Category Archives: Medieval Times

The glory of the Catholic Church

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I am once again sharing one of my best essays. I hope you like it, readers.

 

As the medieval times marched towards the creation of Western Civilization, the Catholic Church was the driving force behind all that was good at that time such as the Crusades, the wars fought in defense of the Church, as well as the art and architecture of that time which was the crowning glory of society and the Church.  Medieval comes from the latin word, “medium aveum” meaning the Middle Ages. The medieval times were a glorious era in the Church and the history of the world, but many refuse to see it and instead refer to these times as the dark ages.  In demonstrating the truth about the crusades, one should be able to see that they were just wars fought in defense of the Church and the Holy Land.  The medieval times was a major period in classical civilization, as shown through the art and architecture that came forth from that period. The Catholic Church was the driving force behind all of this good.  It was the Catholic Church that influenced men to join the Crusades and it was the Catholic Church that was behind the architectural beauty in the art and architecture of these medieval times.  All of these things existed for the greater glory of God and His Church.  By showing the proof of the good that came forth from the medieval times, one should be able to see that this was not a period of darkness, but of light.  The world that we experience owes a great deal to the medieval times because they contributed much to what is now the modern world.  The Medieval Ages were not the “Dark Ages” as supported by the truth of the Crusades, as well as the art and architecture that came out of the Catholic Church at that time which formed Western Civilization.

The Catholic Crusades were military wars, taken in defense of the Holy Land against rowenathe Moslems, in the name of the Church.  The truth of these battles is to be found with the Church. The Church has always been militant and at all times she has had valiant warriors to defend her. These warriors were knights of Christ and the Church.  “By translating the notion of a “holy warrior” into Christian terms, a succession of medieval popes and churchmen created the crusader, a “knight for Christ.”[1]   The Crusades were called at a time when the infidels i.e. the Mohammadens had taken control of the Holy Land.  There were four principal crusades. The First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095.  The First Crusade, from 1095-1099, established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and provided more lands for the crusaders.  To understand the important connection between the Crusades and the Catholic Church, one would do well to listen to the words of Pope Urban II, calling the crusaders to battle:  “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.”  Thus, the Crusades were Catholic in origin and fought in defense of Christ’s Church.  The Second Crusade, from 1147-1149 was called in response to the capture of Edessa by the Turks.  This Crusade was mostly a failure because only a few thousand crusaders escaped death at Asia Minor.  However, in the interval between the Second and Third Crusade, the two famous military orders were established, namely the Hospitallers and the Templars, whose duty was the care of sick and wounded crusaders, as well as the protection of the Holy Land.  Third Crusade failed in part because it resulted in the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187. This Crusade also marked the beginning of the Teutonic Knights.  “Finally, in failing to regain Jerusalem, the Third Crusade marks the beginning of forty years of almost continuous crusading from Europe.”[2]   The Fourth Crusade resulted in the capture of Constantinople instead of Jerusalem.  Thus, one can see that the objectives of the Crusades was the capture of the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, from the occupation of the Moslems.   Finally, the Crusades gives one a perfect example of the Church Militant in action.  The duty of the Church Militant is to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.  The militant crusaders fought the enemy, which were the Moslems.  Thus, the truth about the Crusades demonstrates that the Crusades were not the hallmark of the Dark Ages, but were rather the wars fought in the name of the Church that saved the Holy Land and Christendom.

[1]  “The Crusades and Medieval Christianity,” Utah State University, 2013, http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&civ/chapters/15crusad.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

[2]  Professor Ellis Lee Knox, “Results of the Third Crusade,” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).

