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.
The past five decades have seen religious life in the Catholic Church go into two very different directions. On the one hand, in the wake of Vatican II, many orders – especially of women – jettisoned their unique habits and rules (and in the case of the Dominicans and Carmelites, their liturgical rites). This revolutionary era was immediately followed by an enormous drop off in … More →
Catholics know and love Our Lady of Fatima. We are familiar with the miraculous happenings of 1917 when Our Blessed Lady appeared to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal. We know the promises of Our Lady, we know the prayers that she taught the children, Lucia, Jacinta and little Francisco. We know of the great “Miracle of the Sun” … More →
And a fervent apostle (1822-1905) . Here is a clip from a letter he wrote to his brother: “I have been for the last two months very busy in preparing the men to complete their Easter duty, otherwise I would have written oftener, to you. Our division consists of about twelve thousand men and there are Catholics in every regiment. Protestants attend the sermons by … More →
To Americans to whom the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 is already a hazy memory and anything before World War II ancient history, an event in 1453 would seem to be one that took place an immeasurably long time ago. People didn’t even have cell phones then. Yet the event, like the first voyage to the New World of Christopher Columbus 49 years later, … More →
An example of those whom Pope Francis cited as today’s martyrs, although he survived his unspeakable torments, was Bishop Ioan Ploscaru (1911-1998). Chiesa Online: Bishop Ioan Ploscaru: To all of us, the Greek-Catholic priests and bishops, freedom was offered in exchange for switching to the Orthodox Church. To me personally they proposed this exchange a number of times beginning with my first arrest. But one cannot … More →
In a brief and simply written essay Jimmy Akin shows how one nineteenth century scholar, Emil Schürer’s, mistakes put a question mark on the exact year of Christ’s birth for over a century. I am far more skeptical about this “scholar,” than Atkin. I find it hard to believe that a historian, such as Schürer, who had encyclopedic knowledge about the history of the Jews during Our Lord’s … More →
There are probably millions of stories of personal heroism and courage during the time of the Nazi regime in Europe. We recently wrote of one heroic German Franciscan, Father Karl Goldmann, and his exploits as a German SS soldier. The heart-wrenching story of Edith Stein, now known as Saint Benedicta of the Cross, is another to come out of this horrific time of the twentieth … More →
For this great Argentine [Peron] Who worked tirelessly, That there should rule in the people love and equality. — Hugo del Carril, Marcha Peronista The shadow of that hyddeous strength, sax myle and more it is of length — David Lyndsay, The Monarche The election of Pope Francis, the first ever Argentine Pope, has left commentators and normal people alike scratching their heads, desperately trying … More →
Here’s a clip from Candida Moss’ book: The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom “The Sunday school narrative of a church of martyrs, of Christians huddled in catacombs out of fear, meeting in secret to avoid arrest, and mercilessly thrown to lions merely for their religious beliefs is a macabre fairy tale.” This statement is a bald-faced lie. Without having read … More →
Before his conversion, the prolific writer, Father Benedict Ashley, was a student at the University of Chicago studying under Mortimer Adler, a Jewish Thomistic philosopher, who himself finally came into the Church at the eleventh hour, in 1999, at the age of ninety-seven. Adler was the one who introduced the young atheist/communist Ashley (I don’t know if he was born with the name Benedict, as … More →
It is fascinating to contemplate the edifying life of Karl Gereon Goldmann, and to see so clearly the hand of God operating throughout it. Born in 1916, Karl was the third of seven sons of a devoutly Catholic German couple, Karl and Margareth. The older Karl was a country veterinarian, travelling with his brood of boys throughout the farm country of Fulda to tend to … More →
CNA: Pope Benedict XVI will issue a motu proprio on Feb. 25, clearing the way for the College of Cardinals to choose a date in early March to begin the conclave for electing his successor. More on this here.
Did you know that in 1850, in Maine, the first president-to-be of Boston College was beaten, tarred, and feathered by Know-Nothing thugs? He was Jesuit Father Johannes Bapst. Born in Switzerland in 1815, and ordained a priest in 1846, Father Bapst was first sent to minister to the Indians in New England. Many different tribes were indigenous to the area, principally among which were the … More →
The announcement of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013 that he would leave the Papacy (he could not resign it, as there is no earthly authority into whose hands he could do so; he renounced the See of St. Peter and the Diocese of Rome, and abdicated as Sovereign of the Vatican City State) on February 28 sent shock-waves throughout the world, and continues … More →