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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Stephen Beale, Catholic Exchange: After Constantine the Great, there were emperors who were heretics and emperors who adhered to Christian orthodoxy. Then there was Julian the Apostate. From the time of Constantine to the French Revolution, he is the only Christian monarch ever to openly reject the faith, according to Catholic historian Warren Carroll. For reasons both personal and intellectual, Julian launched the last great … More →
(Rorate Caeli) Exactly 75 years ago, the arms silenced in Spain at the end of almost three years of war, and almost a decade of intermittent grave persecution of the Church which reached its zenith in 1936. The greatest persecution of Catholics since late Antiquity, Spaniards condemned as reactionaries by their fellow citizens, had taken place in the territory retained by the Communist-inspired forces, and … More →
This information, incredible as it seems, was revealed this past week by Father Andriy Chirovsky, pastor of St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church in Tucson and founder of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario. Here is a clip from Catholic News Service: After Blessed John Paul II met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev Dec. 1, 1989, … More →
The question posed by the title of this article was asked several of us by our august editor. Its immediacy is reinforced by the season of Christmas – which, despite being under sporadic attack by “holiday” partisans, centers on the one Holy Day still observed by the majority of the world. Despite the anti-Christian moral tone of many of “her” governments around the world, the … More →
While recently reading some of G.K. Chesterton’s written reflections in 19271 shortly after his return from his invited April-May visit to Poland, and then also some of his more abiding insights about the plight and character of Poland almost a decade later, in his posthumously published autobiography in 1936, I thought to bring to the further appreciation of a modern audience, by way of sobering … More →
Especially after witnessing my German wife’s unlooked-for response very late the other night while (and moreso after) I read aloud to her for the first time G.K. Chesterton’s short essay, “Two Words from Poland,”1 I am now even more confident in my judgment to recommend these seven pages to the close attentiveness of the reader. For, interwoven in these variegated pages is so much of … More →