The art of the medieval times was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church because it showed forth the glory of God in all aspects.  The Passion of Christ was a frequent focus of Italian painting and this was done with much emotion.  “…The episodes of the Passion are colored by painful emotions, such as guilt, intense pity, and grief, and artists often worked to make the viewer share these feelings. In this, they supported the work of contemporary theologians, who urged the faithful to identify with Christ in his sufferings that they might also hope to share his exaltation.”[3]   The artists wanted the viewer to meditate upon the event being portrayed in the picture, thus; medieval art provided much good for the Church.  “The climactic moment of the Passion story is the Crucifixion itself. Paintings of the subject were usually intended to foster meditation on Christ’s self-sacrifice, and they thus indicate his sufferings by showing him hanging heavily, with bowed head and bleeding wounds.”[4]   Many of the famous paintings that one can still see today are a cause for meditation upon the event they portray and thus; even art can lift one’s mind and soul to God.  “According to resolutions agreed at the Council of Trent in 1563, the Catholic Church reaffirmed the value of images in Christian devotion and the importance of the emotions in religious experience.”[5]   In addition to the Passion, the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary was another popular theme in religious art.  In Byzantine spirituality, she was central.  “Most images of the Virgin stress her role as Christ’s Mother, showing her standing and holding her son. The manner in which the Virgin holds Christ is very particular. Certain poses developed into “types” that became names of sanctuaries or poetic epithets. Hence, an icon of the Virgin was meant to represent her image and, at the same time, the replica of a famous icon original. For example, the Virgin Hodegetria is a popular representation of the Virgin in which she holds Christ on her left arm and gestures toward him with her right hand, showing that he is the way to salvation.” [6]   In Byzantine art, all manner of symbols were used to represent an aspect of virtue.  The color blue represented the Blessed Virgin.  The white lily was a flower used to represent the purity of Our Lady.  The rose represented Our Lady’s love for God.  The crown represents authority, exultation, triumph and grandeur and was always most fitting to adorn the head of the Queen of Heaven.  Therefore, art played a major role in the medieval times, especially in inspiring a greater love for God and the Church through meditation on the wonders of the Faith shown therein.

[3] Sorabella, Jean. “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm (accessed December 1, 2014).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

The greatest and most beautiful works of art in all of Christendom are found in the architecture, displayed most notably in the famous cathedrals of Europe.  The Gothic architecture flourished during the late middle ages.  The many great cathedrals of Europe attest to this.   Of course, it was the Catholic Church that was behind this architectural beauty that made Christendom so great.  “Gothic architecture and Gothic art are the æsthetic expression of that epoch of European history when paganism had been extinguished, the traditions of classical civilization destroyed, the hordes of barbarian invaders beaten back, or Christianized and assimilated; and when the Catholic Church had established itself not only as the sole spiritual power, supreme and almost unquestioned in authority, but also as the arbiter of the destinies of sovereigns and of peoples.”[7]   Chartres Cathedral is the finest example of the Gothic style of architecture.  Still standing tall and perfectly preserved, it proves the great influence the Catholic Church had over the great wonders of Christendom in the architectural beauty of the greatest churches.  What is most notable about the Gothic style is its tall structure, attained through the development of pointed arches and ribbed vaults.  High towers and arches also emphasize height.  All of this represents the might and glory of God.  The pointed arches reach towards Heaven, which these churches so gloriously represent and are instrumental in lifting one’s mind towards the Heavenly. Another cathedral that stands tall in honor of the Catholic Church is Notre Dame.  It’s the epitome of what Gothic architecture looks like.  One of the first Gothic Cathedrals, it has weathered many storms and today stands as a testament to the indestructible Catholic Faith, which it represents in its beauty, revealed most gloriously in the Gothic style of architecture.  Another popular style of architecture is that of the Romansque architecture.  This architectural style was most notably known for its semi-circular arches, which eventually evolved into the Gothic style of architecture.  This style is known for its thick walls, round arches, large towers, naves and high bell towers.  The churches were built in the shape of a cross which became known as the latin cross.  During this period, the construction work was sponsored by great monastic orders, such as the Cluniac order.  Some well-known churches of the Cluniac order are St. Martin in Tours, St. Sernin in Toulouse, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, all of which have great similarity in plan and design.  Hence, the architecture of the medieval times stands as a testimony to the grandeur of the so-called dark ages and the influence the Catholic Church had over this aspect of civilization.

[7] Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed December 2, 2014).

As proven, the Catholic Church had a major influence over all those crusaders who gave their lives in defense of the Church and all that was beauty in the art and architecture of those times.  Every knight of old who spilt their blood and turned the fields of the Holy Land red will testify to this truth –  the true darkness of their age was their enemy as they fought to civilize the barbarians who had invaded Jerusalem.  It was the Divine Potency that enabled the Templar to carry the cross into battle in defense God and the honor of his homeland.  The art expressed the cause, the architecture the conquest, as the whole drama unfolded throughout the land once trodden underfoot by One shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace.  And thus it was ever meant to be: just war.  The blows of Christ expressed in a human dimension that transcends time and place; the birth pains of an ever approaching cataclysmic Armageddon like conclusion of the passion of the human race, uniting the sufferings of the image He made, to the sufferings of His Christ for the redemption of the world as it groans towards a new day with the former passing away, creating the scars from the wounds formed by the whip in the athletic scourge’s hand; the sword in knight’s clenched fist, the whole Body of Christ must be redeemed, it seems.  What is left of Christendom today is the art and architecture from those so-called dark ages which stands as proof that the influence of the Catholic Church surpassed all times and places and shaped every facet of society, as only it should since the Catholic Church is the ruler of all peoples and nations.

