thanks to the trail cam, kitties in Alma — look to the left

HUNT4265 HUNT4098





Various Gentlemen at the Italian Oven, Mt. Pleasant


Eric Lionel Mascall (1905-1993)

Eric Lionel Mascall


By Mascall

About Mascall

On Dispensing with Q

E. L. Mascall

Here lies poor Streeter, stiff and stark, Whose corpse foul Farrer slew, For, though in life he made his Mark, In death he’s lost his Q.
Let exorcists from far and wide Placate his troubled spook, Which else will range the Broad beside The shade of Proto-Luke.
O base and disrespectful hand! O thrice unhallowed rites! To break such mossy coffins and To quench such ancient lights!

Pi in the High (London: The Faith Press; New York: Morehouse-Barlow Co., 1959), p. 48:


Ash Wednesday


The philosophy of “tiny islands”….

 Institute For Theological Encounter With Science and Technology
Volume 46 – # 1 Winter 2015 Bulletin

Overcoming Indifference

In his Lenten message for 2015, Pope Francis addressed the problem of “the globalization of indifference.” It’s an easy fault to fall into, because the news every day is filled with stories of human suffering, which seem impossible to do anything about, so a common response is to just tune the whole thing out. The term for this is “compassion fatigue.”

Pope Francis writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians” and goes on to suggest that Lent is a time to re-focus and overcome our indifference.

Fortunately, there are times and places where people overcome the temptation to indifference. Perhaps the best example of all is the huge crowd who gathered in Washington DC on January 22 to protest abortion. While most of America goes about daily life, participants in the March for Life are making the statement that we are not indifferent to the sufferings of unborn babies. Now in its 42nd year, the annual March for Life has grown to a half-million people.

The major national media are beyond indifferent, blocking out any coverage. Advertisers know that showing even 2 seconds of a moving throng will cause the viewer to change the channel; the networks conform to the safest path to profitability: indifference.

The most striking thing about actually being there was seeing how young the crowd was. Everywhere you looked was a sea of “millennials.” For decades the marching chant has been “Roe V Wade has got to go!” but this year the loudest repeated chant was “We … Are … The Pro-Life Generation.” Signs read “One third of my generation has been killed by abortion.” Many of our young Christians understand how the plague of abortion is destroying us, and they are not about to be indifferent. Because of them, the tide is gradually turning against abortion.

Pope Francis urges parishes and communities to be “A body which acknowledges and cares for its weakest, poorest and most insignificant members” He says “How greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”

Those islands of mercy are springing up everywhere: crisis-pregnancy centers, in both big cities and rural communities; sidewalk-counselors who invite women approaching abortion clinics to turn away and accept real help; maternity homes sponsored by churches; groups praying the rosary at abortion clinics, providing the only funeral that some children ever get.

Many tiny islands remain unseen, slightly below the surface: the high school girl who convinces her pregnant friend that it is workable to choose life; the parents whose example of Christian marriage convinces their children that abstinence and fidelity lead to the best life. Every instance begins when someone makes the decision “I will not be indifferent.” In Pope Francis’ phrase, they have acquired “…a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”


Thomas P. Sheahan
Director, ITEST
Winter 2015

Nothing Like Father Pacwa’s Hats



January friends in Alma!

January friends in Alma.

Dawn Eden “The Thrill of the Chaste” CWR Blog — 4 February 2015

    Dawn Eden’s explication of chastity is both traditional and contemporary

A new, Catholic edition of “The Thrill of the Chaste” follows in a venerable tradition that includes works by Fr. Gerald Kelly, William E. May, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

An older generation in the United States was brought up on Modern Youth and Chastity by Gerald Kelly, S.J. and his collaborators. The work was originally entitled Chastity and Catholic Youth and published by The Queen’s Work, Inc. of St. Louis. The first copyright was 1941 and by 1947 it was in its seventh printing. In 1970 there was Charity and Sex and the Young Man by Herbert Raterman.

Later a small book reflecting morals and read widely by young people was John Powell’s 1972 Why Am I Afraid to Love? For those focusing on orthodox Catholic morals after the publication of Humanae vitae in 1968, there was William E. May’s 1982 Sex, Marriage, and Chastity: Reflections of a Catholic Layman, Spouse, and Parent followed in 1985 by Benedict Groeschel’s The Courage to be Chaste. In an age of dissent perhaps Groeschel’s writing did not get the attention it deserved.

“The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On”, by Dawn Eden (Ave Maria Press, 2015)

Chastity fell out of fashion culturally in Western Europe and North America during the secularizing of morals in the Nineteen Sixties. Seeking competent popularizing in the Catholic tradition became more difficult than in 1933 when Vincent McNabb, OP published his commentary on Casti Connubii: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Pius XI. On Christian Marriage: In View of the Present Conditions, Needs, Errors and Vices that Affect the Family and Society (Sheed and Ward). Casti Connubii had been promulgated in 1930. The generation born since Father Groeschel’s writing now has Dawn Eden, a doctoral student at the University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary) in Chicago. She has attracted public attention “fighting for orthodoxy” against competitors in this field, one of whom was the subject of her master’s thesis. Her work in chastity-education is self-consciously conformed to the most venerable of Church tradition and it fills a need. The 2015 edition of The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On is accessible to the average reader. Since it does not target academics, there is no mention of the classical notion of spiritual marriage (see Dyan Elliott’s Spiritual Marriage, 1995 reissue) nor any reference to those who practiced perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom (Jacques and Raïssa Maritain; Robert and Mary Rosera Joyce – see their New Dynamics in Sexual Love: A Revolutionary Approach to Marriage and Celibacy, 1970). Dawn Eden’s doctrinal orthodoxy is beyond reproach, but her writing technique of “self disclosure” may hinder her from appealing to the older generation who require “the theology of the veil.” Younger readers influenced by secularism and the therapeutic culture (well described in 1966 by Philip Rieff’s The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud), can connect. Criticisms from various quarters may stimulate Dawn Eden to produce for us yet a third edition in the future. Perhaps her doctoral studies will figure into that production. Meanwhile we hope the lost or misguided out there in the readership will discover “the thrill of the chaste,” responding both to Dawn Eden and to God’s grace.


Evelyn Thayer Eaton and Father Van Hove at Alma Via, San Francisco


Integration of Personalism and Thomistic Metaphysics by Richard A. Spinello

Integration of Personalism and Thomistic Metaphysics


Karol Wojtyła was a dedicated Thomist, but, unlike his famous teacher at the Angelicum, Père Garrigou-LaGrange, he was not a Thomist of the “strict observance.” He did not believe that Aquinas’s philosophy always provided comprehensive answers to philosophical questions. Nor did Thomism represent the exclusive way to explore the intricacies of divine Revelation. On the contrary, Wojtyła readily realized some of the shortcomings of Aquinas’s metaphysical thought, which did not and perhaps could not give enough attention to human subjectivity. In addition, Aquinas devoted little attention to the human person. Since antipersonalist perspectives were not a major problem in the thirteenth century, this void was not problematic for Aquinas’s broad theological vision. But such was not the case in the twentieth century where these philosophies have exerted a disproportionate influence on the contemporary philosophical scene.

Richard A. Spinello

The Enduring Relevance of Karol Wojtyła’s Philosophy

logos 17:3 summer 2014


“Our Ray of Hope!” Viva il nostro Leone!

Viva il nostro Leone!

Mr. Noah, Father Van Hove and Mr. Victor: Deer Hunting Season in Mid-Forest Lodge, Michigan

Congratulations to Mr. Victor for the “eight point victory”.


from The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 29 October 2014, review of James Hitchcock’s “History of the Catholic Church”

History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium

James F. Hitchcock (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2012), 584 pages.

The publication of Dr. Hitchcock’s one-volume history fills a longstanding need for an introduction to Catholic Church history in English. Students need a place to begin in which they are neither overwhelmed nor disappointed. We have a plethora of specialized studies, such as John W. O’Malley’s What Happened at Vatican II; Roberto De Mattei’s Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta; and Matthew Levering and Matthew Lamb’s Vatican II. But, the beginner needs a survey or “view of the historical landscape from a helicopter.”

Before the Second Vatican Council, students, principally seminarians, could read Philip Hughes’ A Popular History of the Catholic Church, which informed them up to the limited threshold of the subject in 1946. (Evidence comes from Hughes himself, who wrote that the conclave of 1939, electing Pope Pius XII, had occurred just seven years before.)

Besides Hughes, students may have read Catholic-convert Carlton Joseph Huntley Hayes, or translations from the French of Henri Daniel-Rops. After 1960, a few students might have seen Hubert Jedin’s Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: An Historical Outline, which he wrote specifically for German seminarians anticipating the first session of Vatican II. Also in 1960, Philip Hughes wrote The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils.

The unabridged three-volume version of Hughes ends with Luther. His fourth unabridged volume only appeared after his death in 1967. Hughes’ Popular History was reprinted for a fourth time in 1970. Eight years later, and well after Vatican II, Thomas S. Bokenkotter produced A Concise History of the Catholic Church (1978). It is criticized for what was regarded as a naive bias, supporting the “hermeneutic of rupture” or progressivism of the 1970s. The 32 years between 1946 and 1978 were, indeed, critical for the Catholic Church.

Perhaps Alan Schreck’s The Compact History of the Catholic Church (2009) tried to correct this situation, but his history is just “too compact” for the college classroom. As with Warren Carroll’s fine works, The Catholic Church Through the Ages: A History Paperback, by John Vidmar, OP (2005), ought to have been more widely advertised. Vidmar proposes to use the metahistorical outlook of Christopher Dawson, who died in 1970. Dawson enjoys a modest revival from time to time. H.W. Crocker III’s Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church—A 2,000-Year History (2001), reads more like upbeat apologetics than history. Various authors have produced CDs and DVDs on aspects of Church history, but audio books have less appeal to readers and students who just want a book.

