John Wayne Catholics Throughout History

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This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world – a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Paul has mentioned here the wonderful post by Pat Archbold in which he longs for John Wayne, a death bed Catholic convert, Catholicism as opposed to what he calls the Woody Allen Catholicism adopted by too many Catholics in the past half century:

Oh how I long for a religion with enough boldness to loudly, proudly, and  incessantly proclaim uncomfortable truths, even to its own supposed adherents,  until they all understand what it means to be Catholic.

How I long for a religion with that quiet and gentle resoluteness. A  religion that can acknowledge the mistakes of its members while loudly  proclaiming the Church One, Holy, Apostolic, and Infallible.

I desire John Wayne Catholicism in a Woody Allen world.

But the thing about John Wayne characters, without fanfare, gratitude,  understanding, or appreciation, they just did what needed doing for no other  reason than it was the right thing.

So I guess I will just try to do that.

I agree.  The Catholicism that Pat longs for is the Catholicism that has existed throughout almost all the history of the Church.  Some reminders:

 

 

 

1.  John Sobieski- After defeating the Turks at Vienna in 1683 he sent the green flag of Islam to the Pope with this message:  “Venimus, Vidimus, Deus vincit”!  (We came, we saw, God conquered!)

2.  The Martyrs of Otranto-Twelve years before Christopher Columbus discovered a New World, 800 men and boys of Otranto laid down their lives for Christ.  The city of Otranto, at the heel of the boot of Italy, was seized by the Turks under Gedik Ahmed Pasha, grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire.  Archbishop Stefano Argercolo de Pendinellis was murdered in his cathedral by the Turks and the garrison commander was sawn in half.  Following a massacre of most of the population the Turks offered some 800 men and boys the choice between conversion to Islam or death.  Led by an elderly tailor, Antonio Pezzulla, the men and boys chose death rather than apostacy, and were beheaded on the hill of Minvera outside the town on August 14, 1480, their families forced by the Turks to help in the executions.

The witness of the martyrs of Otranto was truly remarkable.  Not priests or soldiers, they were just plain, ordinary folk.  They had every earthly reason to attempt to save their lives, but with supernatural courage they went to their deaths for a love that passes understanding.  The old tailor spoke for them all when he addressed them after the Turks had given them their grim choice:

My brothers, until today we have fought in defense of our country, to save our lives, and for our lords; now it is time that we fight to save our souls for our Lord, so that having died on the cross for us, it is good that we should die for him, standing firm and constant in the faith, and with this earthly death we shall win eternal life and the glory of martyrs.

The martyrs in response cried out that they were willing to die a thousand times for Christ.

3.  Archbishop John Hughes-After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church were touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.  On another occasion when a threat was made to burn Saint Patrick’s cathedral the Archbishop had it guarded within hours by 4,000 armed Catholics.  No wonder his enemies and friends nicknamed him “Dagger John”!

4.  Father Joe Lacy-On June 6, 1944 at 7:30 AM,  LCA 1377 landed the Rangers on Omaha Dog Green Beach, the first landing craft to land on that section of Omaha Beach.  Father Lacy was the last man out just before an artillery shell hit the fantail.  Everything was chaos with the beach being swept by German artillery and small arms fire.  Wounded men were everywhere, both on the beach and in the water feebly trying to get to the beach.  Father Lacy did not hesistate.  With no thought for his own safety he waded into the water to pull men out of the ocean and onto the beach.  He began treating the wounded on the beach and administering the Last Rites to those beyond human assistance.  On a day when courage was not in short supply men took notice of this small fat priest who was doing his best under fire to save as many lives as he could.  While his battalion led the way off Omaha Beach, Father Lacy continued to tend their  wounded and the wounded of other units.  For his actions that day Father Lacy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor, after the Medal of Honor, in the United States Army.

5.  Don John of Austria and his Men-Before the battle of Lepanto Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

At the hour of the battle, and this fact is very well attested, the Pope was talking to some cardinals in Rome.  He abruptly ceased the conversation, opened a window and looked heavenward.  He then turned to the cardinals and said:   “It is not now a time to talk any more upon business; but to give thanks to God for the victory he has granted to the arms of the Christians.”  So that Catholics would never forget Lepanto and the intercession of Mary, he instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.  To aid in this remembrance G. K. Chesterton in 1911 wrote his epic poem Lepanto:  YouTube Preview Image

6.  Joan of Arc-Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

7.  Father Andreas Wouter-To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest.  A drunkard and notorious womanizer,  he had fathered several children.  Suspended from his duties  he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum in June of 1572.  This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history.  Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers.

