Short Catechism of Church History - J. Oechtering



Christ and His Church


Introduction


1. Q. What is the central and greatest event in the history of God's dealings with man?

R. The central and greatest event in the history of God's dealings with man is the Redemption of the world by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2. Q. Was this event foretold in ancient times?

R. The coming of the Redeemer was promised by God to our first parents after their fall, and this promise was renewed to the patriarchs of old.

3. Q. Did the hope of the Redeemer to come remain alive in the ancient world?

R. The heathen nations, who had apostatized from God and fallen into idolatry, retained only an obscure and distorted tradition of the future Incarnation of God and the Redemption.

Their ancient belief, that their gods had appeared in human form among men, was such a distorted tradition of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Greeks, for instance, preserved in their legend of Prometheus (their name for Adam) an old prophecy that the son of their highest god would become man and be born of a virgin-mother in order to redeem our fallen race. We read that in the year 64 after Christ Mingdi, emperor of China, sent ambassadors westward to search for the divine teacher, foretold in ancient Chinese books. Having come to India they found there the religion of Buddha, which they embraced, mistaking it for the true. The coming of the wise men from the East proves most clearly that the tradition of a Saviour to come lived among the gentiles. Suetonius and Tacitus, writers of ancient pagan Rome, have left it on record that, at the time of the birth of Christ, the world was full of rumors about a mysterious power, which, according to old traditions, was to rise in Palestine and rule the whole world.

4. Q. Which people was chosen by God in this general apostasy to preserve fully the hope of the coming Redeemer?

R. The people of Israel was chosen by God to preserve fully the hope of the Redeemer to come, and to prepare and foreshadow the future kingdom of God on earth.

Israel was brought by God to Palestine into the middle of the great historical nations of antiquity. The Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian kingdoms east and north, Egypt south, the Macedonian and Roman empires west, all made Israel share in their world-moving history. Hence Ezechiel, the prophet, called Jerusalem "gate of the nations".

Palestine lay on the great thoroughfare, leading from Africa into Asia, while the Red and the Mediterranean seas gave it a waterway to India and the great nations of the west. Thus Israel's children, bearing the Messianic hope, eventually spread into all lands, thereby preparing the way for the apostles, who set forth from Jerusalem to evangelize the world.

5. Q. How did God sustain Israel in this mission?

R. God sustained Israel in this sacred mission by frequent prophecies and by His miraculous protection and guidance of the nation.

6. Q. When did God fulfill Ills promise concerning the Redeemer to come?

R. God fulfilled His promise and prophecies about the Redeemer to come, when He sent His only begotten Son, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.

7. Q. How did Christ redeem the world?

R. Christ redeemed the world by His passion and death on the Cross.

8. Q. What did Christ do in order to insure for all time to the world the fruits of His Redemption?

R. In order to insure for all time to the world the fruits of His Redemption, He established His Church.

The fruits of the Redemption are two-fold:

1) Divine grace (sanctifying and actual), which is dispensed mainly through the sacraments of the Church.

2) Divine truth, entrusted by Christ and his apostles to the Church and called the deposit of faith. It is contained in the Bible or written word of God, and in Tradition or the unwritten word of God, which is handed down in the uninterrupted teaching and practice of the Church. The witnesses of Tradition are the ordinary teaching of the Church, the decrees of the councils and of the popes, the writings of the Fathers and Doctors, the liturgy, the administration of the sacraments, the feasts of the Church, the acts of martyrs, the documents and relics of the past. From these can be gathered what has been believed in the Church always, everywhere and by all. (Vincent. of Lerins.)

9. Q. How did Christ establish His Church?

R. Christ established His Church by choosing and appointing His apostles as bishops over His flock, making one of their number, St. Peter, the supreme head. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church." (Matt. 16, 18.)

10. Q. Which powers did Christ give to His Church, in order to bring the fruits of the Redemption to mankind?

R. Christ gave to His Church a three-fold power:

1) To teach all nations His divine truth. (Matt. 28, 19-20.)

2) To dispense His grace through the Holy Sacrifice of the altar and the Sacraments. (St. Luke, 22, 19; St. Matt. 28, 19; St. John, 20, 23.)

3) To guide and rule the lambs and sheep of His flock. (St. John, 21, 17.)

11. Q. How did Christ enable His Church to fulfill this divine commission?

R. 1)He promised that He would be with His Church even unto the consummation of the world. (Matt. 28, 13.)

2) He sent the Holy Ghost to abide with His Church forever. (St. John, 14, 16.)

12. Q. What, therefore, is the character of the Church?

R. The Church is a divine institution consisting of men, but possessing the abiding presence of Jesus Christ and the continual assistance and guidance of the Holy Ghost.

The divine element of the Church appears in her indestructible existence through all ages, in her unchanging and infallible teaching of divine truth, in her uninterrupted dispensation of God's grace, by which innumerable souls obtain holiness, and in the miracles marking her career through history. The human element of the Church appears in the weaknesses and shortcomings of many of her children, especially in the scandals and sins committed by her unworthy members. Christ Himself tolerated Judas for three years amongst His disciples in order to warn us, that scandals will occur in the history of His Church.

In spite of sin and scandal and in spite of the law of decay overruling all things human, the Church continues forever in her constitution and in her sacred ministry of grace and truth; this is another proof of the divine element within her.

13. Q. By what titles has the Church been called in Holy Scriptures?

R. 1) In the old testament the prophet calls her the kingdom of the Messias, which is to be without end. (Is. 9, 7.)

2) Jesus Christ calls her His Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail (Matt. 16, 18); the one fold under one shepherd (John, 10, 16); the light of the world, the city seated on a mountain that cannot be hid (Matt. 5, 14); the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16, 19).

3) St. Paul calls her the ground and pillar of truth (I. Tim. 3, 15); the flock of Christ, over which the Holy Ghost hath placed the bishops to rule (Act. 20, 28). In his letter to the Ephesians (Chap. 5) he describes her as the immaculate spouse of Christ, and in I. Cor. 12 as "the visible body of Christ, of which the faithful are the members."

14. Q. What was the condition of the world, when the Church commenced her mission?

R. All nations, except the Jews, adored false gods, idols and beasts, They worshipped them by committing foul crimes and offering even human sacrifices. Immorality prevailed and the rights of God and man were spurned.

Even ancient Greece and Rome, the ruling and most cultured of pagan nations, had gods whom they worshipped by impurity (Venus), drunkenness (Bacchus) and bloody revenge (Mars). Family life Was totally demoralized by divorce and the degradation of woman. War was merciless according to the rule: "Woe to the vanquished." Slavery held over two thirds of the population of the ancient world in such misery, that the question was seriously asked: "Is the slave a human being?" In the public games of the circus thousands of gladiators and captives were forced to kill one another for the amusement of the people.

15. Q. What was the attitude of the Jews?

R. They retained the belief in the one true God, but rejected and crucified the Son of God, the Messias, who had been promised to them by God and announced by their prophets.

Note.—The history of the Church is the record of her career through time and of the fulfillment of her divine mission on earth. According to His promise Christ is with her, teaches, gives grace and rules through her; and she shares with Him the hatred of hell and the opposition of the world, but she is also destined to share His eternal glory in heaven.



Beginning of the Church


The Apostolic Age


16. Q. How did the Church begin her divine mission to the world?

R. On Pentecost day, after the miraculous descent of the Holy Ghost St. Peter and the other Apostles began to preach the gospel in Jerusalem and converted 3000 Jews. The number of believers grew daily, and the Church spread steadily over Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and into the surrounding countries.

At Antioch, the capital of Syria, the faithful were first called Christians.

17. Q. Did the Apostles confine their labors to the Jews?

R. No; they taught the Gentiles also; for

1) Christ had commanded them to go into the whole world and teach all nations; and the Holy Ghost bestowed upon them the gift of preaching in divers tongues.

2) St. Peter was instructed by a heavenly vision to baptize the Gentile captain Cornelius.

3) The council of the Apostles, held at Jerusalem about the year 51, decreed that converted Gentiles should be dispensed from observing the mosaic rites.

Thus the Church showed from her very beginning the Mark of Catholicity, so that St. Paul could truly say: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all in all." (Col. 3.)

18. Q. Describe briefly the career of the Apostles.

R. St. Peter labored in Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor. As head of the Church, he presided over the election of Matthias to the apostleship left vacant by Judas, and over the first council held at Jerusalem. He established his see at Antioch; but removed it about the year 42 to Rome, the capital of the world, which became the seat of the papacy and the center of Christendom. There he died the death of a martyr, being nailed to the cross, as he had humbly requested, head downward. (June 29, 67 A.D.)

St. Paul, formerly called Saul, and a persecutor of the Church, was converted near Damascus by the voice of Jesus speaking to him from heaven. Having become a zealous apostle, he made four great voyages and brought the gospel to Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and Spain. After a life of labor and trials, he obtained the crown of martyrdom, dying by the sword at Rome on the same day on which St. Peter was crucified.

St. John, the beloved friend of our Lord, took under his care the Blessed Virgin, entrusted to him under the cross. He became bishop of Ephesus and directed the churches of Asia Minor, until his holy death about the year 100. A burning love for God and man filled his great, innocent soul, and he constantly repeated the sublime admonition: "My little children, love one another."

St. James, the brother of St. John, labored in Judaea, and as tradition states, also in Spain. He was beheaded under King Herod Agrippa (43 A.D.).

St. James, the Less, became bishop of Jerusalem and was called the Just on account of his holiness. For professing that "Christ sitteth at the right hand of God," he was cast from the wall of the temple and slain with a fuller's club in the year 63.

St. Andrew preached in Southern Russia and on the coast of the Black Sea. He was crucified in Patras in Greece. When he beheld the cross, he greeted it with the beautiful words: "O dearest cross, honored by the body of my Master, long desired by me, take me hence from men and give me to my Lord!"

St. Philip died at Hierapolis in Phrygia, Asia Minor.

St. Bartholomew went to Armenia, where he received the crown of martyrdom, being flayed alive.

St. Thomas is said to have gone to India; St. Jude Thaddeus to Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia; St. Simon to Egypt, Northern Africa, and Babylon. St. Matthias is said to have come into the countries south of the Caucasus, and St. Matthew to the countries south of the Caspian Sea.

19. Q. How was the preaching of the Apostles confirmed?

R. The preaching of the Apostles was confirmed by numerous miracles, by the sublime holiness of their lives, their heroic sacrifice of all earthly things, and especially by the shedding of their blood in testimony of the truth.

20. Q. What was the success of the Apostles among the Jews?

R. Although many were converted, the majority and the leaders of the nation not only remained obstinate, but even persecuted the Christians. Therefore they were rejected by God and delivered into the hands of their enemies. In the year 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by a Roman army under Titus. A million of Jews perished in the war, forty thousand were crucified, many were sold as slaves, and the rest were scattered throughout the world.

With the destruction of Jehovah's temple, the divinely ordained worship of the Old Law ceased for ever, to make room for that of the Yew Law of which it had been the type. Since that time Israel, exiled from the land of promise, its priesthood extinguished, and its sacrifices at an end (as Malachy prophesied), has lived dispersed among the nations. But Divine Providence keeps it in existence, an unwilling witness to the revelations, prophesies, and judgments of God, until shortly before the end of the world, He will lead back in mercy His repentant people to the faith.

21. Q. What was the success of the Apostles among the heathens?

R. The Apostles converted great numbers of heathens in many lands. In the prominent cities of the Roman empire congregations were formed over which they placed their disciples as bishops and priests, and from these the Christian religion spread in ever-widening circles.

For instance, St. Paul appointed his disciple Titus as bishop of the island of Crete, and instructed him to ordain and send bishops to the different districts. St. Peter sent his disciple St. Mark to Alexandria, whence Christianity spread over all Egypt.

St. John ordained Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. Maris, a disciple of St. Jude, established the Church in Seleucia and among the Chaldeans. From Rome disciples of the Apostles spread the faith to the cities of Italy, Sicily, Northern Africa, Gaul, Spain, and even to parts of Germany and Britain.

St. Justin wrote about the year 150: "There is no people, neither among the barbarians, nor the Greeks, not nor any God tribe, where prayers and thanksgivings are in the name of Christ Crucified."

22. Q. From whom came this wonderful success?

R. Such wonderful success could come from God alone; for to the proud and immoral heathen the doctrine of Christ Crucified seemed folly, and the practice of humility and Christian virtue, a moral impossibility.

Acts 24: St. Paul was invited to preach the faith before Felix, pagan governor of Syria, but "as he treated of justice and chastity and the judgment to come," Felix being terrified, answered: "For this time go thy way."

23. Q. How was divine worship practiced by the first Christians?

R. We learn from Holy Scripture, and Tradition, that Holy Mass with Communion and instruction was regularly celebrated: "They were persevering in the doctrines of the Apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers" (Acts 2. 42).

After Baptism the sacrament of Confirmation was conferred by imposing hands and invoking the Holy Ghost as St. Peter and St. John did in Samaria and St. Paul in Ephesus (Acts 8. 17 and 19. 6). The sacrament of Penance included Confession of sins. "Many of them that believed came confessing and declaring their deeds." (Acts 19. 18.) The sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred, as in the case of Saul and Barnabas, by "fasting and praying and imposing their hands upon them" (Acts 13. 3). St. Paul called Matrimony "a great sacrament in Christ and in his Church", and admonished such as married to "marry in the Lord" (Eph. 5. 32, Cor.7. 39). St. James describes the sacrament of Extreme Unction (St. James 5. 14). Fasting was practiced at certain times, so that St. Augustine traced the Lenten fast back to apostolic institution. St. Ignatius ( 107 A.D.) wrote about the hierarchy of the apostolic age: "Let all be obedient to the bishop as Jesus to the Father, to the priests as to the Apostles, and to the deacons as God's law." He calls the Church of Rome the head of the great union of Charity (i.e. the head of the whole Church).

24. Q. Which of the Apostles have left sacred writings?

R. St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John, St. Matthew, St. James, St. Jude Thaddeus, and two disciples of the Apostles, St. Luke and St. Mark.

Their writings form the New Testament, and have been placed by the Church on her list of inspired books, called the "Canon."

Four gospels by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John. The acts of the Apostles by St. Luke. Fourteen epistles of St. Paul: To Romans (1), Corinthians (2), Galatians (1), Ephesians (1), Philippians (1), Colossians (1), Thessalonians (2), Timothy (2), Titus (1), Philemon (1), Hebrews (1). 1 epistle of St. James, 2 of St. Peter, 3 of St. John, 1 of St. Jude. Apocalypse of St. John.

25. Q. About what time were they written?

R. The Church had been evangelizing the world for about 17 years, St. James and St. Stephen had been martyred, and the persecution by the Jews had passed, when the Apostles began to write. The gospel of St. Matthew was compiled about the year 50, and that of St. John about the year 96. The other books of the New Testament were written during the intervening time.

26. Q. How were the books of the Old Testament received into the canon of the Church?

R. The books of the Old Testament were received into the canon of the Church as they had been handed down by ancient Jewish tradition, recognized by Christ and his Apostles, and sanctioned by the councils.

The canon of the Old and New Testament such as it is to-day, was defined in a council held at Rome under Pope Damasus ( A.D. 374) and also in the African councils of Hippo ( A.D. 393) and Carthage ( A.D. 397).

27. Q. Did the Church have published translations of the Bible for the people?

R. Translations of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek text were made under supervision of the Church even during the first centuries.

The Septuagint or Greek translation of the Old Testament, made about 200 years before Christ, was used by the Apostles and first Christians. For the Roman Empire a Latin translation of the entire Bible, called Itala, and for Egypt an Egyptian or Coptic translation appeared as early as the second century, and an Ethiopian and Armenian in the fourth and fifth centuries. Translations either total or partial followed for the barbarian nations of Europe, after they had been converted. f. i. A Gothic translation was made by bishop Ulfila, who invented the letters of the Gothic alphabet. ( A.D. 360.) Sts. Methodius and Cyril, apostles of the Slays, translated the Bible into Slavic, for which they also invented the characters of the alphabet. Venerable Bede, a learned Benedictine monk in England, finished on his deathbed an Anglo-Saxon translation of the gospel of St. John ( A.D. 735). St. Bridget of Sweden had a Swedish translation of the whole Bible in her library ( A.D. 1373).

28. Q. Did the disciples of the Apostles leave us any writings?

R. Several disciples of the Apostles, called also Apostolic Fathers, left important writings; for instance, St. Clement of Rome, third successor of St. Peter, wrote a letter to the Corinthians; St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch and disciple of St. John, left us seven letters, and St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and also a disciple of St. John, one letter. There is also a letter of St. Barnabas, the early companion of St. Paul.

These writings are the earliest witnesses of Tradition. In regard to the celebration of Sunday, St. Barnabas gives the reason, why Christians discard the Sabbath, and then continues: "But we celebrate with festive joy the eighth day on which Jesus rose from the dead;" St. Ignatius also writes: "They (Christians) have the new hope and do not keep the Sabbath, but regulate their lives according to the Lord's day." (Magnesians C. 9.) In the letter of St. Ignatius to the Philadelphians (C. 4) we find the words: "Partake of the one Eucharist; for one is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ and one is the chalice of his blood, one altar and one bishop with the priests and the deacons."

29. Q. Did any heresies arise in the apostolic age?

Yes; for St. Paul warned against false teachers, and St. John wrote his gospel against Cerinth and others who attacked the divinity of Christ. St. Peter refuted Simon Magus, who is called the father of heresy.

Simon offered money to St. Peter, in order to obtain the power of imparting the wonderful gifts of the Holy Ghost; but he was rebuked with the words: "Keep thy money to thyself to perish with thee." Hence the name "Simony" for the sin of selling or buying spiritual and holy things.

NOTE.—The apostolic age has left upon the Church the distinguishing mark of apostolicity. Her popes hold the legitimate and unbroken succession in the apostolic see, which St. Peter, as head of the Church, established in Rome; the lines of her bishops can be traced with undeniable certainty to apostolic origin; she received and guarded the writings of the Apostles and thus formed the canon of the New Testament; the bodies and relics of the Apostles rest under her altars. Of her, therefore, St. Paul says: "Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being Himself the cornerstone." (Eph. II, 20.)



Persecutions by the Roman Emperors

30. Q. What did the pagan world do in order to check the rapid spread of Christianity?

R. The Roman emperors, who governed the world, decreed ten great and bloody persecutions.

31. Q. Name these persecutions.

R. First persecution, under Nero, about the year 64. He had set Rome on fire, but cast the blame on the Christians. They were killed by thousands in the streets; many were sewed in sacks, besmeared with pitch and burned alive at the nightly garden feasts of Nero. St. Peter and St. Paul died in this persecution.

Second persecution, under Domitian, about the year 95. During this persecution St. John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil, but was miraculously preserved. He was then banished to the isle of Patmos, w here lie received divine revelations about the future of the Church and the glory of Heaven, and wrote the Apocalypse.

Third persecution, under Trajan, about the year 107. Pope St. Clement was one of the first victims; Simeon, second bishop of Jerusalem, was crucified; St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was cast before the lions in the amphitheatre at Rome.

The Christians of Rome gathered the bones of St. Ignatius and sent them to Antioch with the message: "We have made known to you the day of his death, so that we may unite on his anniversary to celebrate his memory, hoping to share his victory." ( A.D. 110.) This proves the veneration of martyrs and relics in the ancient Church. Pliny, governor of Bithynia, sent to Emperor Trajan a remarkable report about the Christians, in which he said: "They assemble on certain days before sunrise to sing hymns of praise in honor of Christ; their God, they take an oath to abstain from certain crimes and partake of a common, but blameless meal" (i.e. holy communion).

This persecution was continued under Hadrian, who condemned St. Symphorosa and her seven sons to death. He profaned the holy places in Jerusalem and erected statues of false gods on Calvary and over the holy Sepulchre of our Lord.

Fourth persecution, under Marcus Aurelius, about the year 167. St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John and bishop of Smyrna, suffered martyrdom at the stake in the 86th year of his life. The persecution was terrible in Lyons and Vienne, France, where St. Pothiuus, first bishop of Lyons, and Blandina, a heroic young slave, were martyred. Although the famous Christian legion called "Fulminatrix" saved the army in a miraculous manner by its prayers, the emperor remained unrelenting towards the Christians.

The influence of St. Polycarp was so great, that his pagan and Jewish accusers stated: "He is the teacher of Asia, father of the Christians and destroyer of our Gods." When asked to deny Christ, he answered: "I have served Christ for six and eighty years, and never has he done me evil. How, then, can I blaspheme my King and Saviour." His ashes were gathered by the Christians and placed in a tomb, where they annually celebrated the day of his martyrdom.

Fifth persecution, under Septimius Severus, about the year 202. This emperor had been cured by a Christian; nevertheless he turned against them. St: Clement of Alexandria said of this persecution: "We see daily many.martyrs burned and crucified before our eyes." St. Irenaeus suffered at Lyons, St. Perpetua and St. Felicitas at Carthage.

Perpetua's father, a pagan and senator of Carthage, begged her on his knees to abjure Christ for the sake of his gray hair and her own little babe, but with heroic fortitude the noble Christian lady refused. She was led with St. Felicitas into the arena, where they suffered a glorious martyrdom by the horns of a maddened bull and the sword of the executioner.

Sixth persecution, under Maximinus Thrax, about the year 236. On account of repeated earthquakes, which the heathens ascribed to the neglect of their gods, they demanded another persecution of the Christians with the cry: "The Christians to the lions." The two popes, Pontianus and Antherus, and many others suffered martyrdom.

Seventh persecution, under Decius, about the year 250. This most bloody and systematic persecution which was directed especially against the bishops and the clergy, was decreed by Decius on the plea that Christianity and the Roman Empire could never be reconciled. Among the holy vitims were the virgins St. Agatha and St. Apollonia.

St. Cyprian wrote at that time: "Emperor Decius had become so jealous of papal authority that he said: I will rather have a rival in my empire, than hear of the election of the priest of God (Pope Cornelius) in Rome."

Eighth persecution, under Valerian, about 258. In Rome, Pope Sixtus II. and his deacon St. Lawrence were martyred. When the treasures of the Church were demanded from him, St. Lawrence assembled the poor and showed them to his persecutor with the words: "Behold the treasures of the Church." He suffered death with serene fortitude, being roasted alive on a gridiron.

