George F Dillon.

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

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as Cardinal f^imeoni expresses it, he has here also opportunely touched upon the
recent spoliation of the Propaganda by the Itsdian Government.

We but follow the i-xample of the Holy Father and the Cardinal Prefect of
the Propaganda in congratulating the author upon the production of this use-
ful and interesting Avork. It establishes on a sold basis the beautiful devotion
to Our Lady which it aims at extending. It is well printed, and considering
the difficulties of correcting the press when dealing with compositors not
acquainted with the language they put in type, unusually free from errors. We
are glad to learn that the author means to bring out a more concise and popular
work on the same subject. But no such work could well appear in our language
unless the documentary evidence given in this volume had preceded it. The
book is well bound, and on the whole a pleasing and valuable addition to our
Catholic literature.

From "The New York Fkeeman's Journal am) Catholic
Eegister," JJecemho' 20, 1884.

"Wk live in a time when an histori<;al or scientific " fact " will be received witli
interest, provided that nothing of the supernatural is claimed for it. It may
rest on slight liuman authority, but so long as no divine authority is quoted,
it is taken for granted. But let the word " miraculous '" occur in the recital of
it, and the supercilious reader turns away from the subject in disgust. The
evidence of trustworthy witnesses, unbroken traditions, voluminous records,
are as nothing. The man thoroughly impregnated with the miasma of the
century would rather doubt the testimony of his own senses than believe in a

Henri Lasserre's wonderful records of the miracles at Lourdes, well sup-
ported as they are by the testimony of experts in the case of Louise Lateau,
art; simply ignored by adepts in " modern thought," who distrust their favorite
methods when they tend to prove a miracle.

Esj)ecially Catholics in Englisli-speaking countries start back distrustfully
at the line that materialistic teaching draws between the natural and the
supernatural. People who say "Credo" with all their hearts are unworthy
of the gift of Eaith if they need a miracle to keep them firm ; but it is no proof
of the firmness of their Faith to decline to consider any corroboration of it,
and while accepting the miracles recorded in Sacred Scripture in a perfunctory
manner, to look with distrust on all modern miracles. This distrust is not
always so much incredulity as it is the revolt of a falsely-formed state of mind
against any widening of the bounds of Faith. It is an illogical, a prejudiced
state of mind, l»rought about by tiie modern sophistry which has contiived to
associate Faith with ignorance.

A remarkable exhaustive and erudite work by the llev. Dr. George F.
Dillon, of Sydney, Australia, on the ancient sanctuary of Our Lady of Good
Counsel, in Genazzano, has been recently issued from the press of the Projia-
ganda Fide at Rome. We have favourably alluded to it before". It is the record
of a miracle, incrusted with a most valuable mass of historical learning, care-
fully wrought out and arranged by a loving hand, entirely devoted to the
service of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Dr. Dillon has produced, writing in the


very shadow of tte sanctuary of Genazzano, a volume whicli includes the whole
history, sacred and profane, of the shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel, besides
a hundred details, the fruit of untiring research, which leave nothing to be
said. Dr. Dillon's volume of nearly seven hundred pages covers the ground

Dr. Dillon hopes to assist in spreading devotion to Our Lady of Good
Counsel, which is so fervently l^ept up in Italy. " This devotion," Dr. Dillon
says, " aims at obtaining all that the gift of Good Counsel gives through the
intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, to Whom the
Infallible Spouse of Christ attributes the very words of the Holy Ghost, ' In Me
is Counsel.' " This devotion is now beginning to be made kno■\^^l in English-
sjieaking countries. And in no time has the gift of the Holy Ghost been more
needed in all countries than in the present.

Near the city of Rome, in ancient Latium, on a spot where the lascivious
rites of the Eoman worship of Venus were performed, where the masters of the
world indulged in nameless excesses in honour of their goddess, a shrine to the
Immaculate Virgin has risen. Dr. Dillon gives an interesting historj' of Genaz-
zano. The famous Prsenestiue roses that once bloomed in honour of Venus
now deck the shrine of the Purest of God's creatures. Dr. Dillon sharply points
out this contrast.

