Enjoys His Own Again

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part II: When the King Enjoys His Own Again Though for a time we see Whitehall With cobwebs hanging on the wall Instead of gold and silver brave Which formerly was wont to have With rich perfume In every room, Delightful to that princely train Yet the old again shall be When the time you … More →


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Anniversary of Quo Primum: For Those Who Have Not Read This Magnificent Decree for Awhile

The Papal Bull of Saint Pope Pius V granting in perpetuity the right of every priest use the venerable and traditional Latin Missal in offering Holy Mass. Issued July 14, 1570. Rorate Caeli: [From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship], We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure … More →

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The Real Truth About the Crusades: The Glory of the Crusades

Haven’t we all at some time in our discussions with Catholics, both practicing and fallen-away, and with non-Catholics alike, heard the comment in the middle of a conversation, “But what about the Crusades; what about the Inquisition?” While we make our point on some other aspect of the Faith, these two topics are invariably brought up to throw us off kilter because they absolutely know … More →


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Early New England’s Anti-Catholic Fanaticism

Bradley J. Birzer, Catholic World Report: Maryland had not been the only place harboring anti-Catholic feelings in the colonies. Indeed, every colony had some form of anti-Catholic law, except for Pennsylvania. The farther north one journeyed, the stronger the anti-Catholicism became. As early as the 1640s, for example, the New England colonies had passed a law that a man could enter a congregation only if armed with his … More →

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Father Thomas Byles Priest Who Died Saving Souls on the Titanic

Aleteia: On board in all directions there was the sound of running feet.It was clear there was something wrong. Before hearing anything, however, one had somehow sensed it. Some indiscernible threat had impacted and was quickly making its presence felt throughout the ship. At that moment a priest with breviary in hand was praying Night Office as he walked on the upper deck; nevertheless, as the … More →

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G.K. Chesterton’s View of Tolstoy’s Aspiration to Simplicity

When in 1902 G.K. Chesterton first published his essay “Tolstoy’s Cult of Simplicity” in a book of twelve of his collected essays, he was only twenty-eight years of age, and it was then only two years after he had first met Hilaire Belloc in a London Soho Pub in 1900. Although Chesterton would finally be received into the Catholic Church only some twenty years later … More →


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In 1922 Oregon Tried to Force Catholic Children to Attend Public Schools

Interesting interview with Father David Endres, assistant professor of Church history and historical theology at The Athenaeum of Ohio. CNA: In 1922, Oregon passed a law forcing all children between the ages of eight and sixteen in parochial and private schools into public schools. The law, the Compulsory Education Act of 1922, was supported by the Ku Klux Klan as a measure to push for standard … More →

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“England and Always”: Part I: Separated by a Common Language

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part I: Separated by a Common Language If England was what England seems An’ not the England of our dreams, But only putty, brass, an’ paint, ‘Ow quick we’d drop ‘er! But she ain’t! — Rudyard Kipling Americans in general, and American Catholics in particular, have a very strange relationship with England and the memory … More →


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Haters of the Faith Get Father De Smet Statue Removed from Campus at Jesuit College

The College Fix: The De Smet statue has long drawn the ire of progressive students and scholars at the Jesuit university who argue the statue was a symbol of racism and white supremacy, among other oppressions. In a recent op-ed published in SLU’s University News, senior Ryan McKinley stated the sculpture sent a clear, unwelcoming message to American Indians at Saint Louis University. “This message to American Indians is … More →

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Ireland: a Chronology of De-Christianization

Ireland’s rejection of Divine and Natural Law in the definition of marriage was the culmination in a series of incremental betrayals, over a period of forty-three years, which secularized the Irish State and Irish society. A chronology of these events is presented below: 1972—Irish voters approve, by a referendum margin of 84%, a constitutional amendment repealing Article 44 of the Irish Constitution, which recognized “the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman … More →


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Maurice Baring’s Insights on the Russian Character

How might a deeply reflective book of almost four hundred pages written by a Catholic Englishman some seven years before the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia — and thus also seven years before Our Lady of Fatima’s own 1917 sustained appearances in Portugal — help us to understand “the errors of Russia” and well as Russia’s distinctive religious and moral strengths? To include Russia’s persevering … More →


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Amazing Story of How the Works of St. John of the Cross Survived the Revolution in Spain

Who would have thought that a South African poet who studied in England where he befriended Tolkien, Lewis, and Eliot, lived in Provence, moved to Toledo where he and his family were baptized into the Church, would be called upon by the Carmelites to protect the writings of Saint John of the Cross from anti-clerical revolutionaries. When he and his family escaped the hands of … More →

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The Celtic Church — Myth and Reality II

[Click here for part one.] Depending upon whom you read or speak to, the received modern narrative about “Celtic Spirituality” is roughly like this. Once upon a time, the Druids lived happily in green and misty Celtic lands, leading their smiling people in harmony with nature. Healers, vegetarians, and in touch with the rocks, plants, animals, stars, suns, planets, Moon, and of course Mother Earth … More →


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Soviet Spy Defector Says ‘We Created Liberation Theology’

CNA: Espionage deep in the heart of Europe. Secrets in the KGB. Defection from a communist nation. Ion Mihai Pacepa has seen his share of excitement, serving as general for Communist Romania’s secret police before defecting to the United States in the late 1970s. The highest-ranking defector from communism in the ‘70s, he spoke to CNA recently about the connection between the Soviet Union and Liberation … More →

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