Category: 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 Faith Triumphs at Chalcedon

IN PREVIOUS ISSUES we have told the stories of the first and third ecu­menical councils. In what fol­lows, Brother Michael tells the story of the fourth Ecumenical Council, that of Chalcedon (pronounced Kal- sē’- dun). This of necessity brings in, … Continue reading

Doomed to Repeat It

British historian Arnold Toynbee once lamented that some of his fellows considered history to be “just one damned thing after another.” He thought that history is more than a conglomeration of isolated events; it is a thing governed by discernible … Continue reading

The Death of Chopin

The great nineteenth-century composer, Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849), was born in the wake of that horrid reign of “enlight­ened” barbarity, the French Revolu­tion – the age when Masonic phil­osophers boasted that Reason had finally triumphed over “the Gali­lean,” Jesus Christ … Continue reading

Islam Versus the Faith

Much of history since the seventh century has been shaped by an unending conflict between the One True Church and Islam. Today’s Church having fallen into a sorry state with many of her members no longer understanding that they belong … Continue reading