At last, James F. Hitchcock has come to the rescue. Our wait was worth it: the fruit of his effort reads more like a story than a textbook. Dr. Hitchcock’s formal area of specialization is Renaissance-Reformation history. He commented that scholars gave input for improvements in each chapter, and there are neither footnotes nor endnotes, though at times, these might have helped to verify precise details. The narrative is breezy and flows like the Mississippi River along which banks Dr. Hitchcock lives and worked. (He retired from teaching in May 2013.) This latest book may be his most successful. It surely will endure as an introduction to general ecclesiastical history. Unlike his earlier writings on the problems of the contemporary Church—such as The Recovery of the Sacred (1974), and Years of Crisis: Collected Essays, 1970-1983 (1985)—History of the Catholic Church begins with the apostolic age and takes the reader up to the third millennium.

There are typographical errors which may be the fault of the printer and not Dr. Hitchcock. Such errors merit correction in the second edition. Examples include page 135, where we see the same sentence needlessly repeated in the section on Private Masses. There is a redundancy on pages 160 and 281 regarding the Inquisition’s protocols, especially on the point of the accused being allowed to submit a list of enemies. On page 532, we read “Roscasalvo,” instead of “Roccasalvo,” for Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo.

Philip Hughes ends his Popular History in 1946, and Thomas Bokenkotter’s Concise History is rigidly locked into The Spirit of the ’70s. Other authors remain less well-known and, sadly, in the shadows. James Hitchcock is all we have for a good introduction to Catholic Church history in English. His work should be used in every seminary in America! We eagerly await the second edition.

-Fr. Brian Van Hove, SJ
Alma, Michigan



“The Blessed Cletus” — Viva Nigeria! Viva Chicago!


Thank you France! Thank you Bahrain!

Chaldean Patriarch:

aid preferable to visas for Iraqi

Christian Refugees


Catholic World News – August 07, 2014

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has thanked France and Bahrain for their willingness to offer visas to Christians who left Mosul after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forced them to choose between conversion to Islam and flight from the city.

Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako added, however, that it would be preferable for the nations to offer emergency aid to Iraqi Christians so that they could remain in Iraq. He emphasized that “at the same time, the patriarchate respects the personal decision of individuals” about whether to stay in Iraq or emigrate.



Viva! Viva il nostro Leone!



The Hub of the Universe: 1826 Michigan Avenue!


Richard Cole’s “Catholic by Choice” 

One Man’s Amazing Journey Toward the Catholic Faith

Richard Cole was not much of a believer:  By his own admission, he didn’t pray, he didn’t worship.  He was in recovery following years of alcohol abuse.  Raised Methodist, he had fled the church of his youth to dabble in Zen, t’ai chi, New Age, witchcraft.

But then for his 49th birthday, his wife gave him the gift of silence:  a three-day stay at a Benedictine monastery, where he could read, study, write and simply “de-stress.”

Why Richard’s wife thought that would be a suitable gift for a nonbeliever, I don’t know.

And why it affected him so profoundly, initiating the life change that would propel him into the Catholic Church, I don’t know.  The Spirit moves where He will.

What I do know is that Richard’s book is a page-turner, a deeply personal recounting of his journey of faith.  Like the English poet Francis Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven,” God pursued Richard Cole, gradually revealing Himself in the Church.  But the story’s not all love and roses:  Cole, compelled by an inner voice to study and pray and learn more and more, also had doubts and difficulties, strained relationships with his family, and challenges at work.  His honesty about these challenges makes one all the more joyous when he is finally received into the Church.

*     *     *     *      *

I’ve read plenty of conversion stories through the years:  Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home, Steve Ray’s Crossing the Tiber, Patrick Madrid’s Surprised by Truth with its testimonies from eleven converts and its sequels, Surprised By Truth 2 and Surprised by Truth 3, with 25 more.  Those stories have usually focused on theological reasons for embracing Catholicism.

Catholic by Choice: Why I Embraced the Faith, Joined the Church, and Embarked on the Adventure of a Lifetime is  not like those other “conversion stories”.   The force which drew Cole to delve deeply into the Catholic faith, to study the Scriptures, to attend Mass as frequently as possible, was not its historicity or its plausibility or its veracity.  Richard Cole’s faith journey seemed driven by deep emotion.  Cole describes it as “an intense, painful and utterly dazzling two-year period during which I fell in love with God, became a Christian, and finally entered the Catholic Church.”  

Reading Catholic by Choice, I was struck by Cole’s breathless amazement at things cradle Catholics may take for granted.  Seeing anew through his convert’s eyes, I found myself stepping back and appreciating the Mass and the familiar devotions.  Here, for example, is Cole’s description of his first encounter with Eucharistic adoration.

One evening after Mass I was wandering around and I discovered something called a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration.  When I first walked in, the place seemed dark and creepy.  All my Protestant feelers were twitching.  The air was stale and sweet with an odd smell, either incense or cheap disinfectant.  Three or four people were seated in the little pews, some praying, some just sitting.  In the front, there was a silver cross with a disk in the middle, which I later learned was the Eucharistic Host.  A young woman wearing a scarf looked up at me, then returned to her reading.  An old air conditioner was working hard in the background, kicking on for a few minutes, then kicking off.

I looked around and discovered a sign-in log beside the door.  And then I understood what was going on.  People were praying in this chapel, in front of the consecrated Host, but doing this around the clock!  Day and night, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day!  I looked through the log.  Sure enough, there were names for every slot.  Venancio was signed up for 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Lucille checked in at 6:00 a.m. every day for an hour.  Maria at 7:00 a.m.  I was astonished and fascinated.  It was a window into a part of Catholic devotion that I’d heard about but never seen before.  I said to myself, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

I stayed a few minutes longer, but I couldn’t breathe in there.  I needed fresh air.  At home I told Lauren what I’d seen.  Oh yeah, she knew all about Perpetual Adoration.  ”You’ll be there someday, taking a shift,” she said.

That night I kept thinking about the chapel.  All night long there would be someone there, praying, maybe just sitting, but keeping watch.  Like a power utility, it never closed, never shut down.  Each person stayed until the next person showed up.

The next time I visited San Jose, I went straight to the chapel.  Outside I read a little bit about adoration:  neighborhoods where this occurs have lower crime rates, etc. etc.

I opened the door.  The minute I stepped inside I was almost overwhelmed with the impulse to throw myself down on the carpet in front of the host.  Suddenly the whole idea of devotion to the Eucharist made all the sense in the world.  This chapel was holy.  On the wall I noticed a small, handwritten notice:  ”Do Not Lie on the Floor.”

May I suggest that you read Catholic by Choice for yourself?  Whether you are an interested observer of faith, wondering why Catholics do the things they do, or a life-long Catholic who could use a booster shot of enthusiasm, you’ll enjoy Richard Cole’s honest, highly relatable and often funny story of his adult conversion to Catholicism.


Easter Vigil in Alma: Billy, Father Van Hove, Rosemary and Sarah

After the Easter Vigil

Is Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio’s “Letter on Diaconal Continence” more than his personal opinion?

Scroll down to:

Two letters from the PCLT issued in 2011

do not resolve this question.

(Conclusion: Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio’s letters are no more than his personal opinion on the matter of diaconal continence.  All clerics are bound to continence whether married or celibate. [Canon 277])


Happy Easter Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ !

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ

Bishop of Oakland and Berkeley.


His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Viva!

James F. Hitchcock on the Death of Saint Augustine

“Augustine wrote The City of God primarily to refute the pagan claim that the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 was due to the wrath of the gods against the impious Christians; it was, he asserted, due to Rome’s own sins. But as he lay dying in 430, Hippo itself was under siege by a people so terrible that their very name  became a synonym for destructiveness—the Vandals. Justinian would later briefly reconquer North Africa, but the golden age of the Fathers, the most creative period in the entire history of the Church, was over. In the West, a long darkness was descending.”

History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium
by James F. Hitchcock
Chapter 4, Holy Wisdom, p. 99
Ignatius Press, 2012

Jacques Maritain rescues Dietrich von Hildebrand, 1940

“Arriving with his family in the Portuguese capital, Dietrich found out that the American Rockefeller Foundation had been desperately trying to locate him. He had in fact covered his traces so well that their efforts had been in vain. He was informed that his friend Jacques Maritain had managed to put him on the list of one hundred professors whose lives were in danger because of their ‘impure blood’. Dietrich’s name, along with that of his friend Balduin Schwarz (whose wife was Jewish), was added to the list because Maritain knew that von Hildebrand had fought against Nazism in Vienna and that he was sought by the Gestapo. The Rockefeller Foundation would cover the costs of the trip to the United States. Gretchen, Franzi, Deirdre, and little Catherine waited in Portugal until the middle of October 1940 to obtain the necessary visas that would enable them to depart for the United States. On October 15, Dietrich and his wife obtained an American immigration visa….”

The Soul of a Lion: Dietrich von Hildebrand
A Biography by Alice von Hildebrand
page 321
Ignatius Press 2000
Foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Golda Meir on the occasion of the death of Pope Pius XII (1958)

At Pope Pius XII’s death in 1958, Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir sent an eloquent message: “We share  in the grief of humanity. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade  of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for its victims. The life of  our times was enriched by a voice speaking out about great moral truths above  the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.”

quoted by Sister Margherita Marchione  [photo below]

In January, 1973, Golda Meir was received at the Vatican by Pope Paul VI, the first Israeli head of government to have an audience with the Pontiff. A Vatican statement released later noted that during the meeting, the Pope had recalled “the history and sufferings of the Jewish people.”


Golda Meir was the Fourth Prime Minister of Israel

Golda Meir 03265u.jpg

Golda Meir was an Israeli politician born on May 3, 1908 in Kiev, Russia. She and her family immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she became an active Zionist. From the 1940’s through the 60s, Meir worked for the Israeli government in various roles including as its minister to Moscow. In 1969, party factions appointed her as the country’s fourth Prime Minister, thereby also becoming the world’s third woman with that title. She died in Jerusalem on December 8, 1978.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Peddicord on Maritain, Garrigou-Lagrange, Pétain and Vichy

And, in a letter of 18 December 1946, Maritain continued:

When you took the part of Marshal Pétain — to the point of declaring that to support de Gaulle would be a mortal sin — I thought that your political prejudices blinded you in a serious matter for the country; I did not think to suspect your theology nor to reproach you for a deviation in a doctrinal matter.

