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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Father Thomas Byles Priest Who Died Saving Souls on the Titanic

Aleteia: On board in all directions there was the sound of running feet.It was clear there was something wrong. Before hearing anything, however, one had somehow sensed it. Some indiscernible threat had impacted and was quickly making its presence felt throughout the ship. At that moment a priest with breviary in hand was praying Night Office as he walked on the upper deck; nevertheless, as the … More →

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G.K. Chesterton’s View of Tolstoy’s Aspiration to Simplicity

When in 1902 G.K. Chesterton first published his essay “Tolstoy’s Cult of Simplicity” in a book of twelve of his collected essays, he was only twenty-eight years of age, and it was then only two years after he had first met Hilaire Belloc in a London Soho Pub in 1900. Although Chesterton would finally be received into the Catholic Church only some twenty years later … More →


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In 1922 Oregon Tried to Force Catholic Children to Attend Public Schools

Interesting interview with Father David Endres, assistant professor of Church history and historical theology at The Athenaeum of Ohio. CNA: In 1922, Oregon passed a law forcing all children between the ages of eight and sixteen in parochial and private schools into public schools. The law, the Compulsory Education Act of 1922, was supported by the Ku Klux Klan as a measure to push for standard … More →

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“England and Always”: The British, The Empire, and The Faith. Part I: Separated by a Common Language

If England was what England seems An’ not the England of our dreams, But only putty, brass, an’ paint, ‘Ow quick we’d drop ‘er! But she ain’t! — Rudyard Kipling Americans in general, and American Catholics in particular, have a very strange relationship with England and the memory of the British Empire. Much of it is fueled by more or less distorted remembrances of the … More →


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Haters of the Faith Get Father De Smet Statue Removed from Campus at Jesuit College

The College Fix: The De Smet statue has long drawn the ire of progressive students and scholars at the Jesuit university who argue the statue was a symbol of racism and white supremacy, among other oppressions. In a recent op-ed published in SLU’s University News, senior Ryan McKinley stated the sculpture sent a clear, unwelcoming message to American Indians at Saint Louis University. “This message to American Indians is … More →

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Ireland: a Chronology of De-Christianization

Ireland’s rejection of Divine and Natural Law in the definition of marriage was the culmination in a series of incremental betrayals, over a period of forty-three years, which secularized the Irish State and Irish society. A chronology of these events is presented below: 1972—Irish voters approve, by a referendum margin of 84%, a constitutional amendment repealing Article 44 of the Irish Constitution, which recognized “the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman … More →


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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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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 →


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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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