At Utica, Africa, 153 Christians were cast alive into pits and covered with quick-lime.

Ninth persecution was ordered by Emperor Aurelian, but soon came to an end on account of his violent death.

Tenth persecution, under Diocletian, about the year 303. It surpassed all others in violence and cruelty. St. Sebastian, tribune of the imperial guard, suffered a lingering death, being shot with arrows. St. Anastasia, the youthful St. Agnes of Rome, St. Lucia of Syracuse, and many other consecrated virgins obtained the martyr's palm. St. Catherine, a noble and learned virgin of Alexandria, who had fearlessly reproached Caesar Maxentius for his cruelty against the Christians and refuted the pagan philosophers of his court, died by the sword.

When Bishop Felix, who had refused to deliver the sacred books, was led to execution, he said: "It is better that I be cast into the fire, than the sacred volumes. I thank Thee, O Lord, for fifty-six years of my life were spent in Thy service, I have preserved sacerdotal chastity, have guarded the holy gospels, and preached Thy truth. For Thee, O Jesus, God of heaven and earth, I offer myself as victim."

So great and general was the bloodshed, that Diocletian had a coin struck: "Diocletian, emperor, who destroyed the Christian name." A vain boast. His favorite, Caesar Galerius, was attacked by a loathsome disease, and, fearing the , vengeance of God, he repealed the edict of persecution.

32. Q. How did the popes rule the Church during these persecutions?

R. The popes stood at their post and died for the faith as true shepherds of Christ's suffering flock. Although persecution rendered the ruling of Holy Church extremely difficult, the records of the time bear witness to the authority and watchfulness of these martyr pontiffs. (See list of popes, Sts. Clement, Anicetus, Victor, Cornelius, Stephen.)

33. Q. What torments did the Martyrs suffer?

R. They were scourged, put to the rack, cast before wild beasts, burnt at the stake, crucified and tortured in many other ways, according to the cruel custom of pagan times.

The acts of the martyrs furnish reliable account of the glorious confession and death of these Christian heroes. They were either copied from the records of the imperial law courts or written down according to the testimony of eye-witnesses. Pope Clement had divided Rome into seven districts, with notaries appointed to keep these sacred records. A large number perished during the persecution of Diocletian, but many have been preserved to the present time and are of great value as proofs that the faith of the early martyrs was that of the Church of to-day.

34. Q. What did these persecutions prove?

R. These persecutions proved that a religion, which for three hundred years passed safely through such trials and victoriously withstood the bloody onslaught of the world's greatest empire, must be from God.

35. Q. How did Almighty God avenge the persecutions of His Church?

R. 1) Nearly all of these persecutors died a miserable death.

2) Barbarian nations laid waste the frontiers and the distant provinces of the Roman empire.

3) Earthquakes, floods, droughts, famines, and dreadful diseases visited the nation.

Nero had to fly before the open revolt of the people and stabbed himself in despair. Domitian was assassinated. Hadrian became insane from despair. Marcus Aurelius, heart-broken over the ingratitude of his profligate and only son Commodus starved himself to death. Septimius Severus, whose life had been attempted by his own son, died in despair. Decius ended miserably in a swamp during an unlucky battle with the Goths. Valerian was taken prisoner by Sapor, king of Persia, and flayed alive. Maxentius was drowned in the Tiber, and Diocletian starved himself to death.

36. Q. What was the attitude of the first Christians during these persecutions?

R. While thousands of martyrs bore torture and death with heroic fortitude, the Christians worshipped in hidden places (catacombs) with unflagging zeal, and their learned men defended the faith in numerous writings.

Catacombs are underground passages and rooms, carved into the soft rocks, outside the gates of ancient Rome. They were used by the early Christians for burial and for the celebration of the holy mysteries. Pictures, medals, and inscriptions which were found there, proved the identity of the faith in that age with ours; f. i. prayers for the dead, invocation of the saints, and the Real Presence. Remarkable is the emblem of the fish, used during that perilous time to designate our Lord; for the Greek word "ichthys" means fish, and its composing letters are the initials of the words: Jesus Christ, God's (theou) Son (yios), Saviour (soter). To "receive the fish" meant, for the initiated, Holy Communion.

37. Q. Name some of the early writers, or apologists.

R. St. Justin, a philosopher and afterwards martyr, wrote two excellent apologies and presented them to the Emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. ( A.D. 150.)

St. Clement of Alexandria and his great disciple Origen, refuted in profound works the teachings of Celsus and other philosophers, who had assailed Christianity.

Tertullian, formerly a Roman lawyer and later a Christian, and St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage and martyr, showed in learned works the emptiness of paganism and the just claims of the Christian religion to philosophical and political recognition.

St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons and disciple of Bishop Polycarp, (who was a disciple of St. John, the Apostle), wrote a famous work against the heresies of his time. ( A.D. 180.)

In order to show the importance of St. Irenaeus as a witness of divine tradition, we quote from his letter to, Florinus, an imperial courtier, written about the year 177: saw thee in thy youth with Polycarp in Asia Minor, and I remember so well, that I can describe the place in which he sat and preached, and his walk and face, and how he related his familiar intercourse with St. John and others who had seen the Lord, how he recalled what he had heard about the Lord, his miracles and teaching from those who had beheld the Word of Life with their own eyes,—all in accordance with Holy Scripture."

From the first apology, delivered by St. Justin ( A.D. 147) before the Roman Emperor, we quote the following description of h. Mass, as celebrated at that early age: "After the reading of the writings of the prophets and the apostles, followed by the bishop's address and prayers, bread and a chalice, containing wine mixed with water, are handed to the bishop. He, taking it after praise and thanksgiving to God, the Father, through the Son and the H. Ghost, and continues the sacrifice for some time.

"Then the deacons give to the faithful of this food which we call Eucharist; and nobody is admitted to partake, unless he believes our teaching and has been baptized to the forgiveness of sins and to regeneration.

"For we do not receive these things as common bread and drink, but as Jesus Christ, our Saviour was made flesh by the word of God, even so we have been taught, that this food, blessed by prayer, is the flesh and blood of the same incarnate Jesus; for the Apostles have recorded in their memoirs, which we call Gospels, that the Lord said over this food and drink: 'This is my body; this is my blood' and commanded us: 'Do this for a commemoration of Me'."

38. Q. What heresies afflicted the Church in those times?

R. 1) Gnosticism, which claimed to possess the secret of a higher knowledge and taught the eternity of matter, its formation into the world by an evil spirit, and the sinfulness of material things.

2) Manicheism, which assumed two eternal principles, light and darkness, or good and evil, and taught that all material things come from the evil principle.

NOTE.—Persecutions and martyrdom are distinguishing traits in the history of the Church and will continue as long as time will last, because Christ has said: "The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you." (St. John XV, 20.) But from every persecution the Church has risen in new, divinely infused vigor and sanctity; and the blood of the martyrs became, as Tertullian has written, "the seed of Christians."



Constantine's Conversion


The Great Heresies and the Fathers of the Church


39. Q. How did God give peace to His Church?

R. God gave peace to His Church through the miraculous conversion of Emperor Constantine, in the year 312.

40. Q. How was Constantine converted?

R. A cross, surrounded by the words, "In this sign thou shalt conquer," appeared in the heavens to him and his army. Adopting the cross as his standard, he marched against the pagan Emperor Maxentius and gained a glorious victory by which he became the sole Christian emperor of the world.

41. Q. What did Constantine do for the Church?

R. He became the zealous protector of the Church, gave her full liberty, honored popes and bishops, and built magnificent churches; so that, in a short time, Christianity became the chief religion of the Roman Empire. His mother, St. Helena, brought the holy cross and many sacred relics from Jerusalem to Rome.

In the year 313 the imperial edict of Milan was published. It abolished all laws against the Christian religion, granted liberty of worship, restored all confiscated property, entitled the Church to acquire real estate and to accept testamentary bequests, and made the celebration of the Sunday obligatory for the empire.

42. Q. What countries were converted during the Constantine era?

R. Ethiopia was converted by St. Frumentius, who had been brought a captive to the king's court, and was consecrated bishop by St. Athanasius of Alexandria.

St. Gregory, called Illuminator, became the Apostle of Armenia, and after suffering dreadful tortures for the faith, brought king Tiridates and the whole nation into the Church. The gospel was spread in Persia, Southern Arabia, and even in India and Ceylon.

43. Q. What happened after the external enemies of the Church had been conquered?

R. The Church of God, which is and always will be the Church militant on earth, had to conquer internal foes, i.e., the false prophets of heresy, as Christ had foretold.

44. Q. Name the prominent heresies.

R. 1) Arianism.—Arius, an apostate priest of Alexandria; aTout the year 320 denied the divinity of the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity and taught the blasphemy, that Jesus Christ is only the first and highest of God's creatures. His heresy, supported by several emperors of Constantinople, spread far and wide and lasted till the seventh century. In the height of his success he was struck by sudden death at Constantinople and died like Judas, the entrails bursting forth from his body.

2) Macedonianism.—Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople, denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

3) Pelagianisin.—Pelagins, a British monk, about the year 400, denied original sin and the necessity of grace, a heresy, held by the unbelievers of our time who claim, that natural goodness is sufficient to save man.

4) Nestorianism.—Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, taught the existence of two persons in Christ, a divine and a human, inferring therefrom that Mary should not be called Mother of God. When he defended his heresy from the pulpit, the indignant people forced him to leave. the church. The haughty enemy of our Lady's exalted dignity died impenitent and excommunicated in exile.

5) Heresy of the Monophysites.—Eutyches, abbot of a convent near Constantinople, taught that there was but one nature in Christ, the divine; from which it would follow, that Christ could not have died to redeem us.

6) Heresy of the Monothelites.—Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, and' his followers taught that there was only one will in Christ, the divine and not a human; a doctrine, contrary to the mystery of the Redemption.

7) Iconoclastism.—Leo, the Isaurian, emperor of Constantinople, attacked the use and veneration of holy images. He and his adherents were called Iconoclasts or image-breakers.

It is a notable fact that these heresies, Pelagianism excepted, sought and found support with the imperial government and often used armed force against ecclesiastical authority. They prepared the way for the Greek Schism of the ninth century.

45. Q. How did the Church combat these heresies?

R. 1) By general or ecumenical councils, i.e., assemblies of bishops under the direction of the popes.

2) By the decisions and authority of the popes, who defended the purity of faith with unremitting watchfulness and zeal, and even suffered persecution for its sake. (St. Martin, St. Liberius and St. Silverius. See list of popes.)

Almost every one of these heresies was condemned by the popes before the councils could meet, and the councils solemnly adopted these papal decisions as infallible utterances of the successors of St. Peter.

46. Q. Name some of these councils.

R. 1) The Council of Nicaea in Asia Minor, opposite Constantinople, condemned Arianism, and declared that the Son is true God, consubstantial—i.e., of the same substance—with the Father.

After the council, Arianism, supported by the government, began a fierce struggle for power, but met with unflinching opposition from the papacy. St. Athanasius and other faithful bishops, who had been driven from their sees by Arian violence, appealed to Rome and were upheld in their rights by Pope Julius. When at the synod of Rimini, Emperor Constantius forced the bishops to sign a semi-arian formula, Pope Liberius firmly rejected it and was sent into exile. But the Christian ladies of Rome united in solemn protest against the installation of another pope with the words: "One God, one Christ, one bishop," and made the emperor recall Liberius. Like all heresies Arianism split into sects and steadily declined. In the Roman empire it was suppressed by an edict of Emperor Theodosius, the Great, in the year 380.

2) The Council of Constantinople ( A.D. 381) condemned Macedonius and declared the divinity of the Holy Ghost. (See list of Popes)

3) The heresy of Pelagius was condemned by the provincial Council of Carthage, and finally by Pope Innocent I ( A.D. 417).

When the decision of the pope reached the African bishops, St. Augustine wrote the famous words: "The acts of two councils have been sent to the apostolic see and the answer has arrived. The case is finished, let heresy now have an end."

4) The Council of Ephesus ( A.D. 431) condemned Nestorius and declared, amidst the rejoicing of the whole world, that Mary is truly the Mother of God.

The Fathers of the council replied to the letter of instruction, sent by Pope Celestine: "This synod thanks Celestine, the new Paul, the guardian of the faith."

5) The Council of Chalcedon ( A.D. 451) condemned Eutyches, and declared that there are two natures in Christ, a human and a divine, both in one person. When at this council the letter of Pope Leo I. was read, the assembled bishops cried out: "St. Peter has spoken through Leo," and adopted his decision.

6) The Council of Constantinople (called the Trullanum from the church in which it was held, A.D. 680) condemned the heresy of the Monothelites, and declared that there are two wills in Christ, the divine and the human, both under the control of the one divine Person in Christ.

The council replied to Pope Agatho's letter: "We have received your letter as if written by the prince of the apostles under divine inspiration, and instructed by it have condemned error."

7) Iconoclasm was condemned by Pope St. Gregory II., but the fanatical emperors caused a bloody persecution in which sacred images were ruthlessly destroyed and many of their defenders martyred. In the reign of the pious Empress Irene, Pope Hadrian convened the Second Council of Nicaea by which this heresy was silenced. ( A.D. 787.)

A few thousand Nestorians and Monophysites survive in Persia and Egypt. With the exception of their particular heresy they hold the same articles of faith which the Catholic Church teaches to-day (f. i. 7 sacraments, b. mass, purgatory etc.) and thus bear witness to her unchanged tradition since the beginning of the 5th century.

47. Q. Who were the holy and learned men that took a prominent part in these combats against heresy?

R. The "Fathers of the Church," who lived during these times, were the chief opponents of heresy.

48. Q. To whom was given the title "Fathers of the Church"?

R. The title "Fathers of the Church" was given to men, of great holiness and learning whom God sent to His Church during the first centuries, to nourish the faith of her children with their sacred knowledge, and whose writings have for all times become standard witnesses of Catholic truth.

49. Q. Name the most noted among the Fathers of the Church.

R. The most noted among the Greek Fathers are St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzum, and St. John Chrysostom; among the Latin Fathers, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great.

50. Q. Give a brief sketch of the lives of the four Greek Fathers.

R. 1) St. Athanasius, the Great (296 to 373), bishop of Alexandria.—His long life was a continual warfare against the Arian heresy. At the Council of Nicaea, where his learning and zeal prevailed, he completely defeated Arius in open debate. Five times the Arian rulers sent him into exile, but the great confessor of the faith never flinched. At his death, Arianism was in a dying state all over the Roman empire.

2) St. Basil, the Great (330 to 374), bishop of Caesarea.—A saint, as great and cultured in mind as he was ascetic and frail in body. He defeated Arianism in the greater portion of Asia Minor and composed the monastic rule which has been followed by the religious Orders of the East up to the present time.

So complete was his renunciation of the world, that he replied with calm dignity to the violent threats of the Arian emperor: "You cannot frighten me with confiscation; for I own nothing but this faded dress and a few books; nor with exile, for the earth is God's and therefore I am at home everywhere; nor with death, for what is that to a man (here he lifted up the wrinkled skin on his emaciated hand) who is half dead and longs for God."

3) St. Gregory of Nazianzum (330 to 390), an intimate friend of St. Basil.—His writings were considered of such authority, that the historian Rufinus wrote of him: "It is the general verdict, that whosoever does not agree with St. Gregory, cannot be right in his faith."

4) St. John Chrysostom (344 to 407), patriarch of Constantinople, called "the golden-mouthed" on account of his wonderful eloquence.—His zeal against the vices of his time brought him persecution and banishment, which he bore with heroic patience. He died on his way to exile uttering the words: "Praise to God for all this."

51. Q. Give a brief sketch of the life of the four great Latin Fathers.

R. 1) St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan (344 to 397), honored by rulers and people.—Through his energy the last remnants of paganism were removed and Arianism was destroyed throughout Italy. He is said to have composed the famous hymn Te Deum. When emperor Valentinian demanded a church for the Arians of Milan, St. Ambrose answered: "I cannot yield; the emperor is in the Church, but not above the Church." To Theodosius, the Great, who had rashly ordered a bloody massacre in the rebellious city of Thessalonica, St. Ambrose fearlessly refused entrance into his cathedral, until he had expiated his sin by public penance. The great emperor showed his greatness by submitting to the just demand of so holy a bishop.

2) St. Jerome (331 to 424).—He was a man of vast learning, and a personal friend of Pope Damasus, at whose command he translated the Holy Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. This translation, called the Vulgate, became the official and standard textbook of the Church.

3) St. Augustine (354 to 430), bishop of Hippo, Northern Africa.—In his youth he had fallen into heresy and immorality, but was converted through the prayers of his holy mother Monica and the preaching of St. Ambrose. He gave up his brilliant career of lawyer and became one of the greatest lights of sacred learning the Church ever had. He refuted the heresies of the Donatists and the Pelagians.

St. Augustine embodied the experience of his eventful life in the words: "Our heart has been made for God and is restless, until it rests in God."

4) St. Gregory, the Great (540 to 606).—One of the greatest popes in the see of St. Peter, and a true reformer of Church discipline. He is the father of plain chant, which is prescribed for the solemn service of the Church and is called after him "Gregorian Chant."

Other prominent Fathers of this period were:

St. Cyril of Alexandria, the great opponent of Nestorius. St. Cyril of Jerusalem who left profound works on the Bl. Sacrament. St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Epiphanius. St. Ephrem of Syria, a devout servant of the Bl. Virgin. St. Hilary of Poitiers, who saved France from the bane of Arianism. St. Isidore of Spain ( A.D. 636), who embodied in his numerous works the learning of the great epoch of the Fathers as an heirloom for succeeding ages. St. John of Damascus (eighth century), the last of the Greek Fathers, whose writings contain the tradition of the Eastern Church before the schism.

52. Q. Did the successors of Constantine imitate his devotedness to the Church?

R. While many emperors like Theodosius, the Great, followed Constantine's example and protected the Church, others, like Constantius, favored heresy, and nearly all attempted to rule in Church affairs according to the laws of pagan Rome.

Constantius went so far as to threaten the pope and the synod of Milan with drawn sword: "My will shall be your law; choose between obedience and exile." Pope Liberius rebuked the tyrant with the words: "Meddle not in Church affairs and give not precepts, but rather learn them from us."

53. Q. What emperor tried to revive paganism?

R. Emperor Julian, called the Apostate, about the year 361, tried to revive paganism and to suppress the Church, but he failed and fell in a battle against the Persians, crying out in despair: "Galilean, Galilean, thou hast conquered!"

Ammianus Marcellinus, a pagan writer of that time, relates, that Julian, in order to defeat the prophecy of Christ, commanded the Jews to rebuild the temple, and that an earthquake and fiery balls, issuing from the ground, frustrated his blasphemous undertaking.

NOTE.—Heresies and false prophets had been foretold by Christ and His Apostles. Blinded by passion or by the suggestion of the devil, men set up their own teaching against divine truth and the authority of the Church. But the Church, guided by the unerring light of the Holy Ghost, always detects and condemns these false doctrines, so that divine truth is vindicated before the world and thus stands forever in clear and distinct outlines before the Christian mind (dogma). These constant victories of the Church over the heresies of every age prove her infallibility.



Monastic Life

54. Q. What remarkable form of religious life originated during the third century?

R. During the third century Monastic Life originated, which is a life led in seclusion from the world, and devoted to the pursuit of higher Christian perfection. (Monastic from the Greek word monos, i. e., alone.)

55. Q. In which of Christ's teachings has Monastic Life its source?

R. Monastic Life has its source in the three evangelical counsels, which were taught by Christ, illustrated by His life, and continually practiced in the Church from the time of the apostles. The three evangelical counsels are: voluntary poverty, chastity, and obedience.

From the beginning consecrated virgins were numerous in the Church. They took their vow before the altar, and the bishop conferred the sacred veil upon them with prayer and laying on of hands. During the persecutions they lived with their families. So did many persons of both sexes who practised voluntary poverty, continency, fasting, and prayer, and were called ascetics. An apostolic institution was that of "widows", who were employed by the Church in ecclesiastical and charitable work. St. Ignatius ( A.D. 107) wrote: "I greet the houses of my brethren, their wives and children, and the virgins, the so-called widows." (Smyrn. 13.)

56. Q. How did Monastic Life begin and develop?

R. 1) Monastic life began with the hermits, who had left the world and retired to the desert, especially during the persecution of Decius, 250. St. Paul, who led the life of a hermit at Thebes, in Egypt, died at the age of 115 years.

An instance of extraordinary mortification was given by St. Symon Stylites ( A.D.450), who stood for 30 years on a pillar near Antioch and converted thousands by his preaching and example. Up to the end of the middle ages many hermits lived in the deserts, forests and mountains of the Christian world and spread faith and piety among the surrounding people.

2) Soon the hermits formed congregations, living separately in cells but under a common spiritual director, called abbot. St. Anthony of Egypt, one of the holiesth fathers of the desert, ,was the chief promoter of this form of monastic life.

3) Finally monasteries were founded, wherein the monks lived under a common rule. St. Pachomius established such in Egypt, St. Hilarion, in Palestine, St. Basil in Asia Minor. Monasteries for nuns were founded by St. Anthony and St. Pachomius whose sisters became the first superiors. ("Nonna" means a person consecrated to God.)

4) In the West monastic life found its chief patrons in St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Martin of Tours, St. Patrick, St. Columba and other great and holy bishops.

St. Martin was called to a higher life by an appearance of Christ who thanked him for having given one half of his cloak to a beggar. He founded a large monastery near Tours where many of the great apostolic men of that age were educated. 12,000 monks and many consecrated virgins attended at his funeral.

At Bangor, Ireland, 3000 monks sang in 7 divisions the canonical hours without intermission.

5) St. Benedict ( 543) became the founder of the great Benedictine order, and compiled his famous rule in which prayer, study, manual labor, silence, and mortification are harmoniously blended. Pope Gregory, the Great, was an ardent protector of this order. It soon spread over Europe and founded 37,000 convents.

