According to The Telegraph:

The Queen has made a dramatic and highly unusual intervention in the referendum debate to urge voters to think “very carefully” before they vote on Thursday.

The comment, to members of the public waiting outside Crathie Church, appeared to be a deliberate move on her part.

She is understood to have remarked that “you have an important vote on Thursday”, before adding: “I hope everybody thinks very carefully about the referendum this week”.

Donald Stewart, an experienced photographer who covers royal visits…said it was…the kind of thing that happened “once or twice in a generation” on special occasions.

To read the entire article in The Telegraph, please click here.

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According to the Tatler:

The Scottish aristocracy is nervous. …you’d be hard pushed to find a single Scottish grandee who favours the split.

Those who are most fearful of the impending referendum are the nobility.

Given the fairly feudal distribution of land in Scotland, you can perhaps see why the big landowners are nervous. …Old Scotland is definitely panicked, as if they can already hear the tumbrils approaching. ‘England used to be our Auld Enemy,’ says a worried Scottish peer. ‘Now we really must stick together.’

To read the entire article in the Tatler, please click here.

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The death of Queen Isabella the Catholic. Painted by Eduardo Rosales

The death of Queen Isabella the Catholic. Painted by Eduardo Rosales

Stretched out on her deathbed, Isabella the Catholic comforted her ladies and retainers who were weeping over her approaching death, saying:

 

— “Do not weep for me nor waste any time on useless prayers for my recovery. Pray rather for the salvation of my soul.”

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Vicente Vega, Diccionario ilustrado de frases célebres y citas literárias (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1955), 632. (Nobility.org translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 420

 

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Dignity

September 15, 2014

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

Portrait of the Venetian Magistrate, Doge Andrea Gritti by Titian.

Portrait of the Venetian Magistrate, Doge Andrea Gritti by Titian.

A magistrate has a dignity that is proper to him that a servant does not have.

Dignity and mutual respect in dealing with men make social life bearable and even agreeable. Because of the sad consequences of Original Sin coupled the vulgarity of our times, human convivium becomes impossible or at least an unsupportable burden without it.

The Promenade, painting by Joseph Caraud

The Promenade, painting by Joseph Caraud

If one desires social relationships to be enjoyable and agreeable, then one must never permit a spirit of excessive intimacy. This does not mean that one should not have intimacy with another. What it does mean, is that this intimacy should be impregnated with a great respect. True friendship will only exist if it is based on the love of God and on the aforementioned principles. If these are not present, the resulting convivium will be boring.

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St. Cyprian of Carthage

(Thaschus Cæcilius Cyprianus).

St. CyprianBishop and martyr. Of the date of the saint’s birth and of his early life nothing is known. At the time of his conversion to Christianity he had, perhaps, passed middle life. He was famous as an orator and pleader, had considerable wealth, and held, no doubt, a great position in the metropolis of Africa. We learn from his deacon, St. Pontius, whose life of the saint is preserved, that his mien was dignified without severity, and cheerful without effusiveness. His gift of eloquence is evident in his writings. He was not a thinker, a philosopher, a theologian, but eminently a man of the world and an administrator, of vast energies, and of forcible and striking character. His conversion was due to an aged priest named Caecilianus, with whom he seems to have gone to live. Caecilianus in dying commended to Cyprian the care of his wife and family. While yet a catechumen the saint decided to observe chastity, and he gave most of his revenues to the poor. He sold his property, including his gardens at Carthage. These were restored to him (Dei indulgentiâ restituti, says Pontius), being apparently bought back for him by his friends; but he would have sold them again, had the persecution made this imprudent. His baptism probably took place c. 246, presumably on Easter eve, 18 April.

Cyprian’s first Christian writing is “Ad Donatum”, a monologue spoken to a friend, sitting under a vine-clad pergola. He tells how, until the grace of God illuminated and strengthened the convert, it had seemed impossible to conquer vice; the decay of Roman society is pictured, the gladiatorial shows, the theatre, the unjust law-courts, the hollowness of political success; the only refuge is the temperate, studious, and prayerful life of the Christian. At the beginning should probably be placed the few words of Donatus to Cyprian which are printed by Hartel as a spurious letter. The style of this pamphlet is affected and reminds us of the bombastic unintelligibilty of Pontius. It is not like Tertullian, brilliant, barbarous, uncouth, but it reflects the preciosity which Apuleius made fashionable in Africa. In his other works Cyprian addresses a Christian audience; his own fervour is allowed full play, his style becomes simpler, though forcible, and sometimes poetical, not to say flowery. Without being classical, it is correct for its date, and the cadences of the sentences are in strict rhythm in all his more careful writings. On the whole his beauty of style has rarely ben equalled among the Latin Fathers, and never surpassed except by the matchless energy and wit of St. Jerome.

Another work of his early days was the “Testimonia ad Quirinum”, in two books. It consists of passages of Scripture arranged under headings to illustrate the passing away of the Old Law and its fulfillment in Christ. A third book, added later, contains texts dealing with Christian ethics. This work is of the greatest value for the history of the Old Latin version of the Bible. It gives us an African text closely related to that of the Bobbio manuscript known as k (Turin). Hartel’s edition has taken the text from a manuscript which exhibits a revised version, but what Cyprian wrote can be fairly well restored from the manuscript cited in Hartel’s notes as L. Another book of excerpts on martyrdom is entitled “Ad Fortunatum”; its text cannot be judged in any printed edition. Cyprian was certainly only a recent convert when he became Bishop of Carthage c. 218 or the beginning of 249, but he passed through all the grades of the ministry. He had declined the charge, but was constrained by the people. A minority opposed his election, including five priests, who remained his enemies; but he tells us that he was validly elected “after the Divine judgment, the vote of the people and the consent of the bishops”.

Illustration of a Catalanoaragonese manuscript of Saint Cyprian's Epistolae

Illustration of a Catalanoaragonese manuscript of Saint Cyprian’s Epistolae

THE DECIAN PERSECUTION

The prosperity of the Church during a peace of thirty-eight years had produced great disorders. Many even of the bishops were given up to worldliness and gain, and we hear of worse scandals. In October, 249, Decius became emperor with the ambition of restoring the ancient virtue of Rome. In January, 250, he published an edict against Christians. Bishops were to be put to death, other persons to be punished and tortured till they recanted. On 20 January Pope Fabian was martyred, and about the same time St. Cyprian retired to a safe place of hiding. His enemies continually reproached him with this. But to remain at Carthage was to court death, to cause greater danger to others, and to leave the Church without government; for to elect a new bishop would have been as impossible as it was at Rome. He made over much property to a confessor priest, Rogatian, for the needy. Some of the clergy lapsed, others fled; Cyprian suspended their pay, for their ministrations were needed and they were in less danger than the bishop. Form his retreat he encouraged the confessors and wrote eloquent panegyrics on the martyrs. Fifteen soon died in prison and one in the mines. On the arrival of the proconsul in April the severity of the persecution increased. St. Mappalicus died gloriously on the 17th. Children were tortured, women dishonoured. Numidicus, who had encouraged many, saw his wife burnt alive, and was himself half burnt, then stoned and left for dead; his daughter found him yet living; he recovered and Cyprian made him a priest. Some, after being twice tortured, were dismissed or banished, often beggared.

But there was another side to the picture. At Rome terrified Christians rushed to the temples to sacrifice. At Carthage the majority apostatized. Some would not sacrifice, but purchased libelli, or certificates, that they had done so Some bought the exemption of their family at the price of their own sin. Of these libellatici there were several thousands in Carthage. Of the fallen some did not repent, others joined the heretics, but most of them clamoured for forgiveness and restoration. Some, who had sacrificed under torture, returned to be tortured afresh. Castus and Æmilius were burnt for recanting, others were exiled; but such cases were necessarily rare. A few began to perform canonical penance. The first to suffer at Rome had been a young Carthaginian, Celerinus. He recovered, and Cyprian made him a lector. His grandmother and two uncles had been martyrs, but his two sisters apostatized under fear of torture, and in their repentance gave themselves to the service of those in prison. Their brother was very urgent for their restoration. His letter from Rome to Lucian, a confessor at Carthage, is extant, with the reply of the latter. Lucian obtained from a martyr named Paul before his passion a commission to grant peace to any who asked for it, and he distributed these “indulgences” with a vague formula: “Let such a one with his family communicate”. Tertullian speaks in 197 of the “custom” for those who were not at peace with the Church to beg this peace from the martyrs. Much later, in his Montanist days (c. 220) he urges that the adulterers whom Pope Callistus was ready to forgive after due penance, would now get restored by merely imploring the confessors and those in the mines. Correspondingly we find Lucian issuing pardons in the name of confessors who were still alive, a manifest abuse. The heroic Mappalicus had only interceded for his own sister and mother. It seemed now as if no penance was to be enforced upon the lapsed, and Cyprian wrote to remonstrate.

Meanwhile official news had arrived from Rome of the death of Pope Fabian, together with an unsigned and ungrammatical letter to the clergy of Carthage from some of the Roman clergy, implying blame to Cyprian for the desertion of his flock, and giving advice as to the treatment of the lapsed. Cyprian explained his conduct (Ep. xx), and sent to Rome copies of thirteen of the letter he had written from his hiding-place to Carthage. The five priests who opposed him were now admitting at once to communion all who had recommendations from the confessors, and the confessors themselves issued a general indulgence, in accordance with which the bishops were to restore to communion all whom they had examined. This was an outrage on discipline, yet Cyprian was ready to give some value to the indulgences thus improperly granted, but all must be done in submission to the bishop. He proposed that libellatici should be restored, when in danger of death, by a priest or even by a deacon, but that the rest should await the cessation of persecution, when councils could be held at Rome and at Carthage, and a common decision be agreed upon. Some regard must be had for the prerogative of the confessors, yet the lapsed must surely not be placed in a better position than those who had stood fast, and had been tortured, or beggared, or exiled. The guilty were terrified by marvels that occurred. A man was struck dumb on the very Capitol where he had denied Christ. Another went mad in the public baths, and gnawed the tongue which had tasted the pagan victim. In Cyprian’s own presence an infant who had been taken by its nurse to partake at the heathen altar, and then to the Holy Sacrifice offered by the bishop, was though in torture, and vomited the Sacred Species it had received in the holy chalice. A lapsed woman of advanced age had fallen in a fit, on venturing to communicate unworthily. Another, on opening the receptacle in which, according to custom, she had taken home the Blessed Sacrament for private Communion, was deterred from sacrilegiously touching it by fire which came forth. Yet another found nought within her pyx save cinders. About September, Cyprian received promise of support from the Roman priests in two letters written by the famous Novatian in the name of his colleagues. In the beginning of 251 the persecution waned, owing to the successive appearance of two rival emperors. The confessors were released, and a council was convened at Carthage. By the perfidy of some priests Cyprian was unable to leave his retreat till after Easter (23 March). But he wrote a letter to his flock denouncing the most infamous of the five priests, Novatus, and his deacon Felicissimus (Ep. xliii). To the bishop’s order to delay the reconciliation of the lapsed until the council, Felicissimus had replied by a manifesto, declaring that none should communicate with himself who accepted the large alms distributed by Cyprian’s order. The subject of the letter is more fully developed in the treatise “De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate” which Cyprian wrote about this time (Benson wrongly thought it was written against Novatian some weeks later).

