George F Dillon.

War of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 online

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Catholicity had recourse to new arts to assail the time-honoured faith
of our nation, and sought to poison the sources of instruction of our
Catholic youth, the Holy See was again ready, not only with its
exhortations and counsels, but also with its pecuniary aid to support
Catholic poor-schools through the country, and from that time to the
close of the century, when the Pope was momentarily deprived of his
states and driven into exile, 1,000 Roman crowns were annually trans-
mitted to our bishops for that pm-pose.

Thus were the Eoman Pontiffs at every period the fathers of our
country, the guardians of our persecuted people, the support of our
exiled clergy. "The blessings of faith were transmitted to us by the
Popes, not only as the successors of St. Peter, but as sovereigns of
Eome ; and when an opportunity is given Catholic Ireland of making
them some return, it would be strange, indeed, if she did not gratefully
remember the services rendered in her hour of distress."*

* Rev. D. M.''Carthy's Recollections on Irish Church Historij, vol. i., p. 320.











Large Edition, Printed at the Propaganda Press, Pome, Imperial
8vo, nearly 700 pages, in fine type, beautifully bound in cloth.
(The ordinary edition (price 12s. 6d.) is all sold out.)
Ditto, fine paper edition in superior binding (only a few

left) ... ••• ... ••• ••' ••• ••• ••• los.

Ditto, in Morocco, rich (suitable as presentation copies) ... 30s.

The large demand for the above has caused the author to prepare a
New Edition in a more popular form. This will be shortly published
by M. H. GILL & SON, Dublin, and will be sold, handsomely bound
in cloth, at 5s.




The ivlioh lyrofiis arising from the sale of both these works, as zvell as the
profits from the present tvoric on the War of Antichrist tvith the Church, ^'c,
have been given over hj the Author to the Right Hev, Monsignor Kirlg, D.D.,
Bishop of Lita, Rector of the Irish College, Rome, for the bencft of the suffering
Nuns in Italg, now despoiled of all their propcrtg by the existing Italian
Government. For some account of the sufferings of these afflicted servants
of God, see end of present notice, page 13.

The Autlior lias beea lionouved with tlie following letters from His
Holiness Pope Leo XIII., and from Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the
Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda : —

Our Most Holy Lord Leo XIII. received the copy of the vohime presented
by you, in which you give in tlie Eno-lish language the history of the ancient
Sanctuary of the Virgin Mother of God, situated in the town of Genazzano,
in the diocese of Palestrina, and which is venerated with the greatest piety by
the faithful and by the constant concourse of devout pilgrims. As in this
work the Holy Father perceives not only the evidence of your filial duty but
also the affection of religious piety by which you study to advance the honour
of God's Mother, he deems your counsel and service acceptable and pleasing,
and desires that by this my letter yon should receive a pledge of his paternal
love and commendation. The Supreme Pontiff moreover hopes that the
salutary fruits wliich at this time are so much to be desired, may respond to
your wishes, and that those who read your writings may be moved to imploro
the protection of the Mother of God for the Church which, amidst the many
adversities by which it is oppressed, places the utmost confidence in Her.
Finally, granting your prayer. Our Most Holy Lord, in testimony of his
paternal benevolence and in presage of all celestial graces, most lovingly in
the Lord imparts to you the Apostolic Benediction.

While I rejoice to convey to you these tidings I willingly take the occasion
offered me of professing to yon the sincere esteem by which from my heart
J am

Your devoted Servant,

Charles No cell a,
Secretary for Latin Letters to
Our Most Holy Lord Leo
Rome, May 2Tth. 1SS4.

Eome, May 17th, 1S84.
Office of the Sacred Congi-egation of the Propaganda Fide.

I have received with particular satisfaction the book entitled. The Virgin
Mother of Good Counsel, etc., which you, Avhile constrained to repose for
some time in order to re-establish your health impaired by your missionary
labours, have written during your sojourn in Eoine.

It is in every way Avorthy of a good ecclesiastic and of a zealous missionary
to cultivate love for Most Holy Mary and to propagate devotion to Her, and
as you have laboured for these ends by writing the history of one of the most
celebrated Sanctuaries of Italy, I must rejoice with you in the result, and I
hope that I shall have the pleasure of seeing your holy intentions happily
crowned with success.

