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viernes, 5 de julio de 2013

Lumen Fidei



Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.

Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord!

We recommend all members read this, the first encyclical of our Sovereign Pontiff, Francis.


miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

Induction of new members

We were delighted to welcome new Knights at a ceremony in Valencia a few days ago. We were supported and encouraged to also be joined by the Brotherhood of the Sacrament, and Knights of the Holy Grail (Torrente group).

domingo, 9 de junio de 2013

Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining our Diocesan Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, one of the most important events in our local religious calendar.

The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honour of Our Lady. In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.

This Holy House was built and a religious community took charge of the foundation. Although we have very little historical material from this period, we know that with papal approval the Augustinian Canons built a Priory (c 1150). Walsingham became one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom.

In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village.

After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.

In 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the 14th century Slipper Chapel, the last of the wayside chapels en-route to Walsingham, and restored it for Catholic use.

In 1897 by rescript of Pope Leo XIII, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham was restored with the building of a Holy House as the Lady Chapel of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation, King’s Lynn.

On 19th August 1934, Cardinal Bourne and the Bishop of Northampton, Lawrence Youens, led the Bishops of England and Wales, together with 10,000 pilgrims to the Slipper Chapel. At this pilgrimage, the Slipper Chapel was declared to be the National Shrine of Our Lady for Roman Catholics in England.

On May 17th 1945, the American Forces organised the first Mass in the Priory grounds since the Reformation.

During the Visit of Pope John Paul II to England in 1982, the Slipper Chapel Statue was taken to Wembley Stadium and was carried around the stadium prior to the Papal Mass. The Pope then insisted that the Statue be placed on the altar for the Mass.

The Shrine now belongs to the Diocese of East Anglia, which gained an independent existence from the Diocese of Northampton in 1971. As such the Shrine remains of particular importance to members of the Northampton Diocese.

The Shrine now attracts some 100,000 pilgrims during the pilgrimage season.

Ayer tuve el placer de formar parte de nuestra Peregrinación Diocesana al Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Walsingham, uno de los eventos más importantes de nuestro calendario religioso local.

El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Walsingham fue establecido en 1061 cuando, según el texto de la balada Pynson (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches rezó para que ella pudiera llevar a cabo un trabajo especial en honor de Nuestra Señora. En respuesta a su oración, la Virgen María llevó en espíritu a Nazaret, le mostró la casa donde tuvo lugar la Anunciación, y le pidió que construyera una réplica en Walsingham para servir como un monumento perpetuo de la Anunciación.

Esta santa casa fue construida y una comunidad religiosa se hizo cargo de la fundación. Aunque tenemos muy poco material histórico de esta época, sabemos que con la aprobación papal de los canónigos agustinos construyeron un Priorato (c 1150). Walsingham se convirtió en uno de los mayores santuarios de la cristiandad medieval.

En 1538, la Reforma provocó la propiedad Priory para ser entregado a los Comisionados del Rey y de la famosa estatua de Nuestra Señora de Walsingham fue llevado a Londres y quemada. Nada queda hoy de la capilla original, pero su sitio está marcado en el césped "Los terrenos de la abadía" en el pueblo.

Después de la destrucción del santuario, Walsingham dejó de ser un lugar de peregrinación. La devoción era necesariamente en secreto hasta después de la Emancipación Católica (1829) cuando se permitió la expresión pública de la fe.

En 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd compró la Capilla Slipper siglo 14, la última de las capillas del borde del camino en ruta a Walsingham, y lo restauró para su uso Católica.

En 1897 por rescripto del Papa León XIII, el santuario de Nuestra Señora de Walsingham fue restaurada con la construcción de una Casa Santo como capilla de la Virgen de la Iglesia Católica de la Anunciación, Lynn del Rey.

El 19 de agosto 1934, el Cardenal Bourne y el obispo de Northampton, Lawrence Youens, llevó a los obispos de Inglaterra y Gales, junto con 10.000 peregrinos a la capilla del deslizador. En esta peregrinación, la Capilla Slipper fue declarada Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de los católicos en Inglaterra.

El 17 de mayo de 1945, las fuerzas estadounidenses organizaron la primera misa en el recinto Priorato desde la Reforma.

