Old Ironsides and Pio Nono

Tuesday, October 8, AD 2013

 

(Hattip to The American Catholic commenter Wayward Sailor who first alerted me to this incident.)

1849 was a banner year for Pius IX.  Chased out temporarily from the Papal States that year due to a revolution, he also became the first pope to set foot on US soil.  On June 7, 1849, the USS Constitution under Captain John Gwinn made a port call at Naples.  All of Italy was up in arms, revolutions raging throughout the peninsula and not just in the Papal States.  Throw in the Austrians and the French, and there was a great deal of politics and war for the Americans in the Mediterranean to worry about.  The USS Constitution was in Naples to make the point that American neutrals would be protected.  The commander of the American Mediterranean Squadron, Commodore Charles W. Morgan, arrived at Naples on July 25 in the ultra modern side steam frigate USS Mississippi.  He vetoed a proposal of US diplomats that the Constitution sail to Gaeta for a visit of the ship by the Pope and King Ferdinand II of Naples.  The US wished to stay neutral in the conflict between the Pope and King Ferdinand and the revolutionaries they were facing.  Instead, he ordered the Constitution to sail to Messina, Sardinia and then Northern Italy, to protect US neutrals in these locations.  He then steamed for Tunis.

On July 30, the US Charge John Rowan paid a courtesy call, along with the ship’s surgeon of the Constitution, on King Ferdinand to congratulate him on the birth of a child by his queen.  During the meeting he extended an invitation to the King to visit the Constitution.  It is unclear whether at this time he was aware of Commodore Morgan’s order against such a visit.  Captain Gwinn, apparently deciding to follow the instructions of Rowan rather than the orders of Morgan, sailed for Gaeta with Rowan on board on July 31 and arrived there early on August 1.  Going on to Rome, Rowan extended an invitation to Pius on August 1 to visit the Constitution.

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  • When I was in the Navy we were taught to “obey the last order first” in order to avoid confusion over conflicting orders. If the US foreign diplomat had lawful authority over ship captains visiting Italy, then the Captain acted correctly, though he had an obligation to (and probably did) notify his Naval superior (who would not have had any time at all to counter the order).

  • It was difficult with the means of communication then available for ship captains to deal with conflicting orders, as in this case, and orders that simply were out of date as a situation changed. As a result ship captains had a fair amount of discretion vested in them. With the instant communication we have today the temptation to micromanage is irresistible by too many superiors and too many subordinates are being taught as a result to always wait for instructions which can be a disastrous lesson to absorb.

Pio Nono: First Pope to be Photographed

Monday, September 30, AD 2013

A liberal pope, that’s the most egregious thing I can imagine!

Metternich’s reaction upon hearing of the election of Pius IX

 

Pio Nono is often regarded in secular histories as a hopeless reactionary.  That is as misguided as the Metternich quote above, when the Pope was regarded as a liberal at the beginning of his reign.  Pio Nono was Pio Nono, and it is mistaken to attempt to place him into a secular box.

In regard to technology, and the 19th century was in many ways a time period when technology was changing in a more revolutionary fashion than our own day, Pius tended to eagerly embrace it.  Photography was a prime example of this.  Before the reign of Pius, the pope to almost all Catholics outside of the hierarchy was a fairly shadowy and mysterious figure.  Most had little idea of what the pope looked like, and while his office was understood as important, the man behind the office was a question mark.

Pionono

 

Pio Nono changed that.  He used the new science of photography to form a link between himself and the average Catholic.  The first Pope photographed, Pio Nono sent out many autographed photographs of himself.  It was a rare rectory by the end of the reign of Pio Nono that did not have a picture of the Pope.

Pio Nono understood the value of what we call public relations.  He once acknowledged that he was the number one attraction for tourists in Rome.  He also had a sharp sense of humor, telling the Anglican bishop of the Mediterranean that he found himself living in the bishop’s diocese!  We can see this understanding of the attraction of his personality in some of his photographs:

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5 Responses to Pio Nono: First Pope to be Photographed

  • Pius IX was also the first pope to set foot on United States territory on August 1, 1850 when he, along with King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, visited USS Constitution at anchor in the harbor of Gaeta, Italy. He was received on board with a 21-gun salute and gave his benediction to the eighty Catholic members of the crew. He stayed aboard for about three hours (becoming seasick in he captain’s cabin!) and departed to a second 21-gun salute. He later sent rosaries to those crew members he had blessed.

  • Thank you for the info WS! I will have to write a blog post on that incident sometime.

  • Pius IX had two papacies, not one. As a spiritual leader he was continuously successful, leading the Church against all the odds from triumph to triumph. As a king and political leader – the last king-Pope – he made every mistake he could possibly make (even being seen together with the abominable Ferdinand II was an incredible error of judgment, since even reactionary powers like Austria could not bear that mindless brute) and made the end of temporal power a certainty. It is my view that when God has some end in mind, He may cause a Pope to be made who is not necessarily bad, but is the wrong one to fight a certain battle in a certain position. In 1870, it is my view, the time had come for temporal power to come to an end – for reasons too long to argue here, but I will defend this view if I have to – and a Pope came to power who was the right man to lead the spiritual power of Peter against the mightiest powers on the earth, but absolutely the wrong one to keep even a shred of the Pope’s old kingdoms. Likewise, nothing is more evident than that the wrath of God was over Europe and the word from the last years of the Victorian age, and that the terrible consummation we have seen in nation after nation during the twentieth century was the terrible punishment for the arrogance and godlessness of man in this age. And so, just as the disaster was unfolding, the Holy Spirit sent us two saints – Pius X and the still uncanonized Benedict XV who were, each, absolutely the wrong saint at the wrong time in purely political terms. Pius X all but went to war against France, and made the Church alien, and therefore irrelevant, to modern culture; Benedict XV added a streak of fanatical pacifism hitherto alien to the Papacy, which led him to condemn the struggle against German aggression as a “useless slaughter”, infuriating the patriotic leaders who knew that they were trying to save their nations against German assault, while gaining zero points from the Germans, who hated him on principle. The result is that the Vatican was completely excluded from the politics of Versailles – where every other delegation, concerned or not with the war, was received, the Pope alone being left out – and left the politics of Europe to unfold essentially with no kind of input from St.Peter.

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Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

Tuesday, July 9, AD 2013

 (This post is from 2012.  I will be reposting it each July 9.)

 

When July 9 rolls around each year I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.

In Sixteenth Century Holland one of the longest wars in history began between Spain and Dutch rebels.  The war was waged on both sides with sickening atrocities.  Among the most violent were the Sea Beggars, Dutch patriots or pirates depending upon one’s point of view.  In June of 1572 the Sea Beggars took the Dutch town of Gorkum, and captured nine Franciscan priests, Nicholas Pieck, Hieronymus of Weert, Theodorus van der Eem, Nicasius Janssen, Willehad of Denmark, Godefried of Mervel, Antonius of Weert, Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye, of Brussels.  Two Franciscan lay brothers were also captured:   Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wyk.

The Sea Beggars also captured the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of Boi-le-Duc, and his assistant, Nicolaas Janssen.  Also imprisoned were Father Godefried van Duynsen and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, director of the convent of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum.  Later imprisoned was a Domincan priest Joannes van Hoornaer who bravely came to Gorkum to minister to his imprisoned colleagues and joined them in their captivity,  Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a priest of Monster, Holland, Adrianus Janssen of Brielle, and last, and no doubt he would say least, the subject of this post, Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.

