PopeWatch: Dagger John

Monday, February 3, AD 2014

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

PopeWatch finds the near universal applause that Pope Francis is currently receiving somewhat disturbing.  If a Catholic cleric is doing his job, he is likely to receive just as many boos as cheers, if not more so.  Case in point, the first Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, known universally to friend and foe alike as “Dagger John”.  Go here, here, here and here to read prior posts about him.  Dagger John was ever a champion of the Faith and his beloved Irish, both held in low esteem by many non-Catholic and non-Irish Americans.  One story about Dagger John gives the essence of the man:  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.   Russell Shaw at Our Sunday Visitor has a story in which he recalls an incident fifteen years after the death of Hughes:

New York’s cathedral was dedicated in a splendid, hours-long ceremony on the morning of Sunday, May 25, 1879. Shortly before, the Atlantic Monthly, a mouthpiece of the Northeast’s non-Catholic establishment, ran an article trashing the building and Archbishop Hughes, whose great project it was. He’d been dead since 1864. The author, architectural critic Clarence Cook, wrote that the fourth bishop of New York was a “politician” as well as a priest — one of the few Catholic priests “able to win, by their own character and energy, a national reputation.”

“We are not saying it was an agreeable reputation,” Cook continued. “The archbishop belonged to the church militant … always in the saddle, never weary, and, what was more never desponding … so convincing that, when he called for money, if a widow had but one penny, yet should he have a farthing ere he went.”

Someone reading that now may wonder what lay behind this bilious outburst against a long-dead prelate. In his history of the Church in America, “American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church” (Vintage, $18.95), Charles R. Morris says Cook grasped the symbolism of St. Patrick’s just as Archbishop Hughes had done. The archbishop cherished it, but Cook, to say the least, did not.

“It enunciated a vision of Catholicism as a new power center, a major moral and political force,” Morris writes. “Cook was shouting, Beware! With a man of John Hughes’s forcefulness at the head of the Catholic Church in the United States, anything could happen.” As for the archbishop, he would probably have replied in kind to Cook’s attack. And much enjoyed the verbal tussle that followed.

Here is the full quotation from Cook’s attack on Hughes:

 

First of all, he was a politician, and one of the shrewdest and ablest of his class.  And then he was a priest and in this capacity one of the few men in the Catholic Church in this country who have been able to win, by their own character and energy, a national reputation;  so that, in his heyday, his name was as well and as widely known as that of Seward, or O’Connor, or Butler.  We are not saying it was an agreeable reputation.  The archbishop belonged to the church militant, and he was a courageous, adroit general, always in the saddle, never weary, and what was more never desponding.  He did not need, for the work he had to do, to be a finely educated man, a man of elegant tastes, and, if we may use the hateful world so much abused in these shoddy days, a man of culture.  We say he was none of these, but we say it without the least wish to disparage him.  He was a manly man, a gentleman in all his intercourse with gentlemen, and among his people so persuasive, or at least so convincing, that, when he called for money, if a widow had but one penny, yet should he have a farthing ere he went.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to PopeWatch: Dagger John

January 3, 1864: Death of Dagger John

Friday, January 3, AD 2014

Archbishop John Hughes

“Bury me in the sunshine”, were the last words of the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, as he departed this Vale of Tears on January 3, 1864.  Hughes was looked upon by his contemporaries as a force of nature rather than a man.  Overseeing with skill the explosive growth of the Church in New York, and helping lead generations of Catholic immigrants out of poverty,  he also found time to take part in the public affairs of his day, and was probably the best known Catholic churchman of his time.  He was also a very tough and fearless man.  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”!

At the beginning of the Civil War he had thrown himself wholeheartedly behind the preservation of the Union, rallying New York’s Irish to support the cause and going to Europe at the instigation of the Lincoln administration to garner support for the Union.  Small wonder that after his death Lincoln wrote,

“having 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.”

