January 25 – St. Poppo

January 24, 2022

St. Poppo

Abbot, born 977; died at Marchiennes, 25 January, 1048. He belonged to a noble family of Flanders; his parents were Tizekinus and Adalwif. About the year 1000 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with two others of his countrymen. Soon after this he also went on a pilgrimage to Rome. He was about to marry a lady of noble family, when an impressive experience led him to seek another mode of life. As he was journeying late at night a flame burst forth over his head and his lance radiated a brilliant light. He believed this to be an illumination of the Holy Spirit, and soon after, 1005, he entered the monastery of St. Thierry at Reims. About 1008 Abbot Richard of St. Vannes at Verdun, who was a zealous reformer of monasteries in the spirit of the reform of Cluny, took Poppo with him to his monastery. Richard made Poppo prior of St. Vaast d’Arras, in the Diocese of Cambrai, about 1013. Here Poppo proved himself to be the right man for the position, reclaimed the lands of the monastery from the rapacious vassals, and secured the possession of the monastery by deeds…

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BL. TERESA GRILLO MICHEL was born in Spinetta Marengo (Alessandria), Italy, on 25 September 1855. She was the fifth and last child of Giuseppe, the head physician at the Civil Hospital of Alessandria, and of Maria Antonietta Parvopassau, a descendent of an illustrious family of Alessandria. At Baptism she was given the name of Maddalena.

After the death of her father, the family moved to Turin, where Maddalena attended elementary school and her mother supervised the university studies of Francesco, her elder brother. When Maddalena finished elementary school, she was sent to a boarding school run by the Ladies of Loretto in Lodi, where she passed her final exams at the age of 18…

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St. Ildephonsus

Archbishop of Toledo; died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was a nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. We learn from his writings that he was ordained a deacon (about 630) by Helladius, who had been his abbot and was afterwards elected Archbishop of Toledo.  Ildephonsus himself became Abbot of Agli, and in this capacity was one of the signatories, in 653 and 655, at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo. Called by King Reccesvinth, towards the end of 657, to fill the archiepiscopal throne, he governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia…

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St. Paula

Born in Rome, 347; died at Bethlehem, 404. She belonged to one of the first families of Rome. Left a widow in 379 at the age of 32 she became, through the influence of St. Marcella and her group, the model of Christian widows. In 382 took place her decisive meeting with St. Jerome, who had come to Rome with St. Epiphanius and Paulinus of Antioch. These two bishops inspired her with an invincible desire to follow the monastic life in the East. After their departure from Rome and at the request of Marcella, Jerome gave readings from Holy Scripture before the group of patrician women among whom St. Paula held a position of honour. Paula was an ardent student. She and her daughter, Eustochium, studied and mastered Hebrew perfectly. By their studies they aimed not so much to acquire knowledge, as a fuller acquaintance with Christian perfection…

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St. Angela Merici

Foundress of the Ursulines, born 21 March, 1474, at Desenzano, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy; died 27 January, 1540, at Brescia.

She was left an orphan at the age of ten and together with her elder sister came to the home of her uncle at the neighbouring town of Salo where they led an angelic life. When her sister met with a sudden death, without being able to receive the last sacraments, young Angela was much distressed. She became a tertiary of St. Francis and greatly increased her prayers and mortifications for the repose of her sister’s soul. In her anguish and pious simplicity she prayed God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister. It is said that by a vision she was satisfied her sister was in the company of the saints in heaven…

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January 27 – Canossa

January 24, 2022

Castle of Canossa. Photo by turismoemiliaromagna

A former castle of Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, in the foothills of the Apennines, about eighteen miles from Parma, where took place the dramatic penance of King Henry IV of Germany in presence of Pope Gregory VII. The king, excommunicated 22 February, 1076, would have been utterly abandoned by the inimical German princess unless within a year he made peace with the pope. Early in January, 1077, the latter was on his way to the diet called to meet at Augsburg, 2 February, when he heard that Henry had crossed Mont Cenis. Fearing for his person, he took refuge in the impregnable and almost inaccessible burg of Canossa, the hereditary stronghold of his friend and protectress, Matilda. The king, however, was really intent on performing the penance necessary to lift the excommunication, by which diplomatic step the plans of his enemies in Germany would be nullified.

Henry IV begging forgiveness of Pope Gregory VII at Canossa, the castle of the Countess Matilda, 1077.

For three days (25-27 January) he stood constantly before the castle gate, in the dress of a penitent, beseeching with many tears the pope’s forgiveness. Gregory finally yielded, moved by the royal compunction and by the importunities of his royal entourage, among them Matilda. He received Henry back into the communion of the Church, and promised to promote his reconciliation with the German princes. But the king soon violated his solemn oath to comply with the pope’s conditions, and renewed the conflict. The story, as narrated above, is told by Gregory himself (Reg. Ep., IV, 12), in a letter to the princes of Germany explanatory of the event of Canossa. The contemporary chronicler, Lambert of Hersfeld, asserts that at the Mass of reconciliation the pope, when about to give communion to Henry, took himself on half of the Sacred Host and challenged the king to take the other as an ordeal. Modern historians deny the truth of this assertion.

Portrait of Matilde of Tuscany, Margravine of Tuscany.