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

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15 Responses to Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

  • “St. Stephen’s answer (Acts, vii) was a long recital of the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and of the ungratefulness by which, throughout history, Israel repaid God’s mercies. This discourse contained many things unpleasant to Jewish ears; but the concluding indictment for having betrayed and murdered the Just One whose coming the Prophets had foretold, provoked the rage of an audience made up not of judges, but of foes. When Stephen “looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God”, and said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (vii, 55), […] “falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (vii, 59). […] The praying martyr was thrown down; […] he was heard to utter this supreme prayer: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (vii, 58). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.”

  • “Fornicator I always was, heretic never.”
    And so he ended his life in truth, like the Good Thief:
    One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
    It has been observed that the dying thief’s prayer is the most extraordinary instance of faith in the whole of Scripture – praying to a fellow convict as if he were indeed the God that the whole situation seems to mock. But then his fellow convict was indeed God. And God is truth. And by stating boldly and with no recrimination the truth about himself – “we are receiving what we deserve” – he has stepped into truth, truth with no ifs nor buts, in the presence of Truth Itself. He is already in Paradise; he only has to realize it. And so that lousy priest who admitted before everyone that everything they said of him was true was, by the very act, in the truth – and “heretic, never”. “I tell you in truth, tonight you shall be with me in Paradise.”

  • I share your belief, Don, or at least I hope it is true. I have often speculated about the possibilty that God might even give us this chance after our earthly deaths. For this reason I’m inclined to think that pride is the most dangerous sin, because it is the one most likely to impede our atonement. I have encountered people who despise Christianity and faith generally, and who believe we are dupes to believe in a God who would encumber us with a morality that can preclude self-actualization. The common denominator among such people is inordinate pride, especially intellectual pride (usually unwarranted of course). Some percentage of these people will simply be unwilling or unable to express the humility required for atonement, even in the face of God Himself.

  • I have always agreed with the Church that pride is the deadliest of sins, and I have more than a bit of that sin myself. The saving grace for me has come in the form of the Faith, a sense of the absurd, always a good solvent for pride, and chastening experiences to prove to me that I am never as smart as I believe I am.

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  • Thanks for re-posting–this story is one of my favorites!

  • Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

    The First Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary: The Annunciation. Meditation: Actively desire love of humility. Think of the humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words, “Hail full of grace!”

    Arrogance, avarice, hubris, pride: the definition of heretic: one who places her/his opinions ahead of the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

    Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Awe, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgment, Understanding, Wisdom, Wonder

    Regarding the seven deadly sins:

    Replace pride with humility
    Replace greed with generosity
    Replace envy with love
    Replace anger with kindness
    Replace lust with self-control
    Replace gluttony with temperance
    Replace sloth with zeal (for the Glory of God)

    Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Faithfulness, Goodness, Humility, Kindness, Love, Joy, Patience, Self-control

  • You could repost this every week and I’d be happy. This is such a hopeful story.

  • “I have always agreed with the Church that pride is the deadliest of sins…”

    I think Aquinas might have thought envy was. Pride at least was an inflated sense of self. Envy was pure hatred for the possessions of another.

    Think the “social justice” crowd.

  • To put it a bit more Thomistically, Pride was a disordered sense of one’s goods, envy a hatred of the good of another.

  • The word heresy etymologically has something to do with making a choice.
    Paradox- though he had succumbed to the deadly sin of lust (exaltation of bodily pleasure) he did choose life (Deut 30:19), when he chose to suffer bodily death for his Faith.

  • I always read the best stories on this site. Thank you!

  • Amazing Grace how sweet the sound…

    Thanks Donald. I’m glad you put this out.
    -from a prodigal son.

  • Wow. “Fornicator I always was;Heretic I never was.” Fill in the blank (or leave it as it is) and that is a new prayer for any one of us.

  • At least if at the time it is being uttered one is dying for being a Catholic.

Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

Monday, July 9, AD 2012

 

 

When July 9 rolls around each year I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.

In Sixteenth Century Holland one of the longest wars in history began between Spain and Dutch rebels.  The war was waged on both sides with sickening atrocities.  Among the most violent were the Sea Beggars, Dutch patriots or pirates depending upon one’s point of view.  In June of 1572 the Sea Beggars took the Dutch town of Gorkum, and captured nine Franciscan priests, Nicholas Pieck, Hieronymus of Weert, Theodorus van der Eem, Nicasius Janssen, Willehad of Denmark, Godefried of Mervel, Antonius of Weert, Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye, of Brussels.  Two Franciscan lay brothers were also captured:   Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wyk.

The Sea Beggars also captured the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of Boi-le-Duc, and his assistant, Nicolaas Janssen.  Also imprisoned were Father Godefried van Duynsen and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, director of the convent of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum.  Later imprisoned was a Domincan priest Joannes van Hoornaer who bravely came to Gorkum to minister to his imprisoned colleagues and joined them in their captivity,  Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a priest of Monster, Holland, Adrianus Janssen of Brielle, and last, and no doubt he would say least, the subject of this post, Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.

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

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22 Responses to Scandalous Priest and Glorious Martyr

  • Yes, Donald, you are absolutely right in this your Belief :

    “I am always reminded of my personal belief that before our end, perhaps especially for those of us sunk deep in sin, God gives us an opportunity to atone and turn aside from the downward path.”

    Donald, Jesus’ Testimony to Saint Faustina Kowalska, His Secretary and Apostle of His Divine Mercy, conclusively tells us that, at the moment of death, God is there, pleading with the Sinful Soul to turn to Him and accept His Mercy. These Conversations are beautifully and forcefully recorded in St. Faustina’s Diary _ Divine Mercy in My Soul – Nos.1485 – 1487. They are long quotations and I cannot record them here.

    In No.1485, Jesus is giving the Conversation between God and a Sinful Soul. In No.1486, He gives the Conversation between God and the Despairing Soul and in No.1487, the Conversation is between God and a Suffering Soul. These revelations are awesome, coming from Jesus Christ Himself.

    St. Faustina explains that “God does touch the sinner’s soul at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illuminated by a ray of God’s powerful final Grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of Love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment.” Diary No.1698.

    As an ardent Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, I can state with certainty that at that last moment, Father Wouters, definitely received full forgiveness of his sins and the punishment thereof and entered Heaven direct.

    Remember God states in the Scriptures that He does not wish any soul He created to be lost. So, even at the last moment, when Satan is there to make a sinful soul despair of God’s Mercy, God is there, Personally, to convince that soul that His Divine Mercy is unfathomable such that even if that soul had committed all the sins of the world, if it turned to Him at that moment and accepts that final Supra Grace, He will receive that soul joyfully and a Banquet will be celebrated in Heaven.

  • Reminds me of the story of St Mary of Egypt. She was known to have been either a woman of easy virtue who saw men going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and took it upon herself to go with them on an anti-pilgrimage. But in Jerusalem she had an overwhelming experience of the Divine, repented and fled to the desert to live an ascetic life of penance.

  • Very edifying. Great post.

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  • The story of this martyr brings such hope. There are people I/we know that we love and worry over, hoping that they will make the right choice in their last moment, if not before. It is reassuring to hear how our God will reach out to those who we may not have been able to effect a change. Our God is Love beyond words.

  • Remember Lord Marchmain’s death in ‘Brideshead Revisited’? To the priest it was something he had seen many times; a working of grace that was almost routine. For Charles Ryder it was a Road to Damascus experience.

  • I have head that from priests also John, occasions on which they are called by relatives to the death beds of hardened sinners with the relatives afraid of the reaction of the dying man or woman, only to have them burst into tears, and eagerly confess and receive the Last Rites with every sign of joy and hope.

  • This reminds me of Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory (also known as The Labyrinthine Ways), which features a priest of loose morals who eventually accepts martyrdom.

