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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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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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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The Thousands of Irish Slaves Under the British

Irish Central: The history of the African slave trade into the Americas is well-documented as well as largely taught in American schools today. However, as John Martin of the Montreal-based Center for Research and Globalization points out in his article ‘The Irish Slave Trade – The Forgotten ‘White’ Slaves,’ it was not just Africans who were traded as slaves. Indeed, the Irish have a gruesome … More →

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Why Does (Did) the Roman Catholic Church Make Latin Her Language?

Chris Jackson of The Remnant has provided another excellent article on the reasons why the Church adopted the Latin language in her liturgy, decrees, and official communications. The article was written in 1919 by Father John Francis Sullivan and it is found in chapter XIX in the book, The Externals of the Catholic Church.  Before I post the article I want to note a few simple … More →

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Posted in Columns, History, Mass and the Liturgy | 1 Comment
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Doing God’s Will

In his most important book, Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism, the great Spanish Catholic diplomat, statesman and political thinker Juan Donoso Cortes (1809-53), often called “the Spanish de Maistre,” wrote: “Governments seem to be endowed with an unerring instinct which teaches them that they can only be just and strong in the name of God. Thus it happens that whenever they commence to secularize, that is … More →


Posted in Articles, Current Issues in the Church, History, Politics and Society | 1 Comment

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen Defines Once Catholic Ireland as “Backward”

In a metro column of The Boston Sunday Globe of August 24th, serial Catholic basher Kevin Cullen wrote about the controversy in Ireland over the discovery of unmarked graves of children at the site of a maternity home in Tuam administered bythe Bon Secours Sisters. Though disturbing questions remain, the affair has been characterized by hysterical press coverage and extravagant claims, almost all of which … More →


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Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba Blasts Communist Regime

American Catholic: If you want to know what is going on in Cuba, the Babalu blog is the go to blog.  Carlos Eire tells us about the man who has just become my favorite papal nuncio:  Archbishop Bruno Musarò, Apostolic Nuncio to Castrogonia,  blasted the island’s rulers recently, and a handful of news organizations are reporting on his comments. Read more here.   Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Padre Pio Bilocated to Cardinal Mindszenty’s Prison Cell

TFP website: Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli has published on the Vatican Insider site a serious testimony about Padre Pio’s bilocation to the Hungarian dungeon where Joszef Cardinal Mindszenty was imprisoned in the fifties.The Hungarian anticommunist cardinal was a fierce adversary of the Vatican policy of detente toward Communist governments known as Ostpolitik. Read more here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse

One dominant feature that is pervasive in holy scripture, testifying to its divine inspiration, is that there is no exaggerating the good nor whitewashing the evil in God’s people. Beginning with Adam and Eve actually trying to hide themselves from God “amidst the trees” after their sin, and on through the Bible, the triumphs and failures of the principal characters in the history of the … More →


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Missionaries and Laotian Martyrs Soon to Be Beatified

Vatican Insider: The small communist south-east Asian nation of Laos will have its very own martyrs, possibly within just a few months. Two parallel processes have begun for a group of religious, missionaries and lay people which have been split down the middle: the missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate (OMI), Mario Borzaga and the Laotian catechist Paul Thoj Xyooj killed in 1960 on the one hand … More →

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Prolific Pope Leo XIII Published Riddles Anonymously — in Latin

Catholic News Service: Going by the pseudonym “X,” Pope Leo XIII anonymously crafted poetic puzzles in Latin for a Roman periodical at the turn of the 19th century. The pope created lengthy riddles, known as “charades,” in Latin in which readers had to guess a rebus-like answer from two or more words that together formed the syllables of a new word. Eight of his puzzles were … More →

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An Unexpected Request for Alms in a Southern Harbor: Hilaire Belloc Under Sail in Palma of Majorca

While recently on the ocean-seacoast island of my boyhood home, I decided to read again amidst the inspiring cool sea breezes my own fragile first edition of Hilaire Belloc’s 1908 collection of essays, entitled On Nothing and Kindred Subjects, which was dedicated to his friend Maurice Baring who was not yet, but almost, a Catholic. In this Anthology, I have especially wanted to consider our … More →


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