The penance of Henry was, in reality, only a personal humiliation, and not a degradation of the royal office; nor was it in that form imposed by the pope, nor did the king spend three days and nights in his bare shirt without food and without shelter (Hergenrother, “Kirchengeschichte”, ed. Kirsch, II, 361). The ruins of Canossa are now within the Commune of Ciano d’Enza, some shapeless fragments of broken walls that rise on rocky buttresses above a sea of hardened brown mud, “twisted and tossed and contorted into the most hideous of crevasses” (Hare). The castle-well and “gate of penance” alone remain.

Hare, Cities of Northern Italy (London, 1896), II,245-49; Buchberger, Kirchliches Handlexikon (Munich, 1906), I, 830; Knöpfler, Die Tage von Tribur und Canossa, in Hist. Polit. Blatter (1884), XCIV, 209,381; Gosselin, Temporal Power of the Pope in the Middle Ages (Baltimore, 1853), II; Hergenröther, Church and State (tr., London, 1872).

THOMAS J. SHAHAN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Pope St. Vitalian

(Reigned 657-72).

Date of birth unknown; d. 27 January, 672. Nothing is known of Vitalian’s life before he was raised to the Holy See. According to the “Liber Pontificalis” (ed. Duchesne, I, 343) he was a native of Segni in Campagna, and his father’s name was Anastasius. After the death of Pope Eugene I, on 2 or 3 June, 657, Vitalian was elected his successor, and consecrated and enthroned on 30 July. Like his predecessor, Vitalian sought to restore the connection with Constantinople by friendly advances to the Eastern Emperor Constans II (641-668) and to prepare the way for the settlement of the Monothelite controversy. He sent letters (synodica) announcing his elevation by envoys both to the emperor and to Patriarch Peter of Constantinople, who was inclined to Monothelitism. The emperor confirmed the privileges of the Roman Church and sent to St. Peter as a present a codex of the Gospels in a cover of gold richly ornamented with precious stones. The Patriarch Peter also sent an answer, though not a definite one, as to Monothelitism, which he sought to defend. He made it appear that he was of the same opinion as the pope, who in writing to Peter had expounded the Catholic Faith. Thus ecclesiastical intercourse between Rome and Constantinople was restored on the basis of this mutual reserve over the dogmatic question, and Vitalian’s name was entered on the diptychs of the Byzantine Church—-the only name of a pope so entered between the reign of Honorius I (d. 638) and the Sixth (Ecumenical Council of 680-81). Vitalian also showed the same friendliness to the Emperor Constans II, when the latter, in 663, came to Rome and spent twelve days there during the campaign against the Lombards. On 5 July the pope, accompanied by the Roman clergy, went as far as the sixth milestone to meet the emperor and accompanied him to St. Peter’s, where the emperor offered gifts. On the following Sunday Constans went in state to St. Peter’s, offered a pallium wrought with gold, and was present during the Mass celebrated by the pope. The emperor dined with the pope on the following Saturday, attended Mass again on Sunday at St. Peter’s, and after Mass took leave of the pope. At his departure Constans carried off a large number of bronze works of art from Rome, taking even the bronze tiles from the roof of the Pantheon, which had been dedicated to Christian worship. Constans stopped in Sicily, where he cruelly oppressed the population, and was assassinated at Syracuse in 668. The pope supported his son Constantine IV Pogonatus against a usurper and thus aided him to attain the Byzantine throne. The new emperor had no intention of using force to maintain the Monothelite decree (typus) of his father, and Pope Vitalian probably made use of this inclination to take a more decided stand against Monothelitism and to win the emperor to orthodoxy. In this latter attempt, however, he was not able to succeed. The Monothelite patriarch Theodore of Constantinople (from 678) even removed Vitalian’s name from the diptychs. It was not until the Sixth OEcumenical Council (681) that Monothelitism was suppressed, and Vitalian’s name was replaced on the diptychs of the Byzantine Church.

Pope Vitalian was very successful in England, where disputes still divided the Anglo-Saxon and the British clergy, respecting various ecclesiastical customs. At the Synod of Streaneshalch (Whitby) King Oswy of Northumberland decided for the general acceptance of the Roman practices in regard to the keeping of Easter, and the shape of the tonsure. Together with King Egbert of Kent, he sent the priest Wighard to Rome, to be consecrated there after the death of Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury in 664, but Wighard died at Rome of the pestilence. The pope wrote a letter to King Oswy promising to send a suitable bishop to England as soon as possible. Hadrian, abbot of an abbey near Naples, was selected to go, but he considered himself unworthy to be consecrated bishop. At his recommendation a highly educated monk, Theodore of Tarsus, who understood both Latin and Greek and who was at Rome, was chosen as Archbishop of Canterbury and consecrated on 26 March, 668. Accompanied by Abbot Hadrian, Theodore went to England, where he was recognized as the head of the Church of England by all the clergy, Saxon and British. The pope confirmed to him all the privileges that Gregory the Great had formerly granted to Archbishop Augustine.