    I read the book when I was becoming a Catholic and it helped me by showing that the Church realizes the the width of God’s grace and mercy.

  • Sadly, the mental faculties of some people go away long before physical death, and probably lack the capacity for repentance. I think it’s a lesson not to wait.

  • Agreed that people should not wait Spambot, but I have always suspected that there is much more going on in the brains of most dying people than outward appearances, or science, can detect.

  • Felix—-I had the same recall of Greene’s ‘whiskey priest’. He wrote so well of our sinful nature and our sometimes muddled virtues.

  • Emendemus in melius, quae ignoranter peccavimus: ne subito praeoccupati die mortis, quaeramus spatium paenitentiae, et invenire non possimus.

    (The Responsory for Ash Wednesday, striking a sombre note of warning). The Introit is more upbeat and hopeful:

    Misereris omnium, Domine, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti, dissimulans peccata hominum propter paenitentiam, et parcens illis: quia tu est Dominus Deus noster.

    And traditionally they are in this order. Bugnini, however, because of his strange obsession with including sacraments and sacramentals within the framework of the Mass, placed the Introit first, and so it appears in the Ordinary Form. Bad psychology and bad theology. In due course the Pauline Missal will be drastically revised, but in the meantime we at least have the EF to fall back on.

  • Hi John Nolan. thank you-

    Let us amend for the better where we have sinned through ignorance,
    lest, suddenly overtaken by the day of death, we seek space for repentance,
    and be not able to find it.
    Hearken, O Lord, and have mercy:for we have sinned against thee.

    I does seem like we treat this whole year or these times as Ash Wednesday.. time to fast and think and change direction!
    and wouldn’t it be interesting to talk with Anabale although his current surroundings are, I imagine, purgatorial…

    Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord, and hatest none of the things which Thou has made, over- looking the sins of men for the sake of repentance, and sparing them; because Thou art the Lord our Go

    the bad psych and theo are rooted so deep that I still hear lots of blowback against the new translation here among well-educated Catholics employed in various church related ministries

  • well I typed a little too fast – It does seem like we SHOULD treat this whole year…

  • Jenny I pray constantly over my own beloved one, which he just as constantly resists. I persist,in hope, through many many tears. Like spambot I wonder if the intellect over time and such immersion, is so darkened that years of upbringing and seminary are lost. I pray for conversion and healing sooner, I hope not at death’s door, but such that not only is he forgiven and saved, but also able to help others he knows and loves.

  • Andreas Wouters pray for us.

  • Spambot, Never doubt. God always has a contingency plan.

  • One thing that strikes me: in that last hour the nineteen martyrs were as though in Hell, surrounded by enemies and jeering hatred. Who was it who recorded the bravery of their passing, so that one day we could know of it? It must have been one of those jeering enemies. And unless the matter came to light during some sort of judicial proceedings, we have to remember that the priests’ murder was in direct defiance of their C-in-C’s written orders. So why describe it? Let alone in such detail? Maybe even in that mob of pirates and cut-throats there was someone who had been affected by their martyrdom, perhaps more than he would admit.

  • Eileen, thanks.

  • good point Fabio. I also think of our scandalous priest turned martyr who possibly influenced by the steady goodness of the other martyrs.
    Andreas Wouters pray for us.

  • The whole thing was like a circus to the captors Fabio. They even charged admission to anyone who wanted to view the 19. I don’t have access to the primary records, but it had to be one or more of the bystanders or the captors. Here is a link to the article on the martyrs in Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

    http://www.bartleby.com/210/7/093.html

    “See the accurate history of their martyrdom written by the learned doctor William Estius, printed at Douay in 1603. Also Batavia Sacra, part. 2. p. 174. and various memoirs collected by Solier the Bollandist, t. 2. Julij, p. 736.”

  • Spambot, as Eileen states above, believe what Saint Faustina says happens at the moment of death. Yes, a person may even have been in a coma for a long time. The person may even have been mentally ill for a long time with no power of normal human reasoning. But at all times, their soul remains in contact with God. I repeat Saint Faustina writes :

    “Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illuminated by a ray of God’s powerful final Grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of Love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment.”

    This is the Revelation she received from Jesus Christ Himself. God continues to communicate with the dying person’s soul as long as the soul is still united with the body as Mother Church teaches us and numerous Saints have attested. We need to always remember that God’s Ways are not our ways, God’s Divine Power is beyond human understanding. He created us for Himself and He spares not effort to reclaim each and every soul at the moment of death, no matter what a great sinner that person had been in their lifetime.

    That is why, again, Mother Church teaches us to pray and intercede unceasingly for our loved ones who have turned against God so that they shall be open to receive that final Supra Grace and accept God’s Mercy and be saved.

MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

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Jefferson Davis and Pio Nono

Friday, August 13, AD 2010

Jefferson Davis was always a friend to Catholics.  In his youth as a boy he studied at the Saint Thomas School at the Saint Rose Dominican Priory in Washington County Kentucky.  While there Davis, the only Protestant student, expressed a desire to convert.  One of the priests there advised the boy to wait until he was older and then decide. Davis never converted, but his early exposure to Catholicism left him with a life long respect for the Faith.

When the aptly named anti-Catholic movement the Know-Nothings arose in the 1840s and 1850s, Davis fought against it, as did his great future adversary Abraham Lincoln.

During the Civil War, Pope Pius wrote to the archbishops of New Orleans and New York, praying that peace would be restored to America.  Davis took this opportunity to write to the Pope:

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27 Responses to Jefferson Davis and Pio Nono

  • Thank you for this post.

    I am reading (again) Sears’ Gettysburg – slower this time. I had never thought of this possibility. Sears mentions that the South could have called for a Constititional Convention instead of firing on Fort Sumter. In that way, the North would have either negotiated or been the first to open fire on fellow Americans.

    Has anyone else seen that interesting concept?

  • I’m reading again (for the fourth time) Bruce Catton’s “The Coming Fury” and it seems clear that the clamor for secession overcame any voice of moderation after Lincoln’s election, which was seen as doom for the hopes of the south to have new territories come in as slave states (which would maintain a balance in Congress between slave/non-slave states).

    Even better than a constitutional convention (at which the south would not be able to prevail) it would have been better if South Carolina had let Ft. Sumter be… and if Lincoln had not insisted on calling up troops from the states for invasion of the south, Virginia, Tenessee, and N. Carolina would likely not have seceeded, and the common wisdom is that a confederacy of only deep south states would not have lived long.

    In short, there were alternatives to the revolution that was the civil war, but alas– firebreathing secessionists and firebreathing abolitionists would have none of it.

  • Secession would not have happened except in an atmosphere of crisis. If southern representatives and senators had remained in their seats in Congress, they could have blocked any legislation they feared with the help of Northen Democrats. They would have quickly realized that no, Lincoln wasn’t going to take away their slaves, put them in jail and have their slaves and carpet baggers from the North running things in their states. Secession was a completely over the top reaction to the election of Lincoln, and like many over the top reactions it ultimately brought about what was feared.

  • I’ve often been asked for citations of Davis’s correspondence with Pius IX (and wondered myself about how extensive it was). I’ve heard that he wore the brown Scapular and was ultimately given last rites by a Priest.

    In any case, thanks! I found this post because WordPress told me I was linked in it, but it must have been one of those transitory “Related Post” links.

    I’ll be linking this to my existing work on Davis!

  • Thanks, I knew you gents would be on top of this.

    I was always more interested in the military and armchair-general aspects. So many years out of school: the politics/causes give me brain-freeze.

    Once the guns started, it was a fight to the death – tragic.