St. Benedict was been in the year 480. He led a life of prayer and penance in the solitude of Subiaco. The fame of his holiness attracted many disciples, and he established a monastery at Monte Casino, which became the motherhouse of his order. When his end approached, he asked to be carried to the church, where be received the last sacraments and died standing, supported by his disciples.

57. Q. What was the effect of the awakening of this monastic spirit upon the world?

R. So great became the longing for higher perfection, that within a short time, the East and the West abounded in monasteries, which became the homes of holiness and learning.

The Benedictine Order alone produced 1,500 canonized Saints.

58. Q. In what manner did the Church of these early ages reconcile her fallen children?

R. Besides the Sacrament of Penance there was a well organized system of public penance, which consisted of four degrees and was instituted for certain sins.

The first degree contained the weeping, who had to stand outside the church; second degree the hearing  who assisted at mass until after the gospel and sermon; third degree the kneeling;  fourth degree the standing;  the two latter remained to the end of mass but were separated from the faithful and debarred from holy communion.

With maternal care the Church led her children through these penitential stages to a pure and holy life. So great and general became this ascetic spirit in the history of the Church that even princes like Theodosius the Great, Charlemagne, Otto I. of Germany, St. Louis of France, Philip II. of Spain, and many others used cilice and discipline (i.e.  hairshirt and scourge).

NOTE.—Holiness is the second mark of the Church, and it manifests itself in a special manner through the practice of the evangelical counsels, by which the closest resemblance to the life of our Lord is attained. By far the larger number of Saints canonized by the Church have sprung from Monastic Life, and throughout the history of Christianity the religious orders have produced the richest blossoms of sanctity, and have been prominent centers from which faith, piety, and sacred learning radiated into the world.

The great and apostolic men, who converted the nations of Europe, as we shall see in the next chapter, were either monks or had received their training in monasteries and established such as centres for Christianizing the people. Their ascetic lives not only filled the sensual heathens with awe and reverence, but also drew down God's blessing upon their missionary labors.

In the times of barbarism that followed the migration of nations and the downfall of the Roman Empire, ancient civilization sought and found shelter and loving care in the Benedictine monasteries. Numbers of monks were busy in copying and multiplying the Holy Scriptures and whatever books of sacred and secular learning could be rescued. Others were engaged in architecture, sculpture, carving, painting, and music; others studied medicine and gave free attendance to all. Pilgrims and travellers enjoyed their hospitality, generously bestowed for Christ's sake. At their monasteries the sons and daughters of princes, knights, and citizens received an education. The monks cleared the forests, tilled the fields, planted vineyards and orchards, and provided the country with roads, canals, and bridges. Their lives were a continuous "Ora et labora" (i.e. pray and work).



The Barbarian Nations of Europe


And the Church


59. Q. What great event threatened to destroy Christianity and ancient civilization in Western Europe?

R. The migration of nations, which occurred from the fourth to the seventh centuries, threatened to destroy Christianity and ancient civilization in Western Europe. The Roman empire of the West fell before its force in the year 475, and the barbarian Goths, Franks, Vandals, Sueves, Lombards, Saxons, and other German tribes. founded new states over its ruins.

60. Q. Which was the most barbarous nation of this epoch?

R. The Huns, a nation of Mongolian descent, that had come from Asia and overrun Western Europe in the fifth century. Their king, Attila, called himself the "scourge of God" and ravaged Germany and France with fire and sword. When he fell upon Italy, Pope Leo, the Great, went to meet him. Struck by the Pope's venerable appearance, and threatened by a heavenly apparition, Attila agreed to leave Italy and returned to Hungary.

61. Q. What course did the Church pursue in dealing with these savage nations?

R. The Church, conscious of her divine mission, undertook at once to become the teacher and spiritual mother of these barbarians.

63. Q. In what manner did she set about this task?

R. The Church sent missionaries, who preached the Gospel to them and established churches and schools in their midst,

63. Q. How did Divine Providence aid the Church in this great work?

R. About the year 500, St. Benedict founded the great Benedictine Order, which became the providential instrument for christianizing and civilizing these barbarian nations.

64. Q. How was this accomplished?

R. The holy monks established convents in the wild forests, cleared and cultivated the land, taught the people religion and morality, established schools for their education and instructed them in agriculture, the trades and the arts.

65. Q. Name some of the great missionaries of this epoch.

R. St. Patrick converted Ireland about the year 432. At Tara, he addressed the assembled chieftains of Ireland and explained the mystery of the Blessed Trinity by using the shamrock as its symbol. Like his friend, St. Martin of Tours, he founded monasteries all over the island. The convent for nuns, founded by St. Bridget (490) at Kildare, became important for the education of the daughters of the nation.

After a life of sublime holiness, great apostolic labors and many miracles, St. Patrick died about the year 493, having brought the whole country into the fold of Christ.

Scotland was converted by St. Ninian and St. Columba.

St. Ninian, friend of St. Martin of Tours and son of a British king, studied at Rome, where Pope Siricius consecrated him bishop of Scotland. He brought the gospel to the southern parts of that country and founded the monastery of Withern, as a center of his labors. ( 430.)

St. Columba, an Irish monk of great learning, evangelized northern Scotland. On the island of Hy (Hebrides) he founded the famous monastery of Iona, which was during many centuries the nursery of apostolic men for the northern countries ( 597).

66. Q. When was England converted?

R. England, in ancient times called Britain, received the tidings of faith as early as the beginning of the second century, but the invasion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons ( A.D. 448) almost destroyed Christianity.

Lucius, a British King, was baptized in the time of Pope Eleutherius, and St. Alban, first martyr of England, suffered in the persecution of Diocletian.

67. Q. What pope sent missionaries to the Anglo-Saxons?

R. Pope Gregory, the Great, sent St. Austin with forty Benedictine monks to England. Assisted by the influence of pious Queen Bertha, they converted King Ethelbert and his people. ( A.D. 596. )

On one occasion, St. Gregory, passing through the streets of Rome, saw English captives in the market place, and, struck by their beauty, inquired who they were. When informed, that they were Angles, he exclaimed: "Not Angles, but angels !" and resolved to Christianize their country.

68. Q. Who brought the gospel to the Netherlands?

R. St. Piatus and St. Servatius preached in the Netherlands during the third and fourth centuries; after the migration of nations St. Eligius, St. Amand, St. Willibrord, and St. Lambert completed the work.

69. Q. How was France converted?

R. France, in ancient times called Gaul, was evangelized during and shortly after the apostolic times, by Lazarus, Martha, Magdalen, Dionysius, and other disciples of the apostles, but was torn from the Church by the immigration of the pagan Franks.

70. Q. How was France brought back to the Church?

R. Clovis, the king, was led to the faith by his holy wife Clotilda. In a battle with the Allemanni, being nearly defeated, he called upon Christ, the God of Clotilda, and gained a complete victory. He was baptized by St. Remigius in 496, and brought his people with him into the Church.

When the great warrior king approached the baptismal font, St. Remigius said: "Bow thy head, proud Sigambrian, and adore what thou hast burnt, and burn what thou hast adored!"

71. Q. How was Spain Christianized?

R. Spain had received the faith from St. Paul, St. James, and the disciples of the Apostles; but, during the migration of nations, the Arian Visigoths tore Spain from the Church. Through the martyrdom of Prince Hermenegild, and the teaching of St. Leander and St. Isidore, King Recared was converted and brought the country back to the Church under Pope Gregory about 595.

72. Q. How was Germany Christianized?

R. The countries along the Rhine and Danube were converted by disciples of the Apostles. St. Helena, mother of Constantine, lived at Treves in 325, and bishops resided there, and at Cologne, Mayence and in many cities of southern Germany. But, after the savage nations had overrun Germany, holy missionaries, mainly from England and Ireland, brought the Gospel to them. St. Severn preached in Austria, St. Fridolin in Baden, St. Columba and St. Gall in Switzerland, St. Kilian and St. Rupert in Bavaria during the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries.

73. Q. Who was the greatest apostle of Germany?

R. St. Winfrid, an English Benedictine monk, to whom Pope Gregory II. gave the name of Boniface, converted middle and northern Germany. (8th century.)

74. Q. How did he overcome the stubbornness of the savage Germans?

R. With an ax he cut down the famous sacred oak of their god Donar, and built out of its wood the first Christian Church. He founded many bishoprics, built convents and schools for the education of young men, and brought into the land holy women like St. Thecla, St. Lioba and St. Walburgis, who established convents for the education of the daughters of the nation.

75. Q. How were Sweden, Norway, and Denmark converted?

R. The great Apostle St. Ansgar sowed the seed of the gospel in Sweden about 850. King Canute, at the instance of his holy queen Emma, completed the conversion of Denmark. King Olaf completed that of Sweden, and King Olaf, the Holy, that of Norway, about the tenth century. Iceland and Greenland had bishops about the year 1000.

76. Q. What about the Lombards in Northern Italy?

R. The Lombards had destroyed the Christian religion in northern Italy, but were converted through the influence of Pope Gregory, the Great, and Queen Theodolinda a daughter of the Duke of Bavaria.

77. Q. Who converted the Slavonic nations?

R. St. Cyril and St. Methodius, sent by the Pope in the year 870, converted a large number of Slavonians. King Borzivoi and his Queen St. Ludmilla, with the help of missionaries from Germany, established Christianity in Bohemia. St. Adalbert of Prague became the Apostle of Prussia about the year 1000. Poland was evangelized about the same time through the influence of its Prince Miesko I. St. Stephen, King of Hungary, completed the conversion of his country with the help of apostolic missionaries from Germany about the year 1000. Russia was received into the Church under Czar Wladimir ( A.D. 1000).

Blessed. Olga, his mother, who had been baptized at Constantinople, obtained missionaries from Otto I., emperor of Germany. While the idols were cast into the river and his people approached for baptism, Wladimir knelt on the bank, invoking God's blessing.

78. Q. What emperor exercised the greatest influence in forming a Christian commonwealth in western and middle Europe?

R. Charlemagne, ruler of the Frankish empire, which comprised the larger portion of western and middle Europe. He was crowned by Pope Leo III. on Christmas day ( A.D. 800) as Roman emperor of the West and protector of the Church. He pacified Europe, built cities, colleges, schools and churches, erected bishoprics, protected popes and bishops, and was the great ideal of a Christian statesman, whose equal the world has never seen since.

Charlemagne (Charles the Great) sought the spiritual and temporal welfare of his people in union with the Church. He gathered around himself holy and learned men and placed the famous scholar Alcuin over the imperial school at Tours, whence trained teachers were sent out to establish higher and elementary schools throughout the empire. He spoke Latin, understood Greek and even Hebrew. He died at the age of 72 years, fortified by the holy sacraments and making the sign of the Cross. His last words were: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." His body was placed in the imperial tomb under the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, sitting on a throne and vested in imperial costume; but under the purple was the penitential hairshirt which he had worn all his life.

NOTE.—Before the Church converted and civilized these barbarian nations, they were steeped in gross idolatry, ferocious in war, enslaved to great vices, and roamed the forest in a savage state. The civilized and cultured Christian nations, who to-day rule the world, are their descendants. They owe their greatness chiefly to the Catholic Church. But the process of their education required patient toil and firmness, tempered by charity, and these the Church bestowed upon them with motherly care during the Middle Ages.

The spirit of our modern times is different. In spite of professing "humanity", its advancing step brought to the Indian population of the North American continent, not civilization, but extirpation. Such is the difference of results between the Church which works for the sake of God, and modern thought which works for the sake of man.

Origin of Church Property


And the Temporal Power of the Popes


79. Q. In what manner did the Church acquire temporal possessions among the newly converted nations?

R. 1) The early missionaries, bishops, and especially the religious Orders, who settled down among the barbarian nations, cleared and cultivated the soil in the wild forests, which they had either bought or received as gifts.

2) In gratitude for the gift of faith, the boundless charity, and civilizing influence of the Church, princes and people made frequent gifts of lands to her for the foundation and endowment of institutions devoted to religion, education, and charity.

3) Around cathedrals and abbeys, people settled down, forming counties, villages and cities, and freely chose the temporal government of bishops and abbots, preferring their mild rule to that of secular lords. Emperors and kings favored this as conducive to the stability and order of the realm, and made bishops and abbots feudal lords over their bishoprics and lands.

Feudalism developed during the middle ages. It was a system wherein inferior lords hereditarily held, used and governed lands and provinces, transferred in trust by the prince, for which they were bound to swear allegiance to him and render military and other services. In the unsettled state of Europe, caused by the migration of nations, Feudalism sprang up from the needs of the time and became a great element of public order, but, in course of time decayed and fell. Prelates becoming feudal lords over their temporal possessions and vassals of princes, gave to the state far more than the Church got in return from the state. Many evils were brought on the Church by princes, who on the strength of their feudal rights, interfered with the appointment of bishops and abbots in behalf of their own favorites. Too often they succeeded in placing worldly men into sacred offices either by open force or by simony and in open defiance of ecclesiastical law and authority. The popes, especially Gregory VII., firmly opposed and fought this baneful influence of Feudalism in the Church. It is a great mistake to confound the principle of union between Church and state with ecclesiastical Feudalism.

80. Q. What was the origin of the temporal power of the popes, or the pontifical states?

R. 1). From the first centuries of the Christian era; the popes received frequent donations of estates in and around Rome through the generosity of devout wealthy Christian families. Up to the seventh century, the possessions of the Holy See had grown to such an extent that they comprised a large portion of middle Italy. They were called the Patrimony of St. Peter.

2) After the seventh century the emperors who resided at Constantinople, had virtually abandoned their rights and left Rome and Italy exposed to the invasions of barbarian nations. In this distress the people turned to the Holy See for protection, and the popes repeatedly saved Rome from destruction and acted as rulers, chosen spontaneously by the people.

3) Finally, when the Lombards attempted the conquest of Rome, and all demands for help were left unanswered by the emperor, Pope Stephen II. appealed to Pepin, king of the Franks. The Lombards were defeated and Rome delivered. Pepin restored the Patrimony of St. Peter to the Pope, and laid the keys of the cities, taken from the Lombards, on the tomb of St. Peter, in token of their donation to the Holy See. Charlemagne, his son, confirmed this donation. Thus the temporal power of the pope originated, and it rests on most just and legitimate titles.

81. Q. How did the establishment of the temporal power affect the relation of the Holy See to the nations?

R. 1) The establishment of the temporal power made the Holy See more independent in ruling the Church, and freed it from that dangerous interference, which the emperors after Constantine had almost continually claimed and practiced as an imperial right.

2. It placed the Holy See on neutral ground, whence it could deal without suspicion of partiality with the new and independent Christian states, formed after the downfall of the Roman Empire of the West.

The establishment of the temporal power at such a time was providential.

This property, continually increasing through pious gifts and bequests, enabled the Church to establish an all-embracing system of charity, managed mainly by the religious orders and pervaded by the gentle spirit of Christ. There were hospitals for the sick, asylums for orphans and old people, for cripples, for the insane, and the homeless. When, after the crusades, leprosy swept over Europe, homes for its unfortunate victims were abundantly provided. The parish poor were cared for, not as paupers, but as "guests of Christ". Churches and convents received numerous endowments from which the poor and sick received medicines, clothing, and daily food. Other foundations were made to have prayers and masses offered for the repose of the suffering souls.

Such were the beneficent results which accrued to mankind from the property of the Church.



Mohammedanism


And the Greek Schism


82. Q. What great dangers arose to threaten Christian civilization in the seventh century?

R. Mohammed, a native of Arabia, arose about the year 622 and taught a false religion, which he compiled from old pagan ideas and from the Christian and Jewish religions and embodied in the Koran. He was an impostor and an immoral man. He preached a blind ruling of fate, fanaticism, bloodshed, and the grossest immoralities. The great tenet of his faith is: "God alone is God, and Mohammed is his prophet."

83. Q. How did his religion succeed?

R. It preached bloody war against all nations, promised paradise to every Mohammedan who should fall in such a war, and thus his adherents conquered and plundered the countries of the East.

84. Q. How did they treat the Christian countries?

R. They took Palestine, Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Northern Africa, and Spain, and reduced the Christian population to the lowest condition of poverty and oppression.

They would have conquered western Europe, had not the Franks under Charles Martel beaten their immense army in the battle of Tours ( A.D. 732).

They finally took Constantinople and the Balkan peninsula, and would have conquered Germany, had they not been overcome by Austria and Poland.

85. Q. What did the conquest of Jerusalem by the Mohammedans cause?

R. The conquest of Jerusalem caused the great crusades of European chivalry for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre of Our Lord.

Mohammedanism with its conquests and oppression became a scourge to the countries of the East, that had rebelled so often by heresies and schism against the divinely instituted authority of the Church. At the same time Divine Providence used it as a means to unite the Christian nations of Europe and to direct their warlike energies from internal feuds to enterprises of heroic faith and charity.

86. Q. What is schism?

R. Schism is the separation from the Church through rebellion against the authority of the Pope; it differs from heresy in this, that it retains the doctrines of the Church.

87. Q. What schism happened in the Church?

R. About the middle of the ninth century, Photius, who, through intrigues, had become patriarch of Constantinople, refused allegiance to the papacy, and, supported by the emperors, drew the church of the Greek empire, of Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt into schism. After the twelfth century the Russian empire also became schismatic.

Ignatius, the saintly patriarch of Constantinople, had publicly refused holy communion to Bardas, uncle and adviser of Emperor Michael III., on account of his immoral and scandalous life. The angry courtier persuaded his weak nephew to depose Ignatius and appoint Photius, a layman, to the patriarchal dignity, contrary to canon law. Ignatius appealed to Rome and was upheld by the pope; but Photius rebelled and the schism began.

88. Q. Were the Greeks united again with the Church?

R. Yes, the Greeks were united again with the Church at the VIII. general council, held in Constantinople ( A.D. 870), and although Photius made another attempt at rebellion, they fully submitted to Pope Formosus.

89. Q. When did they relapse into schism?

R. Patriarch Michael Cerularius rebelled again and was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX. in the eleventh century. In the year 1439, at the general council of Florence, the Greek bishops submitted again and were received into the Church. But a few years later the schism was renewed. Then God gave them into the hands of the Turks, who took Constantinople in the year 1453 and made the Greek Church a slave to the Turkish Sultan.

The church of Russia separated from the patriarch of Constantinople in the 16th century, but was made a state church by the despotic czar Peter, the Great, who became its head ( A.D. 1721). Since then the czars direct its affairs through the Holy Synod, a council of bishops and laymen appointed by them.

90. Q. What does history teach about the patriarchs of Constantinople, who claimed equality with the Pope?

R. The patriarchs were involved in most of the heresies of the first 700 years,—for instance, Macedonius, Sergius, Nestorius. The popes, on the contrary, defended the truth and have never failed, because they are the infallible successors of St. Peter, to whom Christ had said: "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not," and: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church."

NOTE.—Since the Greek Church has been separated from the centre of Catholic unity, it has become stagnant and barren. Subject to the state, with an ignorant, married clergy, it has languished within its old confines, has not evangelized or converted a single nation, nor produced an ecclesiastical literature. Like a cut-off branch it lies withering, while the parent tree, the Catholic Church, grows and spreads over the world with undiminished vigor.



The Crusades

91. Q. What were the crusades?

R. The crusades were sacred wars, undertaken by the chivalry of Christian nations for the deliverance of the Holy Land and the Sepulchre of Our Lord from Mohammedan oppression.

The name crusader is derived from the cross, which the warriors wore on their breasts as a sign of their undertaking.

92. Q. Name the principle crusades.

R. The First Crusade  was preached by Peter the Hermit, who had returned from the Holy Laud. He had witnessed the desecration of the holy places, where Our Lord suffered and died. Riding on a donkey through Europe, be aroused the Christian people by his fiery eloquence. At the great assembly of Clermont, under Pope Urban II., princes, knights, and people took the cross with the enthusiastic cry, "God wills it." Duke Godfrey of Bouillon led the immense army, and on July 15, 1099, Jerusalem was delivered from the Turks and became a Christian kingdom, with Godfrey as its king.

The Second Crusade  was under the leadership of Emperor Conrad III. of Germany, and Louis VII. of France, in the year 1147. It was preached by St. Bernard.

The Third Crusade, in 1189, was led by the emperor of Germany, Frederick Barbarossa, who gained brilliant victories over immense Turkish armies, but died suddenly at Tarsus while swimming on his horse through the Kalykadnus river. Philip Augustus, king of France, and the chivalrous Richard Lionheart, king of England, continued the crusade against the famous Sultan Saladin.

The Fourth Crusade  took place in the year 1203 under Baldwin of Flanders. It ended with the capture of Constantinople and the erection of the so-called Latin Empire on the Balkan Peninsula.

The Fifth Crusade  took place in the year 1217 under King Andrew II. of Hungary and Duke Leopold of Austria.

In the year 1212, thousands of children formed an army and went singing and praying through Europe for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre. It was called the Children's Crusade.

The last two crusades were undertaken by St. Louis IX., king of France.

When about to enter upon his last voyage (1270), St. Louis stood on the deck of his ship, holding the banner of France, and, looking once more towards his country and then up to Heaven, he said: "Now I have no other kingdom but that of Heaven." He died a holy death during the siege of Tunis in Africa.

93. Q. What were the results of the crusades?

R. 1) The crusades caused a great revival of religious fervor and Catholic unity.

2) They elevated the standard of Christian knighthood.

3) They advanced knowledge, science, and art.

4) They developed commerce and navigation.

5) They improved the condition of the lower and middle classes and increased the spirit of liberty and public charity.

94. Q. What great orders of Christian knights were founded in the Middle Ages for the defense of the Holy Sepulchre?

R. 1). Knights of St. John  ( A.D. 1099). Their military cloaks were black, with a large white cross. After the fall of Jerusalem, they moved to the Island of Rhodes and finally to Malta. Theirs is a record of grand faith, heroic bravery, and unstained honor.

2) Knights Templars  ( A.D. 1118), so called, because their fortified convent stood on the site of Solomon's Temple. Their cloaks were white, with a red cross. The order was abolished in 1311 by the council of Vienne at the urgent request of King Philip, the Fair, of France.

3) German Knights  ( A.D. 1143). Their cloaks were white, with a black cross. In the year 1226 they moved from Palestine to Prussia, where they defended the Christians against the inroads of the heathens.