St. Cyprian

This celebrated pamphlet was read by its author to the council which met in April, that he might get the support of the bishops against the schism started by Felicissimus and Novatus, who had a large following. The unity with which St. Cyprian deals is not so much the unity of the whole Church, the necessity of which he rather postulates, as the unity to be kept in each diocese by union with the bishop; the unity of the whole Church is maintained by the close union of the bishops who are “glued to one another”, hence whosoever is not with his bishop is cut off from the unity of the Church and cannot be united to Christ; the type of the bishop is St. Peter, the first bishop. Protestant controversialists have attributed to St. Cyprian the absurd argument that Christ said to Peter what He really meant for all, in order to give a type or picture of unity. What St. Cyprian really says is simply this, that Christ, using the metaphor of an edifice, founds His Church on a single foundation which shall manifest and ensure its unity. And as Peter is the foundation, binding the whole Church together, so in each diocese is the bishop. With this one argument Cyprian claims to cut at the root of all heresies and schisms. It has been a mistake to find any reference to Rome in this passage (De Unit., 4).

CHURCH UNITY

About the time of the opening of the council (251), two letters arrived from Rome. One of these, announcing the election of a pope, St. Cornelius, was read by Cyprian to the assembly; the other contained such violent and improbable accusations against the new pope that he thought it better to pass it over. But two bishops, Caldonius and Fortunatus, were dispatched to Rome for further information, and the whole council was to await their return-such was the importance of a papal election. Meantime another message arrived with the news that Novatian, the most eminent among the Roman clergy, had been made pope. Happily two African prelates, Pompeius and Stephanus, who had been present at the election of Cornelius, arrived also, and were able to testify that he had been validly set “in the place of Peter”, when as yet there was no other claimant. It was thus possible to reply to the recrimination of Novatian’s envoys, and a short letter was sent to Rome, explaining the discussion which had taken place in the council. Soon afterwards came the report of Caldonius and Fortunatus together with a letter from Cornelius, in which the latter complained somewhat of the delay in recognizing him. Cyprian wrote to Cornelius explaining his prudent conduct. He added a letter to the confessors who were the main support of the antipope, leaving it to Cornelius whether it should be delivered or no. He sent also copies of his two treatises, “De Unitate” and “De Lapsis” (this had been composed by him immediately after the other), and he wishes the confessors to read these in order that they may understand what a fearful thing is schism. It is in this copy of the “De Unitate” that Cyprian appears most probably to have added in the margin an alternative version of the fourth chapter. The original passage, as found in most manuscripts and as printed in Hartel’s edition, runs thus:

If any will consider this, there is no need of a long treatise and of arguments. ‘The Lord saith to Peter: ‘I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; to thee I will give the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what thou shalt have bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what thou shalt have loosed shall be loosed in heaven.’ Upon one He builds His Church, and though to all His Apostles after His resurrection He gives an equal power and says: ‘As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost, whosesoever sins you shall have remitted they shall be remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins you shall have retained they shall be retained’, yet that He might make unity manifest, He disposed the origin of that unity beginning from one. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, endowed with a like fellowship both of honour and of power, but the commencement proceeds from one, that the Church may be shown to be one. This one Church the Holy Ghost in the person of the Lord designates in the Canticle of Canticles, and says, One is My Dove, My perfect one, one is she to her mother, one to her that bare her. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he believe that he holds the Faith? He who strives against and resists the Church, is he confident that he is in the Church?

The substituted passage is as follows:

. . . bound in heaven. Upon one He builds His Church, and to the same He says after His resurrection, ‘feed My sheep’. And though to all His Apostles He gave an equal power yet did He set up one chair, and disposed the origin and manner of unity by his authority. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the primacy is given to Peter, and the Church and the chair is shown to be one. And all are pastors, but the flock is shown to be one, which is fed by all the Apostles with one mind and heart. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded, is he confident that he is in the Church?

Coat of Arms of Adelindis of Swabia, of Atto of Tragant and of other persons (including that of Eleonore von Montfort, abbess 1596-1610, under the depiction of Our Lady); illumination of an archival finding aid of the Imperial Abbey of Buchau, written in 1605. St. Cyprian is on the right.

Coat of Arms of Adelindis of Swabia, of Atto of Tragant and of other persons (including that of Eleonore von Montfort, abbess 1596-1610, under the depiction of Our Lady); illumination of an archival finding aid of the Imperial Abbey of Buchau, written in 1605. St. Cyprian is on the right and Pope St. Cornelius is on the left.

These alternative versions are given one after the other in the chief family of manuscripts which contains them, while in some other families the two have been partially or wholly combined into one. The combined version is the one which has been printed in man editions, and has played a large part in controversy with Protestants. It is of course spurious in this conflated form, but the alternative form given above is not only found in eighth- and ninth-century manuscripts, but it is quoted by Bede, by Gregory the Great (in a letter written for his predecessor Pelagius II), and by St. Gelasius; indeed, it was almost certainly known to St. Jerome and St. Optatus in the fourth century. The evidence of the manuscripts would indicate an equally early date. Every expression and thought in the passage can be paralleled from St. Cyprian’s habitual language, and it seems to be now generally admitted that this alternative passage is an alteration made by the author himself when forwarding his work to the Roman confessors. The “one chair” is always in Cyprian the episcopal chair, and Cyprian has been careful to emphasize this point, and to add a reference to the other great Petrine text, the Charge in John, xxi. The assertion of the equality of the Apostles as Apostles remains, and the omissions are only for the sake of brevity. The old contention that it is a Roman forgery is at all events quite out of the question. Another passage is also altered in all the same manuscripts which contain the “interpolation”; it is a paragraph in which the humble and pious conduct of the lapsed “on this hand (hic) is contrasted in a long succession of parallels with the pride and wickedness of the schismatics “on that hand” (illic), but in the delicate manner of the treatise the latter are only referred to in a general way. In the “interpolated” manuscripts we find that the lapsed, whose caused had now been settled by the council, are “on that hand” (illic), whereas the reference to the schismatics — meaning the Roman confessors who were supporting Novatian, and to whom the book was being sent — are made as pointed as possible, being brought into the foreground by the repeated hic, “on this hand”.
NOVATIANISM

The saint’s remonstrance had its effect, and the confessors rallied to Cornelius. But for two or three months the confusion throughout the Catholic Church had been terrible. No other event in these early times shows us so clearly the enormous importance of the papacy in East and West. St. Dionysius of Alexandria joined his great influence to that of the Carthaginian primate, and he was very soon able to write that Antioch, Caesarea, and Jerusalem, Tyre and Laodicea, all Cilicia and Cappadocia, Syria and Arabia, Mesopotamia, Pontus, and Bithynia, had returned to union and that their bishops were all in concord (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VII, v). From this we gauge the area of disturbance. Cyprian says that Novatian “assumed the primacy” (Ep. lxix, 8) and sent out his new apostles to very many cities; and where in all provinces and cities there were long established, orthodox bishops, tried in persecution, he dared to create new ones to supplant them, as though he could range through the whole world (Ep. lv, 24). Such was the power assumed by a third-century antipope. Let it be remembered that in the first days of the schism no question of heresy was raised and that Novatian only enunciated his refusal of forgiveness to the lapsed after he had made himself pope. Cyprian’s reasons for holding Cornelius to be the true bishop are fully detailed in Ep. lv to a bishop, who had at first yielded to Cyprian’s arguments and had commissioned him to inform Cornelius that “he now communicated with him, that is with the Catholic Church”, but had afterwards wavered. It is evidently implied that if he did not communicate with Cornelius he would be outside the Catholic Church. Writing to the pope, Cyprian apologizes for his delay in acknowledging him; he had at least urged all those who sailed to Rome to make sure that they acknowledged and held the womb and root of the Catholic Church (Ep. xlviii, 3). By this is probably meant “the womb and root which is the Catholic Church”, but Harnack and many Protestants, as well as many Catholics, find here a statement that the Roman Church is the womb and root. Cyprian continues that he had waited for a formal report form the bishops who had been sent to Rome, before committing all the bishops of Africa, Numidia, and Mauretania to a decision, in order that, when no doubt could remain all his colleagues “might firmly approve and hold your communion, that is the unity and charity of the Catholic Church”. It is certain that St. Cyprian held that one who was in communion with an antipope held not the root of the Catholic Church, was not nourished at her breast, drank not at her fountain.

Stained glass window of Pope St. Cornelius protecting the cattle from the diseases at Saint Cornely Church, in Brittany.

Stained glass window of Pope St. Cornelius protecting the cattle from the diseases at Saint Cornely Church, in Brittany.

So little was the rigorism of Novatian the origin of his schism, that his chief partisan was no other than Novatus, who at Carthage had been reconciling the lapsed indiscriminately without penance. He seems to have arrived at Rome just after the election of Cornelius, and his adhesion to the party of rigorism had the curious result of destroying the opposition to Cyprian at Carthage. It is true that Felicissimus fought manfully for a time; he even procured five bishops, all excommunicated and deposed, who consecrated for the party a certain Fortunatus in opposition to St. Cyprian, in opposition to St. Cyprian, in order not to be outdone by the Novatian party, who had already a rival bishop at Carthage. The faction even appealed to St. Cornelius, and Cyprian had to write to the pope a long account of the circumstances, ridiculing their presumption in “sailing to Rome, the primatial Church (ecclesia principalis), the Chair of Peter, whence the unity of the Episcopate had its origin, not recollecting that these are the Romans whose faith was praised by St. Paul (Rom., i, 8), to whom unfaith could have no access”. But this embassy was naturally unsuccessful, and the party of Fortunatus and Felicissimus seems to have melted away.

 

THE LAPSED

With regard to the lapsed the council had decided that each case must be judged on its merits, and that libellatici should be restored after varying, but lengthy, terms of penance, whereas those who had actually sacrificed might after life-long penance receive Communion in the hour of death. But any one who put off sorrow and penance until the hour of sickness must be refused all Communion. The decision was a severe one. A recrudescence of persecution, announced, Cyprian tells us, by numerous visions, caused the assembling of another council in the summer of 252 (so Benson and Nelke, but Ritsch and Harnack prefer 253), in which it was decided to restore at once all those who were doing penance, in order that they might be fortified by the Holy Eucharist against trial. In this persecution of Gallus and Volusianus, the Church of Rome was again tried, but this time Cyprian was able to congratulate the pope on the firmness shown; the whole Church of Rome, he says, had confessed unanimously, and once again its faith, praised by the Apostle, was celebrated throughout the whole world (Ep. lx). About June 253, Cornelius was exiled to Centumcellae (Civitavecchia), and died there, being counted as a martyr by Cyprian and the rest of the Church. His successor Lucius was at once sent to the same place on his election, but soon was allowed to return, and Cyprian wrote to congratulate him. He died 5 March, 254, and was succeeded by Stephen, 12 May, 254.