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  • In Supremo Apostolatus
    Apostolic Letter of Pope Gregory XVI on the Slave Trade. Promulgated on December 3, 1839

    PLACED AT THE SUMMIT of the Apostolic power and, although lacking in merits, holding the place of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being made Man through utmost Charity, deigned to die for the Redemption of the World, We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men. Assuredly, since there was spread abroad, first of all amongst the Christians, the light of the Gospel, these miserable people, who in such great numbers, and chiefly through the effects of wars, fell into very cruel slavery, experienced an alleviation of their lot. Inspired in fact by the Divine Spirit, the Apostles, it is true, exhorted the slaves themselves to obey their masters, according to the flesh, as though obeying Christ, and sincerely to accomplish the Will of God; but they ordered the masters to act well towards slaves, to give them what was just and equitable, and to abstain from menaces, knowing that the common Master both of themselves and of the slaves is in Heaven, and that with Him there is no distinction of persons.

    But as the law of the Gospel universally and earnestly enjoined a sincere charity towards all, and considering that Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that He considered as done or refused to Himself everything kind and merciful done or refused to the small and needy, it naturally follows, not only that Christians should regard as their brothers their slaves and, above all, their Christian slaves, but that they should be more inclined to set free those who merited it; which it was the custom to do chiefly upon the occasion of the Easter Feast as Gregory of Nyssa tells us. There were not lacking Christians, who, moved by an ardent charity ‘cast themselves into bondage in order to redeem others,’ many instances of which our predecessor, Clement I, of very holy memory, declares to have come to his knowledge. In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But — We say with profound sorrow — there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion.

    It is at these practices that are aimed the Letter Apostolic of Paul III, given on May 29, 1537, under the seal of the Fisherman, and addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, and afterwards another Letter, more detailed, addressed by Urban VIII on April 22, 1639 to the Collector Jurium of the Apostolic Chamber of Portugal. In the latter are severely and particularly condemned those who should dare ‘to reduce to slavery the Indians of the Eastern and Southern Indies,’ to sell them, buy them, exchange them or give them, separate them from their wives and children, despoil them of their goods and properties, conduct or transport them into other regions, or deprive them of liberty in any way whatsoever, retain them in servitude, or lend counsel, succour, favour and co-operation to those so acting, under no matter what pretext or excuse, or who proclaim and teach that this way of acting is allowable and co-operate in any manner whatever in the practices indicated.

    Benedict XIV confirmed and renewed the penalties of the Popes above mentioned in a new Apostolic Letter addressed on December 20, 1741, to the Bishops of Brazil and some other regions, in which he stimulated, to the same end, the solicitude of the Governors themselves. Another of Our Predecessors, anterior to Benedict XIV, Pius II, as during his life the power of the Portuguese was extending itself over New Guinea, sent on October 7, 1462, to a Bishop who was leaving for that country, a Letter in which he not only gives the Bishop himself the means of exercising there the sacred ministry with more fruit, but on the same occasion, addresses grave warnings with regard to Christians who should reduce neophytes to slavery.

    In our time Pius VII, moved by the same religious and charitable spirit as his Predecessors, intervened zealously with those in possession of power to secure that the slave trade should at least cease amongst the Christians. The penalties imposed and the care given by Our Predecessors contributed in no small measure, with the help of God, to protect the Indians and the other people mentioned against the cruelty of the invaders or the cupidity of Christian merchants, without however carrying success to such a point that the Holy See could rejoice over the complete success of its efforts in this direction; for the slave trade, although it has diminished in more than one district, is still practiced by numerous Christians. This is why, desiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour. Further, in the hope of gain, propositions of purchase being made to the first owners of the Blacks, dissensions and almost perpetual conflicts are aroused in these regions.

    We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

    Note: This Apostolic Letter was read during the 4th Provincial Council of Baltimore, December 3, 1839.)

  • VETO MESSAGE.

    EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, February 28, 1861.
    Gentlemen of Congress: With sincere deference to the judgment of Congress, I have carefully considered the bill in relation to the slave trade, and to punish persons offending therein, but have not been able to approve it, and therefore do return it with a statement of my objections. The Constitution (section 7, article I.) provides that the importation of African negroes from any foreign country other than slave-holding States of the United States is hereby forbidden, and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same. The rule herein given is emphatic, and distinctly directs the legislation which shall effectually prevent the importation of African negroes. The bill before me denounces as high misdemeanor the importation of African negroes or other persons of color, either to be sold as slaves or to be held to service or labor, affixing heavy, degrading penalties on the act, if done with such intent. To that extent it accords with the requirements of the Constitution, but in the sixth section of the bill provision is made for the transfer of persons who may have been illegally imported into the Confederate States to the custody of foreign States or societies, upon condition of deportation and future freedom, and if the proposition thus to surrender them shall not be accepted, it is then made the duty of the President to cause said negroes to be sold at public outcry to the highest bidder in any one of the States where such sale shall not be inconsistent with the laws thereof. This provision seems to me to be in opposition to the policy declared in the Constitution – the prohibition of the importation of African negroes – and in derogation of its mandate to legislate for the effectuation of that object. Wherefore the bill is returned to you for your further consideration, and, together with the objections, most respectfully submitted.

    JEFF’N DAVIS.

  • “In any case, thanks!”

    You are entirely welcome GodsGadfly!

  • Good grief, slavery was enshrined in the Confederate Constitution. You couldn’t become a member of the ‘Confederacy’ unless you endorsed and embraced slavery. No amout of neo-confederate embroidery will change those historical facts.

    “We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices abovementioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.”

    These words have meaning. You should read them.

  • Trevor, you calling me a neo-Confederate is rich. As the thread linked to below indicates, I have long been engaged in combox battles with neo-Confederates.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/27/abortion-foreign-policy/

    I will assume that you are not a faithful reader of this blog, or you would not be confused on this point.

    In any of my posts dealing with historical topics, I try to be as accurate as possible and to give the subject his or her historical due. You brought up the slave trade and I cited a Davis veto on the subject that indicated, accurately, that the Confederate Constitution banned the international slave trade. I think you need to grind axes less and read more, lest you become a mirror-image of the neo-Confederates you oppose who are afraid to simply let the historical record be examined, warts and all.

  • Donald – Can you write an article addressing the following: Why do many blacks have Irish last names? Did Irish Catholics have plantations in the South and what happened to the Catholics in the South since it seems that they largely disappeared until recently? (recently re-appeared due to Catholic moving from the North)

  • Here is a discussion of the topic John.

    http://web.mac.com/jamesdwithrow/iWeb/Site/Blog/0C7FF890-B6D6-4BB1-82B6-A6273F647B88.html

    With all due respect to the fictional Scarlett O’Hara, Irish Catholics tended to be underrepresented among plantation owners in the antebellum South. I assume that most of the Irish names are from slaves adopting the names of Scot-Irish who owned them, not an uncommon occurrence, or through unions, in matrimony and out, between blacks and whites.

  • Thanks Donald – That makes more sense. Catholics in the South didn’t disappear, rather, they were never there. The names of black people can be explained by non-Catholic Scots-Irish.

  • Donald,

    The 1839 Apostolic Letter which was read at the 4th Provincial Council in Baltimore makes no distinction between domestic and international slave trading, it condems the practice in its totality.

    Yet Jefferson Davis’ veto twenty one years later doesn’t uphold a ban on all slave trading, only on international slave trading. Did it matter to the Catholic Church whether the slaves were traded from Ghana or Maryland when it issued the letter? Did Pope Gregory XVI have inernational politics or basic human rights on his mind when he wrote it?

    Perhaps you should read the letter again, this time to gain a fuller understanding what the Vatican was trying to convey, before continuing your defense of Jefferson Davis.