95. Q. What did these knightly orders do?

R. These orders of knights protected and defended the pilgrims who came to the Holy Land, and fought the Turks in defense of the Holy Sepulchre.

The deep faith and piety, which animated these monks in armor, appear in the ritual of their reception: "Do you solemnly promise, beloved brother, in the name of God and the Blessed Virgin, to practice faithfully a lifelong obedience to your superiors? Do you promise perpetual celibacy and perfect purity of soul and body? Do you pledge yourself to renounce for ever all worldly goods, and to serve the order in poverty and submission, and to risk your life for the deliverance of the Holy Land? As you promise each and all of these things we receive you into the holy brotherhood, and promise you bread and water, the simple garb of our monastery, and labor and trials in abundance."

96. Q. Did the Turks continue to be a grave danger to Europe and Christianity?

R. The Turks continued to be a grave danger to Europe and Christianity. In the year 1453 they took Constantinople and the Balkan peninsula, and threatened Europe by continual attacks. The Angelus prayer was introduced to invoke God's help in the wars between the Cross and the crescent.

97. Q. In which great battles was the Turkish power finally reduced?

R. 1) Through the zealous efforts of Pope Pius V., a great fleet under Don Juan d'Austria was formed, and it annihilated the Turkish navy in a brilliant victory at Lepanto ( A.D. 1571). Thus the Turkish power, on sea, was broken forever.

2) In the year 1683, the Turkish land army was completely routed before the city of Vienna by Christian forces, composed of Poles under King Sobiesky, and of Germans under Charles of Lorraine.

3) In the battle of Belgrade ( A.D. 1717) Prince Eugene, famous as a Christian general in the songs of the people, destroyed the Turkish power on land.

98. Q. How was the Mohammedan power broken in Spain and Portugal?

R. From the time of the conquest of Spain and Portugal by the Mohammedans in the 8th century, the Christian chivalry fought them by continual crusades and with heroic bravery, until in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (A: D. 1492), the last Mohammedan ruler was forced to surrender and to leave the peninsula.

99. Q. To whom principally is the destruction of the terrible Turkish danger due?

R. The destruction of the Turkish power is due, mainly, to the popes who rallied the Christian nations to the defense, bore the greatest expense of these wars, and obtained divine help, through the recital of the Rosary and the Angelus in all Christian lands.

NOTE.—Chivalry or Christian knighthood of the middle ages owed all its grandeur to the elevating influence of the Church. Before her altar the candidate for knighthood had to bind himself by a solemn vow to defend the faith, the weak, and his country. Thus the warlike and indomitable spirit of the barbarian nations, which she had converted, was softened and consecrated to noble and ideal aims.



Church and State


In the Middle Ages


100. Q. What great principle ruled the relation of Church and State during the Middle Ages?

R. The principle that Church and State should be in friendly union, both independent in their own spheres, but protecting and helping each other in order to promote the honor and glory of God and the eternal and temporal welfare of the people.

101. Q. How was this principle realized?

R. 1) The nations, grateful to the Church, that had converted and civilized them, protected her through their constitutions and laws in her divine mission.

2) They used her powerful and willing help for promoting order and law, higher and elementary education, public works of charity, and whatever tended to the welfare of the people.

3) United by the bond of Catholic faith and charity, they formed one great Christian common-wealth of nations, of which the Pope was the spiritual head, while the Roman Emperor of the German Nation acted as his anointed protector.

The popes were recognized peacemakers between the nations of Christendom, and so were bishops and abbots in their narrower spheres. In order to lessen the frequent feuds or petty wars among the nobility, the councils of the Church established the so-called "truce of God", which forbade under pain of excommunication to have feuds from Wednesday night till Monday morning, and during Advent, Lent and Easter time. Weaker princes and downtrodden peoples found protection against tyrannical rulers with the great father of Christendom.

Popes and councils combined to reduce slavery, to protect commerce by land and sea and to promote public safety and order. Universities and all institutions of education and charity enjoyed the special protection of the popes.

102. Q. Give some prominent examples of this relation.

R. England. King Alfred raised England from ruin and disorder with the help of the Church, and throughout the Middle Ages the kings of England, with few exceptions, followed his example. England was called the dowry of Our Blessed Lady.

Scotland. Kings like Malcolm III. and his queen St. Margaret, in union with the Church, led their country to religious and temporal prosperity.

Ireland. From the time of St. Patrick to the disastrous invasion of the Danes, the princes of Ireland were in closest union with the Church and. Ireland flourished as a free nation, the island of Saints, and the cradle of learning for Northern Europe.

The Frankish Empire  became the greatest and most admired of all nations through Charlemagne, the friend and anointed protector of the Church.

Norway, under rulers like St. Olaf and St. Erich, Sweden, under Olaf and Magnus, Denmark, under Canute, the Great, and St. Canute, flourished as Christian and civilized nations of the North, formerly the home of savage pirates.

Poland  became one of the greatest Christian nations during the Middle Ages, and, ever grateful and true to the Church for her blessings, was the bulwark of Christian civilization in Europe against the fierce Turks.

Spain  and Portugal, aided by the Church, shook off the Mohammedan yoke, grew in strength and wealth, and extended their power to America, Africa, and Asia.

France, called the oldest daughter of the Church, was, under rulers like St. Louis IX., a great Christian nation, the cradle of the crusades, and blessed in its religious as well as its temporal affairs, so that "the work of God done through the French" became proverbial in history.

Hungary. From the time of King St. Stephen, it remained in close union with the Popes, who favored it as the bulwark of Christian Europe against the inroads of the heathens. Thus the former home of the barbarous Huns had become the land of the chivalrous nation, called the Kingdom of Mary.

Germany  was a great Catholic empire. Its emperors were anointed and crowned by the Popes, and its national unity was strengthened by the bond of the One, Holy, Catholic faith.

Switzerland, the ancient free republic, found its liberty blessed and safeguarded by the Church.

The republics of Italy, Venice, Genoa, Florence, and others, testify by their history and the monuments of their former greatness, that they prospered in their union with the Church.

103. Q. How did the people judge of ecclesiastical power and its influence?

R. The people loved the influence of ecclesiastical power, which defended the rights of the governed and the downtrodden, checked the excesses of princely rulers, and governed its own subjects with mildness. Hence the proverb: "It is good to live under the crosier."

104. Q. Was this union never disturbed?

R. Yes; emperors and kings repeatedly encroached on the sacred rights of the Church, in order to increase their own power.

105. Q. Name some examples.

R. 1) Emperor Henry IV. of Germany dared to appoint bishops, and sold ecclesiastical offices; but Pope Gregory VII. vigorously defended the rights of the Church. Henry had to yield and did penance for this sacrilege at Canossa, A. D. ro76. Soon after he relapsed, and invading Rome with an army, forced Gregory to flee to Salerno. There the great defender of ecclesiastical rights and public morality died, uttering the words of the psalmist: "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile." But God's judgment followed the imperial offender. His own son revolted and robbed him of crown and power. He died a fugitive and excommunicated.

2) Emperor Frederic Barbarossa of Germany not only infringed on the rights of the Church, but even undertook sacrilegiously to enthrone an anti-pope and depose Alexander III.; but a terrible pestilence broke out and destroyed his army. Terrified by this judgment of God, he sought and obtained reconciliation with the Church.

Henry VI. and Frederic II., emperors of Germany and successors of Barbarossa, committed great and manifold wrongs against the Church and the Holy See, from which their family (Hohenstauffen) had received innumerable blessings. Frederic was excommunicated by the council of Lyons, and his young grandson Conradin, the last of this proud imperial race, met with a sad death under the ax of an executioner.

3) King Henry II. of England passed laws (Articles of Clarendon, 1164), arrogating rights of the Church to his crown (for example, appointment of bishops), forbidding appeals to Rome, etc. St. Thomas h Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who opposed such proceedings, was assassinated. But the excommunication of the Pope and the indignation of the people forced the king to sue for peace.

4) Philip, the Fair, king of France, made similar claims, detrimental to the liberty of the Church, which were developed by his successors and called Gallican liberties. Pope Boniface VIII. was insulted and made prisoner by the king's minions, but set free by his own faithful subjects. The last days of the king's life were sad, and he died an object of hatred to his people. His three sons died in quick succession, and this line of the royal family of the Capets became extinct.

106. Q. What was understood by the dispute about the Right of Investiture?

R. It was a dispute between the popes and the princes about the right to invest newly elected bishops and abbots with ring and crosier. While the popes claimed this right on account of the spiritual power, which they conferred upon these prelates, the princes claimed it on account of the temporal power, which the prelates received from them as their vassals.

107. Q. How was this dispute settled?

R. This dispute was finally settled between Pope Calixtus II. and Henry V., emperor of Germany, by the Concordat of Worms (1122), so that the pope should invest the prelates with ring and crosier as emblems of their spiritual power, and the emperor should confer the temporal power by his imperial sceptre.

108. Q. Which was the most dangerous heresy of the Middle Ages?

R. The heresy of the Albigenses, which during the 13th century, had secretly spread over the countries of Europe. They denied the Incarnation and Redemption, taught that the world had been created by an evil spirit, and held doctrines destructive of marriage and of order in Church and State. The Church excommunicated them and the State punished them as criminals.

The Waldenses  were a small sect, founded by Peter of Lyons, a layman. They preached voluntary poverty, but soon became disobedient to the Church and fell into errors, similar to those of later Protestantism, by which their scattered remnants were greatly patronized.

109. Q. In what manner did the Church prevent the spreading of this secret and dangerous heresy?

R. The fourth General Council of the Lateran, held by Pope Innocent III. ( A.D.1215), established the Inquisition, an ecclesiastical tribunal, by which persons, accused of this heresy, were tried and, if penitent, reconciled to the Church; if obstinate, handed over to the secular power.

1) By order of Christ and from apostolic time the Church guards the faith, warns against false teachers and excommunicates them. (Gal. 1, 8; Tit. 3, 10; 2. Tim. 4, 2.) The Roman Inquisition acts in this manner to the present time; but has never shed a drop of blood.

2) The Christian states of the middle ages punished this and similar heresies more or less severely, because they threatened the existing order, established by law. For the same reason in our own time France punished the communists, and the United States, the anarchists of Chicago with prison, exile, or death.

3) The Spanish Inquisition was mainly a state institution. It was founded by Ferdinand and Isabella after the deliverance of Spain from the Mohammedan yoke, in order to protect their kingdom against Moors and Jews, who had remained in the country and, pretending to be converts, conspired secretly with the African Moors for the overthrow of Christian Spain.

NOTE.—The Church is God's kingdom on earth, with a divinely instituted hierarchy, constitution, and laws. Hence she loves order, and this also in the State, be it republican or monarchical. Where, as in our country, Church and State are separate, she is always on the side of the constitution, law, and order, and teaches her children to cherish and uphold them.

Worldly power and success, commercial prosperity, development of science and art, rank infinitely below the spiritual blessings of divine faith and its graces for the salvation of immortal souls and their eternal happiness. To bring the latter to the nations, is the great mission of the Church of Christ Crucified. If temporal blessings have come so richly to the nations through their union with the Church, they came as Christ has said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Peace and co-operation between the spiritual and the secular power have always been recognized by the Church as willed and ordained by God from whom both are derived. In the famous Syllabus of the year 1864 (N. 55) the Holy See pronounced censure on the contrary opinion. Although in some countries complete separation of Church and State may appear to be a lesser evil on account of difference in religion, the Church looks upon it as a state of affairs not applicable as a general norm.



Benefits Which the Church Bestowed


Upon the World During the Middle Ages


110. Q. What did the Church do for the nations in the Middle Ages?

R. She bestowed innumerable blessings upon the nations, which had been pagan and savage, and became civilized and Christian through her labors.

111. Q. Name some of these blessings

R. Under her influence wise laws and constitutions were framed for the welfare of the people. (Magna Charta in England). She abolished slavery, founded hospices for travelers, hospitals for the sick, orphanages and foundling asylums; she established and endowed schools, colleges, and universities in all Christian countries; she fostered art and science. Architecture flourished in the Roman and Gothic styles. In her convents countless books were written or copied; painting, sculpture, and music were developed.

112. Q. Which were the greatest of these blessings bestowed by the Church?

R. The greatest of the manifold blessings, bestowed by the Church upon the people of the middle ages, were:

1) A strong and fervent faith, which pervaded and consecrated private and public life.

Nations, cities and princes vied with each other in building beautiful churches, convents and institutions for every kind of charity and Christian education. Religious vocations were plentiful. Family life was guarded and sanctified by the sacramental and indissoluble bond of matrimony. War and peace, arts and sciences, trades, professions and the business world, were placed under the elevating protection of religion and its saints.

Shrines of Our Saviour, the Blessed Virgin and the Saints were conspicuous by the road sides and in the public places of towns and cities.

Countless pilgrims visited the sacred shrines of Palestine, Rome, Compostella and other places. This holy faith embraced all civilized nations and united them into one family under their spiritual father, the pope.

2) The gift of holiness, by which a wonderful array of men and women in the higher as well as the lower walks of life became canonized saints.

Great popes like St. Nicholas I. and St. Gregory VII., bishops like St. Malachy of Armagh, St. Anselm and St. Thomas of Canterbury, ruled the flock of Christ.

The religious life produced numerous saints in the old and in new orders, for instance the remarkable Benedictine nuns St. Hildegard, St. Gertrude, and St. Matilda, who were favored with heavenly visions and wrote books full of wisdom and holiness. Many saints in the lower and higher ranks of the laity. St. Isidore, a laborer, whom angels replaced at the plow, while he prayed. St. Zita, a servant, whose saying was: "The hand at work and the heart with God." St. Notburga, whose sickle was kept suspended in midair during her devotions.

The thrones of Christendom were rich in saints. During the life of Otto I. three canonized empresses graced the throne of Germany, St. Matilda, St. Edith, St. Adelaide. Emperor Henry II. and his wife Cunigundis led a life of virginal chastity, devoted to works of piety and charity, and built 900 churches and convents; St. Edward of England, who carried a poor cripple to church and miraculously cured him; St. Louis of France, the crusader, to whom, when a child, his holy mother Blanca said: "I would rather see thee dead on my lap, than ever know thee guilty of a mortal sin;" St. Casimir of Poland, who in a fatal sickness preferred death to the least infringement of his angelic chastity; St. Elisabeth of Thuringia, whose boundless charity was glorified by the miracle of the roses; St. Malcom and St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Ferdinand of Spain, St. Alfonso and St. Elisabeth of Portugal, St. Hedwig of Poland and many other royal saints, burning with the love of God and his poor, and models of humility and mortification amid the splendors of their courts, as the emblem of their dignity expressed: The crown surmounted by the cross.

113. Q. What great religious orders were founded during this epoch?

R. The two great orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans were founded in the beginning of the thirteenth century, and became beacons of holiness and learning to the world.

St. Francis of Assisi, the saint of seraphic love, founded the Franciscan  order, which gave to a worldly age the great example of evangelical poverty and missionary zeal. He received from Our Lord the stigmata, or five sacred wounds. One of his greatest disciples was St. Anthony of Padua, the wonderworker. His spiritual daughter, St. Clare, founded the order of Poor Clares.

St. Dominic founded the Dominican  order, which gave to the Church great missionaries and theologians. He devoted himself to the conversion of the Albigenses and introduced the rosary.

St. Robert founded the Cistercian  order, of which St. Bernard, the great servant of Mary, became the shining light.

St. Bruno of Cologne founded the Carthusian  order, famous for its practice of lifelong penance and silence. The daily greeting of the monks is: "memento mori" ("Remember death").

St. Norbert, one of the most holy and eloquent men of his time, founded the Premonstratensians.

Berthold, the crusader, built a convent on Mt. Carmel in Palestine, and founded the order of the Carmelites, which spread the devotion of the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin over the whole world.

St. John de Matha founded the order of Trinitarians, which delivered innumerable Christians from Mohammedan slavery.

114. Q. What monuments are left to testify to the work of the Church during the Middle Ages?

R. Great cities, magnificent cathedrals, convents, universities, countless works of art, and especially immense libraries, have been left as imposing monuments of the work of God's Church during the Middle Ages.

About the year 1500, Europe had 66 universities, which held their charter from the popes. Although in different nations, they had one common language, Latin, so that learning became international. The number of students was larger than in our modern universities, for instance Paris had 20,000 ( A.D. 1538), Prague 36,000 ( A.D. 1403), Oxford 30,000 ( A.D. 1340.)

Medical science formed an important branch of university studies. During the earlier centuries of the middle ages medicine was taught and practiced in the monastery schools. The oldest medical school was at Salerno, Italy. About the year 1100 it was frequented by 1200 medical students. To obtain a doctor-diploma a classical course of 3 years was required, followed by a 4 years' medical course and one year's practice under an experienced physician.

115. Q. What illustrious and holy doctors flourished in this age?

R. During this age flourished the great doctors of the Church, St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, and many other great teachers of sacred learning.

Theology in the middle ages was distinguished according to the method of study as:

1) Scholastic theology, which followed a strictly scientific method in arranging, developing and arguing Catholic truth. St. Anselm is considered its founder, and Blessed Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, called Angel of the Schools, and St. Bonaventure, called the Seraphic doctor, are honored as its greatest lights.

2) Mystic theology, which followed the method of contemplation. Blessed Bernard, its chief representative, laid down the axiom: "God is so far known as He is loved." Blessed Thomas Kempis, author of the "Imitation of Christ" belonged to this school.

116. Q. What great discoveries mark the close of the Middle Ages?

R. 1) The invention of the art of printing by Johann Guttenberg (1450) at Strasburg, Germany. The first book printed was a Latin Bible.

At the end of the middle ages there existed translations of the Bible in almost every language of the Christian world; 30 in German, 20 in Italian, 26 in French, 19 in Flemish, 2 in Spanish, 6 in Bohemian, 1 in Swedish, and a far larger number of partial translations or of such selections from the Bible as were best fitted for the edification of the people.

2) The invention of the mariner's compass by Flavio Gioja in Italy about the same time.

3) The invention of gunpowder by a German monk, Berthold Schwarz, at Freiburg, about 1370.

4) The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, which opened new and immense fields of labor for apostolic men.

Columbus as well as the Franciscan fathers who befriended him, and Queen Isabella, his generous patroness, were animated by a holy zeal for saving souls and spreading the kingdom of God in these newly discovered lands.

5) The Renaissance or revival of the ancient literature and arts of Greece and Rome, which, especially after the fall of Constantinople spread over Europe, and was fostered mainly by the Popes.

Michael Angelo, Raphael, Fra Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Guido Reni: painters; Dante, Petrarch: poets. They have been the acknowledged masters and models, in art and literature ever since.

6) The revival of the study of ancient Roman law, which developed the science of law; though some of its principles were often abused by princes in the interest of absolute power.

Roman law, or the law of ancient pagan Rome, was remarkable for clearness and system. After Constantine's conversion, its harshness was in many respects softened through the influence of the Church.

The law of the newly converted barbarian nations rested on custom and was according to their state very primitive. But as their advancing civilization, outgrew in simplicity, the Church supplied the want from her own canon law. The influence of its mild spirit proved so great a blessing, that princes and people often preferred the ecclesiastical to the civil law courts.

With the rapid progress of the middle ages in commerce by land and sea, in trade and arts, in the founding and growth of cities, the use of the elaborate and practical Roman law became in many respects desirable. But its study was only in so far favored by the Church, as its pagan character was changed according to Christian principles. The abuse of Roman law, as well as of ancient literature, consisted in the adoption of their pagan ideas.

117. Q. What does this show?

R. This shows that the Catholic Church had educated the once barbarian nations to a high degree, and that to her belongs the merit of the great discoveries, which changed the world and introduced the modern age.

NOTE.—The nations of Europe had been converted and civilized, the soil was under cultivation, commerce and traffic expanded over land and sea, art and science flourished, higher and elementary education were provided for by numerous universities, colleges, and schools, institutions of charity covered the land, the trades were protected by guilds, and all men and nations were united by the one great bond of Catholic faith and charity. This was the work of the Holy Catholic Church.



Trials of the Church


During the Decline of the Middle Ages


118. Q. What trials befell the Church during the last centuries of the Middle Ages?

R. 1) The removal of the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, France, ( A.D.1305), which lasted seventy years and was called the Babylonian captivity of the Church.

2) The Great Schism of the West and errors about the rights of the Holy See, arising from it.

3) The heresies of Wycliffe and Huss.

4) Disorders, affecting faith and morals, which resulted from a misguided study of pagan literature and law during the renaissance.

119. Q. How did the removal of the Holy See to Avignon take place?

R. Pope Clement V., formerly archbishop of Bordeaux, remained after his coronation in France, ( A.D. 1305) and took up his residence at Avignon, partly on account of the civil war which distracted Rome and Italy, and partly to settle peaceably unjust demands, made by the French King, Philip the Fair, against the Holy See.

120. Q. Why was this stay of the Holy See at Avignon compared to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews?

R. Because it lasted 70 years and was deplored by the Christian world as an exile of the Holy See from Rome, which had been the hallowed capital and centre of Christendom since the days of St. Peter.

During the dispute between Pope John XXII., at Avignon, and the German Emperor, Louis of Bavaria, who stubbornly trespassed on the rights of the Church, this feeling grew the more pronounced as the nations of Europe became jealous of the influence which France tried to force upon the Holy See for political purposes.

121. Q. How did the exile end?

R. Pope Gregory XI., returned to Rome, yielding to the prayers of the Romans, the desire of the Christian world and especially to the pleading of Catherine of Siena, the great saint of that age.

The Popes who resided at Avignon were learned and saintly men. Clement V. and John XXII. completed the great lawbook of the Church (Code of canon law). Blessed Urban V. died, stretched on the bare floor, strewn with ashes, and holding the crucifix in his hands, while the doors of the palace were thrown open in compliance with his command to let the people see "how a pope dies."

122. Q. What sad event followed the exile of Avignon?

R. The Schism of the West which lasted thirty six years.

123. Q. How did this Schism originate?

R. After Pope Urban VI. had been elected and crowned at Rome ( A.D. 1378), many of the cardinals, dissatisfied with his rule and claiming that the election had been unlawful, seceded and elected another who called himself Clement VII. and went to reside in Avignon. He was French and received recognition from France and some other western countries, whilst the larger portion of Christendom obeyed the legitimate pope: thus the Schism of the West originated.