 

REBAPTISM OF HERETICS

Tertullian had characteristically argued long before, that heretics have not the same God, the same Christ with Catholics, therefore their baptism is null. The African Church had adopted this view in a council held under a predecessor of Cyprian, Agrippinus, at Carthage. In the East it was also the custom of Cilicia, Cappadocia, and Galatia to rebaptize Montanists who returned to the church. Cyprian’s opinion of baptism by heretics was strongly expresses: “Non abluuntur illic homines, sed potius sordidantur, nec purgantur delicta sed immo cumulantur. Non Deo nativitas illa sed diabolo filios generat” (“De Unit.”, xi). A certain bishop, Magnus, wrote to ask if the baptism of the Novatians was to be respected (Ep. lxix). Cyprian’s answer may be of the year 255; he denies that they are to be distinguished from any other heretics. Later we find a letter in the same sense, probably of the spring of 255 (autumn, according to d’Ales), from a council under Cyprian of thirty-one bishops (Ep. lxx), addressed to eighteen Numidian bishops; this was apparently the beginning of the controversy. It appears that the bishops of Mauretania did not in this follow the custom of Proconsular Africa and Numidia, and that Pope Stephen sent them a letter approving their adherence to Roman custom. St. Cyprianus

Cyprian, being consulted by a Numidian bishop, Quintus, sent him Ep. lxx, and replied to his difficulties (Ep. lxxi). The spring council at Carthage in the following year, 256, was more numerous than usual, and sixty-one bishops signed the conciliar letter to the pope explaining their reasons for rebaptizing, and claiming that it was a question upon which bishops were free to differ. This was not Stephen’s view, and he immediately issued a decree, couched apparently in very peremptory terms, that no “innovation” was to be made (this is taken by some moderns to mean “no new baptism”), but the Roman tradition of merely laying hands on converted heretics in sign of absolution must be everywhere observed, on pain of excommunication. This letter was evidently addressed to the African bishops, and contained some severe censures on Cyprian himself. Cyprian writes to Jubainus that he is defending the one Church, the Church founded on Peter-Why then is he called a prevaricator of the truth, a traitor to the truth;? (Ep. lxxiii, 11). To the same correspondent he sends Epp. lxx, lxxi, lxxii; he makes no laws for others, but retains his own liberty. He sends also a copy of his newly written treatise “De Bono Patientiae”. To Pompeius, who had asked to see a copy of Stephen’s rescript, he writes with great violence: “As you read it, you will note his error more and more clearly: in approving the baptism of all the heresies, he has heaped into his own breast the sins of all of them; a fine tradition indeed! What blindness of mind, what depravity!” — “ineptitude”, “hard obstinacy” — such are the expressions which run from the pen of one who declared that opinion on the subject was free, and who in this very letter explains that a bishop must never be quarrelsome, but meek and teachable. In september, 256, a yet larger council assembled at Carthage. All agreed with Cyprian; Stephen was not mentioned; and some writers have even supposed that the council met before Stephen’s letter was received (so Ritschl, Grisar, Ernst, Bardenhewer). Cyprian did not wish the responsibility to be all his own. He declared that no one made himself a bishop of bishops, and that all must give their true opinion. The vote of each was therefore given in a short speech, and the minutes have come down to us in the Cyprianic correspondence under the title of “Sententiae Episcoporum”. But the messengers sent to Rome with this document were refused an audience and even denied all hospitality by the pope. They returned incontinently to Carthage, and Cyprian tried for support from the East. He wrote to the famous Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Firmilian, sending him the treatise “De Unitate” and the correspondence on the baptismal question. By the middle of November Firmilian’s reply had arrived, and it has come down to us in a translation made at the time in Africa. Its tone is, if possible, more violent than that of Cyprian. (See FIRMILIAN.) After this we know no more of the controversy.

Stephen died on 27 August, 257, and was succeeded by Sixtus II, who certainly communicated with Cyprian, and is called by Pontius “a good and peace-loving bishop”. Probably when it was seen at Rome that the East was largely committed to the same wrong practice, the question was tacitly dropped. It should be remembered that, though Stephen had demanded unquestioning obedience, he had apparently, like Cyprian, considered the matter as a point of discipline. St. Cyprian supports his view by a wrong inference from the unity of the Church, and no one thought of the principle afterwards taught by St. Augustine, that, since Christ is always the principal agent, the validity of the sacrament is independent of the unworthiness of the minister: Ipse est qui baptizat. Yet this is what is implied in Stephen’s insistence upon nothing more than the correct form, “because baptism is given in the name of Christ”, and “the effect is due to the majesty of the Name”. The laying on of hands enjoined by Stephen is repeatedly said to be in poenitentiam, yet Cyprian goes on to argue that the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands is not the new birth, but must be subsequent to it and implies it. This has led some moderns into the notion that Stephen meant confirmation to be given (so Duchesne), or at least that he has been so misunderstood by Cyprian (d’Alès). But the passage (Ep. lxxiv, 7) need not mean this, and it is most improbable that confirmation was even thought of in this connection. Cyprian seems to consider the laying on of hands in penance to be a giving of the Holy Ghost. In the East the custom of rebaptizing heretics had perhaps arisen from the fact that so many heretics disbelieved in the Holy Trinity, and possibly did not even use the right form and matter. For centuries the practice persisted, at least in the case of some of the heresies. But in the West to rebaptize was regarded as heretical, and Africa came into line soon after St. Cyprian. St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Vincent of Lérins are full of praise for the firmness of Stephen as befitting his place. But Cyprian’s unfortunate letters became the chief support of the puritanism of the Donatists. St. Augustine in his “De Baptismo” goes through them one by one. He will not dwell on the violent words quae in Stephanum irritatus effudit, and expresses his confidence that Cyprian’s glorious martyrdom will have atoned for his excess.

 

APPEALS TO ROME

Ep. lxviii was written to Stephen before the breach. Cyprian has heard twice from Faustinus, Bishop of Lyons, that Marcianus, Bishop of Arles, has joined the party of Novatian. The pope will certainly have been already informed of this by Faustinus and by the other bishops of the province. Cyprian urges:

 

You ought to send very full letters to our fellow-bishops in Gaul, not to allow the obstinate and proud Marcianus any more to insult our fellowship…Therefore send letters to the province and to the people of Arles, by which, Marcianus having been excommunicated, another shall be substituted in his place…for the whole copious body of bishops is joined together by the glue of mutual concord and the bond of unity, in order that if any of our fellowship should attempt to make a heresy and to lacerate and devastate the flock of Christ, the rest may give their aid…For though we are many shepherds, yet we feed one flock.

Subscription6It seems incontestable that Cyprian is here explaining to the pope why he ventured to interfere, and that he attributes to the pope the power of deposing Marcanus and ordering a fresh election. We should compare his witness that Novatian usurped a similar power as antipope. Another letter dates perhaps somewhat later. It emanates form a council of thirty seven bishops, and was obviously composed by Cyprian. It is addressed to the priest Felix and the people of Legio and Asturica, and to the deacon Ælius and the people of Emerita, in Spain. It relates that the bishops Felix and Sabinus had come to Carthage to complain. They had been legitimately ordained by the bishops of the province in the place of the former bishops, Basilides and Martialis, who had both accepted libelli in the persecution. Basilides had further blasphemed God, in sickness, had confessed his blasphemy, had voluntarily resigned his bishopric, and had been thankful to be allowed lay communion. Martialis had indulged in pagan banquets and had buried his sons in a pagan cemetery. He had publicly attested before the procurator ducenarius that he had denied Christ. Wherefore, says the letter, such men are unfit to be bishops, the whole Church and the late Pope Cornelius having decided that such men may be admitted to penance but never to ordination; it does not profit them that they have deceived Pope Stephen, who was afar off and unaware of the facts, so that they obtained to be unjustly restored to their sees; nay, by this deceit they have only increased their guilt. The letter is thus a declaration that Stephen was wickedly deceived. No fault is imputed to him, no is there any claim to reverse his decision or to deny his right to give it; it is simply pointed out that it was founded on false information, and was therefore null. But it is obvious that the African council had heard only one side, whereas Felix and Sabinus must have pleaded their cause at Rome before they came to Africa. On this ground the Africans seem to have made too hasty a judgment. But nothing more is known of the matter.

 

MARTYRDOM

The empire was surrounded by barbarian hordes who poured in on all sides. The danger was the signal for a renewal of persecution on the part of the Emperor Valerian. At Alexandria St. Dionysius was exiled. On 30 August, 257, Cyprian was brought before the Proconsul Paternus in his secretarium. His interrogatory is extant and forms the first part of the “Acta proconsularia” of his martyrdom. Cyprian declares himself a Christian and a bishop. He serves one God to Whom he prays day and night for all men and for the safety of the emperor. “Do you persevere in this?” asks Paternus. “A good will which knows God cannot be altered.” “Can you, then, go into exile at Curubis?” “I go.” He is asked for the names of the priests also, but replies that delation is forbidden by the laws; they will be found easily enough in their respective cities. On September he went to Curubis, accompanied by Pontius. The town was lonely, but Pontius tells us it was sunny and pleasant, and that there were plenty of visitors, while the citizens were full of kindness. He relates at length Cyprian’s dream on his first night there, that he was in the proconsul’s court and condemned to death, but was reprieved at his own request until the morrow. He awoke in terror, but once awake he awaited that morrow with calmness. It came to him on the very anniversary of the dream. In Numidia the measurers were more severe. Cyprian writes to nine bishops who were working in the mines, with half their hair shorn, and with insufficient food and clothing. He was still rich and able to help them. Their replies are preserved, and we have also the authentic Acts of several African martyrs who suffered soon after Cyprian.

St. Pontius witnesses the martydom of St. Cyprian.

St. Pontius witnesses the martydom of St. Cyprian.

