Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Church Triumphant: the Eve of All Saints - the real Hallowe'en

In vigil. fest. omnibus Sanctis

The Eve of All Hallows

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb"

Forget "trick or treat"!

This the real meaning of All Hallow's Eve or Hallowe'en. Hallows is an old English word meaning "saints". Hence we speak of something being "hallowed" i.e. made holy.

This tableau is a powerful representation of the Church militant, here on earth, and the Church triumphant, in heaven.

On earth we see the Pope, clergy and religious on the left and the Emperor, nobility and people on the right.

Above them we see the Holy Trinity, with our Lady and the martyrs on the left and St Joseph and the other saints on the right, above them both are the holy angels, all adoring the Trinity.

It demonstrates, too, the essentially familiar and Trinitarian heart of the Church: the Holy Family is a reflection of the Holy Trinity and the charity that must obtain within a family is a reflection of the charity that obtains within the Holy Family and the Holy Trinity and is the foundation of heaven.

The Church, then, is a society founded upon the family and upon familiar principles which, in turn, are Trinitarian and incarnational principles, incarnating the love of God for men and the filial duty of men, in turn, to love and adore God the Father of all.

This the saints have done and do now to perfection, setting an example for us all to imitate.

All ye holy apostles, saints and martyrs, pray for us!


Monday, 29 October 2007

Dios, Fueros, Patria y Rey! The Spanish Carlists and Christ the King

Carlism began as a dynastic struggle for the Spanish throne which emerged within the Bourbon dynasty when King Ferdinand VII on 29 March 1830, dissolved the Salic Law, permitting his only child to become Queen Isabel II, rather than the monarchy pass only through the male line to his brother Don Carlos Maria Isidro (pictured), Infante of Spain.

This change of law was not only to cast away the traditional dynastic law of the Spanish Royal house but, more importantly, was to give a chance to Spanish anti-clericals, inspired by the French Revolution, to adopt the cause of Queen Isabel as a means of gaining power and so over-throwing both Church and Monarchy and so bring in a secular state in imitation of the French revolutionaries.

The Spanish traditional Catholics flocked to the standard of Don Carlos and so the Carlist Party was born to fight against the secularisers and anti-clericals. They were determined to protect and defend the traditions of Catholic Spain and its regions from Galicia to Valencia, from Granada to Aragon.

The anti-clerical "liberals" were equally determined to fight against the Catholic traditions of Spain although they were careful to couch their language in terms of liberty and supposed pragmatism. In reality they intended to bring in a bourgeois monarchy, such as was to obtain in France, so that they, the anti-clerical bourgeois revolutionaries, could then assume key positions in the state and so enrich themselves fabulously at the expense of the ordinary people.

The people had remained staunchly Catholic and so, where they had not been suborned by the lies of the revolutionaries, they followed the Church and Don Carlos. The divisions between conservative Catholics and liberal revolutionaries led to a series of wars throughout the 19th century which weakened Spain, already economically weak from the loss of her Empire during the Napoleonic occupation. Bonaparte's occupation of Spain allowed the anti-clerical, Freemasonic revolutionaries in Latin America to seize power and break the power of the Church and Monarchy, re-introducing slavery and enriching the revolutionary leaders at the expense of the poor.

Throughout three Carlist Wars (the last in 1893), numerous coup plots, and wedding schemes - almost all of which took on international political overtones - the Carlists made some headway but were headed off by an international revolutionary alliance supporting the Isabellinist "liberals".

The fourth Carlist War was called off in 1936, when, faced with a much greater threat from Communism and the corruptly elected "Popular Front" government, the Carlist pretender, Alfonso Carlos I, decided he had to back General Francisco Franco, the leader of the Nationalist revolt.

The Carlists had an uneasy relationship with Franco who attempted to force them into a merger with the much more Right Wing Falange (literally "Phalanx"), founded by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, so as to present a united front against the revolutionary "Popular Front" government who had set about murdering clergy and religious.

The motto of Carlism was "Dios, Patria, Fueros, Rey" ("God, Country, our ancient customs, and our King").

Carlists preserved the Catholic ideals of the Spanish Empire, fighting both by military and political means to restore Catholic rule to Spain as it had existed for centuries. "Throne and Altar" was their guide just as it was for Catholic legitimists all over Europe.

With this vision came all the principles and liberties associated with Catholic Social teaching including a respect for local autonomy and subsidiarity, the principle of de-centralising power save where it was otherwise necessary to do otherwise.

This was what sometimes set them at odds with the Falangists and with Franco, both of whom saw a need for one, united Spain to fight the evil of Communism. This the Carlist leaders agreed with up to a point but they wanted the old local autonomies - and their fueros or local customary rights - restored as soon as possible.

The Carlist concept of fueros attracted many U.S. conservatives, who realised it was akin to the concept of "states' rights" which the US Constitution was supposed to preserve (but failed to do during and after the American civil war).

Under this system, when Carlists ruled certain regions of Spain during one of their wars, they gave maximum "community control" to ethnic provinces.

The flag of the Carlists was that of the Spanish Empire, itself brought to Spain from Burgundy by the Spanish Habsburgs. It is the red serrated saltire cross of Burgundy.

After the Spanish civil war was over, the Carlists were somewhat sidelined by Franco but still maintained a presence in the Spanish Cortes or Parliament. Moreover, there were splits in the movement when the heir-presumptive, Don Carlos VIII Hugo ( Don Carlos Hugo de Borbón-Parma y Borbón-Busset, the Duke of Madrid), became a Socialist which was alien to the Carlist tradition.

The traditional Carlists formed the COMUNIÓN TRADICIONALISTA CARLISTA which looks to his brother, Don Sixto Enrique (Don Sixto Enrique de Borbón-Parma y Borbón-Busset, Duke of Aranjuez) as putative Regent during the time that Don Carlos Hugo remains a Socialist, hoping for better from his sons.

In the meantime, General Franco decided to recognise Don Juan Carlos (Juan Carlos de Borbón y Borbón Dos Sicilias, Count of Barcelona) who fused both the Isabellinist line, the Alphonist line and the Carlist line of Borbon y Austria which arose at the death of King Alfonso Carlos I in 1936. Many Carlists had refused to recognise this line because its head, King Alfonso XII did not share the full Carlist ideals, especially of local regional autonomy, however it was arguably the direct male line of Don Carlos.

Thus King Juan Carlos I represents the fusion of the Legitimist and the Isabellinist lines which made a lot of sense in terms of stability.

However, traditional Carlists still recognise Don Sixto Enrique because he supports the traditionalist Catholic and regionalist principles of Carlism.