Garrigou and Maritain would not be able to get beyond the rupture caused by this episode. It turned out to be a wound that would not heal. Both men were passionate in defense of their positions and strong emotions had to co-mingle with reason and faith. From our vantage point it is impossible not to conclude that in this matter Garrigou was in the wrong: wrong in supporting Vichy and wrong in avoiding reconciliation with a long-time friend.

Before leaving this discussion, an issue raised by Maritain’s letter of 18 December 1946 bears highlighting. Maritain said that in disagreeing with Garrigou, he had not thereby called into question Garrigou’s theology. Nor had he reneged on his commitment to Thomism. His point was that one’s theological commitments do not lead inexorably to specific choices in the real world of contingency. This is important to underline because one might be tempted to think that Garrigou’s support for Action Française or Francisco Franco or Marshal Pétain is enough to show that his theology was corrupt. Even though Garrigou would attempt to justify his positions by appealing to the faith, it is safe to say that they rested upon his personal socio-political presuppositions.

Richard Peddiord, O.P.
The Sacred Monster of Thomism: An Introduction to the Life and Legacy of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
St Augustine’s Press
South Bend, Indiana
pages 99-100
[Note: does “wrong in supporting Vichy” imply wrong in supporting the
deportation of the Jews from France?  See ]


Editor’s comment: I do not like the name of Francisco Franco mentioned, as above, in the same breath as Marshal Pétain or Action Française. Franco is credited with saving between 40,000 and 75,000 Jews, many of whom were from Germany, and others from Vichy France, Germany and Hungary. Even if they lied and said they had “one drop” of Sephardic blood, they were welcome in Franco’s war-torn Spain. This little known fact is inconvenient for some who routinely demonize Franco, and so it is not mentioned. See Hitler Stopped by Franco by Jane and Burt Boyar (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012). Paul Preston’s standard biography of Franco omits this information.


From Hitler Stopped by Franco, page 104:

“In 1927, as Colonel in Morocco, observing the Arabs persecuting the descendants of those Jews who had immigrated there four centuries earlier, Franco had written to the dictator of Spain, General Primo de Rivera, seeking and receiving permission to protect them with Spanish troops. Nine years later, in 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the Moroccan Jewish community demonstrated its gratitude by coming to Franco’s aid with strong financial backing.”


From Francisco Franco: The Jewish Connection by Harry S. May (1977), page 29:

“Since the end of World War II, Jewish and non-Jewish historians have estimated, in a truly inflationary binge, that Franco did save by this incredible ruse from fifty to one hundred thousand Jews. Or more. But we know that over thirty thousand Jews crossed the Pyrenees, often in the bitter cold of winter, and were let through by the border guards who had been instructed to close their eyes as to the refugees’ true ethnic, i.e. Sephardi origin. We have to keep in mind, though, that Spain found herself in the throes of a severe bread and food shortage, yet she allowed the hapless to escape the Nazi version of the Limpieza de Sangre. And more than ten thousand others who had escaped the death camps, found shelter, however temporary, in the Iberian Peninsula.”



from The Jews in the “New Middle Ages”: Jacques Maritain’s Anti-Semitism in Its Times by John Hellman

Vichy and the Vatican -

In August 1941, Léon Bérard, Vichy’s ambassador to the Holy See, tested the Vatican’s reactions toward the Jewish laws just enacted in France and found no objection. Back in France there was “quasi- absolute silence of the Catholic hierarchy in the face of the anti- Jewish legislation of Vichy.” The dean of the French hierarchy, Cardinal Gerlier, spoke to the leaders of the Jewish community of Lyon in 1941 of the unfortunate “errors” of Léon Blum and “expiation” in the circumstances.  Despite heroic individual acts taken in de- fense of Jews by individual Catholics including Gerlier during the war, many in the hierarchy continued to compromise themselves with racists and anti-Semites to the bitter end, such as when Cardinal Suhard of Paris presided over the funeral services of the notorious milice leader and racist radio orator Philippe Henriot on July 1, 1944, in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. In the name of “Christian France,” French Catholic leaders found the “exclusion” of the Jews acceptable (in a way not dissimilar to the Israeli leadership’s expulsion of Palestinians from their homelands in the name of “Greater Israel” today).

The savage attacks on European Jewry during the war was a matter of great personal distress to Maritain. He wrote to his friend Yves R. Simon in September 1941:

‘How can one live when thinking of the Jews tortured and massacred in Poland … of the treatment of the refugees in France … If I wasn’t responsible to other people, I would return over there to be put to death.’

Yves Simon responded that one had to face the fact that, behind things like Father Tizo’s laws against the Jews, there was deep-rooted anti-Semitism in the Church, and recognize that the last decade had seen “a de-Christianization of the Church herself. ” Simon insisted that the role of Thomism in the inadequate Catholic response to fascism and militant racism had to be critically examined because “If Saint Thomas were alive today he would be for Pétain, Tizo, and the rest,” as the positions taken by leading Thomist of the day, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, demonstrated. Simon helped persuade Maritain that a rethinking of Catholic philosophy was in order. Some important post-war writings on Christian Democratic political philosophy would result.

The deep vein of anti-Semitism in the French Catholic world into which the Maritains converted at the beginning of this century would not soon disappear. But the Maritains retained a particular perspective on the Jews from their godfather Léon Bloy: the conversion of the Jews would announce a “New Middle Ages” and hence racist anti-Semitism was out of place. Citing Saint Thomas, Jacques Maritain always distinguished between the religious Jews with their mysterious supernatural role and the “carnal” Jews. Since Maritain eschewed racial hatred he became known as a great friend of the Jews even if his “carnal” Jews would not be given total freedom in a “Christian” democracy. While the Christian order would take measures to restrain secularizing Jews, it would denounce racial hatred and keep open the highest of hopes for those Jews of good will, the believing Jews, the potential converts.

Maritain’s apparently moderate and common-sensical thinking about the Jews figured in the background to the initial exclusionary measures taken against French Jews by the Vichy regime even if Maritain himself would soon be horrified by what followed. Maritain’s approach has resurfaced in the thinking of his student John Paul II, whose “Thomist Personalism” envisages the toleration of the Jews as a distinct community within a “Christian Europe” consciously reaffirming Christian values. There was little that was liberal or pluralistic about Maritain’s approach to the Jews until he encountered the savagery visited on them by World War II.

Kardinal Michael von Faulhaber (1869-1952)

Michael von Faulhaber


The view from my front door in Alma: January 2014

All Fixed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

All Fixed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

All Fixed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

Father Paul M. Quay on file and on Kindle: “The Q-Source”

TheChristianMeaningOfHumanSexualityProduct Details

The Christian Meaning Of Human Sexuality

by Fr. Paul Quay S.J. (Feb 16, 2011)

From a friend:

Even though… John Paul II’s Theology of Human Love,  called the Theology of the Body,  has such wide circulation, Father Quay’s book adds another facet to  the diamond (using the late  Father Richard Hogan’s terminology)  which is Christ.

Given our culture’s strong push to separate sex from procreation it is important to utilize all good means to counter with an integral vision of the human person,  as Fr. Quay’s book does. JP begins by going back to the beginning in Eden,  but by holding out the integral vision  at the beginning, he unintentionally but actually lays a guilt trip on those who do not correspond now,  while Quay begins by facing humanity as it is,  even in its fallen state, but points out what is still present despite the fall and builds on that.   The goal and the theology are the same, but the approach is different, and more attractive, to many.

Looking Back at ‘Humani generis’ [HPR Online, 23 December 2013]

Looking Back at ‘Humani generis’

The First Vatican Council failed to complete its work. Papal encyclical letters instead promoted teaching that was needed on philosophical and theological questions, including some from the council’s own agenda. Nine years after a violent revolution shut down the First Vatican Council, Pope Leo XIII promulgated Aeterni patris, “On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy.” It may have seemed belated damage control after Kantianism, German Idealism and their baleful offspring.

The 1950 encyclical Humani generis, “Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine,” should be understood in the context of the pontifical effort to reform Catholic intellectual life. James A. Weisheipl, O.P. traced the history from the vantage of 1962. (Weisheipl, 1962).

Between 1879 and 1993 Leo XIII’s encyclical Aeterni patris addressed the reform problem. We may consider Humani generis as a certification in the vein of Pascendi dominici gregis and Lamentabili sane exitu of 1907.
In 1994 F. Russell Hittinger explained the 1879 Leonine reform as a story not of errors (as Pope Pius IX expressed it) but of destructively one-sided positions incapable of representing the Church’s tradition and of satisfying man’s thirst for the truth. (Hittinger, 1994, 17).

The crucial word is “modernity.” In the years immediately after Aeterni patris, the Catholic Church endeavored to respond to the intellectual challenges of the Enlightenment and Darwinian science. The Catholic Modernist Movement spanned the decade before and the first decade after the turn of the twentieth century.

Institutional Thomism was the preferred philosophy sponsored by the central teaching office of the church to engage new ideas . Why? Thomist metaphysics accepted the existence of absolute truth or certitude in contrast to the post-Enlightenment secular academy dominated by the proponents of materialism, relativism, determinism and atheism. Thomism was a sure defense against epistemological skepticism and its cousins, moral relativism and metaphysical deterioration. The Thomist system was superior to eclecticism and idealism.

Church historians and historians of theology including Hubert Jedin, Roger Aubert, Yves Congar and James Weisheipl surveyed the first Modernist Crisis. Its progress was interrupted by two world wars.

After the Second World War, another wave of intellectual ferment affected the Church in Europe, especially in France. This development confirmed the age-old adage that “the Church does its thinking in France, but is governed in Rome.”

However in Poland, Adam Stephan Cardinal Sapieha also promoted an intellectual revival. Sapieha ordained Karol Józef Wojtyła in 1946 and then sent him to Rome for advanced studies. Wojtyła earned two doctorates, one of them under the direction of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. His 1948 dissertation was entitled Doctrina de fide apud S. Joannem a Cruce.

Wojtyła disagreed with Garrigou-Lagrange on a significant point. Wojtyła refused to call God “Object” because for Wojtyła, God was “Person.” Rocco Buttiglione reported that Garrigou-Lagrange objected to Wojtyła’s philosophy on this account. The Italian edition of Wojtyła’s book included Garrigou-Lagrange’s position in the appendix. (Buttiglione, Karol Wojtyła, 35, note 22). Perhaps the seed of a much later disagreement between Wojtyła and Garrigou-Lagrange’s manualist system ripened from this initial discord.

