The Protestant Reformation

Jesus Christ Savior | The Protestant Reformation resulted from the failure of the Catholic Church to reform itself in time.

The dark side of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries witnessed the errant Fourth Crusade to Constantinople in 1204, the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari in 1209, and the beginning of the Inquisition which became severely punitive. The Papacy suffered a great loss of respect during the Avignon Papacy (1305-1378) and especially during the Papal Schism (1378-1417), when two and at one point three men declared themselves Pope and opposed each other. The Papal Schism had to be resolved by Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg and the Council of Constance 1414-1417, which finally deposed all three Popes and chose Martin V to continue the Papacy. However, the Council also condemned John Hus, the Prague reformer who believed in the priesthood of all believers and the reception of Communion through bread and wine; he was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. Another victim of the Inquisition was St. Joan of Arc, who saved France during the Hundred Years War with England. She was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 in Rouen, France. The Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century was particularly ruthless.

The lack of Church funds led to even further corruption, including simony and the selling of indulgences. For example, Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had to pay Rome ten thousand ducats for the right to hold three dioceses at once, and agreed to a three-way split with the Roman Curia and the Fugger Banking firm from the proceeds of the selling of indulgences.

These events led many to question the compassion and integrity of the Church. The unity of Tradition and Scripture went unchallenged through the Patristic Age and thirteenth century scholasticists such as St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas. But the unity of Scripture and Tradition began to be questioned with the decline of the Church. The Belgian Henry of Ghent believed that one should first have the duty to follow Scripture rather than a Church that became one in name only. The English Franciscan William of Ockham (or Occam) was known for the principle of Occam’s Razor, that one needs to reduce everything to its simplest cause. Ockham (1288-1348) theorized on three possibilities of the relation of Scripture and the Church. First there was Sola Scriptura, that one could obtain salvation by following Scripture alone; second, that God does reveal truths to the universal Church, an ecclesiastical revelation supplemental to apostolic revelation; and third, the concept of orally transmitted apostolic revelation parallel to written Scripture. Ockham believed that one could reach God only through faith and not by reason. He wrote that universals, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, were concepts of the mind and did not exist, a philosophy known as Nominalism. Thus began the division of the realm of faith from the secular world of reason.

The rise of Nationalism led to the end of Christendom, for countries resented any effort to support Rome, especially in its dismal state. Dissemination of new ideas followed the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; his very first printing was the Latin Vulgate Bible in 1456.

The stage was set for the reform-minded Martin Luther (1483-1546), the Augustinian monk of Wittenberg, Germany. He received his doctorate in theology in 1512, and then taught biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. His study of Scripture, particularly St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, led him to believe that salvation was obtained through justification by faith alone. At first, his only interest was one of reform when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church October 31, 1517.

But the intransigence of the Church and poor handling of the situation by the Pope and Curia only worsened matters, such that a break was inevitable. In a July 1519 debate with the Catholic theologian Johann Eck, Luther stated that Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone – was the supreme authority in religion. He could no longer accept the authority of the Pope or the Councils, such as Constance. In 1520 Luther published three documents which laid down the fundamental principles of the Reformation. In Address To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, Luther attacked the corruptions of the Church and the abuses of its authority, and asserted the right of the layman to spiritual independence. In the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, he defended the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance, but criticized the sacramental system of Rome, and set up the Scriptures as the supreme authority in religion. In The Freedom of the Christian Man, he expounded the doctrine of salvation through justification by faith alone. The Augsburg Confession of 1530, written by Philip Melanchthon and approved by Martin Luther, was the most widely accepted Lutheran confession of faith.

Once Sola Scriptura became the norm, it became a matter of personal interpretation. Huldrich Zwingli of Zurich, Switzerland was next, and he broke with Luther over the Eucharist, but his sect died out. The Anabaptists separated from Zwingli as they denied the validity of infant baptism; they survived as the Mennonites. Jean Calvin published his Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536, and influenced John Knox and the Presbyterians of Scotland; the Huguenots of France; the Dutch Reformed; and the Pilgrims and Puritans. While he agreed with Luther on the basic Protestant tenets of sola scriptura, salvation by faith alone, and the priesthood of all believers, he went even further on such issues as predestination and the sacraments. George Fox, the son of Puritan parents, founded the Quakers in England in 1647.

King Henry VIII wrote a defense of the seven sacraments, but when refused an annulment from Catherine of Aragon, he had himself declared Supreme Head of the Church of England in 1533. The new Archbishop Thomas Cranmer married Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn that same year. St. Thomas More refused to attend the wedding, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London and later beheaded in 1535. Henry VIII began the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, and then destroyed the Shrine of the martyr St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170) at Canterbury Cathedral in 1538. The Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549 and the Anglican Church of England was established. Two major sects that split off from the Anglicans were the Baptists, founded by John Smyth in 1607, and later the Methodists, founded by John Wesley and his brother Charles.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



The Mendicant Orders to The Renaissance

Jesus Christ Savior | The Renaissance, which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture. Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man’s achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy, published in 1320 by Dante Alighieri in Italy.

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the peak of the Medieval Age. It was the flowering of Christendom, a time of extraordinary intellectual activity, with the rise of the University and the introduction of Arabian, Hebrew, and Greek works into Christian schools. A new form of order arose whose aim was to pursue the monastic ideals of poverty, renunciation, and self-sacrifice, but also to maintain a presence and convert the world by example and preaching. They were known as friars and called the Mendicant Orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and the Servites), because of begging alms to support themselves.

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was born to wealth. He loved adventure, but experienced conversion after joining the military. He returned home, and heard a voice saying to him, “Francis, go and rebuild my house; it is falling down.” He adopted a life of poverty, and began to preach the Kingdom of Heaven. Francis loved creation and considered it good, for Christ himself took on flesh in the Incarnation. He loved all living creatures. St. Francis originated the Christmas manger scene. He founded the Franciscan order, and received approval from Rome in 1209. The Poor Clare Nuns began when St. Clare joined the Franciscans in 1212 in Assisi. In 1219 St. Francis risked his life in the Fifth Crusade by calling directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to convert him and bring peace. He received the stigmata of Christ in 1224, 2 years before his death in 1226.

St. Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221) was born in Calaruega, Spain. On a journey through France he was confronted by the Albigensian heresy (like Manichaeism and the Cathari). As he came with a Bishop in richly dressed clothes on horses, he realized the people would not be impressed with his message. This led him to a life of poverty. He spent several years preaching in France in an attempt to convert the Albigensians. In 1208 in Prouille, France, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and began to spread devotion to the Rosary. Dominic was a man of peace and converted many through prayer, preaching, and his example of poverty. He founded the Order of Preachers in 1216 known as the Dominican Friars.

The universities in Europe began as guilds of scholars, which first attracted members of the clergy and were supported financially by the Church. The first universities in Europe were founded in Bologna and Paris; Oxford and Cambridge soon followed. Theology, law, and medicine were fields of advanced study. The University of Paris was especially noted for studies in Theology. The age was the time of Scholasticism – of the schools, a method of learning that placed emphasis on reasoning. Important writers at the time were Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus, and his student Thomas Aquinas, who became the greatest theologian and philosopher of the age.

St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who lived from 1225 to 1274. Born in Roccasecca, Italy to the Aquino family, he joined the Dominicans at the age of 18. He received his doctorate in theology and taught at the University of Paris during the height of Christendom.

One of the greatest contributions by Thomas was his incorporation of the philosophy of Aristotle into the theology of the Catholic Church. Thomas saw reason and faith as one and mutually supportive, and combined the Bible and Church Fathers and the reasoning of Aristotle into one unified system of understanding Christian revelation through faith enlightened by reason.

His most noted work was the Summa Theologica, a five-volume masterpiece. St. Thomas Aquinas presented the classical approach to Biblical Exegesis. Recalling the words of Gregory that Scripture transcends every science, ” for in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery.” In addition to the literal sense, Thomas described the three spiritual senses of Scripture, the allegorical, the truth revealed, the moral, the life commended, and the anagogical, the final goal to be achieved. His exposition on the Seven Sacraments remains a standard to our present day.