~Damsel of the Faith

Bibliography

Bréhier, Louis.  “Crusades.” In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm  (accessed September 23, 2014).

Carroll, Anne W.  Christ the King, Lord of History.  Charlotte: Tan Books, 2012.

Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Lucas, Herbert.   “Ecclesiastical Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05257a.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Michuad, Fr. Joseph.  “The History of the Crusades.”  New York: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1900.

Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.

Sorabella, Jean.  “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm  (accessed December 4, 2014).

Knox, Professor Ellis Lee.  “Results of the Third Crusade.” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).

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Pascal Vives’ victory against the Moors

Medieval illuminated manuscript of Mass being said

medieval picture of knights on horseback

As Europe faces its invasions of the ‘Moors’ and the near destruction of everything Christendom is and was, remember Pascal Vives and his victory.

http://traditioninaction.org/religious/h148_Masses.htm

In The History of Spain (Historia de España), the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) speaks of a Spanish warrior named Pascal Vives who had a great devotion to the Holy Mass and assisted daily at one or more.

It happened that while he was serving under the standard of the Count of Castile, a large body of Moors, who had already conquered the greater part of Spain, laid seige to the castle of the Count. The garrison, being totally unprepared to stand a siege, were reduced to dire distress, and the Count resolved to make a sally with all his men and risk their lives in a desperate attempt to drive back the Moors.

Pascal Vives remained in the Church to hear more Masses

The next morning the Count with all his soldiers heard Mass. Then, trusting in the divine assistance, they sallied forth against his enemies. But Pascal Vives remained in the church and heard eight Masses, one after another, praying fervently that victory might be on the Count’s side.

While he prayed thus and his comrades fought, the latter saw Pascal Vives mounted on his charger making a gallant onslaught upon the Moors, hewing them down on every side! Calling to the soldiers to follow him, Pascal Vives fearlessly broke the ranks of the enemy, carried off their colors and wrought great havoc amongst them.

The contest lasted nearly four hours, only ceasing at the time when the eighth Mass, at which Pascal had assisted, was ended. The Moors were completely routed. The victory was universally ascribed to Pascal’s heroic bravery, and the Count gave orders that he should have all the honor of it.

But, when all was over Pascal had disappeared. He was sought for all over the battlefield, but nowhere was he to be found. The fact was he had stayed in the church, and there he ramained almost all day. For he was ashamed to leave it, fearing lest the soldiers should mock him for a coward and the Count dismiss him from his service. No tidings of the battle had reached him and he did not know which side had gained the day.

Presently the Count, thinking it likely that Pascal had gone to the church to give thanks to Almighty God for the victory, bade his followers go there in search of him. Pascal was accordingly found and brought into the presece of the Count and his officers.

When all began to compliment him on his prowess and say that the victory they had won was, under God, to be ascribed to him, he was perfectly astonished and knew not what to say. After a short space, interiorly enlightened by God, he confessed the truth, declaring that he had taken no part in the contest, but had during the whole time been in the church where he had heard eight Masses.

The soldiers would not believe what he said, persisting that they had seen him with their own eyes in the thick of the fray and had heard him calling on them to fight valiantly.

Then Pascal answered: “If it really is as you say, the brave knight who bore my semblance must have been my Guardian Angel, for I assure you I have not been out of the church today. Praise God with me and give thanks to Him from your hearts for having sent you an Angel, with whose assistance you were enabled to vanquish the foe.

“But learn from this how pleasing it is to God that we should assist at Mass, and how profitable it is to us, for I am convinced that had I not heard those Masses, my Angel would not have appeared to you and led you on to so signal a victory.”

In these and other words he exhorted the soldiers to be very fervent in hearing Mass.

Pascal Vives’ victory against the Moors

Medieval illuminated manuscript of Mass being said

medieval picture of knights on horseback

As Europe faces its invasions of the ‘Moors’ and the near destruction of everything Christendom is and was, remember Pascal Vives and his victory.

http://traditioninaction.org/religious/h148_Masses.htm

In The History of Spain (Historia de España), the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) speaks of a Spanish warrior named Pascal Vives who had a great devotion to the Holy Mass and assisted daily at one or more.