During the election the Romans had clamored loudly for an Italian pope, because they feared that one of French nationality would not stay in Rome, but reside at Avignon. This disturbance was afterwards alleged by the seceding cardinals as an excuse for their action. After the schism had lasted 30 years, several cardinals, proposing to end it, convened a synod at Pisa, where they declared the successors of Pope Urban and of Clement deposed, and made another election, so that beside the legitimate pope, Gregory XII., two others claimed recognition from the Christian world.

124. Q. What was the result of this Schism?

R. This Schism brought great disorders and abuses into Christendom; it lowered the respect for papal authority, led princes to meddle in Church affairs and caused the erroneous opinion, that general councils have authority over the pope.

This error was forever condemned by the Vatican council which upheld the supremacy of the Holy See, as it was given by Christ to St. Peter, exercised by his successors, and recognized in every century of the Christian era.

125. Q. How was the Schism of the West settled?

R. The Schism was settled at the Council of Constance ( A.D. 1414–1418). Pope Gregory XII., a most humble and holy pontiff, freely resigned in order to restore peace to the Church. The claims of his two opponents were set aside by the council and Pope Martin V. was duly elected.

126. Q. What heresies grew out of the troubles of this time?

R. The heresies of Wycliffe and Huss which were condemned by the Council of Constance.

Wycliffe lived at Oxford, England; Huss, who was a professor at Prague, adopted his errors.

127. Q. What did Wycliffe and Huss teach?

R. 1) They taught that every Christian has a right to explain the Bible for himself and that the Church is invisible, existing only in the hearts of the predestined.

2) They rejected the divine institution of the hierarchy and proclaimed the revolutionary doctrine, that the wrong done by temporal and spiritual rulers deprives them of the right to govern and to own property, and entitles their subjects to judge them and to rebel.

These doctrines were later adopted by Luther and other heretics. Their dangerous character was illustrated by the Lollard mobs in England and the destructive Hussite wars in Bohemia, which were caused by them. They openly proclaimed the so called principle of revolution, which since then has continually disturbed church, state and society.

128. Q. What disorders followed the abuse of ancient pagan literature?

R. Many pagan ideas, undermining Christian faith and morals, spread among the educated classes and caused proud contempt for ecclesiastical authority and scholastic learning, and bitter envy against the religious orders, who taught in the universities of Christendom.

The scholars of ancient pagan literature were called Humanists. While many of them were excellent Christians like Thomas More of England, others like Ulrich von Hutten, Luther's friend, were irreligious and immoral men.

129. Q. What false doctrines were taken by princes from the law of ancient pagan Rome?

R. Two false doctrines were taken by princes from ancient Roman law and became fatal to the liberty of the Church and the people;

1) that the will of the ruler is supreme law,

2) that the ruler is supreme in temporal and spiritual things.

130. Q. What was the tendency of the sad events of this epoch?

R. These sad events tended on the one hand to dispose worldly and evil minded men for the apostasy of the sixteenth century; but on the others to purify and chasten the true children of the Church.

131. Q. How did the Church pass through these trials?

R. Divine Providence guided the Church through these trials, so that—

1) The papacy, even in its sorest distress, remained firm in defending the faith against heresy, schism and schismatic councils.

2) Numerous saints edified Christendom by the fragrance of heroic virtue and perfection.

St. John Nepomucene, a martyr for the seal of confession; St. Francis of Paola, remarkable for his ascetic life and founder of the Hermits of St. Francis; St. Bernardine, who after a youth of angelic chastity entered the Franciscan order and converted innumerable sinners by his apostolic preaching; St. John Capistran, his disciple, who preached a crusade against the Turks and led the Christian army to a glorious victory over a tenfold stronger enemy; St. Nicholas of the Flue, a hermit in Switzerland, who for twenty years took no sustenance except holy communion; St. Catherine of Siena, conspicuous by most exalted holiness and heavenly wisdom, so that her advice was sought by popes, princes and people; St. Frances of Rome who was honored by the visible presence of her guardian angel and many other saints in all walks of life.

NOTE.—This epoch shows, that the Church is always sure of the promised protection of her divine Founder and the guidance of the Holy Ghost, not only in times of violent persecution or against the attacks of heresy, but also in the far greater peril of internal dissensions which during that time struck at the very rock on which Christ built his Church, the Papacy. Even saints like St. Vincent Ferrer were for a time in doubt about the legitimate pope, nations were divided, universities and learned men disputed, but the cloud vanished, the Church emerged from her trials, and the papacy, even in its apparent humiliation, stood clearly forth as the unyielding rock of faith against the false principles and heresies of the age.



The So-Called Reformation


Or the Origin of Protestantism


132. Q. Can the Church of God be reformed?

R. No; a divine institution like the Church, cannot be reformed by men. The work of man and the morals of man can be reformed, but not the work of God.

133. Q. What do we call the teachings of men, who undertake to change the doctrines of God's holy Church?

R. We call such teachings "heresy." (For instance, the heresy of Arianism, or Nestorianism.)

134. Q. Which heresies have become most notable after the Middle Ages?

R. The heresy of Martin Luther in Germany, of Zwingli in Switzerland, of Calvin in Geneva, and that of the Anabaptists.

135. Q. Who was Martin Luther?

R. Luther was born at Eisleben, Saxony, of Catholic parents (1483). Frightened by the sudden death of his friend, he became an Augustinian monk without sufficiently probing his vocation. His nature was passionate and soon led him into religious errors. When in 1517 the Dominican monk, John Tetzel, preached at Wittenberg the Jubilee indulgence, granted by Pope Leo X., Luther challenged him to a debate. Soon his heretical views betrayed themselves, and when he refused to submit to the authority of the Church, he was excommunicated. Then he publicly declared his apostasy, broke his vows, and married an eloped nun.

136. Q. What were the false doctrines of Luther?

R. Luther taught:

1) That in consequence of original sin, man has no free will, and is in his nature totally depraved;

2) that therefore all his works are sinful;

3) that faith alone, i.e.  the belief that Christ saved us, covers all sins and gives eternal salvation; that good works therefore are useless;

4) that private interpretation of the Bible is the sole rule of faith.

137. Q. What principal Catholic doctrines did Luther reject?

R. Luther rejected the authority of the pope and bishops, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the sacraments of Penance and Confirmation, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and. Matrimony; fasting, prayers for the dead, invocation of the saints, the evangelical counsels, the hierarchy, and many other doctrines.

Luther admitted the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, but only in the moment of communion and together with the substance of the bread. Calvin and Zwingli completely denied the Real Presence, but differed on another point. Calvin taught that certain grace is obtained by the communicant's faith, whereas Zwingli called communion a mere figure or ceremony in memory of Christ. This difference of opinions about the Blessed Sacrament gave rise to a bitter, abusive and noisy quarrel between these so-called reformers.

138. Q. How did Luther support his false doctrine?

R. Rejecting the teaching authority of the Church and divine Tradition, he claimed that the Bible alone contains God's word and that his interpretation of it was true and infallible.

When the papal bull, containing Luther's excommunication, arrived, the rebellious and proud monk cast it publicly into the fire before the gate of Wittenberg with the blasphemous words: "Because thou hast offended the holy one of the Lord (meaning himself), may eternal fire consume thee."

139. Q. What does the Bible say to such a principle?

R. We read in the Bible that Christ says: "He that does not hear the Church let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican;" and St. Paul says: "The Church is the pillar and ground of all truth." Hence to discard the teaching authority of God's Church, and to place private interpretation in its stead, is heresy.

Luther was a man of proud and overbearing character, brooking no opposition. Passionate of temper, he spent his life in fierce hatred and strife against the Church of his baptism, and against its venerable pontiff, whom he called Antichrist. His nature was sensual, his language was that of a demagogue, abusive and often vile.

For instance. After an angry dispute about the Real Presence at a saloon in Jena he left his opponent Carlstadt with the words: "I wish that I could see thee on the rack." In his violent pamphlet against the Jews he called them "young devils condemned to hell."

Against the poor peasants, who had been incited to open revolt by his incendiary writings about evangelical liberty, he wrote: "The governments must strike, hang, burn, behead and torture this rabble, so that the people may be filled with fear and kept in order."

In his fierce attack on the papacy, he wrote: "Why do we not attack with all weapons these teachers of perdition, cardinals, popes . . . and wash our hands with their blood."

The language of his printed "tabletalk" is too foul for reproduction. And such a man posed as a reformer of the Church, whose children were seraphic St. Francis of Assisi, angelic St. Bernard, gentle St. Elisabeth of Thuringia and ecstatic St. Catherine of Siena.

140. Q. Who was Zwingli, and what was his teaching?

R. Zwingli was a priest in Switzerland, deposed by his bishop for immorality. He denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and other Catholic doctrines, and adopted many of the errors of Luther.

By his fanatical preaching he provoked violent mobs, destruction of sacred images and desecration of churches. This finally led to a civil war between the apostatized and the catholic cantons of Switzerland. The fierce reformer fell in the battle of Kappel (1532 A.D.).

141. Q. Who was John Calvin, and what did he teach?

R. John Calvin was a student at the university of Paris and became tainted with Luther's heresy. He taught salvation by faith alone, total depravation of human nature through original sin, and absolute predestination, i.e.  that God had predestined a certain part of mankind for heaven and the other for hell. John Knox, founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland, was his disciple.

Calvin established himself in Geneva, Switzerland, which became the stronghold of Calvinism, and was ruled by him with tyrannical power and intolerance. While claiming private interpretation of the Bible for himself, he ordered Servetus to be burnt at the stake for denying the Blessed Trinity.

142. Q. What did the Anabaptists teach?

R. The Anabaptists taught that the baptism of infants is invalid and therefore they rebaptized every one. They announced another kingdom of Christ on earth, in which neither government, nor laws, nor property should exist.

In Munster, northern Germany, they established by open revolt an Anabaptist kingdom of communistic character and chose John of Leyden, a Dutch tailor, for their prophet and king. He took 17 wives and ruled in a cruel and eccentric manner, defending his crimes by quoting bible texts. Finally, the government restored order and the king and his councillors were punished according to law.

143. Q. Who was Henry VIII., and how did he apostatize?

R. Henry VIII. was king of England. He demanded a divorce from his lawful wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry Anne Boleyn, a young lady of his court. When Pope Clement refused, he fell away, contracted this criminal and invalid marriage, and forced all England into apostasy. He had in quick succession six wives, of whom he beheaded two. The Schism of Henry finally developed into the Anglican or Episcopalian sect.

Henry declared himself head of the English church and demanded an oath recognizing his spiritual supremacy. Cardinal Fisher, Sir Thomas More and 72,000 Catholics who refused, were cruelly put to death. Monasteries were plundered, all church lands confiscated and the religious orders blotted out. Under Edward, Henry's son, and Elisabeth, Anne Boleyn's daughter, the persecution grew still fiercer. Priests were hunted like wolves, hanged and quartered; laymen, who refused to assist at Protestant services, were fined and imprisoned. Under King James I., Cromwell and William of Orange severer measures followed. The test oath excluded all Catholics from office. A Catholic child that turned Protestant, would inherit the whole estate to the exclusion of its Catholic brothers and sisters and even during the lifetime of its parents.

144. Q. What were the main causes that led princes and peoples to follow these heresies?

R. 1) The doctrine of salvation by faith alone without good works was easy and pleasing to sensual man; so also divorce and the abolition of the religious vows, while the doctrine of total depravity furnished a convenient excuse for yielding to passion.

Luther and his friend Melanchton, afraid of losing the support of Philip of Hessia, gave him permission to have two wives at the same time.

2) Princes, city governments, and the nobility found through it an opportune pretext for robbing the Church of her possessions, lands, convents, universities, and schools.

In Germany and England, the property thus stolen amounted to about one-fifth of the entire territory.

3) The governments forced the people into their apostasy by establishing the principle that the prince who rules the territory also rules the religion, and holds supreme power in spiritual as well as in temporal things (according to pagan Roman law).

When King James I. ascended the throne of England and was informed of his supreme power in spiritual and temporal affairs, he exclaimed: "Do I make the judges? Do I make the bishops? Then, forsooth, I make what likes me, law and gospel." And he did so. Thus Protestantism introduced the system of state churches with princes as their rulers. Instead of the great commonwealth of Christian nations under one spiritual head, the pope, according to the word of Christ: "One shepherd and one fold", there were now, (so a Protestant writer confessed) as many churches as there were states and as many little popes as there were Protestant princes.

4. The shameful misrepresentations of Catholic truth, and vile slanders, continually uttered against Popes, bishops, priests and religious orders by pulpit and press, led the people astray, and filled them with bitter prejudices against the old Mother Church.

Veneration of sacred images and relics, invocation of saints and of the Blessed Virgin, adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament were blasphemously denounced as idolatry; good works, even if performed in the service of charity, as proud self-justification, and the three evangelical counsels, as injurious to the merits of Christ. The sacrament of penance, indulgences and prayers for the souls in purgatory were made the butt of vilest abuse. Verily the gates of hell seemed to have opened to vomit forth foul slander and fierce hatred against the Spouse of Christ.

145. Q. How was Sweden torn away from the Church?

R. Gustav Wasa, who had freed his country from the power of Denmark, became King of Sweden in the year 1523, and, seeing that by seizing Church property and abolishing the hierarchy, he would obtain absolute power, he introduced Lutheranism by force and deceit, and thus destroyed what the great St. Ansgar had founded.

For fifty years the Swedish people were deceived into the belief that they still belonged to the Catholic church; the preachers feigned saying mass with the ancient vestments, and the semblance of the ancient liturgy and the hierarchy was retained. Finally Catholics were excluded from office and their worship was forbidden by law. When Queen Christine daughter of Gustav Adolf, returned to the Church, she was forced to resign and died in Rome. King Sigismund of Poland, heir to the Swedish crown, was asked to become a Lutheran or yield his claim; but he answered: "I do not esteem worldly power so high as to barter heaven for it," and left the kingdom.

146. Q. How was Denmark separated from the Church?

R. Christian II. and Frederic I. introduced Protestantism into Denmark, Norway, and Iceland against the will of the people. Bishops were beheaded or imprisoned, and all Church property was confiscated.

147. Q. How did Holland fall away?

R. William of Orange led the people into rebellion against their King Philip II. of Spain, and became the head of the Dutch republic in 1578. The Catholic religion was forbidden and Calvinism adopted as the state religion.

The Orange government sent out an army to introduce Calvinism. Bishops were imprisoned or banished, the clergy of Amsterdam were put on a ship and sent out to sea, whence they never returned. 19 priests, mostly Franciscans were tortured and hanged at Gorcum, as martyrs of the B1essed Sacrament. Sacred images were burnt, churches desecrated and turned over to the Calvinists. Nevertheless Belgium and several provinces of Holland remained true to the faith.

148. Q. What happened in France?

R. The heresy of Calvin seduced many who were called Huguenots. They conspired against the king in order to bring one of their party upon the throne, and waged bloody wars against their lawful sovereign.

149. Q. Give some account of St. Bartholomew's night.

R. In the year 1572 King Charles of France was informed that the Huguenots had conspired against his life. He then commanded that during the night (St. Bartholomew's) his soldiers should fall upon the Huguenots and kill them.

150. Q. Did the Church ever approve of such a cruel act?

R. No, she always has condemned any such acts, which are contrary to law, order, and Christian charity.

The Huguenots had wantonly provoked the anger of the Catholic people. In southern France they tortured and killed priests, monks and sisters, desecrated altars and the Blessed Sacrament, burnt churches, convents, sacred images and relics. In Orthey, 3000 Catholic men and women were massacred, and at Nimes hundreds of captured Catholics were killed with daggers, in one night. This does neither justify nor even excuse Bartholomew night, but it set the example.

151. Q. What happened in Prussia?

R. Prussia was a land, taken from the heathens and civilized by German knights in the name of the Church. But in the year 1522 Albrecht of Brandenburg, who was then superior of the order, became a Lutheran, broke his vows and married. He then made himself prince of the country and introduced Lutheranism.

152. Q. What happened in Scotland?

R. John Knox preached Calvinism and open rebellion against the lawful government to the Scotch people. He advised the nobility to join him and take the property of the Church. They followed his sordid advice and rebelled against their Catholic Queen, Mary Stuart. She fled to England, where she was beheaded at the command of her treacherous cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England, because Mary was the legitimate heir to the English throne, and would not renounce her faith.

Pope Benedict XIV. did not hesitate to say that Mary Stuart died a martyr. Firmly professing her faith and holding the crucifix in her hand she went to her doom, a noble example of Christian fortitude and profound piety.

153. Q. What happened in Ireland?

R. Ireland refused to accept Protestantism from England. Cromwell came with an English army and devastated Ireland with fire and sword. About ten million acres of land were confiscated and twenty-nine thousand people sold as slaves to America. The remaining Catholics were driven into the poverty-stricken province of Connaught with the words: "To hell or to Connaught." Priests were hunted like wolves, and a price of five pounds was paid for every head.

Up to 1800, England treated Ireland in a most tyrannical manner and declared through the court: "For Catholics there is no law" (that is in the land). Notwithstanding all this, Ireland has always remained faithful to the Church, and finally, in 1829, forced England through her great son Daniel O'Connell, to grant religious liberty.

154. Q. What followed the establishment of Protestantism?

R. Bloody wars and revolutions. In Germany the Thiry Years' War between Protestants and Catholics was waged, so that Germany became a desert and its former population of seventeen millions was reduced to four millions. In France the Huguenot wars laid waste the land. In England, Mary, Queen of Scots, and King Charles I. were beheaded, and bloody wars followed each other in quick succession. War was waged in the Netherlands and in Switzerland. Cities, convents and churches were destroyed in countless numbers, priests and nuns were massacred, and libraries and the finest works of art perished.

The fanatic hatred against sacred images resulted not only in a widespread destruction of great art treasures, but in bringing the arts of architecture, painting, sculpture and carving to a long standstill in many lands.

The so-called reformers had styled reason the handmaid of the devil, decried all philosophical studies and confined theological study to the Bible; so that a great decline of universities, elementary schools and the book trade followed.

Luther wrote: "The higher schools ought to be ground to dust, for nothing more hellish has come into the world." (Luth. W. 7. 63.) To the mayors and city councils he wrote: "Under the papacy convents and schools were so numerous, that not a boy could escape without God's miracle; now they are going down everywhere."

Finally: "If we had it not from our forefathers' mild alms and endowments the gospel (his) would have been wiped out long ago and not a poor preacher could live. But we take and rob by force, what others (Catholic forefathers) have given and endowed." (L. W. 14. pg. 389.)

155. Q. What does this show?

R. It shows that these new religions were not of God; for Christ has said: "Thereby the world shall know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

156. Q. What was the practical result of the chief principle of Protestantism, private judgment?

R. The principle of private judgment, according to which every one may frame his religion from his own understanding of the Bible, resulted in the rise of numerous sects.

157. Q. Did these sects remain unchanged?

R. These sects have continually changed, and were split and subdivided into other sects, so that at the present time Protestantism is a Babel of conflicting sects. There are about 150 sects in the United States.

158. Q. Which are the more prominent among the later sects?

R. The Methodists, founded by John Wesley, an Episcopalian preacher, at Oxford, England, 1738.

The Baptists, founded by Roger Williams, at Providence, Rhode Island, 1639.

The Congregationalists, also called Puritans, founded by Robert Browne in England, about 1600. Over one hundred of them, the socalled "Pilgrim Fathers," came in the Mayflower to America and landed at Plymouth Rock (1620).

The Quakers, founded by George Fox in England 1647.

One of the latest sects is the Salvation Army, founded by General Booth of London, England.

NOTE.—That the principle of private judgment resulted in the rise of so many different and conflicting sects, proves that it is false.

Protestantism has destroyed the great Christian common-wealth of nations, established during the Middle Ages. It has driven the wedge of religious dissension between nations, heretofore united by the bond of the same faith, between rulers and subjects, even between the inhabitants of the same country.

Having rejected the ancient hierarchy, it transferred the ecclesiastical power to the princes and made them almost absolute rulers, supreme in temporal and spiritual things.

The sweeping confiscation of church property, theretofore devoted to charity and to higher and elementary education, retarded for a long time educational and social progress, as Luther and his friend Melanchton confessed. The bloody wars and revolutions, which followed in its wake, interrupted the development of science and art.

The large number of contending sects, which have sprung and still spring from the Protestant doctrine of private judgment, has given to the Christian world so sad an aspect of discord and contradiction, that not only the minds of many in Christian lands are unbalanced by doubt and uncertainty, but also the conversion of heathen nations has been rendered extremely difficult. To the present day this religious separation and antagonism runs like a deep chasm between the citizens of the same country and sorely affects the equality of legislation, individual rights, and national unity.



The Council of Trent 1545–1563


And Its Results


159. Q. What did the Church do to counteract the spread of Protestantism?

R. Pope Paul III. convened a general council at Trent, in Tyrol, in order to condemn these false doctrines and to establish practicable rules for the promotion of faith and morals.

160. Q. Did the council have good results?

R. Yes, the Council of Trent was so blessed in its work that since then a new life of sanctity, learning, and zeal has pervaded the Church. Great Popes and bishops like St. Pius V. and St. Charles Borromeo arose, and many new religious orders were established to promote Christian education and charity.

161. Q. Name some of these newly established orders.

R. 1) The Society of Jesus, which was founded in the year 1540 by St. Ignatius, formerly a Spanish knight. It gave to the Church a large number of men, illustrious for their sanctity and profound learning. It stemmed the flood of Protestant heresy in Europe, founded an admirable system of higher education, and sent out numerous missionaries to pagan countries.

The three greatest theologians of this age Bellarmine, Petavius and Suarez belonged to the Society of Jesus; so also St. Peter Canisius, the apostle of Germany, who saved the southern and western countries of the empire from Protestantism.

2) The Order of Capuchins  ( A.D. 1528), which had for its aim the practice of severe penance and poverty and missionary labors for the salvation of souls.

3) The Congregation of the Oratorians, which was founded by St. Philip Neri, the apostle of Rome.