  • And perhaps you should try reading what I have written Trevor. In your fierce grinding of the ax you have a death grip on, you have failed to notice that I said nothing about whether the veto was in accord with the text of the letter, nor am I defending Jefferson Davis. You are the mirror image of the obsessed neo-Confederate.

  • Quoting Mr. Davis: ” . . .we desire none of our enemy’s possessions, but that we fight merely to resist the devastation of our country and the shedding of our best blood, and to force them to let us live in peace under the protection of our own institutions, and under our laws, which not only insure to every one the enjoyment of his temporal rights, but also the free exercise of his religion.”

    First, I admit to being a little biased since I am the descendant of people who were enslaved in these United States. But it seems to me that Mr. Davis is being a little bit dishonest here since he supported an institution which took possession of people’s bodies and treated human beings as cattle. Slavery, especially as practiced in the United States, was an ongoing assault against human dignity. How Mr. Davis could possibly claim that southern laws and mores “insure to everyone his temporal rights” is beyond me. This repesents a severe disconnect from the reality he was well acquainted with as a slaveowner. I strongly urge you to read some of the books detailing the internal slave trade before romanticizing the ante-bellum south. (I especially recommend “Slave Trading in the Old South” by Frederic Bancroft. Then, just to put a human face on the suffering, read “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northrup.) It’s an ugly chapter and no amount of correspondence between the Pope and Mr. Davis can obscure that.

    Also the opposition to the international slave trade was a form of protectionism since it kept the prices of slaves in the U.S. high. Virginia plantations made fortunes in meeting the demands for slaves as new slave territories to the west opened up. Re-opening the African slave trade would have lowered the prices of slaves.

    The anti-slavery movement was laregely spearheaded, both here and in England, by Protestants and had an explicitly religious grounding. They absolutely refused to play footsie with this institution. To my mind it was Protetantism’s finest hour and certainly one of the jewels in the crown of the west. (I am not claiming that all Protestants opposed slavery, merely that the most agressive and active opponents of slavery were almost invariably Protestant; there was no sustained Catholic presence in the movement to eliminate slavery.) Islam resisted the abolition of slavery into the 1960’s.

    Finally, I can only presume that the Irish names which some African Americans have were taken from Scots-Irish since, with the exception of Louisiana and possibily Mobile, Alabama, there were very few Catholics in the South. Even today the American South is overwhelmingly Protestant altho the influx of Latino immigrants is changing this.

    By contrast, Africans in Latin America are largely Catholic, the religion of those who enslaved them. And we don’t want to get started on the Catholic slave regimes in Latin America, which were arguably much more brutal than those of the Anglosphere.

  • “It’s an ugly chapter and no amount of correspondence between the Pope and Mr. Davis can obscure that.”

    No one here is attempting to do that Denise.

    “there was no sustained Catholic presence in the movement to eliminate slavery.”

    Actually Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator in Ireland, supported abolition in the British Empire and America. He served as the model for William Lloyd Garrison. Father Theobald Matthew, the famed temperance priest, was quite active in abolition in this country. You are correct in that no bishop publicly supported abolition in this country prior to the Civil War.

    “And we don’t want to get started on the Catholic slave regimes in Latin America, which were arguably much more brutal than those of the Anglosphere.”

    That is debatable depending upon the country in Latin America, and what part of the Anglosphere is being used for comparison. In any case in Latin America slavery had been abolished prior to our Civil War except I believe in Cuba and Brazil.

    “Islam resisted the abolition of slavery into the 1960?s.”

    I’d say de facto slavery still goes on in many Islamic countries.

  • ” In your fierce grinding of the ax you have a death grip on, you have failed to notice that I said nothing about whether the veto was in accord with the text of the letter, nor am I defending Jefferson Davis.”

    Donald,

    What other purpose would posting the Davis veto memo have than as a rebuttal to the Vatican letter? You’re clearly defending Jefferson Davis here whether you want to or not. Who’s next on your Cavalcade of Confederates seeking redemption, Benjamin Judah?

  • Trevor,

    It seems to me that Donald was just defending truth and making appropriate distinctions. Donald wrote a post about an exchange between Davis and Pio Nono. Best I can tell it is accurate in its account of facts and the little personal commentary is benign. For reason unknown except to you, you posted the Vatican letter condemning the slave trade with no commentary accompaning it. It is left to the reader to divine why you posted it. The observer would not find your cite relevant to the post unless you were somehow trying make the Pio/Davis exchange irrelevant to history.

    Unfortunately, the cudgel you chose wasn’t as relevant as you you hoped. One doesn’t have to defend the Confederacy, slavery, the slave trade, or Davis except to the truth. i.e. Hitler was a horrible human being and caused countless deaths and much more suffering. However, I know of no information that he liked to eat puppy dogs for dinner. Too accuse him of that just because he caused so much evil does not serve truth.

    Davis was president of the Confederate states. He supported the institution of slavery. He opposed reopening the international slave trade. He had a pleasant exchange with Pope Pius IX. It is what it is.

  • “Donald,

    What other purpose would posting the Davis veto memo have than as a rebuttal to the Vatican letter? You’re clearly defending Jefferson Davis here whether you want to or not. Who’s next on your Cavalcade of Confederates seeking redemption, Benjamin Judah?”

    I posted it Trevor to help show how complicated history tends to be and to give another factoid about Davis. As I have indicated clearly in the link that I posted above in this thread, which I doubt you have bothered to read, I have taken to task time and time again neo-Confederates who attempt to pretend that the Civil War was not all about slavery. Indeed I have noted several times that at the onset of the Civil War Davis said the Civil War was all about slavery.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/27/abortion-foreign-policy/

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/cornerstone-speech/

    Not all my posts have to mention that fact, since they are simply slivers of the lives of my subjects and not full blown bios usually, and normally deal with some particular incident or incidents.

    The usual criticisms of my Civil War posts on this blog have been that I am a Lincoln worshiper and a Yankee of the deepest blue, so having you come at me from the other angle is refreshing in addition to being hilarious.

    In regard to Judah P. Benjamin, ante-bellum Senator from Louisiana, and the Jewish member of the Confederate cabinet, married to a Catholic, he was a truly fascinating character and will, in the fullness of time, be the subject of a post. He once responded to Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio calling him a “Hebrew with Egyptian principles”, with this memorable riposte: “It is true that I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were receiving their Ten Commandments from the immediate Deity, amidst the thundering and lightnings of Mt. Sinai, the ancestors of my opponent were herding swine in the forests of Great Britain.” Thank you for the suggestion Trevor!

  • Donald, I’ve read your piece in regards to secession being avoidable if the Democratic party had kept its head in regards to Lincolns win at the polls [1860 Prest elect]. your argument has no basis what ever in this assumption ,for one the Democratic ticket was split asunder. with Stephen Douglas a proponent of popular sovereignty and John C. Breckinridge anti Douglas and anti Douglas’s creed.The contest pre war was the the rights of states. Davis seen the States as sovereign , the federal gov acting on their behalf. the question remains do sovereign states legally have the right to secede from a union of states?.

  • Tom, I have to disagree with your analysis in regards to the clamour for southern Independence or succession.The election of Abe Lincoln in itself was not the catalyst of the rebellion or revolution the problem was inherited by Lincoln, the decline of southern power in the senate, as you rightly pointed out was the basis for separation. As john C. Calhoun once said “The union is a partnership that sectional parity guarantees tranquillity for the nation”.The union changed that configuration by admitting free states whilst keep slave -holding states in check.

    As to Confederate forces firing on FT Sumter, this was exactly what Lincoln had engineered “they fired the first shot”.So much for his promise, where slavery existed so shall it remain unmolested the south had nothing to fear from a Rep adim. It was always in Lincoln’s eye,the horror of slavery although he was never an out and out abolitionist he truly hated slavery.