It happened that while he was serving under the standard of the Count of Castile, a large body of Moors, who had already conquered the greater part of Spain, laid seige to the castle of the Count. The garrison, being totally unprepared to stand a siege, were reduced to dire distress, and the Count resolved to make a sally with all his men and risk their lives in a desperate attempt to drive back the Moors.

Pascal Vives remained in the Church to hear more Masses 

The next morning the Count with all his soldiers heard Mass. Then, trusting in the divine assistance, they sallied forth against his enemies. But Pascal Vives remained in the church and heard eight Masses, one after another, praying fervently that victory might be on the Count’s side.

While he prayed thus and his comrades fought, the latter saw Pascal Vives mounted on his charger making a gallant onslaught upon the Moors, hewing them down on every side! Calling to the soldiers to follow him, Pascal Vives fearlessly broke the ranks of the enemy, carried off their colors and wrought great havoc amongst them.

The contest lasted nearly four hours, only ceasing at the time when the eighth Mass, at which Pascal had assisted, was ended. The Moors were completely routed. The victory was universally ascribed to Pascal’s heroic bravery, and the Count gave orders that he should have all the honor of it.

But, when all was over Pascal had disappeared. He was sought for all over the battlefield, but nowhere was he to be found. The fact was he had stayed in the church, and there he ramained almost all day. For he was ashamed to leave it, fearing lest the soldiers should mock him for a coward and the Count dismiss him from his service. No tidings of the battle had reached him and he did not know which side had gained the day.

Presently the Count, thinking it likely that Pascal had gone to the church to give thanks to Almighty God for the victory, bade his followers go there in search of him. Pascal was accordingly found and brought into the presece of the Count and his officers.

When all began to compliment him on his prowess and say that the victory they had won was, under God, to be ascribed to him, he was perfectly astonished and knew not what to say. After a short space, interiorly enlightened by God, he confessed the truth, declaring that he had taken no part in the contest, but had during the whole time been in the church where he had heard eight Masses.

The soldiers would not believe what he said, persisting that they had seen him with their own eyes in the thick of the fray and had heard him calling on them to fight valiantly.

Then Pascal answered: “If it really is as you say, the brave knight who bore my semblance must have been my Guardian Angel, for I assure you I have not been out of the church today. Praise God with me and give thanks to Him from your hearts for having sent you an Angel, with whose assistance you were enabled to vanquish the foe.

“But learn from this how pleasing it is to God that we should assist at Mass, and how profitable it is to us, for I am convinced that had I not heard those Masses, my Angel would not have appeared to you and led you on to so signal a victory.”

In these and other words he exhorted the soldiers to be very fervent in hearing Mass.

Christendom & the Church

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The Catholic Church was the foundation of the great magnificence of Christendom.  With that, it has and continues to gain the ire of the world, the worst enemy of the Church because its father is satan, who has worked for the downfall of the Church since its inception.  The world’s defeat will be due to the restoration of Christendom in the Church, our families and society, which is the kingdom of God.

~Damsel of the Faith

“The issue was between two forces. On the one hand was the instinct which we all have within us, that Europe is Catholic, must live as Catholic, or must die; that in the anarchic religious rebellion was peril of death to our art, our culture, to that from which they proceed, our religious vision. On the other had arisen an intense, fierce, increasing hatred against the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, the whole transcendental scheme; a hatred such that all who felt it were, in spite of a myriad differences, in common alliance. That hatred fed upon an original popular indignation against the corruption of the clergy, and especially against their financial claims. But the hatred was far older than any such late medieval trouble; it was as old as the presence of the Catholic Church in this world.

~Hilaire Belloc, HOW THE REFORMATION HAPPENED, p. 90

“For centuries in Europe one of the great—if not the greatest source of [cultural] energy came from the spirit of the continent’s religion. It drove people to war and stirred them to defense. It also drove Europe to the greatest heights of human creativity.”

~Douglas Murray

 

My Knightly Poem featured on Catholic Truth

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https://catholictruthblog.com/2017/01/25/knight-day-fighting-the-good-fight/

By way of introduction, Catholic Truth is the premier Traditional Catholic Newsletter for Scotland. The “Editor”, founder and publisher of the newsletter is a devoted supporter of my blog, for which I thank her. I recommend everyone read her excellent newsletter.

Special thanks to Editor for publishing my poem. If you have not read my poem, I reproduce it here.

Knight & Day: Fighting the Good Fight!