The influential professor of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the “Angelicum”) in Rome where he taught from 1909 to 1959, and where he served as censor for the Holy Office, Garrigou-Lagrange was an enforcer of Aeterni patris according to a precise interpretation. For him, Catholic orthodoxy and philosophical Thomism coincided. There was an identification of systematic theology with the doctrinal tradition. His interpretation left no room for historical consciousness, and it devalued historical studies as well as exegesis and biblical theology. Garrigou-Lagrange was said to have accepted Dominican commentaries on Thomas such as Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, perhaps because Thomas died young and never finished his work, as if the commentaries were the real Thomas—just as Jesuits had been accustomed to see Thomas through the trajectory of Francisco Suárez (1548-1617). (Gerald A. McCool, “Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange,” Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, 205-207).

Father Garrigou-Lagrange began his teaching career when the Modernist Crisis was in full bloom, and he ended it after the second “modernist battle” had been waged by means of Humani generis. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange died in 1964.

French Ressourcement Theology or the “retour aux sources” was a theological undertaking from the early twentieth century through the Second Vatican Council. The movement saw the key to the revitalization of both theology and pastoral life in the church as a reappropriation of its fundamentals – in the liturgy, the Scriptures, the Early Church Fathers and the writings of others saints and doctors in whom the Catholic tradition came to especially powerful expression, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas. Thomas himself needed to be exhumed and resuscitated from decadent Scholasticism. In 1940-1941 Henri de Lubac and Jean Daniélou co-founded the collection Sources chrétiennes to make critical editions of the Church Fathers available. Daniélou himself specialized in St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Derisively called the “new theology” or “la nouvelle théologie” by its opponents, this movement found synergy with French theologians including Henri de Lubac (later a cardinal), Jean Daniélou (later a cardinal), Henri Bouillard, Yves Congar (later a cardinal), Louis Bouyer, Marie-Dominique Chenu and the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (later a cardinal-elect).  The ressourcement movement (de Lubac called “imaginary” any idea of a “new theology”) employed the ideas of philosophers and poets, especially Maurice Blondel, Pierre Rousselot, Étienne Gilson and Charles Péguy.

Certainly Karol Wojtyła was aware of Garrigou-Lagrange’s opposition to the nouvelle théologie. Its approach was regarded as outside the boundaries of Aeterni patris and Humani generis.

Henri de Lubac published his Catholicisme in 1938, and Le Surnaturel: Études historiques appeared in 1946. Garrigou-Lagrange wrote against the nouvelle théologie in 1946 and he most likely thought that more fuel was required for the fire.

Even the much older Dominican view of Jesuit theology was an unhappy one. The influence of Francisco Suárez’s “Thomism” made Jesuit “Thomism” different from that of the Dominicans. More than one brand of Thomism coexisted with dissonance. The history of the “De auxiliis” controversy between Jesuits and Dominicans in the sixteenth century seemed to be replicating itself in the perceived dispute between de Lubac on the one side and Garrigou-Lagrange and perhaps one of his French Jesuit allies from the Gregorian University, Charles Boyer, on the other side. One emphasizes “perceived” since neither party ever publicly acknowledged the other as an adversary. In 1985 de Lubac said that he did not think that he was targeted by Humani generis. (Susan Wood, “Henri de Lubac,” Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, 331).

In 1950 Pope Pius XII promulgated Humani generis. The encyclical named no individuals, but suspicion was widespread that its focus was the “new theology,” chief among them the “ressourcement” French Jesuits who had published. There was speculation that a Dutch Jesuit at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Sebastian Tromp (1889-1975), was the pope’s ghost author for the encyclical. (For more on Tromp, see the studies of Alexandra von Teuffenbach.)

Though he was not the only one to feel the repression, de Lubac was asked by his religious superiors not to publish or to teach (1950-1958). De Lubac in a 1985 interview with Angelo Scola in 30 Giorni said that this silence was in part his own idea.

The mood generated by Humani generis was dark and fearful. A theologian quipped “the only safe topics today are canon law and Mariology or Josephology.” At least one theologian, ironically not a Jesuit but a Dominican, Mathieu-Maxime Gorce, O.P. left the Catholic Church and moved to Switzerland in order to publish freely.

The refined presentation of “monogenism” and “polygenism” in HG # 36 is probably a reference to the writing of the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who died in 1955. In 1962 the Holy Office issued an explicit warning against the writings of Teilhard de Chardin. At stake was the idea that ancient doctrinal truths could be expressed with different or newer vocabulary. In 1962 Pope John also promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia confirming the importance of teaching theology in Latin.

During the preparatory commission meetings before the Second Vatican Council, Henri  de Lubac and Karol Wojtyła became friends. [An account by the Italian Jesuits is available at].] There is no information as to whether they corresponded before this period, but the association of de Lubac and Wojtyła in Rome is clear after 1959.

With the election of Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II in 1978, there occurred an implicit re-evaluation of French Ressourcement Theology or the “new theology.” Pope John Paul II, who had the highest esteem for de Lubac, stopped during a major address in 1980 and acknowleged the presence of de Lubac, saying “I bow my head to Father Henri de Lubac.” When Henri de Lubac became a cardinal in 1983, this elevation by itself rehabilitated his intellectual career, including by implication his spirited defense of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Ironically, at the end of his life, de Lubac even defended Thomism. One commentator described de Lubac as loyal to Augustine to the degree of missing points that Augustine so long ago had missed. (For more on de Lubac, see Rudolf Voderholzer’s Meet Henri de Lubac [2012].)

The broader impact of Humani generis was a freezing of systematic theology into a Thomist orthodoxy represented by the “twenty-four theses.” It was simply called “manualism.” Thomistic philosophy had created an illusion that theology could be perfectly systematized. This rationalism reduced theological speculation to servility. It became a straightjacket for theology, though this was presumably unintended by the popes.

In 1993 Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical which “corrected” Aeterni patris and Humani generis. Though the thought of St. Thomas took precedence, other avenues may be explored for the good of the Church. A genuine competition replaced the Leonine strategy of Aeterni patris and later Humani generis. Paragraph #29 of Splendor Veritatis stated: “Certainly the Church’s Magisterium does not intend to impose upon the faithful any particular theological system, still less a philosophical one.”

It was widely known that Pope Benedict XVI was an Augustinian.



Journal Articles

Jean Daniélou, “Les orientations présentes de la pensée religieuse.” Études 249 (1946): 5-21 (French).

Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., “La nouvelle théologie, où va-t-elle?” Angelicum 23 (1946): 126-45 (French).

Robert Guelluy, “Les antécédants de l’encyclique Humani Generis dans les sanctions romaines de 1942: Chenu, Charlier, Draguet.”  Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 81 (1986): 421-497 (French).

Richard J. Neuhaus, F. Russell Hittinger, et al., “The Splendor of Truth: A Symposium,” First Things 40 (January 1994): 14-29 (English). Available at

Edward T. Oakes, “The Paradox of Nature and Grace: On John Milbank’s The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Debate Concerning the Supernatural,” Nova et Vetera, English Edition 4 (2006): 3, 667-696. Abstract available at nk&cd=1&gl=us

R.R. Reno, “Defending Truth,” First Things (7 July 2009). Available at


James A. Weisheipl, O.P., “The Revival of Thomism: An Historical Survey”. [Lectio occasionalis a Reverendo Patre Lectore F. Athanasio Weisheipl, O.P., D.Phil. (Oxon), facta A. D. 1962, coram professoribus et alumnis Facultatis Theologiae Studii Generalis Ordinis Praedicatorum atque Seminarii Montis Sancti Bernardi Dubuquensis.]
Available at


Marcellino D’Ambrosio, “Henri de Lubac and the Recovery of the Traditional Hermeneutic,” doctoral dissertation directed by Avery Dulles, S.J. and submitted to the Catholic University of America, 1991. Abstract available at


Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Theology of Henri de Lubac: An Overview (San Francisco 1991). (English).

Rocco Buttiglione, Il pensiero di Karol Woytła (Milan 1982). (Italian).

Romanus Cessario, A Short History of Thomism (Washington, D.C. 2005). (English).

Yves Congar, Fifty Years of Catholic Theology, edited by Bernard Lauret (Minneapolis 1988). (English).

James M. Connolly, The Voices of France (New York 1961). (English).

Paolo Dezza, Alle Origini del Neotomismo (Milan 1940). (Italian).

Étienne Gilson, Letters of Étienne Gilson to Henri de Lubac (San Francisco 1988). (English).

Henri de Lubac, Catholicisme. Les aspects sociaux du dogme (Paris 1938; reprinted 1983). (French).

Henri de Lubac, Le Drame de l’humanisme athée (Paris 1944 and revised 1998). (French). *[This is the first in a series of the collected works of Henri de Lubac edited by Georges Chantraine and Michel Sales.]

Henri de Lubac, Surnaturel. Études historiques (Paris 1946). (French).

Henri de Lubac, La pensée religieuse du Père Teilhard de Chardin (Paris 1962) (French);

The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin (New York 1968). (English).

Henri de Lubac, ed., Trois jésuites nous parlent (Paris 1980) (French); Three Jesuits Speak, translated by K. D. Whitehead (San Francisco 1987) (English).

Henri de Lubac, Augustinianism and Modern Theology (New York revised 2000). (English).

Gerald A. McCool, Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century: The Quest for a Unitary Method (Seabury 1977). (English).

Gerald A. McCool, The Neo-Thomists (Milwaukee 1994). (English).

Richard Peddicord, The Sacred Monster of Thomism: An Introduction to the Life and Legacy of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (South Bend 2004). (English).

Rudolf Voderholzer, Meet Henri de Lubac: His Life and Work (San Francisco 2012). (English)

Jean-Pierre Wagner, Henri de Lubac, collection Initiations aux théologiens (Paris 2001). (French).

Chapter or Article in Book, including signed encyclopedia articles

Robert J. Henle, “Transcendental Thomism: A Critical Assessment,” in One Hundred Years of Thomism, edited by Victor B. Brezik (Houston, 1981): 90-116 (English).