Durante la visita del Papa Juan Pablo II a Inglaterra en 1982, la Capilla Estatua Slipper fue llevado al estadio de Wembley y se llevó todo el estadio antes de la misa papal, el Papa insistió en que la estatua se coloca en el altar para la misa

El Santuario ahora pertenece a la Diócesis de East Anglia, que ganó una existencia independiente de la diócesis de Northampton en 1971. Como tal, el santuario sigue siendo de especial importancia para los miembros de la Diócesis de Northampton.

El Santuario ahora atrae a unos 100.000 peregrinos durante la temporada de peregrinación.

martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

Knights Templar in Scotland

There is much myth concerning the Templars in Scotland, especially with regards to 'secret' continuations of the Order or the failure to disband, and fictitious links to Rosslyn Chapel and the Freemasons. None of this is true.

In 1128 the cousin of St Bernard of Clairvaux, Hugues de Payens, met King David I in Scotland. The Order established a seat at Balantrodoch, now Temple, Midlothian on the South Esk (River Esk, Lothian). In 1189 Alan FitzWalter, the 2nd Lord High Steward of Scotland was a benefactor of The Order.

In about the year 1187, William the Lion granted part of the Culter lands on the south bank of the River Dee, Aberdeenshire, to the Knights Templar and between 1221 and 1236 Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a Preceptory for the Knights Templar. In 1287 and 1288 they built a Chapel dedicated to Mary the Mother of Christ, known as St Mary's Chapel and in November 1309, the name of a William Middleton of the “Tempill House of Culter” was recorded.

The Knights Templar had considerable possessions in the County of Nairn, or Moray, in 1296.

The Order was dissolved by the Pope in 1312 and its lands and possessions were distributed to various people and other Orders.

lunes, 27 de mayo de 2013

Catholic Encyclopaedia: The Knights Templars


The Knights Templars were the earliest founders of the military orders, and are the type on which the others are modelled. They are marked in history (1) by their humble beginning, (2) by their marvellous growth, and (3) by their tragic end.

Their humble beginning

Immediately after the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, considering their vow fulfilled, returned in a body to their homes. The defense of this precarious conquest, surrounded as it was by Mohammedan neighbours, remained. In 1118, during the reign of Baldwin II, Hugues de Payens, a knight of Champagne, and eight companions bound themselves by a perpetual vow, taken in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to defend the Christian kingdom. Baldwin accepted their services and assigned them a portion of his palace, adjoining the temple of the city; hence their title "pauvres chevaliers du temple" (Poor Knights of the Temple). Poor indeed they were, being reduced to living on alms, and, so long as they were only nine, they were hardly prepared to render important services, unless it were as escorts to the pilgrims on their way from Jerusalem to the banks of the Jordan, then frequented as a place of devotion.

The Templars had as yet neither distinctive habit nor rule. Hugues de Payens journeyed to the West to seek the approbation of the Church and to obtain recruits. At the Council of Troyes (1128), at which he assisted and at which St. Bernard was the leading spirit, the Knights Templars adopted the Rule of St. Benedict, as recently reformed by the Cistercians. They accepted not only the three perpetual vows, besides the crusader's vow, but also the austere rules concerning the chapel, the refectory, and the dormitory. They also adopted the white habit of the Cistercians, adding to it a red cross.

Notwithstanding the austerity of the monastic rule, recruits flocked to the new order, which thenceforth comprised four ranks of brethren:

the knights, equipped like the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages;
the serjeants, who formed the light cavalry;
and two ranks of non-fighting men:

the farmers, entrusted with the administration of temporals;
and the chaplains, who alone were vested with sacerdotal orders, to minister to the spiritual needs of the order.
Their marvellous growth

