Jesuits

PopeWatch: Jesuit Love

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Father James Martin, SJ, editor at large of the Jesuit rag America, practically breaks his arm slapping his order on the back for all the good qualities he perceives in Pope Francis in an article for CCN.  A sample:

Openness. Jesuits are asked to “Find God in all things.” Again, this is not simply a Jesuit virtue but a Christian one. Yet that brief motto is the most commonly cited way of summing up Jesuit spirituality. And “all things” means all people.

This includes those people who have felt excluded, or unwelcome, in the church. So although his message is based on simple Christian mercy, the world has witnessed the Pope repeatedly inviting the church to experience God in places that some other Catholic leaders may have overlooked or even ignored. Atheists, divorced and remarried Catholics, and gay men and lesbians, have all seen the Pope reach out to them.

Francis is not so much trying to find God there — because he knows that God is already there — as he is reminding others to look for God in the lives of all these people.

Other Jesuit hallmarks could be added to the list, such as flexibility, freedom and an emphasis on social justice. But overall, when Jesuits watch the Pope, we often nod our heads and say, “That’s very Jesuit.”

Over the past year, Jesuits have been accused of being too proud of Pope Francis. I’m guilty myself. So at the risk of pride, I’ll say that I think he’s a great Pope, a great priest and a great Jesuit. And I’ll bet St. Ignatius would be proud — or as proud as he would allow himself to be. Continue reading

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John Joseph Montgomery: Forgotten Catholic Pioneer of the Air

In 1884 John Joseph Montgomery made the first manned, controlled, heavier than air flight in a glider he built.  Born in 1858, he became intrigued with flight when as a boy in 1869 he witnessed the historic flight of the steam driven proto blimp Aviator Hermes, Jr. built by Frederick Marriott.  In 1883 Montgomery built a wing flapping glider that of course failed as a glider.  In 1884 he made aviation history by building a monoplane glider with curved wings.  He flew a considerable distance at Otay Mesa near San Diego, California.  In 1884-1885 he built a monoplane glider with flat wings, with hinged surfaces at the backs of the wings to maintain lateral balance, the first step towards ailerons.  He also used cables to control the tale of his glider.

In 1885 or 1886 he built a water tank and experimented hundreds of times with moving water over surfaces to understand the movement of air over wings.

A Catholic, Montgomery earned his BA and MA from Saint Ignatius College in 1879 and 1880.  He went on to earn a doctorate in physics from the Jesuit College, Santa Clara, where he was a professor from 1898 until his death.  The Jesuits were quite enthusiastic about the aviation work of Montgomery and extended facilities at the college for him to conduct his experiments and build his gliders, one of which was named Santa Clara. Continue reading

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The Mass on Mount Suribachi

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(In honor of the World War II vets taking the Iwo Jima memorial today, read about it here, I am reposting this from 2009.)

 

 

Iwo Jima probably has the sad distinction of being the most expensive piece of worthless real estate in the history of the globe.  Expensive not in something as minor as money, but costly in something as all important as human lives.  In 1943 the island had a civilian population of 1018 who scratched a precarious living from sulfur mining, some sugar cane farming and fishing.  All rice and consumer goods had to be imported from the Home Islands of Japan.  Economic prospects for the island were dismal.  Eight square miles, almost all flat and sandy, the dominant feature is Mount Suribachi on the southern tip of the island, 546 feet high, the caldera of the dormant volcano that created the island.  Iwo Jima prior to World War II truly was “of the world forgetting, and by the world forgot”.

The advent of World War II changed all of that.  A cursory look at a map shows that Iwo Jima is located 660 miles south of Tokyo, well within the range of American bombers and fighter escorts, a fact obvious to both the militaries of the US and Imperial Japan.  The Japanese forcibly evacuated the civilian population of Iwo Jima in July of 1944.  Awaiting the invading Marines was a garrison of approximately 23,000 Japanese troops, skillfully deployed by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi  in hidden fortified positions throughout the island, connected in many cases by 11 miles of tunnels.  The Japanese commander was under no illusions that the island could be held, but he was determined to make the Americans pay a high cost in blood for Iwo.

Tasked with the mission of seizing the island was the V Marine Amphibious Corp, under the command of General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, consisting of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Divisions.