Carlists fought with the nationalists in the Civil war because the common enemy were the Communists, Socialists and Anarchists who were brutally murdering bishops, priests and religious and raping and murdering nuns and Catholic men, women and children.

On Sunday 28 October 2007, the Feast of Christ the King, Pope Benedict XVI beatified no less than 498 Spanish martyrs, brutally killed by the crazed and bloodthirsty Assault Guards, secret police (the dreaded SIM) and thugs of the revolutionary republicans.

This raised howls of protest from the modern secularists who could not stomach the idea that the Church dared to show any kind of support for those who were the victims of Communist and Anarchist brutality. These people are very happy when the Church beatifies the victims of Nazism and Right Wing regimes but the minute the Church shews balance and also beatifies the victims of the equally brutal Communist regimes, they howl. That this view is wholly unbalanced needs hardly to be stated - but nevertheless large sections of the media still vilify the Church for being so even-handed.

Apparently this kind of religious vilification is deemed acceptable by their editors and programme-makers. More balanced readers and viewers are able to judge more fairly and can see that it is no better than any other kind of religious vilification and, indeed, all the more odious for being practised by hypocrites who claim to object to such religious vilification.

The Carlist anthem is the hymn El Oriamendi.

It can be heard here:

sung for the Regiment of Requetes of our Lady of Montserrat, and here:

The words are:

Por Dios, por la Patria y el Rey
lucharon nuestros padres.
Por Dios, por la Patria y el Rey
lucharemos nosotros también.

Lucharemos todos juntos,
todos juntos en unión,
defendiendo la bandera
de la santa tradición.

Lucharemos todos juntos,
todos juntos en unión,
defendiendo la bandera
de la santa tradición.

Cueste lo que cueste
se ha de conseguir
que venga el rey de España
a la Corte de Madrid.

Por Dios, por la Patria y el Rey
lucharon nuestros padres.
Por Dios, por la Patria y el Rey
lucharemos nosotros también.


For God, for our country and king,
Our fathers fought without shirking
For God, for our country and king,
We shall do the very same thing!

Together we'll fight all as one
Together in unison,
Defending the standard as one
Of our holy tradition.

Whate'er the expense may be
To be counted at the end
The king of Spain shall enter
The court of Madrid at the end.

For God, for our country and king,
Our fathers fought without shirking
For God, for our country and king,
We shall do the very same thing!

Viva Cristo Rey!
Long live Christ the King!


Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ave Christus Rex! Long live Christ The King! Viva Cristo Rey!

Jusepe de Ribera. Christ in the Crown of Thorns.

Christus Rex

The Feast of Christ the King

is today!

Regnavit a ligno Deus

"God hath ruled us from a tree"

(Vexilla Regis, Venantius Fortunatus)

Christos Pantokrator (Christ, ruler of all), ancient Byzantine ikon

Rex regum et Dominus dominantium
"King of kings and Lord of Lords"

Revelation 19:16

Dignus est Agnus qui occisus est, accipere virtutem, et divinitatem, et sapientem, et fortiudinem, et honorem. Ipsi gloria et imperium in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Revelation 5: 12, 13, Introit for the Mass of Christ the King

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing...Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
The same from Handel's Messiah

Dixit itaque ei Pilatus: ergo Rex es tu? Respondit Jesus: tu dicis quia Rex sum ego. Ego in hoc natus sum, et ad hoc veni in mundum, ut testimonium perhibeam veritati: omnis qui est ex veritate, audit vocem meam.
John 18, Gospel for the Mass of Christ the King

"Pilate therefore said to Him: art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice".

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
Revelation 19:6

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."
Revelation 11:15

"And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS."
Revelation 19:16

"For unto Us a Child is born, unto Us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".
Isaiah 9: 6
All also from Handel's Messiah

And so we must return to the social Kingship of Jesus Christ...

"19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men." If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.
28. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day."

[Pope Pius IX, Quas Primas, Encyclical letter establishing the Feast of Christ the King, 1925.]

Hail Christ the King!


Saturday, 27 October 2007

Anti-slavery laws in the Spanish Empire: the sources

The lies that are put about concerning the Americas are legion.

Secularists and the more bigoted of Protestants would have you believe that only they were good and kind to the natives whereas the wicked Catholic Church treated them cruelly.

It is, of course, an idle lie.

In fact, the reverse is true. Many Protestants were worse and even taught that the natives were, as Cotton Mather put it, "Adam's degenerate seed".

Secularists were far worse and many considered the Indians evolutionary dinosaurs and thus ready for extinction and extermination. Some secularists even considered it a favour to shoot and kill them - after all, evolution was against them!

From the very first the Spanish Catholic Church and Monarchy took the native American Indians under their special protection.

Do not suppose that this prevented all exploitation of Indians. It did not. Evil men will be evil wherever they are. It was a long way to Latin America and the laws of both Church and King were easily ignored by bad governors, bad latifundistas and bad encomenderos, of whom there were all too many in the Americas, north and south.

That exploitation took place cannot be doubted as Friar Bartolome de las Casas himself attests to as an eye-witness, though he may have slightly exaggerated for maximum effect.

The difference, however, is this: the Spanish Church and Monarchy set their face against exploitation of the native Americans from the very start, whereas almost all of the Protestant churches and monarchies did not.

King Phillip II, pictured above, son of the Emperor Charles V and later King of England (yes, really - he was Queen Mary Tudor's husband), was particularly vigilant for the protection of the native Indians

Secular revolutionaries and Freemasons, like the rabidly anti-clerical Marquess of Pombal in Portugal, actually made slavery and slaving legal. Other Freemasonic leaders in Europe like the Duc de Choiseul did likewise in the French colonies and even created infamous Penal colonies out of some of them.

So much for the great "Enlightenment" which was supposed to free people from the "slavery" of the Catholic Church.


The very reverse is true!

Well, what laws did the Spanish pass to protect the Indians?

Here are 3 famous sets to start with:

1. The Laws of Burgos of 1512

A cardinal archbishop of Seville named Domingo de Mendoza, heard reports of the abuse of the American Indians and sent a group of Dominican missionaries to Hispaniola to investigate.

Friar Antonio de Montesinos preached to the colonists that they were sinning and didn’t possess the right to force the American Indians to serve them. Some of the colonists disagreed and decided the best way to protect their interests was to come together as a group and choose a Franciscan friar named Alonso de Espinal to present their case to King Ferdinand of Spain and refute Montesinos’ accusations.

King Ferdinand when he learned the truth was outraged by the abuses against the American Indians. He founded a group of theologians and academics to come up with solution. In the city of Burgos, thirty-five laws were put into effect to secure the freedom of the American Indians, and also to promote their conversion to Christianity.