The Renaissance, which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture. Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man’s achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy, published in 1320 by Dante Alighieri in Italy. The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art. Brunelleschi revived the ancient Roman style of architecture and introduced linear perspective. The great sculptors were Donatello and Michelangelo. St. Thomas More and Erasmus were leading Christian humanists in literature.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Pope Urban II and the First Crusade (1095)

Jesus Christ Savior |  “Undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Pope Urban II, in one of history’s most powerful speeches, launched 200 years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, 1095 with this impassioned plea. In a rare public session in an open field, he urged the knights and noblemen to win back the Holy Land, to face their sins, and called upon those present to save their souls and become Soldiers of Christ. Those who took the vow for the pilgrimage were to wear the sign of the cross (croix in French): and so evolved the word croisade or Crusade. By the time his speech ended, the captivated audience began shouting Deus le volt! – God wills it! The expression became the battle-cry of the crusades.

Why did Pope Urban II call for the recapture of the Holy Land? Three reasons are primarily given for the beginning of the Crusades: (1) to free Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; (2) to defend the Christian East, hopefully healing the rift between Roman and Orthodox Christianity; and (3) to marshal the energy of the constantly warring feudal lords and knights into the one cause of penitential warfare.

Led by the papal legate Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, the First Crusade (of eight major efforts) freed Jerusalem on July 15, 1099. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was once again in Christian hands and restored. The four Crusader states of Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch, and Edessa were established. The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted 88 years, until Saladin recaptured the city October 2, 1187. King Richard the Lionheart of England negotiated the Peace Treaty of Jaffa with Saladin during the Third Crusade whereby Christian pilgrims were given free access to Jerusalem.

The four Crusader states eventually collapsed; the surrender of Acre in 1291 ended 192 years of formal Christian rule in the Holy Land.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg has been criticized for neglecting the role of free African-Americans in Colonial life, in addition to those who were slaves. When it first opened in the 1930s, Colonial Williamsburg had segregated dormitories for its reenactors. African Americans filled historical roles as servants, rather than free people as in the present day. In a segregated state, Colonial Williamsburg allowed the entry of blacks, but Williamsburg-area hotels denied them accommodation, and state law forbade blacks from eating with whites in such public facilities as the restored taverns and from shopping in nearby stores. (image: Wikipedia)

Colonial Williamsburg is the home of the living-history museum and private foundation presenting part of the historic district in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, United States. The Colonial Williamsburg is the best place for you to immerse yourself in America’s history. You can start off by visiting the Colonial Williamsburg area where surviving colonial structures have been restored as close as possible to their 18th-century appearance, with traces of later buildings and improvements removed. Many of the missing colonial structures were reconstructed on their original sites beginning in the 1930s. Animals, gardens, and dependencies (such as kitchens, smokehouses, and privies) add to the environment. Some buildings and most gardens are open to tourists, the exceptions being buildings serving as residences for Colonial Williamsburg employees, large donors, the occasional city official, and sometimes College of William & Mary associates.

Costumed employees work and dress as people did in the era, sometimes using colonial grammar and diction (although not colonial accents). Prominent buildings include the Raleigh Tavern, the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace (all reconstructed), as well as the Courthouse, the George Wythe House, the Peyton Randolph House, the Magazine, and independently owned and functioning Bruton Parish Church (all originals). Colonial Williamsburg’s portion of the Historic Area begins east of the College of William & Mary’s College Yard.

The College of William & Mary, the Courthouse, and the Eastern Lunatic Asylum (now Eastern State Hospital) provide a buck of the jobs for town of Williamsburg. Colonial-era buildings were by turns modified, modernized, protected, neglected, or destroyed. Development that accompanied construction of a World War I gun cotton plant at nearby Peniman and the coming of the automobile blighted the community, but the town never lost its appeal to tourists. By the early 20th century, many older structures were in poor condition, no longer in use, or were occupied by squatters.

The Visitor Center near the Colonial Parkway features a short movie, Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot, which debuted in 1957. Visitors may park at the Visitor’s Center, as automobiles are restricted from the restored area. Wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus service is provided to stops around the perimeter of the Historic District of Williamsburg, as well as Jamestown and Yorktown, during the peak summer season.

And that’s only the beginning! You can take your Williamsburg Vacation to the next level by adding some adventure and outdoor activities. Williamsburg, VA happens to have the most beautiful theme park in the world, Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Once you are done uncovering all the thrilling rides and adventure at Busch Gardens, you can cross over to experience the fun at Virginia’s largest Water Park, Water Country USA.

Getting There
Historic Williamsburg is a wonderful time in American history and there is no better way to get there if you’re flying than through Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport which is 25–30 minutes driving distance away. Williamsburg is midway between two larger commercial airports, Richmond International Airport and Norfolk International Airport, each about an hour’s distance away.

Colonial Williamsburg operates its own fleet of buses with stops close to attractions in the Historic Area, although no motor vehicles operate during the day on Duke of Gloucester Street (to maintain the colonial-era atmosphere). At night, all the historic area streets are open to automobiles

Where To Stay
There are several Hotels in the area offering incredible incredible discount like the Westgate Historic Williamsburg Resort located at 1324 Richmond Road Williamsburg, VA 23185. You can reach them via this link or call them at 1-800-735-1906.

Where to Eat
Here are selections of places to eat in Colonial Williamsburg.

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern

Reservations: opentable.com
4.6 (276) · $$$ · Southern
101 S Waller St
Closes ⋅ 8PM
Washington dined in the original of this faithfully recreated tavern now serving fine Southern fare.

King’s Arms Tavern

Reservations: opentable.com
4.5 (607) · $$$ · Southern
416 E Duke of Gloucester St
Closed ⋅ Opens 11:30AM Thu
18th-century Colonial reproduction offering hearty American specialties from servers in costume.
Josiah Chowning’s Tavern
Phone: (800) 447-8679
4.4 (793) · $$ · American
109 E Duke of Gloucester St
Reconstructed 1766 tavern set in a white Colonial house with faithful furnishings & a Southern menu.

Fat Canary

Reservations: opentable.com
4.7 (178) · $$$ · New American
410 W Duke of Gloucester St
Refined, green-walled bistro serving upscale American fare & wines, with a cheese shop & patio.

A Chef’s Kitchen

Phone: (757) 564-8500
4.8 (58) · $$$$ · American
501 Prince George St
Closed ⋅ Opens 10AM Wed
Chef John Gonzales combines cooking classes with intimate multi-course meals & wine pairings.


The Oregon Trail

by History.com Editors, Televised by A&E Television Networks | In 1842, a slightly larger group of 100 pioneers made the 2,000-mile journey to Oregon. The next year, however, the number of emigrants skyrocketed to 1,000. The sudden increase was a product of a severe depression in the Midwest combined with a flood of propaganda from fur traders, missionaries, and government officials extolling the virtues of the land. (Image courtesy of Kenny Ackerman’s Fine Art Advisory. Painting by John Philip Falter (1910 – 1982) best known for his Illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post Covers and images of frontier life.)

The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,000-mile route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, which was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mid-1800s to emigrate west. The trail was arduous and snaked through Missouri and present-day Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and finally into Oregon. Without the Oregon Trail and the passing of the Oregon Donation Land Act in 1850, which encouraged settlement in the Oregon Territory, American pioneers would have been slower to settle the American West in the 19th century.

Missionaries Blaze the Oregon Trail
By the 1840s, the Manifest Destiny had Americans in the East eager to expand their horizons. While Lewis and Clark had made their way west from 1804 to 1806, merchants, traders and trappers were also among the first people to forge a path across the Continental Divide.

But it was missionaries who really blazed the Oregon Trail. Merchant Nathan Wyeth led the first missionary group west in 1834 where they built an outpost in present-day Idaho.

Marcus Whitman
Determined to spread Christianity to Indians on the frontier, doctor and Protestant missionary Marcus Whitman set out on horseback from the Northeast in 1835 to prove that the westward trail to Oregon could be traversed safely and further than ever before.

Whitman’s first attempt took him as far the Green River Rendezvous, a meeting place for fur trappers and traders in the Rocky Mountains near present-day Daniel, Wyoming. Upon returning home, Whitman married and set out again, this time with his young wife Narcissa and another Protestant missionary couple.

