Pope Francis Wishes To Change Teaching On Capital Punishment…

Speaking in Rome on October 11th, 2017 (55th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II), at a conference promoting the ‘New Evangelization’, Pope Francis made known his will for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be revised so as to condemn capital punishment as absolutely immoral in principle. He declared the death penalty to be “in itself contrary to the Gospel” (“in sé stessa contraria al Vangelo”). Source

The Pope’s attack on traditional teaching is not going unchallenged, however;  below, extracts from a very interesting analysis from the Society of St Pius X, District of the U.S.A.  Read entire article here

Capital Punishment and Contemporary Catholicism

On April 20, 2017, Ledell Lee, convicted of the brutal murder of his neighbor, Mrs. Debra Reese, was executed in Arkansas, the state’s first execution since 2005. When asked what his wishes were for his last meal, Lee declined a meal but said he wished to receive Holy Communion before execution. He made no public statement before death, but his request to receive the Sacraments was indicative of a desire to die in a state of grace, at peace with God.

Before Lee’s execution, Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, and the Catholic Mobilizing Network, which describes its mission as “Ending the death penalty. Promoting restorative justice,” all wrote to the governor of Arkansas asking that Lee’s sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.

Opposition to the Death Penalty

These Catholic bishops and activists are not alone in their opposition to the death penalty. In June of 2016, Pope Francis sent a video message of support to the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty in which he said: 

“Nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person. It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice.”

What then does the Church teach about capital punishment? Is it permitted, and under what circumstances?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent tells us:

“Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thou shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives”
(Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566, Part III, 5, n. 4.).

This contrasts starkly with Pope Francis’s words, “The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty” (Message to the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty).

St. Thomas Aquinas gives two main reasons for the use of capital punishment. One is the common good:

Now every individual person is related to the entire society as a part to the whole. Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since ‘a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump’ (1 Cor. 5:6).”
(Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 64, art. 2)

His other consideration is the good of the criminal.

“They…have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil” 
(Summa contra gentiles, Book III, chapter 146).

The Good of the Criminal
 
On July 26, 2017, Ronald Phillips, convicted of the particularly horrible murder of a child, was executed in Ohio. The day of his execution, he reportedly spent several hours with a spiritual adviser and took time to read the Bible. Just before death, he made his first public expression of regret since his incarceration, asking forgiveness of his victim’s family. He had previously unsuccessfully sought clemency on grounds of his youth at the time (he was 19) and his difficult childhood.

While some claim that the death penalty puts an end to the possibility of the criminal repenting later on, St. Thomas does not admit this objection.

“The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.”

Both Phillips’s case and that of Ledell Lee illustrate St. Thomas’s point: imminent death brings home to the criminal the gravity of his crime and leads him to repentance. Samuel Johnson was the author of the oft-quoted aphorism to the effect that nothing concentrates the mind like a sentence of hanging. Of course, in Samuel Johnson’s day, executions were carried out rather more promptly than they are in the United States nowadays: a criminal can languish for decades on death row, and it is said that nearly a quarter of death row inmates die of natural causes while waiting for execution or appealing their sentences.

The Church has been careful to emphasize the need for due process and true justice. Innocent III said:

The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.”

Whether due process is consistently available in the American criminal justice system is a matter of debate. By all accounts it is in desperate need of reform. One high-profile (and well-informed, thanks to his own sojourn in the United States’ jail system) commentator on this issue was newspaper publisher Conrad Black, who has among other issues emphasized the need to address the huge number of inmates in the prison system and the high rate of recidivism, partly due (in his opinion) to a culture in which convicts become dependent on the system. 

The Catholic Understanding of Death

[F]or the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul. But losing this life, in exchange for the next?…For the non-believer, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence. What a horrible act!”

Does the death penalty deprive the criminal of hope? Of hope for the things of this world, certainly. But there are many instances of dying criminals who have discovered grounds for hope: a certain thief once hoped, “Remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.”