Robert J. Henle, “The American Thomistic Revival in the Philosophical Papers of R. J. Henle, S.J.: From the Writing of R. J. Henle, S.J., Professor Emeritus of Saint Louis University.” (Saint Louis 1999) (English).

Gerald A. McCool, “Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, edited by Patrick W. Cary and Joseph T. Lienhard (Peabody reprint 2005) (English).

Henri Rondet, “Nouvelle Théologie,” in Sacramentum Mundi 1: 234-236 (New York 1964) (English).

Susan Wood, “Henri de Lubac,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, edited by Patrick W. Cary and Joseph T. Lienhard (Peabody reprint 2005) (English).


John A. Hardon, “God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural. Part Two: Creation as a Divine Fact. Section Two: Supernatural Anthropology. THESIS VII: Adam was an Individual Man, From Whom the Whole Human Race Derives Its Origin.”
Available at

Michel Fedou, “Le cardinal Henri de Lubac” (French). Available at

Joseph M. de Torre, “Thomism and the Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’” in The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter vol. 18, n. 2 (April 1995): 21-24 (English). Available at


De Lubac: A Theologian Speaks. Interview with Angelo Scola. Twin Circle Publishing Company, Los Angeles, California, 1985. English translation from the Italian. Francis X. Maier, ed.

Papal Documents

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s “Allocutio ad Patres Societatis Jesu in XXIX Congregatio Generali electores” see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 338 (1946): 381-385 (Latin).

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s “Allocutio ad Patres delegatos ad Capitulum Generale Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum”see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 338 (1946): 385-389 (Latin).

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis (1950) see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 42 (1950): 561-578 (Latin); The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 4 (1939-1958), ed. Claudia Carlen, 175-184 (Wilmington, NC: McGrath, 1981) (English); (reprint n.p.: Pieran, 1990) (English). Available at (English).

For the text of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Splendor Veritatis (1993) see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 85 (1993): 1134-1228 (Latin); and Origins (14 October 1993): 297-336 (English). Available at (English)

Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Alma, Michigan

from Letter to a Friend: ‘Vichy’

One of the ironic twists in the St. Paul story of continued manualism is a revived interest in Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP.

Apparently even Garrigou-Lagrange’s devotional works are being reprinted and recommended since he is so “untainted” by liberalism and progressivism. Maybe the students are taught to adore Garrigou-Lagrange— to the detriment of Tanquerey, Marmion, Vonier, Sertillanges, von Speyer, Boylan, Leen, van Zeller, Sheen and Goodier— who were themselves presumed to be Thomists!

What the young people are not being told is the fracture in the relationship of two Thomists, Father Garrigou-Lagrange and Jacques Maritain. Both of them were French at a time when the Church still “did its thinking in France.” Even so, their break was not over theology or philosophy, but over French politics.

Maritain represented the non-manualist or “back to the sources” movement in theology. He rejected Bolshevism, but after 1940 he also repudiated the Vichy government of occupied France. Garrigou-Lagrange, on the other hand, unswervingly supported Vichy, a breach which separated them for the rest of their lives. Maritain supported DeGaulle and the Free French.

Maritain’s wife and mother-in-law were Jews; he managed to take them out of Europe to the United States. During the War he taught at Princeton. Later Maritain became acquainted with intellectual Catholics such as Thomas Merton. Maritain was also an apostle of sorts. He engaged in serious  conversation such secular Jewish leftists as Saul Alinsky. See their letters edited by Bernard E. Doering.

Vichy and its politicians were complicit in the deportation and murder of thousands of Jews. (Some of these French Jews made it to the safety of the Spanish border. There they were received and sheltered by the government of Francisco Franco. Franco already had a reputation in North Africa for protecting Jews well before the Spanish Civil War. While Garrigou-Lagrange was a strong supporter of Franco, there is no published evidence he knew of Franco’s particular concern for the Jews.)

Manualism aside, any involvement with the atrocity of Vichy is unconscionable.

Charles Maurras (1868-1952) was arrested and sentenced to prison after the War in connection with his support for Vichy and Pétain. It is said that Charles De Gaulle urged Pius XII to depose bishops in France who had been collaborationist during the Occupation and that the pope consequently demanded the resignation–-by telephone–-of a quarter of the French hierarchy. Pius XII also ordered the “quarantine” of the Austrian titular Bishop Alois Hudal in Rome (a consultant to the Holy Office along with Garrigou-Lagrange), and the layman Paul Touvier never found a lasting refuge in a Catholic institution. In the United States, Charles Coughlin “the radio priest” from Detroit was finally and permanently silenced. He and Henry Ford were the best known American anti-Semites.

The Dominican Garrigou-Lagrange is now a candidate for “Holocaust Studies!” Jacques Maritain wrote that  in 1946 after the war, Garrigou told him that it was a mortal sin to have supported General De Gaulle and the Free French. (Peddicord, 99.)  Repeat–AFTER the war–when the deeds of the Vichy regime were known!

Indeed, Maritain himself as a Thomist has been criticized.  John Hellman wrote:

‘Simon insisted that the role of Thomism in the inadequate Catholic response to fascism and militant racism had to be critically examined because “If Saint Thomas were alive today he would be for Pétain, Tizo, and the rest,” as the positions taken by leading Thomist of the day, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, demonstrated.’ See The Jews in the “New Middle Ages”:  Jacques Maritain’s Anti-Semitism in Its Times by John Hellman.’

Think what one may, but scholars do see Garrigou-Lagrange as complicit in the Holocaust.

Garrigou-Lagrange died in 1964 and Maritain died in 1973. Maritain’s “Peasant of the Garonne” was a rejection of post-conciliar folly. The book was the target of intense ridicule by the liberal press and especially the National Catholic Reporter located in Kansas City.

The “new enthusiasm” for Garrigou-Lagrange is distasteful and an embarrassment for the Church. If you meet some of this enthusiasm in St. Paulor anywhere else, you may quip “I wonder what Maritain would think?!”

For more on the Vichy regime, see:


P.S. –
7.7.2009 |

Lawrence Cunningham says:

In my days in Rome as a young man I went over to the Angelicum more than once to hear the Old Lion before he retired. The distaste for him was not predicated on his strict defense of Thomism since Chenu and others were doing more interesting work. His name was in bad odor even in Rome because memories lingered over his support, first, for Action Française and, then, for Vichy. If Father deLubac lamented his influence it was because so many suffered via his influence in the Vatican dicasteries. He almost had Maritain’s works proscribed while others did see the direct influence of his intransigence (both Congar and Chenu to name only his own brethren). Few read him today and not without reason. There are many Neo-Thomisms so we must not collapse his work as being the only Neo-Thomism abroad in those days.


Further Reading:

The best works to be printed on this subject are Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton; “Vichy France and the Jews” (1981) and Robert Paxton “Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order 1940-44″. Susan Zuccotti: “The Holocaust , the French and the Jews” (1993). Richard Cohen: “The Burden of Conscience : French Jewish Leadership during the Holocaust”. (1987). Jaques Adler : “The Jews of Paris and the Final Solution”. (1987). For Belgium there are only papers: Dan Michman: “Belgium and the Holocaust” (1998).

Donald Hensrud on “Coffee”

Coffee and health: What does the research say?

What does the research say about coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?

Answer from Donald Hensrud, M.D.

Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills — from the humorous “It will stunt your growth” to the not-so-humorous claim that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it — good or bad? The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And another study found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Newer studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants. But this doesn’t mean you should disregard the old maxim “Everything in moderation.” Although coffee may not be very harmful, other beverages such as milk and juice contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, keep in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to your diet. Finally, heavy caffeine use — on the order of four to seven cups of coffee a day — can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness, particularly in susceptible individuals.

Bella Dodd and Bishop Fulton Sheen: 1952

Tom Hoopes was executive editor of the National Catholic Register from 1999-2009.

Comment by TOM MADISON on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 12:03 PM (EST):

In the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd provided detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. She stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.” Dodd gave testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s.

On Tuesday, August 5, 1952 she publicly announced that on April 7th of the same year, she was received back into the Roman Catholic Church. Not being able to secure her baptismal certificate from Italy after inquiry, she was therefore conditionally baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.

Read more:

Dishonorable Disclosures by Scott Taylor

Dishonorable Disclosures

by Scott Taylor

Former Special Operations members and CIA officers are stepping forward in unprecedented numbers to declare enough is enough. I chair an organization called OPSEC – short for operation security – which is a coalition of Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, DELTA Force, Marines, and CIA operators who have emerged from the shadows to speak out against these leaks on behalf of those still in harm’s way who lack the ability to go public.

Whether fighting a war, running a business, or simply playing a game of basketball, disclosing your strategies or capabilities hinders success – and in combat it can be a lethal mistake. The youngest athletes and lowest of ranks in the military understand this but apparently some of our nation’s most senior leaders do not.

There has been an alarming rise in classified leaks from the highest levels of Government intended to drive policy – or even worse, political — agendas. Unless something is done to stop it, the success of those very missions and the safety of the Americans who undertake them will be severely threatened.

Among the worst examples of leaks and politicization was a highly partisan TV ad the Obama Administration produced on the one year anniversary of the raid in which Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden. I and others volunteered for dangerous work to protect our country and using that sacrifice for political purposes is simply offensive to those who serve no matter which candidate they support.

Unfortunately, the damage done by leaks from the Obama Administration goes from offensive to downright dishonorable. By leaking classified information about operational tactics and tradecraft and disclosing highly sensitive operations like Stuxnet and the infiltration of al Qaeda, this Administration has put the lives of our forces and our allies and the success of our operations at much greater risk.

From cozy offices in Midtown Manhattan or over drinks in Georgetown, these concerns are brushed aside as being naïve or even at odds with the principles of democracy. To those people, leaks are just a part of doing business in Washington or are actually necessary to keep government in check.

As a former Navy SEAL, I feel certain the perspective of these people would change significantly if their place of business was closer to Helmand province than Times Square or if their drink was coming out of a canteen near Ramadi rather than a tap on K street.

Risks to American lives and success of our Special Operations missions from leaks are all too real. More knowledgeable leaders like Dianne Feinstein and Bob Kerrey have said that the amount and detail of leaks over the past couple years have been unprecedented. Efforts to stop them must be unprecedented therefore as well.