The 19 were tortured and subject to every type of humiliation and mockery, especially Wouters who was constantly reminded by his captors of what a disgrace he was.  William the Silent, leader of the Dutch rebels, sent a letter to the commander of the Sea Beggars, William de la Marck, ordering that the priests and brothers were not to be molested in any way.  Ignoring his instructions, de la Marck ordered them  to be slain if they did not renounce their belief in the Real Presence and Papal Supremacy.  All stoutly refused.

On July 9, de la Marck had the 19 hanged in a turfshed.  As the noose was being fastened around his neck, his captors kept mocking Father Wouters.  His last words before he entered eternity were:   Fornicator I always was; heretic I never was.

8.  Cardinal John Fisher-Made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III in May of 1535, King Henry stopped the cardinal’s hat from being brought into England, bellowing that he would send Fisher’s head to the Pope.  Tried by a kangaroo court and convicted, the only testimony brought against him was by Richard Rich, a specialist in lying men to the headman’s block.  Fisher was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.

A public outcry was brewing among the London populace  saw a parallel between the judicial murder of Fisher and that of his namesake, Saint John the Baptist, who was executed by King Herod Antipas for challenging the validity of Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias. For fear of the mob King Henry commuted the sentence to that of beheading, to be accomplished before 23 June, the Vigil of the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. Fisher’s martyrdom on Tower Hill on 22 June 1535, had the opposite effect from that which King Henry VIII intended as it created yet another parallel with St John the Baptist who was also beheaded; his death also happened on the feast day of Saint Alban, the first martyr of Britain.

Fisher met death with a courage which impressed those present. His body, on Henry’s orders, was stripped and left on the scaffold until the evening, when it was taken on pikes and thrown naked into a rough grave in the churchyard of All Hallows’ Barking. Two later, his body was laid, fittingly, beside that of Sir Thomas More in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London. Fisher’s head was stuck upon a pole on London Bridge, but its lifelike appearance excited so much notice that, after a fortnight, it was thrown into the Thames, its place being taken by that of Sir Thomas More, whose martyrdom, also at Tower Hill, occurred on 6 July.

9.  Maximilian Kolbe-Auschwitz had a simple rule regarding escapes.  If a prisoner escaped, ten from his barracks would be murdered.  (I will not dignify what the Nazis did with the term execution.)  On a day in July 1941 a man from Father Kolbe’s barracks escaped.  The deputy camp commander SS Hauptsturmfurher (Captain) Karl Fritzsch  came to choose the victims.  Fritzsch was a notable sadist even by SS standards.  On December 24, 1940 he set up a Christmas tree and put beneath it the corpses of inmates.  The ten men chosen would die a horrid death of dehydration and starvation.  Fritzsch quickly chose the ten.  One of them, Franciszek Gajowniczek, sobbed, “My poor wife, my poor children.  What will they do?”  Gajowniczek astonishingly survived Auschwitz and died at 94.  We have his testimony for what happened next.  Father Kolbe stepped silently forward, removed his cap, and stood before Fritzsch.  “I am a Catholic priest.  I am old.  He has a wife and children.” Fritszch, not comprehending what was occurring, asked, “What does the Polish pig want?”  “I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place because  he has a wife and children.” Father Kolbe was taken away with the other ten before he could be thanked by the man he saved.  “I could only thank him with my eyes. I was stunned and could hardly grasp what was going on. The immensity of it: I, the condemned, am to live and someone else willingly and voluntarily offers his life for me – a stranger. Is this some dream?

I was put back into my place without having had time to say anything to Maximilian Kolbe. I was saved. And I owe to him the fact that I could tell you all this. The news quickly spread all round the camp. It was the first and the last time that such an incident happened in the whole history of Auschwitz.

For a long time I felt remorse when I thought of Maximilian. By allowing myself to be saved, I had signed his death warrant. But now, on reflection, I understood that a man like him could not have done otherwise. Perhaps he thought that as a priest his place was beside the condemned men to help them keep hope. In fact he was with them to the to the last.’‘

10.  Saint Peter-YouTube Preview Image

 

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35 Responses to John Wayne Catholics Throughout History

  • You’ve got reality messed up with hollywood romanticism.
    John Wayne was a deathbed conversion to Catholicism much the same as Constantine. Although the Wayne family was Catholic, …John Wayne always married Hispanic Catholic wives. He had 3 marriages and 2 divorces. One of John Waynes grandsons is a Catholic priest and has received some press as a ‘Surfing Priest’.