His finest moment probably was when, visibly dying, he rose from his death bed to make a speech on July 16, 1863 which helped quell the draft riots.  The speech is extremely interesting.  It contains a fair amount of humor, Hughes recognizing that the Irish always loved a message if it was leavened with laughter, and the Archbishop’s message was an appeal to the New York Irish based upon their love of Ireland and their innate sense of fairness.  It is a marvel to me that a dying man could do this, but Dagger John accomplished it.  Here is the text of the speech:

MEN OF NEW YORK:  They call you rioters and I cannot see a riotous face among you.  (Cheers)  I call you men of New York, not gentlemen, because gentlemen is so threadbare a term that it means nothing positive. (Applause.)  Give me men, and I know of my own knowledge, that if the City were invaded by a British or any other foreign Power, (laughter.) the delicate ladies of New York, with infants at their breasts, would look for their protection to men, rather than to gentlemen. (Applause.)  Of course, there is no reason why you should not be gentlemen, for there is no real difference between these terms.  (Applause.)  I address you of my own choice; and I would do so if I had to go on crutches.  No one has prompted me to do it.  My lungs are stronger than my limbs.  It gratifies me that you have met in peace and good order here at this time.  This, however, does not surprise me—it is what I expected.  I do not address you as the President. (laughter,)  or the Governor, or the Mayor, or a military officer.  I address you as your father.  (Cheers.)  VOICE—You are worth the whole of them.  And I am not going to go into the question, what has brought about this unhappy state of things.  It is not my business to do so but as far as I am concerned myself, you know that I am a minister of God, and a minister of peace, who in your troubles in years past, as you know, never deserted you.  (Cheers, and cries of “No, never.”)  With my tongue and my pen I have stood by you always, and so shall to the end of my life, so long as you are right, and I sincerely hope that you are not wrong.  (Cheers.)  I am not a runaway Bishop in times of danger.  (A Voice—”No, you’re not like BEECHER.”)  It has been perhaps a calamity, but I do not regret it. That I never was conscious of the sentiment of fear until the danger was over, and then sometimes I might perhaps get a little nervous.  (Cheers.)  I could not even in the best of cases, as you know, fight for you. 

The course of nature has denied me that privilege but I can still stand by you, I can still advise you, and, if necessary, I can die with you.  (Great cheering.)  As I said before, I will not enter into the question which has provoked all this excitement.  No doubt there are some real grievances, but still I think that there are many imaginary ones—because in this world everything is comparative in its nature.  There are no people in the world that have not some cause of grievance, and there are few that have not greater cause for complaint than we can complain of, after all.  (Cheers.) Everything is comparative, and a change is not always an improvement.

When I cast my thoughts back to the land of my forefathers, and when I think of it’s desolation, when I see the fertile west and south of Ireland depopulated and cattle browsing on the ruins of the cottages of the noble race that once lived there, I thank God that I was permitted to be among those who had an opportunity of coming to this country, where at least no such wretched tyranny is practiced (great cheering.)  If you are Irishmen, and the papers say the rioters are all Irishmen, then I also am an Irishman, (tremendous applause) but not a rioter, for I am a man of peace.  If you are Catholics, as they have said, probably to wound my feelings, then I also am a Catholic (cheers.)

Continue reading...

5 Responses to January 3, 1864: Death of Dagger John

  • What a lot of food for thought.

  • I know his name is Dagger and he’s very tough, but this speech shows true love and good use of psychology! : First he praises their manhood, appeals to their instinct to protect women and children and gives a call to be gentlemen.
    He refers to his own frailty, his great heart and love for them and for all that he and they together both love, recognizing the struggles and desire to fight back. He addresses them as their father- appealing to their natural sense of order and filial piety, telling them they are “worth the whole of them”. He reminds them he is a minister of God, and that he has always been faithful to his calling and to them, his people He recognizes their grievances but puts them into a perspective and points out that change might not necessarily be an improvement. He counts his and their blessings in that the get to be here in this great land where the real and mortal grievances of the old country can not happen because of the order and system provided here by the Constitution and the electoral process.
    He appeals to their dignity as Irish Catholics; he identifies with them as their bishop having had his own troubles and persecutions, advises them to bear evils patiently. He is an Irishman with them and also a man of peace. Better to deal with troubles than rush into maybe worse trouble…he outlines the right way to change the government, at the ballot box and “Should not every man in his own modest way become a preserver of the peace?” 
    He tells them he is hurt by reports that they are rioters. So in his brilliant folksy and loving way he disarmed an excited crowd telling them to avoid being in the situation where “souls are launched into eternity” !!
    He makes them laugh with homey story of an “innocent” and warned them that the guilty are likely to escape… so he talks of innocence and guilt and practicality and honor. Irish have never been cowards, no martyrs please. He wants to remain proud of them– what can he answer if the reports of Irish Catholic riots were to turn out to be true!? Not afraid of john bull and “I hope nothing will occur till you return home; and if by chance, as you go thither; you should meet a police officer, or a military man, why just——look at him”

