Category Archives: French History

#285 – Our Lady of Pontmain

On 17 January 1871, a group of children in the small village of Pontmain claimed to have seen a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The reported apparition lasted for several hours, the effects of that apparition would last for much longer.

Links:
Official site of Our Lady of Pontmain
Vatican norms regarding Marian apparitions
Novena of Our Lady of Pontmain

Sources:
Porte, Cheryl A. Pontmain. Prophecy, and Protest: a Cultural-historical Study of a Nineteenth-century Apparition. American University Studies. Series VII, Theology and Religion 234. New York: Peter Lang, 2005.

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podcasticon#285 – Our Lady of Pontmain”

#275 – The Papal Peace Note

Pope Benedict XV repeatedly called for an end to the violence of the First World War, but his cries just as repeatedly were rejected by the governments of belligerent countries that would be satisfied with nothing less than total victory. Yet, it was not only the governments of belligerent countries that thwarted Benedict’s mission – many Catholic bishops and cardinals also rejected the “Pope’s peace”.

Links:
Benedict XV’s Papal Peace Note
Benedict XV’s Peace Offering Calendar

Sources:
Griffin, Mike. “Snubbed: Pope Benedict XV and Cardinal James Gibbons”. Sign of Peace Journal.
Peters, Walter H. The Life of Benedict XV. Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co, 1959.
Pollard, John F. The Unknown Pope: Benedict XV (1912-1922) and the Pursuit of Peace. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 2000.

Image:
“The Peaceful Pope” – cover of Simplicissimus 1915.

Check out the other great podcasts at the Starquest Production Network
Website of the Third Order Franciscans

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To listen, just click on the link below:

podcasticon#275 – The Papal Peace Note

#262 – The Evil of Loudun

In early 17th century France, a convent of Ursuline sisters will begin to exhibit the signs of demonic possession. The resulting investigation will reveal the evil that lies in human hearts.

Links:
On the possessions at Loudun

Image – The death of Father Urbain Grandier

Sources:

Michel de Certeau, The Possession At Loudun, Chicago: The University of Chicago, 2000.
Richard Henry Popkin, The history of scepticism: from Savonarola to Bayle, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Robert Rapley, A case of witchcraft: the trial of Urbain Grandier, Manchester: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998.

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podcasticon#262 – The Evil of Loudun

#261 – Nature Abhors A Vacuum

The great philosopher Aristotle would influence the Catholic understanding of theology and science throughout the Middle Ages. However, reflections on the nature of the vacuum will, in turn, lead to reflections on the nature of God.

Links:
Condemnations of 1277

Image – horses attempting to separate the Magdeburg Hemispheres

Sources:
Barrow, John D. The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe. Vintage, 2002.
Grant, Edward. Much Ado about Nothing: Theories of Space and Vacuum from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press, 2008
Shea, William R. Designing Experiments & Games of Chance: The Unconventional Science of Blaise Pascal. Science History Publications: Canton, 2003.

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Send e-mail questions and comments to catholicunderthehood@gmail.com

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podcasticon#261 – Nature Abhors A Vacuum

#249 – Papal Zouaves, Part I

In 1860, faced with threats of Italian nationalism, the Pope appealed for help. Thousands of Catholics traveled to Rome to protect Pius IX and to give their lives for their faith.

Links:
The Vatican Rifles

The Pope’s Legion: The Multinational Fighting Force that Defended the Vatican by Charles A. Coulombe

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To listen, just click on the link below:

podcasticon#249 – Papal Zouaves, Part I

Today in Catholic History – The Beginning of Perpetual Adoration

On 14 September 1226, in celebration of a victory over the Albigensians, French King Louis VIII ordered that the Blessed Sacrament be exposed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross. So many faithful came to offer adoration that Bishop Pierre de Corbie of Avignon obtained the approval of Pope Honorius III for adoration to be continued day and night. This is the first recorded evidence of Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist and would continue until the French Revolution.

Since the Albigensians/Cathars denied the Incarnation, they also denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. By promoting Perpetual Adoration, Louis VIII asserted that his victory over the Albingensians was proof of the truth of Catholic teaching regarding Christ. Indeed Louis VIII desired Perpetual Adoration as a means of promoting penance for the sacrileges committed against the Eucharist by the Albigensians.

In 1829, the Confraternity of the Grey Penitents returned Perpetual Adoration to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Today in Catholic History – The Council of Agde

On 10 September 506, twenty four bishops, eight priests and two deacons met in council at the Basilica of St. Andrew at Agde in Languedoc under the leadership of St. Caesarius of Arles. In its 47 canons we can see the beginnings of the system of benefices [land given in return for service]. Other canons stress that freed slaves must be given sufficient land on which to live, altars must be consecrated with chrism and a priestly blessing, hymns were to be sung every day morning and evening in cathedrals, the faithful were to attend Mass and abstain from all work on the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist and that the clergy were to remain unmarried.

The Matins and Vespers prayers required by the canons of Agde show an important step in the development of the modern Liturgy of the Hours.

Thus, while the Council of Agde was a local council, it’s decisions would be influential upon the entire Catholic Church.

Today in Catholic History – The September Massacres

On 2 September 1792, French revolutionaries in Paris gravely concerned over the approaching armies of Prussians and believing that the Catholic Clergy were an unreliable support, attacked and killed many Catholic clergy and religious.

At a Carmelite convent, 150 priests were massacred, including Bl. Severin Girault, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. Bl. Severin and the other priests at the Carmelite convent had been imprisoned there by the French Revolutionary government for refusing to take the oath of loyalty to the French Revolution.

Over the next several days other Catholics would be killed – including 200 priests and three bishops. Many of those who lost their lives would be beatified in 1926.

Today in Catholic History – The First Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart

On 31 August 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart Mass was celebrated at the Grand Seminary of Rennes. With this Mass, the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus became a public devotion for the whole Catholic Church.

St. John Eudes had played a key role in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Though the devotion can be traced to the earlier writings of Sts. Bernard of Clairvaux, Bonaventure and Gertude and the Church Fathers. A key theme for the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart would be the love of Jesus for all humanity.

In 1856, Pope Pius IX will make celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart obligatory. Pius XII would raise the Feast to the status of a Solemnity. The Feast of the Sacred Heart has become particularly linked to the priesthood and the recent Year of the Priest began on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

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