4. The Congregation of St. Maurus, a branch of the Benedictine Order, which devoted itself to ecclesiastical studies, and produced great authors, like Mabillon, Montfaucon, Ruinart, and others.

5. The Order of the Discalced (bare-footed) Carmelites, established by the two seraphic saints of Spain, St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross.

6. The Congregation of the Passionists, founded by St. Paul of the Cross, devoted to the practice of penance, and to missionary work.

7. The Congregation of the Lazarists, or Priests of the Mission, and that of the Sisters of Charity. Both were founded by St. Vincent de Paul, the immortal hero of charity, who exhausted his life in continual works of spiritual and corporal mercy.

8. The Congregation of the Redemptorists, which was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and became a great missionary order.

9. The following religious orders were founded to further the cause of Christian education: The Christian Brothers of Christian Schools, by St. John Baptiste de La Salle, who renounced wealth and earthly honors and bound himself by a solemn vow to rather beg his daily bread than give up the Christian training of youth; the Piarists, by St. Joseph Calasanctius; the Sisters of the Visitation, by St. Francis de Sales, bishop of Geneva, and St. Frances Chantal; the Ursuline Sisters, by St. Angela de Merici; the Sisters of Notre Dame, by St. Peter Fourier; the Sisters of Providence; the Sisters of St. Joseph  and many others.

162. Q. What other great consolation did God give to His Church during these times?

R. A wonderful and numerous array of Saints appeared during these times and consoled with the lustre of their holy lives the Church, the Spouse of Christ, who had been robbed of so many children and despoiled of her possessions by the apostasy in the sixteenth century.

163. Q. Name some of the prominent Saints.

R. St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose motto was: "All for the greater honor and glory of God;"

St. Francis Borgia, formerly grandee of Spain, who left the world and its vanity, to enter the Society of Jesus;

St. Francis Xavier, the great wonder-worker, who, brought thousands of heathens in India and Japan to Christ and died after a life of incessant apostolic labors a solitary death on the Island Sancian, looking toward China, which he had longed to convert;

St. Aloysius, St. Stanislaus and St. John Berchmans of the Society of Jesus, youths of angelic chastity;

St. Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan, a hero of charity, who gave his large inheritance to the poor, lived in voluntary poverty, and, during the great pestilence, became the father of the afflicted and the dying;

St. Philip Neri, burning with the love of God and with charity for suffering mankind;

St. Francis de Sales, bishop of Geneva, the saint of meekness, who converted 72,000 Calvinists and wrote Philothea, a famous book on Christian perfection;

St. Vincent de Paul, the apostle of mercy, who sold himself into slavery for the deliverance of others;

St. Teresa, a virgin of seraphic sanctity and wisdom, whose writings the Church has designated as heavenly; the mystery of the Cross had so imbued her great soul, that she prayed daily: "O Lord, either suffer or die;"

St. John of the Cross and St. Peter Alcantara, her countrymen and advisers;

St. John of God, who spent his life in works of heroic charity and died on his knees embracing the cross;

St. Alphonsus Liguori, the saint of the confessional.

On our own hemisphere, many martyrs in the Indian missions of North America; St. Rosa of Lima, in Peru; St. Francis Solanus, called the apostle of Peru; St. Louis Bertrand, who converted 150,000 Indians in New Granada; St. Peter Claver, apostle of the negroes; St. Thuribio, archbishop of Lima.

164. Q. How did God replace the losses which the Church suffered through the apostasy in the sixteenth century?

R. God raised up zealous missionaries who went to heathen lands and converted millions to the faith.

165. Q. Name some of these missionaries.

R. St. Francis Xavier, of the Society of Jesus, went to India and Japan, converted nations and kingdoms, and wrought many miracles. This work was successfully continued by other Jesuits, and the faith of the converts was so sincere and firm, that in the persecution of Japan more than a million suffered martyrdom with heroic fortitude.

In China the Jesuits Ricci, Schall, and their associates, obtained by their holiness and learning official recognition of the Catholic religion from the emperor, and erected a large number of churches.

In Mexico, where 20,000 human victims were yearly sacrificed on the altars of the false gods, Franciscan Fathers from Spain established the faith and brought peace and civilization to the poor Indians.

Franciscan Fathers became the pioneers of the cross also in New Mexico and California (Father Junipero). In North America Jesuits (Breboeuf, Jogues, Marquette, and others) labored among the savage Indian tribes, and many of them won the crown of martyrdom.

In South America the Jesuits converted the barbarian population of Paraguay and changed the wilderness into a prosperous country.

All over South America, Central America, and in the newly discovered regions of Africa, Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuits missionaries evangelized the heathen inhabitants.

NOTE.—The apostasy in the sixteenth century, with the ensuing revolutions and wars, caused such a decline of religion and morality in the countries afflicted by it, that even Luther had to confess: "Under the Pope's rule, the people were mild and generous; but, under the new gospel, nobody will give, but the one cheats the other; and, the longer the gospel is preached, the more the people are sinking into avarice, pride, and luxury. Verily, the devil has got twice into them." Meanwhile, the Church of God, which the blasphemous apostate monk had pretended to reform, arose from the fire of affliction with renewed vigor, and stood forth as the immaculate Spouse of Christ, exalted by the sanctity, learning, and zeal of her children.



The Eighteenth Century

166. Q. What was the final outcome of the Protestant heresy?

R. After setting aside the authority of God's Church, and making each individual the interpreter of his own Bible and the framer of his own religion, men advanced from denying certain doctrines of Christianity to the denial of all revealed religion, and thus ended in infidelity.

167. Q. What did they call themselves?

R. They called themselves "Free-thinkers," i.e., men, who recognize no Divine authority in matters of religion,—or "Rationalists," i.e., men, who form their religious ideas from weak human reason and nature alone.

168. Q. Where did free-thought originate?

R. Free-thought originated in Protestant England and spread to Holland, France, Germany, and the United States.

169. Q. Who became its most notorious promoters?

R. The so-called Encyclopedists of France, a society of free-thinkers, who were filled with satanic hatred against Christ and his Church, and had sworn to destroy it. Voltaire was their prophet. After a life of unspeakable immorality and blasphemy he died in despair.

The most prominent encyclopedists were Diderot and D'Alembert. Their friend J. J. Rousseau wrote books which undermined the existing order in Church and state. He taught a religion of nature without Christ, education without God, and a state, in which right and law are derived solely from the people's will, completely ignoring God who is the prime source of right and law. In his book on education he blasphemously answers a beggar who had asked alms "for the sake of God": "No, not for the sake of God, but for the sake of man." He became the prophet of the so-called religion of humanity, which was intended to replace Christian charity.

170. Q. What sect adopted free-thought as its doctrine?

R. Freemasonry, which was founded in London on the 24th of July, 1717, adopted free-thought as its fundamental doctrine. Bound by oaths of secrecy, it spread quietly but swiftly through the world, and everywhere opposed the Church of God.

Pope Clement XII. put the censure of excommunication on Freemasonry, and all succeeding popes renewed it.

171. Q. Did the rulers and governments oppose free-thought and Freemasonry?

R. Many of the rulers and governments of Christian countries became not only infected, but even upheld and fostered them among their people.

172. Q. What false doctrines about the relation of Church and State added to the dangers of the age?

R. The doctrines of Gallicanism and Josephinism, which arrogated to the princes undue power in ecclesiastical affairs and tended to reduce the Church to the condition of a mere servant of the state. (Compare list of the popes of the 18th Century.)

173. Q. Which Catholic countries became infested with these doctrines?

R. These false doctrines were put into execution by Joseph II., emperor of Austria, and other German princes. (Josephinism).

The government of Portugal, and the kings of the Bourbon family who ruled in France, Spain, and in several of the Italian states, combined for the same purpose. (Gallicanism).

174. Q. To what unfortunate measure did they force the Pope?

R. In the year 1772, they forced Pope Clement XIV. to decree the abolition of the Jesuit Order, which had been one of the strongest bulwarks of the Church and the rights of the Papacy since the so-called Reformation.

175. Q. What was the aim of these Catholic rulers in their hostility to the Church?

R. Like the Protestant princes who had become supreme in spiritual as well as in temporal things and thus obtained absolute power over their people, the Catholic princes now also sought absolute power to the detriment of religious and political liberty.

176. Q. What were the consequences of these destructive measures?

R. 1) The absolute power of princes severely curtailed the people's rights.

2) Unprincipled free-thought set loose the spirit of rebellion and anarchy.

3) The Church, shackled by unjust state laws, was unable to protect the people against their oppressors, as she did in the Middle Ages; nor could she guard their just struggles for liberty against the excesses of anarchy.

This absolute power of princes was declared in a most pronounced manner by King Louis XIV. of France who sent the representatives of the people home from parliament with the defiant words. "I am the state." With equal haughtiness he lorded it over the Church in his kingdom according to Gallican principles and opposed the Holy See.

177. Q. What was the final result?

R. The fearful French Revolution broke out in 1789 and filled France with bloodshed and Europe with horror.

The national assembly promulgated the so-called Rights of Man in 17 articles. The most important of them declared, that the people is sovereign and its will supreme law, understood so as to ignore God and His law, natural as well as revealed. (According to Rousseau.)

178. Q. To what excesses did free-thought lead men in this revolution?

R. 1) They declared publicly in their assembly at Paris, that France had ceased to acknowledge God, and then brought a bad woman in solemn procession to the church, where they placed her on the altar and worshipped her as goddess of reason.

2) They established the guillotine, and, after having beheaded their King, Louis XVI. and his wife, Queen Mary Antoinette, they sent daily about two hundred victims of all classes and sexes to the guillotine. Two millions of innocent French people perished within a few years in the name of reason and liberty.

The national assembly decreed the confiscation of all church property and framed a civil constitution of the clergy, contrary to canon law. But only three bishops and very few priests obeyed, whereas 127 bishops and 50,000 priests preferred exile, poverty, prison and death to apostasy.

179. Q. Who were the leaders of this fearful terrorism?

R. Robespierre, Marat, and Danton were the leaders in this reign of terror.

180. Q. How did the revolution end?

R. Trembling for their own lives, Robespierre and his party announced that the French nation should believe again in God and in the immortality of the soul. But they also fell victims to the guillotine as they had deserved.

181. Q. How did the revolution treat Pope Pius VI?

R. The venerable Pontiff who had forbidden the oath on the civil constitution of the clergy as unlawful, was brutally dragged into captivity and died at Valence, France, 82 years old, with gentle pardon for the persecutors on his lips.

Then infidelity boastfully announced the end of the papacy, but six months later Pope Pius VII. was elected at Venice to succeed in the indestructible chair of St. Peter.

182. Q. What was the final outcome of the revolution?

R. The final outcome of the revolution was the empire of the French, established and ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte.

183. Q. What measures did he take in order to give stability to his government?

R. Knowing that without God and religion no nation can prosper, he made peace with the Church and gave religious freedom.

184. Q. Did he persevere in his friendliness to the Church?

R. Blinded by his worldly success, he dared to attack the Pope, Pius VII., and had him brought as prisoner to France.

185. Q. How did God punish this sacrilege?

R. On the snowfields of Russia Napoleon's immense army, which had conquered Europe, was destroyed by the elements, and out of a million soldiers only about fifty thousand returned. Napoleon died a prisoner on the Island of St. Helena, but Pope Pius VII. returned triumphantly to Rome.

NOTE.—Twenty years of bloody wars followed the outbreak of the French revolution and swept with destructive fury over the countries of Europe. Finally, when, after a three days' battle at Leipsic, the power of Napoleon had been overthrown and the allied rulers of Europe met on the blood-stained battlefield, they recognized in fear and trembling the judgment of God over the infidelity of the eighteenth century, and, kneeling down, they pledged themselves solemnly: "We and our people will serve the Lord."



The Nineteenth Century

186. Q. What great task awaited the action of the Church at the beginning of this century?

R. The great task of reorganizing Church affairs in those countries where the destructive teachings of the eighteenth century and the ravages of the revolution had spread.

187. Q. In what respects had the Church suffered most?

R. 1) Communications between Rome and the bishops of the different countries had been either severed or hampered by unjust laws.

2) Episcopal sees had been abolished or kept vacant by the government.

3) Religious orders had been suppressed and their property confiscated.

4) The losses in property and funds, which the Church suffered through the so-called secularization, were enormous and left her almost destitute.

The value of secularized ecclesiastical property in Germany alone amounted in the year 1803 to about 300 million dollars. The poor religious, driven from their sacred homes, were left a prey to poverty and starvation. Chalices, reliquaries, sacred vessels and even the silver clasps of missals were taken and carried to the mint. In France the Church was even more despoiled. In Austria 700 and in Spain 900 convents were confiscated. What had been left by the followers of Protestantship the 16th century, was now taken by the followers of Voltaire, Rousseau and Freemasonry.

188. Q. Name the Popes who engaged in the work of restoration?

R. Popes Pius VII., Leo XII., Gregory XVI., and Pius IX., who concluded concordats or agreements with the different governments, whereby the relations between Church and State were peaceably settled. (Compare list of the popes of the 19th century.)

While the Church always conscientiously observed the rules of these concordats, different states, such as France, Spain, Portugal, and others, violated them whenever it was to their advantage.

189. Q. What Pope had the longest and most eventful pontificate in this century?

R. Pope Pius IX., who ruled in the see of St. Peter for thirty-two years.

1) In his encyclicas and in the famous Syllabus he exposed and condemned the false doctrines of Gallicanism and Liberalism

The Syllabus is a list of propositions, condemned in papal encyclicas (i.e.  letters to the bishops). For instance, under No. 48 the pope condemns the proposition, that Catholics may approve, for their own children, of a school education from which religious instruction is debarred.

2) In the year 1854 he solemnly declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

3) In the year 1869 he convened the great Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, in which the dogma of the Infallibility of the Pope in solemn decisions on matters of faith and morals was declared.

In the year 1858 the BlessedVirgin appeared at Lourdes and declared: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Numerous miracles followed, and thus the dogma, promulgated by the Pope, received the seal of Heaven, preparing the world for the other dogma, that such solemn decisions of the Pope are infallible.

190. Q. What illustrious Pope succeeded Pius IX.?

R. Pope Leo XIII. succeeded Pope Pius IX. on the 10th of February, 1878, and governed the Church with wisdom, meekness, and energy.

Pope Pius X. succeeded Pope Leo XIII. August 4th, 1903, called the Pope of the Blessed Sacrament.

The long pontificate of Leo XIII. has been a continual message of peace and reconciliation to a restless world. In his profound encyclicals he instructed the faithful with apostolic wisdom on the grave questions which distract our age. He announced the great jubilee at the beginning of the loth century and sent out from the chair of St. Peter a solemn appeal to the nations to return to Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

When Pius X. ascended the throne of St. Peter, he chose for his motto: "Restore all things in Christ." He is called the Pope of the BI. Sacrament, because he urgently insists on frequent, even daily communion and on the admission of little children to first Holy Communion, after they have attained the age of reason and have been duly instructed and prepared.

191. Q. How did Divine Providence aid these efforts of the Pontiffs for the Church?

R. Divine Providence raised up in all countries large numbers of great and holy men and women, who labored with wonderous success in the interest of religious liberty and piety, Christian science and education, charity and social progress.

Montalembert, Lacordaire, Ozanam, and others in France; Overberg, Witmann, Goerres, Mallinkrodt, Ketteler, Windthorst, and others in Germany; Daniel O'Connell, Father Matthew, Archbishop McHale, and others in Ireland; Cardinals Wiseman, Newman, Manning, and others in England; Donoso-Cortes, Balmes, and others in Spain; Sterks, De Ram, Dechamps, and others in Belgium; Lachat, Greith, Mermillod, and others in Switzerland; and in the United States, Bishops Cheverus, Carroll, Neuman, England, Hughes, Spalding, and others, and laymen like Orestes Brownson, the First Sister of Charity, Mrs. Seton, and others.

The spirit, animating these noble Catholics, is beautifully expressed in the words, with which Mallinkrodt closed his famous speech in defense of the Church before the German diet: "Through the cross to the light;" or in Montalembert's address before the French parliament: "We are the successors of the martyrs and tremble not before the successors of Julian, the apostate; we are the sons of the crusaders and will not budge before the sons of Voltaire;" or in Daniel O'Connell's dying wish: "My heart to Rome, my body Ireland, my soul to God."

192. Q. What about the religious orders in this century?

R. The Society of Jesus was solemnly reestablished by Pope Pius VII. (1814), and soon grew to large dimensions. The old religious orders, which had been despoiled and persecuted toward the end of the last and the beginning of this century, arose with new vigor and since then have greatly increased in numbers and influence. A very large number of new religious orders and congregations, working mainly in the cause of Christian education and charity, have sprung up and spread over the old and new world.

Among the new religious orders in our own country we note the congregation (for men) of the Holy Cross with its university of Notre Dame, of the Precious Blood, and of the Holy Ghost, the Brothers of Mary, of St. Francis Xavier, and of the Sacred Heart.

Sisters of the Sacred Heart, of the Holy Cross, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, of St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Benedict, St. Joseph, St. Agnes, of the Presentation, Notre Dame, Mercy, Charity, Precious Blood, Loretto, Holy Family, the Handmaids of Christ, Oblates, Little Sisters of the Poor, and many others.

193. Q. How does the Church prosper in the different parts of the world?

R. 1) In the United States of North America the growth of the Church has been surprising. The first pioneers of the Cross were Sulpitian, Dominican, Franciscan and Jesuit Missionaries who labored along the St. Lawrence and the northern lakes, in New Mexico and California.

The later English colonies, established on the Atlantic coast, were Protestant and forbade Catholic worship by law. Lord Baltimore with 300 Catholic immigrants from England and two Jesuit fathers founded a colony called Maryland, as an asylum for the persecuted Catholics of England. This was the first American colony which gave "full toleration in religious matters" to all. After the war of independence religious liberty was granted by the constitution. In 1789 there was but one bishop, John Carroll of Baltimore, and 30,000 Catholics, and at the end of this century there are ten million Catholics, one cardinal, fourteen archbishops, and seventy-three bishops. Three great national councils have been held in Baltimore, and churches, schools, and convents cover the land.

Canada, which in the year 1817 had but one bishop, has at present seven archbishops and twenty-four bishops, and 2,300,000 Catholics.

2) In Australia, the English government forbade Catholic worship with great intolerance up to the year 1820; since then Catholic priests have been admitted and there are now about a million Catholics in a total population of four millions.

3) In Asia, Catholic missions are expanding continually, in spite of repeated bloody persecutions.

4) In Africa, new missionary fields have been opened by explorers, and are now being evangelized by numerous zealous priests.

5) In Europe, the Church is making great progress, especially in those countries that were formerly exclusively Protestant, such as England, Scotland, Holland. Denmark, and Scandinavia.

194. Q. Has the Church passed through persecutions in this century also?

R. Yes; she has passed through many and violent persecutions:

1) In 1870, the Italian government seized by force the Papal States, and made the Holy Father virtually a prisoner in the Vatican.

2) In Germany, a violent persecution broke out in 1873 (May laws), but the Catholics, faithful to their bishops and priests, bore it with patient fortitude and by united political efforts forced the government to desist.

3) Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and spine of the South American republics, also had periods of persecution.

195. Q. How did these persecutions affect the Catholic people?

R. These persecutions have increased the faith and energy of the Catholic people, who everywhere defend fearlessly the rights of the Church. Piety and religious vocations are on the increase; charitable and educational institutions multiply; sacred and secular science are eagerly cultivated; bishops, priests, and people are united in loyal submission to the Holy See.

196. Q. What has been the numeric development of the Church from the day of Pentecost to the present time?

R. On the day of Pentecost, when the twelve Apostles went forth from the Coenaculum to preach the Gospel, the Church numbered but a few hundred members within the walls of Jerusalem: To-day, after a lapse of 1800 years, she has expanded and is still expanding in ever-widening circles over the whole earth, and counts three-hundred millions of children among all races, nations, and tribes of the world.

Thus the prophetic parable of our Lord, in which He compares His Church to a grain of mustard-seed, is being daily fulfilled.

197. Q. What dangers threaten Christendom at the present time?

R. 1) The spirit of infidelity, which is fostered by godless education, a licentious press, and secret societies.

2) The spirit of anarchy, which threatens authority, law, and order.

3) The spirit of liberalism, which pretends to reconcile Catholic truth with the false doctrines of modern thought.

4) The spirit of socialism and communism, which attempts to destroy the family and the rights of property.

5) The dangerous and widespread error, that man may save his soul through the natural virtues (for instance temperance, honesty, brotherly love, patriotism, humaneness and a certain outward respect for God and religion), needing neither actual nor sanctifying grace, nor supernatural faith, hope and charity. (See Pelagianism Ch. III.)

198. Q. What alone can save the world from such dangers?

R. The return of men to the teachings and graces which Jesus Christ entrusted to His Church. This alone can save the world from the grave dangers which threaten the very existence of human society.

199. Q. What is the future of the Church at the end of the 19th century?

R. The future of the Church will be like the past.

She will pass on through time, blessing the world with God's truth and grace.

She will suffer persecution for justice's sake, like Him who founded her.

She can never perish, because she is the work of God, and the Holy Ghost dwells in her till the end of time.

In short, she will be the Church militant on earth, and, finally, the Church triumphant forever in heaven.

NOTE.—Eighteen hundred years have passed since Christ built His Church upon the rock of St. Peter. The persecutions of hostile state power, the slanders of lying heresy, the sneering of infidel philosophers, the treason of some of her own children, have combined against her from century to century, but she stands forever in serene majesty on the rock where her Divine Master has placed her, while the angry waves of human passions and hell's undying hatred beat against it. She blesses the world, prays for her enemies, and guides her children to Heaven. She fears not, for she is ever conscious of the Divine promise: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it."

May we always love her, the benign mother of our souls, and cling to her with unshaken faith, whatever storms the dark powers of hell and the pride of the world may raise against her, and in her afflictions show her even greater love, as Mary and the chosen friends showed to Our Lord under the cross. Let us remember the beautiful words in which the English poet Dryden has described her:

"A milk-white hind, immortal and unchanged,

Fed on the lawns and in the forest ranged;

Without unspotted, innocent within,

She feared no danger for she knew no sin.

