Hieronymus Bosch, virtual pilgrimage, and the memory of the crusades.

Remembered Places

The paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (Jheronimus van Aken, c. 1450-1516) are famously rich in detail, beguiling, and hard to interpret. Amongst Bosch’s enigmatic works, one has been singled out as being especially hard to understand: his Epiphany panel triptych of c. 1495, now held at the Prado Museum in Madrid. The image shows, in the foreground, the Magi visiting the infant Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem. In the distant background is Jerusalem. At the top of the image, in the central panel and at the formal ‘summit’ of the triptych, is the star which guided the Magi. In the side panels, the donors kneel with their patrons saints. There’s obviously a wealth of other imagery here, but in the current context, I’m particularly interested in the Holy Land scene that Bosch sets up here.

Hieronymus Bosch, Triptych of the Epiphany, c. 1495, oil on panel. Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid. Hieronymus Bosch, Triptych of the Epiphany, c. 1495, oil on panel. Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid.

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The Michael Voris camp and their obsession with the Society of Saint Pius X

Not related to Spain or England per se but since it has to do with the Church and the attack on Tradition , a good read.


You all know where I’m going with this. Our dear friends at CMTV have done it again. Since they have deleted many of my comments upon their facebook page and suggested that I “go defend the SSPX elsewhere” then that’s exactly what I will do. So let’s get started with the recent video in which Michael Voris has slandered the Society of Saint Pius X – again unfortunately – within his recent vortex video that can be found here. I will place quotes of his arguments below and I will comment in red.

 “To tell Catholics to stay home and to not attend Mass on Sunday – and to refuse to fulfill their Sunday obligation to assist at the sacrifice of the Mass is beyond imagining.. To call the Mass an offense against God? (That’s not what the SSPX said) Are you serious? To encourage people to commit mortal sin…

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Crusading Against Poor History: An Interview with Dr. Paul Crawford

Important for Crusades historiography

Andrew Holt, Ph.D.

In 1940, the eminent crusade historian John L. La Monte complained of how, with the possible exception of Renaissance Florence, “no field” of historical research “has been the subject of so much worthless historical trash” as the medieval crusades. Over the last fifteen years, since I first began to study the medieval crusading movement as an undergraduate, I have increasingly come to appreciate the dim view of La Monte, as many crusade historians have continued to have very similar concerns about much of what has been published on the subject in the seventy-five years since La Monte first made his claim.

Consequently, when historian Alfred J. Andrea and I began to consider the idea of a book on modern popular myths of the medieval crusades, we were not surprised by the widespread interest we found among crusade historians in the project. Indeed, since 2008, when Al and I first discussed…

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The Catholic Church and the Magna Carta

article from the Catholic Herald



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Chess Catholic Queen (Regina Magazine)


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Why I remain Catholic

Elizabeth Scalia (@Anchoress) has tossed Catholic bloggers with the question: Why do I remain Catholic?

I haven’t a long explanation nor a detailed theological discourse. 

I do not recall a period of my life where being Catholic was not intricately woven into my very existence. A few anecdotes, some incredible, will suffice to make the point. I was born on the feast of the Annunciation and my favorite cousin on Christmas Eve. I have memories of lying in a crib, a mahogany crib, and looking through the slats at a wood paneled wall. As I look at out, I see a woman dressed in black with a rather large headdress approach me and smile at me with the sweetest blue eyes on earth. My mother tells me that it is impossible for me to remember such details. I was less than two years old and hospitalized. Yes, in a Catholic hospital and that woman with the headdress was a pre Vatican 2 nun who came to visit me often. I went to Catholic schools where I was blessed with Franciscan Friars, Poor Clare nuns , and Claretian priests who left an indelible mark on my being. I recall practically everything they taught me about the Faith.  My night table displays the Rosary given to me by my 6th grade principal, still used. The awarding of a Fulbright research grant to Venezuela was preceded by a stranger on the street approaching me to tell me that the Lady in Red would be happy to see me and to see me married. The Virgin of Coromoto, patroness of Venezuela, has a red mantle and I married my husband at his home parish, built by Venezuelan workers in Brooklyn, where a huge mosaic of the Blessed Mother wearing a red mantle graces the main altar. Hmm, I could just go on. There are no snippets of memory that do not reflect the Faith in some way, by thought , word or deed.

Why do I remain Catholic?  Because the Church is the Truth. But, I remain Catholic because I could not be anything else. I was born a Catholic, live as one and will die as one. The Church is my reference point for every detail of my life. The Church is my safety zone, a mother whose arms are ever outstretched to me. I remain a Catholic because there is no greater Truth, there is no greater love. I remain Catholic because I desire my salvation.

Does it make sense?