In Conclusion…

From what the Catechism of the Council of Trent tells us, in combination with the teachings of many Popes and sainted theologians, it seems that while the necessity and suitability of capital punishment in a given situation remains a prudential decision for the public authorities, it is clear that traditional Catholic teachings permit the death penalty under certain conditions. One could argue that the rallying of modern Catholicism against capital punishment is at least in part due to the influence of what Scalia calls “the post-Freudian secularist,” inclined to diminish the moral responsibility of the criminal and seemingly blind to the possibility of expiation for sin and life after death.

The fifteenth-century French poet François Villon, a ne’er-do-well who frequently fell afoul of the law, composed his most famous work, The Ballad of the Hanged, in jail the night before he was to be executed. It is an entirely supernatural plea to Christ and Our Lady for mercy on his soul and to his fellowman for pity and prayers. His final stanza is remarkable for its humility and its hope:

Prince Jesus, who has command of all,                                
Do not let Hell gain lordship over us:
With it let us have no dealings.
Men, there is no mockery here;
Pray God that He will absolve us all.

Comments invited…

IS Pope Francis right to seek to “revise” Catholic teaching on the Death Penalty?

American Bishops Use “Welcome” Excuse To Encourage Sin & Sacrilege

SAN DIEGO, California, October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Two left-leaning Catholic bishops, along with “married” homosexual partners, celebrated a special Mass for “Families of the LGBT Community” in San Diego last weekend. The event commemorated the 20-year anniversary of a controversial U.S. bishops’ letter on homosexuality that was censured by the Vatican within a year of its release.

Bishop John Dolan, an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Diego, presided over the October 7 mass commemorating the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) letter on homosexuality “Always Our Children.”

The mass, concelebrated with San Diego Archbishop Robert McElroy and 16 other clergy, took place at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, located in the heart of Hillcrest, the historic epicenter of homosexuality in San Diego.

Before the Mass, Dolan said: “This parish falls within the Hillcrest district and there are a number of people in our community here who want to participate in the life of the Church, and we want to make sure they have a welcome home in some fashion here within the Church.”

During his homily, Dolan praised the 1997 letter “Always Our Children” as offering “an outstretched hand” to parents and family members of homosexual Catholics.
“To you parents, there is no denying your own sons and daughters, whatever their walk in life,” he said.

“Married” homosexual partners Kyle and Snapper Escobar-Humphries said they attended the ‘LGBT’ Mass with their 8- and 9-year-old children to teach them about equality.

“It’s important because my kids have two gay dads and I would like for them to understand that this church is open for everybody,” said one of the “dads” to the San Diego Tribune. “I want them to understand how to treat each other equally.”

The USCCB’s letter Always our Children was addressed to Catholic parents  with homosexual children. The letter was criticized by faithful Catholics for its language that originally called the homosexual orientation a “fundamental dimension of one’s personality.” 

Less than a year after its release, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) demanded several changes to the text. One change included calling the homosexual orientation “a deep-seated dimension of one’s personality” so as to avoid the inference that if homosexuality is a “fundamental dimension of one’s personality,” it must be God-given and permanent.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, then bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, said after the letter’s release that it was “very flawed and defective.” He asserted that it was “founded on bad advice, mistaken theology, erroneous science and skewed sociology.”

He added that the “document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.”

Ex-homosexual Catholic Joseph Sciambra has said the U.S. bishops should apologize to Catholics who struggle with same-sex attraction for releasing the letter, what he called a “travesty.”

“The text is still shocking for its gross generalizations and unwillingness to even briefly grasp the intrinsic desperation and depravity found in the modern ‘gay’ lifestyle,” he wrote in a 2016 article.

“The document also openly condemns those with same-sex attraction to a lifelong imprisonment within homosexuality,” he added.

Allyson Smith, who attended the event as a member of Ecclesia Militans San Diego, a group of concerned Catholics, called Bishop Dolan’s homily a “total capitulation to the homosexual activist agenda.”

“(There were) no calls for homosexuals to repent and convert included in his homily,” she [said].

The event was attended by various San Diego dignitaries, including Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, openly-homosexual California State Assembly member Todd Gloria, San Diego City Commissioner and male transvestite Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Democrat city attorney Mara Elliott, city council member Chris Ward, San Diego Unified School District board member Kevin Beiser, and city of San Diego Human Relations commissioner Bruce Abrams.