On February 18th, 1945 Navy Lieutenant, (the Marine Corps, although Marines are often loathe to admit it, is a component of the Department of the Navy, and the Navy supplies all the chaplains that serve with it) Charles Suver, Society of Jesus, was part of the 5th Marine Division and anxiously awaiting the end of the bombardment and the beginning of the invasion the next day.  Chaplain Suver was one of 19 Catholic priests participating in the invasion as a chaplain.

Father Suver had been born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1907.    Graduating from Seattle College in 1924, he was ordained as a priest in 1937, having taught at Gonzaga University in Spokane.   Prior to the war, while teaching at Seattle Prep, he rigorously enforced the no running rules in the hall, even going so far as to tackle one errant student!  Father Suver was remembered as a strict disciplinarian but also a fine teacher. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy as a chaplain.

On February 18th, 1945, Chaplain Suver was discussing the upcoming invasion with other Marine officers.  A lieutenant told him that he intended to take an American flag onto the top of Mount Suribachi.  Suver responded that if he did that, he would say mass under it.

At 5:30 AM the next morning Father Suver said mass for the Marines aboard his ship, LST 684. (The official meaning of LST was Landing Ship, Tank;  the troops designated them Large Slow Target.)  After mass, nervous Marines, more than a few of whom had not much longer to live, bombarded the chaplain with questions, especially questions about courage.  He responded, “ A courageous man goes on fulfilling his duty despite the fear gnawing away inside.  Many men are fearless, for many different reasons, but fewer are courageous.”  Continue reading

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Jesuitical 15: Gonzaga and the Knights of Columbus

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Part 15 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.

 

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  After 30 years at the bar and almost a decade blogging, there are few stories that shock me any more.  This one did:

Spokane’s Gonzaga University has denied a Knights of Columbus group application to be recognized as an official student organization. Those seeking the status were notified of the University’s decision at a meeting on March 7.

The group was notified of the decision by Dean of Students Kassi Kain and Assistant Director for Student Activities Dave Rovick.

“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” says a letter obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society written by Sue Weitz, Vice President for Student Life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University, as well as the University’s commitment to non-discrimination based on certain characteristics, one of which is religion.”

The letter continued:

The discussion at the meeting touched on formation of a Catholic Daughters student organization at Gonzaga. Such a group would address the gender exclusivity issue. However, it would not address the requirement that all members of a student Knights of Columbus group must be Catholic.

Individuals who spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society only on condition of anonymity explained that the group has been stalled by the administration for the entire academic year. Efforts were made by students to apply for official student group status beginning in September. The group was told they would have a response by November. The group wasn’t notified of the University’s decision until March.

Weitz did not return the call from The Cardinal Newman Society seeking comment on the decision. Continue reading

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New York Catholic High School Okays Gay Couple to Attend Prom

Three guesses as to what order runs the high school. The first two don’t count.

The administrator of a Catholic high school in New York wrote to his students’ parents this week to explain why a gay couple at the all-boys school is being allowed to attend the junior prom together.

Father Edward Salmon, president of McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton, explained that the boys “will be welcomed” as a couple, even though he insisted the gesture of acceptance is not meant to condone homosexuality or go against church law in any way. His full letter, sent Wednesday, was published Thursday by local news website rochesterhomepage.net.

For Salmon, the acceptance represents the success of a student-driven campaign to allow the boys to attend their junior prom together. The school’s administrator described the emotions that campaign generated as “darkness and heavy clouds,” leading to the spread of “misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger.”

There’s more at the Deacon’s Bench, including the letter from Father Salmon. For those who feared that Pope Francis’s washing of women’s feet would embolden liberal Catholics, you severely underestimate how easily liberal Catholics can twist any words and actions of the Pontiff to suit their particular cause. Witness the beginning of Father Salmon’s letter:

Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, in the homily for his Inaugural Mass, had encouraging and inviting words: “Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation and to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a ray of light break through heavy clouds.”

And if you don’t interpret Pope Francis’s words to mean that it’s okay to allow a gay couple to attend a prom at a Catholic high school, then clearly you just want more darkness.

Most of the rest of the letter is a bizarre stream of consciousness that uses the imagery of light and darkness to ironic affect – ironic because it just muddies the waters and thereby darkens everyone’s understanding of the faith. He closes with this:

With this decision I am not contradicting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to human sexuality; I am not encouraging nor am I condoning homosexual activity just as I do not encourage or condone heterosexual activity at a dance. I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage. With this decision I invite and encourage us all, as Pope Francis does, to exercise care, protection, goodness which calls for a certain tenderness “which is not a virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness.”