The party made it to the Green River Rendezvous, then faced a grueling journey along Indian trails across the Rockies using Hudson Bay Company trappers as guides. They finally reached Fort Vancouver, Washington, and built missionary posts nearby—Whitman’s post was at Waiilatpu amid the Cayuse Indians.

Whitman’s small party had proved both men and women could travel west, although not easily. Narcissa’s accounts of the journey were published in the East and slowly more missionaries and settlers followed their path which became known as the Whitman Mission Route.

In 1842, the Whitman mission was closed by the American Missionary Board, and Whitman went back to the East on horseback where he lobbied for continued funding of his mission work. In the meantime, missionary Elijah White led over 100 pioneers across the Oregon Trail.

When Whitman headed west yet again, he met up with a huge wagon train destined for Oregon. The group included 120 wagons, about 1,000 people and thousands of livestock. Their trek began on May 22 and lasted five months.

It effectively opened the floodgates of pioneer migration along the Oregon Trail and became known as the Great Emigration of 1843.

Cayuse War
Upon Whitman’s return to his mission, his main goal shifted from converting Indians to assisting white settlers. As more settlers arrived, the Cayuse became resentful and hostile.

After a measles epidemic broke out in 1847, the Cayuse population was decimated, despite Whitman using his medical knowledge to help them.

In the ongoing conflict, Whitman, his wife and some of the mission staff were killed; many more were taken hostage for over a month. The incident sparked a seven-year war between the Cayuse and the federal government.

Life on the Oregon Trail
Planning a five- to six-month trip across rugged terrain was no easy task and could take up to a year. Emigrants had to sell their homes, businesses and any possessions they couldn’t take with them. They also had to purchase hundreds of pounds of supplies including:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • bacon
  • coffee
  • salt
  • rifles and ammunition

By far, the most important item for successful life on the trail was the covered wagon. It had to be sturdy enough to withstand the elements yet small and light enough for a team of oxen or mules to pull day after day.

Most wagons were about six feet wide and twelve feet long. They were usually made of seasoned hardwood and covered with a large, oiled canvas stretched over wood frames. In addition to food supplies, the wagons were laden with water barrels, tar buckets and extra wheels and axles.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the wagons that journeyed the Oregon Trail were prairie schooners and not larger, heavier Conestoga wagons.

Oregon Trail Route
It was critical for travelers to leave in April or May if they hoped to reach Oregon before the winter snows began. Leaving in late spring also ensured there’d be ample grass along the way to feed livestock.

As the Oregon Trail gained popularity, it wasn’t unusual for thousands of pioneers to be on the path at the same time, especially during the California Gold Rush. Depending on the terrain, wagons traveled side by side or single file.

There were slightly different paths for reaching Oregon but, for the most part, settlers crossed the Great Plains until they reached their first trading post at Fort Kearney, averaging between ten and fifteen miles per day.

From Fort Kearney, they followed the Platte River over 600 miles to Fort Laramie and then ascended the Rocky Mountains where they faced hot days and cold nights. Summer thunderstorms were common and made traveling slow and treacherous.

Independence Rock
The settlers gave a sigh of relief if they reached Independence Rock—a huge granite rock that marked the halfway point of their journey—by July 4 because it meant they were on schedule. So many people added their name to the rock it became known as the “Great Register of the Desert.”

After leaving Independence Rock, settlers climbed the Rocky Mountains to the South Pass. Then they crossed the desert to Fort Hall, the second trading post.

From there they navigated Snake River Canyon and a steep, dangerous climb over the Blue Mountains before moving along the Colombian River to the settlement of Dalles and finally to Oregon City. Some people continued south into California.

Dangers on the Oregon Trail
Some settlers looked at the Oregon Trail with an idealistic eye, but it was anything but romantic. According to the Oregon California Trails Association, almost one in ten who embarked on the trail didn’t survive.

Most people died of diseases such as dysentery, cholera, smallpox or flu, or in accidents caused by inexperience, exhaustion and carelessness. It was not uncommon for people to be crushed beneath wagon wheels or accidentally shot to death, and many people drowned during perilous river crossings.

Travelers often left warning messages to those journeying behind them if there was an outbreak of disease, bad water or hostile Indians nearby. As more and more settlers headed west, the Oregon Trail became a well-beaten path and an abandoned junkyard of surrendered possessions. It also became a graveyard for tens of thousands of pioneer men, women and children and countless livestock.

Over time, conditions along the Oregon Trail improved. Bridges and ferries were built to make water crossings safer. Settlements and additional supply posts appeared along the way which gave weary travelers a place to rest and regroup.

Trail guides wrote guidebooks, so settlers no longer had to bring an escort with them on their journey. Unfortunately, however, not all the books were accurate and left some settlers lost and in danger of running out of provisions.

The End of the Oregon Trail
With the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in Utah in 1869, westward wagon trains decreased significantly as settlers chose the faster and more reliable mode of transportation.

Still, as towns were established along the Oregon Trail, the route continued to serve thousands of emigrants with “gold fever” on their way to California. It was also a main thoroughfare for massive cattle drives between 1866 and 1888.

By 1890, the railroads had all but eliminated the need to journey thousands of miles in a covered wagon. Settlers from the east were more than happy to hop a train and arrive in the West in one week instead of six months.

Although modern progress ended the need for the Oregon Trail, its historical significance could not be ignored. The National Park Service named it a National Historic Trail in 1981 and continues to educate the public on its importance.

Sources
First Emigrants on the Michigan Trail. Oregon California Trails Association.
Life and Death on the Oregon Trail: Provisions for Births and Lethal Circumstances. Oregon California Trails Association.
Marcus Whitman (1802-1847) Narcissa Whitman (1808-1847). PBS New Perspectives on the West.
Oregon Donation Land Act. The Oregon Encyclopedia.
Oregon or Bust. Arizona Geographic Alliance.
Oregon Trail. The Oregon Encyclopedia.
Trail Basics: The Starting Point. National Oregon California Trail Center.
Trail Basics: The Wagon. National Oregon California Trail Center.
Where did the Oregon Trail Go? Reaching Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon California Trails Association.
Whitman Mission: Traveling Home with the Great Migration. National Park Service.
Whitman Mission Route, 1841-1847. Oregon Historic Trails Fund.

 



Church History: Complete Documentary AD 33 to Present

History of the church from the Ascension of Jesus Christ to 2017 (YouTube).

 

Further Reading: Philip Schaff’s Church History: https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc1…
History of the Primitive Church: https://archive.org/details/TheHistor…
Eusebius’ Church History: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2501…
Sozomen’s Church History: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2602…
Socrates Scholasticus’ Church History: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2601…
Primary sources: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/ http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/
Father Adrian Fortescue: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/…
Bishop Hefele’s History of the Councils: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks…

Corrections:

  1. Beirut is in Lebanon, not Syria.
  2. At the time of the Roman Empire, Great Britain would have been known as Britannia rather than England. The name “England” was first used during the Middle Ages, referring to the tribe of Germanic Angles that settled the island after the fall of the Roman Empire.
  3. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only Marian apparition in the Americas to have been approved by the Holy See. Other Marian apparitions in the Americas have been approved by local ordinaries, including Our Lady of Good Success in Ecuador (1572), Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin (1859), Our Lady of Cuapa in Nicaragua (1980), in Venezuela (1984) and Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas in Argentina (1980s).
  4. At 2:06:35, the correct spelling is “Hugh O’Flaherty”, not “O’Flattery”


The Monks Save European Civilization

by Jesus Christ Savior | Pope Gregory the Great, as a leader and defender of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, ensured that the Church would endure and grow during those difficult times, when much change was taking place in the Roman Empire and beyond (Image, Pope St. Gregory the Great 540-604).

The Monastic Orders have been a premium influence on the formation of Christian culture. For not only have they been islands of asceticism and holiness that have served as ideals to a secular world, but also they have provided many if not most of the religious leaders within each historic age, especially during times of renewal and reform. The word monos is the Greek word for one or alone. Monasticism began in the East and spread throughout Europe and saved European civilization.

The practice of leaving the ambitions of daily life and retreating to the solitude of the desert was seen throughout Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, St. John the Baptist (Mark 1:4) an early example.