The archiepiscopal See of Ravenna was immediately subject to Rome. Archbishop Maurus of Ravenna (648-71) sought to rid himself of this dependence, and make his see autocephalous. When Pope Vitalian called upon him to justify his theological views, he refused to obey and declared himself independent of Rome. The pope excommunicated him, but Maurus did not submit, and even went so far as to excommunicate the pope. The Emperor Constans II sided with the archbishop, issued an edict removing the Archbishop of Ravenna from the patriarchal jurisdiction of Rome, and ordained that the former should receive the pallium from the emperor. The successor of Maurus, Reparatus, was in fact consecrated, in 671, by three of his suffragan bishops and received the pallium from the emperor. It was not until the reign of Pope Leo II (682-83) that the independence of the See of Ravenna was suppressed: Emperor Constantine IV repealed the edict of Constans and confirmed the ancient rights of the Roman See over the See of Ravenna. Vitalian also had occasion to enforce his authority as supreme judge in the Eastern Church. Bishop John of Lappa in Crete, deposed by a synod under the presidency of the Metropolitan Paulus, appealed to the pope, and was imprisoned for so doing. He escaped, however, and went to Rome, where Vitalian held a synod in December, 667, to investigate the matter, basing its action on the records of the metropolitan Synod of Crete, and pronounced John guiltless. Vitalian wrote to the Metropolitan Paulus demanding the restoration of John to his diocese, and the return of the monasteries which had been unjustly taken from him. At the same time the pope directed the metropolitan to remove two deacons who had married after consecration. Vitalian also wrote respecting John to an imperial official and to Bishop George of Syracuse, who had supported the deposed bishop. Some of the letters attributed to this pope are spurious. He was buried at St. Peter’s.

Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, I, 343 sq.; JAFFE, Regesta Rom. Pont., I (2nd ed.), 235-237; MANSI, Conc. Coll., XI, 16 sqq. HEFELE, Konziliengeschichte, III (2nd ed.), 248 sq.; LANGEN, Geschichte de romaischen Kirche, IV (Bonn, 1855), 439-545.

J.P. KIRSCH (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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James Campbell

Born at Philadelphia, 1 Sept., 1812; died there, 27 Jan., 1893. His father was Anthony Campbell, and his grandfather George Campbell, a native of Fintona, County Tyrone, Ireland. James was educated at the private school of Geraldus Stockdale, studied law with Hon. Robert D. Ingraham, was admitted to the Bar on 14 Sept., 1833, was made a commissioner of the district of Southwark the day after his admission, and served until his appointment to the board of education. He offered, 16 Apr., 1840, the resolution which established the Girls’ High School of Philadelphia. He served on the board of education until 1840, when he was appointed, by Governor David R. Porter, judge of the courts of common pleas, orphan’s court, and courts of oyer and terminer, which position he filled until 1 Jan., 1851, when the judicial positions in Pennsylvania became elective.

Nominated for judge of the supreme court, at a period when Knownothingism and anti-Catholic feeling was rife, he was defeated, although his four colleagues on the Democratic ticket were elected. Governor William Bigler appointed him Attorney-General of Pennsylvania, in which office he served until 4 Mar., 1853, when he entered President Pierce’s Cabinet as postmaster-general, serving until 4 Mar., 1857. In 1861 he was a candidate for the United States senate against Charles R. Buckalew but was defeated by one vote. In 1873 he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention of Pennsylvania, but declined to serve owing to the condition of his health. For twenty-five years he was president of the board of trustees of Jefferson Medical College, and for forty-five years was Vice-president of Saint Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, the oldest incorporated Roman Catholic asylum in the United States, chartered in 1807. On 3 Sept., 1869, he was appointed by the judges of Philadelphia County a member of the board of city trusts, which has under its care 42 city trusts, including Girard College and Wills’ Eye Hospital. He served in these positions until his death. Judge Campbell looked upon his obligations, whether as public official or as trustee, as duties of the highest order and of great value to society, and he was a just and severe judge upon himself as to the manner and the faithfulness with which these duties were discharged. Even with all the cares that surrounded him, he was always ready to respond to the slightest call from any of the refuges of the poor and the ill. He made visits almost daily to St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum, to Girard College, and to the hospital, examining conditions in detail, and considering them with as much care as if they referred to his own life or to the lives of those of his own household.

John M. Campbell (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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John de Pineda

Born in Seville, 1558; died there, 27 Jan., 1637. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1572, taught philosophy and theology five years in Seville and Cordova, and specialized in Scripture, which he taught for eighteen years in Cordova, Seville, and Madrid. He held the posts of Provost of the professed house and rector of the college of Seville. He was consultor to the Spanish Inquisition, and, in this capacity, visited the chief libraries of Spain. The results of his visits was the “Index Prohibitorum Librorum” (1612), which won the appreciation of the Inquisition and of the chief inquisitor, Cardinal Sandoval, Archbishop of Toledo; it was re-edited (1632) for Cardinal Zapata. His learning is evidenced by the nineteen printed works and six manuscripts, chiefly of exegetical subjects, which remain to us of his writings: (1) “Commentariorum in Job libri tredecim” (Madrid, 1597-1601). Each chapter is paraphrased and fully commented upon. These two folios were often re-issued in Madrid, Cologne, Seville, Venice, and Paris.