    So one is not really a John Wayne Catholic in any way, anymore than one is an Errol Flynn Catholic or an Alec Baldwin Catholic or a Anthony Quinn Catholic.
    Anthony Quinn by the way was born Catholic , buried a Baptist had several wives and divorces and several children out of wedlock. Although he played a Pope in the movies.

    RB
    Orange County, California

  • I guess you didn’t bother to read the original post by Pat Archbold RB or my post that I linked to about the deathbed conversion of John Wayne that fully covered his marital misadventures. Reading: it saves so much wasted effort in commenting. I did like the comparison of Wayne to Constantine, completely erroneous but colorful.

  • I’m just tired of *you guys* (writers) passing off undeserving actors as examples to Catholics. I grew up in a studio town of LA, roamed the sets, these are actors not examples of christian virtue or icons of Christianity. I’ve had quotes read to me from Anthony Quinn during a homily at mass once. Now you and others are promoting John Wayne to us.

    Roman Martyrology has more examples of heroism than celluloid figures. Take St. George who did the right thing speaking boldly to Diocletian and then promptly losing his life. All the myths aside.

    As to me not reading Archbolds article, yes I didnt read it first before replying.
    But I didnt need to, you see I’ve heard and read it all before, I live next to John Wayne Airport in Orange County California.
    He’s was a native here! Him and his grandson(Munoz) gets press here both in the newspapers and the Catholic media. I note that you or Archbolds article contained an error claiming that John Wayne lost his scholarship to USC because of a football incident. Thats erroneous as to the cause of the injury.

    As to the similarity between Constantine and John Wayne, delaying their entrance into the faith, you claim it erroneous?

    Tell me how I am wrong?

  • “I’m just tired of *you guys* (writers) passing off undeserving actors as examples to Catholics.”

    Once again you completely missed the point. No one was attempting to pass John Wayne off as an exemplar for Catholics and it is obtuse of you to pretend otherwise.

    “Take St. George who did the right thing speaking boldly to Diocletian and then promptly losing his life.”

    The whole point of Archbold’s post is that Catholicism in our day does not boldly and fearlessly proclaim the truth. That is his Woody Allen Catholicism which he contrasts with John Wayne Catholicism. Sheesh, his post was not hard to understand.

    “As to me not reading Archbolds article, yes I didnt read it first before replying.”

    That was obvious and now you are flailing about to justify your original erroneous comment.

    “Tell me how I am wrong?”

    Constantine had been a Catholic in belief for decades before his death. He delayed baptism until death approached, not uncommon for his time, due to rigorist concerns about the efficacy of the forgiveness of sins following baptism. John Wayne had no such concerns and did not delay entry into the Church for that reason.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathbed_conversion
    A deathbed conversion is the adoption of a particular religious faith shortly before dying.

    Perhaps the most momentous conversion in Western history was that of Constantine I, Roman Emperor and later proclaimed a Christian Saint. While his belief in Christianity occurred long before his death, it was only on his deathbed that he was baptised, in 337.
    ——————————————————————-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great

    Sickness and death
    The Baptism of Constantine, as imagined by students of Raphael

    Constantine had known death would soon come. Within the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantine had secretly prepared a final resting-place for himself.[245] It came sooner than he had expected. Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill.[246] He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother’s city of Helenopolis (Altinova), on the southern shores of the Gulf of İzmit. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. Seeking purification, he became a catechumen, and attempted a return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia.[247] He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness.

  • Your right.
    I commented on this, your title: “John Wayne Catholics Throughout History”

    Its your bait and I criticized it!
    I criticize using the lure of sinful actors, most of whom have not lived their lives in any kind of accordance with the gospel, being presented as a lure to Catholicism.

  • Thankfully John Travolta didnt pick his parts anywhere near as well as John Wayne.
    Even though Travolta’s mortal sexual sins(gay vs. divorce/multiple marriages) are of a different nature than John Waynes, they are still mortal sin.
    Somehow, I dont think you’d be calling for us to be ‘John Travolta Catholics’.