Special Operations members have an ethos of staying quiet, not seeking recognition for our achievements. While we will continue to avoid acknowledgement for our successes, we will not be quiet in criticizing the leaks of politicians and policymakers anymore.

I’ve hugged the widows and children of fallen brothers and many of my peers are still active, still serving in faraway places as their families and friends pray for their safe return. I and others are speaking out to try to protect them from even one unnecessary death brought on by irresponsible leak for a selfish political or policy gain.

Politics may be the art of persuasive speaking. But when it comes to sensitive or classified information that is critical to the safety and success of our CIA and Special Operations forces, it’s time for the politicians to shut up.

Very Respectfully,

Scott Taylor

“Why They Rescued Horses, Not Jews” by Dr. Rafael Medoff

Why They Rescued Horses, Not Jews
By Dr. Rafael Medoff

Sixty years ago next week, General George S. Patton ordered U.S. to attack a German position in Hostau, Czechoslovakia, to rescue 150 innocent prisoners. The prisoners for whom Patton was willing to risk his soldiers’ lives were not, however, Jewish refugees or other innocent hostages of the Nazis. They were horses.

Patton’s rescue of the prized Lipizzaner horses might be regarded as nothing more than an oddity of history, if not for the fact that in recent years, public attention has been focused on another issue related to the propriety of diverting military resources for non-military objectives: the refusal of the Roosevelt administration to bomb the railroad lines to Auschwitz or the gas chambers and crematoria there, where an estimated 1.5-million Jews were murdered.

During the spring, summer, and autumn of 1944, Jewish organizations repeatedly asked U.S. Officials to bomb the death camps or the railways leading to them. The War Department rejected the requests, claiming it had undertaken “a study” which found that such bombing raids would require “the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere…”

Today, we know from the War Department’s files that no such study was ever conducted. The rejections were based on a secret War Department policy to never divert any attention or resources to helping refugees.

Ironically, the Roosevelt administration did divert resources and alter military plans on various occasions because of non-military considerations. They just wouldn’t do it to save Jews.

For example, a U.S. Air Force plan to bomb the Japanese city of Kyoto was blocked by Secretary of War Henry Stimson because of the city’s artistic treasures. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy –who was particularly adamant about not diverting U.S. Bombers to hit Auschwitz–personally intervened to divert bombers from striking the German city of Rothenburg, because of its famous medieval architecture.

In 1943, the State Department, which opposed any U.S. Government action to rescue Jews from Hitler, did establish its own rescue agency–a government commission “for the protection and salvage of artistic and historic monuments in Europe.”

The following year, FDR ordered air-drops of supplies to the Polish Home Army rebels in Warsaw, even though his advisers warned that “the [Polish Home Army] fight was a losing one,” that “large numbers of planes would be tied up for long periods of time and lost to the main strategic effort against Germany,” and that most of the supplies would be confiscated by the Germans.

And while the administration was claiming that bombing Auschwitz would necessitate “considerable diversion” of U.S. Air power, in fact in the summer and autumn of 1944, Allied plans repeatedly bombed German oil factories close to Auschwitz, some of them less than five miles from the gas chambers. How much of a “diversion” would it have required to have a few of those planes fly five more miles and drop some bombs on the gas chambers?

The reason the Allies did not take any meaningful steps to help the Jews in Europe was that they did not want to have large numbers of Jewish refugees on their hands. Roosevelt did not want to bring more refugees to America. England did not want more Jews going to Mandatory Palestine.

In March 1943, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden met with President Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and other senior U.S. Officials at the White House. When Hull raised the issue of perhaps helping the 60,000 Jews in Bulgaria, Eden replied “that the whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult and that we should move very cautiously about offering to take all Jews out of a country like Bulgaria. If we do that, then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and Germany.” None of the U.S. Officials disagreed.

In a similar vein, a State Department official, later that year wrote in an internal memorandum: ‘There was always the danger that the German government might agree to turn over the United States and to Great Britain a large number of Jewish refugees. In the event of our admission of inability to take care of these people, the onus for their continued persecution would have been largely transferred from the German government to the Allied nations.”

As we reflect on the sixtieth anniversary of General Patton’s rescue of the Lipizzaner horses, perhaps it is worth recalling the bitter –and prescient– remark made by the Zionist leader Rabbi Meyer Berlin to U.S. Senator Robert Wagner, in early 1943: “If horses were being slaughtered as are the Jews of Poland, there would by now be a loud demand for organized action against such cruelty to animals. Somehow, when it concerns Jews, everybody remains silent.”

j. the Jewish newsweekly of Northern California

Friday, April 29, 2005

Nicole Winfield — “Legion of Christ Reform?”

posted without endorsement for the interest of readers            

Legion Of Christ Reform? Future Of Order Uncertain Under Pope Francis

By NICOLE WINFIELD  12/13/13 10:38 AM ET EST AP 

legion of christ reform

VATICAN CITY (AP) — First, one of the Legion of Christ’s top officials abruptly quit the troubled religious order in frustration over the slow pace of change. The priests in the cult-like movement empowered proteges and associates of the order’s disgraced founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, to vote for their next leader.

The past month has seen some setbacks the Legion’s efforts to rehabilitate itself as it moves toward electing a new leadership next month, the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment aiming to overhaul a damaged order. Yet even as the Legion prepares to present a new face, high-ranking members continue to speak nostalgically and even reverently of Maciel — a sexual predator who molested his seminarians, fathered three children and was, in the words of Vatican-appointed investigators, “devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.”

It all means that hopes are dwindling that the Vatican’s effort to radically reform the Legion has succeeded, raising the question of what Pope Francis will do with the once-powerful and wealthy order after the mandate of the papal envoy running it expires.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, took over the Legion in 2010 and appointed a Vatican cardinal to govern it after investigators determined that the congregation itself needed to be “purified” of Maciel’s influence. In reality, the Vatican knew well of Maciel’s crimes for decades but turned a blind eye, impressed instead by his ability to bring millions of dollars and thousands of seminarians into the church.

Rome’s failure to stop him marks the most egregious case of its indifference to victims of priestly sexual abuse, and has tarnished the legacy of Pope John Paul II, soon to be canonized, because he had held up the Legion as a model for the faithful.

To be sure, some progress has been made during the past three years of Vatican receivership: The order rewrote its constitutions, released statistics about sex abuse cases, and a well-respected priest recently begged forgiveness from Maciel’s victims for how he and the Legion ignored and defamed them. But if recent elections in the Legion’s consecrated lay branches are any indication, the membership itself has voted for the status quo.

That mindset has driven dozens of disillusioned priests and hundreds of seminarians and consecrated members out of the order: On Saturday, the Legion will ordain 31 new priests, half as many as were ordained just three years ago.

Last month, the Legion’s reform-minded governing counselor, the Rev. Deomar De Guedes, announced that he was not only resigning his position but was leaving the congregation altogether, a major blow coming just weeks before the Jan. 8 assembly to approve the new constitutions and elect a new superior.

In his farewell letter, De Guedes said he didn’t have the strength to carry on. But the Legion’s spokesman, the Rev. Benjamin Clariond, acknowledged that De Guedes was often the “minority” in pressing for deeper and faster reform and that this was a source of “tension” for him.

“We grant that the reform has gone slowly up to now,” Clariond said in an email. “That is because we intend to effect changes that are not just cosmetic, but that address the underlying causes of the problems … As is understandable, this takes time.”

But with the mandate of the papal delegate, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, ending after the assembly, key questions are being asked now that will pose a major test for Francis: Has the Legion truly shed the cult-like practices that French bishops recently denounced in a letter to victims of spiritual abuse? Will Francis approve the constitutions and essentially give the Legion a clean bill of health? Or will he make some provision for continued Vatican oversight after De Paolis leaves?

Francis has already said the Legion’s assembly, or General Chapter, isn’t the end of the reform process but merely a “step.”

Yet the process itself seems questionable when even the Legion’s current leader continues to speak fondly of Maciel.

In a recent interview with a Spanish-language online journal, Vida Nueva, the Rev. Sylvester Heereman said that regardless of the bad things Maciel did, “he continues to be someone to whom I owe a lot, whom I remember with a mixture of gratitude and compassion, even though I understand and respect those who personally suffered and cannot share those feelings.”

Recently, a senior member of the Legion’s consecrated lay branch, Alejandro Pinelo Leon, visited Maciel’s tomb in Cotija, Mexico on a pilgrimage of sorts: “Our founder teaches us many things and before his tomb I got emotional and thanked him for all that I learned about God from him,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Rev. Thomas Berg, an American priest who left the Legion in 2009, said such nostalgia shows that a considerable portion of the Legion membership is still unable to shake itself from Maciel’s toxic influence.

“The continual resurgence in private and public of the story-line that Macial is a ‘flawed instrument,’ but an instrument of God no less, is proof in the pudding that the purification has not gone deep enough,” he said.

Other indications include the roster of men who will elect the next superior: They include 19 existing superiors and 42 priests elected by the Legionary membership to represent them. The existing superiors include many of the top Legion priests who were close to Maciel and his successor. Electors chosen by the rank and file to represent them include Maciel proteges or still other associates. One recently was forced to explain a bizarre correspondence with a woman under his spiritual guidance.

“With so much of the old guard, so many men who Maciel put in as superiors, and younger priests formed under their influence and supervision, there is no hope of serious reform,” said Glenn Favreau, who left the Legion in 1997 before being ordained a priest and later co-founded ReGain, an online community for former Legion priests that was sued by the Legion after parts of the order’s constitutions were posted on an Internet message board.

Clariond, the Legion spokesman, defended the roster of electors as being fair and representative.

“If you consider that for 42 of the people participating this is their first General Chapter we really cannot be speaking of an ‘old guard,'” he said. “We feel confident that all views will be present, and that the work of renewal will continue on.”

But Xavier Leger, a French seminarian who left the Legion in 2006, said the Vatican’s reform was flawed from the start since the Holy See has relied almost exclusively on current Legion members for its information.

“When you are confronted with cult-like behavior,” said Leger, “the testimony of someone who is under the influence of a cult, this testimony cannot be trusted.”

According to Berg, the American priest, there was never any way the Legion could reinvent itself in such a short time.