Seven indices served as guides to the student. Both Catholic and Protestant exegetes still praise this colossal storehouse of erudition. The archeology, textual criticism, comparison of various interpretations, use of historical data from profane writers, all show Pineda to have been far ahead of his time in scientific criticism of the Bible; (2) “Prælectio sacra in Cantico Canticorum” (Seville, 1602), issued as a greeting to Cardinal de Guevara, archbishop of Seville, on the occasion of his visit to the Jesuit college there; (3) “Salomon prævius, sive de rebus Salomonis regis libri octo” (fol, pp. 587; Lyons 1609; Mainz, 1613). The life, kingdom, wisdom, wealth, royal buildings, character, and death of Solomon are treated in a scholarly fashion; five indices are added as helps to the student. (4) De C. Plinii loco inter eruditos controverso ex lib. VII. Atque etiam morbus est aliquis per sapientiam mori”. Considerable controversy resulted from his interpretation of Pliny (see Sommervogel, infra). (5). “Commentarii in Ecclesiasten, liber unus” (folio, pp. 1224; Seville, 1619), appeared in various editions, as did the commentary on Solomon. The fame he won by his erudition and sanctity is attested in many ways. On a visit to the University of Evora, he was greeted by a Latin speech, and a memorial tablet was set up with the legend, Hic Pineda fuit. What astounds one most in the writings of this exegete of the old school is his vast knowledge, not merely of Latin, but of Greek and Hebrew.

NIEREMBERG, Varones Ilustres de la C. de J. VII (Bilbao, 1891), 195; SOMMERVOGEL, Bibliothèque de la C. de J., (Paris, 1895), VI, 796; IX, 772; GILHERME, Menologé de la C. de J. Assistance d’Espagne, I (Paris, 1902, 172.

WALTER DRUM (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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Pope Sergius II

Date of birth unknown; consecrated in 844, apparently in January; d. 27 Jan., 847. He was of noble birth, and belonged to a family which gave two other popes to the Church. Educated in the schola cantorum, he was patronized by several popes, and was ordained Cardinal-priest of the Church of Sts. Martin and Sylvester by Paschal. Under Gregory IV, whom he succeeded, he became archpriest. At a preliminary meeting to designate a successor to Gregory, the name of Sergius was accepted by the majority; but a mob endeavoured by force to place a deacon, John, upon the pontifical throne. He was, however, shut up in a monastery, and Sergius was duly consecrated. From one obviously very partial edition of the “Liber Pontificalis” it would appear that Sergius, owing to devotion to the pleasures of the table, had no taste for business, and entrusted the management of affairs to his brother Benedict; and that, owing to attacks of gout, he was helpless in body and irritable in mind. His brother usurped all power, and made the getting of money his one concern. As all this is in sharp contrast with the character given to Sergius by the other editions of the “Liber Pontificalis”, there can be no doubt about its gross exaggeration. As Sergius was, after a disputed election, consecrated without any reference to the Emperor Lothaire, the latter was indignant, and sent his son Louis with an army to examine into the validity of the election. But Sergius succeeded in pacifying Louis, whom he crowned king, but to whom he would not take an oath of fealty. He also made the king’s adviser, Drogo, Bishop of Metz, his legate for France and Germany (844). Before he died he witnessed a terrible raid of the Saracens on the Roman territory (846), which nearly resulted in the capture of the City. Despite the resistance of the scholae of the foreigners at Rome, the pirates sacked the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul, and were only prevented by its strong walls from plundering Rome itself. Churches, aqueducts, and the Lateran Basilica were improved by Sergius, who, on his death, was buried in St. Peter’s.

Liber Pontificalis, ed. DUCHESNE, II, 86 sqq.; various annals in Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., I; the Letters of Hincmar of Reims in P.L., I, 126, and of SERGIUS himself in Mon. Germ. Hist.: Epp., V, 583; DUCHESNE, The Beginnings of the Temporal Sovereignty of the Popes (London, 1908), 138 sqq.; MANN, Lives of the Popes in the early Middle Ages, II (London, 1906), 232 sqq.

Horace K. Mann (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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According to The Asahi Shimbun:

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has handed off the hot potato issue of imperial succession to the Diet.

Debate in the Diet is not expected to proceed smoothly as the ruling and opposition parties have differing views on the issue.

The panel submitted its report…which made two proposals: one is to allow female members to retain their royal status even after marriage; the other would allow males of the paternal line of the imperial family who are members of former branches of the family to regain imperial status through adoption by the imperial family.

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

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True Happiness

January 20, 2022

Charles IX of France

Charles IX, King of France, once asked the Poet Tasso who, in his estimation, was the happiest?

Tasso without hesitation replied, “God.”

“Every one knows that,” responded the King, “therefore my question does not refer to Him; but who after God is the happiest?”

Then Tasso answered: “He who becomes most like to God.”

Flowers of Mary: addresses in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Delivered at Ingolstadt, May, 1858 By Louis Gemminger · 1894. Page 46.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 812

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C. Reactions Based on Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Has the efficacy of Revolution and Counter-Revolution been annulled by these numerous changes? On the contrary.

The Brazilian TFP collecting signatures for the 1968 campaign.

In 1968, the TFPs then existing in South America, inspired in particular by Part II of this essay (“The Counter-Revolution”), organized national petition drives addressed to Paul VI, requesting measures against leftist infiltration into the Catholic clergy and laity of South America.

Altogether, 2,060,368 people in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay signed the petition during a 58-day period.

In 1990, a campaign to free Lithuania from Communist Russia, which amounted to an incredible 5,218,520 signatures collected worldwide. Each petition sheet had twenty signatures on the front and twenty more on the back. One of the many campaigns over the years by the TFP, both in the US and abroad.

