Portrait of a Pope: The Reign of Odovacer in Italy

"For the great mass of the inhabitants of Italy, the old order of things remained unchanged." Image: The Consummation, Thomas Cole, (Wiki Commons CC). The city of Rome was still prosperous in the fifth century. In the previous part of this series on St Gregory the Great we looked briefly at the events leading up …

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Portrait of a Pope: St Gregory the Great and the End of Imperial Rome

"Where is the Senate? Where the People? The very buildings we behold crumbling around us." Image: The Favourites of Honorius, John William Waterhouse, (source). The city of Rome was still flourishing in the fourth century. In the autumn of AD 590, as a Lombard army marched on Rome and as the city tried to recover …

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Pope St Pius V – “Crushing of the Enemies of thy Church”

St Pius V was born Antonio Ghisleri, and when he entered the Dominicans, he took the name Michele – Michael – which he used in preference to his baptismal name thereafter. There are many aspects of the life of this very great saint which might catch the interest of pious Catholics. His youth spent tending …

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Hadrian’s Wall, St Oswald and the Forgotten Triumph of Heavenfield

"The Lord knows that we have undertaken a just war for the safety of our nation." In June 2019 I walked 84-miles across England following the route of Hadrian’s Wall; these are my reflections on one of the important historical sites, encountered along the route. This is an edited version of an article first published …

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Portrait of a Pope: St Gregory the Great, Apostle of the English

"He removed the error of filthy heathenism from our parents." “In the tenth year of [the reign of the emperor Maurice], Gregory, a man eminent in learning and in affairs, was elected pontiff of the Apostolic See of Rome; he ruled for thirteen years, six months, and ten days. In the fourteenth year of this …

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The Lives of the Early English Saints: Prelude, and St Alban, proto-martyr of Britain

"Be it known to you, that I am now a Christian, and bound by Christian duties." ­ Introduction At his trial on 20 November 1587, after hearing that he had been sentenced to death for treason, the Jesuit missionary priest, Edmund Campion, delivered a final oration to the court, in which he declared: “In condemning …

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The Last Will and Spiritual Testament of Louis XVI, King of France

As many know, January 21st marks the anniversary of France’s regicide. King Louis XVI of France was condemned to death on January 20th 1793, and the next day went to the guillotine. This event is rich in significance for us today. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself referred to it in the context of the Fatima …

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Pope Honorius and Roberto de Mattei – Interlude: The human mind’s ability to apprehend reality without the intervention of authority

Thesis: The Church at least sometimes expects us to apprehend reality and make cognitive judgments without waiting for the intervention of an authority; canon law may include processes for authoritative judgments on such matters, but this does not always absolve a man from the duty of making a cognitive judgment - nor does it prohibit …

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Preparation for Tyranny I: Becoming Strong by Rejecting False Hope

... If pow'rs divine behold our human actions (as they do): I doubt not then, but innocence shall make false accusation blush, and tyranny tremble at patience. - Hermione in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, 3.2.27 Picture of Solzehnitsyn (Source Wiki Comons CC) The world is in eclipse. It looks like we have almost entered the …

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“That Golden Book”: On the Roman Catechism, and a review of Baronius Press’s edition

This essay consists of two parts: Part I - Review of Baronius Press's edition of the Roman Catechism Part II - The Roman Catechism itself Historical backgroundThe authority of the Roman CatechismClergy and theologians on the CatechismComparison with the modern catechismThe Roman Catechism and the crisis in the ChurchThe nature and structure of this Catechism. …

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