  • Priests and those in the religious life will relate how they dont watch much TV because it can lead them astray. Being constantly exposed to the culture through TV and movies can warp our perceptions and values. Good faithful Catholic I knw who I presume would, or maybe not, suffer through a bad marriage because of their Catholic convictions. They relate to me how this or that public figure should divorce their wife or husband and get someone else because of this or that humiliating offense(cheating,etc. ). I never mention that people should do divorce/remarriage even lightly.

    Do they mean it? But the culture affects them, and me and you to.
    Now you wouldnt’ mention ‘John Travolta Catholic’ , but in another 20+ years,
    with even a baser more pagan culture, your successor might.

  • If John Travolta were to repent on his deathbed, receive Confession, and die a good death, he’d be a model Catholic in that moment.

    Not all his life. But in that moment, the moment of the last chance, he would become one.

    The mystery of God’s mercy and our salvation is that we are encouraged to live well, but that even great sinners can often die well in Christ. Some of us are more like Mary and John and Mary Magdalene; but those of us who are more like the Good Thief can also be, this very day, with Jesus in Paradise, if we will call on Him. He calls us even at the eleventh hour, and He pays the last workers as generously as the first.

  • RB, it’s very clear from the post that the reference is to the sort of characters whom John Wayne played as an actor. Those characters did the right thing because it needed to be done, and without fanfare.

    It would be nice to have more of those Catholics. I know quite a few. They volunteer in the pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers. They step up for fundraisers for the pro life movement, and teach in RCIA and children’s religious ed. They don’t expect anything for it. They don’t trumpet what they’ve done. They just do it, and move on to the next task. Furthermore, they do it boldly. They don’t shrink from their Catholicism. They embrace it, and take courage from it. When adversity strikes, they overcome it.

  • Thank you for this post. Today, as I prayed for peace as Pope Francis requested, I thought about Don John and Sobieski and Charles Martel. Pacifism never brings peace. Strength of faith and willingness to defend that faith are what is needed today.

  • “John Wayne” is an archetype– as is made very obvious by the post itself.

    Though she didn’t decide to share it– I had the image of this fellow dancing in my head since I read SuburbanBanshee’s post on him.

    I just adore the mental image of someone smiting his attempted murderers with a stone cross….

  • Re: Omaha beach. Some died in the surf due to their heavily loaded water soaked backpacks.

  • As the valiant King John Sobieski has been mentioned already, may I throw in a few others?

    Pelayo, who escaped from a Muslim slave caravan in eight century Spain, went to Asturias and began La Reconquista. Queen Isabel the Catholic, who completed La Reconquista. Blessed Junipero Serra, who built the missions in California. Demetirus Gallitzin, who forfeited his place in Russian royalty and became the Missionary to the Alleghenies of west central Pennsylvania.

    Let us not forget the significance of today – September 8 – the birth of Mary, as well as September 12, the Most Holy Name of Mary.

  • “John Wayne Catholics” refers to the strong and good hero he played in the movies, as opposed to the uninspiring characters Although John Wayne’s choices of heroic roles may have had something to do with his inner life and “heliotropic” later years.

    And thanks Penguins Fan – great list. I add Miguel Pro.

  • well if on their death beds the most horrible of people make a good confession I was under the impression they could be saved just as the person who has led an exemplary life of holiness. Was Sister Gabriel wrong? I have always had problems with the likes of Hitler etc. So John Wayne wherever you are and whatever you’ve done there was always hope. Our Lord wanted ALL of His little lost sheep saved. Better late than never. Even if our silly minds can’t understand it. Oh and Don I get it. LOL

  • This is the problem with society in general, everything is taken out of context and distorted from its original intent to fit the liberal agenda, which is to destroy God’s plan and instill Satan’s. RB, get a life! John Wayne is being used as a metaphor meaning he always did the right thing in his movies and regardless of what type of things one does in their life they can and will be forgiven if they truly have truth in their heart.

  • i’ve got to be more careful- I had a pretty wordy comment and deleted part out of the middle– In my previous post I deleted more than I meant to! I should have said:

    “John Wayne Catholics” refers to the strong and good hero he played in the movies, as opposed to the uninspiring characters played by Woody Allen. The reference is to the roles they played in the movies, not necessarily their personal lives. Although John Wayne’s choices of heroic roles may have had something to do with his inner life and “heliotropic” later years.