The document known as the Leyes de Burgos (Laws of Burgos) was promulgated on 27 December 1512. They were the first codified set of laws governing the behaviour of Spanish settlers in America, particularly with regards to native Indians.

It enumerated a number of laws for the government of the indigenous peoples of the recently discovered New World. They forbade the maltreatment of natives, and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. The scope of the laws was originally restricted to the island of Hispaniola, but was later extended to Puerto Rico and Jamaica.

These laws authorized and legalized the colonial practice of creating encomiendas, where Indians were grouped together to work under colonial masters, limiting the size of these establishments to a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 150 people. However, they also established a minutely regulated regime of work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene, and care for the Indians in a highly protective and humanitarian spirit. Women more than four months pregnant, for example, were exempted from work.

The document finally prohibited the use of any form of punishment by the encomenderos, reserving it for officials established in each town for the implementation of the laws. It also ordered that the Indians be catechized, outlawed bigamy, and required that the huts and cabins of the Indians be built together with those of the Spanish. It respected the traditional authorities, granting chiefs exemptions from ordinary jobs and granting them various Indians as servants.

Later amendments in 1513 ordered that after two years of service, the Indians were free to go. By this time they would be civilized and proper Christians and able to govern themselves.

These Laws can be seen here:

Can you imagine the early Protestant settlers of North America doing anything like this?

No, me neither.

And the Secularists? Not likely! Their one aim was gold, gold, gold! And they often would tell ANY lie at all about the Church just to get their way.

2. The New Laws of 1542

The New Laws (Leyes Nuevas) of 1542 were created to prevent the exploitation of the indigenous people by the encomenderos. They were enforced by Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru, who quickly became unpopular among the bad encomenderos and fled to Quito to escape a large revolt by these secret enemies of the Church and the King.

The laws were the results of a reform movement spurred by the refusal of free-booting encomenderos to follow the Laws of Burgos. During the reign of the Emperor Charles V (who was also King of Spain) the reformers gained steam, with Bartolomé de las Casas as a notable leading advocate. He was able to influence the King, and the fruit of the reformers' labour was the New Laws.

The New Laws solemn prohibited the enslavement of the Indians. It prohibited the sending of indigenous people to work in the mines unless it was absolutely necessary, and required that they be taxed fairly and treated well. However, the promulgation of the New Laws caused great unrest in Spanish America, leading to a revolt in Peru, led by Gonzalo Pizarro, half-brother to the free-booting and Indian-persecuting conqueror of the Incas, Francisco Pizarro. The revolt led to the overthrow of Blasco Núñez Vela. Charles V and the court became alarmed, and finally, on October 20, 1545, 30 of the rules were suppressed.

However, Pizarro, and his ally, Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Carvajal, known as the "Demon of the Andes", were later defeated. They were tried, found guilty of treason and many other crimes, especially against the Indians, and beheaded.

The New Laws can be viewed here:

Ignore the usual ignorant twaddle about "Feudalists" against "Regalists". The reality is that the battle was between crooks, liars, robbers and cheats, on the one hand, against the just and Christian laws of the King of Spain, blessed by the Church, on the other.

Again, can you imagine the mainstream Protestants and Secularists passing such laws?

No, me neither.

3. La Recopilacion de las Leyes de Indias of 1680

This is a comprehensive Code for the good governance of the Spanish colonies in America dn the Phillipines and has large sections for the protection of the Indians. It is so large that it is difficult to summarise.

I can find no translation of it on the internet which gives you some idea of the astonishing degree of bigotry and prejudice that still exists against Catholic Spain and her Empire amongst the kind of North American post-Protestant secularists who tend to dominate the internet.

If it were freely available in English on the net then, of course, many people might find out that the Spanish Catholic and royal government ever had the best interests of the Indians at heart.

It totals 9 books of 6,385 laws grouped into 218 titles.

It can be viewed (in the original Spanish) here:

Later, with coming to power of the anti-clerical Freemasons, these laws were changed to allow slavery once again to be practised legally.

In Mexico, Benito Juarez, the supposedly "great" and "liberal" reformer re-introduced slavery even though he was, himself, partly Indian!

So much for the anti-clerical liberals who so roundly abuse the Church for exploiting the natives.
The Church and Monarchy were the best friends the natives had. It was the free-booting, anti-clerical Freemasons, often smoothely disguising their rapacity under the cloak of utterly false and pretended friendship or tolerance to Church and King, who were the real enemies of the native people of America.

The gentle yoke of Christ the King was the best protection the Indians ever had. When that yoke was hurled off by the secular revolutionaries, anti-clericals, Freemasons and Church-haters, the Indians were worse off than ever before.


Friday, 26 October 2007

When giants walked the earth: the pre-suppression Jesuits

St Ignatius of Loyola

It is but little known that immediately the New World was discovered, the Spanish monarchy established laws to protect the native Indians - the very opposite of what happened in Protestant North America where slavery was accepted and then made legal in the new colonies (e.g. in Massachusetts in 1625).

Lying secular and Protestant propaganda tries to pretend the opposite but the facts reveal otherwise.

In fact, when, in the 18th century, the higher echelons of government in many Catholic countries were infiltrated by anti-clericals and Freemasons, these same anti-clericals were notable for their re-introduction of the abomination of slave-trading.

The anti-clerical Marquess of Pombal, Freemasonic Prime Minister of Portugal, re-introduced it into the Portuguese territories in Latin America, clean contrary to the laws of the Church and of the former Portuguese monarchy.

Yet Pombal is lauded by secularists, atheists, anti-clericals, Catholic-haters and baiters as a great "reformer" and "thinker" and "social activist".

The "Devil's reformer" would be a better description!

But so runs the hypocrisy and falseness of this fallen world.

Needless to say, it was a Freemasonic conspiracy of Pombal and his Masonic allies in other countries that led directly to the suppression of the Jesuit missions in the Reductions and eventually to the suppression of the whole Jesuit Order in 1773 on the orders of an intimidated, threatened and oppressed Pope, Clement XIV, who thereby became the tool of the Freemasonic powers of Europe.

Count Aranda in Spain, the Duke of Choiseul in France, Prince Kaunitz in the Empire and others all conspired to destroy the Jesuit Order which, by then, had become the most Catholic Order in the world and probably the most Catholic that has ever been.

The suppression of this Order drew down the most terrible wrath and vengeance, permitted by heaven, against those nations who had conspired to bring it about or allowed such infamy in their midst. The French Revolution was let loose less than 20 years later, brought about by the very Freemasons who had conspired to destroy the Jesuits. Europe and the world has even now not yet quite recovered from that most bloody and terrible cataclysm.