The order owed its rapid growth in popularity to the fact that it combined the two great passions of the Middle Ages, religious fervour and martial prowess. Even before the Templars had proved their worth, the ecclesiastical and lay authorities heaped on them favours of every kind, spiritual and temporal. The popes took them under their immediate protection, exempting them from all other jurisdiction, episcopal or secular. Their property was assimilated to the church estates and exempted from all taxation, even from the ecclesiastical tithes, while their churches and cemeteries could not be placed under interdict. This soon brought about conflict with the clergy of the Holy Land, inasmuch as the increase of the landed property of the order led, owing to its exemption from tithes, to the diminution of the revenue of the churches, and the interdicts, at that time used and abused by the episcopate, became to a certain extent inoperative wherever the order had churches and chapels in which Divine worship was regularly held. As early as 1156 the clergy of the Holy Land tried to restrain the exorbitant privileges of the military orders, but in Rome every objection was set aside, the result being a growing antipathy on the part of the secular clergy against these orders. The temporal benefits which the order received from all the sovereigns of Europe were no less important. The Templars had commanderies in every state. In France they formed no less than eleven bailiwicks, subdivided into more than forty-two commanderies; in Palestine it was for the most part with sword in hand that the Templars extended their possessions at the expense of the Mohammedans. Their castles are still famous owing to the remarkable ruins which remain: Safèd, built in 1140; Karak of the desert (1143); and, most importantly of all, Castle Pilgrim, built in 1217 to command a strategic defile on the sea-coast.

In these castles, which were both monasteries and cavalry-barracks, the life of the Templars was full of contrasts. A contemporary describes the Templars as "in turn lions of war and lambs at the hearth; rough knights on the battlefield, pious monks in the chapel; formidable to the enemies of Christ, gentleness itself towards His friends." (Jacques de Vitry). Having renounced all the pleasures of life, they faced death with a proud indifference; they were the first to attack, the last to retreat, always docile to the voice of their leader, the discipline of the monk being added to the discipline of the soldier. As an army they were never very numerous. A contemporary tells us that there were 400 knights in Jerusalem at the zenith of their prosperity; he does not give the number of serjeants, who were more numerous. But it was a picked body of men who, by their noble example, inspirited the remainder of the Christian forces. They were thus the terror of the Mohammedans. Were they defeated, it was upon them that the victor vented his fury, the more so as they were forbidden to offer a ransom. When taken prisoners, they scornfully refused the freedom offered them on condition of apostasy. At the siege of Safed (1264), at which ninety Templars met death, eighty others were taken prisoners, and, refusing to deny Christ, died martyrs to the Faith. This fidelity cost them dear. It has been computed that in less than two centuries almost 20,000 Templars, knights and serjeants, perished in war.
These frequent hecatombs rendered it difficult for the order to increase in numbers and also brought about a decadence of the true crusading spirit. As the order was compelled to make immediate use of the recruits, the article of the original rule in Latin which required a probationary period fell into desuetude. Even excommunicated men, who, as was the case with many crusaders, wished to expiate their sins, were admitted. All that was required of a new member was a blind obedience, as imperative in the soldier as in the monk. He had to declare himself forever "serf et esclave de la maison" (French text of the rule). To prove his sincerity, he was subjected to a secret test concerning the nature of which nothing has ever been discovered, although it gave rise to the most extraordinary accusations. The great wealth of the order may also have contributed to a certain laxity in morals, but the most serious charge against it was its insupportable pride and love of power. At the apogee of its prosperity, it was said to possess 9000 estates. With its accumulated revenues it had amassed great wealth, which was deposited in its temples at Paris and London. Numerous princes and private individuals had banked there their personal property, because of the uprightness and solid credit of such bankers. In Paris the royal treasure was kept in the Temple. Quite independent, except from the distant authority of the pope, and possessing power equal to that of the leading temporal sovereigns, the order soon assumed the right to direct the weak and irresolute government of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, a feudal kingdom transmissible through women and exposed to all the disadvantages of minorities, regencies, and domestic discord. However, the Templars were soon opposed by the Order of Hospitallers, which had in its turn become military, and was at first the imitator and later the rival of the Templars. This ill-timed interference of the orders in the government of Jerusalem only multiplied the intestine dessentions, and this at a time when the formidable power of Saladin threatened the very existence of the Latin Kingdom. While the Templars sacrificed themselves with their customary bravery in this final struggle, they were, nevertheless, partly responsible for the downfall of Jerusalem.
To put an end to this baneful rivalry between the military orders, there was a very simple remedy at hand, namely their amalgamation. This was officially proposed by St. Louis at the Council of Lyons (1274). It was proposed anew in 1293 by Pope Nicholas IV, who called a general consultation on this point of the Christian states. This idea is canvassed by all the publicists of that time, who demand either a fusion of the existing orders or the creation of a third order to supplant them. Never in fact had the question of the crusaders been more eagerly taken up than after their failure. As the grandson of St. Louis, Philip the Fair could not remain indifferent to these proposals for a crusade. As the most powerful prince of his time, the direction of the movement belonged to him. To assume this direction, all he demanded was the necessary supplies of men and especially of money. Such is the genesis of his campaign for the suppression of the Templars. It has been attributed wholly to his well-known cupidity. Even on this supposition he needed a pretext, for he could not, without sacrilege, lay hands on possessions that formed part of the ecclesiastical domain. To justify such a course the sanction of the Church was necessary, and this the king could obtain only by maintaining the sacred purpose for which the possessions were destined. Admitting that he was sufficiently powerful to encroach upon the property of the Templars in France, he still needed the concurrence of the Church to secure control of their possessions in the other countries of Christendom. Such was the purpose of the wily negotiations of this self-willed and cunning sovereign, and of his still more treacherous counsellors, with Clement V, a French pope of weak character and easily deceived. The rumour that there had been a prearrangement between the king and the pope has been finally disposed of. A doubtful revelation, which allowed Philip to make the prosecution of the Templars as heretics a question of orthodoxy, afforded him the opportunity which he desired to invoke the action of the Holy See.