You see he’s not contradicting Church teaching because, well, he says so. And light and darkness. And Pope Francis.

There. Don’t you feel much better now?

Father Salmon selectively quotes the Catechism to defend his position. Perhaps Father Salmon should familiarize himself with the concept of scandal.

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America Meets Dale

 

 

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As long time readers of this blog know I have long been an admirer of the work of Dale Price at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings, and I frequently go there to steal borrow blog ideas.  Dale turned his attention recently to the editorial at America, the Jesuit heterodox rag, which called for the repeal of the Second Amendement:

That their grief may not be compounded.

At long last, the editors of America endorse a constitutional buttress to the culture of life.

 

Supporting the Human Life Amendment? Surely you jest. Politics is strictly about the art of the possible when it comes to abortion.

 

No, no–one must be realistic about such things.

 

Instead, we need to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The reason: something must be done so that urban, left-leaning Jesuits can feel better about themselves:

 

The disturbing feeling that we have failed to do everything in our power to remove the material cause of their deaths, however, will no longer compound our grief.

 

For some reason, there are exceptions:

 

This does not require an absolute ban on firearms. In the post-repeal world that we envision, some people will possess guns: hunters and sportsmen, law enforcement officers, the military, those who require firearms for morally reasonable purposes.

 

As an aside, please, please, I beg you: stop pretending you give a rat’s fanny about hunting. Deep down, we know you hate it, but somehow you feel compelled to offer insincere boilerplate respect. You can stop now. Besides, hunting firearms are more devastating than ones that make you queasy. Just flop your cards on the table and admit you don’t approve of any significant private ownership of firearms. Dialogue requires openness, don’t you know?

 

Anyway, there’s a yawning logical inconsistency here: why should an off-duty approved firearm owner be allowed to keep it when he is off the clock? At the end of the day, such individuals should turn them in to a secure area until they punch back in. Even soldiers aren’t toting weapons around all the time outside of combat zones. As the editors note, original sin (!) ensures bad things will happen, and cops are quite capable of misusing firearms, as we have been recently reminded. Thus, in Americaworld, there is no reason for anyone to own a firearm off duty.

 

Go after violent media? Nah. That’s Legion of Decency, Catholic-ghetto stuff. Shudder.

 

Revisit our oft-idiotic drug war? Piffle. Nope. What it boils down to is that nobody at America owns a firearm or likes anyone who owns one. In policymaking, this is known as the It’s Time We All Start Making Sacrifices, Starting With You, Of Course! maneuver.

 

Did it ever occur to them to, you know, actually talk to an actual gun owner before promulgating this un-papal bull? Apparently not. Dialogue’s only for people the Catholic left respect, I guess. Nope–it’s time to tear an Amendment out of the Constitution and unchain Caesar to kick doors in to remove unapproved firearms from our midst. If you like the drug war, you’ll plotz over the gun war. Continue reading

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America Hates the Second Amendment

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No, not that America.  America the heterodox Jesuit rag.

Repealing the Second Amendment will not create a culture of life in one stroke. Stricter gun laws will not create a world free of violence, in which gun tragedies never occur. We cannot repeal original sin. Though we cannot create an absolutely safe world, we can create a safer world. This does not require an absolute ban on firearms. In the post-repeal world that we envision, some people will possess guns: hunters and sportsmen, law enforcement officers, the military, those who require firearms for morally reasonable purposes. Make no mistake, however: The world we envision is a world with far fewer guns, a world in which no one has a right to own one. Some people, though far fewer, will still die from gun violence. The disturbing feeling that we have failed to do everything in our power to remove the material cause of their deaths, however, will no longer compound our grief.

The Supreme Court has ruled that whatever the human costs involved, the Second Amendment “necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” The justices are right. But the human cost is intolerable. Repeal the Second Amendment.

Go here to read the predictable rest.  It is good to see the Jesuits at America suddenly in favor of a “culture of life”.  Considering their editorials in support of the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history, I will take their “conversion” with a boulder of salt. Continue reading

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Jesuitical 13: Rush and Georgetown

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Part 13 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is the oldest Jesuit college in the United States.  Last week it found itself at the center of the debate over the HHS Mandate.  How the powers that be at Georgetown reacted to all of this is instructive.