From humble beginnings these most extraordinary of men, the Company of Jesus, had set out to conquer the world - but not with arms but with the love of God. And they had nearly succeeded.

The reached China, Japan, India, the Americas, the East and West Indies, Russia and all points East and West - they even reached Ethiopia and 4 Jesuits almost converted the whole country.

They taught themselves the local languages, lived with the people, respected their culture and government and taught them Christianity, remaining their servants and chaplains at all times.

Truly Giants walked the earth in those days!

In Latin America, the Jesuits famously created Reductions or cities in the jungles for the Guarani and other Indian tribes.

Map of the Reductions

The Jesuit Reductions were part of the Spanish colonial strategy of building reductions (reducciones de indios) in order to civilise and catechise the native populations of South America. They were supported by the Spanish Church and monarchy but resisted by the rogue slave-traders, free-booters, Freemasons and thugs that sought to exploit the Indians contrary to the laws of both Church and State.

They were created in the Tupi-Guarani areas of Portuguese Brazil and Spanish America and became famous for their resistance to enslavement by the enemies of the Church who had but recently infiltrated and captured the government of most of the Catholic countries of Europe.

Having first landed in South America in 1550, the Jesuits protected the Guaraní from the raids of the slave-hunters from Portugal and Spain. They founded several missions or reductions and developed a kind of evangelisation that was possibly unique in Christian history.

The first settlement was founded in 1609. The Freemasons and anti-clericals having suppressed the Reductions later tried to make up for their infamy by claiming, falsely, that the Reductions were a kind of utopian egalitarian democracy which they certainly were not.

Even now people think that's what they were. They simply weren't.

The Reductions were organised along the lines of a typical Spanish town or village except that all the chiefs and leaders were native Indians, not Spanish, and the customs of the Indians were kept save insofar as they were incompatible with Christianity. The Jesuits were their chaplains.

The Indians were taught to be loyal to the monarchy and so they were - both to their own chiefs and kings and to the Spanish and Portugese kings.

The Jesuits founded free public services for the poor, public schools, and hospitals, and abolished the death penalty. The inhabitants of the Reductions worked communal land, and all the products they produced were distributed by fair rules. They worked only a 6 hour day and used their leisure to create and to pray.

This was NOT Socialism, still less Communism as some ignorant nincompoops still try to maintain. It was Catholic monarchy and Catholic Distributism.

And what a huge success it was! In time the Indians, who were skilled craftsmen and musicians, were able to perform whole choral works and some Indian composers even began to compose choral works and Baroque masses of their own. Yes, truly! Astonishing though it sounds! And this from a people who, not long before, had been living like primitive, bloody savages in the jungle, worshipping demons.

This is what Christianity achieves. This is the gigantic cultural and spiritual heritage that Western man now wants to throw away. Fools!

The Indian workshops made such soundly crafted musical instruments that they were sold for the best prices in the markets of Europe among the work of the very best of European instrument makers. Again - astonishing but true!

The Freemasons and their slave-trading friends could not tolerate this. It interfered with their profits from slave-trading and exploitation. It also annoyed them that this was a Church enterprise and not a Freemasonic one and above all they hated the fact that it had been set up by the Jesuits who were so Catholic and so loyal to Pope and King.

The devilish Masons plotted the downfall of the whole Jesuit Order and with it the fate of many around the world who depended upon the Jesuits, hung in the balance

A treaty handed over the missions in Spanish territory to the Portuguese who, thanks to the odious and despicable Pombal, had now legalised slaving and slavery. The treaty caused surprise and indignation in the Spanish colony of La Plata. The Viceroy of Peru, the royal Audiencia of Charcas, and the secular and ecclesiastical authorities unanimously sent protests of the most emphatic nature to the Spanish Cabinet. They were as unsuccessful as the earnest petitions of the Jesuits, who declared that it was impossible to approach the Indians with the cruel demand to give up their home and their possessions, solemnly granted them by so many royal decrees, and to surrender them without any cause or provocation to their enemies and oppressors, the Portuguese.

It was all of no avail. Ignazio Visconti, the General of the Society, over-compliant to the wishes of government, issued a strict command to the members of the order to yield to the inevitable and to prevail upon the exiled Indians to submit, a task which they performed, at first indeed without success. In begging earnestly for a respite and in making every effort to have the cruel measure revoked the Jesuits merely performed their Christian duty; to present their conduct as insubordination, as has been done, is unjust.

Their position was infinitely aggravated by the imprudent and domineering behaviour of the Spanish and Portuguese plenipotentiaries, and especially by the impassioned attitude of the commissary of the order, Fr Luis Altamirano, S.J., who treated as rebels his own brethren, who advised him to proceed with care and moderation. In spite of all the appeals of the Fathers, the Indians, goaded beyond bearing, rose in arms, but having no leader and lacking unity, were defeated in battle in February, 1758. Those who did not submit fled into the forests, where some of them carried on an unsuccessful guerilla warfare.

Ruins of a reduction Church

The greater part of the Indians, following the advice of the Fathers, emigrated and settled in the Reductions on the Rivers Paraná and Uruguay (right bank). In 1762 there were still 2497 families, numbering 11,084 souls, scattered there in 17 Reductions; 3052 families, numbering 14,018 souls, had returned to their old home in 1781. For in that year had cancelled the unfortunate treaty of 1750, acknowledging thereby the mistake that had been made.

This War of the Seven Reductions was made to serve as one of the principal points of accusation advanced by the enemies of the Jesuits. A flood of defamatory pamphlets, falsified documents, and ridiculous fables, as, for instance, the tale of a king, Nicholas I of Paraguay, went out from an unscrupulous press which Pombal controlled, and was spread broadcast over Europe by the anti-Jesuit faction. Although their absolutely unhistoric character has long been clearly proven, these publications continue even now to vitiate the historical presentation of this period.

The rest is known. On 2 April, 1767, Charles III of Spain, weak and duped by his evil Masonic ministers, signed the edict which decreed the exile of the Jesuits from the Spanish possessions in America. It was the death-warrant of the Reductions of Paraguay. The expulsion was carried out by force by the Governor of La Plata, the Marquess of Bucareli, in the most brutal manner.

"The Jesuits in Paraguay, at least, by their conduct in their last public act, most amply vindicated their loyalty to the Spanish crown.... Nothing would have been easier, depleted as the viceroyalty was at the time of troops, than to have defied the forces which Bucareli had at his disposal and to have set up a Jesuit State, which would have taxed the utmost resources of the Spanish crown to overcome" . . . [but] "they made no fight, nor offered any resistance, allowing themselves to be taken as the sheep is seized by the butcher" (Cunninghame Graham, loc. cit., 267).