Their tragic end

In the trial of the Templars two phases must be distinguished: the royal commission and the papal commission.

First phase: the royal commission

Philip the Fair made a preliminary inquiry, and, on the strength of so-called revelations of a few unworthy and degraded members, secret orders were sent throughout France to arrest all the Templars on the same day (13 October, 1307), and to submit them to a most rigorous examination. The king did this, it was made to appear, at the request of the ecclesiastical inquisitors, but in reality without their co-operation.

In this inquiry torture, the use of which was authorized by the cruel procedure of the age in the case of crimes committed without witnesses, was pitilessly employed. Owing to the lack of evidence, the accused could be convicted only through their own confession and, to extort this confession, the use of torture was considered necessary and legitimate.

There was one feature in the organization of the order which gave rise to suspicion, namely the secrecy with which the rites of initiation were conducted. The secrecy is explained by the fact that the receptions always took place in a chapter, and the chapters, owing to the delicate and grave questions discussed, were, and necessarily had to be, held in secret. An indiscretion in the matter of secrecy entailed exclusion from the order. The secrecy of these initiations, however, had two grave disadvantages.

As these receptions could take place wherever there was a commandery, they were carried on without publicity and were free from all surveillance or control from the higher authorities, the tests being entrusted to the discretion of subalterns who were often rough and uncultivated. Under such conditions, it is not to be wondered at that abuses crept in. One need only recall what took place almost daily at the time in the brotherhoods of artisans, the initiation of a new member being too often made the occasion for a parody more or less sacrilegious of baptism or of the Mass.

The second disadvantage of this secrecy was, that it gave an opportunity to the enemies of the Templars, and they were numerous, to infer from this mystery every conceivable malicious supposition and base on it the monstrous imputations. The Templars were accused of spitting upon the Cross, of denying Christ, of permitting sodomy, of worshipping an idol, all in the most impenetrable secrecy. Such were the Middle Ages, when prejudice was so vehement that, to destroy an adversary, men did not recoil from inventing the most criminal charges. It will suffice to recall the similar, but even more ridiculous than ignominious accusations brought against Pope Boniface VIII by the same Philip the Fair.

Most of the accused declared themselves guilty of these secret crimes after being subjected to such ferocious torture that many of them succumbed. Some made similar confessions without the use of torture, it is true, but through fear of it; the threat had been sufficient. Such was the case with the grand master himself, Jacques de Molay, who acknowledged later that he had lied to save his life.

