Category Archives: 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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Jesuit Father Fahy Stood Up to the Communists in China Every San Franciscan — and every friend of freedom — should learn about Eugene Fahy, a native of Northern California who took a stand against tyrants and never backed down. Born in San Mateo in 1911 and educated at Saint Ignatius and the University of San Francisco, Fahy was a brilliant man who left behind indisputable proof of his eloquence and courage. He could … More →

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Stuart Line Ends Catholic, Charles II and James II

K.V. Turley, Crisis Magazine: Recently, whilst traveling through Ireland, I passed over a small bridge. The river was easily crossed but I was conscious that the waters below were those of the River Boyne, and that upon its banks had been fought a battle that was to prove calamitous for the Catholic faith in these islands. And yet, for one of the chief protagonists of that … More →

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The Cluniac Reform: How Great Catholics Respond to Crisis

There’s no denying that we find ourselves in a wasteland in Church, State, and family today. But let us not, on that account, engage in handwringing and whining. Brother Francis used to call some Catholic writers who majored in this, “professional wailers,” after those Arabs he knew who got paid to set the mood at funeral rites by mourning bombastically. According to Brother, the motto … More →

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Saint Patrick and Irish Slaves: The Slave Trade in Barbados

I was reading this outstanding article this morning by Kevin J. Jones for CNA website about Saint Patrick’s dedication to freeing the Irish slaves from the hands of the pirate Coroticus, who had taken him away as a youth from Brittany. I did not know that Coroticus slaughtered all the servants of his father’s household sparing Patrick. Jennifer Paxton, a history professor at CUA, relates … More →

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Posted in Columns, History | 9 Comments

Historian Discovers 2000 Pages of Vatican Documents on Armenian Genocide

Zenit: Just before the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, well-known German historian Michael Hesemann announced the discovery of 2000 pages of hitherto unpublished documents on, what he calls “the greatest persecution of Christians in history” in the Vatican Secret Archives. Full interview is here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Heretics and Holy Confessors: the Conclave of 1549, Battles Among the Cardinals

Roberto di Mattei: Rorate Caeli: The Conclave that opened on November 30th 1549, after the death of Paul III, was certainly one of the most dramatic in the history of the Church. The English Cardinal, Reginald Pole (1500 – 1558) was indicated by everyone as the great favourite.  The Pontifical robes were prepared for him and he had already shown someone his thanksgiving speech.  On … More →

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Evangelical Leader Refutes Obama on Crusades and Inquisition

Steve Skojec, 1 Peter 5: In all my years as a Catholic, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an evangelical protestant come to the defense of the Crusades or the Inquisition. But President Obama is, if nothing else, a man who gives rise to the unexpected. And Barton made a remarkable rebuttal at that. After citing the analysis of several contemporary commentators on the … More →

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New Book in Defense of the Crusades

After having read the first chapter of The Glory of the Crusades by Steve Weidenkopf, which is available as a sample, I am confident that this is a very good and accurate history. I was astonished to read that Father Robert Barron was brutally critical of the Crusades. No wonder even faithful members of the Church Militant in our time have joined the anti-Crusades bandwagon. … More →

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Battle of Tours 732: Je Suis Charles Martel

Donald McClarey, The American Catholic: Charles Martel, “The Hammer”, led a life of conflict.  An illegitimate son of Pepin of Herstal, Mayor of the Palace and the true power behind the Merovingian puppet kings, after the death of his father he had to fight his father’s legitimate offspring who sought to deprive him of any share in his father’s inheritance.  Fortunately for Charles a streak … More →

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Bl. Junipero Serra: The Real Man, Anti-Catholic Propaganda to the Contrary

I have just read a misinformation post (mostly misinformation or at best one-sided exaggeration) about a holy Franciscan missionary by not one, not two, but three contributors: Joe Mozingo, Matt Hamilton, and Jeff Gottlieb from the Los Angeles Times. Astounding, but hardly surprising, given the secular climate we are swimming in! As if any of these contributors could have lasted a day doing such work of charity as Father Serra did, in such … More →

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An Indomitable Woman: Margaret Haughery, The Breadwoman of New Orleans

When one thinks of New Orleans and its people, the common belief is that New Orleanians are primarily of French extraction. Although the Mediterranean influence in the city since its founding and early history — both France and Spain flew their flags over the city — is predominant, that is not to say that people of other European nationalities did not find their home there. … More →

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Posted in Articles, Catholic America, History | 4 Comments

Catholic Film Lauds Heroes and Martyrs of the War of the Vendée

Regina Magazine: “A friend suggested ‘Why don’t you do the War of the Vendée?’ Jim Morlino recounts. “And I said, ‘The what?’ I’d never heard the word; I had no idea what he was talking about. That was a period of history and an event that had escaped me.” The War of the Vendee (1793 to 1796) was an armed rebellion against the French Republican … More →

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Last ‘Witch’ Hung on Boston Common a Catholic Martyr

The plaque on her grave site reads: “Not far from here on 16 November 1688, Goodwife Ann Glover an elderly Irish widow, was hanged as a witch because she had refused to renounce her Catholic faith. Having been deported from her native Ireland to the Barbados with her husband, who died there because of his own loyalty to the Catholic faith, she came to Boston … More →

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Hilaire Belloc on the Castle Called “Gaillard”: A Strategic Node

In discussions of strategic geography still today, we often hear mention made of the word “node,” but we may not adequately know what that important concept means, nor what the concrete reality further and variously implies. Nor why the concept of “node” itself is still decisive, even under advanced conditions of technology, to include electronic technologies. It is my intention, therefore, to show that a … More →

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From the House of Hesse, Martyr Princess Elizabeth

K.V. Turley of Crisis Magazine: Described at the time as the most beautiful woman in Europe, this is the story of a princess who was to know both public adulation and private sorrow before spending her last days in the service of the sick and the poor wearing the plain garb of a nun. Having been born into privilege and lived in unimaginable splendor, her … More →

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