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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Eucharistic Miracle at Fourth Lateran Council

Aleteia: The patriarch Jeremiah Al Amchiti was born in Amsheet, Lebanon, where he grew up and received education until God called him for his service in the religious life. In fact, he became a monk, and with the help of his brothers David and Joseph, he lived for a while as a hermit in Amsheet’s hermitages. Those hermitages included vast and high cellars and three … More →

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England and Always: Coming Home

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part VIII: Coming Home O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry, our earthly rulers falter, our people drift and die; the walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide, take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride. –G.K. Chesterton Events followed fast and furiously after … More →

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Evelyn Waugh in East Africa

By considering the refreshingly candid insights to be found in A Tourist in Africa (1960) — Evelyn Waugh’s last book of travel — we may also thereby shed valuable light on the current challenges and limits to be faced by discordantly multi-cultured and overloaded Europe, given the stark underlying realities of geography and of demography (births, deaths, and migrations). In order to keep manageable proportions, … More →

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Japan: Bones Discovered of Last Martyred Missioner to Japan

Vatican Radio: Japanese authorities on Monday confirmed the identity of a 17th century Italian Catholic Missionary priest, Fr. Giovanni Battista Sidotti, whose body was found in 2014 during excavations for an apartment building. He is known as the ‘last missionary martyr’ to Japan. More here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Diplomats Without Honor

The momentous theme of “honor in foreign policy” presented by James Burnham in his incisive book, Containment or Liberation? (1953), will also be found pervading Geoffrey D.T. Shaw’s recent book of excellence, The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam (2015). Shaw’s book could, and should, now also evoke the memory and content of another searching and well-documented … More →

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RIP Last Cristero Soldier at 103

CNA: The last known surviving soldier of the Cristero War, Juan Daniel Macías Villegas, died last month in his home town of San Julián, Mexico. He was 103 years old.  More here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Pray for the Survivors and 95 Victims, 3 Nuns, 92 Children, Chicago School Fire of 1958

There is a website dedicated to the victims of this horrific tragedy. After reading about the four Sisters of Charity and sixteen other victims killed by terrorists at an old age home in Yemen, I was reminded of one of the worst fires in US history, that which occurred in 1958  at of Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago. The following account details … More →

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England and Always: Decline and Fall

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part VII: Decline and Fall Why, If there’s a God in the sky, Why shouldn’t He grin High Above this dreary Twentieth century din? In this strange illusion, Chaos and confusion, People seem to lose their way. What is there to strive for, Love or keep alive for, Say, ‘Hey, hey!’ Call it a day … More →

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Memories of a Combatant Marine Officer

As a result of recently reviewing The Lost Mandate of Heaven, Geoffrey D.T. Shaw’s well-documented book on the Vietnam War and the manifold cumulative betrayals of South Vietnam’s Catholic President Diem (d. 1963), I came to know of Andrew R. Finlayson. He is another author who has written — often with piercing pathos and resonantly elegiac tones — about Vietnam and about his own memorable … More →

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Franz Werfel

More Facts on Conversion of Franz Werfel, Author of Song of Bernadette

Two years ago, on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, I posted a column on our website about one astounding miracle that occurred at the shrine of Our Lady there. You can read that story here  In that account I noted the following about the Jewish author who wrote the beautiful book The Song of Bernadette: “There are countless miraculous cures that have … More →

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Reconquest of Cordoba by Fernando III of Castile, 1236

This video is narrated by Mr. J Stephen Roberts, who will be my guest on the next Reconquest. (Real Crusades History) In the early 1230’s, while the Almohads were locked in civil war, Fernando III of Castile and Leon, a truly outstanding king in history, gathered his army and Crusaded to win some of the most dramatic gains in the history of the long Reconquista of … More →

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The Catholic Strategic Response to “Undo 1492!”

The following essay by Dr. Robert Hickson appeared in APROPOS magazine in the Christmas issue 2004 # 23. The publisher of APROPOS was the late Anthony Fraser, son of Hamish Fraser. Dr. Hickson gave us permission to publish it on our website. ______________________________ We will get Granada back! It was some time between late 1966 and mid-1967 — but before the Israeli Six-Day War in … More →

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1646: Our Lady’s Victory Over the Dutch Fleet in the Philippines

The Divine Flame: In 1646, when the Philippines was still under the colonial rule of Spain, fifteen Dutch armed-strong fleet battled against two Spanish galleons in five naval encounters, known in history as the Battles of La Naval. Read the account here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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Campaign to Undo “Crusader” Mascots From Sport Teams

Catholic Answers, Steven Weidenkopf: Deep faith and love in Jesus and his Church were the primary motivators for the vast majority of Crusaders. An understanding of the Crusades that is based on viewing these events through the eyes of the participants and rooted in authentic scholarship leads one to embrace the name “Crusader” as a mascot/nickname. Crusaders were faith-filled warriors, willing to sacrifice their fortune, … More →

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The Crusades: Just Wars?

[How and when to listen to my show, ‘Reconquest.’ Also: Listen to past episodes.] A typical catalogue of the supposed historical crimes of the Catholic Church — or of Western men in general — would include the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Just as the latter has its received history, known as the Black Legend, that provides the modern “thinking man” with his talking points, … More →

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