To our knowledge, it is the only mass petition – on any subject – signed by the sons of four South American nations. And, as far as we know, it is the largest petition in the history of these four countries.1

The answer of Paul VI was not merely silence and inaction. It was — how it pains us to say it — a series of acts whose effect continues to give prestige and facility of action to many promoters of Catholic leftism today.

At the sight of this rising tide of communist infiltration into the Holy Church, the TFPs and like organizations did not become discouraged. And in 1974 each of them published a declaration2 expressing their inconformity with the Vatican Ostpolitik and their resolve “to resist to the face.”3

And in Rio de Janeiro.

One of the declaration’s passages, referring to Paul VI, expresses the document’s spirit:

On our knees, gazing with veneration at the person of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, we express all our fidelity to him. In this filial act we say to the Pastor of Pastors: “Our soul is Yours, our life is Yours. Order us to do whatever you wish. Only do not order us to cross our arms in face of the assailing Red wolf. To this our conscience is opposed.”

Not stopping at these efforts, the TFPs and like organizations in their respective countries promoted during the course of 1976 nine editions of the Chilean TFP best-seller, The Church of Silence in Chile: The TFP Proclaims the Whole Truth.4

In almost all countries, the respective edition included a prologue describing numerous and impressive national events analogous to what had occurred in Chile.

The response of the public to this great publicity effort can be termed a victory: 56,000 copies were printed in South America alone, where, in the most populous countries, the total pressrun of a book of this nature, when successful, is usually 5,000 copies.

In Spain, more than 1,000 secular and regular priests from all regions of the country signed an impressive petition giving the Sociedad Cultural Covadonga5 their firm support for the courageous prologue of the book’s Spanish edition.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part III, Chapter II, pg. 151-153

1 In 1990 the TFPs surpassed this record with the largest petition drive in history. They gathered 5,212,580 signatures for the liberation of Lithuania, then under the Soviet yoke.

2 Titled “The Vatican Policy of Distention Toward the Communist Governments — The Question for the TFP: To Take No Stand? Or to Resist?,” this declaration, a veritable manifesto, was published, beginning in April 1974, in 57 newspapers in 11 countries. – Ed.

3 Gal. 2:l1.

4 This work — monumental for its documentation, its argumentation, and the theses it defends — had a truly epic forerunner even before the installation of communism in Chile, namely, Fabio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira’s Frei: El Kerensky Chileno. It denounced the decisive collaboration of the Chilean Christian Democratic party and its leader Eduardo Frei, then president of the country, in paving the way for the Marxist victory. Published in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, and Venezuela, the book went through seventeen printings, with more than 100,000 copies.

5 Today the Spanish TFP: Sociedad Espanola de Defensa de la Tradicion, Familia y Propiedad-TFP Covadonga.

 

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Pope Paschal II

(RAINERIUS).

Succeeded Urban II, and reigned from 13 Aug., 1099, till he died at Rome, 21 Jan., 1118. Born in central Italy, he was received at an early age as a monk in Cluny. In his twentieth year he was sent on business of the monastery to Rome, and was retained at the papal court by Gregory VII, and made Cardinal-Priest of St. Clement’s church. It was in this church that the conclave met after the death of Pope Urban, and Cardinal Rainerius was the unanimous choice of the sacred college…

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St. Agnes of Rome

Of all the virgin martyrs of Rome none was held in such high honour by the primitive church, since the fourth century, as St. Agnes.

In the ancient Roman calendar of the feasts of the martyrs (Depositio Martyrum), incorporated into the collection of Furius Dionysius Philocalus, dating from 354 and often reprinted, e.g. in Ruinart [Acta Sincera Martyrum (ed. Ratisbon, 1859), 63 sqq.], her feast is assigned to 21 January, to which is added a detail as to the name of the road (Via Nomentana) near which her grave was located. The earliest sacramentaries give the same date for her feast, and it is on this day that the Latin Church even now keeps her memory sacred…

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His Last Will and Testament

The last Will and Testament of Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, given on Christmas day, 1792.

In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

To-day, the 25th day of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI King of France, being for more than four months imprisoned with my family in the tower of the Temple at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatsoever, even with my family, since the eleventh instant; moreover, involved in a trial the end of which it is impossible to foresee, on account of the passions of men, and for which one can find neither pretext nor means in any existing law, and having no other witnesses, for my thoughts than God to whom I can address myself, I hereby declare, in His presence, my last wishes and feelings…

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Blessed Laura Vicuña

Laura del Carmen Vicuña was born on April 5, 1891 in Santiago, Chile. She was the first daughter of the Vicuña Pino family. Her parents were José Domingo Vicuña, a soldier with aristocratic roots, and Mercedes Pino. Her father was in military service and her mother worked at home…

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Adèle Bayer

(née Parmentier)

Eldest daughter of Andrew Parmentier, b. in Belgium, 4 July, 1814, and d. in Brooklyn, New York, 22 January, 1892.