Yet oft was she pursued . . . was often forced to fly

And doomed to death, but fated not to die."



List of the Popes


(According to the Gerarchia Cattolica, official edition. Jan. 12, 1904, Rome.)

NOTE.—The list of the Popes of the first and second centuries has been left to us by St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who wrote about the year 200. He says: "With the Church of Rome all churches must agree on account of her higher rank." (Adv. haereses 3, 3.)



Jesus Christ, the Son of God


and Founder of the Church, said to Simon: "Thou art Peter (a rock), and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." St. Matt. xvi, 18, 19. "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep." St. John xxi, 15–17.

In virtue of this divine appointment—

1. St. Peter       33–67
became, after the Ascension of Christ, the head of the Church, The First Pope.

2. St. Linus       67–76
born at Volaterra, Italy, is mentioned by St. Paul in the second letter to Timothy, and succeeded St. Peter in the year 67.

3. St. Cletus       76–88
Rome, Martyr.

4. St. Clement I        88–97
Rome, Martyr. He is mentioned y St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (I, 4). He has left us a letter to the Corinthians, full of pastoral wisdom, and is numbered among the apostolic Fathers.



Century II — 10 Popes


5. St. Evaristus        95–105
Bethlehem, Martyr, prescribed that matrimony should receive the solemn benediction of the priest.

6. St. Alexander I       105–115
Rome, Martyr, insisted on the use of holy water in the churches and houses.

7. St. Sixtus I       115–125
Rome, Martyr. To him is ascribed the insertion of the three-fold Sanctus in the Mass.

8. St. Telesphorus        125–136
Greece, Martyr. Confirmed the Lenten fast and inserted the Gloria in the Mass. Marcion, who had been excommunicated for heresy by his bishop, came to Rome in order to be reconciled, but was rejected by the Pope on account of his hypocrisy.

9. St. Hyginus        136–140
Athens, Martyr. Instituted Subdeaconship and Minor Orders.

10. St. Pius I        140–155
Aquileja, Italy, Martyr; insisted that Easter should be celebrated on a Sunday.

11. St. Anicetus        155–166
Syria, Martyr. St. Polycarp came to Rome in order to confer with him about the time of the celebration of Easter.

12. St. Soterus        166–175
Fondi, Italy, Martyr. He sent spiritual and temporal relief to the Christians, who suffered for the faith in exile and in the mines.

13. St. Eleutherius        195–189
Epirus, Martyr. He sent priests to Britain at the request of King Lucius.

14. St. Victor I       89–199
Africa, Martyr. He convened a council in Rome, in order to settle the dispute of the bishops of Asia Minor about the celebration of Easter.



Century III — 15 Popes


15. St. Zephyrinus        199–217
Rome, Martyr, forbade metropolitans to pass sentence on their suffragan bishops without the consent of the Holy See.

Tertullian wrote about the year 210 of this pope: "I hear that a peremptory decision has been given. The supreme pontiff, the bishop of bishops, has said: 'I remit sin to those who are penitent.'"

16. St. Calixtus I        217–222
Rome, Martyr. One of the largest catacombs of Rome bears his name. The Church has always held his memory in great esteem on account of his successful combats against the heretics of his age.

17. St. Urban I        222–230
Rome, Martyr. In his reign St. Cecilia suffered martyrdom and left her large property to the Church.

18. St. Pontianus        230–235
Rome, Martyr, was banished to the mines of Sardinia, where he suffered the severest privations and such brutal treatment, that he died from its effects.

19. St. Anthems        235–236
Greece, Martyr, ordered the collection of the acts of the martyrs.

20. St. Fabian        236–250
Rome, Martyr. The historian Eusebius relates that the choice fell on him, because a dove had perched on his head at the election.

21. St. Cornelius        250–253
Rome, Martyr. In his reign the clergy of Rome numbered 200, and the faithful 50,000. He convened a council in which Novatian, a schismatic anti-pope, was excommunicated.

22. St. Lucius I        253–254
Rome, Martyr, suffered exile for the faith.

23. St. Stephen I        254–257
Rome, Martyr. He upheld against St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, the ancient custom of the Church, not to re-baptize persons who had been baptized in due form by heretics.

24. St. Sixtus II        257–258
Greece, Martyr. The famous martyrdom of St. Lawrence took place three days after his, according to his prediction.

25. St. Dionysius        259–268
Italy.

26. St. Felix I        269–274
Rome, Martyr, prescribed the rite for the dedication of churches. In his letter to the bishop of Alexandria he stated the teaching of the Church on the Blessed Trinity so clearly that the Council of Ephesus (431) quoted from it.

In the dispute about the bishopric of Antioch, provoked by the heresy of Paul of Samosata, Emperor Aurelian gave the remarkable decision: "Let him be bishop of Antioch who is in communion with the bishops of Italy, especially with the bishop of Rome."

27. St. Eutychian        275–283
Luni, Tuscany, Martyr. He forbade Holy Communion to drunkards, until they had reformed, but ordered wine to be blessed on the altar in condemnation of the Manichean heresy.

28. St. Caius        283–296
Dalmatia, Martyr, was a near relation of Emperor Diocletian and converted many of the Roman nobility.

29. St. Marcellinus        296–304
Rome, Martyr.



Century IV — 10 Popes


30. St. Marcellus I        304–309
Rome, Martyr, insisted that councils used the approbation of the Holy See.

31. St. Eusebius        309–310
Greek from southern Italy.

32. St. Miltiades        311–314
Africa. The last of the Popes buried in the catacombs. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine the era of persecutions ceased. For two hundred years, from St. Peter to St. Marcellus, the Popes had died the death of martyrdom for the fundamental truth of Christianity, that Christ is the Son of God.

Now the Church comes forth from the catacombs and the spiritual supremacy of the Popes over the whole Christian world appears plainly as an acknowledged fact.

33. St. Sylvester I        314–335
Rome, prescribed that the altars be of stone and covered with linen. His legates presided over the General Council of Nice (325), in which Arianism was condemned.

34. St. Mark       336
Rome. The first Pope who conferred the pallium.

35. St. Julius I       337–352
Rome, decreed the celebration of Christmas on the 25th of December for the whole Church. St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, appealed to him and was upheld by him against the Arian bishops. He declared to the bishops of the council, held at Sardica: "The Canons of the Church forbid, that decrees be published by the bishops without the sanction of the bishop of Rome."

36. St. Liberius        352–366
Rome. He wrote to the Arian emperor: "Do not interfere in Church affairs and give not precepts, but rather learn them from us." He bore his exile with fortitude and returned an unconquered defender of the faith.

37. St. Damasus I        366–384
Spain, (Rome?), one of the most learned and zealous popes of Christian antiquity. He called St. Jerome to Rome, who at his request made his famous translation of the Holy Scriptures, called the Vulgate. In a synod at Rome he condemned the errors of Macedonius, three years before the council of Constantinople (II. General Council, held at Constantinople A.D. 381) and conferred by his sanction the title "ecumenical" upon it. The creed of the council of Nice was enlarged at this council.

38. St. Siricius        381–399
Rome, held several councils for the suppression of heresies.

39. St. Anastasius I        399–401
Rome, censured the errors of Origen.



Century V — 12 Popes


40. St. Innocent I       401–417
Albano, Italy. The bishops of northern Africa sent the acts of their council, in which the heresy of Pelagius was condemned to him. He approved them and excommunicated Pelagius. Then St. Augustine wrote: "The acts have been sent to the Holy See and the answer has arrived. The case is finished; let the heresy how have an end."

41. St. Zozimus        417–418
Greece, permitted the blessing of the Easter-candle in all parish churches.

42. St. Boniface I       418–422
Rome, admonished the bishops of France to obtain for their councils the confirmation of the Holy See.

43. St. Celestine I        422–432
Campagna, Italy. In his reign St. Patrick, who had received apostolic faculties from him, converted Ireland. He sent St. Palladius from Ronie to Scotland as its first bishop. When the heresy of Nestorius became known, St. Cyril, bishop of Alexandria appealed to Roflie, and Pope Celestine convened the III. General Council, held at Ephesus ( A.D. 431), in which the heresy of Nestorius was condemned.

44. St. Sixtus III        432–440
Rome.

45. St. Leo I, the Great       440–461
Tusculum. He saved Rome from the disastrous invasion of the barbarian Huns. The IV. General Council which condemned the heresy of Eutyches, was convened at Chalcedon, A.D. 451. When Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople, requested the council to grant to his see the place of honor next to Rome, Pope Leo wrote to the emperor: Anatolius may boast of being bishop of the imperial residence, but he cannot make it an apostolic See.

46. St. Hilary        461–468
Sardinia. From him dates the beginning of the great Vatican Library.

47. St. Simplicius        468–483
Tivoli, Italy.

48. St. Felix III        483–492
Rome. In his reign occurred the famous miracle of Tipasa, where 300 Christian martyrs, whose tongues had been cut out by the persecutors, continued to speak and to sing the praises of Christ to the wonder of the world.

49. St. Gelasius I       492–496
Africa. He held a council in Rome, by which the canon of the Holy Scriptures was decreed and a large number of apocryphal books was rejected. He introduced the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.

50. St. Anastasius II        496–498
Rome. Conversion of Clovis, king of the Franks.

51. St. Symmachus        498–514
Sardinia. Protected the Church in troubled times against schism and heresy, and supported 225 bishops, exiled during the persecution, in Africa. When the Arian king Theodoric convened a synod and demanded, that the bishops should condemn Symmachus, they answered: "It has never happened, that the head of the Church was judged by his subjects."



Century VI — 13 Popes


52. St. Hormisdas        514–523
Frosinone, Italy. He upheld the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon against the violence of Emperor Anastasius.

53. St. John I       523–526
Tuscany, Martyr. The Arian Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, commenced a persecution, during which the holy Pope died in prison and the famous Christian philosopher Boethius was beheaded.

54. St. Felix IV       526–530
Benevent, Italy.

55. Boniface II        530–532
Rome. Under him the learned Dionysius Exiguus introduced the counting of the Christian era, commencing with the birth of Christ.

56. John II        532–535
Rome. Emperor Justinian of Constantinople addressed him in his letter as the head of all churches.

57. St. Agapitus        535–536
Rome.

58. St. Silverius        536–538
Frosinone, Italy, Martyr. Died in exile, whither the emperor had sent him at the instigation of the Monophysites. The bishop of Patara defended him before the emperor, and said: "Remember, there are many kings on earth, but only one Pope over all the churches of the world."

59. Vigilius        538–555
Rome. Under him the V. General Council was convened at Constantinople and the famous dispute about the so-called Three Chapters settled (553). When Emperor Justinian used violence against the Pope, he answered: "You can make a prisoner of me, but not of the apostle St. Peter."

60. Pelagius I        555–561
Rome.

61. John III        561–574
Rome.

62. Benedict I        575–579
Rome, in a period of war and famine a benefactor of Italy.

63. Pelagius II        579–590
Rome. Italy was visited by a fearful pestilence during which the Pope turned his house into a hospital and died a victim of his self-sacrificing charity.

64. St. Gregory I the Great        590–604
Rome. One of the greatest Fathers and Doctors of the Church. He sent St. Augustine with 40 Benedictine monks to convert England. He reformed the plain chant, and developed a wonderful activity in establishing ecclesiastical discipline and order in all parts of the world. Through the head of the Church he styled himself "the servant of the servants of God."



Century VII — 20 Popes


65. Sabinian        604–606
Frascati, Italy. Introduction of bells.

66. Boniface III        607
Rome. Emperor Phocas forbade the patriarch of Constantinople to use the title ecumenical, "because", he said, "Rome is the see of St. Peter and head of all churches."

67. St. Boniface IV        608–615
Marsi, Italy, dedicated the ancient Pantheon, or temple of all pagan Gods, to the Blessed Virgin. Institution of All-Saints day.

68. St. Adeodatus I        615–618
Rome, displayed heroic charity during a fearful pestilence.

69. Boniface V        619–625
Naples, took the young church of England under his special care.

70. Honorius I        625–638
Campagna, Italy. He has been censured for having been remiss in condemning the heresy of the Monothelites. But this remissness was caused by the deceiving letter of Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, their leader. He encouraged the conversion of England, and sent St. Birinus as bishop of Dorchester.

71. Severinus        640
Rome.

72. John IV        640–642
Dalmatia, expended the treasures of the Church to redeem captive Christians, Ind sent warning to the clergy of Scotland against a threatened revival of Pelagianism.

73. Theodore I        642–649
Greece. 86 African bishops sent to him a synodal letter, in which they had written: "Since the earliest age it has been law, that decrees, formed in the most distant provinces, receive their legal force only through the confirming authority of the Roman See."

74. St. Martin I        649–655
Todi, Italy, Martyr. For having condemned the heresy of the Monothelites, he was dragged a prisoner to Constantinople and sent into exile, where he died a martyr to the Faith.

75. St. Eugene I        655–656
Rome.

76. St. Vitalian        657–672
Segni, Italy, sent the learned monk Theodore to England, as archbishop of Canterbury with jurisdiction over all England. His coming introduced an era of sacred and secular learning and education. Convents and convent schools flourished, which produced famous men like Venerable Bede, Alcuin and many others.

Introduction of organs into the churches of Italy.

77. Adeolatus II        672–676
Rome.

78. Donus I        676–678
Rome.

79. St. Agatho        678–682
a Greek, born in Palmero, Sicily. In his letter to the VI. General Council (at Constantinople, 68o) he says: "It is a fact, that this See (Rome) through the grace of God has never strayed from the apostolic tradition and has never been tainted by heresy, because it has been said to Peter: 'I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' "

80. St. Leo II        682–683
Sicily. In his decree, confirming the VI. General Council, he says: "We confirm it with the authority of St. Peter."

81. St. Benedict II        684–685
Rome.

82. John V        685–686
Syria.

83. Conan        686–687
Thrace. Ordained St. Kilian, apostle of Franconia, Germany.

84. St. Sergius I        687–701
a Syrian, born in Palmero, Sicily. Cedualla, King of East Anglia, Britain, was baptized in Rome. Sergius made St. Willibrord, the apostle of Friesland, bishop of that country.



Century VIII — 13 Popes


85. John VI        701–705
Greece, held a Synod in Rome, in order to settle the dispute about the See of York, England.

86. John VII        705–707
Greece.

87. Sisinnius        708
Syria.

88. Constantine        708–715
Syria. In his reign two English kings, Conrad of Mercia and Offa of Essex, came to Rome, resigned their crowns and entered a monastery.

89. St. Gregory II        715–731
Rome. He gave apostolic faculties to St. Corbinian, the apostle of Bavaria, and ordained St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, bishop, and made him primate of Germany.

Leo, the Isaurian, emperor of Constantinople, began the dispute about sacred images. (Iconoclasts.)

90. St. Gregory III        731–741
Syria, held a Council in Rome against the Iconoclasts.

91. St. Zachary        941–752
Greece. He saved Rome from the assault of the Lombards, and ratified the election of Pepin to the throne of the Franks.

92. Stephen II        752
Rome, died before his consecration.

93. St. Stephen III        752–757
Rome. He anointed Pepin, King of the Franks, at Paris. Pepin defeated the troublesome Lombards and gave the provinces and cities, taken from them, to the Holy See.

94. St. Paul I        757–767
Rome, turned his father's house into a convent and was a zealous patron of monastic life.

95. Stephen IV        768–771
Sicily.

96. Adrian I        771–795
Rome. Friend of Charles, the Great. VII. General Council (at Nice, 787), which condemned the heresy of the Iconoclasts.

97. St. Leo III        795–816
Rome. Consecrated Charles, the Great, Roman emperor of the West, and protector of the Church. King Aethelwolf of England brought his son Alfred (later the Great) to Rome, to have his son anointed king by the Pope.



Century IX — 20 Popes


98. St. Stephen V        816–817
Rome.

99. St. Paschal I        817–824
Rome, showed great zeal for the conversion of Denmark.

100. Eugene II        824–827
Rome, held a council in Rome which decreed that in all episcopal cities, in parishes, and fitting localities, schools for common and higher education should be erected.

101. Valentine        827
Rome, reigned 40 days.

102. Gregory IV        828–844
Rome, conferred the pallium on St. Ansgar, and appointed him apostolic legate over the northern nations.

103. Sergius II        844–847
Rome, called a father of the poor, the orphans and widows.

104. St. Leo IV        847–855
Rome. The piratical Saracens, who ravaged the coasts of Italy, were defeated by the papal army, and the port of the Tiber and Rome protected by fortifications.

105. Benedict III        855–858
Rome.

106. St. Nicholas I        858–867
Rome. A great and energetic Pope in troubled times. He upheld the sacredness of marriage against Count Baldwin of Flanders and King Lothar II., and enforced ecclesiastical discipline and law everywhere. Beginning of the Greek Schism.

Lothar had dismissed his lawful wife Theutberga and attempted to marry Waldrada. Although besieged by an imperial army, Nicholas resisted until his death. Under his successor Adrian the king came to Rome and swore a false oath on the Blessed Sacrament, that he had returned to his duty, and was admitted to h. Communion. But the sacrilege was followed by a terrible punishment. The king and all who had joined in his crime died of a mysterious disease, while returning home.

107. Adrian II        867–872
Rome. VIII. General Council, held at Constantinople, condemned Photius and settled the Greek Schism. (869–870.)

108. John VIII        872–882
Rome, received St. Methodius, apostle of the Slavs in Rome, and granted special faculties to him, f. i.  to read after the gospel of the Mass its Slavic translation to the people.

109. Martinus I        882–884
Gallese, Italy; first Bishop of Cere. Friend of King Alfred of England, to whom he sent a particle of the Holy Cross.

He assisted him in establishing schools and forbade to tax such property. He is the first pope, who had been bishop before his election.

110. St. Adrian Ill        884–885
Rome.

111. Stephen VI        885–891
Rome, a father of the poor. He distributed all his property among the needy when he became Pope, and fed orphans and poor people at his own table.

112. Formosus        891–896
Rome. Had been bishop of Porto. Crowned Arnulf, emperor of Germany. The Greek schismatics submitted to the Pope.

113. Boniface VI        896
Rome, died shortly after his election.

Stephen VII        897–898
Rome.

115. Romanus        898
Gallese, Italy, lived only three months after his election.

116. Theodore II        898
Rome. His pontificate lasted 20 days.

117. John IX        898–900
Tivoli, Italy. The bishops of Southern Germany saluted him in their address as "the august bishop, not of one city, but the whole world."



Century X — 23 Popes


During this period the Holy See suffered greatly from the disturbances caused by contending and powerful factions, and its occupants have been grievously slandered by Luitprand, the chronicler of that time. He was a creature of the imperial party and bitterly opposed the Italian party, under whose protection the popes ruled during these troubled times.

118. Benedict IV        900–903
Rome, a saintly pope and father of the poor.

119. Leo V        903
Ardea, Italy, died soon after his election.

120. Sergius III        904–911
Rome.

121. Anastasius III        911–913
Rome, a pope praised for his mildness and blameless life.

122. Landus        913–914
from Sabino, Italy, ruled only six months.

123. John X        915–928
Ravenna, Italy, freed the pontifical states from the inroads of the Saracenes and restored church discipline in Germany.

124. Leo VI        928–929
Rome.

125. Stephen VIII        929–931
Conversion of King Wratislaw of Bohemia.

126. John XI        931–936
Rome. Resisted the unlawful marriage of King Hugo, for which he suffered imprisonment.

127. Leo VIII        936–939
Rome.

128. Stephen IX        939–942
Rome.

129. Martinus II        943–946
Rome, devoted his life to works of charity and peace.

130. Agapitus II        916–956
Rome. Conversion of Harold, King of Denmark, and erection of bishoprics in his realm.

131. John XII        956–964
Rome. The first Pope who changed his name after election. He annointed Otto, the Great, of Germany, as Roman emperor, which dignity remained thenceforth with the rulers of the German Empire.

132. Leo VIII        963–965
Rome.

133. Benedict V        961–966
Rome. Was driven from the throne in 964.

134. John XIII        965–972
Rome, sent legates to Poland, whose King Miesco had been converted to the faith.

135. Benedict VI        972–973
Rome.

136. Benedict VII        975–984
Rome, held several synods against the sin of simony, was a father of the poor and a patron of monastic life.

137. John XIV        984–985
Pavia, Italy.

138. John XV        985–996
Rome, established peace between King Ethelred of England and the Duke of Normandy.

139. Gregory V        996–999
Karnthen, Germany, cousin of Emperor Otto III. He said to the imperial and the republican parties, who disputed about their rights in papal elections: "We are representatives of the prince of the apostles and therefore hold our power from him alone."

140. Sylvester II        999–1003
Auvergne, France, gave to St. Stephen, King of Hungary, the title of "Apostolic Majesty". The celebration of All Souls Day, which had been introduced by St. Odilo of Cluny, was made by him general for the whole Church.



Century XI — 19 Popes


141. John XVII        1003
Rome.

142. John X VIII        1004–1009
Rome, ordained St. Bruno, the apostle of the Prussians.

143. Sergius IV        1009–1012
Rome, a Pope of great humility, charity and learning.

144. Benedict VIII        1012–1024
Rome. The monk Guido of Arezzo invented the system of notes, which caused a new era in the development of music. The Pope called him to Rome and appointed him teacher of music.

145. John XIX        1024–1032
Rome, received King Rudolf of Burgundy and King Canute of Denmark, who Caine ou a pilgrimage to Rome. He also crowned Emperor Conrad of Germany.

146. Benedict IX        1032–1044
Rome. Resigned in the year 1044.

147. Silvester III        1045
Rome.

148. Benedict IX, second time        1045

149. Gregory VI        1045–1046
Rome. Resigned in the year 1046. During these two pontificates Rome had become a prey to the feuds of lawless lords and parties, among whom the Counts of Tusculum were most powerful. Hence Emperor Henry III. of Germany interfered to restore order and to protect the Holy See.

150. Clement 1I        1046–1047
Saxony, Germany, crowned Emperor Henry III.

151. Benedict IX, third time        1047–1048

152. Damasus I        1048
Bavaria, Germany, ruled only 23 days.

153. St. Leo I        1049–1054
Alsatia, Germany. He entered Rome in the humble garb of a pilgrim and devoted his life to enforce ecclesiastical discipline and order. Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, renewed the Greek Schism.