In August, 258, Cyprian learned that Pope Sixtus had been put to death in the catacombs on the 6th of that month, together with four of his deacons, in consequence of a new edict that bishops, priests, and deacons should be at once put to death; senators, knights, and others of rank are to lose their goods, and if they still persist, to die; matrons to be exiled; Caesarians (officers of the fiscus) to become slaves. Galerius Maximus, the successor of Paternus, sent for Cyprian back to Carthage, and in his own gardens the bishop awaited the final sentence. Many great personages urged him to fly, but he had now no vision to recommend this course, and he desired above all to remain to exhort others. Yet he hid himself rather than obey the proconsul’s summons to Utica, for he declared it was right for a bishop to die in his own city. On the return of Galerius to Carthage, Cyprian was brought from his gardens by two principes in a chariot, but the proconsul was ill, and Cyprian passed the night in the house of the first princeps in the company of his friends. Of the rest we have a vague description by Pontius and a detailed report in the proconsular Acts. On the morning of the 14th a crowd gathered “at the villa of Sextus”, by order of the authorities. Cyprian was tried there. He refused to sacrifice, and added that in such a matter there was no room for thought of the consequences to himself. The proconsul read his condemnation and the multitude cried, “Let us be beheaded with him!” He was taken into the grounds, to a hollow surrounded by trees, into which many of the people climbed. Cyprian took off his cloak, and knelt down and prayed. Then he took off his dalmatic and gave it to his deacons, and stood in his linen tunic in silence awaiting the executioner, to whom he ordered twenty-five gold pieces to be given. The brethren cast cloths and handkerchiefs before him to catch his blood. He bandaged his own eyes with the help of a priest and a deacon, both called Julius. So he suffered. For the rest of the day his body was exposed to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. But at night the brethren bore him with candles and torches, with prayer and great triumph, to the cemetery of Macrobius Candidianus in the suburb of Mapalia. He was the first Bishop of Carthage to obtain the crown of martyrdom.

 

WRITINGS

The correspondence of Cyprian consists of eighty-one letters. Sixty-two of them are his own, three more are in the name of councils. From this large collection we get a vivid picture of his time. The first collection of his writings must have been made just before or just after his death, as it was known to Pontius. It consisted of ten treatises and seven letters on martyrdom. To these were added in Africa a set of letters on the baptismal question, and at Rome, it seems, the correspondence with Cornelius, except Ep. xlvii. Other letters were successively aggregated to these groups, including letters to Cyprian or connected with him, his collections of Testimonies, and many spurious works. To the treatises already mentioned we have to add a well-known exposition of the Lord’s Prayer; a work on the simplicity of dress proper to consecrated virgins (these are both founded on Tertullian); “On the Mortality”, a beautiful pamphlet, composed on the occasion of the plague which reached Carthage in 252, when Cyprian, with wonderful energy, raised a staff of workers and a great fund of money for the nursing of the sick and the burial of the dead. Another work, “On Almsgiving”, its Christian character, necessity, and satisfactory value, was perhaps written, as Watson has pointed out, in reply to the calumny that Cyprian’s own lavish gifts were bribes to attach men to his side. Only one of his writings is couched in a pungent strain, the “ad Demetrianum”, in which he replies in a spirited manner to the accusation of a heathen that Christianity had brought the plague upon the world. Two short works, “On Patience” and “On Rivalry and Envy”, apparently written during the baptismal controversy, were much read in ancient times. St. Cyprian was the first great Latin writer among the Christians, for Tertullian fell into heresy, and his style was harsh and unintelligible. Until the days of Jerome and Augustine, Cyprian’s writings had no rivals in the West. Their praise is sung by Prudentius, who joins with Pacian, Jerome, Augustine, and many others in attesting their extraordinary popularity.

 

DOCTRINE

The little that can be extracted from St. Cyprian on the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation is correct, judged by later standards. On baptismal regeneration, on the Real Presence, on the Sacrifice of the Mass, his faith is clearly and repeatedly expressed, especially in Ep. lxiv on infant baptism, and in Ep. lxiii on the mixed chalice, written against the sacrilegious custom of using water without wine for Mass. On penance he is clear, like all the ancients, that for those who have been separated from the Church by sin there is no return except by a humble confession (exomologesis apud sacerdotes), followed by remissio facta per sacerdotes. The ordinary minister of this sacrament is the sacerdos par excellence, the bishop; but priests can administer it subject to him, and in case of necessity the lapsed might be restored by a deacon. He does not add, as we should at the present day, that in this case there is no sacrament; such theological distinctions were not in his line. There was not even a beginning of canon law in the Western Church of the third century. In Cyprian’s view each bishop is answerable to God alone for his action, though he ought to take counsel of the clergy and of the laity also in all important matters. The Bishop of Carthage had a great position as honorary chief of all the bishops in the provinces of Proconsular Africa, Numidia, and Mauretania, who were about a hundred in number; but he had no actual jurisdiction over them. They seem to have met in some numbers at Carthage every spring, but their conciliar decisions had no real binding force. If a bishop should apostatize or become a heretic or fall into scandalous sin, he might be deposed by his comprovincials or by the pope. Cyprian probably thought that questions of heresy would always be too obvious to need much discussion. It is certain that where internal questions of heresy would always be too obvious to need much discussion. It is certain that where internal discipline was concerned he considered that Rome should not interfere, and that uniformity was not desirable — a most unpractical notion. We have always to remember that his experience as a Christian was of short duration, that he became a bishop soon after he was converted, and that he had no Christian writings besides Holy Scripture to study besides those of Tertullian. He evidently knew no Greek, and probably was not acquainted with the translation of Irenaeus. Rome was to him the centre of the Church’s unity; it was inaccessible to heresy, which had been knocking at its door for a century in vain. It was the See of Peter, who was the type of the bishop, the first of the Apostles. Difference of opinion between bishops as to the right occupant of the Sees of Arles or Emerita would not involve breach of communion, but rival bishops at Rome would divide the Church, and to communicate with the wrong one would be schism. It is controverted whether chastity was obligatory or only strongly urged upon priests in his day. The consecrated virgins were to him the flower of his flock, the jewels of the Church, amid the profligacy of paganism.

 

SPURIA

A short treatise, “Quod Idola dii non sint”, is printed in all editions as Cyprian’s. It is made up out of Tertullian and Minucius Felix. Its genuineness is accepted by Benson, Monceaux, and Bardenhewer, as it was anciently by Jerome and Augustine. It has been attributed by Haussleiter to Novatian, and is rejected by Harnack, Watson, and von Soden. “De Spectaculis” and “De bono pudicitiae” are, with some probability, ascribed to Novatian. They are well-written letters of an absent bishop to his flock. “De Laude martyrii” is again attributed by Harnack to Novatian; but this is not generally accepted. “Adversus Judaeos” is perhaps by a Novatianist and Harnack ascribes it to Novatian himself. “Ad Novatianum” is ascribed by Harnack to Pope Sixtus II. Ehrhard, Benson, Nelke, and Weyman agree with him that it was written in Rome. This is denied by Julicher, Bardenhewer, Monceaux. Rombold thinks it is by Cyprian. “De Rebaptismate” is apparently the work attributed by Genadius to a Roman named Ursinus, c. 400. He was followed by some earlier critics, Routh, Oudin, and lately by Zahn. But it was almost certainly written during the baptismal controversy under Stephen. It comes from Rome (so Harnack and others) or from Mauretania (so Ernst, Monceaux, d’Arles), and is directed against the view of Cyprian. The little homily “De Aleatoribus” has had quite a literature of its own within the last few years, since it was attributed by Harnack to Pope Victor, and therefore accounted the earliest Latin ecclesiastical writing. The controversy has at least made it clear that the author was either very early or not orthodox. It has been shown to be improbable that he was very early, and Harnack now admits that the work is by an antipope, either Novatianist or Donatist. References to all the brochures and articles on the subject will be found in Ehrhard, in Bardenhewer, and especially in Harnack (Chronol., II, 370 sqq.).

“De Montibus Sina et Sion” is possibly older than Cyprian’s time (see Harnack, and also Turner in Journal of Theol. Studies, July 1906). “Ad Vigilium Episcopum de Judaica incredulitate” is by a certain Celsus, and was once supposed by Harnack and Zahn to be addressed to the well-known Vigilius of Thapsus, but Macholz has now convinced Harnack that it dates from either the persecution of Valerian or that of Maxentius. The two “Orationes” are of uncertain date and authorship. The tract “De Singularitate clericorum” has been attributed by Dom Morin and by Harnack to the Donatist Bishop Macrobius in the fourth century. “De Duplici Martyrio ad Fortunatum” is found in no manuscript, and was apparently written by Erasmus in 1530. “De Paschâ computus” was written in the year preceding Easter, 243. All the above spuria are printed in Hartel’s edition of Cyprian. The “Exhortatio de paenitentia” (first printed by Trombelli in 1751) is placed in the fourth or fifth century by Wunderer, but in Cyprian’s time or Monceaux. Four letter are also given by Hartel; the first is the original commencement of the “Ad Donatum”. The others are forgeries; the third, according to Mercati, is by a fourth-century Donatist. The six poems are by one author, of quite uncertain date. The amusing “Cena Cypriani” is found in a large number of Cyprianic manuscripts. Its date is uncertain; it was re-edited by Blessed Rhabanus Maurus. On the use of it at pageants in the early Middle Ages, see Mann, “History of the Popes”, II, 289.

The principal editions of the works of St. Cyprian are: Rome, 1471 (the ed. princeps), dedicated to Paul II; reprinted, Venice, 1471, and 1483; Memmingen, c. 1477; Deventer, c. 1477; Paris, 1500; ed. by Rembolt (Paris, 1512); by Erasmus (Basle, 1520 and frequently; the ed. of 1544 was printed at Cologne). A careful critical edition was prepared by Latino Latini, and published by Manutius (Rome, 1563); Morel also went to the manuscripts (Paris, 1564); so did Pamele (Antwerp, 1568), but with less success; Rigault did somewhat better (Paris, 1648, etc.). John Fell, Bishop of Oxford and Dean of Christ Church, published a well-known edition from manuscripts in England (Oxford, 1682). The dissertations by Dodwell and the “Annales Cyprianici” by Pearson, who arranged the letters in chronological order, make this edition important, though the text is poor. The edition prepared by Etienne Baluze was brought out after his death by Dom Prudence Maran (Paris, 1726), and has been several times reprinted, especially by Migne (P.L., IV and V). The best edition is that of the Vienna Academy (C.S.E.L., vol. III, in 3 parts, Vienna, 1868-1871), edited from the manuscripts by Hartel. Since then much work has been done upon the history of the text, and especially on the order of the letters and treatises as witnessing to the genealogy of the codices.

A stichometrical list, probably made in 354, of the Books of the Bible, and of many works of St. Cyprian, was published in 1886 from a manuscript then at Cheltenham by MOMMSEN, Zur lat. Stichometric; Hermes, XXI, 142; ibid. (1890), XXV, 636, on a second MS. at St. Gall. See SANDAY and TURNER in Studia Biblica (Oxford, 1891), III; TURNER in Classical Review (1892), etc.), VI, 205. On Oxford MSS., see WORDSWORTh in Old Lat. Biblical Texts (Oxford, 1886), II, 123; on Madrid MSS., SCHULZ, Th. Lit. Zeitung (1897), p. 179. On other MSS., TURNER in Journal of Th. St., III, 282, 586, 579; RAMSAY, ibid., III, 585, IV, 86. On the significance of the order, CHAPMAN, ibid., IV, 103; VON SODEN, Die cyprianische Briefsammlung (Leipzig, 1904). There are many interesting points in MERCATI, D’alcuni nuovi sussidi per la critica del testo di S. Cipriano (Rome, 1899).