Carried on without the authorization of the pope, who had the military orders under his immediate jurisdiction, this investigation was radically corrupt both as to its intent and as to its procedure. Not only did Clement V enter an energetic protest, but he annulled the entire trial and suspended the powers of the bishops and their inquisitors. However, the offense had been admitted and remained the irrevocable basis of the entire subsequent proceedings. Philip the Fair took advantage of the discovery to have bestowed upon himself by the University of Paris the title of Champion and Defender of the Faith, and also to stir up public opinion at the States General of Tours against the heinous crimes of the Templars. Moreover, he succeeded in having the confessions of the accused confirmed in presence of the pope by seventy-two Templars, who had been specially chosen and coached beforehand. In view of this investigation at Poitiers (June, 1308), the pope, until then sceptical, at last became concerned and opened a new commission, the procedure of which he himself directed. He reserved the cause of the order to the papal commission, leaving individuals to be tried by the diocesan commissions to whom he restored their powers.

Second phase: the papal commission

The second phase of the process was the papal inquiry, which was not restricted to France, but extended to all the Christian countries of Europe, and even to the Orient. In most of the other countries — Portugal, Spain, Germany, Cyprus — the Templars were found innocent; in Italy, except for a few districts, the decision was the same. But in France the episcopal inquisitions, resuming their activities, took the facts as established at the trial, and confined themselves to reconciling the repentant guilty members, imposing various canonical penances extending even to perpetual imprisonment. Only those who persisted in heresy were to be turned over to the secular arm, but, by a rigid interpretation of this provision, those who had withdrawn their former confessions were considered relapsed heretics; thus fifty-four Templars who had recanted after having confessed were condemned as relapsed and publicly burned on 12 May, 1310. Subsequently all the other Templars, who had been examined at the trial, with very few exceptions declared themselves guilty.

At the same time the papal commission, appointed to examine the cause of the order, had entered upon its duties and gathered together the documents which were to be submitted to the pope, and to the general council called to decide as to the final fate of the order. The culpability of single persons, which was looked upon as established, did not involve the guilt of the order. Although the defense of the order was poorly conducted, it could not be proved that the order as a body professed any heretical doctrine, or that a secret rule, distinct from the official rule, was practised. Consequently, at the General Council of Vienne in Dauphiné on 16 October, 1311, the majority were favourable to the maintenance of the order.

The pope, irresolute and harrassed, finally adopted a middle course: he decreed the dissolution, not the condemnation of the order, and not by penal sentence, but by an Apostolic Decree (Bull of 22 March, 1312). The order having been suppressed, the pope himself was to decide as to the fate of its members and the disposal of its possessions. As to the property, it was turned over to the rival Order of Hospitallers to be applied to its original use, namely the defence of the Holy Places. In Portugal, however, and in Aragon the possessions were vested in two new orders, the Order of Christ in Portugal and the Order of Montesa in Aragon. As to the members, the Templars recognized guiltless were allowed either to join another military order or to return to the secular state. In the latter case, a pension for life, charged to the possessions of the order, was granted them. On the other hand, the Templars who had pleaded guilty before their bishops were to be treated "according to the rigours of justice, tempered by a generous mercy".

The pope reserved to his own judgment the cause of the grand master and his three first dignitaries. They had confessed their guilt; it remained to reconcile them with the Church, after they had testified to their repentance with the customary solemnity. To give this solemnity more publicity, a platform was erected in front of the Notre-Dame for the reading of the sentence. But at the supreme moment the grand master recovered his courage and proclaimed the innocence of the Templars and the falsity of his own alleged confessions. To atone for this deplorable moment of weakness, he declared himself ready to sacrifice his life. He knew the fate that awaited him. Immediately after this unexpected coup-de-théâtre he was arrested as a relapsed heretic with another dignitary who chose to share his fate, and by order of Philip they were burned at the stake before the gates of the palace. This brave death deeply impressed the people, and, as it happened that the pope and the king died shortly afterwards, the legend spread that the grand master in the midst of the flames had summoned them both to appear in the course of the year before the tribunal of God.

Such was the tragic end of the Templars. If we consider that the Order of Hospitallers finally inherited, although not without difficulties, the property of the Templars and received many of its members, we may say that the result of the trial was practically equivalent to the long-proposed amalgamation of the two rival orders. For the Knights (first of Rhodes, afterwards of Malta) took up and carried on elsewhere the work of the Knights of the Temple.