Andrew Parmentier, a horticulturist and civil engineer, was b. at Enghien, Belgium, 3 July, 1780, and d. in Brooklyn, New York, 26 November, 1830. His father, Andrew Joseph Parmentier, was a wealthy linen merchant, and his eldest brother Joseph had a European repute as a horticulturist and landscape gardener. Trained by the latter, Andrew emigrated to New York in 1824, on his way to the West Indies, taking with him his share of the family estate. He was persuaded by friends to remain in New York as a place where his abilities and scientific training would meet with recognition. He purchased a tract of land near Brooklyn which he laid out as a horticultural park…

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St. Vincent Mary Pallotti

The founder of the Pious Society of Missions, born at Rome, 21 April, 1798; died there, 22 Jan., 1850. He lies buried in the church of San Salvatore in Onda. He was descended from the noble families of the Pallotti of Norcia and the De Rossi of Rome. His early studies were made at the Pious Schools of San Pantaleone, whence he passed to the Roman College. At the age of sixteen, he resolved to become a secular priest, and on 16 May, 1820, he was ordained. He celebrated his first Mass in the church of the Gesù in Frascati…

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Blessed Prince László Batthyány-Strattmann

Ladislaus Batthyány-Strattmann (1870-1931), a layman, doctor and father of a family. He was born on 28 October 1870 in Dunakiliti, Hungary, into an ancient noble family. He was the sixth of 10 brothers. In 1876 the family moved to Austria. When Ladislaus was 12 years old his mother died. He was already convinced at an early age that when he grew up he would be a “doctor of the poor”. He often said:  “When I grow up, I will be a doctor and give free treatment to the sick and the poor”…

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January 22 – Defended by a raven

January 20, 2022

St. Vincent of Saragossa Deacon of Saragossa, and martyr under Diocletian, 304; mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, 22 Jan., with St. Anastasius the Persian, honoured by the Greeks, 11 Nov. This most renowned martyr of Spain is represented in the dalmatic of a deacon, and has as emblems a cross, a raven, a grate, or […]

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January 23 – Mary Ward and the Institute of Mary

January 20, 2022

Mary Ward Foundress, born 23 January, 1585; died 23 January, 1645; eldest daughter of Marmaduke Ward and Ursula Wright, and connected by blood with most of the great Catholic families of Yorkshire. She entered a convent of Poor Clares at St.-Omer as lay sister in 1606. The following year she founded a house for Englishwomen […]

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January 23 – Saint Emerentiana

January 20, 2022

Virgin and martyr, died at Rome in the third century. The old Itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs, after giving the place of burial on the Via Nomentana of St. Agnes, speak of St. Emerentiana. Over the grave of St. Emerentiana a church was built which, according to the Itineraries, was near the […]

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January 23 – St. Bernard

January 20, 2022

(BARNARD.) Archbishop of Vienne, France. Born in 778; died at Vienne, 23 January, 842. His parents, who lived near Lyons and had large possessions, gave him an excellent education, and Bernard in obedience to the paternal wish, married and became a military officer under Charlemagne. After seven years as a soldier the death of his […]

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January 24 – Saintly and Aristocrat

January 20, 2022

St. Francis de Sales Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church; born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21 August, 1567; died at Lyons, 28 December, 1622. His father, François de Sales de Boisy, and his mother, Françoise de Sionnaz, belonged to old Savoyard aristocratic families. The future saint was the eldest of […]

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January 24 – They called him “Ironmonger”

January 20, 2022

Blessed William Ireland (Alias Ironmonger.) Jesuit martyr, born in Lincolnshire, 1636; executed at Tyburn, 24 Jan. (not 3 Feb.), 1679; eldest son of William Ireland of Crofton Hall, Yorkshire, by Barbara, a daughter of Ralph Eure, of Washingborough, Lincolnshire (who is to be distinguished from the last Lord Eure) by his first wife. He was […]

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January 24 – Otto III

January 20, 2022

German king and Roman emperor, b. 980; d. at Paterno, 24 Jan., 1002. At the age of three he was elected king at Verona, in very restless times. Henry the Quarrelsome, the deposed Duke of Bavaria, claimed his guardianship. This nobleman wished for the imperial crown. To further his object he made an alliance with […]

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January 24 – Cardinal Ercole Consalvi

January 20, 2022

Cardinal and statesman, b. in Rome, 8 June, 1757; d. there, 24 January, 1824. Family His ancestors belonged to the noble family of the Brunacci in Pisa, one of whom settled in the town of Toscanella in the Papal States about the middle of the seventeenth century. The grandfather of the cardinal, Gregorio Brunacci, inherited […]

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January 24 – Pope Stephen (IV) V and the confusion of counting the Popes Stephen

January 20, 2022

Pope Stephen (IV) V (816-17) Stephen (IV) V, Pope, date of birth unknown; died 24 Jan., 817. Stephen, the son of Marinus, was of the same noble Roman family which gave two other popes to the Church. During his youth he had been patronized by Hadrian I and Leo III, the latter of whom had […]

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January 18 – St. Margaret of Hungary

January 17, 2022

St. Margaret of Hungary Daughter of King Bela I of Hungary and his wife Marie Laskaris, born 1242; died 18 Jan., 1271. According to a vow which her parents made when Hungary was liberated from the Tatars that their next child should be dedicated to religion, Margaret, in 1245 entered the Dominican Convent of Veszprem. […]

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January 19 – Bishop Frederic Baraga

January 17, 2022

First Bishop of Marquette, Michigan, U.S.A., born 29 June, 1797, at Malavas, in the parish of Dobernice in the Austrian Dukedom of Carniola; died at Marquette, Michigan, 19 January, 1868… Read more here.