On the life of St. Cyprian: PEARSON, Annales Cyprianici, ed. FELL; Acta SS., 14 Sept; RETTBERG, Th. Caec. Cyprianus (Gottingen, 1831); FREPPEL, Saint Cyprien et l’Eglise d’Afrique (Paris, 1865, etc.); PETERS, Der hl. Cypr. v. Karth. Ratisbon, 1877); Freppel and Peters occasionally exaggerate in the Catholic interest. FECHTRUP, Der hl. Cyprian (Munster, 1878); RITSCHL, Cyprian v. K. und die Verfassung der Kirche (Gottingen, 1885); BENSON, Cyprian, his life, his times, his work (London, 1897). (This is the fullest and best English life; it is full of enthusiasm, but marred by odium theologicum, and quite untrustworthy when controversial point arise, whether against Nonconformists or against Catholics.) MONCEAUX, Hist. litt. de l’Afrique chret. (Paris, 1902), II, a valuable work. Of the accounts in histories, encyclopedias, and patrologies, the best is that of BARDENHEWER, Gesch. der altkirchl. Lit. (Freiburg, 1903), II. PEARSON’s chronological order of the letters is given in HARTEL’s edition. Rectifications are proposed by RITSCHL, De Epistulis Cyprianicis (Halle, 1885), and Cyprian v. Karthago (Gottingen, 1885); by NELKE, Die Chronologie der Korresp. Cypr. (Thorn, 1902); by VON SODEN, op. cit.; by BENSON and MONCEAUX. These views are discussed by BARDENHEWER. loc. cit., and HARNACK, Chronol., II. BONACCORSI, Le lettere di S. Cipriano in Riv. storico-critica delle scienze teol. (Rome, 1905), I, 377; STUFLER, Die Behandlung der Gefallenen zur Zeit der decischen Verfolgung in Zeitschrift fur Kathol. Theol., 1907, XXXI, 577; DWIGHT, St. Cyprian and the libelli martyrum in Amer. Cath. Qu. Rev. (1907), XXXII, 478. On the chronology of the baptismal controversy, D’ALES, La question baptismale au temps de Saint-Cyprien in Rev. des Questions Hist. (1907), p. 353.

On Cyprian’s Biblical text: CORSSEN, Zur Orientierung uber die bisherige Erforschung der klass. Altertumswiss. (1899); SANDAY in Old Latin Bibl. Texts (1886), II; TURNER in Journ. Theol. St., II, 600, 610; HEIDENREICH, Der ntl. Text bei Cyprian (Bamberg, 1900); MONCEAUX, op. cit.; CORSSEN, Der cypr. Text der Acta Ap. (Berlin, 1892); ZAHN, Forschungen (Erlangen, 1891), IV, 79 (on Cyprian’s text of the Apoc.). A new edition (Oxford Univ. Press) is expected of the Testimonia by SANDAY and TURNER. Tentative prolegomena to it by TURNER in Journal Theological Studies (1905), VI, 246, and (1907), IX, 62. The work has been interpolated; see RAMSAY, On early insertions in the third book of St. Cyprian’s Text in Journal of Theol. St. (1901), II, 276. Testimonies of the ancients to Cyprian in HARNACK, Gesch. der altchristl. Lit., I; GOTZ, Gesch. der cyprianischen Literatur bis zu der Zeit der ersten erhaltenen Handschriften (Basle, 1891). On the Latin of St. Cyprian an excellent essay by WATSON, The Style and Language of St. Cyprian in Stud. Bibl. (Oxford, 1896), IV; BAYARD, Le Latin de Saint Cyprien (Paris, 1902). The letters of Cornelius are in Vulgar Latin (see MERCATI, op. cit.), and so are Epp. viii (anonymous) and xxi-xxiv (Celerinus, Lucian, Confessors, Caldonius); they have been edited by MIODONSKI, Adversus Alcatores (Erlangen and Leipzig, 1889). On the interpolations in De Unitate Eccl., see HARTEL, Preface; BENSON, pp. 200-21, 547-552; CHAPMAN, Les interpolations dans le traite de Saint Cyprien sur l’unite de l’Eglise in Revue Benedictine (1902), XIX, 246, 357, and (1903), XX, 26; HARNACK in Theo. Litt. Zeitung (1903), no. 9, and in Chronol., II; WATSON in Journal Theol. St. (1904), p. 432; CHAPMAN, ibid., p. 634, etc. On particular points see HARNACK in Texte und Untersuch., IV, 3, VIII, 2; on the letters of the Roman clergy HARNACK in Theol. Abhandl. Carl v. Weisacker gewidmet (Freiburg, 1896).

On Cyprian’s theology much has been written. RITSCHL is fanciful and unsympathetic, BENSON untrustworthy. GOTZ, Das Christentum Cyprians (Giessen, 1896). On his trust in visions, HARNACK, Cyprian als Enthusiast in Zeitschr. fur ntl. Wiss. (1902), III, ibid. On the baptismal controversy and Cyprian’s excommunication, see GRISAR in Zeitschr. fur kath. Theol. (1881), V; HOENSBROECH, ibid. (1891), XV; ERNST, ibid., XVII, XVIII, XIX. POSCHMANN, Die Sichtbarkeit der Kirche nach der Lehre des h. Cypr. (Breslau, 1907); RIOU, La genese de l’unite catholique et la pensee de Cyprien (Paris, 1907). To merely controversial works it is unnecessary to refer.

The above is only a selection from an immense literature on Cyprian and the pseudo-Cyprianic writings, for which see CHEVALIER, Bio-Bibl., and RICHARDSON, Bibliographical Synopsis. Good lists in VON SODEN, and in HARNACK, Chronol., II; the very full references in BARDENHEWER are conveniently classified.

John Chapman (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Pope Blessed Victor III

Pope Victor IIIBorn in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant branch of the Lombard dukes of Benevento; died in Rome, 16 Sept., 1087. Being an only son his desire to embrace the monastic state was strenuously opposed by both his parents. After his father’s death in battle with the Normans, 1047, he fled from the marriage which had been arranged for him and though brought back by force, eventually after a second flight to Cava obtained permission to enter the monastery of S. Sophia at Benevento where he received the name of Desiderius. The life at S. Sophia was not strict enough for the young monk who betook himself first to the island monastery of Tremite in the Adriatic and in 1053 to some hermits at Majella in the Abruzzi.

Subscription5About this time he was brought to the notice of St. Leo IX and it is probable that the pope employed him at Benevento to negotiate peace with the Normans after the fatal battle of Civitate. Somewhat later Desiderius attached himself to the Court of Victor II at Florence and there met two monks of Monte Cassino, with whom he returned to their…

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St. Robert Francis Romulus Bellarmine

(Also, “Bellarmino”).

A distinguished Jesuit theologian, writer, and cardinal, born at Montepulciano, 4 October, 1542; died 17 September, 1621.

Saint Robert BellarmineHis father was Vincenzo Bellarmino, his mother Cinthia Cervini, sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. He was brought up at the newly founded Jesuit college in his native town, and entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September, 1560, being admitted to his first vows on the following day. The next three years he spent in studying philosophy at the Roman College, after which he taught the humanities first at Florence, then at Mondovi. In 1567 he began his theology at Padua, but in 1569 was sent to…

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The Stigmatization of Saint Francis, by Rubens

The Stigmatization of Saint Francis, by Rubens

Early in August, 1224, Francis retired with three companions to “that rugged rock ‘twixt Tiber and Arno”, as Dante called La Verna, there to keep a forty days fast in preparation for Michaelmas. During this retreat the sufferings of Christ became more than ever the burden of his meditations; into few souls, perhaps, had the full meaning of the Passion so deeply entered. It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says an early writer, had long since been impressed upon his…

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St. Hildegard

Statue of St. HildegardBorn at Böckelheim on the Nahe, 1098; died on the Rupertsberg near Bingen, 1179; feast 17 September. The family name is unknown of this great seeress and prophetess, called the Sibyl of the Rhine. The early biographers give the first names of her parents as Hildebert and Mechtildis (or Mathilda), speak of their nobility and riches, but give no particulars of their lives. Later writers call the saint Hildegard of Böckelheim, of Rupertsberg, or of Bingen. Legends would make her a Countess of Spanheim. J. May (Katholik. XXXVII, 143) shows from letters and other documents that she probably belonged to the illustrious family of Stein, whose descendants are the present Princes of Salm. Her father was a soldier in the service of Meginhard, Count of Spanheim. Hildegard was a weak and sickly child, and in consequence received but little education at home. Her parents, though much engaged in worldly pursuits, had a religious disposition and had promised the child to the service of God. At the age of eight she was placed under the care of Jutta, sister of Count Meginhard, who lived as a recluse on the Disenberg (or Disibodenberg, Mount of St. Disibod) in the Diocese of Speyer. Here also Hildegard was given but little instruction since she was much afflicted with sickness, being frequently scarcely able to walk and often deprived even of the use of her eyes. She was taught to read and sing the Latin psalms, sufficient for the chanting of the Divine Office, but never learned to write. Eventually she was invested with the habit of St. Benedict and made her religious profession. Jutta died in 1136, and Hildegard was appointed superior. Numbers of aspirants flocked to the community and she decided to go to another locality, impelled also, as she says, by a Divine command. She chose Rupertsberg near Bingen on the left bank of the Rhine, about fifteen miles from Disenberg. After overcoming many difficulties and obtaining the permission of the lord of the place, Count Bernard of Hildesheim, she settled in her new home with eighteen sisters in 1147 or 1148 (1149 or 1150 according to Delehaye). Probably in 1165 she founded another convent at Eibingen on the right side of the Rhine, where a community had already been established in 1148, which, however, had no success.

St. HildegardThe life of Hildegard as child, religious, and superioress was an extraordinary one. Left much to herself on account of her ill health, she led an interior life, trying to make use of everything for her own sanctification. From her earliest years she was favoured with visions. She says of herself:

Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. I also wondered and during my sickness I asked one of my nurses whether she also saw similar things. When she answered no, a great fear befell me. Frequently, in my conversation, I would relate future things, which I saw as if present, but, noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent.

Her parents giving her to the Church.

Her parents giving her to the Church.