    I appreciate his trust in the Constitution and optimism about democracy here.

  • Archbishop John Hughes…

    “….He unsparingly condemned those who, through fear of anti-Catholic feeling, were disposed to conciliate their opponents by seemingly harmless concessions. He was intolerant of the slightest modification or innovation in religion unless sanctioned by the Supreme Head of the Church. He believed that the adherence to Catholic faith should be bold, fearless, outspoken and uncompromising in the extreme, and especially so in the face of opposition….”http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07516a.htm

    I have no doubt that if Archbishop John Hughes lived today, he would count Frs. Theodore Hesburgh and John Jenkins of Notre Dame as members of the opposition to be resisted at all costs.

    May God bless the soul of Archbishop Hughes, this mighty champion of the victims of An Gorta Mor, and a true guardian of the Catholic faith in troubled times.

  • Yes! Thank you Slainte we should heed and follow his example. Too many times people are just not thinking things completely.

  • Pingback: John Allen Joins the Boston Globe - BigPulpit.com

John Wayne Catholics Throughout History

Saturday, September 7, AD 2013

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: 

Continue reading...

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

  • Pingback: A Visit To St. Augustine - BigPulpit.com
  • 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.

  • Pingback: Anonymous

How Dagger John Saved the Irish

Wednesday, August 14, AD 2013

 

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

 

 

 

Archbishop John Hughes of New York, universally known to friend and foe as Dagger John, was  a very tough and fearless man.  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 was 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.  He earned his nickname!

Among his many accomplishments was his success in leading the New York Irish out of poverty.  It is a fascinating story and relevant to our time.  In 1997 in City Journal, William J. Stern wrote an article on how Dagger John did it:

 

 

Hughes once remarked that “the Catholic Church is a church of discipline,” and Father Richard Shaw, Hughes’s most recent biographer, believes that the comment gives a glimpse into the inner core of his beliefs. Self-control and high personal standards were the key—and Hughes’s own disciplined labors to improve himself and all those around him, despite constant ill health, embodied this ethic monumentally. Hughes proclaimed the need to avoid sin. His clergy stated clearly that certain conduct was right and other conduct was wrong. People must not govern their lives according to momentary feelings or the desire for instant gratification: they had to live up to a code of behavior that had been developed over thousands of years. This teaching produced communities where ethical standards mattered and severe stigma attached to those who misbehaved.
The priests stressed the virtue of purity, loudly and unambiguously, to both young and old. Sex was sinful outside marriage, no exceptions. Packed together in apartments with sometimes two or three families in a single room, the Irish lived in conditions that did not encourage chastity or even basic modesty. Women working in the low-paid drudgery of domestic service were tempted to work instead in the saloons of Five Points, which often led to a life of promiscuity or prostitution. The Church’s fierce exhortations against promiscuity, with its accompanying evils of out-of-wedlock births and venereal disease, took hold. In time, most Irish began to understand that personal responsibility was an important component of sexual conduct.
Since alcohol was such a major problem for his flock, Hughes—though no teetotaler himself—promoted the formation of a Catholic abstinence society. In 1849 he accompanied the famous Irish Capuchin priest, Father Theobald Mathew, the “apostle of temperance,” all around the city as he gave the abstinence pledge to 20,000 New Yorkers.
A religion of discipline, stressing conduct and the avoidance of sin, can be a pinched and gloomy affair, but Hughes’s teaching had a very different inflection. His priests mitigated the harshness with the encouraging Doctrine of the Sacred Heart, which declares that if you keep the commandments, God will be your protector, healer, advisor, and perfect personal friend. To a people despised by many, living in desperate circumstances, with narrow economic possibilities, such a teaching was a bulwark against anger, despair, and fear. Hughes’s Catholicism was upbeat and encouraging: if God Almighty was your personal friend, you could overcome.
Hughes’s teaching had a special message for and about women. Women outnumbered men by 20 percent in New York’s Irish population partly because of famine-induced emigration patterns and partly because many Irish immigrant men went west from New York to work on building railways and canals. Irish women could find work in New York more easily than men could, and the work they found, usually as domestics, was steadier. Given the demographic facts, along with the high illegitimacy rate and the degree of family disintegration, Hughes clearly saw the need to teach men respect for women, and women self-respect.

