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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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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Posted in Columns, History | 2 Comments
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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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The Armenian Genocide

Since little media attention was paid in this country to the anniversary, most readers may be barely aware, if aware at all, that it was a hundred years ago last month that the rulers of Turkey in 1915-16 began a campaign of deportations and killings that nearly exterminated the Armenians, the first of the world’s peoples to become Christian. About two million Armenians lived in … More →


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The Conflict Between the North and the South–A Book Review

Volume I – The North and the South and Secession: Who was in the Right? An Examination of Cause and Right Adam Miller is a brave man to tackle this touchy subject — the American Civil War, or (more correctly) the War Between the States, or (as he prefers) the War of Northern Aggression. As he explains, it cannot correctly be called a “civil” war, … More →


Posted in Articles, Book Reviews, Catholic America, History, Politics and Society | 7 Comments

The Origins of Political Correctness

Someone just referred me to this video. While I do not agree with Mr. Whittle’s comments about the South, Tsarist Russia, or the wonders of Capitalism or industrialism, I do think he has done the very important service of showing, in a clear and concise way, the connection of the Marxist Frankfurt School to some of our present social ills. Right now, as racial tensions are … More →


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Great Story of Conversion of Sioux Indians

Catholic Exchange, Dale Ahlquist: A friend once lent me a book that I wish everyone else could read. Unfortunately it is not readily available. In fact, it has been out of print for almost 120 years. It is the memoir of Monsignor Augustin Ravoux, who served as a priest in Minnesota before the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis even existed. It is an inspiring … More →

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Jesuit Father Fahy Stood Up to the Communists in China

CNS.com: 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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The Celtic Church — Myth and Reality

For many people — practicing, nominal, and non-Catholic alike — in the United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, St. Patrick’s day is welcome relief from the rigours (if any) of Lent, or at the very least a mid-spring party. Shamrocks abound as do green clothes of all varieties; the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Emerald Society, and suchlike bodies parade — … 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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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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