Laurence Greenbank, a Catholic who attended the event to pray a rosary for participants, called the LGBT Mass a “staged media event.”

“The ‘LGBT’ Mass was a media event, staged by the diocese. I believe the real story is how the bishop turned the celebration of the Holy Eucharist into a media event, not a place of worship. The whole event seemed to be choreographed, with the TV cameras, the VIPs, including the mayor and city council member, the imported rich gays (at least two of them were from Palm Springs), the Hillcrest elite gay men’s group with the matching T-shirts. There was an enormous amount of money and preparation spent on this event,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“It is absolutely disgusting to see the Holy Eucharist used for political agenda,” he added.
Click here to read entire report

Comments invited… 

Bishop of Paisley aka Judas Iscariot in Praise of Protestant Reformation…

From Premier Christian Radio…

This month marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And all through this month on Premier we are going to be hearing from theologians, church leaders, historians and many others about their own personal reflections on the Reformation. Ian Britton went to meet Bishop John, the Bishop of Paisley, to get a catholic [sic] perspective on the Reformation.

Click here to listen  to the bishop (pictured) admitting that Vatican II protestantised the laity in compliance with the Protestant Reformers’ demands in liturgy and language (out with that old Latin!) and of course we knew nothing of scripture before the Reformation;  according to “Bishop John”,  too, lay people were never actively engaged in spreading the Faith prior to Vatican II – that is, thanks to the Reformation we now know better.  Ignorance may be bliss for the ignorant, but it’s really annoying for the rest of us to have to listen to such falsehoods.  Never mind Martin Luther, Judas Iscariot is alive and well in the Catholic Church in Scotland today, aka Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.

Our Lady of Fatima, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Comments invited… 

The Tablet & Other Far-From-Catholic Rags: Irresponsible Bishops Must Act

From Christian Today:

The Catholic Church in the UK is descending into civil war behind the scenes after a major row over abortion was sparked by a controversial editorial in the respected journal The Tablet.  

Bishop Mark Davies, Diocese of Shrewsbury is one of the Bishops who complained about the Tablet editorial 

A number of bishops were ‘scandalised’ by the article, Christian Today understands, and are urging Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, to intervene. One figure accused the weekly magazine which is sold at the back of Westminster Cathedral – the home of Catholicism in the UK – of trying ‘to obscure the witness of Christian teaching’.
Click here to read the entire report Catholic Church at war? Bishops’ dismay at ‘tragic’ editorial in The Tablet criticising teaching on abortion

From Catholic Truth:

The fact that there are bishops expressing shock-horror at The Tablet’s latest (but far from unique) attack on the moral law and Catholic teaching, is unconscionable. The scandal of the loss of moral sense – and the particular responsibility of bishops – was addressed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor way back in 1993.  In any case, do these bishops seriously expect us to believe that they do not know that they are responsible for every soul led astray by the scandalous publications sold in their parishes, shops and cathedrals?  Yet there will be Catholics drooling with delight at the remarks of a handful of English Bishops criticising – on this one occasion – The Tablet, for it’s latest attack on the Church for its refusal to condone the evil of abortion.  See  some key extracts from Veritatis Splendor below…

Extracts from Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor: (The Splendor of Truth – Regarding Certain Fundamental Questions of the Church’s Moral Teaching) August 6, 1993

Our own responsibilities as Pastors

114. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, responsibility for the faith and the life of faith of the People of God is particularly incumbent upon the Church’s Pastors: “Among the principal tasks of Bishops the preaching of the Gospel is pre-eminent. For the Bishops are the heralds of the faith who bring new disciples to Christ. They are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people entrusted to them the faith to be believed and put into practice; they illustrate this faith in the light of the Holy Spirit, drawing out of the treasury of Revelation things old and new (cf. Mt 13:52); they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question: “What good must I do to have eternal life?”, Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: “Come, follow me! “. The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian.

This “answer” to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9-12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale.