“Such a toxic environment cannot be rehabilitated in a matter of three short years,” Berg said in an email to AP. “While the Legionaries desperately want to believe that they are nearing the completion of the reform, this is just one further indication of their inability to deal with reality.”


Follow Nicole Winfield at

“a life-size oil portrait” — from ‘Explaining Hitler’ by Ron Rosenbaum (Random House, 1998)

(….there is perhaps an even more important American source for Hitler’s hatred of Jews. A crucial source of his vision of a Jewish world conspiracy and a perhaps crucial source of funding for Hitler’s own conspiracy to seize power in Germany: Henry Ford. It’s remarkable how easily–or conveniently–Ford’s contribution to Hitler’s success has been lost to memory in America. It wasn’t lost to Hitler, who demonstrated his gratitude by placing a life-size oil portrait of the American carmaker on the wall of his personal office in party headquarters in Munich and by offering, in the twenties, to send storm troopers to America to help Ford’s proposed campaign for the presidency. The worldwide publication of Ford’s vicious anti-Semitic tract, The International Jew, which Hitler and the Nazis rhapsodically read, promoted, and distributed in Germany, the influence of Ford’s work and fame–he was an icon of the Modern Age in Germany–helped validate for a gullible German public Hitler’s malignant vision of the sinister “Elders of Zion” Jewish conspiracy.)

Explaining Hitler: the search for the origins of his evil
by Ron Rosenbaum
Introduction, xxxviii-xxxix

Brother Theodore Haggerty, OSB [Marmion and Meinrad]




Thank you, City of Alma! The leafmen came!


Ronald Lee Klingler in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Ronald L. Klingler

“the ronster-monster”

Reverend Paul Michael Quay, S.J. (1924–1994)

Reverend Paul M. Quay, S.J.

Paul M. Quay SJdates of photos unknown

Father Maciel’s Last Laugh

[from a correspondent and posted as an item of interest to the reader]

see also: Deomar de Guedes,

“The Last Laugh”

Would you send your son or daughter to a school whose formative program was designed by a pedophile?

Would you seek guidance on issues of morality from a sodomizer?

Would you attend marriage counseling offered by a profligate womanizer?

Would you delegate the role of mentorship and character building to a pathological liar and conman?

Would you donate money to a cause founded by a thief whose only moral compass were the demands of his own outrageous lifestyle?

Would you expect the Catholic Church to entrust the formation of its priests to any of the deviants listed above?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these preposterous suggestions, then you will be pleased with the way in which the resolution of the scandal that is the Legion of Christ appears to be approaching its ignominious end.

In roughly 90 days the Legion will hold its General Chapter, the pre-scripted tragicomedy that is supposed to sweep the truth of the embattled congregation under the rug forever and free its weary leadership from future scrutiny, responsibility and, best of all, criticism.

This is not the first General Chapter of the Legion, although its architects are the same as the previous two, held in the early ‘80s and again in 1995 under the controlling gaze of Fr. Maciel. The tone and contents of the first Chapters are an eerie reverse-prophecy of all that will be cosmetically altered come January 2014 as the Legion once again reinvents itself while remaining what it will always essentially be: the legacy of a perverse, devious and recklessly arrogant abuser whose name may no longer be mentioned, but who continues to live and breathe in the fraudulent masterpiece he engineered.

The conclusive documents of the Legion’s General Chapters may be found on the Wikileaks website. Although the translation is fairly poor, enough of the hubris and pathology on which the inner life of the congregation is predicated comes through to offer what will surely be a most interesting contrast with the carefully rendered documents that will be released after the next Chapter as proof of the Legion’s rebirth.

Whatever the outcome, nothing will erase the frustration and disgrace of the inexplicably missed opportunity to truthfully and courageously uproot and atone for one of the worst scandals in the Church’s history.

How did it get this far? When did the Legion become ‘too big to fail’ in the eyes of Church authority? Whose heads would have rolled and who would have been implicated had the Vatican decided to launch a full and impartial investigation into the history, canonical legitimacy, inner workings and finances of the Legion of Christ?

The Catholic Church doesn’t need – never needed – this scandalous brainchild of Marcial Maciel, but it has gone to unfathomable, self-incriminating lengths to keep it on life support.

If mirth is permitted wherever Fr. Maciel finds himself at present, there is no doubt that he has that leering grin on his face that so many of us recognize well. Everything continues to go according to plan.

Unless Pope Francis still has a surprise or two up his sleeve, which we hope will be the case, Nuestro Padre, when all is said and done, got the last laugh.


[from an anonymous source]


Jonathan Anthony Wojtkowiak smiles on Sunday, October 13. Mount Pleasant, Michigan.



The Happy Couple: Rebecca and Joseph officially engaged August 24, 2013



Just back from Hillsdale, caught like deer in the headlights.12 March 2013


The Catholic World Report Blog, 2 January 2013 “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years”

The CWR Blog

Diarmaid MacCulloch “does not conceal his preference for secularism.”

January 02, 2013 03:17 EST

By Carl E. Olson

CWR’s sister publication, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, has a number of new book reviews posted, including a lengthy review of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s best-selling 2010 book,  Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. It is reviewed by Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J., a regular contributor to both CWR and HPR.

“Jansenism and Ireland” [HPR 24 February 2015]

Jansenism and Ireland

Too often writers claim that classic Irish religious culture was “Jansenistic” or pessimistic and that Ireland was nothing more than an island with a dark and dreary religious history. Harsh critics point to the recent “scandal” in Galway where nuns were said to have buried unbaptized babies near an orphanage during the first half of the twentieth century. The Associated Press published a correction for the factual errors in its stories of June 3 and June 8, 2014.1 Many people did not hear about this apology by the AP.

Erroneous claims can be examined and dismantled. Newer scholarship reveals a more accurate picture of Jansenism and Ireland. This essay accordingly offers a different picture of the possible history of “Jansenism” in Ireland, stressing the resolute nature of the Irish spirit not to be dominated by external, non-Catholic influences.

Medieval European Catholicism was “abbey centered.” Early monastic life had evolved into the great abbatial sees. The monastic ideal was the only one for the Christian, and the laity absorbed “the culture of the monastery” into their morals and piety. For the Christian West the thought of St. Augustine (d. 430) overshadowed other Church Fathers, and his dominance shaped monastic spirituality as well as popular Catholicism. Noted historian Eamon Duffy called the pre-Counter-Reformation church in Ireland “profoundly Augustinian.”2 Medieval Augustinianism was “rigorist” by its nature, and so the darker moments of the Church’s history in Ireland surprise no one.

When St. Columban (d. 615) traveled from Ireland to France as a missionary, he brought monastic “rigorism” or “Celtic religious austerities” with him. He was exiled from France to Italy for criticizing the immorality of the Frankish court and the laxity of the bishops.3 The Irish were not accused of laxity since popularized rigorism was ingrained. It became cultural. Rigorism was an attitude and an orientation, discipline but not doctrine. For examples of northern European countries finding somber religion congenial, take note of Scandinavia and The Low Countries at this time.

But now a question arises: if the Jansenists were the “Disciples of Saint Augustine,” was this identification congruent with existing Irish tradition? The question is answered by specifying the source and quality of the Augustinianism under discussion. Popular rigorism derived from tradition and monastic heritage ‒ the remote past ‒ was quite different from the “university, elitist” reform movement (1615-1789) of the Early Modern period on the European Continent. There are two different sources, one in place in Ireland and the other an outside, foreign phenomenon. Jansenism fit into the conditions of French politics and the logistics of academic Louvain, not the remote situation of Ireland.

Native Irish religion in the Early Modern period was resistant to change. Foreign invaders might bring a new religion, but the indigenous Irish held on to what they had as integral to their identity. Even if the bishops capitulated to the English Reformation, the simple folk did not. In 1540 King Henry VIII declared himself King of Ireland, and in 1560 the Established Church there was erected by law.

In 1542 Saint Ignatius Loyola, on behalf of Pope Paul III, sent a delegation to Ireland to assess the religious situation. The report by his two trusted companions was negative. The local chieftains quarreled among themselves and some of the bishops were personally corrupt, which meant the clergy were likely the same. The report given to the pope in Rome by legates Alfonso Salmerón and Paschase Broët saw no hope. 4 Despite this report, the ordinary Irishman resisted the Crown’s attempt to rip out his ancient roots. That is why Felicity Heal can assert that the Protestant Reformation in Ireland failed in the sixteenth century.5 Accordingly, observed Robert Trisco, “This was the time when close connections were forged between the Catholic religion and Irishness.”6

Evidence about the work of Jesuit and other missionaries indicates that the Irish adopted the “Tridentine reform” rather late. Trisco refers to the historical work of Michael Mullet and writes that only slowly and after the mid-eighteenth century did “the Irish Catholics embrace ‘the Tridentine agenda of the Counter-Reformation’” and “eventually came to equate this Catholicism with their post-Gaelic national identity and to form the most convincingly Catholic people in Western Europe.”7

The Jesuits, of course, were the implacable enemies of the Jansenists, but there is no history of a “Jesuit ‒ Jansenist” conflict taking place in Catholic, post-Reformation Ireland. In France the reform movement called “Jansenism” lasted one hundred and fifty years, approximately 1640-1790. By mid-eighteenth century Jansenism had waned in France. The “patriarch of the Jansenists” and their last serious spokesman, Paul-Ernest Ruth d’Ans, died in 1728.8 When juxtaposed with the robust agenda the Jansenists carried out at all levels of French Catholicism, there is no reason to believe Ireland was an outpost for Jansenism as we now understand it.

Another important note is that in the Early Modern period there were no formal seminaries in Ireland for the training of the clergy. Irish students went abroad to France, Rome, Louvain or even Spain. They may have been conversant with the Jansenist politics of the day, but they would have been hard pressed to import such matters into a land where the Catholic Church struggled to survive. There may have been a few Irish Jansenists, but there was no Irish Jansenism. The common people would have been uninterested. Their church did not need reform along French lines. Importantly, Jansenism was a non-Tridentine model of church reform. This description simply does not match with the Ireland of the Early Modern period.