This condition continued to the end of her life. Jutta had noticed her gifts and made them known to a monk of the neighbouring abbey, but, it seems, nothing was done at the time. When about forty years of age Hildegard received a command to publish to the world what she saw and heard. She hesitated, dreading what people might think or say, though she herself was fully convinced of the Divine character of the revelations. But, continually urged, rebuked, and threatened by the inner voice, she manifested all to her spiritual director, and through him to the abbot under whose jurisdiction her community was placed. Then a monk was ordered to put in writing whatever she related; some of her nuns also frequently assisted her. The writings were submitted to the bishop (Henry, 1145-53) and clergy of Mainz, who pronounced them as coming from God. The matter was also brought to the notice of Eugene II (1145-53) who was at Trier in 1147. Albero of Chiny, Bishop of Verdun, was commissioned to investigate and made a favourable report. Hildegard continued her writings. Crowds of people flocked to her from the neighbourhood and from all parts of Germany and Gaul, to hear words of wisdom from her lips, and to receive advice and help in corporal and spiritual ailments. These were not only from the common people, but men and women of note in Church and State were drawn by tbe report of her wisdom and sanctity. Thus we read that Archbishop Heinrich of Mainz, Archbishop Eberhard of Salzburg and Abbot Ludwig of St. Eucharius at Trier, paid her visits. St. Elizabeth of Schönau was an intimate friend and frequent visitor. Trithemius in his “Chronicle” speaks of a visit of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but this probably was not correct. Not only at home did she give counsel, but also abroad. Many persons of all stations of life wrote to her and received answers, so that her correspondence is quite extensive. Her great love for the Church and its interests caused her to make many journeys; she visited at intervals the houses of Disenberg and Eibingen; on invitation she came to Ingelheim to see Emperor Frederick; she travelled to Würzburg, Bamberg, and the vicinity of Ulm, Cologne, Werden, Trier, and Metz. It is not true, however, that she saw Paris or the grave of St. Martin at Tours. In the last year of her life Hildegard had to undergo a very severe trial. In the cemetery adjoining her convent a young man was buried who had once been under excommunication. The ecclesiastical authorities of Mainz demanded that she have the body removed. She did not consider herself bound to obey since the young man had received the last sacraments and was therefore supposed to have been reconciled to the Church. Sentence of interdict was placed on her convent by the chapter of Mainz, and the sentence was confirmed by the bishop, Christian (V) Buch, then in Italy. After much worry and correspondence she succeeded in having the interdict removed. She died a holy death and was buried in the church of Rupertsberg.

Stained glass of St. HildegardHildegard was greatly venerated in life and after death. Her biographer, Theodoric, calls her saint, and many miracles are said to have been wrought through her intercession. Gregory IX (1227-41) and Innocent IV (1243-54) ordered a process of information which was repeated by Clement V (1305-14) and John XXII (1316-34). No formal canonization has ever taken place, but her name is in the Roman Martyrology and her feast is celebrated in the Dioceses of Speyer, Mainz, Trier, and Limburg, also in the Abbey of Solesmes, where a proper office is said (Brev. Monast. Tornac., 18 Sept.). When the convent on the Rupertsberg was destroyed in 1632 the relics of the saint were brought to Cologne and then to Eibingen. At the secularization of this convent they were placed in the parish church of the place. In 1857 an official recognition was made by the Bishop of Limburg and the relics were placed on an altar specially built. At this occasion the town of Eibingen chose her as patron. On 2 July, 1900, the cornerstone was here laid for a new convent of St. Hildegard. The work was begun and completed through the munificence of Prince Karl of Löwenstein and Benedictine nuns from St. Gabriel’s at Prague entered the new home (17 Sept., 1904).

St. Hildegard and her nunsAll the manuscripts found in the convent at Eibingen were in 1814 transferred to the state library at Wiesbaden. Of this collection the first and greatest work of St. Hildegard is called “Scivias” (Scire or vias Domini, or vias lucis), parts of which had been shown to the Archbishop of Mainz. She began it in 1141 and worked at it for ten years. It is an extraordinary production and hard to understand, prophetic throughout and admonitory after the manner of Ezechiel and the Apocalypse. In the introduction she speaks of herself and describes the nature of her visions. Then follow three books, the first containing six visions, the second giving seven visions, and about double the size of the first; the third, equal in size to both the others, has thirteen visions. The “Scivias” represents God on His Holy Mountain with mankind at its base; tells of the original condition of man, his fall and redemption, the human soul and its struggles, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the times to come, the son of perdition and the end of the world. The visions are interspersed with salutary admonitions to live in the fear of the Lord. Manuscripts of the “Scivias” are also at Cues and Oxford. It was printed for the first time at Paris (1513) in a book which contains also the writings of several other persons. It was again printed at Cologne in 1628, and reproduced in Migne, PL 197.

Hildegard von Bingen's alphabet, Litterae ignotae

Hildegard von Bingen’s alphabet, Litterae ignotae

The “Liber vitae meritorum” written between 1158 and 1163, is a picturesque description of a Christian’s life of virtue and its opposite. It was printed for the first time in Pitra, “Analecta Sacra”, VIII (Monte Cassino, 1882). The “Liber divinorum operum” (1163-70) is a contemplation of all nature in the light of faith. Sun, moon, and stars, the planets, the winds, animals, and man, are in her visions expressive of something supernatural and spiritual, and as they come from God should lead back to Him (Migne, loc. cit.). Mansi, in “Baluzii Missell.” (Lucca, 1761), II, 337, gives it from a manuscript lost since then. Her “Letter to the Prelates of Mainz” in regard to the interdict placed upon her convent is placed here among her works by the Wiesbaden manuscript; in others it is bound among her letters. To it the Wiesbaden manuscript annexes nine small essays: on the Creation and fall of man; God’s treatment of the renegade; on the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist; on the covenant between Christ and the Church; on the Creation and Redemption; on the duties of secular judges; on the praises of God with intermingled prayers. “Liber Epistolarum et Orationum”; the Wiesbaden manuscript contains letters to and from Eugene III, Anastasius IV, Adrian IV, and Alexander III, King Conrad III, Emperor Frederick, St. Bernard, ten archbishops, nine bishops, forty-nine abbots and provosts of monasteries or chapters, twenty-three abbesses, many priests, teachers, monks, nuns, and religious communities (P. L., loc. cit.). Pitra has many additions; L. Clarus edited them in a German translation (Ratisbon, 1854). “Vita S. Disibodi” and “Vita S. Ruperti”; these “Vitae”, which Hildegard claims also to be revelations, were probably made up from local traditions and, especially for St. Rupert, the sources being very meagre, have only legendary value. “Expositio Evangeliorum” fifty homilies in allegory (Pitra, loc. cit.). “Lingua Ignota”; the manuscript, in eleven folios ves a list of nine hundred words of an unknown language, mostly nouns and only a few adjectives, a Latin, and in a few cases a German, explanation, together with an unknown alphabet of twenty-three letters printed in Pitra.

“O frondens virga”

O verdant maiden, standing in thy nobility like the dawning light of day, now rejoice and be glad, and think us feeble ones worthy of freeing from our evil ways; and even stretch forth thy hand to lift us up.

 

A collection of seventy hymns and their melodies. A manuscript of this is also at Afflighem, printed in Roth (Wiesbaden, 1880) and in Pitra. Not only in this work, but elsewhere Hildegard exhibits high poetical gifts, transfigured by her intimate persuasion of a Divine mission. “Liber Simplicis Medicinae” and “Liber Compositae Medicinae”; the first was edited in 1533 by Schott at Strasburg as “Physica S Hildegardis”, Dr. Jessen (1858) found a manuscript of it in the library of Wolfenbuttel. It consists of nine books treating of plants, elements, trees, stones, fishes, birds, quadrupeds, reptiles, metals, printed in Migne as “Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Libri Novem”. In I859, Jessen succeeded in obtaining from Copenhagen a manuscript entitled “Hildegardis Curae et Causae”, and on examination felt satisfied that it was the second medical work of the saint. Subscription14 It is in five books and treats of the general divisions of created things, of the human body and its ailments, of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of diseases. “38 Solutiones Quaestionum” are answers to questions proposed by the monks of Villars through Gilbert of Gembloux on several texts of Scripture (P. L., loc. cit.). “Explanatio Regulae S. Benedicti”, also called a revelation, exhibits the rule as understood and applied in those days by an intelligent and mild superior. “Explanatio Symboli S. Athanasii”, an exhortation addressed to her sisters in religion. The “Revelatio Hildegardis de Fratribus Quatuor Ordinum Mendicantium”, and the other prophecies against the Mendicants, etc., are forgeries. The “Speculum futurorum temporum” is a free adaptation of texts culled from her writings by Gebeno, prior of Eberbach (Pentachronicon, 1220). Some would impugn the genuineness of her writings, among others Preger in his “Gesch. der deutchen Mystik”, 1874, but without sufficient reason. (See Hauck in “Kirchengesch. Deutschl.”, IV,398 sqq.). Her correspondence is to be read with caution; three letters from popes have been proved spurious by Von Winterfeld in “Neue Archiv”, XXVII, 297.

The first biography of St. Hildegard was written by the contemporary monks Gottfried and Theodoric. Guibert of Gembloux commenced another.

FRANCIS MERSHMAN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Photo of Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, the future Pope St. Pius X.

Photo of Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, the future Pope St. Pius X.

Before traveling to Rome for the conclave that would elect him Pope, St. Pius X received a visit from the Countess of Capegna who expressed her desire that he be the chosen one:

—    “Your Eminence, I pray that the Holy Ghost will deign to land upon you.”

—    “Countess,” replied the saint, “your opinion of the Holy Ghost is very poor.”

The crowd hearing the announcement of the Papal Election of Pope St. Pius X.

The crowd hearing the announcement from Cardinal Luigi Macchi of the Conclave’s decision to elect Cardinal Sarto as the new Vicar of Christ on earth.

Vicente Vega, Diccionario ilustrado de frases célebres y citas literárias (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1955), 423. (Nobility.org translation.)

 

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 419

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Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
 

Our article deals with two Japanese works of modern art.

Nobuya Abe

Nobuya Abe

In the first picture, Japanese painter Nobuya Abe (1913-1971) presents the suffering of a contemporary oriental man imploring the aid of humanity. It is a scene of diabolical ugliness, absolute despair and a total absence of any thought of confidence in God.

The picture represents the pagan pain of a human victim of a pagan world with the hideousness proper to its style. This human being suffers in all of his organs. He suffers everywhere and in every fiber of his being. He suffers hating his pain, not comprehending it in any way. He strives to free himself of it as soon as possible. However, he does not confide in any solutions because he believes neither in Providence and only directs his supplications toward an inexorably bad humanity which oppresses him. By its strident despair and the madness of its forms and moral horizons, the painting is, in short, an anticipation of hell.

ACC picture 2The other picture represents the human body! It is a work of the surrealist sculptor Sueo Kasagi. Compare – if possible – this “human body” with the figure of Saint Francis Xavier in the third picture at the bottom of the page. In the latter picture, the faith of Saint Francis appears to imbue his body with dignity and supernatural fortitude. In the sculpture, the artist conceives a delirious portrayal of the body that is neither human nor does it resemble anything living or capable of life!

The third picture represents Saint Francis Xavier on the high seas, imploring the help of God during a terrible storm. The great apostle of the Orient had set out from Malacca in a fragile boat on the way to Japan, the Empire of the Rising Sun when a storm overtook them. His traveling companions were seized with panic, but Xavier was fearless, placing all his confidence in Providence. God benignly heard the prayer of his servant and the storm subsided without harming anyone.