154. Victor II        1055–1057
Nordgau, Germany, continued the reforms of his predecessor.

155. Stephen X        1057–1058
Lorain, Germany.

156. Nicholas I        1059–1061
Burgundy, established the rule that the Pope should be elected by the Cardinals.

159. Alexander II        1061–1073
Baggio, Italy.

158. St. Gregory VII        1073–1087
Soana, Italy. A great and holy Pope, whose life was devoted to reforming abuses, which had crept into the Church, and to resisting with heroic fortitude the encroachments of princely power on the rights of the Church. When Henry IV. of Germany, who had done penance at Canossa and been absolved, rebelled again and invaded Rome, Gregory had to flee and died at Salerno. The last words of the great defender of the Church were: "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile." He defended with equal firmness the sacredness of marriage and forced Henry IV. by the censures of the Church to return to his lawful wife Bertha.

159. Blessed Victor III        1087–1088
Benevent, Italy.

160. Blessed Urban II        1088–1099
Rheims, France. He held a large assembly in Clermont, in France, in which the first crusade for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre of Our Lord was resolved on.

161. Paschal II        1099–1118
Bieda, Italy. His reign was disturbed by the struggle about the Right of Investiture between the Holy See and the princes (Henry I. of England, Henry IV. and Henry V. of Germany.)



Century XII — 16 Popes


162. Gelasius II        1118–1119
Gaeta, Italy. The dispute about the Right of Investiture continued. The Pope had to flee before Henry V. and died in Clugny, France.

163. Calixtus II        1119–1124
Burgundy. The dispute about the Right of Investiture was finally settled by the Concordat of Worms (1122), so that the emperor should invest prelates with the temporal power by his sceptre, and the Pope with the spiritual power by crosier and ring. IX. General Council, held at the Lateran in Rome (1123), solemnly sanctioned the Concordat and promulgated canons against simony, counterfeiting of coin, and disturbing of pilgrimages and crusades.

164. Honorius II        1121–1130
Fagnano, Italy.

165. Innocent II        1130–1143
Rome. He held the X. General Council at the Lateran (1139) mainly about the reform of Church discipline.

166. Celestine II        1113–1144
Citta di Castello, Italy.

167. Lucius II        1114–1145
Bologna, Italy.

168. Blessed Eugene III        1145–1153
Montemagno, Italy. He was a disciple of StjBernard, who preached the second crusade.

169. Anastasius IV        1153–1154
Rome, a venerable man of 90 years, who died a few months after his election.

170. Adrian IV        1154–1159
England. In his reign commenced the disastrous dispute with the ambitious Emperor Frederic I. of Germany, who strove to foist the absolutism of the empire of old pagan Rome upon the Christian Roman Empire, conferred by Pope Leo III. upon Charlemagne.

171. Alexander III        1159–1181
Siena, Italy. Emperor Frederic Barbarossa of Germany besieged Rome, but a pestilence destroyed his army. He made peace with the Pope, and so did Henry II. of England. XI. General Council, held at the Lateran, Rome condemned the errors of the Albigenses (1179), and renewed the canons of former Councils against simony, usury, dangerous tournaments, and lawless feuds of the knights.

172. Lucius III        1181–1185
Lucca, Italy, settled ecclesiastical disputes with King William of Scotland.

173. Urban III        1185–1187
Milan, Italy.

174. Gregory VIII        1187
Benevent, Italy.

175. Clement III        1187–1191
Rome. The third crusade under Frederic Barbarossa.

176. Celestine III        1191–1198
Rome, defended the sanctity of marriage against the incestuous King Alphons of Leon, Spain, and against Philip II. of France, who attempted a divorce from his lawful wife Ingeborg of Denmark.

177. Innocent III        1198–1216
Anagni, Italy, called the teacher of the world and the father of kings. He worked for the suppression of the Albigensian heresy and peace between the princes; held the XII. General Council at the Lateran against the heresies of the age and for the reformation of morals (1215). The commandment of the annual paschal communion was framed at this Council. St. Francis of Assisium founded the Franciscan, and St. Dominic the Dominican Order.



Century XIII — 17 Popes


178. Honorius III        1216–1227
Rome, gave the papal approbation to Franciscan and Dominican Orders.

179. Gregory IX        1227–1241
Anagni, Italy, a great and saintly Pope, who defended the honor and rights of the Church against the tyrannical Frederic II. of Germany.

180. Celestine IV        1241
Milano, Italy, died 17 days after his election.

181. Innocent IV        1243–1254
Genova, Italy. He convened the XIII. General Council at Lyons, France, by which Frederick II., emperor of Germany, was excommunicated and deposed (1245).

182. Alexander IV        1254–1261
Anagni, Italy.

183. Urban IV        1261–1264
Troyes, France. Instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi.

184. Clement IV        1265–1268
France. Last crusade under Louis IX. of France

185. Blessed Gregory X        1272–1276
Piacenza, Italy Held the XIV. General Council at Lyons (1274) at which 500 bishops, one king and ambassadors of the Christian governments of Europe, representatives of the Greek emperor and his prelates, and ambassadors of the Grand Khan of Tartary were present. Four of the latter were baptized and the Greeks abjured their schism. Death of the great scholastics and doctors of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure. Rudolf of Hapsburg, king of Germany, restored order in the disturbed empire with the help of the Pope and the bishops.

186. Blessed Innocent V        1276
Savoy, ruled only five months.

187. Adrian V        1276
Genova, Italy, died 36 days after his election.

188. John XXI        1276–1277
Lisbon, Portugal, had a short, but active pontificate.

189. Nicholas III        1277–1280
Rome.

190. Martin IV        1281–1285
France, a father of the poor in the terrible famine, which visited the pontifical states.

191. Honorius IV        1285–1287
Rome.

192. Nicholas IV        1288–1292
Ascoli, Italy.

193. St. Celestine V        1294
Isernia, Italy, resigned in order to become a hermit.

194. Boniface VIII        1194–1303
Anagni, Italy, mediated the peace between contending princes, canonized St. Louis of France, and proclaimed the first Jubilee indulgence. He defended the rights of the Church with great dignity against the covetous Ring Philip, the Fair, of France, and suffered persecution and insults from the king's minions with apostolic fortitude.



Century XIV — 10 Popes


195. Blessed Benedict XI        1303–1304
Treviso, Italy. When his mother visited him in his pontifical state, the courtiers presented her arrayed in a rich dress; but the Pope would not recognize her until she appealed in the dress of her humble station. Then he arose, full of reverence, and said: "This is indeed my mother."

196. Clement V        1305–1314
France. Under him the Knights Templar were suppressed at the urgent demand of Philip the Fair, by the XV. General Council held at Vienne, France (1312). The Council proclaimed the dogma, that the human soul is the "form", i.e. life giving principle of the body, a doctrine which renders the theory of evolution (as understood by modern infidelity) untenable. He established his residence at Avignon, France, which was continued by the five succeeding French Popes.

197. John XXIL        1316–1331
France, a great scholar in canon law and protector of the universities. He caused the erection of the universities of Cambridge, England, and Cahors, France. From him dates the tolling of the bells for the evening Angelus.

198. Benedict XII        1334–1342
France, established peace between Portugal and Spain.

199. Clement VI        1342–1352
France. Cola Rienzi's revolt in Rome. During the fearful black pestilence which devastated Europe, the Pope protected the Jews against the excited people.

200. Innocent VI        1352–1362
France. Heresy of Wyckliffe, in England, who had been disappointed in regard to an ecclesiastical office andvented his discontent by teaching rebellion against papal authority.

201. Blessed Urban V        1362–1370
France.

202. Gregory XI        1370–1378
France. The residence of Popes in Avignon ended with him, and was taken up again in Rome.

203. Urban VI        1378–1389
Naples, Italy. Six months after his election began the so-called Western Schism, caused by a number of cardinals, who claimed that Urban's election had not been according to the canons of the Church, and then elected an anti-pope, Clement VII., who was succeeded by Benedict XIII.

204. Boniface IX        1389–1404
Naples, Italy, legitimate successor of Urban VI.



Century XV. — 11 Popes


205. Innocent VII        1404–1406
Solmona, Italy.

206. Gregory XII        1406–1415
Venice, Italy. A council was convened by a number of cardinals at Pisa in order to stop the schism, but resulted only in the election of another doubtful Pope. Gregory XII resigned finally at the General Council of Constance, in 1415, under the condition that the Council be first legitimately convoked by his authority, and then should elect another Pope to succeed him. The Council condemned the heresy of Wycliffe and Huss.

207. Martin V.        1417–1431
Rome. Was elected by the Council of Constance. The schism ceased.

208. Eugene IV        1431–1447
Venice. Convened the XVII. General Council, which was held first at Ferrara, then at Florence (1438). The Greek Bishops submitted and were united with the Church; but five years later the schism revived. Thus the Greeks themselves, having submitted three times to the authority of the Church, have judged and condemned their schism.

209. Nicholas V        1447–1455
Sarzana, Italy, fostered arts and sciences and is one of the founders of modern science. He formed the famous Vatican Library and gathered the greatest artists, scientists and learned men of the age around him. During his reign Constantinople was conquered by the Turks (1453).

210. Calixtus III        1455–1458
Spain. He preached and supported a crusade against the Turks, who threatened Europe. The Christians vanquished the Turks' power in the famous battle of Belgrade. He issued a solemn decision that Joan of Arc died a martyr for her religion and her country.

211. Pius II        1458–1464
Siena, Italy (Aeneas Sylvius). Condemned the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, France, which became afterwards the foundation of Gallicanism. Its most obnoxious proposition claimed the superiority of General Councils over the Pope.

212. Paul II        1464–1471
Venice. The first printing press was established in Rome.

213. Sixtus IV        1471–1484
Savona, Italy, received an embassy of the Czar of Russia, which brought Russia's rejection of the Greek Schism and submission to the Church according to the Council of Florence.

214. Innocent VIII        1484–1492
Genoa, mediated peace in England, distracted by the War of the Roses. Spain was freed from Mohammedanism and Amefica discovered by Columbus.

215. Alexander VI        1492–1503
Borgia, Spain. A Pope whose character has been severely censured by historians. The political troubles which disturbed Italy and the pontifical states engrossed his energy. While the unruly barons chafed under his iron rule, the people of Rome loved him as a strong but generous master. In his administration of Church affairs he followed the traditional rules, made wise constitutions and never passed any decree at variance with faith and morals.

In his reign here lived at Florence one Savonarola, a Dominican friar, remarkable for his ascetic piety and fervent eloquence. His eccentric and visionary character led him by degrees to exchange his missionary work with the role of a political and social reformer. The ensuing disturbances caused Alexander VI. to enjoin silence; but Savanarola refused to obey and violently attacked the Pope from the pulpit. Excommunication followed. Finally the government of Florence condemned the friar to death, which he suffered with edifying piety and as a faithful son of the Church.



Century XVI. — 17 Popes


216. Pius III        1503
Siena, Italy.

217. Julius II        1503–1513
Savona, Italy, laid the foundation of the Basilica of St. Peter, was the patron of art and the friend of Michael Angelo, Raphael, and other eminent artists. He convened the XVIII General Council in the Lateran, Rome, in which the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges was solemnly condemned, and decrees about universities, peace among Christian princes and reforms were passed.

218. Leo X        1573–1521
Florence, Italy. Completed the Basilica of St. Peter, the grandest cathedral of the world. He excommunicated Luther.

219. Adrian VI        1522–7523
Utrecht, Holland.

220. Clement VII        1523–1534
Florence, excommunicated Henry VIII. for divorcing himself from his lawful wife and marrying another.

221. Paul III        1534–1549
Rome, convoked the XIX. General Council at Trent, Tyrol. He approved the newly founded Order of the Jesuits.

222. Julius III        1550–1555
Rome. Interruption of the Council of Trent on account of wars in Germany and Italy.

223. Marcellus II        1555
Montepulciano, Italy, reigned only 22 days.

224. Paul IV        1555–1559
Naples, Italy, published a bull, in which he forbade, under excommunication, to establish slavery among the Indians of the West Indies.

225. Pius IV        1559–1565
Milano, Italy, ended and confirmed the Council of Trent, in which the errors of Protestantism were condemned, and most salutary reforms in regard to morals and Church discipline were proposed and begun. He reformed Church music with the assistance of the great Palestrina. St. Charles Borromeo, the great Archbishop of Milan and true reformer of Church discipline, was his nephew.

226. St. Pius V        1566–1572
Bosco, Italy, a great Saint and untiring reformer of abuses, who remained on the papal throne the humble and ascetic Dominican monk, he had been before.

227. Gregory XIII        1572–1585
Bologna, Italy, corrected the calendar, which was gratefully received by the whole Christian world and is to-day in general, use, even in protestant countries.

228. Sixtus V        1585–1590
Grottamare, Italy. A great and just ruler, who made the pontifical states the best governed country in Europe and organized the administration of ecclesiastical affairs in an admirable manner.

229. Urban VII        1590
Rome; died before his coronation.

230. Gregory XIV        1590–1591
Cremona, Italy, a man of charity, prayer and ascetic life.

231. Innocent IX        1591
Bologna, Italy, died two months after his election.

232. Clement VIII        1592–1605
Florence, Italy, established peace between Spain and France, and between France and Savoy. He published the revised edition of the Vulgate Bible, which has been ever since the official text used by the Church.



Century XVII. — 11 Popes


233. Leo XI        1605
Florence, Italy.

234. Paul V        1605–1621
Rome, a man of prayer and devoted servant of Mary. He established the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

235. Gregory XV        1621–1623
Bologna, Italy, founded the Propaganda and canonized St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier.

236. Urban VIII        1623–1644
Florence, Italy, a man of great learning, patron of science and art and full of zeal for the welfare of the Church.

237. Innocent X        1644–1655
Rome, condemned the errors of Jansenism, which maintained that by original sin man has lost his freedom of will, and that divine grace is irresistible. Innocent supported Ireland with ships and money in defending its faith.

238. Alexander VII        1655–1667
Siena, Italy.

239. Clement 1X        1667–1669
Pistoja, Italy, mediated the peace between France and Spain and extended the missions in heathen lands.

240. Clemeltt X        1670–1676
Rome, forced Portugal to close its tribunal of the Inquisition.

241. Innocent XL        1676–1689
Como, Italy, condemned the four Gallican articles and firmly opposed King Louis XIV. of France in his attacks on the rights of the Church.

242. Alexander VIII        1689–1691
Venice, Italy, supported Venice in its wars against the Turks.

243. Innocent XII        1695–1700
Naples, Italy, was admired by all for his knowledge and virtues; a father of the orphans and the poor, and he upheld papal infallibility against Gallicanism.



Century XVIII. — 8 Popes


During this century the Catholic princes of Europe adopted Gallican principles and strove persistently to oppress the Church in their dominions by tyrannous laws. It became their policy to hinder the Holy See in its communication with the bishops of their respective countries, to oppose the religious orders and to foster an irreligious spirit. Hence each pontificate of this century is marked by a continual and sorrowful struggle for the rights and liberty of the Church against overbearing and treacherous Catholic princes and governments. But the dark pages of the history of this century are redeemed by the great piety, learning, and patience of these eight pontiffs, who meekly shared with their Divine Master the insults of more than one crowned Herod and the cold injustice of many a time-serving Pilate.

244. Clement XI        1700–1721
Urbino, Italy. He opposed to the haughty injustice of princes a life of prayer and patience, went daily to confession and was a devout client of St. Joseph, on whose feast he died.

245. Innocent XIII        1721–1724
Rome, full of zeal for introducing salutary measures of reform, but surrounded by political difficulties.

246. Benedict XIII        1724–1730
Rome. He accepted the heavy responsibility of the papal dignity with tears of sorrow and only in obedience to his superiors, and continued upon his throne the humble and ascetic life of the Dominican Order, to which he belonged.

247. Clement XII        1730–1740
Florence, Italy, excommunicated Freemasonry, which had become and ally of the governments in their general hostility to the holy see.

248. Benedict XIV        1740–1758
Bologna, Italy. A man of profound learning and author of important works on canon law.

249. Clement XIII        1758–1769
Venice, Italy, defended without wavering the rights of the Holy See and the Society of Jesus against the growing persecution of evil-minded governments, but finally died almost broken-hearted, a martyr Pope on the throne.

250. Clement XIV        1769–1774
Angelo in Vado, Italy. The Conspiracy of the minsters Pombal of Portugal, Aranda of Spain, Tanucci of Naples, supported by Voltaire and the Jansenists in France, had prepared a storm of passion against the Order of the Jesuits, who had been the staunch defenders of the rights of the Church against the encroachments of absolute state power. The kings of thse respective countries, mostly of the Bourbon family, combined to force the Pope to decree the abolition of the Order. The Jesuits submitted to the decision of the Holy See with dignified obedience.

Shortly after the bloody French revolution broke out and swept over Europe, breaking the thrones of those absolute rulers, who had throughout the XVIII century annoyed the Holy See and endeavored to enslave the Church.

251. Pius VI        1775–1799
Cesena, Italy. The army of the French revolution occupied the pontifical states. Pius VI. Was dragged into captivity and died in Valencia, praying for his persecutors.



Century XIX. — 6 Popes


252. Pius VII        1800–1823
Cesena, Italy. With apostolic courage he defended the rights of the Church against the tyranny of the all-powerful Napoleon, emperor of the French, although a captive at Fontainebleau. But Napoleon lost his throne and the Pope returned in triumph to Rome. His first act was the re-establishment of the Order of the Jesuits in compliance with the general wish of the Christian world.

253. Leo XII        1823–1829
Genga, Italy. A pontiff of a apostolic zeal and a patron of education and learning. He combated the religious indifferentism of the age and renewed the censures against Freemasonry.

254. Pius VIII        1829–1830
Cingoli, Italy.

255. Gregory XVI        1831–1846
Belluno, Italy. A Pope of eminent learning and wisdom. He condemned the heretical doctrines of his time and firmly opposed the revolutionary plotting which pervaded Europe. When Czar Nicholas I. of Russia visited the Vatican, Gregory reproached him with apostolic dignity and courage on account of the relentless cruelty, with which the Catholic Poles were persecuted in Russia.

256. Pius IX        1846–1878
Sinigaglia, Italy. The revolution of 1848 swept over Europe and drove Pius into exile. After his return he promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, condemned the liberalistic errors of the age in his encyclicals, and syllabus, and convened the XX. General Council at the Vatican, in which the dogma of the Infallibility of the Pope was proclaimed.

The King of Italy robbed the Holy See of the pontifical states and Rome, and since then the pope lives a prisoner in the Vatican.

257. Leo XIII        1878–1903
Carpineto, Italy. He instructed and warned Christendom in his clear and profound encyclicals against the dangerous errors of the time, encouraged sacred learning and attracted the hearts of men by his apostolic dignity, charity and mildness.

Note:")?>—The number of the Popes from St. Peter to Pius X. is 258, an imposing list of great and venerable men, who succeeded each other in the See of St. Peter for 1800 years. While the dynasties of the greatest empires disappeared in the lapse of time, this is immortal; for the promise of the eternal God is upon it.

In the fierce battles of faith they bore the first and greatest brunt—34 obtained the crown of Martyrdom and about 40 suffered prison and exile as Confessors of the Faith.

Eighty-two are venerated as Saints on the altars of the Church, and whatever was holy, good and true in the history of Christian nations, found shelter and fostering care with the great and universal shepherds of Christ's flock.

The See of St. Peter has ever been the center of Catholic unity, as St. Cyprian called it; from it the faith has continuously radiated into the world and been safeguarded against error; for our Lord said to St. Peter: "And thou confirm thy brethren." The children of the Church all over the world look with reverence and love upon the venerable Pontiff in the Eternal City, the Father of Christendom. Of whatever race or nationality they be, at his throne all aspirations meet and are harmonized in the same faith and charity, of which he is the divinely appointed guardian; for after Christ had asked St. Peter three times: "Doest thou love me?" He said to him: "Feed my lambs and feed my sheep."



Century XX. — 8 Popes



This list of popes was appended to the original text (published 1899).

258. Pius X        1903–1914
Riese, dioec. Treviso, Italy.

250. Benedict XV        1914-1922
Genoa, Italy.

251. Pius XI        1922-1939
Desio, Italy.

252. Pius XII        1939-1958
Rome, Italy.

253. John XXIII        1958-1963
Sotto Il Monte, Italy.

254. Paul VI        1963-1978
Concesio, Italy

255. John Paul I        1978
Canale d'Agordo, Italy.

256. John Paul II        1978-2005
Wadowice, Poland.

257. Benedict XVI        2005-
Bavaria, Germany.



List of the Ecumenical or General Councils.

(The Apostles held a Council at Jerusalem in the year 51.)

1. The First Council of Nice ( A.D. 325).

2. The First Council of Constantinople ( A.D. 381).

3. The Council of Ephesus ( A.D. 431).

4. The Council of Chalcedon ( A.D. 451).

5. The Second Council of Constantinople ( A.D. 553).

6. The Third Council of Constantinople ( A.D. 680–681.)

7. The Second Council of Nice ( A.D. 787).

8. The Fourth Council of Constantinople ( A.D. 869–870).

9. The First Council of the Lateran (Rome, A.D. 1123).

10. The Second Council of the Lateran (Rome, A.D. 1139).

11. The Third Council of the Lateran (Rome, A.D. 1179).

12. The Fourth Council of the Lateran (Rome, A.D. 1215).

13. The First Council of Lyons, France ( A.D. 1245).

14. The Second Council of Lyons ( A.D. 1274).

15. The Council of Vienne, France ( A.D. 1311–1312).

16. The Council of Constance, Germany ( A.D. 1414–1418).

17. The Council of Florence, Italy ( A.D. 1438–1439).

18. The Fifth Council of the Lateran ( A.D. 1512–1517).

19. The Council of Trent, Tyrol ( A.D. 1545–1563).

20. The Vatican Council, Rome ( A.D. 1869).

21. The Second Vatican Council, Rome ( A.D. 1962–1965).