The followed their divine Lord in so doing who "was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth" (Acts 8:32).

As the Jesuits were led away in chains by the soldiers under orders from Freemasons like Pombal and Aranda, the simple and devout Indians lined the river banks and, so faithfully remembering what they had been taught by their holy Jesuit chaplains, they called out encouragement to their imprisoned spiritual fathers.

"Remember, O my Fathers, Jesus also died upon the Cross!" cried out these humble and holy souls.

The Jesuit fathers must have been touched to the bottom of their manly hearts by these pious cries.

But soon the Indians would be reduced into slavery by brutal, anti-Christian forces or killed if they resisted - martyred for the God whom they had come to love and imitate so much more than many Europeans who should have known better.

The Jesuit Province of Paraguay numbered at that time 564 members, 12 colleges, 1 university, 1 novitiate, 3 houses for conducting retreats, 2 residences, 57 Reductions, and 113,716 Christian Indians. The leave-taking from the Indians was heart-rending. In vain they pleaded in the most fervent manner to be allowed to keep their Fathers or to be assured that they would return. They never returned.

The first fruits of the expulsion was the keenest disappointment to the Freemasons who had expected to find hidden gold. Except the splendid decorations of the churches, of which entire wagonloads were carried away, none of the hoped-for treasures were found.

The spiritual administration of the Reductions was transferred to the Franciscans and others, the public administration to Spanish civil officials. Attempts were made to retain most of the institutions introduced by the Jesuits, which had previously been so severely censured -- a fact which sheds a characteristic light upon them -- but the rapid decline of the Reductions (in 1772 the Guaraní Reduction numbered 80,881 souls; in 1796 only 45,000; soon after there were only a few remnants left) showed that their vitality had been destroyed.

The beautiful mission churches fell to pieces; the magnificent economic institutions stood forsaken. Terrific uprisings, the revolution, and its accompanying battles, and finally the despotic rule of the first republican presidents, Francia and Lopez, destroyed in less than fifty years what the spirit of Christian sacrifice had laboriously built up during a period of one hundred and fifty years.

Ruin of the great mission Church of San Miguel

Today only beautiful ruins mark the place where once this great Christian commonwealth stood. But "the memory of the missionaries still continues to live in blessing among the Indians, who talk of the rule of the Padres as of their Golden Age" (Stein-Wappaeus, loc. cit., 1013). "The fact is," says the famous German traveller and ethnographer, Dr. Karl von der Steinen, "that the expulsion of the Jesuits was a severe blow for the native inhabitants of La Plata and the Amazon territories, from which it has never recovered."

Martyrs of the Reductions

Saints Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz, Alphonsus Rodríguez and Juan del Castillo were three martyrs of the Rio Plate.

Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz (1576-1628) was one of the main architects of the Jesuit reductions in Paraguay along the Rio Plate. A native of Paraguay, Gonzalez was born in its capital, Asunción in 1576 and studied with the Jesuits but became a diocesan priest whose first assignment was working with native peoples near the capital. He was so successful that the bishop made him pastor of the cathedral. Then in 1609 he joined the Jesuits who sent him as a novice to work with the Guaraní people who lived on the banks of the Paraguay and Pilcomayao rivers. He was sent to convert them to Christianity, thus assuring Spaniards of safe passage on a shortcut to Peru. Gonzalez became fluent in the Guaraní language and his preaching became effective. Although few Guaraní asked to be baptized, they became more friendly and ceased attacking Asunción.

After two years in this first mission, Gonzalez was transferred in 1611 to the mission of St. Ignatius, which also flourished under his care. The missions were known as "reductions" from the verb, "reducir," because they were based on leading people back together to live in towns.

At St. Ignatius, Gonzalez laid out the public square, supervised the construction of houses, founded a school and built a church. Beyond creating a place for people to live, he also taught them the essentials of farming and raising sheep and cattle. And of course, he continued to preach, using colour, music and displays such as processions to attract them.

The four years Gonzalez spent at St. Ignatius set the pattern for the 12 years that followed his stay there. He founded a series of missions, or reductions, throughout what is now part of southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina. He was successful as a missionary because he was multi-talented, able to be architect, mason, farmer and physician as well as pastor. It also helped that he lived as the people lived and ate what they ate. When famine hit the settlement, he endured it with them.

In 1619 Gonzalez became the first Jesuit to enter the territory that became Uruguay when a chief from the jungles came to an existing settlement and saw how well it had developed. He invited Gonzalez to come to his people. The Jesuit pioneer accepted the invitation and in 1620 founded the town of Concepción. Later he founded other missions including Candelaria, and the mission of the Assumption at Iyuí, a village of 400 people, which he left in charge of Father John del Castillo, a recently ordained Jesuit. Gonzalez set out for Caaró with Father Alfonso Rodríguez to found a new mission.

The two Jesuits arrived at the new mission on November 1 and named it All Saints. Within a few days they baptized three children, and their success threw them into conflict with Nezú, the local religious leader, who begrudged the influence the missionaries were beginning to have on people.

He determined to kill the missionaries in his area. Father Gonzalez left the chapel on the morning of 15 November after finishing Mass and noticed some men setting up a bell. As the Jesuit bent down to attach the clapper, one of Nezú's henchmen split the priest's skull with an axe. When Rodríguez heard the noise, he came out of the chapel and was immediately struck down. The bodies of both priests were thrown into the chapel which was then set on fire.

These were the calibre of men who became Jesuits in those days. These were the calibre of men that the Freemasons sought to destroy. These were the calibre of men who, in an evil hour, had their Order suppressed by the very man to whom they had sworn cadaver-like obedience, the very Pope himself, intimidated and threatened by the evil Freemasons, but yes the very Pope himself!

O God save and preserve us from the terrible ingratitude of men.

And how little is known today of those spiritual giants who were the early members of that Order founded by St Ignatius of Loyola - the Company of Jesus.

Any young man now reading these words and considering the example set by these extraordinary heroes will surely think to himself: yes, Lord, I too wish to imitate these giants of men!

"Now giants were upon the earth in those days..." (Gen 6:4)


Sunday, 14 October 2007

The Rosary Rally: 90th anniversary of the Fatima miracle

"Through the Rosary and the Scapular I shall save the world"
(Words said to have been spoken to Saint Dominic by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1208)

This Saturday 13th October 2007 saw the coincidence of the 90th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, the Feast of St Edward the Confessor and the Feast of Blessed Gerard the Founder of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem (now the Knights of Malta).