115. This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial…

116. We have the duty, as Bishops, to be vigilant that the word of God is faithfully taught. My Brothers in the Episcopate, it is part of our pastoral ministry to see to it that this moral teaching is faithfully handed down and to have recourse to appropriate measures to ensure that the faithful are guarded from every doctrine and theory contrary to it. In carrying out this task we are all assisted by theologians; even so, theological opinions constitute neither the rule nor the norm of our teaching. Its authority is derived, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit and in communion cum Petro et sub Petro, from our fidelity to the Catholic faith which comes from the Apostles. As Bishops, we have the grave obligation to be personally vigilant that the “sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:10) of faith and morals is taught in our Dioceses.

A particular responsibility is incumbent upon Bishops with regard to Catholic institutions. Whether these are agencies for the pastoral care of the family or for social work, or institutions dedicated to teaching or health care, Bishops can canonically erect and recognize these structures and delegate certain responsibilities to them. Nevertheless, Bishops are never relieved of their own personal obligations. It falls to them, in communion with the Holy See, both to grant the title “Catholic” to Church-related schools, universities, health-care facilities and counselling services, and, in cases of a serious failure to live up to that title, to take it away.  [Emphasis added] –  Source Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of the Truth) Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 6 August, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the year 1993, the fifteenth of my Pontificate.

Comment:

Clearly, publications using the name “Catholic”, which are plainly hostile to the Catholic Faith, should be included in the above list.

And why do those bishops expressing concern about this particular Tablet editorial not express concern about the many other editorials and articles routinely  featured in that deadly publication?  On page 11 of our current newsletter, we report outright falsehoods by Clifford Longley, who actually places words into the mouth of Pope John Paul II that flatly contradict the actual words of the pontiff on embryo experimentation. So what’s the problem now, all of a sudden?  Also, what about the other so-called Catholic publications which are all, to a greater or lesser extent, “liberal” – that is, essentially heretical in their ethos and content? Is it too late, or should the bishops act, as required by their office, to protect the faithful from these poisonous rags?  Is it pessimistic in the extreme to say that, frankly, these rags, The Tablet included, will continue to be sold in Catholic outlets, continue to poison what is left of Catholic faith and morality, despite the expressed concern of (a minority) of bishops in England? With, note, no expression of concern at all  from any bishops in Scotland. 

13 October: Centenary, Miracle of the Sun


The Editor of Christian Order writes…

Hierarchical disobedience/negligence/cowardice/lethargy/call-it-what-you-like, continues to amaze and appal. Even conservative prelates rarely promote the Five First Saturday Reparatory Devotions with any urgency. At best, all talk and no positive action sums up the hierarchical history. At worst — and overwhelmingly — it has been silence and negativity in the Modernistic process of marginalising, ecumenising and secularising Fatima by a thousand condescending cuts.

In effect, Our Lady’s personal instruction of Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta between May and October 1917 triggered 100 years of devotion and struggle — in roughly equal proportion: fifty years of signature Catholic devotion to Mary, followed by fifty post-conciliar years of ecumenical embarrassment apropos Marian devotion in general, and the Fatima message in particular.

Sister Lucia famously put this down to the “diabolic disorientation” that views doctrinal, moral and canonical chaos as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and the ensuing “mess” as a work of mercy.

This malign malaise appears to have reached its zenith in the person of the current pontiff. Yet we must pause to consider the plain truth of the matter: that Francis is just the latest link in the ever lengthening Modernist chain.   Click here to read entire editorial

The Editor of Catholic Truth writes…

No names, no pack drill, but in recent weeks I’ve been meeting diocesan Catholics in Novus Ordo Land on their home territory in various parishes in the central belt of Scotland, and believe me, there is just no easy or tactful way to say this: when Sister Lucia spoke of the forthcoming “diabolical disorientation” (presumably divulging something of what Our Lady had revealed, perhaps using her very words) she wasn’t kidding. Discussing Fatima, many, if not most, were shocked at the very idea that all is not as it should be – what they were hearing from us (the – literally – whole truth about Fatima) is just “not Catholic.” All incredible stuff. Talk about “upside down”; talk about “disorientation” – you got it.  Hostility on legs.  