Saint Frances Xavier

The picture portrays the powerful movement of the waves, the dramatic beauty of the tumultuous sea, the helplessness of the boat which was like a toy tossed among the elements, the panic of the crewmen, and the serenity, fortitude and supernatural spirit of Xavier. Everything presents a dazzling contrast. On the one hand, the watery abysses of the sea appear to want to open and swallow Saint Francis and the others. On the other hand, there is his perfect serenity because he confides entirely in Heaven. The scene is a glorification of the virtue of confidence that is rich in intelligence, tact and true artistic sense.

* * *

A final observation, the Church is universal. However, her influence adjusts to each time and place. It admirably respects and even favors the legitimate characteristics proper to each people and epoch. This is why the picture portraying Saint Frances Xavier in the storm has all of the refinement, imagination and richness of expression of the Far East, yet is also imbued with the warm and vigorous breath of genuine Catholic inspiration.

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On contrary, the artistic schools of the first two pictures kill all the characteristics of place and time. All one had to do is visit a modern art exhibit to note how similar hideous works like these are sprouting up with desolating uniformity nowadays in all parts of the world. Such art restricts and asphyxiates the legitimate artistic inspiration proper to each nation and replaces it with a profoundly erroneous internationalism. This is the exact opposite of the admirable universality of the Church.

 

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The Festival of the Holy Name of the Virgin Mary

Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the universal Church as a solemn thanksgiving for the relief of Vienna, when it was besieged by the Turks in 1683.

John Sobieski III, King of Poland before his army.

John Sobieski III, King of Poland before his army.

The Turks had formerly laid siege to Vienna, under Solyman the Magnificent, in 1529, in the reign of Charles V. But after losing sixty thousand men, and lying a month before the place, without making any considerable advances against it, they raised the siege.

SubscriptionThe danger was much more formidable when those infidels made a second attempt upon this bulwark of Germany, in the reign of the Emperor Leopold. Great part of Hungary having taken up arms against that…

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King Jan III Sobieski with a gorget of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

King Jan III Sobieski with a gorget of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Before he set out, Sobieski had sent a letter to Innocent XI, in which he wrote: “When the good of the Church and Christianity is concerned I shed my blood to the last drop, together with the whole kingdom. Since my kingdom and I are two bulwarks of Christianity”.

Subscription2To commemorate Sobieski’s victory Pope Innocent XI announced 12 September the day of glory of the Holy Name of Mary, and to show his admiration for the Poles and their king the Pope accepted the sign of the Crowned Eagle into his papal coat of arms.

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Simon IV de Montfort

Simon IV de Montfort

At the Battle of Muret on 12 September 1213 the Crusading army of Simon IV de Montfort defeated the Catharist, Aragonese and Catalan forces of Peter II of Aragon, at Muret near Toulouse.

Simon IV de Montfort was the leader of the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy and incidentally to join the Languedoc to the crown of France. He invaded Toulouse and exiled its count, Raymond VI. Count Raymond sought assistance from his brother-in-law, King Peter II of Aragon, who felt threatened by Montfort’s conquests in Languedoc. He decided to cross the Pyrenees and deal with Montfort at Muret.

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St. John Chrysostom

(Chrysostomos, “golden-mouthed” so called on account of his eloquence).

St John ChrysostomDoctor of the Church, born at Antioch, c. 347; died at Commana in Pontus, 14 September, 407.

John — whose surname “Chrysostom” occurs for the first time in the “Constitution” of Pope Vigilius (cf. P.L., LX, 217) in the year 553 — is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. His natural gifts, as well as exterior circumstances, helped him to become what he was.

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I. LIFE

 

(1) Boyhood

At the time of Chrysostom’s birth, Antioch was the second city of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. During the whole of the fourth century religious struggles had troubled the empire and had found their echo at Antioch. Pagans, Manichaeans, Gnostics, Arians, Apollinarians, Jews, made their proselytes at Antioch, and the Catholics were themselves separated by the schism between the bishops Meletius and Paulinus. Thus Chrysostom’s youth fell in troubled times. His father, Secundus, was an officer of high rank in the Syrian army. On his death soon after the birth of John, Anthusa, his wife, only twenty years of age, took the sole charge of her two children, John and an elder sister. Fortunately she was a woman of intelligence and character.

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Marquis de Louis-Joseph Montcalm-Gozon

Louis Joseph de Montcalm, Marquis de Saint-VeranA French general, born 28 Feb., 1712, at Candiac, of Louis-Daniel and Marie-Thérèse de Lauris; died at Quebec 14 Sept., 1759.

He was descended from Gozon, Grand Master of Rhodes of legendary fame, The warlike spirit of his ancestors had given rise to the saying: “War is the tomb of the Montcalms.”

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Though less clever than a younger brother, a prodigy of learning at seven, Louis-Joseph was a classical scholar. A soldier at fifteen, he spent his leisures in camp reading Greek and German. He served successively at the sieges of Kehl and Philipsbourg, and became a knight of St. Louis (1741) after a campaign in Bohemia, and was appointed colonel of the Auxerrois regiment (1743). He received five wounds at the battle of Piacenza. In 1736 he had married Angélique-Louise Talon de Boulay, grand-niece of the famous intendant of that name. Of this union were born ten children. In 1755 he succeeded the ill-fated Dieskau…

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The Cross could not be decently mentioned amongst Romans, who looked upon it as an unlucky omen, and as Cicero says, not to be named by a freeman.

The vision of the Cross appeared to Constantine in the sky on the eve of a battle, with the words, "In this sign thou shalt conquer," a prophecy that was to prove true the next day when Constantine was victorious at Pons Milvius.

The vision of the Cross appeared to Constantine in the sky on the eve of a battle, with the words, “In this sign thou shalt conquer,” a prophecy that was to prove true the next day when Constantine was victorious at Pons Milvius.

However, the Emperor Constantine attributed his victory in the Quintian fields, near the bridge Milvius, to the Cross of the Christians, the inscription of which he caused to be put under his statue with which the senate honoured him in Rome, as Eusebius testifies. The same historian mentions that in his triumph, he did not mount the capitol, to offer sacrifices and gifts to the false gods, according to the custom of his predecessors, but “by illustrious inscriptions promulgated the power of Christ’s saving sign.”

Subscription7Codinus assures us that he caused the sign of the cross, which he had seen in the air, to be erected in the chief square at Constantinople. He also set up in the principal hall of his palace at Constantinople, a great figure of the cross which he had seen in the heavens, and by the power of…

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St. Catherine of Genoa

(also known as Caterina Fieschi Adorno.)

St. Catherine of GenoaBorn at Genoa in 1447, died at the same place 15 September, 1510. The life of St. Catherine of Genoa may be more properly described as a state than as a life in the ordinary sense. When about twenty-six years old she became the subject of one of the most extraordinary operations of God in the human soul of which we have record, the result being a marvellous inward condition that lasted till her death. In this state, she received wonderful revelations, of which she spoke at times to those around her, but which are mainly embodied in her two celebrated works: the “Dialogues of the Soul and Body”, and the “Treatise on Purgatory”. Her modern biographies, chiefly translations or adaptations of an old Italian one which is itself founded on “Memoirs” drawn up by the saint’s own confessor and a friend, mingle what facts they give of her outward life with accounts of her supernatural state and “doctrine”, regardless of sequence, and in an almost casual fashion…

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St. Ludmilla

Statue of Saint Ludmila in Prague Photo by Jedudedek

Statue of Saint Ludmila in Prague Photo by Jedudedek

Wife of Boriwoi, the first Christian Duke of Bohemia, born at Mielnik, circa 860; died at Tetin, near Beraun, 15 September, 921. She and her husband were baptized, probably by St. Methodius, in 871. Pagan fanatics drove them from their country, but they were soon recalled, and after reigning seven more years they resigned the throne in favour of their son Spitignev and retired to Tetin. Spitignev died two years later and was succeeded by Wratislaw, another son…

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According to a press release from Kensington Palace:

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child.

The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

As with her first pregnancy, The Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Her Royal Highness will no longer accompany The Duke of Cambridge on their planned engagement in Oxford today. The Duchess of Cambridge is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace.

To read the press release from Kensington Palace, please click here.

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Prince Charles describes Islamic State as “diabolic evil”

September 8, 2014

According to The Telegraph: The Prince of Wales has written… “Although words seem hopelessly inadequate at such an unimaginable time of suffering, I did just want to offer, through you, my special prayers and profound sympathy to all the members of the Caldean Catholic Church in Iraq. “It is my fervent hope and prayer that […]

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St. Pius X Refuses to Bless Austria’s Troops

September 8, 2014

As his troops mobilized and prepared to march against Serbia in 1914, starting the First World War, Franz Josef asked Saint Pius X to give the Apostolic Blessing to the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s soldiers. The holy Pontiff answered: — “I am the Pope of all Catholics and cannot bless some as they attack the others.” Vicente […]

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Spiritual Decoration vs. Materialist Decoration

September 8, 2014

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira In the first picture, 1,500 representatives of the United Nations meet in the Assembly Chamber of the Luxembourg Palace built between 1615 and 1620 for Maria de Medici under the direction of Solomon de Brosse. The ambience is admirably suited to an event of such magnitude. The very natural […]

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September 9 – Wife of a dissolute husband

September 8, 2014

Blessed Seraphina Sforza Born at Urbino about 1434; died at Pesaro, 8 September, 1478. Her parents were Guido Antonio of Montefeltro, Count of Urbino, and Cattarina Colonna. She was brought up at Rome by her maternal uncle, Martin V. In 1448 Seraphina married Alexander Sforza, Lord of Pesaro. Ten years afterwards her husband gave himself […]

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September 9 – St. Omer

September 8, 2014

St. Omer Born of a distinguished family towards the close of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century, at Guldendal, Switzerland; died c. 670. After the death of his mother, he, with his father, entered the monastery of Luxeuil in the Diocese of Besançon probably about 615. Under the direction of Saint Eustachius, […]

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September 10 – Arrested while preaching

September 8, 2014

St. Edward Ambrose Barlow (Alias RADCLIFFE and BRERETON.) Priest and martyr, born at Barlow Hall, 1585; died 10 September, 1641. He was the fourth son of Sir Alexander Barlow, Knight of Barlow Hall, near Manchester, by Mary, daughter of Sir Uryan Brereton, Knight of Handforth Hall, Co. Chester, and was baptized at Didsbury Church 30 […]

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September 10 – They always carried a copy of his Bible in battle

September 8, 2014

St. Finnian of Moville Born about 495; died 589. Though not so celebrated as his namesake of Clonard, he was the founder of a famous school about the year 540. He studied under St. Colman of Dromore and St. Mochae of Noendrum (Mahee Island), and subsequently at Candida Casa (Whithern), whence he proceeded to Rome, […]

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September 11 – Prince Eugen of Savoy crushes the Turks at Zenta

September 8, 2014

Although his men had already done a forced march of over ten hours that day, Eugen gave the order to advance and then galloped ahead to see the scene at first hand. He spotted how, just above the bridge on the near side of the river, the water was shallow with a sandbank leading up […]