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January 19 – James Lainez

January 17, 2022

(LAYNEZ). Second general of the Society of Jesus, theologian, b. in 1512, at Almazan, Castille, in 1512; d. at Rome, 19 January, 1565. His family, although Christian for many generations, had descended from Jewish stock, as has been established by Sacchini (Historia Societatis Jesu, II, sec. 32). Lainez graduated in arts at the University of […]

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January 19 – Noble martyrs of Persia

January 17, 2022

Sts. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum All martyred at Rome in 270. Maris and his wife Martha, who belonged to the Persian nobility, came to Rome with their children in the reign of Emperor Claudius II. As zealous Christians, they sympathized with and succoured the persecuted faithful, and buried the bodies of the slain. This […]

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January 19 – The scion of a noble family who longed to be enrolled in the noble army of martyrs

January 17, 2022

St. Blathmac A distinguished Irish monk, b. in Ireland about 750. He suffered martyrdom in Iona, about 835. He is fortunate in having had his biography written by Strabo, Benedictine Abbot of Reichenau (824-849), and thus the story of his martyrdom has been handed down through the ages. Strabo’s life of this saint is in […]

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January 19 – Archbishop Senator of the Spanish Kingdom

January 17, 2022

Blessed Marcelo Rafael José María de los Dolores Hilario Spinola y Maestre, Archbishop of Seville born: 14 January 1835. died 20 January 1906 Marcelo Spínola was born on the island of San Fernando, Cádiz Province. His parents were Juan Spínola y Osorno, Marquis of Spínola and Antonia Maestre y Osorno; they had eight children, of […]

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January 19 – Saintly King

January 17, 2022

St. Canute IV Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; died 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having […]

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January 20 – A dove landed on his head, and you would not believe what happened next!

January 17, 2022

Pope St. Fabian (FABIANUS) Pope (236-250), the extraordinary circumstances of whose election is related by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., VI, 29). After the death of Anterus he had come to Rome, with some others, from his farm and was in the city when the new election began. While the names of several illustrious and noble persons […]

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January 20 – St. Sebastian

January 17, 2022

A.D. 288. St. Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet, to be better able, without suspicion, to assist […]

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Pudding competition for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee

January 13, 2022

According to You Magazine: Mark, who’s been the Queen’s chef since 2002, advised entrants to ‘keep it simple’ and avoid being ‘fussy and over-complicated’ with their bakes. Fortnum & Mason explain the recipe needs to be ‘easy enough for people everywhere to recreate at home’. Ideally, the pudding should have a story behind it and […]

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Events for 50th anniversary of Danish Queen’s accession to the throne

January 13, 2022

According to Danish Royal Household: A number of the events that had been scheduled to mark the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne in mid-January 2022 will instead be held on 10 and 11 September 2022. These include, among other things, a celebration at the Copenhagen City Hall, a command […]

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El Cid Helps King Ferdinand I of Leon Conquer Coimbra

January 13, 2022

The attention of [King Ferdinand] was called to the city of Coimbra in this manner: The Abbot of [Lorvão], a monastery near Coimbra, grieved very much that this city was in the power of the Moors, and he said to his monks: “Let us go to the king, Don [Ferdinand], and tell him how he […]

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The Church: Today’s Center of Conflict Between the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution

January 13, 2022

[previous] B. The Church: Today’s Center of Conflict Between the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution In 1959, the year we wrote Revolution and the Counter-Revolution, the Church was considered the great spiritual force against the worldwide expansion of the communist sect. In 1976, innumerable ecclesiastics, including bishops, figure as accomplices by omission, as collaborators, and even […]

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January 14 – The Ten Year Old Saint and Some Of Her Miracles

January 13, 2022

Ven. Anne de Guigné When St. Thomas Aquinas’s sister asked him how to become a Saint, he told her to just “will it.” Venerable Anne de Guigné¹ was a child with an iron will and from the moment of her conversion, she willed only one thing…to be a Saint. “To become a Saint is to […]

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January 14 – Matriarch of Saints

January 13, 2022

St. Macrina the Elder Our knowledge of the life of the elder Macrina is derived mainly from the testimony of the great Cappadocian Fathers of the Church, her grandchildren: Basil (Ep. 204:7; 223:3), Gregory of Nyssa (“Vita Macrinae Junioris”), and the panegyric of St. Gregory of Nazianzus on St. Basil (Gregory Naz., Oratio 43). She […]

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January 14 – Blessed Devasahayam Pillai

January 13, 2022

Blessed Devasahayam Pillai Devasahayam Pillai (named Neelakanda Pillai at birth) was born into an affluent Nair-caste family at Nattalam in the present-day Kanyakumari District, on 23 April 1712. His father Vasudevan Namboodiri, hailed from Kayamkulam, in present-day Kerala state, and was working as a priest at Sri Adi Kesava Perumal temple in Thiruvattar in present-day […]

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January 15 – Most Glorious King Ceolwulp

January 13, 2022

King Ceolwulf (also CEOLWULPH or CEOLULPH) Coelwulf, King of Northumbria and monk of Lindisfarne, date and place of birth not known; died at Lindisfarne, 764. His ancestry is thus given by the “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”: “Ceolwulf was the son of Cutha, Cutha of Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Leoldwald, Leoldwald of Egwald, Egwald of Aldhelm, Aldhelm of Ocga, […]