This formidable trial, the greatest ever brought to light whether we consider the large number of accused, the difficulty of discovering the truth from a mass of suspicious and contradictory evidence, or the many jurisdictions in activity simultaneously in all parts of Christendom from Great Britain to Cyprus, is not yet ended. It is still passionately discussed by historians who have divided into two camps, for and against the order. To mention only the principal ones, the following find the order guilty: Dupuy (1654), Hammer (1820), Wilcke (1826), Michelet (1841), Loiseleur (1872), Prutz (1888), and Rastoul (1905); the following find it innocent: Father Lejeune (1789), Raynouard (1813), Havemann (1846), Ladvocat (1880), Schottmuller (1887), Gmelin (1893), Lea (1888), Fincke (1908). Without taking any side in this discussion, which is not yet exhausted, we may observe that the latest documents brought to light, particularly those which Fincke has recently extracted from the archives of the Kingdom of Aragon, tell more and more strongly in favour of the order.


About this page

APA citation. Moeller, C. (1912). The Knights Templars. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved May 27, 2013 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14493a.htm

MLA citation. Moeller, Charles. "The Knights Templars." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 27 May 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14493a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Sean Hyland.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

William of Tyre: The Foundation of the Order of Knights Templar

In this same year,[1118] certain noble men of knightly rank, religious men, devoted to God and fearing him, bound themselves to Christ's service in the hands of the Lord Patriarch. They promised to live in perpetuity as regular canons, without possessions, under vows of chastity and obedience. Their foremost leaders were the venerable Hugh of Payens and Geoffrey of St. Omer. Since they had no church nor any fixed abode, the king, gave them for a time a dwelling place in the south wing of the palace, near the Lord's Temple. The canons of the Lord's Temple gave them, under certain conditions, a square near the palace which the canons possessed. This the knights used as a drill field. The Lord King and his noblemen and also the Lord Patriarch and the prelates of the church gave them benefices from their domains, some for a limited time and some in perpetuity. These were to provide the knights with food and clothing. Their primary duty, one which was enjoined upon them by the Lord Patriarch and the other bishops for the remission of sins, was that of protecting the roads and routes against the attacks of robbers and brigands. This they did especially in order to safeguard pilgrims.
For nine years after their founding, the knights wore secular clothing. They used such garments as the people, for their soul's salvation, gave them. In their ninth year there was held in France, at Troyes, a council at which the Lord Archbishops of Reims and Sens and their suffragans were present, as well as the Bishop of Albano, who was the legate of the apostolic see, and the Abbots of Citeaux, Clairvaux, Pontigny, with many others. This council, by command of the Lord Pope Honorius and the Lord Stephen, Patriarch of Jerusalem, established a rule for the knights and assigned them a white habit.
Although the knights now had been established for nine years, there were still only nine of them. From this time onward their numbers began to grow and their possessions began to multiply. Later, in Pope Eugene's time, it is said that both the knights and their humbler servants, called sergeants, began to affix crosses made of red cloth to their mantles, so as to distinguish themselves from others. They have now grown so great that there are in this Order today [William was writing c. 1170-74] about 300 knights who wear white mantles, in addition to the brothers, who are almost countless. They are said to have immense possessions both here and overseas, so that there is now not a province in the Christian world which has not bestowed upon the aforesaid brothers a portion of its goods. It is said today that their wealth is equal to the treasures of kings. Because they have a headquarters in the royal palace next to the Temple of the Lord, as we have said before, they are called the Brothers of the Militia of the Temple. Although they maintained their establishment honorably for a long time and fulfilled their vocation with sufficient prudence, later, because of the neglect of humility (which is known as the guardian of all virtues and which, since it sits in the lowest place, cannot fall), they with drew from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, by whom their Order was founded and from whom they received their first benefices and to whom they denied the obedience which their predecessors rendered. They have also taken away tithes and first fruits from God's churches, have disturbed their possessions, and have made themselves exceedingly troublesome.

William of Tyre, Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, XII, 7, Patrologia Latina 201, 526-27, Translated by James Brundage, The Crusades: A Documentary History, (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1962), 70-73

jueves, 23 de mayo de 2013

A Pastor writes - What is a Catholic?

A great post worth sharing from a faithful priest of over 60 years service, who is retiring shortly. We need more priests like this!