You have also added in an appendix to your work wise observations ujion
Ihe Roman education of the clergy, and have referred opportunely to the
institution of the Propaganda and its salutary influence over the entire world.
This also has proved to me the excellent spirit with which you are animated,
and I feel assured that the sentiments which you numifest will always serve to
render yet closer the bonds which iniite the faithful of all countries to the
Roman See, tin; Mother and Mistress of all Churches.

Finally, I return you thanks for the gift which you have made me of this
your admirable work, and I pray the Lord, through the intercession of the
Blessed Virgin, whom you have desired to honour by its means, to grant you
His choicest benedictions.

Mo,?t affectionately yours,

John Cardinal Simeoni,
Prefect of the S. C. of the Propaganda.

For Monsignor the Secretary,

Ant. Aoliaudi, Minutantc.

A large number of tlie Arclil)i.sliop8, Bishops, Digni-
taries, and Supericn-s of Keligious Orders in England,
Ireland, Scotland, America, and Anstralia, have also,
sinc(^ the publication of the work, warndy congratulated
the Author on its ap])earanee, aii<l ])r()nn's{Ml to extend its

Notices and IveYiews of it appeared also in many
newspapers, periodicals, and reviews, amongst which were
the following


From " The Freeman's Journal," Januayy KSth, 1885.

Tins (lee])ly interosting work, wliich we mentionod rpccntly, claims sppcial
attention by more than its ntility as an aid to one of the most important, con-
solatory, and beautiful of Catholic devotions, and its authority as a learned and
masterly contribution to the history of the Church, sent forth wilh the approval
and the benediction of great prelates, and for a purpose in which Ireland is
destined to have a conspicuous share. It is a delightful work from a purely
literary point of view. The author, whose whole heart and soul are in his sub-
ject, has so studied it, so informed himself with the spirit of the time and place,
entered so thoroughly into the life of the people whoso great treasure is the
miraculous picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and whose richest endowment
is the ever-growing devotion of the ancient sanctuary that is so eloquent a
witness before men against the spirit of the world, that the reader accompanies
liim as he might walk by the side of an accomplished expositor thi-ough a
picture-gallery, seeing not only the works of art that clothe the walls, but the
artist spirit that inspired them.

To make known as widely as possible the wonderful history of the ancient
sanctuary at Genazzano ; to spread the etficacious devotion to Our Lady of
Good Counsel, of which it is the seat and centre; to make his fellow-Catholics
in Ireland, in England, and in the Australian Colonies, which are the scenes of
his own labours (Monsignor Dillon describes himself as " a visitor from Sydney
to the Shrine "), aware of the faith and fervour that still survive in Italy,
under a system which he describes in a comprehensive sentence — such are the
objects of the author's laborious and admirably executed task. He came to
Italy to find rest and recreation after twenty years of missionary labour in
Australia, and he was prepared " to see a great decay of religion in a nation
where the most formidable atheism the world has ever seen was, with supremo
political power in its hands, astutely planning the eradication of Christianity
from the social, political, and even individual life of the people." What did he
see? A nation, nine-tenths of whom are earnest, practical Catholics, who
" oppose to all attempts upon their religion a passive but determined resistance,
which no effort of the infidels has been able to shake. In general, family lifi'
amongst them equals the purity and innocence of the farm homes of Ireland.
They live, in truth, by faith. But above all, that which, in the eyes of the
writer, most distinguishes them is their intense and universal devotion to the
Virgin Mother of God."

The twenty-third chapter of this work, which is an exp(isition of the devo-
tion of the Italian people, is full of pathetic interest and of edification, as well
as being an eminently picturesque sketch ; but it is not upon this aspect of
Monsignor Dillon's book, "' sijniputiai''' though it be, that we ouglit to dwell
in the brief space which we may claim wherein to direct the att(>ntion of the
reader to a great store of knowledge and beauty. It is to his history of the
famous Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel at Genazzano, with its introductory
chapters upon the nature and origin of the devotion, the translation of the