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January 15 – St. Maurus & St. Placidus

January 13, 2022

St. Maurus Deacon, son of Equitius, a nobleman of Rome, but claimed also by Fondi, Gallipoli, Lavello etc.; died 584. Feast, 15 Jan. He is represented as an abbot with crozier, or with book and censer, or holding the weights and measures of food and drink given him by his holy master. He is the […]

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January 16 – The true disciple of St. Francis who sent the Moorish king into a fit of rage

January 13, 2022

St. Berard of Carbio (Or BERALDUS). Friar Minor and martyr; d. 16 January, 1220. Of the noble family of Leopardi, and a native of Carbio in Umbria, Berard was received into the Franciscan Order by the Seraphic Patriarch himself, in 1213. He was well versed in Arabic, an eloquent preacher, and was chosen by St. […]

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January 16 – When the Emperor insisted that the lapsed be readmitted to communion without penance, one man stood in his way. This is his story.

January 13, 2022

Pope St. Marcellus I His date of birth unknown; elected pope in May or June, 308; died in 309. For some time after the death of Marcellinus in 304 the Diocletian persecution continued with unabated severity. After the abdication of Diocletian in 305, and the accession in Rome of Maxentius to the throne of the […]

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January 16 – Irish Prince and Saint

January 13, 2022

St. Fursey An Abbot of Lagny, near Paris, died 16 Jan., about 650. He was the son of Fintan, son of Finloga, prince of South Muster, and Gelgesia, daughter of Aedhfinn, prince of Hy-Briuin in Connaught. He was born probably amongst the Hy-Bruin, and was baptized by St. Brendan the Traveller, his father’s uncle, who […]

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January 16 – St. Euphrosyne

January 13, 2022

Saint Euphrosyne Died about 470. Her story belongs to that group of legends which relate how Christian virgins, in order the more successfully to lead the life of celibacy and asceticism to which they had dedicated themselves, put on male attire and passed for men. According to the narrative of her life in the “Vitae […]

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January 17 – Scanderbeg: the hero of Christendom

January 13, 2022

In a history, where so much is spoken of the regions, from whence the miraculous Image of Our Lady of Good Counsel came, it will be of great use to take a brief glance at the once entirely Catholic nation in which it so long remained, and at the great client of its Sanctuary in […]

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January 17 – Sister of the Grand Master of Malta

January 13, 2022

St. Roseline of Villeneuve (or Rossolina.) Born at Château of Arcs in eastern Provence, 1263; d. 17 January, 1329. Having overcome her father’s opposition Roseline became a Carthusian nun at Bertaud in the Alps of Dauphiné. Her “consecration” took place in 1288, and about 1330 she succeeded her aunt, Blessed Jeanne or Diane de Villeneuve, […]

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January 11 – Wounded in a duel

January 10, 2022

Blessed Bernard Scammacca, O.P. He was born in 1430 to a noble family of Catania, Sicily and given the name Anthony. As was typical of young men at that time, he fought duels. In one of them, his leg was badly wounded. As Anthony convalesced, he had time to think about his life and his […]

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January 12 – Duke of Alva

January 10, 2022

(FERNANDO ALVAREZ DE TOLEDO) Born 1508, of one of the most distinguished Castilian families, which boasted descent from the Byzantine emperors; died at Thomar, 12 January, 1582. From his earliest childhood the boy was trained by a severe discipline for his future career as warrior and statesman. In his sixteenth year he took part in […]

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January 12 – He promoted the use of stained glass

January 10, 2022

St. Benedict Biscop An English monastic founder, born of a noble Anglo-Saxon family, c. 628; died 12 January 690. He spent his youth at the court of the Northumbrian King Oswy. When twenty-five years old, he made the first of his five pilgrimages to Rome. On his return to England, Benedict introduced, whenever he could, […]

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January 12 – “The English Saint Bernard”

January 10, 2022

St. Aelred Abbot of Rievaulx, homilist and historian (1109-66). St. Aelred, whose name is also written Ailred, Æthelred, and Ethelred, was the son of one of those married priests of whom many were found in England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He was born at Hexham, but at an early age made the acquaintance […]

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January 13 – This Saint Opposed Bishop Lucifer

January 10, 2022

St. Hilary of Poitiers Bishop, born in that city at the beginning of the fourth century; died there 1 November, according to the most accredited opinion, or according to the Roman Breviary, on 13 January, 368. Belonging to a noble and very probably pagan family, he was instructed in all the branches of profane learning, […]

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January 13 – The Count Who Converted the King

January 10, 2022

St. Remigius of Rheims Apostle of the Franks, Archbishop of Rheims, b. at Cerny or Laon, 437; d. at Rheims, 13 January 533. His father was Emile, Count of Laon. He studied literature at Rheims and soon became so noted for learning and sanctity that he was elected Archbishop of Rheims in his twenty-second year. […]

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January 13 – The bold strategic vision of Cluny

January 10, 2022

Saint Berno of Cluny (c. 850 – 13 January 927) was first abbot of Cluny from its foundation in 910 until he resigned in 925. He was subject only to the pope and began the tradition of the Cluniac reforms which his successors brought to fruition across Europe. Berno was first a monk at St. […]

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