On February 16, 2012 Representative Darrell Issa (R. CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the ramifications of the HHS Mandate in regard to religious freedom.  Democrats had the opportunity to present witnesses.  Initially they were going to have Barry Lynn, a Methodist minister and Leftist political activist, and head of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, but for some reason that fell through for the Democrats.  They then proposed Sandra Fluke, identified as a third year law student at Georgetown.  Issa refused to allow her to testify on the grounds that she wasn’t testifying about the religious liberty issue but rather about a perceived need for contraception.  The Democrats, who realized that they were in trouble on the religious liberty issue, used this as an argument against the hearings, arguing that women were banned from the hearings as speakers.  This was a lie, as there were two panels which testified in opposition to the Mandate at the hearing.  The second panel included Dr. Allison Garrett and Dr.  Laura Champion who testified as to the dangers that the HHS Mandate poses to religious liberty.

On February 23, 2012, Nancy Pelosi (D.CA), minority leader, organized a Democrats only “hearing” at which Sandra Fluke gave her testimony.  Go here to read that testimony.  Among other statements she said that in three years contraceptives could cost a law student three grand.

The idea that someone at Georgetown Law School, an elite school that costs over 50k a year to attend, was crying poverty over the alleged cost of $1,000.00 a year, a sum about $800-$900 too high in relationship to the actual cost, to make illicit whoopee has its comedic possibilities, and this was  seized upon by Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday February 29:

What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps. (interruption) The johns? We would be the johns? No! We’re not the johns. (interruption) Yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word. Okay, so she’s not a slut. She’s “round heeled.” I take it back.

This caused an uproar and on Thursday March 1, John J. DeGioia, the first lay President of Georgetown, released this statement: Continue reading

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A “Call Out” and “Two Thumbs Up” to Professor Patrick Deneen

What’s a tenured associate professor of government teaching at a Catholic university to do when he believes the institution isn’t really Catholic?

It’s pretty easy to say “Give up your tenure and go where you will find what you are looking for.”  Sometimes, witness to one’s faith entails suffering.

Agreed.  But, making that decision isn’t so simple when other considerations—like those of family, financial obligations (a mortgage, for example), and the like—must also be factored into the equation.

The situation presents an authentic ethical dilemma, one that confronted a former Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, Patrick Deneen.

In a letter published at Front Porch Republic, Deneen said with regard to Georgetown University:

…Georgetown increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth. Its Catholic identity, which should inform every activity of the community, from curriculum to dorm life to faculty hiring, has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry.

Describing his experience, Deneen wrote:

In the seven years since I joined the faculty at Georgetown, I have found myself often at odds with the trajectory and many decisions of the university.  In 2006 I founded The Tocqueville Forum as a campus organization that would offer a different perspective, one centered on the moral underpinnings of liberal learning that are a precondition for the continued existence of liberal democracy, and one that would draw upon the deep wisdom contained in the Catholic humanistic tradition.  I have been heartened and overjoyed to witness the great enthusiasm among a myriad of students for the programming and activities of the Forum.  However, the program was not supported or recognized by the institution, and that seemed unlikely to change.  While I did not seek that approval, I had hoped over the years that the program would be attractive to colleagues across disciplines on the faculty, and would be a rallying-point for those interested in reviving and defending classical liberal learning on campus.  The Tocqueville Forum fostered a strong community of inquiry among a sizeable number of students, but I did not find that there was any such community formed around its mission, nor the likely prospect of one, among the more permanent members of the university. I have felt isolated and often lonely at the institution where I have devoted so many of my hours and my passion.

So, where is Professor Deneen headed?

The University of Notre Dame (UND).

However, Deneen appears not to be headed to South Bend blinded by all of the UND hype.  He wrote:

I don’t doubt that there will be many battles at Our Lady’s University.  But, there are at least some comrades-in-arms to share in the effort.

UND hired Deneen, he wrote, because they regard him as “someone who can be a significant contributor to its mission and identity, particularly the Catholic identity of the institution.”

Although considerations like these are not typically a criterion for hiring at Georgetown as Deneen noted, The Motley Monk would humbly suggest that even in those institutions where they are, there’s quite a distance between espousing those ideals and translating them to pedagogical lessons in every classroom, dorm, and student activity.

For Professor Deneen’s willingness to witness to the importance of an institution’s Catholic identity in name and in fact, The Motley Monk offers a “call out” and “both thumb up.”

To read Professor Deneen’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2012/01/why-i-am-leaving-georgetown/

To follow The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

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Advent Light in Darkest Night

 It is time to awaken from sleep. It is time for a waking up to begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God the Lord put them.