    As i have alluded to before the civil-war was not fought over slavery, but for Union. as for Va it could not let the Lincoln war machine use her native soil as a land bridge to attack the deep south. While the North fought for Union, The South fought for the Republic.

  • Noleybo, you are mistaken. Secession occurred in a state of crisis that was completely unfounded. Lincoln had pledged to do nothing in regard to slavery in the slave states. Acting with Northern Democrats, Southern representatives and senators could have bottled up any legislation they feared. Instead Secession led to the death of the Peculiar Institution and a fratricidal war that devastated the South. Rarely have a braver people been more poorly led by their leaders than the white Southerners in the Secession Winter of 1860-61.

  • Donald.I must again disagree with your understanding of the crisis as you call it in 1860 in regards to the election of Abe Lincoln.But before I discuss Lincoln and the crisis that you allude to as in 1860, let me draw your attention to compromise after compromise to prevent succession. Missouri 1820, Mexican cession 1850, Kansas Nebraska 1854, all attempts to settle disputes on sectional lines of course not to mention a last ditch effort to advert succession by Davis and other which is general known as The Crittenden Compromise, Lincoln ignored it, he showed utter contempt and disrespect for their efforts.Of course the expansion of slavery was on the table but it showed Lincoln in a true light he’d have no truck with slavery but still he should have had common courtesy to attend.The man was transparent,this pledge that the South had nothing to fear was a total lie. Slavery was safe where it remained was a hollow promise.The Harrison’s Landing[ Genl McClellan] letter proved Lincoln true intent in regards to the slave states when again he showed contempt for the author.

    You again mentioned if the Northern Democrats along with their Southern brethren could have thwarted any legislation proposed by the Lincoln Adim.I put it to you, if they could have agreed on a single candidate the Democrats would have won in 1860.The sectional differences ran deep with Stephen Douglas a fervent support of Popular Sovereignty, animus of Douglas and his policy torn asunder any conciliation between Northern and Southern Democrats.So to contend that a union of both could bottle up Lincoln’s policy is delusional and without recourse to historical accuracy on your part.

  • Noleybo in regard to Lincoln and the Secession Crisis of 1860-61, the only things he was unwilling to compromise on were slavery in the territories and the preservation of the Union. Lincoln even supported an amendment to enshrine slavery in the Constitution if that would mollify the South. The amendment passed Congress and was ratified by three states before it became a dead issue due to the ongoing war. That such an amendment passed the Congress without most Southern senators and representatives being present is a clear indication of how willing Northern Democrats and many Republicans were to allay the fears of the South. Northern Democrats would have been happy to join Southern members of Congress in bottling up Republican legislation. After four frustrating years Lincoln would probably have joined the long list of one term Presidents which was the norm after Andrew Jackson. The South had absolutely nothing to fear from Lincoln. Instead, Southern fireeaters stampeded more moderate colleagues in attempting to secede from the Union by portraying Lincoln as a mortal threat to slavery. Instead, it was the secessionists, by provoking a war they were bound to lose, who signed the death knell of slavery. God must have enjoyed the rich irony.

  • Donald, according to the judgement and interpretations of the Constitution handed down by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case 1857. That Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in the national lands because that would violate the property rights of the Fifth Amendment.So the highest Judiciary in the land reaffirmed what Southerners always believed, that the Constitution guaranteed their property rights [Slaves ] in any territory.

    For Lincoln to support an amendment to the Constitution enshrining slavery is a nonsense because the the Dred Scott case had already stated that position. That slavery was protect by the Constitution.In fact Lincoln set about undermining the decision because according to the Reps and himself the analysis was erroneous. So what had Southerners to fear from Abe Lincoln?

Jefferson Davis and the Crown of Thorns

Tuesday, August 3, AD 2010

It has long been an article of faith of many admirers of Jefferson Davis that, while he was in Union captivity after the Civil War, he received a crown of thorns from Pope Pius IX woven by the hands of Pio Nono himself.  The Museum of the Confederacy in New Orleans has it on display.  It is a romantic story and appealing on an emotional level.  It is also false.  The Pope did send the imprisoned Davis his photograph with the text  from Matthew 11:28  ‘Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et ego reficiam vos, dicit Dominus.’ (Come to me all all ye who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest, sayeth the Lord.)

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29 Responses to Jefferson Davis and the Crown of Thorns

  • I wonder if the crown of thorns myth had anything to do with the lie that Lincoln was anti-Catholic?

    -Tim-

  • I don’t know about Lincoln, but it is undeniable fact that the Republicans in 1860 won in part because of the support of the Know-Nothing party remnants.

    As for the crown of thorns, well, not just Jeff Davis, but the entire south suffered a passion at the hands of the vengeful north… would that Lincoln had not been assasinated; the history of the post-war period would probably have looked much different.

    For us, the lasting legacy of the Late Unpleasantness is the destruction of Federalism as envisioned by the Founders, replaced by a national government that from 1865 onwards would dominate the states in a way unimagined before the war.

  • Or, perhaps, the South suffered God’s will that “all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil *** be sunk, and *** every drop of blood drawn with the lash *** be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'”

  • “I don’t know about Lincoln, but it is undeniable fact that the Republicans in 1860 won in part because of the support of the Know-Nothing party remnants.”

    LIcoln of course thought against the Know NOthings. Just Like Jefferson Davis did in his own State of Mississippi. My Several Greats Grandfather was ahrassed by the Know Nothings In Mississippi.

    “For us, the lasting legacy of the Late Unpleasantness is the destruction of Federalism as envisioned by the Founders, replaced by a national government that from 1865 onwards would dominate the states in a way unimagined before the war.”

    Another myth. SOutherners up too the Democratic Convention in Charleston were doing their bit to try to destroy Federalism becauseof the issue. Further to say that Federalism disapperared after the WAR is very much false.

  • It would have been more appropriate had Pius decided to send him a hammer and nails.

  • Not that such a gift would have been inappropriate for Lincoln as well.

  • Thank you for this information. I am sure you know that Macon, Georgia, has a busy thoroughfare named Pio Nono Avenue.

  • The judiciary, not the executive, invented and imposed the right of abortion. Even before the Civil War I think the notion that States could not impinge upon Federal constitutional rights was recognized. E.g. the (Northern) States reluctant compliance with the Fugitive Slave Act. I might be wrong, and am certainly quibbling, but I don’t believe Roe v. Wade implicates federalism.

  • What might have been. In 1870, Garibaldi invaded Rome, which was still under Papal rule. If the Confederacy had prevailed, Jefferson Davis may have sent reinforcements to the Pope, in order to prevent Rome from falling to Garibaldi.

  • What reason have we to think such a thing would have happened? The percentage of Catholics in the Confederacy was tiny. It was Protestant England which the Rebs imagined they’d get help from.

    There was a international papal army which fought to save the papal states, but there were very few Americans (north or south) in it.

  • But there were at least three members of the Papal Army of Pius IX (the St. Patrick Brigade) who signed up with the Union Army. See Myles Keogh (www.myleskeogh.org), Joseph O’Keeffe, and Daniel Keily. Keogh saw action at Gettysburg and met his demise with Custer at Little Big Horn.

  • “Lincoln of course thought against the Know Nothings”

    Perhaps his most famous quote on the subject comes from a letter he wrote to his longtime friend Joshua Speed in 1855:

    “I am not a Know Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for example, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

  • Elaine: Good quote. “The base alloy of hypocrisy.” Must try to work that in somewhere.