Survivals of pre-Christian Celtic religiosity might have been abundant, and even if they displayed “cultural rigorism” one may hardly call that “Jansenism” which was a product of Continental intellectuals. If the Irish clergy educated abroad returned home with moral “rigorism,” it was surely no more rigorous than the older “rigorism.”9 Rigorism and Jansenism are not identical.10 At the peak of the Jansenists’ strength, Ireland was either isolated or resistant to such a movement. Raymond Gillespie wrote that the Irish forged a genuine lay spirituality instead of a passive receptivity to theological ideas.11

There is also the likelihood that ancient Celtic liturgical rites survived a long while in Ireland before the legislated Roman liturgical reform supplanted them.12 Liturgy develops when the Church is free. Irish liturgy tended not to develop in the same way as German liturgy because of the lack of political freedom—clandestine Masses will always be understated and hasty. Just ask yourself about the seaside “Mass-Rock” tradition. The existence of this improvisation excluded all lavish liturgical growth.

Resistance to change in Ireland was a defense against annihilation. Adopting either theological or moral or political “Jansenism” would have meant change, and the stubborn Irish mentality was antithetical to religious change in a climate of oppression. Both Jansenism and Tridentism assumed and required change. The Jansenist ideal was the imago primitivae ecclesiae. To many in the Catholic Church this resembled misguided Protestantism with its historically inaccurate desire to revive some primitive, spiritualized church. This drive for a pristine invisible church and its virtues explains the Jansenist penchant for liturgical cleansing and the simplification of rites:

An American scholar, F. Ellen Weaver, has analyzed the relevant documents, especially the ceremonial books and ritual books with their own notes, which pertain to this Jansenist interest in the reform of the liturgy. Nearly all the themes familiar in our own day after Sacrosanctum concilium were pursued by the Jansenist reformers – introduction of the vernacular, a greater role for the laity in worship, active participation by all, recovery of the notion of the eucharistic meal and the community, communion under both kinds, emphasis on biblical and also patristic formation, clearer preaching and teaching, less cluttered calendars and fewer devotions which might distract from the centrality of the Eucharist. Even the “kiss of peace” was practiced at Port-Royal, and a sort of offertory procession was found there and elsewhere among Jansenist liturgical reformers.13

The conclusion is that their program was a ‘thoroughgoing and more systematic Catholic reform envisioned by the Jansenists which Weaver calls their ‘lex docendi, lex orandi’—the law of teaching is the law of praying. In fact, the whole of their reform program was to seek its expression liturgically.

Even the eighteenth century Italian Jansenists of Tuscany and Pistoia centered their reform on liturgy:

Inside the parish church the service must be made congregational. And here doctrine entered. The liturgy was not an act done by priest for the people, it was ‘a common act of priest and people’. Therefore all the liturgy, even the prayer of consecration which was said secretly, should be said in a loud voice, and the congregation was to be encouraged to share. The reformers asked themselves whether logic must not demand liturgy in the vernacular instead of Latin, and plainly believed that in principle this would be right; but knew that in practice neither their people nor the Church at large would tolerate such radical departure from hallowed tradition. Nevertheless the people should be helped to understand by being provided with vernacular translations and by readings of the gospel in the vernacular after the Latin reading.’ 14

The obvious reason why the Jansenists received firm opposition to their liturgical ideas in Ireland is that such were understood to be staunchly Protestant. Today the same ideas are still rejected in some circles on the same grounds.

Despite Pope Paul VI’s deliberate insertion of §6-§9 into the General Instruction on the Roman Missal of 1969, an assortment of … (critics) continue to claim the reform was a Protestant conspiracy. They think the missal of 1570 is an immutable bulwark against Protestant influence, even though J.D. Crichton has rightly pointed out that this edition is nearly identical to the first printed one of 1474, several years before the birth of Luther. F. Ellen Weaver wrote that Dom Guéranger had a personal antipathy toward the Jansenist reform. In speaking of the innovations of Jacques Jubé of Asnières, she cites Guéranger as saying “it was an example of the deviations to which liturgy was liable when the Roman Mass books were not adopted.”15

Neither the popes, nor Archbishop Bugnini, nor Dom Botte, nor the Second Vatican Council, nor Dom Guéranger give the Jansenist liturgical reform movement any notice for being “ahead of its time” ‒ Jansenism is never mentioned either for its catholicity or its importance as an orthodox, or mostly orthodox, variant to the mandated liturgical reforms of Trent. Since the canons of Trent were introduced quite late in France, it had been left to individuals and small groups to conduct the Counter-Reformation by themselves in what looks to us now to have been an unsystematic way. Were it not for unfortunate political entanglements which are notorious, Jansenism might have been integrated into the mainstream of the church, not expelled from it. Though their liturgical ideas did not die, but resurfaced in Europe in different contexts, they were always tainted until well into the twentieth century. Jansenists have often been misunderstood or falsely blamed. Currently church historians are re-evaluating the sources and they are able to show that specific liturgical ideas … were flourishing in France and Italy during the early modern period when the Jansenists tried and failed to introduce them as reforms into the actual life of the Catholic church.”

Irish liturgical minimalism, for lack of a better way to describe the situation,16 was due to circumstances, not a clear reform plan such as the Jansenists and others proposed. We know more about historical Jansenism now than ever in the past.17 Research has uncovered the real face of this complex phenomenon. For too long, it was distorted by the victory of its foes. But whatever Jansenism was, it was not Irish. An Irish exile might have been involved with it, but in Ireland itself “Jansenism” would not have made sense. Some say without proof that “Jansenistic priests” took refuge in Ireland and spread their ideas to the people. But this hearsay remains hearsay. Any pastor will tell us how people have a way of doing what they want to do despite admonitions. The Irish clergy who were educated abroad may have been aware of Continental controversies, but importing these battles would have bewildered the average Irish Catholic.

Finally, while Jansenism was known for its “resistance to authority,” an Irish “resistance to authority” was not the same thing because the Irish resisted quite a different authority.18 In the penal era the threat was from outside. The threat was a hostile Crown seeking to destroy the one true Faith which held together the people of Ireland.

The threat to the Church today is from internal decline. The loss of faith plus aggressive secularism purveyed by the media are responsible. The Jansenists may be long gone but the enemy still lurks. For those wishing to remain faithful, defiance of secularism has a resource in orthodox liturgy. A bit of Catholic neo-rigorism might even help Ireland and other victims of secularism to keep their faith.

1. DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926. See

2. Eamon Duffy, Faith of Our Fathers: Reflections on Catholic Tradition (New York: Continuum, 2004). Review by Jason Byassee in The Christian Century (19 April 2005).

3. Western Monasticism: A History of the Monastic Movement in the Latin Church by Peter King (Cistercian Publications, 1999).

4. The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England 1541-1588: “Our Way of Proceeding?” by Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. in Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought, Volume IX (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996). Review by Michael L. Carrafiello in The Catholic Historical Review (1 October 1997).

5. Felicity Heal, Reformation in Britain and Ireland in The Oxford History of the Christian Church (New York: The Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, 2003). Review by Rosamund Oates in Albion (22 September 2004). Also A Guide to the Irish Jesuit Province Archives by Stephen Redmond in Archivum Hibernicum, vol. 50 (1996): 127-131.

6. Catholics in Britain and Ireland, 1558-1829 by Michael A. Mullett in Social History in Perspective (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998). Trisco adds: “…this book can be recommended only to those who are already familiar with the general history of the Catholic Church in the islands from the time of the accession of Elizabeth I to the end of the penal age.” Review by Robert Trisco in Church History (1 December 2000).

7. Op. cit.

8. Ernest Ruth d’Ans: “Patriarche des Jansénistes” (1653-1728): Une Biographie by Michel Van Meerbeeck in Bibliothèque de la Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique, fascicule 87 (Brussels: Éditions Nauwelaerts, 2006).

9. The Irish are well known for their mirth as well as for religious “rigorism.” Persecuted people such as the Jews and the Irish see how funny the world is, perhaps due to their transcendent faith.

10. “Jansenism” by Thomas O’Connor in The Oxford Companion to Irish History. O’Connor writes: “The frequent claim that Irish Catholicism was Jansenist-influenced springs from the tendency to confuse Jansenism with mere moral rigorism.”

11. Raymond Gillespie, Devoted People: Belief and Religion in Early Modern Ireland in Social and Cultural Studies in Early Modern Europe (New York: St. Martin’s Press, New York. 1997). Review by Fergus O’Donoghue, S. J. in The Catholic Historical Review (1 July 1998).

12. +Attila Miklósházy, S.J. wrote that in Scotland the Celtic rites may have held out until the eleventh century. The implication is that in Ireland they were absorbed into the Franco-Roman rites earlier than in Scotland. Attila Miklósházy, The Origin and Development of the Christian Liturgy According to Cultural Epochs (Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), Vol. II, 403-405.

13. F. Ellen Weaver, “Jansenist Bishops and Liturgical-Social Reform” in Church, State, and Society Under the Bourbon Kings of France, ed. Richard M. Golden (Lawrence, KS: Coronado Press, 1982). Quoted in Jansenism and Liturgical Reform by Brian Van Hove, S.J. in the American Benedictine Review, vol. 44:4 (1993): 337-351.

14. Owen Chadwick, The Popes and European Revolution (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1981), 421.

15. F. Ellen Weaver, “Jansenist Bishops and Liturgical-Social Reform,” 64-65.

16. Sister M. Bertrand Degnan RSM, Mercy Unto Thousands (Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1957), 188.

17. See Jansenism: Catholic Resistance to Authority from the Reformation to the French Revolution by William Doyle in Studies in European History (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001). The review by Jacques M. Gres-Gayer in The Catholic Historical Review (1 October 2001) must be read with care for a proper understanding of Jansenism. Gres-Gayer’s review is by itself a summary history of Jansenism.

18. Op. cit. Doyle quotes Weaver, Chadwick, Crichton and others.

Brian Van Hove, S.J. is the chaplain to the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan.

Adapted from “Jansenism and Liturgical Reform,” The American Benedictine Review, vol. 44, no. 4 (1993): 337-351 and also from “Jansenism, the Liturgy and Ireland,” Christus Regnat (Journal of St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association), vol. 3, no. 1 (Christmas 2009): 15-18 [posted on Ignatius Insight 19 January 2010 to 20 March 2015]. Posted by Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 24 February 2015.