The annual Rosary Rally was held to preserve the memory of the apparition, to make reparation for sin and to remember our Lady's requests at Fatima.

The Dominican Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

At an early date among the monastic orders the practice of counting prayers established itself not only with the offering of Masses, but of saying vocal prayers as a suffrage for deceased brethren. For this purpose the private recitation of the 150 psalms, or of 50 psalms, the third part, was constantly enjoined.

Already in A.D. 800 we learn from the compact between St. Gall and Reichenau (Mon. Germ. Hist.: Confrat. Piper, 140) that for each deceased brother all the priests should say one Mass and also fifty psalms.

Ancient Customs of Cluny (Cluny was the famous Benedictine Abbey in the South of France that began a great reform), collected by Udalrio in 1096, tell us that when the death of any brother at a distance was announced, every priest was to offer Mass, and every non-sacerdotal Choir monk or lay brother was either to say fifty psalms or to repeat fifty times the Paternoster (The Lord's Prayer).

To count these accurately an early practice had come in of using pebbles, berries, or discs of bone threaded on a string. It is in any case certain that the Countess Godiva of Coventry (c 1075) left by will to the statue of our Lady in a certain monastery "the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly" (Malmesbury, Gesta Pont., Rolls Series 311).

Another example seems to occur in the case of St. Rosalia (A. D. 1160), in whose tomb similar strings of beads were discovered. Even more important is the fact that such strings of beads were known throughout the Middle Ages - and in some Continental tongues are known to this day - as Paternosters or "Our Fathers". The evidence for this is overwhelming and comes from every part of Europe.

Indeed, visitors to London's St Paul's Cathedral will notice the nearby streets are called "Paternoster Row", "Paternoster Square", "Ave Maria Lane" and "Creed Lane", named after constituent parts of the Rosary.

There are also streets called "Rosary Gardens" in other parts of London.

In the times before St. Dominic we can see that Paternosters were prayed, and we know from history that during St. Dominic's time the Lord's Prayer and our Lady's Psalter, as the Rosary was then called, were prayed on pebbles, or a string of beads.

St. Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, the Catharist heretics who believed that marriage and child-birth was evil and sodomy and euthanasia were sacramental, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penance in order to appease the anger of Almighty God.

Tradition tells that our Lady appeared to him while he prayed and said: "My son, prayer and penance are the only way to win souls. Pray my Psalter and teach it to your people. That prayer will never fail".

As ever, our Lady built upon existing traditions, hallowed by time and the Holy Spirit, and did not introduce novelties.

Those who could not read Holy Scripture and those who could not understand it often said a Hail Mary for each of the Psalms. Their simple prayer took the place of the one hundred and fifty Psalms of David that the learned ones could read.

Hence the 150 psalms of the Rosary. That is also the reason why there cannot be added to the Dominican Rosary another 50 recitations.

The Luminous Mysteries chaplet of Pope John Paul II is a novelty which can profitably be said as a separate chaplet but it is simply misleading to pretend that it forms part of the Dominican Rosary. It simply does not. And if it did it would disturb the patterns of 150 beads replacing the 150 psalms of monastic tradition.

Popes may approve new chaplets but they cannot simply invent new parts to existing chaplets that have been hallowed by time. That does not honour the memory of St Dominic.

Counting prayers was not new either before the birth of Jesus, the people who belonged to ancient religions had counted on knotted cords the prayers they said to their gods. After the coming of our Lord, the hermits who lived in the desert in the early centuries counted their prayers to God by means of pebbles.

Even today both Islam and Buddhism have chaplets of their own - but they are not addressed to the true God, of course. Still they represent a very ancient religious tradition.

Our Lady said to St Dominic: "Make clear to them the mysteries of their religion, the divine truths that God has revealed but that they cannot understand. Teach them to picture in their minds the events of my Sons life".

She then explained to him the 15 mysteries of the Rosary and how to meditate upon them.

The Battle of Muret against the Albigensians in 1213

St Dominic and his companions prayed the Rosary at Muret on 11 and 12 September 1213 (there it is again - 9/11!) and on the latter day, Count Simon de Montfort and 700 Catholic knights sallied forth to meet the 50,000 strong Albigensian army under King Peter of Aragon.

They charged into the mass toward the Headquarters of the Albigensian army. King Peter was slain (over whose body Count Simon later wept to see him dead) and the Albigensian army fled.

The tiny Catholic force had overcome the heretics with the power of our Lady's chaplet, the Holy Rosary.

The Brown Scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel

A scapular is a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders. Use of the scapular originated in the monastic orders of priests and monks, forming part of the habit or clothing of the members. Essentially the scapular is a special garment worn as a sign of love and devotion to Mary the Immaculate Queen.

With the passage of time lay people were permitted to wear the scapular as symbolic members of a monastic order, with the attendant spiritual benefits attached to such membership. Over the years the scapular, at least for lay people, became much reduced in size to but small pieces of wool cloth suspended front and back.

According to tradition the Blessed Virgin appeared to St Simon Stock, Prior of the Carmelite Priory at Aylesford in Kent, England, in the year 1251, and, holding a scapular of the Order of Mount Carmel said, "Receive My beloved son, the Scapular of thy Order, as a distinctive sign of My Confraternity. Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of My special protection until the end of the ages".

St Simon Stock receives the Brown Scapular from our Lady at the Carmelite Priory of which he was Prior in Aylesford, Kent, England. English Catholics and visitors may thus be enrolled in the Scapular at the very Priory where it was first given to St Simon by our Lady.

By the end of the 16th century the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was most widely known and used. It is commonly called today the Brown Scapular, and is probably the oldest scapular in use.

In the year 1322 Pope John XXII is said to have issued a Bull, Sacratissimo uti culmine (although it has not been found yet in Vatican archives) authorising the Sabbatine Privilege. This followed a vision he is said to have had of our Lady holding the Scapular of Mount Carmel, in which she said:

"Those who have been invested with this Holy Habit will be delivered from Purgatory the first Saturday after their death."

The Bull affirmed this privilege and indulgences are granted to the members of the Carmelite Order and to its secular members.

However, a long line of saints have since extolled the Scapular and popes have indulgenced it heavily.

So, folks, get a Rosary and a Scapular and save the world!

The Rosary Rally 2007

Below are some photographs from the Rosary Rally 2007.

Procession sets off from Westminster Cathedral, the Oratory brothers leading, then the Knights of our Lady, the Knights of Malta, the clergy, the statue of our Lady of Fatima and the Faithful behind her.