He did this by putting Catholicism’s Marian Doctrine right at the center of his message. Irish women would hear from the priests and nuns that Mary was Queen of Peace, Queen of Prophets, and Queen of Heaven, and that women were important. The “ladies of New York,” Hughes told them, were “the children, the daughters of Mary.” The Marian teaching encouraged women to take responsibility for their own lives, to inspire their men and their children to good conduct, to keep their families together, and to become forces for upright behavior in their neighborhoods. The nuns, especially, encouraged women to become community leaders and play major roles in church fund-raising activities—radical notions for a male-dominated society where women did not yet have the right to vote. In addition, Irish men and women saw nuns in major executive positions, managing hospitals, schools, orphanages, and church societies—sending another highly unusual message for the day. Irish women became important allies in Hughes’s war for values; by the 1850s they began to be major forces for moral rectitude, stability, and progress in the Irish neighborhoods of the city.
When Hughes went beyond spiritual uplift to the material and institutional needs of New York’s Irish, he always focused sharply on self-help and mutual aid. On the simplest level, in all parishes he encouraged the formation of church societies—support groups, like today’s women’s groups or Alcoholics Anonymous, to help people deal with neighborhood concerns or personal and family problems, such as alcoholism or finding employment. In these groups, people at the local level could exchange information and advice, and offer one another encouragement and constructive criticism.

Continue reading...

One Response to How Dagger John Saved the Irish

  • The reason we Americans do poverty the way we do it today is that it gives the self-appointed Master Race Americans among us more power over ordinary blacks than ever before. I admit that black Americans, like the Irish before them, cooperate freely in their own destruction. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re more deeply in slavery now then they ever were in the past and that God will not judge our country with approval for that

Matthew Brady, Father Thomas H. Mooney, Dagger John and the Fighting 69th

Tuesday, July 19, AD 2011

The above photo is one of the archetypal Matthew Brady photographs of the Civil War.  Whenever religion in the Civil War is mentioned in a history, odds are you will see this picture.  It was taken on June 1, 1861 in the camp of the 69th New York, later to be christened The Fighting 69th  by no less an authority on fighting  than Robert E. Lee, and it depicts Mass being said by Father Thomas H. Mooney, the first chaplain of The Fighting 69th.

Born in Manchester, England, and ordained in 1853 in New York City, Father Mooney had been pastor of Saint Brigid’s in New york City, as well as being the chaplain of the 69th New York.  Archbishop Hughes of New York City, known universally by friend and foe as “Dagger John”, warned Father Mooney about the large number of Fenians, a precursor of the Irish Republican Army, who had enlisted in the regiment:

“They are incompetent to be admitted to the Sacraments of the Church during life and of Christian burial after death, unless they shall in the meantime renounce such obligations as have been just referred to. In regard to the whole subject, you will please to exercise all the discretion and all the charity that religion affords: but speak to the men and tell each one (not all at one time) that he is jeopardizing his soul if he perseveres in this uncatholic species of combination.”

The Church in Ireland and America had a mostly negative view of the Fenians due to an overall opposition to revolutionary movements in Europe by Pope Pius IX and because the Fenians called for a separation of Church and State In Ireland.