Miraculous Image, and the " Pious Union," in which the Irish Augusiinians in
Eome are deeply interested; to his vi^ad and pictorial sketch of Latium, whence
tradition has it, that from the summit of its mountain, where the church and
village of Castel San Pietro now stand, the Prince of the Apostles took his first
view of mighty Rome ; to his marvellous account of the change from paganism
to Christianity, and the reasons that exist for believing the modern Genazzano
to be the actual historic scene of the too-famous games annually carried on bj''
ordinance published in the " Calendar of Palestrina," which may now bo
insjaected at the Vidoni Palace in Rome; of Christian Genazzano, in 1467, and
the miraculous translation of the Image of Our Lady from Albania to the
Shrine where it still remains an object of the deepest veneration to the inhabit-
ants, and of incessant and innumerable pilgrimages from all parts of Italy.
Proofs of the apparition of the picture, and subsequently of its translation, ai-e
largely supplied by Mousignor Dillon, and although it is not " of faith " that
the beautiful and consolatory history is to be received unhesitatingly, we do
not think it can fail to convey assurance to the minds of all who are inside the
Church, who have "tasted of the graciousness of God," who being of the
Household of Faith are accustomed to its divine administration in all things,
and in ways which, however wonderful, are not " hard " to the " little children''
of the Kingdom, though to the wisest of outsiders they be " foolishness," as
was Jesus Christ to the learned Greeks when preached to them by St. Paul.

The author's description of the picture — copied innumerable times, yet never
reproduced — is very beautiful, and deeply affecting. We can but urge our
readers to acquaint themselves \^dth it, and with the details of the active, vital,
and vitalising devotion of which the sacred Shrine at Genazzano is the centre.
The book which records these things is a rich contribution to general knowledge
of Italy and its people as well, and we hope that the great desire of its author
may be realised by the spread throughout Catholic Ireland, tried, tortured,
persecuted, and tempted, even as Italy, but like her, faithful still, of that same
beautiful devotiou. The Mother of God reigns over the Island of Saints as
over the Land of the Popes ; let the people of the one join with the people of
the other in giving her increased honour, and resorting to her with fi-esh confi-
dence in the communion of the " Pious Union," which invokes " Our Lady of
Good Counsel," at that marvellous meeting-place of souls, the Shrine of the
Miraculous Image of Genazzano. ^.

'. From '' The Tablet," Augitsf 30///, 1884.

This interesting and remarkable volume has already been noticed in our Roman
correspondence. Since then the Holy Father has been pleased to approve of it
in a special letter to the aiithor. Cardinal Simeoni, prefect of the Propaganda,
by whose permission the book was printed at the famous Polyglot Htidn^icrin
of that Sacred Congregation, calls the work in another warmly commendatory
letter " admirable." It is moreover dedicated by permission to Cardinal Mar-
tinelli, Prefect of the Index ; and, as we gather from the dedication itself, is the
only work which that saintly and learned Cardinal permitted to be so dedicated.
The theologians deputed to examine it on behalf of .the Master of the Sacred
Apostolic Palace, were Dr. Martinelli, Regent of the Studies of the Irish Augus-
tinians and Consultor to the Congregation of Rites, and Mousignor Carbery, at
present Bishop of Hamilton in Canada, then Assistant General of the Dominican
Order in Rome. These learned theologians not only gave it the usual nihil
ohstdt, but speak in laudatory terms of its contents. The work, therefore,
comes before the Catholic public well guaranteed as to the safety and soundness
of its doctrine. We believe the erudite author did well to have it so fortified.
It treats largely, not merely of the supernatural, but of the supernatural
witli which English-siseaking Catholics are not generally acquainted, and, there-
fore, in many instances not inclined toreceive without considerable preparation.
A history of Loreto, or of any sanctuary which circumstances have rendered
familiar, would meet with loss difficult}'. But mii-aculous events, which, how-
ever well known to others, are new to us, require to be told with care. Living
in an atmosph' re unfriendlv to the miraculous because it is Protestant, and