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Custom demised: Porch Watching on St Mark’s Eve

The eve of St Mark: Customs

John Keats

The Eve of St. Mark

Upon a sabbath day it fell,
Twice holy was the sabbath bell
That call’d the folk to evening prayer—
The City streets were clean and fair
From wholesome drench of April rains
And on the western window panes
The chilly sunset faintly told
Of unmatur’d green vallies cold,
Of the green thorny bloomless hedge,
Of rivers new with springtide sedge,
Of primroses by shelter’d rills
And daisies on the aguish hills—
Twice holy was the sabbath bell:
The silent Streets were crowded well
With staid and pious companies
Warm from their fire-side orat’ries
And moving with demurest air
To even song and vesper prayer.
Each arched porch and entry low
Was fill’d with patient folk and slow,
With whispers hush, and shuffling feet
While play’d the organ loud and sweet—

The Bells had ceas’d, the prayers begun
And Bertha had not yet half done:
A curious volume patch’d and torn,
That all day long from earliest morn
Had taken captive her two eyes
Among its golden broideries—
Perplex’d her with a thousand things—
The Stars of heaven and angels’ wings,
Martyrs in a fiery blaze—
Azure saints in silver rays,
Moses’ breastplate, and the seven
Candlesticks John saw in heaven—
The winged Lion of St. Mark
And the covenantal Ark
With its many mysteries,
Cherubim and golden Mice.

Bertha was a maiden fair
Dwelling in the old Minster-square;
From her fireside she could see
Sidelong its rich antiquity—
Far as the Bishop’s garden wall
Where Sycamores and elm trees tall
Full-leav’d the forest had outstript—
By no sharp north wind ever nipt
So shelter’d by the mighty pile—
Bertha arose and read awhile
With forehead ‘gainst the window-pane—
Again she tried and then again
Until the dusk eve left her dark
Upon the Legend of St. Mark.
From plaited lawn-frill, fine and thin
She lifted up her soft warm chin,
With aching neck and swimming eyes
And daz’d with saintly imageries.

All was gloom, and silent all,
Save now and then the still footfall
Of one returning townwards late—
Past the echoing minster gate—
The clamorous daws that all the day
Above tree tops and towers play
Pair by pair had gone to rest,
Each in its ancient belfry nest
Where asleep they fall betimes
To musick of the drowsy chimes,
All was silent—all was gloom
Abroad and in the homely room—
Down she sat, poor cheated soul
And struck a Lamp from the dismal coal,
Leaned forward, with bright drooping hair
And slant book full against the glare.
Her shadow in uneasy guise
hover’d about a giant size
On ceilingbeam and old oak chair,
The Parrot’s cage and panel square
And the warm angled winter screen
On which were many monsters seen
Call’d Doves of Siam, Lima Mice
And legless birds of Paradise,
Macaw, and tender av’davat
And silken-furr’d angora cat—
Untir’d she read; her shadow still
Glower’d about as it would fill
The room with wildest forms and shades,
As though some ghostly Queen of spades
Had come to mock behind her back—
And dance, and ruffle her garments black.
Untir’d she read the Legend page
Of holy Mark from youth to age,
On Land, on Seas, in pagan-chains,
Rejoicing for his many pains—
Sometimes the learned Eremite
With golden star, or dagger bright
Referr’d to pious poesies
Written in smallest crowquill size
Beneath the text; and thus the rhyme
Was parcell’d out from time to time:
—’Als writith he of swevenis
Men han beforne they wake in bliss,
Whanne that hir friendes thinke hem bound
In crimped shroude farre under grounde;
And how a litling child mote be
A saint er its nativitie,
Gif that the modre (god her blesse)
Kepen in solitarinesse,
And kissen devoute the holy croce.
Of Goddis love and Sathan’s force
He writith; and thinges many mo:
Of swiche thinges I may not shew;.
Bot I must tellen verilie
Somdel of Saintè Cicilie;
And chieftie what he auctorethe
Of Saintè Markis life and dethe.’

At length her constant eyelids come
Upon the fervent Martyrdom;
Then lastly to his holy shrine
Exalt amid the tapers’ shine
At Venice—

In search of traditional customs and ceremonies


 “Tis now, replied the village belle,  St. Mark’s mysterious eve, And all that old traditions tell, I tremblingly believe; How, when the midnight signal tolls, Along the churchyard green, A mournful train of sentenced souls  In winding-sheets are seen. The ghosts of all whom death shall doom  Within the coming year, In pale procession walk the gloom,  Amid the silence drear.”

On this date curious people would wait up on the 24th of April, St. Mark’s Eve to see who would die in the Parish. The details varied a little according to location, but the basic idea was that you sat in a church porch and the spirits or wraiths of those who were to die that year ahead would be seen as ghosts. The watchers had to remain silent from when the church clock struck 11pm until the clock struck one, and a procession of the dead predicted that year would…

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