As we approach the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun tomorrow, then, let us pray very hard for our fellow Catholics who have been given stones instead of bread these past fifty odd years and just cannot see it.  The old Faith has virtually disappeared from parish life, certainly here in Scotland.  the people don’t know the Faith; the clergy don’t know the Faith – and, from my recent experience, it seems clear that they don’t want to know it. 

Maybe, though, you have some tips to share to help restore the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Faith to our brothers and sisters in Christ. If so, let’s hear it… Because one of the sticking points in discussion has proven to be the very claim of the Church to be the one, true Church of Christ. Ecumenism has eaten deeply into the souls of the Catholic people. 

However, there is some good news:  the Fatima Scotland group,* formed to offer to distribute literature and give talks in parishes, has now offered to run Fatima Surgeries with a view to answering questions on Fatima, including the various controversies surrounding the Consecration of Russia and the Third Secret.  To sign up for one of these surgeries, please email editor@catholictruthscotland.com  in the first instance.  Your contact details will be passed to the Coordinator of the Fatima Scotland Group, who will be in touch with details of the next meeting.

Spread news of these surgeries far and wide, because there really is a serious lack of knowledge about the gravity of the Fatima apparitions at parish level. Our Lady said that the Consecration of Russia would be done “but it will be late” – and as we see the moral fibre of our societies disintegrating around us, with political leaders and terrorists threatening world peace, it is already very “late”.    It is crucial that we all do what we can to spread the Message of Fatima in what is left of this centenary year – and these surgeries offer a perfect talking point to do so. 

Our Lady of Fatima, Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*  This group is separate from the diocesan-approved Fatima Scotland group.  The group referred to above officially represents the Fatima Center, Canada (Fr Gruner RIP) apostolate, appointed to distribute literature etc in Scotland during this centenary year. 

American Reader on Mystical Body – Deliberate Mistake In October Newsletter


Dear Editor,  

I am writing to correct two substantial inaccuracies in the excerpt from Mary Ball Martinez’ book, The Undermining of the Catholic Church, published under the heading: Aliens Invade the Church, that was included in your October newsletter, p.14. First, the Fathers at Vatican I could not have rejected a description of the Church as “the mystical Body of Christ,” since Vatican I’s Dogmatic Constitution DE ECCLESIA CHRISTI contains the following as Chapter 1: “Ecclesiam esse corpus Christi mysticum” (that is, “the Church is the mystical Body of Christ”). It also contains the following as Chapter 3: “Ecclesiam esse societatem veram, perfectam, spiritualem et supernaturalem (that is, “the Church is a true, perfect and supernatural spiritual society”).

In other words, the Fathers were careful to include and elaborate upon both classical descriptions of the Church in this Constitution.   

Second, the implication that a description of the Church as “the mystical Body of Christ” is a doctrinal error, and one which is responsible for the Vatican II revolution, is false. The Bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII declared: “There is only one Catholic Church, and that one apostolic … Thus the spouse proclaims in the Canticle, ‘One is my dove: my perfect one is but one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen one of her that bore her.’ Now this chosen one represents the one Mystical Body whose Head is Christ, and Christ’s head is God.” Furthermore, as Father John Hardon points out, St. Thomas himself “clarified the difference between the natural body of Christ and His Mystical Body of which we are the members. As a result the terminology entered the stream of theological thought, to reach its highest point of development in the Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Pius XII.”

In addition to those inaccuracies, to imply as Martinez does, using apparently unsubstantiated quotes from Cardinal Dulles and Father Rotondi, that Mystici Corporis was the beginning and foundation of the Vatican II revolution, is to be ignorant of Church history. One only need study, for example, the various documents of Pope St. Pius X, especially Pascendi Dominici Gregis, to know that the Modernist revolution was already well underway during his pontificate. In fact, one could go even further back, to Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors of 1864, to realize that the struggle to overturn the Church has a long history, extending much further into the past than 1943.  John Lopez, Ohio, USA.

Comment:

They say we learn from our mistakes. That’s why I’m making as many as possible. I’ll soon be a genius!