Through the streets of London

Moving through Knightsbridge to the Brompton Oratory

Into the Oratory through the main port

Processing down the aisle of the Oratory

Censing our Lady's statue in the Sanctuary

Fr Julian Large, Cong Orat, preaches about the Rosary, St Pius V and the Battle of Lepanto against the Moslem Turks, won by the Christian navy and through praying the Rosary

Knights of our Lady at prayer

Flower maidens of our Lady in white dresses

Adoring the Blessed Sacrament before Benediction

Clergy, Knights of Malta and brothers of the Oratory processing out

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!

13 October: St Edward the Confessor and Blessed Gerard

King St Edward the Confessor was born in 1003 and died 5 January, 1066. He was the son of Ethelred II and Emma, daughter of Duke Richard of Normandy, being thus half-brother to King Edmund Ironside, Ethelred's son by his first wife, and to King Hardicanute, Emma's son by her second marriage with Canute.

He was also nephew to St Edward the Martyr.

When hardly ten years old he was sent with his brother Alfred into Normandy to be brought up at the court of the duke his uncle, the Danes having gained the mastery in England. Thus he spent the best years of his life in exile, the crown having been settled by Canute, with Emma's consent, upon his own offspring by her. Early misfortune thus taught Edward the folly of ambition, and he grew up in innocence, delighting chiefly in assisting at Mass and the church offices, and in association with religious, whilst not disdaining the pleasures of the chase (hunting) or recreations suited to his station.

Upon Canute's death in 1035 his illegitimate son, Harold, seized the throne, Hardicanute being then in Denmark, and Edward and his brother Alfred were persuaded to make an attempt to gain the crown, which resulted in the cruel death of Alfred who had fallen into Harold's hands, whilst Edward was obliged to return to Normandy.

On Hardicanute's sudden death in 1042, Edward was called by acclamation to the throne at the age of about forty, being welcomed even by the Danish settlers owing to his gentle saintly character. His reign was one of almost unbroken peace, the threatened invasion of Canute's son, Sweyn of Norway, being averted by the opportune attack on him by Sweyn of Denmark; and the internal difficulties occasioned by the ambition of Earl Godwin and his sons being settled without bloodshed by Edward's own gentleness and prudence.

He undertook no wars except to repel an inroad of the Welsh, and to assist Malcolm III of Scotland against Macbeth, the usurper of his throne.

Being devoid of personal ambition, Edward's one aim was the welfare of his people. He remitted the odious "Danegelt", which had needlessly continued to be levied; and though profuse in alms to the poor and for religious purposes, he made his own royal patrimony suffice without imposing taxes. Such was the contentment caused by "the good St. Edward's laws", that their enactment was repeatedly demanded by later generations, when they felt themselves oppressed and they formed the basis of the English Constitution.

Yielding to the entreaty of his nobles, he accepted as his consort the virtuous Editha, Earl Godwin's daughter. Having, however, made a vow of chastity, he first required her agreement to live with him only as a sister. As he could not leave his kingdom without injury to his people, the making of a pilgrimage to St. Peter's tomb, to which he had bound himself, was commuted by the pope into the rebuilding at Westminster of St. Peter's abbey, the dedication of which took place but a week before his death, and in which he was buried.

St. Edward was the first King of England to touch for the "king's evil" (scrofula), many sufferers from the disease were cured by him. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1161. His feast is kept on the 13th of October, his incorrupt and sweet-smelling body having been solemnly translated on that day in 1163 by St. Thomas of Canterbury in the presence of King Henry II.

St Edward's Crown is one of the British Crown Jewels. It is the official coronation crown used exclusively in the coronation of a new monarch. It was made in 1661 for the coronation of the restored King Charles II, as the original crown was destroyed by order of the viciously anti-Catholic extreme Portestant republican, Oliver Cromwell, during the English Civil War.

The crown made for King Charles II is reputed to contain gold from the Crown of St Edward the Confessor.

St. Edward's Crown has been used as a symbol of royal authority since 1953 in the Commonwealth Realms, and can be seen on coats-of-arms.

St Edward's Crown, used at all English coronations

St Edward the Confessor, pray for us!

This day is also the Feast day of Blessed Gerard the founder of the world's oldest order of chivalry, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta, more commonly known as the Order of Malta, originally the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem.

The Order has its origins in a hospice and confraternity in Jerusalem founded some time before the First Crusade (1099).

According to most accounts, this was undertaken with the financial assistance of some wealthy merchants of the Italian port city of Amalfi to aid European pilgrims to the Holy Land. (The Amalfitans still commemorate their support of the Order in an annual observance.) The original Christian hospice may have been founded as early as circa 1020.

The first rector of what was to become known as the "Order of the Hospital" was the Blessed Gerard. With his Bull of 15 February 1113, Pope Paschal II sanctioned the establishment of the Hospitallers' order, dedicated to its patron, Saint John the Baptist. The Pontiff placed the Order under the direct protection and ecclesiastical authority of the Holy See. Pope Callixtus and subsequent Pontiffs granted the Order additional privileges over the next century. Gerard himself died in 1120 but the work of the hospice, which at one point was said to house two thousand patients, continued and continues even today world-wide.

Blessed Gerard, pray for us!

St Bridget of Sweden: saint of chivalry

St. Bridget (sometimes called Birgitta) - Feast day 8 October - was born about the year 1303 (by tradition on June 14th) in Upland, the chief province of Sweden, where her father, Prince Birger, was governor. Her mother, Lady Ingeborg of Finsta, was a daughter of the governor of East Gothland. When only seven Bridget had a vision in which our Lady placed a crown on her head, and when ten, after a sermon on the Passion, she saw in a dream Christ wounded and bleeding. These two experiences seem to have been the formative ones of her life.

Her mother died in 1314, and she lived with an aunt until, in 1316, obediently but against her inclination, she married Ulf Gudmarsson. They had four boys and four girls. Two of the boys died young; Karl, the eldest, was worldly but devoted to our Lady; Birger, the second, though married, later became his mother's companion and brought her body home to Sweden from Rome to be buried. Three of the girls married: Merita and Cecilia staying in Swedish society, while Catherine lost her husband and lived with her mother; the fourth, Ingebord, became a Cistercian.

Twenty-eight years after their marriage, Ulf died and Bridget went to live the penitential life she longed for near the Cistercian monastery at Alvastra. While there, she planned the Rule and Office of the order she was called to found but which she never saw in existence. After two years, in 1344, she went to Rome, where she died on July 23rd, 1373. Her canonization took place only eighteen years later, on October 7th, 1391.