  • Or, perhaps, the South suffered God’s will that “all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil *** be sunk, and *** every drop of blood drawn with the lash *** be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

    Romantic mythology aside, the struggle for political power that directly led to the Civil War was the result of a unresolved tension between the rights of States and the justly feared encroachment upon those rights by a expansive federal government. Sectional interest drove the nation to war. Slavery was a minor concern. Lincoln did not fight to end slavery. He fought to preserve the union (such as it was and now is).

  • No, he did not. But he had the sense realize that his purposes might not have been the same as God’s.

  • While Lincoln did not enter into war for the sake of the slaves, the South certainly aimed to secede in order to preserve that abomination. For those who doubt that, look at the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, specifically the requirements for membership. It unequivocally states that only those recognizing slavery would be admitted. All other issues such as tariffs, etc. could have been resolved. But the continuation of slavery at that time was a game ender for any peaceful resolution.

  • The Civil War was the result of many years of struggle between competing political and economic interest. That punitive trade legislation purposed and in fact injurious to the largely agrarian Southern economy could have been addressed is only an opinion. To assert that that punitive trade legislation injurious to Southern agrarian would have been equitably addressed is without basis in fact.

    At least as significant a factor in the Civil War was the extremely sensitive issue of state rights in the face of creeping federalism. Under the Constitution the Southern states had every right to withdraw from the union. Had the Southern states exited the union, it would have had a very severe impact on Northern manufacturing, financial and shipping interest. By way of restrictive legislation Southern states were faced with a similar situation as that faced in the years immediately preceding the American Revolution when the colonies were expected and by parliamentary action forced to trade primarily with England. The Southern states recognized that they were being pushed to a similar colonial status. The succession of Southern states rightly addressed their legitimate needs and interest. At the same time, it threatened those of the North for a reliable source of raw materials and a convenient protected market for its manufactured goods. Only by military action were the Southern states forced to remain in the union. The only reason Lincoln addressed slavery was as a strategy to help in winning the war. He specifically states that if he could have won the war by ignoring or permitting slavery, he would have done so.

  • For bthomas-
    Please see the website-
    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html
    Which has Declaration of Causes for Seceeding States, which the confederate states conventions gave, AT THE TIME OF SECEEDING, as their reasons for leaving the union. Not a lot about tariffs in there. But TONS about ‘negro’ slavery being threatened as reasons for seceeding.

    As for states having right to seceed, in our U.S. Constitution in Article 4, congress admits states into the union by majority vote. Since secession is not mentioned in the document, its reasonable to assume that a state leaving the union would necessity such a vote.

  • You are to be commended if you wish to do significant primary research into the significant precipitants of the Civil War. You need to turn to know scholarly resources. To assert that a collection of Constitutions expresses a full and complete rational for succession lacks credibility. It would be the same as to present the U.S. Constitution without specific reference to the developmental thought by which it was produced. This and other similar internet sites do not constitute serious scholarship.

    The individual states freely entered into a democratic federated republic. No where in the Constitution or its supporting documents is there any rational to say that this decision constituted a surrender of prerogative by the states individual to choose to remover themselves from that union. An argument from silence is no basis by which to disenfranchise states individual or severally from self-determination. A very up to date example of this right to self-determination is the experience of Yugoslavia and the individual independent nations that decided to remove themselves from that national construct. Given that our federal government used armed force to force the Southern states to remain in a union they did not want, what rational is there to then justify the U.S. acting to support the break-up of Yugoslavia? At the time of the break-up, it was the position of the U.S. that these individual states had the legitimate right to self-determination. This position was affirmed again in the break-up of the now defunct USSR. Oddly, the Southern states were not supposed to have such a right to self-determination. Perhaps it was because that choice exercised would have possessed to much of a potential economic threat to the northern financial, manufacturing and shipping interest. Given that they dominated the federal government of that era, such is certainly the case.

  • Wow, bthomas. I haven’t seen such effervescent loquaciousness since Oswald Bates. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6868F53rgKw&feature=related

  • “The percentage of Catholics in the Confederacy was tiny.” Let’s look at numbers: June 30, 1863 Confederate Army peak strength 473,058; Louisiana, the 3rd most Catholic state in the United States in 1860, contributed 69,000; the Catholic population of antebellum Louisiana was 117,000 in a total population of 708,000; 11,454 Catholics from Louisiana served in the Confederate Army. Sources: Louisiana State Museum, “The Churching of America” and “Why the South Lost the Civil War”. Then again, Catholic Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling (CSA) and 44 members of the Davis Guard defeated a force of 4000 Federals under the command of General William B. Franklin (USA) and Lt. Frederick Crocker (USN) in the Battle of Sabine Pass on 8 September 1863. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…”

    “What reason have we to think such a thing would have happened?” There’s no reason not to believe that these Catholic battle-hardened veterans, who may have lost everything they had by 1865, would have given serious consideration to aiding His Holiness in the darkest hour of his pontificate against the other proto-Marxist hordes of Victor Emmanuel II and Garibaldi.

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  • “Wow, bthomas…” Always try to help enlighten the benighted.

  • The crown of thorns is no more absurd, or false, than all other stories about Davis as an honorable man.

    For years I assumed the story about Davis being captured in a dress was silly, that no one ever beleived it, that everyone knew it was a joke.

    Surprise — Davis was very much caught wearing his wife’s dress, and his own wife’s letter proves it. But that isn’t such a big deal, most of us would wear anything to stay alive.

    The “big deal” was Davis cowardice during that flight from Richmond, and his whimpy actions when confronted.

    Perhaps no other single incident shows the real nature of Davis, and in some ways, the nature of the Lost Cause. Slave owners and Southern leaders turned out to be cowards. The SOuth has spent 150 years trying to convince themselves, and the world, otherwise.

    http://jeffdavisdresss.blogspot.com/

  • Actually Davis was almost completely fearless as he amply demonstrated when he heroically led his Mississippi Rifles into battle at Buena Vista during the Mexican War and was wounded as a result.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/jefferson-davis-hero-of-buena-vista/

    As to the capture of Davis, here is what was written by one of the Union soldiers who captured him:

    “Besides the suit of men’s clothing worn by Mr. Davis he had on when captured Mrs. Davis’ large waterproof dress or robe, thrown over his own fine gray suit, and a blanket shawl thrown over his head and shoulders. This shawl and robe were finally deposited in the archives of the war department at Washington by order of Secretary Stanton.

    The story of the “hoopskirt, sunbonnet and calico wrapper” had no real existence and was started in the fertile brains of the reporters and in the illustrated papers of that day. That was a perilous moment for Mr. Davis. He had the right to try to escape in any disguise he could use.”

    http://valstar.net/~jcraig/capture.htm

    Davis can be amply criticized on numerous grounds, but cowardice is not one of them.

  • Sorry Don,

    You still have avoided — totally — Varina Davis own hand written letter, where she is very specific about Davis clothes, and his actions. He wore a dress and he acted like a coward.

    I can produce Varina’s letter. We know she was there.

    You can not produce letter from some imaginary Union soldier. The soldier you folks dreamed up was not in the group that found Davis.

    Everyone there – including Davis wife — said he had on a dress of some sort. The only one that says it was a fine grey suit is Jeff Davis. But Davis whole account of that day is preposterous nonsense, not just on his dress, but on his supposed heroics.

    Jeff Davis wife, and the union soldiers, reported Davis actions, which were that of a coward when confronted.

    Forget the dress — though he had one on. His actions were utterly cowardly. First of all, he was running AWAY from his wife and children, toward the horses. He claimed later he was going for a guy — nonsense. You don’t leave your gun on horses 200 feet away, when you are the focus of a man hunt. He was running for the horses and his wife said so.