In all honesty, it was a bit depressing to receive John’s letter, which will be published, in full, in our December edition.  I always sing when I get downhearted like this.  Then I realise that my voice is worse than my problem… 

Share your thoughts – if you must…  

Islam, Terrorism & The Battle of Lepanto – 7 October: Feast of the Holy Rosary…


That light-hearted response to the threat to conquer Rome  contrasts with the reaction here

The following extracts are taken from How the 1571 Battle of Lepanto saved Europe…

For those who know little history, today’s battle with the Islamic State in the Middle East may seem new and unprecedented. It is not.

In a.d.  622, Mohammed set out from Medina to conquer the whole Christian world for Allah by force of arms.  Within a hundred years, his successors had occupied and pillaged every Christian capital of the Middle East, from Antioch through North Africa (home of Saint Augustine) and Spain.  All that remained outside Allah’s reign was the northern arc from Southern France to Constantinople…

Even today, in the eyes of political Islamists, the expansion of Islam is far from finished.  The dynamic obligation at the heart of their Islam is to conquer the world for Allah, and to incorporate it all into the great Islamic Umma.  Only then will the world be at peace.  Submission to Allah is the reason the world was created…


The Greatest Sea Battle in History: Lepanto, October 1571

For more than three years, Pope Pius V had labored mightily to sound alarms about the deadly Muslim buildup in the shipyards of Istanbul.  The sultan had been stung by the surprising defeat of his overwhelming invasion force in Malta in 1565.  The savagery of Muslim attacks on the coastal villages of Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia, and Greece was ratcheted upwards.  Three or four Muslim galleys would offload hundreds of marines, who would sweep through a village, tie all its healthy men together for shipment out to become galley slaves, march away many of its women and young boys and girls for shipment to Eastern harems, and then gather all the elderly into the village church, where the helpless victims would be beheaded, and sometimes cut up into little pieces, to strike terror into other villages.  The Muslims believed that future victims would lose heart and swiftly surrender when Muslim raiders arrived.  Over three centuries, the number of European captives kidnapped from villages and beaches by these pirates climbed into the hundreds of thousands.

The reason for this kidnapping was that the naval appetite for fresh backs and muscles was insatiable.  Most galley slaves lived little more than five years.  They were chained to hard benches in the burning Mediterranean sun, slippery in their own excrement, urine, and intermittent vomiting, often never lying down to sleep.  The dark vision that troubled the pope during the late 1560s was of even more horrible calamities to befall the whole Christian world, bit by bit.  But unity in Europe was hard to find, and even more scarce was the will to fight for survival.

There is no point here in giving the whole narrative of the battle. Suffice it to say that in the center, the volleys from the galleasses out in front destroyed one Muslim vessel after another. ..

As news of the great victory of October 7 reached shore, church bells rang all over the cities and countryside of Europe.  For months, Pius V had urged Catholics to say the daily rosary on behalf of the morale and good fortune of the Christian forces and, above all, for a successful outcome to the highly risky preemptive strike against the Turkish fleets.  Thereafter, he declared that October 7 would be celebrated as the Feast of “Mary, Queen of Victory.”  A later Pope added the title “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” in honor of the laity’s favorite form of prayer.  All over the Italian peninsula, great paintings were commissioned — whole galleries were dedicated — to honor the classic scenes of that epic battle.  The air of Europe that October tasted of liberties preserved.  The record of the celebrations lives on in glorious paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, and many others.  Click here to read How the 1571 Battle of Lepanto saved Europe

Comment: 

It is a well established fact that Our Lady won the Battle of Lepanto for the Christian armies, and so maybe it’s time to redouble our prayers, take Our Lady at her word and trust totally in the power of the Rosary to defeat heresies, and time, too, for us to remember the words of the Fatima seer, Sister Lucia, that there is no problem, whether temporal or spiritual that cannot be overcome by the power of the Rosary.  That’s quite a promise. 

So we learn plenty about the power of the rosary; Is there anything else to learn from the Battle of Lepanto in the context of the contemporary threat from Islamist terrorism? Are we, for example, praying sufficiently for the conversion of Muslims?