The father of Christian monasticism was St. Antony of the Desert (251-356), the first of the Desert Fathers. Antony of Egypt took to heart the words of Christ to the rich young man, ” Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). He headed across the Nile to a mountain near Pispir to live a life of solitude, prayer, and poverty . Soon many gathered around him to imitate his life, living as hermits in nearby caves in the mountain, and in 305 he emerged from solitude to teach his followers the way of the ascetic. He then moved further into the desert by Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea, where a second group of hermits gathered and later formed a monastery. He lived there for 45 years until his death in 356.

St. Maron (350-410), a contemporary of St. John Chrysostom, was a monk in the fourth century who left Antioch for the Orontes River to lead a life of holiness and prayer. As he was given the gift of healing, his life of solitude was short-lived, and soon he had many followers that adopted his monastic way. Following the death of St. Maron in 410, his disciples built a monastery in his memory, which would form the nucleus of the Eastern Catholic Maronite Church of Lebanon.

The fall of the Roman Empire to the barbarian invasions left European civilization in disarray, for the social structure under one ruler in Rome was destroyed. The preservation of culture and the conversion of the barbarians to Christianity was left to an unlikely group: the monastics of Europe. Their missionary efforts converted one tribe after another, so that eventually all of Europe was united in the worship of the one Christian God.

St. Patrick as Apostle to Ireland founded the monastery of Armagh in 444 and other monasteries throughout Ireland. As the social unit in Ireland and much of Europe at the time was the tribe in the countryside, the monastery was the center of Church life and learning. The Irish monks that followed him converted much of northern Europe. The lasting legacy of the Irish monks has been the present-day form of confession. In early times, penance was in public and severe, often lasting for years, such that Baptism was generally postponed until one’s deathbed. The Irish monks began private confession and allowed one to repeat confession as necessary.

The monk St. Benedict (480-547) was born in Nursia of nobility but chose a life of solitude in Subiaco outside of Rome. Soon he moved nearby to build a monastery at Monte Cassino in 529 and there wrote the Rule of Benedict. Monte Cassino placed all of the monks in one monastery under an abbot. The guiding principle for the monastery was ora et labora, or pray and work. The monastery provided adequate food and a place to sleep and served as a center of conversion and learning. Known for its moderation, Monte Cassino and Benedict’s rule became the standard for monasteries throughout Europe and the pattern for Western civilization.

The first monk to become Pope was St. Gregory the Great (540-604). Born to Roman nobility, Gregory at first pursued a political career and became Prefect of Rome. However he gave up position and wealth and retreated to his home to lead a monastic life. He was recalled to Rome and soon was elected Pope in 590 and served until his death in 604. A man of great energy, he is known for four historic achievements. His theological and spiritual writings shaped the thought of the Middle Ages; he made the Pope the de facto ruler of central Italy; his charisma strengthened the Papacy in the West; and he was dedicated to the conversion of England to Christianity. Gregory sent the monk Augustine to England in 597. The conversion of King Aethelbert of Kent led St. Augustine to be named the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon English Benedictine monks were being sent to convert the rest of Europe, such as the English monk Winfrid, better known as St. Boniface, who served from 723-739 as the Apostle to Germany.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Pope Leo the Great (440-461)

Jesus Christ Savior | The Council of Chalcedon in 451 was the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which supported Leo’s stance that Christ had two natures, Divine and human in perfect harmony, in one Person or hypostasis.

Pope Leo entered the Papacy at a difficult time. Alaric had sacked Rome in 410, and the Huns and the Visigoths were gaining strength. However the Pope proved to be a master statesman and history has deservedly accorded him the title of Pope Leo the Great.

One of his first actions in 441 was to bless the missionary efforts of St. Patrick and to ordain him as Bishop of Ireland.

A tension in Church authority between papal leadership and collegiality of the bishops was developing over theological questions. Rome was the place of martyrdom for Saints Peter and Paul. Rome’s position as the capital of the Roman Empire was also supportive of a leadership role for the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter was the Pastor and Shepherd of the whole Church, as seen with St. Clement of Rome in his First Letter to the Corinthians in 96 AD, and with Pope Leo the Great.

The Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council, in 431 recognized Mary as the Mother of God, which was intrinsic to the human nature (ϕύσις – physis = nature) of Christ. The independent Church of the East in Persia believed in two distinct natures (dyophysite) in Christ and did not accept the wording. Pope Leo synthesized the thought of the differing Schools of Antioch and Alexandria in a letter known as the Tome. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 was the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which supported Leo’s stance that Christ had two natures, Divine and human in perfect harmony, in one Person or hypostasis. This set the theology for Roman and Byzantine theology and was important for European unity. However, Eastern Christians in Armenia, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and India who still believed that Christ was one incarnate nature (monophysite) of the Word of God objected to Chalcedon and formed the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Just one year later (452), Attila and the Huns were threatening outside the walls of Rome. Pope Leo met Attila, who decided to call off the invasion!

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Experience Modern Day Life-size Noah’s Ark

Experience Bible history at the life-size Noah’s Ark! Meet Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark. The family-friendly Ark Encounter theme park near Cincinnati also features a zoo, zip lines, and timber-frame restaurant.

About The Ark
Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old. To put it in perspective, the wood structure stands seven stories high and is the length of 1 1/2 football fields. Ark Encounter is situated in beautiful Grant County in Williamstown, Kentucky, halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington and right off I-75. Ark Encounter cost $100 million to build and it’s drawing up to 2 million visitors a year along with millions in tourism to Williamstown, Kentucky.

Ark Tickets

Plan Your Visit to the Ark Encounter

Choose from a variety of ticket options as you plan your visit to the life-size Noah’s Ark.
Go with a combo ticket or annual pass to also experience the Ark’s sister attraction, the high-tech Creation Museum (only 45 minutes from the Ark).

Places to Stay

The Ark Encounter is located in the beautiful Northern Kentucky area, right off I-75, halfway between the large metropolitan cities of Cincinnati and Lexington. Dozens of hotels and restful places to stay are only a brief drive away from the life-size Noah’s Ark. You might want to consider staying closer to Cincinnati so that you can conveniently visit the Ark’s sister attraction the Creation Museum during your trip.

Hotels Near Ark Encounter

Work with our exclusive travel provider, DAT Travel, to find the best hotels in the tri-state area, suggested itineraries, deals and discounts, and more.

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Other Lodging Options

From campgrounds to vacation rentals to bed and breakfasts, a number of other lodging options are available near Ark Encounter. We recommend searching the following popular travel sites:

Things To Do

Ark Encounter is a world-class theme park featuring the most authentic full-size replica of Noah’s Ark in the world. Travel back in time on a mile-long scenic bus ride and ascend in view of the massive Ark. Next, take a wild adventure and soar across gorgeous valleys on a zip line tour. Then spot some exotic animals at Ararat Ridge Zoo, or relax with your friends and family at our casual two-story restaurant.



The Writings of St. Augustine (354-430 AD)

Jesus Christ Savior | St. Augustine was a living example of God’s grace that transformed nature. He died August 28, 430, during the sack of Hippo by the Vandals.

St. Augustine (354-430 AD) was the greatest of the Latin Fathers of the Church and a foundational figure to Western Christian civilization. He was born in Tagaste, near Hippo, in north Africa. His mother, St. Monica, was a devout Christian and taught him the faith. However, when he studied rhetoric in Carthage, he began living a worldly life.

He obtained a post as master of rhetoric in Milan, accompanied by an unnamed woman and child Adeodatus, born out of wedlock in 372. The woman soon left him and their son, and Monica joined them in Milan. Under the incessant prayers of his mother, and the influence of St. Ambrose of Milan, he eventually converted at age 32 in 386 AD. Perhaps the most eloquent examination of conscience is found in The Confessions of St. Augustine, where he describes his moment of conversion in the garden reading St. Paul to the Romans 13:14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh.

Both his mother and son died soon afterwards and he returned in 388 to his home in Tagaste. He was ordained a priest in 391, and became Bishop of Hippo in 395. Augustine was people-oriented and preached every day. Many of his followers lived an ascetic life. He had a great love for Christ, and believed that our goal on earth was God through Christ himself, “to see his face evermore.” Our goal in life should be to please God, not man.