  • Archbishop Hughes was hardly the hero that airbrushed biographies would suggest. While a champion of the Irish immigrants, he notoriously cold-shouldered the first influx of Italians. He also had approved the slave system when he visited plantations in the South and Cuba, and he preached on the benefits of slavery in Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1854. When the Irish leaders Daniel O’Connell and Father Theobald Mathew started an anti-slavery petition, Hughes accused them of interfering. Only reluctantly, and at the last moment, did he appeal for calm during the Draft Riots against blacks in Manhattan, largely the work of Irish Catholic immigrants, when 126 were killed and 2,000 injured and the Colored Orphans Asylum was burned to the ground in twenty minutes. In his rambling speech he did not mention slavery and instead attacked abolitionist Horace Greeley as a fanatical demagogue. The riots were stopped, not by him but by the arrival of state militiamen from Albany. His friendship with Secretary of State William Seward somewhat cooled over Hughes’ disapproval of the Emancipation Proclamation – Hughes thinking there should be a national referendum. The Civil War diarist, George Templeton Strong, was angry that Hughes was so tepid about emancipation. At the time of the archbishop’s funeral in January, 1864, he wrote: “Archbishop Hughes is dead. Pity he survived last June and committed the imbecility of his address to the rioters last July.”

  • 1. You left out that Archbishop Hughes worked with all his heart for the Union and that he helped keep foreign powers from intervening on the side of the Confederacy by undertaking a diplomatic mission to the Union. He opposed slavery, at least in the abstract, but thought that many of the abolitionists were dangerous fanatics as some of them, that is your cue John Brown, were. It did not help that some of the Northern abolitionists were also anti-Catholics and often butted heads with the Church. That was certainly the case with Horace Greeley who bashed the Church and the Irish on July 9, just prior to the draft riots. That is what Archbishop Hughes was referring to in his speech.

    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2013/a-catholic-civil-war-history-lesson.html

    2. George Templeton Strong was a Yankee blue blood bigot who despised both Catholics and Irish immigrants. Quoting him on Archbishop Hughes is akin to quoting Hitler on Churchill.

    3. Hughes was dying at the time he addressed the rioters; it is a miracle that he had the strength to make the address at all, and contrary to your statement it did have a calming effect on the rioters.

    4. Lincoln wrote on the death of Hughes:

    “[H]aving formed the Archbishop’s acquaintance in the earliest days of our country’s present troubles, his counsel and advice were gladly sought and continually received by the Government on those points which his position enabled him better than others to consider. At a conjuncture of deep interest to the country, the Archbishop, associated with others, went abroad, and did the nation a service there with all the loyalty, fidelity and practical wisdom which on so many other occasions illustrated his great ability for administration.”

  • “John Wayne Catholics” were by no means all men. One thinks of La Pucelle – On 29 April 1429, she arrived at the city of Orléans, which the English had been besieging since 12 October 1428. She took Les Augustins on 5 May, took the bridgehead of “les Tourelles” on the 6th when she was wounded and raised the siege on the 7th. The English abandoned their remaining positions on the 8th.

    Rejoining the army on 9th June, with no support from the Dauphin, who, as usual, had no money, in a lightening campaign, she took Jargeau on the 12th June, the bridge at Meung-sur-Loire and Meung itself on the 15th, Beaugency on the 17th and on the 18th completely routed the English relief force under Talbot, one of the greatest commanders of the day, at the battle of Patay.

    On 29th June, she set out for Rheims. Auxerre surrendered to her on 4th July, Troyes on the 5th, she entered Rheims on 16th July and on the following day, the Dauphin was anointed with the same holy oil with which Clovis had been anointed a thousand years earlier and crowned as Charles VII, Roi très-chrétien. No wonder the French call him Charles le Bien-Servi – Charles the well-served.

    All this, without considering her greatest victory, her glorious confession in the market-place of Rouen.

    Her statue at Orléans bears the words from the Book of Judith, “Fecísti viríliter, et confortátum est cor tuum” – For thou hast done manfully, and thy heart has been strengthened.

  • Shorter RB:

    “I don’t want these filthy, disgusting sinners in my church.”

  • Another point that doesn’t get emphasized enough about Don John is his humility: he was a man in his early twenties, appointed because Philip II insisted that a Spaniard be fleet commander, and he had minimal military experience.

    He sought out the advice and counsel of the savvy, experienced leader of the Venetians, Sebastiano Venier, and utilized it to perfection. A less sensible man would have been more insecure.

  • Also, an Arkansas SWAT team was justified in killing a 107 year-old geezer.

    “The riots were stopped, not by him but by the arrival of state militiamen from Albany.”

    Above, I quoted only one of the numerous misleading items in your comment, B. R.