tostiic to all ttat concerns tlie supernatural, since it has become impregnated
with modern naturalism, wo bcconl(^ cautions, if not suspicious of everything
new to us. Wc laugh, indeed, at the philosophy which, while disdainfully
rejecting all miraculous occurrences as absurd, ends in accepting with childish
cn'dulity the ludicrous absurdities of mediums and spirit rappers. But avc go
often into the extreme of caution in receiving such supernatural facts as are
continually repeated in the inward life of the Chiu'ch. Where the atmosphere
is Avholly Catholic, belief in the existence of miracles is not so difHcult. They
are tested, like other facts, and if favourably recognised by ecclesiastical
authorityare admitted. Inthis way our forefathers received withouthesitationthe
s*:atement of St. Simon Stock, their countrjuuan, regarding his reception of the
fcapular as from the hands of the Mother of God ; and, in the hope of obtaining
miraculous favours, millions of them made pilgrimages, not only to the shrine of
St. Thomas and other national sanctuaries, but passed beyond the seas to visit
the tombs of the apostles in Eome, and the great sanctuaries of Mary there and
elsewhere. They were, perhaps, the most remarkable people for pilgrimages
during the ages of faith. It is a very beautiful manifestation of the kind of
devotion they so much loved, that Mgr. Dillon brings now under the notice of
English-speaking Catholics everywhere. The sanctuary of which he writes is,
as Cardinal Simeoni terms it, " one (>f the most celebrated in Italy." It is, as
the Holy Father states in his letter to the author, " venerated with the greatest
piety by the faithful and by the constant concourse of devout pilgrims." More-
over, the peculiar and beautiful devotion to the Mother of God, of which it is
the source, may be spread everywhere. The wonders worked at the shrine ai-e
even surpassed by those which have been wrought through copies of the original
in Italy and other countries. It was a copy of it that was so loved and so
tenaciously held to old age by St. Liguori. It was a copy from which Our Lady
spoke so frequently and fondly to St. Aloysius at Madrid. It was a copy which
saved Genoa and restored Calabria to fervour. The image, whether in the
original or in well executed copies, has certainly great devotional power over
all beholders. It increases fervour, and powerfully excites the petitioner to
confidence in seeking graces through Mary, especially the gift which may be
said to contain all others, and which is so much needed in our days, the gift of
good counsel.

The history before us is a very exhaustive one, both of the shrine and the
devotion. In his Introduction the author says of the latter :

" It sprang up, as will be seen, almost at the same time with the rise of
Christianity upon the ruins of Paganism in the Eoman Empire. The very spot
Avliere the beautiful Image of Marj"- and Jesus now reposes, was once the scene
»)f the foulest rites of idol worship in honour of Venus. There, every April for
centuries, came from far and near the men and the women of Latium for the
Robigal Games. There, year after year they abandoned themselves to all the
abominations not only tolerated, but prescribed, by the Pagan Jus Pontificiam
of the Romans. No civilised nation of antiquity that Ave know of, had rites
more demoralising than these proud masters of the world ; and nowhere, not
even in the Flavian Amphitheatre, do the same rites seem to have been carried
to greater excess, than near the site of the present temple of the Madonna in
the borough of Genazzano, where, when the worship of idols had given place
to that of the one true God, the statue of the foulest Goddess of heathendom
fell to make way for the Shrine and the sway of the Purest of God's creatures,
His Virgin Mother. It was meet and, no doubt, was so arranged by a merciful
and wise Providence, that the mother and synonyme of a vice which, with other
dark and sorrowful characters, has folly emphatically stamped upon it, should
be succeeded, when faith shed its light upon Latiuiu, by the Mother and S>tio-
nyme of purity and supernal wisdom, the Mother ' of fair love' and of • holy
hope,' of consolation and of Counsel."

He continues :

"To make the contrast here indicated more clear, the writer has thought it
of use to give a sketch of the history and locality of Genazzano. This cannot
fail from its classical as well as Christian recollections to interest the English-
speaking visitor to Rome, who can got but scant, and, in a Catholic sense, almost
no reliable information from the guide-books published in his language ; and,


to enalble the reader at a distance to realise tlie full meaning of the dc^votion, it
is necessary. It will serve to show to all, that, though confined to one locality,
the devotion existed from a very early period. When God willed its extension
it was by means of a most striking and significant miracle. A beautifnl image
of His Mother holding the Divine infant in her sacred arms, passed from aland
jnst taken by the Turks to the very spot where the Virgin Mother of Good
Counsel had been honoured for over a thousand years. The translation of this
image was effected without human interference and amidst many prodigies. It
naturally created a wide-spread and deep impression at the time. On a festival,
it appeared amidst a multitude in the public square, and rested near the wall of
the church where it still remains. The fervour it created amongst the people
of God, the graces, the consolations, and the miraculous favours obtained at its
shrine, continue to this day. It has thus become the fountain of devotion to
the Mother of Good Counsel for all the faithful of Christ, in all the lands which
own the sway of His Vicar on eai-th."