Augustine was one of the most prolific writers in history, and his writings show an evolution of thought and at times a reversal of ideas, as seen in his Retractations. His Scriptural essays on Genesis and Psalms remain starting points for modern Biblical scholars. His commentary on the Sermon on the Mount is still read today. Perhaps most debated are his views on predestination.

St. Augustine is the doctor of grace. In his book Grace and Free Will, he explained simply why he believed in free will. If there was no free will, then why did God give us the Ten Commandments, and why did he tell us to love our neighbor? Augustine’s arguments against the Pelagian heresy set the doctrine of grace for the Catholic Church to the present day. Pelagius thought that man could achieve virtue and salvation on his own without the gift of grace, that Jesus was simply a model of virtue. This of course attacks the Redemption of man by Christ! If man could make it on his own, then the Cross of Christ becomes meaningless! But Augustine saw man’s utter sinfulness and the blessing and efficacy of grace, disposing man to accept his moment of grace, and hopefully ultimate salvation. Grace raises us to a life of virtue, and is the ground of human freedom. “When I choose rightly I am free.” The Council of Orange enshrined Augustine’s teaching on grace and free will in 529 AD.

Perhaps one of his greatest works was The City of God, which took 13 years to complete, from 413 to 426. History can only be understood as a continued struggle between two cities, the City of God, comprised of those men who pursue God, and the City of Man, composed of those who pursue earthly goods and pleasures. He refers to Cain and Abel as the earliest examples of the two types of man. The Roman Empire was an example of the city of man (which had just been sacked by Alaric in 410 and was the occasion of the book).

St. Augustine was a living example of God’s grace that transformed nature. He died August 28, 430, during the sack of Hippo by the Vandals. August 28 is celebrated as his Feast Day in the liturgical calendar.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Archaeologists Dig Up Authentic Biblical Artifacts at Ancient City of Shiloh

by Chris Mitchell/CBS News – JERUSALEM, Israel – Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible. What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude, Dr. Scott Stripling

Driving along the route known as the Way of the Patriarchs in Samaria, the heart of biblical Israel, you’ll come to ancient Shiloh.

The Bible says this is the place where Joshua parceled out the Promised Land to the 12 tribes of Israel. It’s also where the Tabernacle of the Lord stood for more than 300 years.

Excavation Director Dr. Scott Stripling, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Excavation Director Dr. Scott Stripling, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Dr. Scott Stripling directs the excavations at Shiloh. Along with dozens of volunteers, he and his crew are digging into history.

“Welcome to ancient Shiloh,” Stripling greeted us. “This is the first capital of ancient Israel and it’s a sacred spot because the Mishkan was here, the Tabernacle, where people came to connect with God.”

“We’re dealing with real people, real places, real events,” he continued. “This is not mythology. The coins that we excavated today – we’re talking about coins of Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Thestos, Felix, Agrippa the First, Agrippa the Second. The Bible talks about these people. We’ve got the image right here.”

Aerial view of ancient Shiloh, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Aerial view of ancient Shiloh, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

That ‘image’ includes a fortified wall built by the Canaanites. The team finds a treasure trove of artifacts there, which includes ancient coins and some 2,000 pieces of pottery a day.

“Now, this one was from yesterday,” he said. “It’s been washed already so you see the same form right out of the ground in yesterday and those are those handles from the stone vessels. Remember, Jesus’ first miracle in Cana? There were stone jars full of water. That’s that ritual purity culture of the first century.”

Unearthing ancient pottery, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Unearthing ancient pottery, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

An archaeologist like Dr. Stripling looks at these shards as a fine time piece.

“Just like your great grandmother’s pottery is different from your pottery that you’re using today…once we learn the pottery, then we can use it as our primary means of dating.”

Stripling says literally digging into the Bible can change your life.”

“You can read the Bible, you can walk the Bible, but the ultimate is to dig the Bible,” he said. “You know, when we actually get into the swill, like these students from Lea University. They’re literally – it’s under their fingernails and in their nose and in their mouth and their ears and they’re exposing this ancient culture. It becomes one with you. It’s sort of like we came out of the soil and as we dig into the soil, we connect with God and with each other, I think, in a very important way,” he said.

Abigail Leavitt, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Abigail Leavitt, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Abigail Leavitt, a student at the University of Pikesville, serves as object registrar.
“I love getting my hands dirty. I love digging in the dirt. It’s my favorite thing,” she told CBN News.

While people of all age volunteer at the dig, the main drivers are students like Abigail.

“It’s tiring and exhausting, but it’s really rewarding,” she said. “It’s exciting to find ancient things – things that have been just waiting for us for thousands of years.”

Leavitt says the Bible comes alive in the dirt.

“I read the Bible totally differently than I did before I came here, and I can see when I read the Bible I know the places, I know what’s going on. I understand it more deeply, especially where previous archaeologists have claimed the archaeology disproves the Bible. But when we dig here, we find that everything matches. You read it in the Bible. You dig in the dirt and there it is,” she said.

Stripling said, “Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible. What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude,” he explained.

Cross-section of the Archaeological dig - Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Cross-section of the Archaeological dig – Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

“So, we get an ancient literary description. Now, we have a material culture that matches that,” he continued. “Chris, you’re sitting where Samuel and Eli and Hannah and these people that we have read about, they came just like us, needing answers, needing to connect with God, needing forgiveness.”

Stripling says they dig into the past and find lessons for the present.

One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay

One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay

“One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay. And even if our lives are broken like these vessels are, God told Jeremiah after He had told him to go to Shiloh and see what He had done, He told him to go to the potter’s house and look at a flawed vessel and see how the potter puts it back on the wheel and works out the imperfections. So my faith lesson is this: Yes we’re imperfect, but if we will allow God, He wants to put us [on] His potter’s wheel and make us a vessel of honor.”

Stripling often cites Psalm 102.

O Zion, your servants take delight in its stones and favor its dust.” (Ps. 102:14)

“For me this is sacred soil. This is where the Mishkan was that answers the most basic of all human questions: ‘How do I connect with God?’ And I think that’s their most basic question,” he said.

“I know I messed up. I know that God is holy. How do I bridge that gap when I sin against other people, when I sin against God. Ultimately, Chris, if the Bible is true, then the God of the Bible has a moral claim on our lives. And as we establish the veracity of the biblical text, I hope that everyone watching would just think about that – that God loves us and He has a moral claim on our lives.”

Please check out the original article on the CBN News website. Please don’t forget to support their work on their website.

Chris Mitchell covers CBN News and events in Israel and the Middle East. He brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world. Chris first began reporting on the Middle East in the mid-1990s. He repeatedly traveled there to report on the religious and political issues facing Israel and the surrounding Arab states. One of his more significant reports focused on the emigration of persecuted Christians from the Middle East.

In addition to his reports for The 700 Club, Chris is also a regular contributor to Christian World News, a weekly 30-minute newscast that airs nationally in multiple markets. After almost a decade with CBN News, Chris’s goal is to provide in his stories the Biblical “understanding of the times” described in I Chronicles 12:32. Connect with Chris via @JlemDateline and .



Constantine and the Edict of Milan (313 AD)

Jesus Christ Savior | Five centers of Christianity within the Roman Empire – Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Byzantium, and Rome – evolved into Patriarchates after Constantine recognized Christianity in the Edict of Milan in 313 (image: Remains of the Imperial palace of Mediolanum (Milan). The imperial palace (mainly built by Maximianus, colleague of Diocletian) was a large complex with several buildings, gardens, courtyards, for Emperor’s private and public life, for his court, family and imperial bureaucracy by Lorenzo Fratti).

Christians were severely persecuted through three centuries of the Roman Empire, especially at the hands of Nero (64 AD), Trajan (98-117), right up to Diocletian (284-305). But their powerful witness through martyrdom only served to spread Christianity!

Constantine became Emperor of the West in 306. As he was in Gaul at the time, he still had to capture Rome where Maxentius held sway. Prior to battle, he had a dream or vision of Christ on the Cross, a cross of light, and was instructed to ornament the shields of his soldiers with the Savior’s monogram – the Greek letters Χ (chi) and Ρ (rho). He defeated Maxentius at the Battle at Milvian Bridge over the River Tiber and became the sole Roman Emperor in 312, attributing his victory to the Christian God.