Father Alfred Delp, SJ

During Advent 1944 Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit, wrote a reflection on Advent.  Go here to read it.  It is a fine Advent meditation.  The circumstances of its writing demonstrate that the light of Christ, which I have always felt most strongly during Advent, can permeate any darkness.  Father Delp wrote it while he was a prisoner of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

Alfred Delp first saw the light of this world on September 15, 1907 in Mannheim Germany.  The son of a Catholic mother and a Protestant father, he was raised as a Protestant although he was baptized as a Catholic.  He was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1921.  Following a bitter argument with his Lutheran pastor, he embraced Catholicism, made his first communion and was confirmed.  His Catholic pastor, seeing rare intelligence in the boy, arranged for him to continue his studies.

In 1926 he joined the Jesuits.  In 1937 he was ordained as a priest.  His further philosophical studies curtailed at  the University of Munich due to his anti-Nazi beliefs, Father Delp worked on a Jesuit publication until it was suppressed by the Nazis in April 1941.  He was then assigned as rector of Saint Georg church in Munich.  All the while he was helping Jews escape into Switzerland.  Father Delp’s Jesuit provincial Augustin Rosch was active in the anti-Nazi underground.  He introduced Father Delp to the Kreisau Circle of anti-Nazi activists.  Father Delp taught Catholic social teaching to the Circle and arranged contacts between them and  Catholic leaders. Continue reading

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Jesuitical 11: Jesuits and Drag Shows

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Hattip to Creative Minority Report.  Strong content advisory as to the video at the top of this post.

 Part 11 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Santa Clara University, a Jesuit University in Santa Clara California, describes its mission:   “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, we are committed to faith-inspired values and educating leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion who will help fashion a more just, humane, and sustainable world.”   

Santa Clara, I assume as part of that mission, has long hosted annual drag shows on campus hosted by a recognized student group sophomorically calling itself GASP (Gay and Straight People for the Education of Diversity).  Here  the group is listed under the Women’s and Gender Studies Program of the Santa Clara website.   The video at the start of the post was taken at the 2010 drag show.

These events are not obscure affairs, but are celebrated on campus.  Here is a story about the 2007 drag show which appeared in The Santa Clara, the official student newspaper:

May GASPED and GALA have your attention, ladies and gentlemen — or ladies dressed as gentlemen — or gentlemen dressed as ladies? The 6th annual Santa Clara Drag Show will be breaking down gender stereotypes left and right, say participants and organizers, tomorrow, May 4, at 8 p.m. in the California Mission Room.

Downstairs Benson Center will be transformed into an eccentric staging area full of students dressed in drag. Along with the usual lip-syncs and dances, there will be some new elements that organizers hope might make you think.

Representatives from Gay & Straight People for the Education of Diversity and Gay and Lesbian Alliance, as well as from Santa Clara Community Action Program, say they have worked hard to ensure that this year’s show incorporates more elements of education about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual/two-spirited and queer/questioning communities. This year, skits and interviews about the history of transgender prejudice that will be incorporated into the show.

Though James Servino, program coordinator of GASPED, said Santa Clara has a history of support for the LGBTQ community, the support is not absolute. “Santa Clara students are aloof to this community unless they actually know and associate with a gay or lesbian person,” he said. Continue reading

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Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

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Spiritual Direction is where you have a spiritual director, whether a priest or layperson, offer advice, guidance, and feedback in your spiritual health.

This usually involves going over what ails you, whether spiritual or even non-spiritual at times.  Then your director offers his or her direction in what aspect of your spiritual life may be deficient and offers a remedy to that deficiency.

This has been my experience so don’t take me as an expert, but as a witness in having spiritual direction.

Saint Theresa of Avila had outstanding spiritual directors which I long for and are a rarity to find.  She had spiritual direction from well educated and newly formed Jesuits who attacked the problem at it’s core.

Continue reading

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Great Jesuits 6: Peacemaker

Number 6 in my series on great Jesuits of American history.  Pierre-Jean De Smet first saw the light of day in Dendermonde in Belgium on January 30, 1801.  His parents would have been astonished if they had been told that in his life their newborn would travel over 180,000 miles as a missionary, and most of it in the Wild West of the United States.