The 69th was one of the first Union regiments to go to Washington in 1861 in response to Lincoln’s call for volunteers.  Father Mooney went with it, and quickly proved extremely popular with the men and officers of the regiment.  He founded a temperance society in the regiment,  held daily Masses and confessions, and was tireless in reminding wayward soldiers in the regiment that this was a great opportunity for them to return to the Faith.  A correspondent for the New York Times reported on the high esteem in which Father Mooney was held:

As for the Sixty-ninth, they turned out more than twelve hundred muskets, leaving yet another hundred — the newly-arrived Zouaves — in their late headquarters at the College. This Regiment has grown into great fever in Washington — not a single one of its members ever having become amenable to the police authorities in any way; and its discipline and efficiency having frequently been made the subject of complimentary notice by Gens SCOTT and MANSFIELD. For very much of the good order and moral restraint existing in the ranks, it is doubtless indebted to the ceaseless and zealous exertions of Father THOMAS MOONEY, an admirable specimen-priest of the true high type, who, if he were not chaplain, would certainly be a candidate for Colonel — fate and a sanguine temper giving him equal adaptation to the sword of the spirit and the “regulation sword” — a veritable son of the church-militant. But this again is a degression.

Father Mooney’s career as a chaplain was cut short by “Dagger John”.   On June 13, 1861 the 69th was helping to emplace a rifled cannon in Fort Corcoran, named after Colonel Corcoran the commander of the 69th, near Washington.  Everyone was in high spirits.  Father Mooney was called upon to bless the cannon.  Instead, he decided to baptize the cannon.

Continue reading...

One Response to Matthew Brady, Father Thomas H. Mooney, Dagger John and the Fighting 69th

Honest Abe and Dagger John

Wednesday, February 11, AD 2009

archbishop-john-hughes

Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864) of New York, was a titan within the Catholic Church in America in the nineteenth century.  Overseeing with skill the explosive growth of the Church in New York, and helping lead generations of Catholic immigrants out of poverty,  he also found time to take part in the public affairs of his day, and was probably the best known Catholic churchman of his time.  He was also a very tough and fearless man.  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”!

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Honest Abe and Dagger John

  • Strong bishops, that is what we lack in many parts of the country today. He certainly was needed during his time as well as today.

  • Don- thank you thank you 997 times thank you for this tribute to My Number One Americano Catlick Hero. Yes more than Blessed Fulton or our dear Bishops Chaput and Martino. Dagger John was a bad cat, in the complimentary sense. You did not mess with him. Not to mention the prelate who persuaded the New York immigrant Irish, still living with pigs in their streets, to turn over their hard-earned pennies and nickels to build a fitting house unto the Lord. The fruits of his efforts still dominate the landscape around 50th St. and 5th Avenue. St. Patrick’s Cathedral shines to this day- long after its principal sponsor has gone to his rest. A few more Dagger Johns and abortion on demand would scatter like sand in a windstorm. Dear heroic Archbishop- maybe a little too hard-edged for an Official Halo but we still dig him- intercede for us.

  • I have always appreciated “Dagger John” also Gerard. He had his flaws: nepotism, a blindess towards the evil of slavery, etc, but take him all in all, he was a very good man who fought with everything he had for the Church, his flock and America. May God send us many such bishops in our hour of need.

  • Pingback: More Bishops like this, please! « More News and Les Nessman
  • Yes, Hughes was a powerhouse. His influence is still felt in Catholic NYC, make no mistake. People forget that the bishops had real moxie in those days, protecting their flocks. Men of valor and aggressive faith. Feisty, fighting men! Equally exciting was the vigor of Catholic bishops in the Southeastern US, around the same time. Those men had it rough, but they were in the trenches with their persecuted flocks, and it was said that southern Catholics had nothing to fear “so long as they were within one hundred miles of a bishop’s altar.”

    (sigh). The episcopate is decidedly due for a comeback.

  • Not sure I’d want a bishop who thought it was OK to do the bidding of a sitting president by going over to Europe to convince Napoleon not to take sides in the War Between the States; or one who would actually try to persuade poor Irish young men to come fight for the Union Army (where they were often used as cannon fodder by their WASP officers); nor would I want a bishop who, Wolsey-like, sought to dissuade the Holy See itself from being more sympathic to the Confederate cause than Rome already clearly was.