Welcome relief from Christian martyrdom came with the Edict of Milan in 313, through which Constantine and Licinius, the Emperor of the East, granted Christianity complete religious tolerance. His defeat of Licinius in 324 made him sole Emperor of the entire Roman Empire, and he moved the seat of the Empire to Byzantium in 330 and renamed it Constantinople.

Constantine considered himself Christian and did much to protect and support Christianity. Sunday as the Lord’s Day was made a day of rest, and December 25 was celebrated as the birthday of Jesus. He restored property that once belonged to Christians. After his mother Helena discovered the True Cross, Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the site of the crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. He also built the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of St. Peter in Rome.

Five centers of Christianity within the Roman Empire – Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Byzantium, and Rome – evolved into Patriarchates after Constantine recognized Christianity in the Edict of Milan in 313.

Christianity remain undivided until mankind sought to define the hidden nature of God and the mystery of Christ. A dispute concerning the relation of the Father and the Son arose in Egypt known as the Arian controversy. Constantine called the First Ecumenical Council in 325, known as the Council of Nicaea. The Council declared that the Son was of the same substance – ὁμοούσιος – homoousios – with the Father, and formed the initial Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed was expanded and finalized at the Council of Constantinople in 381 to include homoousios for the Holy Spirit as well, by quoting John 15:26, “the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father,” to form the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (still called the Nicene Creed). The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are important to the Tradition of the Church.

Constantine considered himself both head of state and father of the Christian Churches. The alliance of Church and State in the Roman Empire first seen under Constantine was the beginning of Christendom. 1, 17-22.

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



A Brief History of Women’s Rights Movements

Scholastic | In the United States the first definitive position on women’s rights—hitherto intermingled with antislavery issues—was taken in 1848 under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y. (Gettyimage).

This account of women’s history started since 1776 and even before the Colonial era when the roles of women were ignored not only in textbooks but in all popular documented histories at the time. Women’s rights movements are primarily concerned with making the political, social, and economic status of women equal to that of men and with establishing legislative safeguards against discrimination on the basis of gender. Women’s rights movements have worked in support of these aims for more than two centuries. They date to at least the first feminist publication, in 1792, entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by British writer Mary Wollstonecraft.

Militant political action among women began in Britain in 1903 with the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) for the right to vote. The organization was led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Women of all ages and classes demonstrated on a massive scale; the demonstrators were jailed, locked out of their meeting places, and thrown down the steps of Parliament. National divisiveness ended in a truce at the outbreak of World War I (1914) with the WSPU’s decision to support the war effort. The ensuing mobilization by the WSPU of thousands of its members for voluntary participation in the war industries and support services was a highly influential factor in overcoming government resistance to WSPU aims. The right to vote was granted in 1918; it was confined to women age 30 and above. In 1928 the voting age was lowered to 21.

In the United States the first definitive position on women’s rights—hitherto intermingled with antislavery issues—was taken in 1848 under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y. (see Seneca Falls Convention). In 1850 the National Women’s Rights Convention was held, led by Lucy Stone, an early activist. Both groups coalesced in the formation (1863) of the Women’s National Loyal League, under Susan B. Anthony. Anthony wrote and submitted in 1878 a proposed right-to-vote amendment to the Constitution.

In 1890, Wyoming became the first state with women’s suffrage. The movement was accelerated by the formation (1890) of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and the election (1900) of Carrie Chapman Catt as president. The ensuing campaign attracted many educated, wealthy, and influential women to the cause, with resultant political professionalism, increased funding, and the development of massive parades and demonstrations in the major cities. The Anthony amendment, as written in 1878, was ratified as the 19th Amendment and became law in 1920.

From 1920 to 1960, militancy on behalf of a single issue diffused into a number of women’s political groups, such as the League of Women Voters (1920) and the National Council of Negro Women (1935). Such groups supported various types of liberal reforms related to the rights of both men and women. An equal rights amendment drafted in 1923 by the National Women’s party (founded 1913) remained dormant for another 50 years.

At the international level, however, the women’s rights movement made progress. The preamble to the United Nations (UN) Charter (1945) referred to equal rights for women; in 1948 the UN Commission on the Status of Women was established; in 1952 the UN General Assembly held a convention on the political rights of women. The United Nations Decade for Women (1976–85) emphasized the international scope of the women’s rights movement. Three related conferences—in Mexico City (1975); Copenhagen (1980); and Nairobi, Kenya (1985)—did the same. Beijing was host to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. That conference endorsed a nonbinding “Platform for Action.” The platform would serve as a blueprint for promoting women’s rights in the 21st century. In September 2010, UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon appointed former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to the new UN position of undersecretary-general for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

During the 1960s a militant feminist trend emerged in the United States. It was encouraged by significant feminist studies, such as The Second Sex (1953) by Simone de Beauvoir and The Feminine Mystique (1963) by Betty Friedan; it was also aided by a general legislative climate favorable to minority rights and antidiscrimination movements. Militant women’s groups were formed. The Women’s Liberation Movement, which was social rather than political and was manifested in literature and demonstrations by radical feminists, may have raised the awareness of the nation to the prevalence of discriminatory beliefs and attitudes.

More significantly, feminist political organizations arose that developed into a full feminist movement by the 1970s. These included the National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in 1966 under the leadership of Betty Friedan; the National Women’s Political Caucus (1971), composed of such nationally known feminists as Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem; the Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council (1973); and the Coalition of Labor Union Women (1973).

The force of the women’s rights movement, spearheaded by NOW, was brought to bear on the major issue of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution. The ERA was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971 and by the Senate in 1972. On June 30, 1982, however, ratification of the ERA fell three states short of the 38 needed by that deadline. Later congressional efforts to reintroduce the measure have failed, although a number of states have added equal-rights clauses to their constitutions.

Since the 1980s the women’s movement has focused on diverse issues. These include reproductive rights, that is, preserving a woman’s right of choice to have an abortion against the fervent pro-life movement; sexual harassment; and the “glass ceiling” that impedes women in corporate advancement.
Women continue to make advances in the political field. In 2008, Sen. Hillary Clinton made a historic bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although she was defeated in the primaries by Sen. Barack Obama, she won some 18 million votes in those polls. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was the first female Democrat to be nominated for the vice-presidency. Sarah Palin followed her as the first female Republican nominee for that office in 2008.

Women have made considerable gains in the other political arenas. In 1991, there were 2 women serving in the U.S. Senate and 28 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Following the 2010 elections 17 female senators and 75 female representatives were serving, including 3 nonvoting delegates. In January 2007, Rep. Nancy Pelosi became the first woman selected Speaker of the House. She was chosen House minority leader after the Republican party won control of the House in 2010. Also, 6 women were governors in 2011. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed the first woman, Sandra Day O’Connor, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg followed her to the nation’s highest bench in 1993. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor as the third woman and the first Hispanic American Supreme Court justice. Elena Kagan became the fourth woman to join the high court in 2010. Madeleine Albright was the first woman to serve as secretary of state (1997–2001); Condoleezza Rice held that post during the George W. Bushadministration. In January 2009, Hillary Clinton succeeded Rice as secretary of state.

  1. H. Roy Merrens and George D. Terry, “Dying in Paradise: Malaria, Mortality, and the Perceptual Environment in Colonial SouthCarolina,” Journal of Southern History (1984) 50: 533–50,
  2. “The Virginia Dare Story”. Virginia Dare. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  3. “Claiming Their Citizenship: African American Women From 1624–2009”. Nwhm.org. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  4. Martha Saxton, Being Good Women’s Moral Values in Early America (2003), pp. 82-86.
  5. “Women’s Rights Movements.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2014. Web. 1 July 2014. (use the date you accessed the page).
  6. Alan Brinkley (1998). Liberalism and Its Discontents. Harvard University Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780674530171.
  7. “Women’s Rights Movements.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online http://gme.grolier.com/article?assetid=0314735-0 (accessed July 1, 2014). (use the date you accessed the page).
  8. “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on February 23, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  9. Women’s Rights Movements. (2014). Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 1, 2014, (use the date you accessed the page) from Grolier Online http://gme.grolier.com/article?assetid=0314735-0.
  10. “Women Airforce Service Pilots; Becoming a WASP”. www.kcdawnpatrol.org. Retrieved January 7, 2013.