In fulfilment of the promise; made in this extract, the author has given some
very interesting chapters on Latium, Genazzano, Pagan and Christian, and
upon Albania, the land from which the miraculous image was miraculously
translated, and its last great King, George Castriota, or, as he is better known
by his Turkish appellation, iScanderberg. The following description of the
physical features of Latium will give an idea of the author's style in treating of
these subjects :

" All this expanse of country may be seen on a clear day from the Tiber's
bank outside Eome, or better, from the dome of St. Peter's. Thrilling memories
of the past ai'e connected with almost every spot of it. Taking a central stand,
say, on the summit of Mount Artimisio, a hundred scenes of world-wdde celebrity
at once come under view. In Velletri at your feet, Augustus the first Eomau
Emperor was born. Near it is Civita Lavinia, the ancient Lanu\dum, the site
of the great temple of Juno, the birthplace of Milo, of Antoninus Pius, of
Marcus Aurelius, of Commodus, and, in more modern times, of Mark Antony
Colonna, the hero of Lcpanto. Far in the opposite direction is seen Anagni, the
ancient capital of the Ernici, which gave to the Christian world four Popes,
amongst whom tow^ers the majestic figure of Innocent the Third. Between
these two points, the eye passes over Cori, Segni, 8acro Porto, the valley of the
Sacco — the Latin A'alley — Artena, and other places famous in the early warfare
of the Latin tribes. In front the long sea coast is visible, from the Circaean
Promontoi'y still protecting Antium, at in'esont I'urto d\i)i?:io, from the miasma
of the Pontine Marshes, to Ostia at the Tiber's mouth. Dotting the dark bosom
of the hills beneath, are seen Genzano, Ariccia, Albano, Castel Gandolfo, Fras-
cati, and other celebrated suburban retreats of the Rome of to-day as well as
of the Rome of antiquity.

'' Turning to the Sabines, Palestrina, the ancient Praeneste, is seen standing
out upon the mid-declivity of its mountain. Near it are Zagarolo, Gallicauo,
and then a wide plain encirling the hills which run towards Tivoli. Higher uj)
than Artemisio, is the summit of the Alban range, Monte Cavo, where stood that
great altar of Jupiter to which all Latium 3'early repaired for sacrifice and
prayer. A monastery in the keeping of the Passionate Fathers now takes the
place of the Pagan temple and altar. It was built, strange to say, by the
Cardinal of York, the last of the Stuart Princes, who had much love for the
fine scenery of these hills upon which his bishopric was situated.

" The memories connected with almost every mile of this territory makes it
one of the most interesting in the world. But there is much more to be said of
it. There is not on the earth a couuti-y of the same extent more beautiful to
look upon.

" The traveller leaving Rome does not first realise this. The flat campagna
which expands before him on leaving any of the southern gates of the city,
looks dreary and uninviting enough Avhen not diversified by some interesting-
ruin. This dreariness becomes all the more intense when the imagination
travels back to the period when the vast plain bloomed like a garden under the
assiduous care of the hiisbandman."

After giving a history of the miraculous apparition and translation of the
baci'cd image, the author gives several chapters in proof of the facts he bi'ings


forward. He speaks of the miracles recorded and witnessed by himself, of the
devotion of the Popes iuid distin,2:uish(sl persons noting the pilgrimages to the
shrine made by Urban VIII. and Pius IX., and the continuous pojjular pilgri-
mages ; of the indulgences granted ; of the Pious Union established by
Benedict XIY., and of which that celebrated Pontiff' was the first member; of
the proper mass and office granted in 1770 ; of the Church of Santa Maria ; and,
in order to dispd certain illusions not always confined to Protestants, regarding
Italy and the devotion to Our Lady, he has added two very valuable; chapters
on the faith of the Italian people and on the Catholic worship and invocation of
Mary. An Appendix treats of several important matters, amongst which is a
chapter on the "' Value of a Roman Ecclesiastical Education," written evidently
with the view to aid the establishment of an Australian college in Pome ; and

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Online LibraryGeorge F DillonWar of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 → online text (page 24 of 26)