The Clerical Country Club

Until 1957, the Brooklyn diocese covered all of Long Island. For most of that time, the bulk of its parishes were concentrated in Brooklyn and Queens. Only after World War II did the number of Nassau and Suffolk parishes grow significantly. Before that, churches in that area were considered “country parishes.” This 1898 line drawing [Read More...]

Did the Jesuits Assassinate Lincoln?

According to Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) they did. Today marks the death of the ex-priest who spent forty years on the anti-Catholic lecture circuit. Ordained in his native Quebec, he made his way to Illinois, where he became a Protestant. His books and lectures exposed both priestly corruption and Vatican plans to rule America. His bestseller [Read More...]

A Jesuit Brahmin

Today marks the death of Roberto de Nobili (1577-1656), an Italian Jesuit who spent more than fifty years as a missionary in India. Unlike most missionaries, de Nobili didn’t attempt to impose his own culture on the people he encountered. Instead, he studied theirs and attempted to reach them through it. He started to dress [Read More...]

“Weeping and Yet Hoping”

The occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday offers a good opportunity to share this photo taken during his audience with Pope Paul VI on September 18, 1964. It’s also a good chance to share the pontiff’s reflections on Dr. King’s death, which he delivered in his sermon at the 1968 Palm Sunday Mass: Brothers [Read More...]

Quote of the Day

Redeemed is the story of Heather King’s conversion to Catholicism and her life thereafter. It’s very readable, slightly irreverent, and highly relevant. She has a great quote that I can’t refrain from sharing here: “I’d be wrong to claim that the Church is perfect, but I’d be just as wrong to overlook the schools and [Read More...]

A Strange but True Coincidence

On January 15, 1888, Pope Leo XIII canonized Peter Claver (1581-1654), a Spanish Jesuit who ministered to African slaves in Colombia for over thirty years. Claver, who called himself the “slave of the Negroes,” was proclaimed patron of missions to people of African descent. Among the first churches named in his honor was a Brooklyn [Read More...]

“The Lord Challenges Our Faith to Do Something New”

Today is the Feast Day of St. Arnold Janssens (1837-1909), a German priest who founded the Divine Word Missionaries in 1875. During the Kulturkampf, a government crackdown on the Church, religious orders were dissolved, and a mass exodus of priests and religious from Germany occurred. Janssen suggested that they devote themselves to the missions, arguing [Read More...]

Doublemint Jesuits

Loyola University in New Orleans has a fantastic digital collection of 19th century Jesuit photos. One of the most fascinating images I found is that of the Murphy brothers, Fathers Daniel J. (1852-1929) and Philip J. (1852-1920). They’re buried in the cemetery of Spring Hill College, Alabama. They were born on December 2, 1852, and [Read More...]

Are YOU Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

This History test was given to sixth graders at a Brooklyn parochial school in 1916. (Click on the picture for a closer look.) I had trouble with a few of these! [Read more...]

“An Authoritarian Radical”

Today marks the death of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892), one of the leading figures in nineteenth century English Catholicism. After Oxford, he seemed destined for a shining public career, but he opted for the church. In 1833 he was ordained an Anglican priest and married, but his wife died four years later. This was [Read More...]


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