    You have simply adopted Davis own self serving and fraudulent statements as the truth. His own wife’s letter fundamentally validates what the Union soldiers reported. Davis, in other words, was not only caught in a dress, but in a lie about his actions.

    I suggest you read her letter — closely.

    Varina said that he had on a “dressing gown” — not a fine grey suit. She tells what he had on, and does not mention any BS fine suit. If he had on a fine suit, she would have said that. She said “dressing gown”. Over the dressing gown (a dress) he had on a woman’s scarf, and a shawl.

    That is what his WIFE said. And she should know — she dressed him.

    How do we know she dressed him? She said so.

    SO let’s deal with what his WIFE said — not with what Southern apologist made up later.

    Varina also says Davis stood mute when confronted, downcast, sullen. She ran to him — she said — and pulled him to her, and SHE dared the soldiers to shoot HER. She told the soldiers “She is my MOTHER”

    That’s right — go read her own letter. SHe says, in her OWN letter, that SHE called out, its my MOTHER.

    Let me repeat that — she said, in her letter, that she called out, “Its my mother”.

    Why would she call out “Its my mother”? Do you have any explanation for that?

    And Davis stood mute and looked down at the ground. That is what she said. That’s not what I said, that is what she said. And that is what the soldiers reported too.

    This is pretty much what the Union soldier’s reported too.

    In fact, they said when Davis took the dress off, his wife put it on! That is what the soldiers who were there said.

    A stunning bit of trivia. They had told Davis to go change out of the dress. Davis wife went with him, in the tent, so he could change. She emerged wearing that dress!

    Apparently she put the dress on, so the soldiers would not take it — but they took it later anyway, ordered by the War Department to bring the dress to DC. And they brought the dress to DC, where it remained on display for over 20 years, according to a speech by one of the Blair children.

    Why does it matter?

    Because the entire Confederate Myth of honor and bravery collapses like a house of cards, if its two leaders, Davis and Lee, are cowardly cruel and deceptive.

    Varina Davis letter gives us a unique, bird’s eye view of what happened that day. She totally obliterates Davis’s own self serving story of heroics.

    He wore a dress, he acted like a coward even apart from the dress.

    http://jeffdavisdresss.blogspot.com/

  • Taxsanity, you are the mirror image of the Neo-Confederates who seek to distort the historical record to serve current political battles. Davis was not a coward, and your attempts to paint him as one simply is at war with the historical record. Davis was a very brave man fighting for a cause I am glad was defeated. I will not distort the historical record to accuse a man of cowardice when he was not a coward.

    http://www.harpweek.com/09cartoon/BrowseByDateCartoon.asp?Month=May&Date=27

  • Taxsanity, based upon your last comment, which I have deleted, you are banned from this site. You seem to be eaten up by hate and wish to vent that hatred, and I will not allow you to do so on this blog.

Pio Nono, the Washington Monument and the Purloined Block of Marble

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

Well it took long enough.  George Washington had been dead for more than three decades before a society was founded to build a monument to his honor in the city which bore his name.  In 1832, the centenary of the birth of Washington, the Washington National Monument Society was founded.  The Society began raising funds and in 1836 announced a competition for the design of the monument.  The winning design by Robert Mills envisioned an obelisk arising from a circular colonnade.  The price tag was an astronomical, for the time, one million dollars.  Work on the obelisk finally began in 1848.  Nations around the world were invited to contribute blocks of marble for the monument.

On December 24, 1851, the American Charge d’ Affairs in Rome, Lewis Cass, Jr., wrote to the Society,  “I have the honor to inform you that I have been apprized by His Holiness the Pope. . . of his intention to contribute a block of marble toward the erection of the national monument to the memory of Washington. The block was taken from the ruins of the ancient Temple of Peace, adjoining the palace of the Caesars, and is to receive the inscription of ‘Rome to America.”  No doubt Pope Pius IX recalled that George Washington had ever been a friend to Catholics.

On October 20, 1853, the marble block from the Pope arrived in Washington.

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Saint John Vianney Play To Debut In Houston

Monday, August 3, AD 2009

Saint John Vianney is being staged as a one-man production titled “VIANNEY” and will be debuting in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on August 4, 2009 AD.  This is in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of this patron saint of parish priests.  The play will continue in other dioceses across America.

Leonardo Defilippis plays the role of Saint John Vianney as he performs at various churches across the archdiocese.  Mr. Defilippis’s one-man stage production opens amidst the chaos of the French Revolution, a time which mirrors the secularization, materialism and anti-religious sentiment of today. Against this dramatic backdrop, a simple ignorant peasant priest enters the backwater town of Ars, a place where no one cares much about their faith, or sees the Church as particularly relevant. They don’t expect much out of John Vianney.

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8 Responses to Saint John Vianney Play To Debut In Houston

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  • Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, was the epitome of humility. When priests in his diocese, jealous of his acclaim, sent a circular letter around asking the bishop to replace him because of his lack of learning, it was accidentally sent to him. He unhesitatingly signed it and sent it on. The priest who originated the letter came and begged his forgiveness. Saint John told him that there was no need to apologize and that he knew that he was an ignorant man and that he should be replaced.

  • We’ll be seeing this when he comes to St. Theresa’s in Sugar Land next Sunday evening. Looking forward to it…

  • I’m planning on watching this also, maybe down by your parts Alan?!

  • Donald R. McClarey Says Monday, August 3, 2009 A.D. at 12:14 pm
    “Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, was the epitome of humility. When priests in his diocese, jealous of his acclaim, sent a circular letter around asking the bishop to replace him because of his lack of learning, it was accidentally sent to him. He unhesitatingly signed it and sent it on. The priest who originated the letter came and begged his forgiveness. Saint John told him that there was no need to apologize and that he knew that he was an ignorant man and that he should be replaced”.

    Never, ever, fight a saint!

    It will be curious to hear who his sermons are presented. Towards the end of his life, they were reputed to be unintelligible. But his parishioners were quite happy. They had heard it all before and knew what he was saying.

  • “To the end of his life the poor Curé could never understand the reason for his own fame. And to begin with, many of his colleagues couldn’t understand it either. An abbé Borjon wrote to him: “Monsieur le Curé, a man with as little theology as yourself ought never to enter a confessional.” The Curé of Ars replied:

    “My very dear and respected colleague, how right I am to love you. You alone really know me. As you are good and charitable enough to deign to take an interest in my poor soul, help me to obtain the favour for which I have been asking for so long, so that I may be moved from a post I am unworthy to fill because of my ignorance and retire into obscurity to atone for my wretched life.”

    This long and awkward sentence was written without irony, but with humility, and its recipient was touched. Fortunately, M. Vianney had his bishop behind him. One day when a priest said to Msgr. Devie: “The Curé of Ars is looked upon as being rather uneducated”, the Bishop answered: “I don’t know whether he is educated or not, but what I do know is the Holy Spirit makes a point of enlightening him.”

  • “Never, ever, fight a saint!”

    You should tell that to Morning Minion who takes almost every opportunity to condemn St. Thomas More as a minion of Satan — and Iafrate had the gall to call Tito Taco “anti-Catholic”; if anything, Morning Minion is the epitome of anti-Catholicism as well as common sense!

  • Note: The latter remark concerning MM’s being the epitome of “common sense” was meant in rhetorical irony; I mean, if magistrates who apply the death penalty to those who commit capital offenses and, therefore, deserve it, are to be condemned by God as evil men; then may God send all judges who rightfully apply the death penalty to criminals who commit capital offenses to Hell, extending all the way back to those in the Old Testament who themselves followed the prescriptions of Mosaic Law that also applied such penalty to criminals who committed capital offense!