Abraha: An Aksumite Christian Ruler of Yemen in 570AD

by Sergew Hable-Selassie | Ancient Christian Church in Ethiopia | General Abraha was a Tigraian military genius from Axum. General Abraha became a Governor of present day Yemen and Hijaz (western Saudi Arabia) under Emperor Kaleb of Axum. When the Jews of Yemen persecuted the Christians in the land of Arabaia and Emperor Kaleb of Axum sent an army to stop the Jews from oppressing the Christians (image: Ethiopian News).

Abraha (Ge’ez: ‘Abreha) also known as ‘Abraha al-Asram or Abraha b. as-Saba’h, was an Aksumite Christian ruler of Yemen. Accounts of his origin differ. Procopius recorded that he was once the slave of a Roman merchant at Adulis, while Tabari says that he was related to the Aksumite royal family. Be this as it may, he was either one of the commanders or a member of one of the armies sent by Emperor Kaléb against Dhü Nuwäs, the Judaized ruler of Yemen, in the period c. 523-525 A.D. to exact vengeance for the latter’s persecution of Christians in his realm. According to Procopius, ‘Abraha later seized control of Yemen from Esimiphaeus, the Christian Himyarite viceroy appointed by Kaléb, with the support of dissident elements in the Ethiopian occupation force
A reference map of the empire of Kaleb of Axum

A reference map of the empire of Kaleb of Axum

eager to settle in the Yemen, then a rich and fertile land. This event may have happened about 530 A.D. although a date as late as 543 has been postulated by Jacques Ryckmans. An army sent by Kaléb to subdue ‘Abraha joined his ranks and killed the ruler sent to replace him (this is perhaps a reference to ‘Ariat) and a second army was defeated. In the version of these events preserved by Tabari details vary slightly. ‘Abraha is said to have been the commander of the second army sent by Kaléb after the first, led by ‘Ariat, had been annihilated by Dhü Nuwäs through a ruse. This second army of 100,000 men successfully crushed all resistance and, following the suicide of Dhü Nuwäs, ‘Abraha seized power, establishing himself at Sana’a and proclaiming Christianity. He aroused the wrath of Kaléb, however, by withholding tribute and Kaléb sent his general ‘Ariat once again to take over the governorship of Yemen. ‘Abraha rid himself of the latter by a subterfuge in a duel in which ‘Ariat was killed and ‘Abraha suffered the injury which earned him the sobriquet of al-Asräm, “scar-face.” After this Kaléb had to accord him de facto recognition. ‘Abraha’s rule was probably confirmed by Kaléb successor, Emperor Bétä-‘Esra’él in return for nominal tribute and he went on to become an outstanding figure in Yemeni history, ruling efficiently and promoting the cause of Christianity in the face of the Judaism prevalent in Yemen and the paganism of Central Arabia.

A number of legends of popular origin have been woven around ‘Abraha’s name in Arab tradition which have not yet been substantiated. Of these traditions, the best-known concern the expedition against Mecca. At this period Mecca was the thriving center of the pagan cult

Two years ago arab news published a small article about what the Saudi historians found and documented. “During their tiring journey across mountains and rough terrain, the young Saudi men took photographs of important landmarks, beginning from north of Najran, to the east of Asir, and then east of Baha. Some of the most important historical sites along the way included inscriptions of elephants on rocks in the Al-Qahr Mountain, southeast of Tathlith; an old well in Hafaer, east of Asir; and a paved road near Kara in Aqeeq principality in the Baha region.” Arab news said.

In 2014, Arab news published a small article about what the Saudi historians found and documented. “During their tiring journey across mountains and rough terrain, the young Saudi men took photographs of important landmarks, beginning from north of Najran, to the east of Asir, and then east of Baha. Some of the most important historical sites along the way included inscriptions of elephants on rocks in the Al-Qahr Mountain, southeast of Tathlith; an old well in Hafaer, east of Asir; and a paved road near Kara in Aqeeq principality in the Baha region.” Arab news said.

of the Ka’aba and the pilgrim traffic was in the hands of the powerful Qurays family. Fired with Christian zeal, ‘Abraha set out to build a magnificent church at Sana’a to serve as a counter-attraction to the surrounding pagan peoples. This aroused the hostility of the Qurays who feared that the pilgrim traffic with its lucrative offerings would be diverted to Sana’a. It is sometimes said that one of their adherents succeeded in defiling the church and this led ‘Abraha to embark upon a campaign against Mecca. This event is associated in Islamic tradition with the year of the Prophet’s birth, c. 570 A.D. ‘Abraha is said to have used elephants in the campaign and the date is celebrated as the Year of the Elephant, ‘am al fil.’ An indirect reference to the event is found in Surah 105 of the Quran. ‘Abraha’s expedition probably failed due to the successful delaying tactics of the Qurays and pestilence broke out in the camp, which decimated his army and forced him to withdraw. Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission to the Qurays by ‘Abraha’s son.

We are fortunate in possessing irrefutable epigraphic sources which throw further light on ‘Abraha’s career. Of these the most important is the long inscription on the Marib dam which records the quelling of an insurrection backed by a son of the deposed ruler Esimiphaeus in the year 657 of the Sabaean era, i.e. between 540-550 A.D.; vital repairs effected to the dam later in the same year; the reception of envoys from the negus, from Byzantium, from Persia and from Harith b. Djabalat, the phylarch of Arabia; and the completion of repairs to the dam in the following year, followed by a great feast of rejoicing. The inscription indicates that the reign of ‘Abraha was a period of security and prosperity for the Yemen. The royal title adopted by ‘Abraha is similar to that of his immediate predecessors and to that of Emperor Kaléb, “King of Saba’ and dhü-Raydän and Hadramawt and Yamanat and of their Arabs on the plateau and the lowland.” A further text (Ryckmans 506) discovered at Murayghän records a defeat inflicted by ‘Abraha on the North Arabian tribe of Ma’add in the year 662 of the Sabaean era.No reliable information exists about the date of ‘Abraha’s death although tradition places it immediately after his expedition to Mecca. He was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons, Yaksum and Masruq, born to him by Raihäna, a Yemenite noblewoman whom ‘Abraha had abducted from her husband.


Bibliography

T. Noldeke, Geschichte der Perser und Araber zur Zeit der Sassaniden (Leyden, 1879), 200 ff.

F. Praetorius, “Bemerkungen zu den beiden grossen Inschriften von Dammbruch zu Marib”, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Vol. LIII, (1899), 1-24.

E. Glaser, “Zwei Inschriften über den Dammbruch von Mareb,” Mitteillungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, VI (1897), 360-488.

A. Wiedemann in Orientalische Letteratur-Zeitung, 1 (1898).

Procopius (H. B. Dewing, ed.), De Bello Persico (London, 1957), I, xx.

Tabari (H. Zotenberg, ed. and trans.), Chronique (Paris, 1958), Vol. II, 184-208.

J. Ryckmans, L’institution monarchique en Arabie méridionale (Louvain, 1951).

——–, La persécution des chrétiens himyarites au sixième siècle (Istanbul, 1956).

Sidney Smith, “Events in Arabia in the 6th century A.D.,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. XVI (1954).

A. F. L. Beeston, ABRAHA in Encyclopaedia of Islam (1960).

——–, “Problems of Sabaen Chronology,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies , Vol. XXVI (1954).

M. J. Kister, “The Campaign of Huluban. A New Light on the Expedition of ‘Abraha,” Le Muséon, Vol. LXXVIII (1965).

Sergew Hable-Selassie, *Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History to 1270 *(Addis Ababa, 1972).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography, Vol. 1 ‘From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D.,’ copyright © 1975, edited by Belanesh Michael, S. Chojnacki and Richard Pankhurst, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All rights reserved.



Imagine No Religion, Too

by Deacon James H. Toner | “This is not the important thing. The inner life of faith and morality can remain, while the outer political order changes. What matters is that we love one another and practice that love.” Such noble practice might well change the world, said Pope Francis. (Images: Raphael: Raphael Rooms, The School of Athens)

We simply cannot, said Pope Francis. His interlocutor was puzzled, wondering what it is that we cannot do. The answer came swiftly and inexorably.