Pastor’s PageBy Fr. George Welzbacher, Church of St. John of St. Paul, MN 
May 19, 2013
The technical term Catholic, whose first known use occurs in the letters of the bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, writing very early in the second century of the Christian era (in what is known as the sub-Apostolic age) is a term derived from the ancient Greek adverbial phrase kath holon, meaning “according to the WHOLE“. This new adjective – perhaps his coinage – was used by St. Ignatius to differentiate, on the one hand, the Church that preaches the whole revelation of Christ to the whole world to allgenerations to come until the end of time, in contrast with those transitory sects that, like bargain hunters at a rummage sale, pick and choose only such items as happen to have a passing appeal. The authentic Catholic is therefore one who accepts the whole doctrine of Christ, intact and untrimmed, and (with special relevance to our day) not revised with respect to the proper use of the sexual power. The authentic Catholic recognizes that Christ’s teachings are eternal and absolute, not subject to revision, inasmuch as not even Christ Himself was at liberty to change them, since, as He explained: “The word that I have spoken to you is not mine; it is the word of Him Who sent Me” (John 14: 24). So it was that the Apostles were to convey Christ’s revelation, exactly as they had received it, with no addition or loss. And those whom they in turn ordained through the laying on of hands together with prayer to the Holy Spirit were instructed to transmit the Christian doctrine exactly as they had received it from the Apostles. Thus St. Paul writes to Timothy:…”rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands …. Follow the pattern of the SOUND words which you have heard from me … guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us …. what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also …. Preach the word, be urgent in season and OUT of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when men will not endure SOUND teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings and will turn away from listening to the truth …. (II Timothy 1:6; 1:13-14; 2:1 4:2-4). And so the transmission of a teaching and sacramental authority would continue till the end of time, within the Church in which the Holy Spirit dwells, Whose presence makes the Church to be indeed “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”. (I Timothy 3:15).
St. Paul could speak with such confidence about the Church as “the pillar and bulwark of truth,” within which “the Holy Spirit dwells, ” precisely because at the Last Supper Christ had promised the Apostles that, as He was about return to the Father, He would not leave them “desolate”.  Instead He would send another Counselor,   another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to dwell with them “forever” and to guide them “to the whole truth.” “I will pray the Father,” Christ said “and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth …. the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you …. But when the Counselor comes, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to me, and you also are witnesses …. When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth … and He will declare to you the things that are to come …. He will take what is mine and declare it to you “(John 14:16-17; 14;26; 15:26 16:13-14).
The Catholic, therefore, is not dependent on his own very fallible opinions as to what must be done and what must be avoided in order to gain eternal life. Within a Church that traces itself back in unbroken continuity to the Apostles themselves the Catholic possesses the full doctrine taught by the Apostles, which is in turn the doctrine of Christ. And he possesses that doctrine in its fullness, without corruption, not because of the human intelligence of the intervening generations between the present and the apostolic age but because within that Church, in fulfillment of Christ’s promise, the Voice of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Spirit of Truth, speaks clearly and forever.
Those who reject that Voice cannot call themselves authentically Catholic; rather, they are sectaries who pick and choose as passion and caprice dictate. The Catholic in truth is one who accepts the whole teaching of the Church because that teaching isguaranteed by the Holy Spirit. Even the Catholic sinner – and who among Catholics, apart from Christ’s Blessed Mother, is not? – is Catholic to the extent that his mindaccepts the teaching of the Church in its entirety, precisely because Christ and the Holy Spirit guarantee that teaching in its full content forever.
Thus those who publicly and persistently promote abortion, contraception and homosexual behavior as things good and worthy of praise, in flat-out contradiction to the Voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through the teaching of the Church, a teaching reflected in the Scriptures, have in all honesty forfeited the right to receive Holy Communion, the supreme sign of unity with Christ’s Church. In their public and impenitent promotion of what is in fact intrinsic disorder, and as such gravely sinful, they fall under the prohibition against receiving the Eucharist as expressed in Canon 915 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, a Canon that forbids giving the Eucharist to public, grave and impenitent sinners.
A recent instruction of Pope Francis to the Catholic bishops of Argentina has therefore quite properly aroused great interest. Let us pray that it will prove to have been the harbinger of a more insistent and widespread enforcement of Canon 915.