    Fortunately, we’ve come to realize that bishops should not allow themselves to be used as tools of politicians for purely secular political ends.

  • All good and valid points, Tom. I wouldn’t say that men like Dagger John were necessarily steeped in heroic virtue…and I daresay that modern bishops have all sorts of new & exciting ways of letting themselves be manipulated and maneuvered by contemporary powers, just as they themselves manipulate and maneuver. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, after all.

    I think Mr. McClarey was making the point that these “Dagger John” kinds of American bishops knew how to take care of “their own” in some powerful and unambiguous ways–ways that could be viewed as very admirable in their intensity; ways that some of us would like to see applied today.

    Though, without the more unsavory flaws-o-the-day, of course.

  • “or one who would actually try to persuade poor Irish young men to come fight for the Union Army (where they were often used as cannon fodder by their WASP officers); ”

    Oh give it a rest Tom. Have you ever heard of the Irish brigade? Yeah, there were a lot of WASP officers in that outfit! Not to mention the fact that WASPS were also dying in huge numbers to preserve the Union and that the most dangerous job in the war was to be a junior officer in an infantry or cavalry regiment.

    We get it Tom. You wish the Confederacy had won the war. “Dagger John” and “Honest Abe” and a whole lot of other Union men made that impossible. I do not take exception to your right to hold that belief. The country was divided during the Civil War and it still is in historical memory. However, I do not think it is fair to attack Hughes simply because he supported the side that you wish had lost in the Civil War, no more than I would think it fair to attack Southern Catholic ecclesiastics, some of whom will be featured by me in future posts, simply because they supported the Confederacy. Comparing Hughes to Wolsey is simply a pejorative since Lincoln was no Henry VIII attacking the Church or seeking a reversal of some past papal action, and the iron-spirited Hughes was no slavish servant of secular power, but rather a man who supported the Union cause because he thought it right.

  • Hi, I just discovered this blog and it looks interesting. I live in Springfield, Illinois, just a few blocks from Lincoln’s home and I am a geek for all things historic, political and Catholic so this blog is right up my alley!

    The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception here in Springfield (built in the 1920s and currently under renovation) has a stained-glass window that shows Lincoln sending Hughes off to France to talk Napoleon III out of recognizing the Confederacy. You can see it at this link:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/msabeln/2020317376/in/photostream/

    It’s one of several windows depicting great moments in American Catholic history. They are staying in place during the renovation and are being restored to look better than ever.

    It might seem odd to some that a Catholic church would depict a non-Catholic figure of American secular history but I suppose the point is that God accomplishes His purposes through the workings of both Church and State, just as was the case in the time of Christ and long before that.

  • Thank you for the interesting information about the Cathedral Elaine! My family and I live in Dwight, Illinois. Each year in July we go down to Springfield to see the Lincoln Museum, and what a superb place that is, and to say prayers at the Lincoln tomb for the repose of the souls of Mr. Lincoln and his family. The next time we are down we will stop in at the Cathedral, assuming the renovation is comlete, and look at the windows. The type of windows you describe reminds me of a stained glass window showing a WWI American doughboy kneeling at the foot of the cross which is at the Saint John’s chapel at the Newman Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

  • Thanks for the quick reply Donald! Be forewarned that the Cathedral renovation is likely to take the rest of this year, so you may have to wait until next year to see this.

    There is another window on that side of the Cathedral that shows soldiers massed in front of the Illinois Capitol, being blessed by a chaplain before they march off to World War I (it would still have been referred to as “The Great War” at the time the window was made).

    I have also visited St. John’s Chapel in Champaign and THAT is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. It was built in 1926, two years before the Springfield Cathedral.

  • Thanks for the tip as to the renovation Elaine. One of the high points for me during my seven years at the U of I was worshiping at Saint John’s. I especially loved the regular midnight mass on Saturdays which was usually packed.

  • Pingback: The First « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: The First « Almost Chosen People