“Fight another war. The error came in the early Church when its fathers made a false peace with Rome and allowed Christians to serve in its legions. The only way to have peace is not have armed forces. The Quakers have been right all along on this. The Church must make pacifism an integral part of its moral teaching.”

The Holy Father’s interlocutor was stunned, perhaps understanding the ramifications of this declaration by Pope Francis, who continued: “How can it be moral for mass armies to kill each other as well as innocent civilians? Or for Christians to join those armies? Christ was a pacifist. He preached pacifism, and he practiced it in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary. There is simply no way you can love your neighbor and then go about preparing to murder him.

The interlocutor had to object. “Holiness,” he began, “what about our ancient Catholic moral and philosophical tradition of ‘just war’?

Pope Francis responded: “How can there be ‘just murder’?” After a moment, the Pope continued: “We must not only condemn war but categorically forbid all Catholics—yes, all humans—to participate.

But what would happen when the forces of evil saw all Catholics, and others, refuse military service? Would they then not conquer the world?

Pope Francis responded: “This is not the important thing. The inner life of faith and morality can remain, while the outer political order changes. What matters is that we love one another and practice that love.” Such noble practice might well change the world, said Pope Francis.

The conversation above, which is, of course, fiction, is taken from chapter 33 of Walter F. Murphy’s novel, The Vicar of Christ.

If, in time, we can abolish the death penalty, or at least forbid Catholics from approving it, the current pope, taking a cue from the fictional Francis, might well reason that, in time, we can also abolish war, or at least forbid Catholics from approving it or participating in it.

Is it not now time to abolish capital punishment, life imprisonment—and war? One is reminded, after all, of the saying so often and fondly quoted by Senator Robert F. Kennedy: “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.”

But in George Bernard Shaw’s play Back to Methuselah, the speaker of that line was the devil. The call to a man-made utopia is the ancient and perennial heresy (Gen. 3:5).

The abolition of the death penalty and the exaltation of pacifism are signs of a quixotic mentality which Monsignor Ronald Knox knew as “Enthusiasm.”

Saint Thomas More called it “Utopianism.” Joachim of Flora preached it as the “Third Age.” A host of modern philosophers are associated with various strains of secular chiliasm. If we can dream a sufficiently revolutionary dream and thus change the political or economic structure in a way that it is sufficiently modernized—so goes the Panglossian pipedream—there will be peace. And progress. And prosperity. And paradise.

What is always missing from the progressive agenda is the failure to recognize evil. “Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure” (CCC #387). As the French writer Charles Peguy put it: “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking progressive enough.” Moreover, the New American Bible offers this translation of 2 John 9: “Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God.” Or perhaps such people possess a false god.

Can it be that the death penalty deters murder and that its abolition will result in more violence? Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette, in By Man Shall His Blood be Shed, think so. Can it be that the U.S. armed forces help to deter terrorism and that pacifism may lead to more violence? The late Jean Bethke Elshtain argued this affirmatively in Just War Against Terror.

Can it be that the root of the problem is failure to perceive evil? In his novel The Apostle, Brad Thor quotes George Orwell: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

That the decision to “work with determination” to abolish the death penalty is a Micawberish foray into secular politics; that it is ultra vires, i.e., beyond papal authority as the custodian of doctrine and not its progenitor; that it ignores the traditional properties of punishment (the medicinal and the vindictive [see CCC #2266]); that it ignores and traduces settled Church and biblical teaching; and that it creates a precedent with conspicuously dangerous probabilities—all these matters, and others, again suggest that the Church is altogether too eager to please the liberal, progressive, and secular society to which it is supposed to be witnessing and preaching (John 12:43; Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4).

As Feser and Bessette prophesy: The abolition of the death penalty “will tend to reflect, and to reinforce, a trajectory away from theological orthodoxy and traditional morality. Abolitionism thus inadvertently provides powerful ‘aid and comfort’ to ideas and movements that any Catholic must regard as morally and socially destructive” (207).

The abolition of the death penalty is based upon a metaphysically mistaken notion of human dignity (CCC #1881), which places man at the center of all human institutions. “Dignity” provided by human customs can be repealed by human institutions. The Church has always insisted, despite the trendy liberalism of the past half-century, that human dignity is grounded in our ensoulment and in our reflection of God’s image. When that truth is twisted to mean human exaltation, liberty becomes license; moral freedom (which means sinlessness [cf. John 8:34]) becomes moral autonomy; and moral agency can be socially detached from objective and universal norms. We begin, in short, to worship the creature and to forget the Creator (aversio a Deo, conversio ad creaturam).

It is, in short, not only heterodox theology—but it is also deranged politics—to mistake respect for the dignity of every human and the nature of our relationships with others as our highest duty and chief virtue as somehow more important than the duties and virtues which lead us and bind us to God. There is a reason, in short, that the First Commandment is first (Dt. 6:5).

In pridefully exalting human dignity (cf. Jer. 17:5), we fallaciously conclude that there can be no such thing as just war; that the moral law against sodomy is somehow an assault upon our prized human dignity; that civil laws forbidding same-sex “marriage” are demeaning; and that the time and circumstances of our deaths are to be matters of personal choice and of private convenience.

Considerations of space preclude lengthy rehearsal here of the many reasons which tell us clearly and cogently that pacifism and the abolition of the death penalty are more than merely Pollyannaish. We can, though, point out here that they are perilous, and that they will result in moral and political catastrophe because they misjudge human nature. They are saccharine and sentimental, for they are, at heart, Pelagian, and they look forward to a time and place where no grace is necessary. They hope for peace and healing, but “terror came instead” (Jer. 8:15, 14:19). And when murderers and aggressors do come, the Pelagian progressives can’t beat them; so, too often, they join them. It’s all right, they think, for the prevailing ideology determines the boundaries of right and wrong, and dignity comes from allegiance to the morals of the day. Taste matters, it seems; truth doesn’t.

The romance of the political left is always grounded in the belief that we can be as gods. If we have within us the seeds of our own magical flowering, surely we can dispense with reminders that we are inclined to evil thoughts and deeds. The days of the death penalty—for any offense—and the days of military service—and just war against aggressors—will finally be ended. We will have achieved harmony, and we will have done so ourselves. The Tower of Babel will finally be built, and there won’t be any need for police, soldiers, or weapons inside it for defense.

Criminals of every sort and stripe will listen to sweet reason; international aggressors will be deterred by the reinstitution of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which nations pledged not to use force to resolve disputes; and the lion will lie down with the lamb—if only we imagine it, as John Lennon taught us so memorably:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today.

Imagine there’s no countries [or borders]
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. On that tragic night, when Lennon was shot in the back multiple times, there was present no rough man in a blue suit ready to do “violence,” if need be, to save the life of the singer/song writer. John Lennon would be 77 today if vigilant, and armed, police had been able to deter his murderer.

Lennon’s woolly-headed imaginings clash, and not only with historical knowledge and political experience; they deny—“and no religion too”—the biblical teaching which is at the heart of the ancient and ever-new faith, expressed most succinctly in Job: “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (19:25). I know I need a Redeemer, for I cannot save myself. As Jeremiah put it: “Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed” (17:9). The Catechism teaches that “Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile” (#386).

However, the belief that we alone can conquer sin is more than “futile”; it is blasphemous and debauched. When we lose sight of the need for defense against criminals and aggressors or terrorists, abandoning the idea of protecting the innocent and of punishing the guilty, “the very idea of justice will go with it,” say Feser and Bessette, “[and it will be] replaced by a therapeutic or technocratic model that treats human beings as cases to be managed and socially engineered [rather] than as morally responsible persons.”

Progressives—utopians—think that we stand at the threshold of a brave new world. We are dreaming dreams and asking why not. We are soaring! “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High” (Is. 14:14). Like Icarus, however, we crash and burn when we seek self-exaltation, denying the objective truth of sin and our personal and institutional need to always guard against it.

The Church has always faithfully taught the need for repentance, for accountability, for daily conversion to Christ, and for working out our salvation in “fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). This is the call to redemption, not to social engineering. By the grace of God, it is not yet too late to restore our understanding of the divine mission of Holy Mother Church.

Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, a former U.S. Army officer, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of Charlotte.