Emigrating to the US in 1821 as part of his desire to serve as a missionary, De Smet entered the Jesuit novitiate at Whitemarsh, Maryland.  In a move that today would have secularists screaming “Separation of Church and State!” and conspiracy buffs increasing the tin foil content of their hats, the US government subsidized a Jesuit mission being established in the new state of Missouri among the Indians.  At the time the US government often did this for missionaries of many Christian denominations among the Indians.  So it was that in 1823 De Smet and other members of the order trekked west and established a mission to the Indians at Florissant, Missouri, near Saint Louis.  Studying at the new Saint Regis Seminary in Florissant, Father De Smet was ordained on September 23, 1827.  Now a prefect at the seminary, he studied Indian languages and customs.  In 1833 he returned to Belgium for health problems and was unable to return to Missouri until 1837.

In 1838 he founded the St. Joseph Mission in Council Bluffs for the Potawatomi Indians.   He also began his career as a peacemaker as he journeyed to the territory of the Sioux to work out a peace between them and the Potawatomi.  It should be emphasized that Father De Smet was making these journeys at a time when he was often the only white man for hundreds of miles other than for a few mountain men and scattered traders.  He quickly earned a reputation among the Indians as utterly fearless and a white man whose word they could trust.

In 1840 he journeyed to the Pacific Northwest to establish a mission among the Flathead and Nez Perces tribes, who had been begging for a decade for “Black Robes” to be sent to them and teach them about Christ.  After visiting them, Father De Smet promised that he would go back to Saint Louis and return with another “Black Robe” to establish a permanent mission.  On his way back he visited the Crow, the Gros Ventres and other tribes.  In 1841 he returned to the Flatheads along with Father Nicholas Point and established St. Mary’s Mission  on the Bitterroot River, thirty miles south of present day Missoula.  The mission was quite successful as indicated by this event.  One of the converted chiefs of the Flatheads, after baptism, chose the baptismal name of Victor.  On one occasion Father De Smet was preaching to the Flatheads and mentioned how in Europe the Holy Father confronted many enemies of the Faith.  Victor became indignant and said, “Should our Great Father, the Great chief of the Black robes, be in danger–you speak on paper–invite him in our names to our mountains. We will raise his lodge in our midst; we will hunt for him and keep his lodge provided, and we will guard him against the approach of his enemies!” Continue reading

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Catholic Romanticism in Cinema

To follow up my last post on Catholic Romanticism, I thought I would share some of my favorite cinematic experiences with you all. Since three is the best number, I present here three films that are a) among my all time favorites, b) have to do with the theme of Catholic Romanticism, c) have phenomenal soundtracks, and d) have Liam Neeson (starring in two, a smaller role in the other). For some reason he just shows up in many of my favorite films.

I loved these films even as an atheist. Like the music I have written of extensively, I believe the part of me that could appreciate the themes of these films is the same part of me that could eventually open my heart and soul to God. And as it does with that music, the sterile view of the universe that is the only logical outcome of atheism and materialism renders these very themes quaintly irrational at best, and dangerous at worst.

Continue reading

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Great Jesuits 5: Medal of Honor

 

 

 

Number 5 in my series on Great Jesuits of American history.  A hallmark of the Jesuit Order has always been utter fearlessness.  The Order founded by that Basque soldier turned saint, Saint Ignatius Loyola, had as little use for fear as it did for doubt.  The “black robes” of the Jesuits in New France were typical of the Jesuit soldiers of Christ in their almost super-human courage in disdaining the torture and death they exposed themselves to as missionaries to warlike tribes.

Firmly in this tradition of courage is Joseph Timothy O’Callahan.  Born on May 14, 1905 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, he attended Boston College High School.  He joined the Jesuits in 1922  and obtained his BA from Saint Andrew’s College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1925, and his Masters in Philosophy at Weston College in 1929.  Ordained in 1934, he served as a professor of Mathematics, Philosophy and Physics at Boston College until 1937.  He then spent a year as a professor of Philosophy at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, before becoming head of the Mathematics department at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

On August 7, 1940, Father O’Callahan was appointed a Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy.  His decision to join the Navy as a chaplain shocked some of his friends, one of them remarking, “Let someone younger help those boys.  You can’t even open your umbrella!”  Nothing daunted, Chaplain O’Callahan served at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola,  Florida from 1940-1942.  From 1942-1945 he served as chaplain at Naval Air Stations in Alameda, California and at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.   It was almost at the end of the war when he was assigned to sea duty and reported aboard the Franklin, an Essex Class Fleet Air-Craft Carrier on March 2, 1945.  The Franklin was the fifth ship in the United States Navy to be named after Benjamin Franklin, and had seen a lot of combat during the War.  It was about to see more. Continue reading

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