St. Bridget had the gift of prophecy and worked many marvellous cures. Once widowed, she lived an ascetic life, eating very little, sleeping short hours, and praying continually. She followed a strict rule and practiced every possible kind of charitable work, even reducing herself to begging. She received constant inspirations which were either taken down by her chaplain and put into Latin, thus becoming known as her "Revelations", or took the form of letters to the succeeding popes, cardinals, and secular rulers of the day, telling them of their wickedness and how to reform their lives. Both in Sweden and in Rome she was either hated violently or loved as a saint. "Strong and full of courage", she was "homely and kind and had a laughing face".

She founded the Order of the Saviour or the Bridgettines at Vadstena in Sweden, was richly endowed by King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and his queen. King Magnus had been named at birth after Carolus Magnus i.e. Charlemagne the Emperor. The Order really started after St. Bridget's death but with her daughter, St. Catherine of Sweden, as first abbess.

About 1350 she went to Rome, partly to obtain from the pope the authorization of the new order, and partly in pursuance of her self-imposed mission to elevate the moral tone of the age.

She also set herself the task of persuading the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon, a task later completed by St Catherine of Siena.

She also composed a Rosary of 69 Aves in honour the number of years of our Lady's life, with 7 Paternosters and 7 Credos in honour of her joys and sorrows.

St Bridget received great revelations about chivalry and the great virtue of teh knights that fought for Christ and Christendom. Our Lord appeared to her and said in one of her visions, even emphasizing what He said to her, this:

"A knight who keeps the laws of his order is exceedingly dear to me. For if it is hard for a monk to wear his heavy habit, it is harder still for a knight to wear his heavy armour".

These were the very words of our Lord to St Bridget.

It was not until 1370 that Pope Urban V confirmed the rule of her order, but meanwhile Birgitta had made herself universally beloved in Rome by her kindness and good works. Save for occasional pilgrimages, including one to Jerusalem in 1373, she remained in Rome until her death on July 23, 1373. She was originally buried at San Lorenzo in Panisperna before being moved to Sweden. She was canonized in 1391 by Pope Boniface IX (also confirmed by the Council of Constance in 1415).

In 1999, Pope John Paul II chose Birgitta as Europe's co-patroness, along with St Catherine of Siena and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Our Lady of Victory: when the Rosary beat the Turks at Lepanto

On 7 October 1571, Don John of Austria, son of the Emperor Charles V, commanding the navies of the Pope and the Emperor, together with the navies of Spain and Venice, defeated a much larger Turkish navy off the coast of Greece at a place now called Naupactos.

To the men of his day this place was called by its Roman name:


How did this extraordinary victory come about?

The answer is simple enough. it was obtained - yet again - by the most powerful weapon known to men: the holy Dominican Rosary chaplet of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Prior to this, one of the greatest naval battles of Roman Christendom, the Pope, St Pius V, himself a Dominican friar, ordered the praying of the Holy Rosary throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, just as was later to be done before the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

As a result the feast of our Lady of Victory (later our Lady of the Rosary) was instituted by the popes for an everlasting memory.

Let us hear what Abbot Prosper Gueranger OSB of Solesmes says of that great battle and feast in his great work, The Liturgical Year (the book read to St Therese of Lisieux when she was a child):

"Soliman II, the greatest of the Sultans, taking advantage of the confusion caused in the West by Luther, had filled the 16th century with terror by his exploits. He left to his son, Selim II, the prospect of being able at length to carry out the ambition of his race: to subjugate Rome and Vienna, the Pope and the Emperor, to the power of the crescent.

The Turkish fleet had already mastered the greater part of the Mediterannean, and was threatening Italy, when, on 7 October 1571, it came into action, in the Gulf of Lepanto, against the pontifical galleys supported by the fleets of Spain and Venice.

It was Sunday; throughout the world the confraternities of the Rosary were engaged in their work of intercession. Supernaturally enlightened, St Pius V watched from the Vatican the battle undertaken by the leader he had chosen, Don John of Austria, against the 300 vessels of Islam.
Don John of Austria
The illustrious Pontiff, whose life's work was now completed, did not survive to celebrate the anniversary of the triumph; but he perpetuated the memory of it by an annual commemoration of our Lady of Victory.

His successor, Gregory XIII, altered the title to our Lady of the Rosary, and appointed the first Sunday of October for the new feast [now celebrated on 7 October, the actual day of the battle - ed], authorising its celebration in those churches which possessed an altar under that invocation.

A century and a half later, this limited concession was made general. As [now Venerable]Innocent XI, in memory of the deliverance of Vienna by King Jan Sobieski, had extended the feast of the most Holy Name of Mary to the whole Church, so, in 1716, Clement XI inscribed the feast of the Rosary on the universal calendar, in gratitude for the victory gained by Prince Eugene of Savoy [commander-in-chief of the Imperial forces] at Peterwardein, on 5 August, under the auspices of our Lady of the snow. This victory was followed by the raising of the siege of Corfu, and completed a year later by the taking of Belgrade."

After Vienna, Peterwardein and Belgrade, the Muslim Turks were finally routed and never again troubled Roman Christendom.

Such was - and is - the extraordinary power of the Holy Rosary of St Dominic.

Beads of Paternosters and Aves have been said from very early times and were commonly said by the knights and sergeants of the Military religious Orders when in battle and on campaign, when they could not say their Office.

St Dominic formalised the current Dominican Rosary prior to the Battle of Muret in 1213 (that battle was again won on 12 September - the day after the mysterious 9/11) when he prayed for Count Simon de Montfort and his 700 knights as they sallied forth against a huge army of 50,000 Albigensians - rather like Theoden of Rohan against the massive army of Saruman and Isengard in The Lord of the Rings.

Like Theoden, de Montfort and his knights routed the Albigensians by charging straight into their midst. They gained the Albigensian headquarters and when their leader, the heretic King Peter of Aragon, was slain, the Albigensians fled.

Nevertheless, Count Simon wept over the corpse of King Peter whom he had known and admired as a soldier and whom he had hoped could be spared, powerful heretic and enemy though he was.

Thus the day was won and the tiny Catholic army triumphed over the huge heretic army. This, again, was another great victory obtained by the all-powerful Rosary of our Lady.

Small wonder, then, that our Lady has so often appeared and asked her children to pray the Holy Rosary for victory and peace, as she did to St Bernarde of Lourdes (St Bernadette) and later to the little shepherds at Fatima in 1917 during the Great War.

When we face fearful odds in the cause of right we must turn to our Lady and to her powerful weapon - the sword of the spirit - the chaplet of the Holy Rosary.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
St Dominic, pray for us!
St Pius V, pray for us!
Ven Innocent XI, pray for us!