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September 11 – The Italian army invades the Papal States without a declaration of war

September 8, 2014

The King of Italy sends an ultimatum to Blessed Pope Pius IX As the French military situation deteriorated [in the Franco-Prussian War], the government in Florence grew bolder. Near the end of August [1870], the Italian cabinet issued a circular letter to all the governments of Europe, in which it declared that the time had […]

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September 11 – Burned slowly to death for Christ

September 8, 2014

Blessed Charles Spinola Born in Genoa in 1564, he was the son of the Count of Tassarolo, and the nephew of Cardinal Philip Spinola. He was educated in Spain and in the Jesuit school in Nola, Italy. He entered the noviatiate in 1584, and was ordained in 1594. In 1596, he received a letter appointing […]

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The Great Siege of Malta, May 18–September 11, 1565, was won because of one man

September 8, 2014

On the morning of August 18th the excessively heavy bombardment of Senglea warned them that an attack was imminent. It was not slow to develop. The moment that the rumble of the guns died down, the Iayalars and Janissaries were seen streaming forward across the no-man’s-land to the south. The attack developed in the same […]

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Dutch King opens enthanol plant in Iowa

September 4, 2014

According to RoyalBlog.nl: The King will officially open the plant and receive a tour of the new facility [which] will process 770 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk daily to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year, later ramping up to 25 million gallons per year. Plant personnel are currently […]

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Louis XV fends off flattery

September 4, 2014

While visiting the office of the Minister of War, Louis XV saw a pair of spectacles on the table. He picked them up and said: “Let me try them, to see how good they are.” He began to read a paper that had been left on the table with feigned neglect and immediately perceived that […]

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Refinement without Weakness, Strength without Brutality

September 4, 2014

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira   Public opinion in the Romantic era was attracted by refined, subtle and fragile souls. We would say exaggeratedly fragile, if fragility was not already in itself a defect and an exaggeration. In our days, when the struggle for survival of body and soul requires ceaseless effort, people’s admiration […]

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September 5 – Unashamed to beg alms even from his noble family

September 4, 2014

St. Laurence Justinian, Bishop and Confessor, First Patriarch of Venice Bishop and first Patriarch of Venice, born in 1381, and died 8 January, 1456. He was a descendant of the Giustiniani, a Venetian patrician family which numbered several saints among its members. Lawrence’s pious mother sowed the seeds of a devout religious life in the […]

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September 6 – Blessed Thomas Tsuji

September 4, 2014

Born to the Japanese nobility in Sonogi on the island of Kyushu about the year 1571. Educated by Jesuits at Arima, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1587. He traveled all over Japan and became known for his eloquent, persuasive preaching. After the publication of an edict banning Catholic priests, he followed eighty of […]

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September 7 – The Outrage of Anagni

September 4, 2014

It had been the practice to speak of the spiritual and temporal powers in terms of pope and emperor, and it was long before it was realized, at least on the papal side, that the civil power, defeated as emperor, had returned to the attack with more aggressive vigour as the Monarchy and the State. […]

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September 7: Richard the Lionheart defeats Saladin at Arsuf – Video

September 4, 2014

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September 7 – Grandson of Queen St. Clotilda

September 4, 2014

St. Cloud, Confessor A.D. 560. St. Cloud, called in Latin Chlodoardus, is the first and most illustrious saint among the princes of the royal family of the first race in France. He was son of Chlodomir, king of Orleans, the eldest son of St. Clotilda, and was born in 522. He was scarcely three years […]

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September 8 – The Davidic ancestry of Mary

September 4, 2014

As we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us recall her Davidic ancestry. St. Luke (2:4) says that St. Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be enrolled, “because he was of the house and family of David”. As if to exclude all doubt concerning the Davidic descent of Mary, the Evangelist […]

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September 8 – He added the Agnus Dei to the Mass

September 4, 2014

Pope St. Sergius I (Reigned 687-701), date of birth unknown; consecrated probably on 15 Dec., 687; died 8 Sept., 701. While Pope Conon lay dying, the archdeacon Pascal offered the exarch a large sum to bring about his election as his successor. Through the exarch’s influence the archdeacon was accordingly elected by a number of […]

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Blessed Marco d’Aviano – God’s Preacher During the 1683 Siege of Vienna

September 1, 2014

Father Marco d’Aviano, an Italian mission preacher calling to repentance did not stint his zeal at this gloomy moment. For some time previously his reputation had attracted attention north of the Alps. Charles of Lorraine’s court at Innsbruck wished to invite him, but Pope Innocent at first refused permission. Then the Wittelsbach court in Munich, […]

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The Deception of Utopias

September 1, 2014

Someone might object that such concepts do not correspond to reality. Men often seek false “utopias,” only to be disillusioned, a fact which gives foundation to the popular notion that all dreams are illusions or even dangerous fantasies. We would not dispute such claims. Like all things linked to man’s fallen nature and fertile imagination, […]

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September 2-3 – The September Martyrs of the French Revolution, Blessed John du Lau and Companions

September 1, 2014

Martyrs of September (Also known as: Martyrs of Paris or Martyrs of Carmes) In 1790, the revolutionary government of France enacted a law denying Papal authority over the Church in France. The French clergy were required to swear an oath to uphold this law and submit to the Republic. Many priests and religious took the […]

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September 3 – All the principles of Catholicism can be found in his life

September 1, 2014

Pope St. Gregory I (“the Great”) Doctor of the Church; born at Rome about 540; died 12 March 604. Pope Gregory is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History. He has exercised in many respects a momentous influence on the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. To him […]

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September 3 – St. Hereswitha

September 1, 2014

St. Hereswitha (HAERESVID, HERESWYDE). Daughter of Hereric and Beorhtswith and sister of St. Hilda of Whitby. She was the wife of Aethelhere, King of East Anglia, to whom she bore two sons, Aldwulf and Alfwold. By the “Liber Eliensis” she is stated to have been the wife of King Anna, the leder brother of King […]

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September 4 – She predicted the speedy death of the emperor

September 1, 2014

St. Rose of Viterbo (also Rosalia, and in Sicily affectionately nicknamed La Santuzza) Virgin, born at Viterbo, 1235; died 6 March, 1252. The chronology of her life must always remain uncertain, as the Acts of her canonization, the chief historical sources, record no dates. Those given above are accepted by the best authorities. Born of […]

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St. Bertha, Queen of Kent

September 1, 2014

St. Bertha, Queen of Kent Died circa 612. She was a Frankish princess, daughter of Charibert and the pious Ingoberga. In marrying the pagan King Ethelbert of Kent, she brought her chaplain Liudhard with her, and restored a Christian church in Canterbury, which dated form the Roman occupation, dedicating it to St. Martin. The present […]

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Charlemagne’s sword and seal

August 28, 2014

Charlemagne had his seal embossed in the pummel of his sword, and used it to seal his letters, which he would then hand over to a courier, saying, “These are my orders.” He would then show his sword, and add, “And here is what makes my enemies respect them.” Edmond Guérard, Dictionnaire encyclopédique d’anécdotes (Paris: […]

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King now more protected from military coups

August 28, 2014

According to the Middle East Monitor: A number of constitutional amendments passed by the Jordanian parliament recently are designed to make King Abdullah II immune from potential coups, analysts say. Welcomed by pro-monarchy MPs and opposed by Islamists, the amendments grant the king the power to appoint and dismiss senior army officers. Abdelhady Al-Magaly MP […]

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Unusual Royal Warrant Holders

August 28, 2014

According to the Londonist: Have you ever wondered who’s responsible for the Queen’s internet connection, or whom she might call if Buckingham Palace were suddenly overrun with rats? It’s a tough job, but somebody needs to make sure Her Majesty has 24/7 access to the internet. BT stepped up to the mark in 2007, and…is […]

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Practical Nature of These Dreams

August 28, 2014

If these terms sound too abstract and unattainable, historian Lewis Mumford clarifies the issue by emphasizing the extremely practical nature of our dreams and distinguishing them from idle fantasy. He defines a dream very simply as an ideal vision whereby a social unit conceives “a reconstituted environment which is better adapted to the nature and […]

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August 28 – Restless Heart

August 28, 2014

St. Augustine of Hippo The great St. Augustine’s life is unfolded to us in documents of unrivaled richness, and of no great character of ancient times have we information comparable to that contained in the “Confessions,” which relate the touching story of his soul, the “Retractations,” which give the history of his mind, and the […]

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August 29 – At the helm during the French Revolution

August 28, 2014

Pope Pius VI (GIOVANNI ANGELICO BRASCHI). Born at Cesena, 27 December, 1717; elected 15 February, 1775; died at Valence, France, 29 Aug., 1799. He was of a noble but impoverished family, and was educated at the Jesuit College of Cesena and studied law at Ferrara. After a diplomatic mission to Naples, he was appointed papal […]

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August 29 – Passion of St. John the Baptist

August 28, 2014

St. John the Baptist The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are the canonical Gospels. Of these St. Luke is the most complete, giving as he does the wonderful circumstances accompanying the birth of the Precursor and items on his ministry and death. St. Matthew’s Gospel stands […]

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August 29 – Converted by her slave

August 28, 2014

St. Sabina Widow of Valentinus and daughter of Herod Metallarius, suffered martyrdom about 126. According to the Acts of the martyrdom, which however have no historic value, she lived at Rome and was converted to Christianity by her female slave Serapia. Serapia was put to death for her faith and later, in the same year, […]

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August 29 – King and Confessor

August 28, 2014

St. Sebbi, or Sebba This prince was the son of Seward, and in the year 664, which was remarkable for a grievous pestilence, began to reign over the East Saxons, who inhabited the country which, now comprises Essex, Middlesex, and the greater part of Hertfordshire; he being the tenth king from Erkinwin, founder of that […]

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August 30 – Gallant Lady

August 28, 2014

St. Margaret Ward Martyr, born at Congleton, Cheshire; executed at Tyburn, London, 30 Aug., 1588. Nothing is known of her early life except that she was of good family and for a time dwelt in the house of a lady of distinction named Whitall then residing in London. Knowing that William Watson, the priest who […]

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August 30 – Saved by the cross

August 28, 2014

Blessed Bronislava (or Bronislawa) of Poland Born in 1230 to an important Polish family, her grandfather had founded the Premonstratensian monastery at Zwierzyniec near Cracow where Bronislava’s aunt Gertrude had entered, later becoming prioress at Imbramowice. Bronislava was also a cousin of the Dominican Saint Hyacinth and related to Saint Jacek and Blessed Czeslaw. Bronislava entered the convent at Zwierzyniec at the […]

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August 31 – Born of a dead mother

August 28, 2014

St. Raymond Nonnatus (Not-Born) (In Spanish SAN RAMON). Born 1200 or 1204 at Portello in the Diocese of Urgel in Catalonia; died at Cardona, 31 August, 1240. His feast is celebrated on 31 August. He is pictured in the habit of his order surrounded by ransomed slaves, with a padlock on his lips. He was […]

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