From Damsel of the Faith (USA) – By email…

I thought the readers of Catholic truth, especially our Catholic men, would enjoy this poem, personally composed by myself. May it inspire you all to keep fighting for the truth of Catholic Tradition.

“Rise up, knight, the Holy Church needs you to fight for her honor against those who would dishonor such a great and glorious Queen.

Faith, Charity, Truth, Valor, Prudence and Fortitude, these are your beatitudes, with the whole armor of God and your feet shod to proclaim the Gospel of Our Lord and God.

Fearless and courageous, with the sword of truth in your hand and the love of Christ in your heart to reach the promised land.

Where art her defenders in her greatest hour, to wrest the forces of evil from those who are in power, for the hour grows late?

Stand out from the rest in your courage and bravery, militancy and hatred for the slavery of Modernism, for then we shall see who is the best.

Fight like you mean it for truth, justice and honor, and for all that is right, with your whole mind, soul and might for this is the hallmark of a true knight.

When the hour grows late and weary you grow, remember who you fight for, namely the Church of the Lord, with all manner of foes inflicting upon her the most bitter of blows to bring her to ruin.

To Rome you must ride with the Holy Angels of God on your side, for Christendom, the Church, in Hoc Signo Vinces, until she arise with the newness of life in her eyes, at her glorious and grand restoration.

Satan encamps around the Church of our Master always inflicting all sorts of disaster, to cause the destruction of souls in the hereafter, always with such gleeful laughter.

And so, Knight of the Church, fight you must for your duty to God is to be militant and brave, for His honor and glory so that souls might be saved.

Rise up, knight. The Church is in need of brave knights who will never give up the fight, to fight till the death even till the very last breath, for the Bride of Christ, the Holy Church.”

Comment:

how many Catholics today, including those raised in the Church prior to Vatican II, remember their obligation to be “Knights” – or “Soldiers of Jesus Christ”? Not many, by my reckoning – what thinkest thou? Or, in all truth, was there ever a time when the laity properly understood their vocation to be Soldiers of Christ – and were encouraged by the clergy to fight the good fight?

With thanks to “Damsel of the Faith” for sending us the above lovely poem.

~Damsel of the Faith

 

“Poem for the Knights of the Church” by the Damsel

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This poem was personally written by myself.  What are your thoughts?

Rise up, knight, the Holy Church needs you
to fight for her honor against those who would
dishonor such a great and glorious Queen.

Faith, Charity, Truth, Valor, Prudence and
Fortitude, these are your beatitudes, with the
whole armor of God and your feet shod to
proclaim the Gospel of Our Lord and God.

Fearless and courageous, with the sword
of truth in your hand and the love of Christ
in your heart to reach the promised land.

Where art her defenders in her greatest
hour, to wrest the forces of evil from those
who are in power, for the hour grows late?

Stand out from the rest in your courage and
bravery, militancy and hatred for the slavery of
Modernism, for then we shall see who is the best.

img_0034

Fight like you mean it for truth, justice and honor,
and for all that is right, with your whole mind, soul
and might for this is the hallmark of a true knight.

When the hour grows late and weary you grow,
remember who you fight for, namely the Church
of the Lord, with all manner of foes inflicting upon
her the most bitter of blows to bring her to ruin.

To Rome you must ride with the Holy Angels of God
on your side, for Christendom, the Church, in Hoc
Signo Vinces, until she arise with the newness of
life in her eyes, at her glorious and grand restoration.

Satan encamps around the Church of our Master
always inflicting all sorts of disaster, to cause the
destruction of souls in the hereafter, always with
such gleeful laughter.

And so, Knight of the Church, fight you must for
your duty to God is to be militant and brave, for
His honor and glory so that souls might be saved.

Rise up, knight. The Church is in need of brave
knights who will never give up the fight, to
fight till the death even till the very last breath,
for the Bride of Christ, the Holy Church.”

~Damsel of the Faith

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Beowulf

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/50114

The picture is “Beowulf” by Howard David Johnson. Beowulf, in my opinion, is one of the greatest poems in existence. It is the oldest surviving poem in Old English. The poem teaches us that the battle is ultimately between good and evil, always, both in reality and even folklore. Old literature is valuable to me, for the story it tells, the Christian principles it teaches and the virtues it expounds, such as loyalty, bravery, courage, generosity, brotherly love, valor, militancy and heroism, as the poem, Beowulf, does. This is so truthful yet so very lost. In desperate need to be recovered.