    In fact,10,000 federal troops, fresh off the lines at Gettysburg, were deployed to massacre American cirtizens in New York City.

    ” . . . colonel of the 11th New York, Henry F. O’Brien, who was of Irish ancestry, after he used a howitzer to clear Second Avenue, killing a female bystander and her child.

    ” . . . troops of the 74th New York reached the city, followed by a Buffalo regiment and, at 4am on Thursday, July 16, the famous 7th New York. The 8th and 152nd New York infantry arrived later that morning. Ellis wrote, “All told, 10,000 veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg poured into the city, [which] was divided into four military districts.

    “Troops assaulted ‘infected’ districts, using howitzers loaded with grapeshot and canister…to mow down rioters, and engaged in fierce building-by-building firefights. Rioters defended their barricaded domains with mad desperation. Faced with tenement snipers and brick hurlers, soldiers broke down doors, bayoneted all who interfered, and drove occupants to the roof, from which many jumped to certain death below.”

  • Herein we remove the airbrush from the story of the Irish in America:

    “The Irish were the most despised ethnicity in the United States during much of the 19th century.

    “‘No Irish need Apply’ isn’t the half of it.

    “Ships full of sick immigrants fleeing the famine were turned away from New York and Boston, with entire shiploads dying in the St. Lawrence (there are mass graves for tens of thousands on islands below Montreal, unmarked to this day).

    “Police in major cities cordoned off Irish neighborhoods and watched as the gang members murdered each other.

    “According to Thomas Sowell, the Irish were shipped south for work too dangerous for the slaves. Slaves were worth money, while Irishmen were worth nothing.

    “And what was the Irish response in later years? Did they seek revenge against the WASP elites that had treated them so badly? Did they tear down the culture that had preceded them?

    “They did nothing of the sort. They became one with America, and today comprise one of the most admired ethnic strains in this country.”

  • Bl. Franz Jäggerstätter should be included

  • Emperor Constantine I had definitely not “been a Catholic in belief for decades before his death” as claimed above. Although his mother St Helena was a devout Catholic, for most of his life he was a pagan. During the earlier part of his 25 year reign he was a sun-worshipper, as evidenced by thye “Sol Invictus” depicted on coins of that era. Later he became a sort of universalists believer in all religions including Christianuity, but he firmly rejected Catholicism. He much preferred Arianism which denies Christ’s divinity and sees Him as merely the greatest of men. Coinstantine used all of the military and political power available to him to try to force Catholics to convert to Arianism, even trying to make the bishops gathered for the Council of Nicea embrace Arianism, by a mixture of bullying, cajoling and largesse (the bishops’ travel expenses were paid with government money). The vast majority rejected his advances and he continued to promote Arianism until the day he died. He was baptised on his deathbed, but he was baptised by a notorious Arian priest into the Arian heresy. Some Eastern Christians regard him as a “saint” (mainly because they see it as enhancing the prestige of Constantinople) but the Catholic Church does not. The fact that he repealed (when he was a pagan) the laws authorising violent persecution of Christians does not make him a Catholic or even a Christian, much less a saint.

  • Wrong. Constantine was a professing Catholic from at least the age of 42 and probably a good deal before. For eight years after his accession he still had pagan images on his coins, but probably as no more than a sop to his many followers who were still pagan. He convened the Council of Nicaea that condemned Arianism. Eusebius, the bishop who baptized him was a favorite of his niece. He definitely had Arian leanings, but at Nicaea he was forced to sign the orthodox confession.

  • Thanks Donald.
    Reading all these comments make me smile and wonder how our own historical record as a Christian stands up to scrutiny ?

  • Depends if we get a supposition of innocence by the person doing the scrutinizing….

  • “He much preferred Arianism which denies Christ’s divinity and sees Him as merely the greatest of men.”

    Well, no. Arianism denied that Christ is theos in the same way God the Father is theos, but did not claim that he was a mere mortal. The Christ of Arianism was a divine being, but less than the Father.

  • T. Shaw. I agree completely. No whining on and on for decades. Just sought to improve themselves and assimilate. Great reminder. Thank you.

  • “Being constantly exposed to the culture through TV and movies can warp our perceptions and values.”

    It can, but it doesn’t have to, if we’re smart about how we interact with it. People are not always at the mercy of forces outside their control, to be battered about like a ship with no anchor. Some individuals may absorb everything passively and uncritically; others do not.

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