To Genazzano, whose inhabitants, having been delirious in their worship of
the devil, but who Avere now fervent worshippers of God, there passed one day
a lovely image of the Mother of God holding the Saviour of the world in her
arms. Scutari in Albania had just been taken by the Turks, in 1167. From
thence to Genazzano in broad daylight jjassed the fresco, to be Avelcomed by a
population which for nearly ten centuries had honoured the Mother of God.
Its appearance on the public square Avas Avitnessed by crowds of people, for it
came on a festival. Heavenly singing and Avonderful light folloAved it. "In its
passage from Scutari to Genazzano," Avrites Dr. Dillon, " it AA'as folloAved over
land and sea by tA\'o trustworthy witnesses, Avho after\A'ards lived and died and
left families in Latium." Italy made itself into a huge pilgrimage to visit it.
Pope Paul II. instituted an inquiry not more than tAVO months after its appear-
ance. Sixtus IV., Avho succeeded him, A\'as ardently devoted to the Virgin
Mother of Good Counsel. Miracle after miracle was wrought at her shrine.
Copies and pictures of the Sacred Image have Avrought miracles. St. Alphonsus
Avas devoted to the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, and her picture is usually
reproduced in his laortraits. Dr. Dillon tell us "that picture of Our Lady,
Avhich spoke so lovingly to the angelic youth, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, was a
copy." Other copies haA^e Avorked wonderful prodigies in Rome, Naples, Genoa,
Lucca, Frosinone, San Benedetto Ullano, and numbers of cities in Italy and

When the Sacred Image fled from Scutari to Genazzano, the cross seemed to
be flying from the crescent in the East. Scanderbeg — King George Castriota,
of Albiinia, protector of the shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel — had heroic-
ally driven back the invading and unsjieakable host. At his death, the Turks
broke in like the ocean through a frail dyke. Italy Avas threatened. The Pope
kept the Moslems at bay; but Europe seemed lost Avhen St. Pius V., intensely
devoted to the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, called Colonna, Lord of Genaz-
zano, to command his fleet. The Turk Avas all-j)0Tv-erful ; but then came the
crushing victory of Lexianto, gained by the Mother of God for her clients.
Later, Sobieski triumphed at Vienna, and the baleful fire of the crescent paled
before the halo that surrounded the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel.

Dr. Dillon points out the more subtle Islam that noAV threatens, not only
Europe, but the Avorld. The neAV enemy cannot be met Avith material Aveapons ;
a Scanderbcrg, a Colonna, a Don John of Austria, a Sobieski, Avould be power-
less against tlie new enemy. It does not come, barbaric and blood-stained, but
pleasant to the sense, gentle, refined, ajsthotic. It is modern culture, Liberal
Catholicism, unbelief — all those forms of modern thought and sensuousness so
subtly ojiposed to Christianity. Surely yve need the help of the Virgin Mother
of Good Counsel now more than ever !

" In addition," Avrites Dr. Dillon, " to the millions of Catholics Avho live in
comparative spiritual security in faithful Ireland, and the millions of Catholics


now in Great Britaii, the wrilor has special reasons to think, most of all, of those
other millions who leave Catholic homes for a life among strangers, the majority
of whom (lifter from them in religion, in distant lands such as America and the
principal English-speaking colonies. Twenty yeai-s' experience in Australia
lias convinced hiui that a greater and more constant devotion is now more than
over needed to keep the faith alive in themselves and in their children. They
have to encounter all the perils which come from the infidel movements now
supreme over the vital question of primary education in the United States, in
Australia, and almost -everj'when! in English-speaking countries. In England,
and even in Ireland, a strong efforii is made to go with the universal current
against religion upon this and other most important subjects. Then in new
counti'ies, more than in old ones, the tendency is very great to contract mixed
marriages, to frequent dangerous associations and reunions, and to lose the ring
and vigour of sound faith by concession to the prevailing spirit of a worldliness
invariably anti-Catholic."

From "The Catholic Times and Catholic Opinion,"

Sq'tcmhcr 2Gf/i, 1884.

ExGLlSH-SPEAKiNG Cafholics, as a rule, know little of the devotion to Our
Lady of Good Counsel and amongst them it will probably be a matter of sur-
prise that a book of importance could be written on the subject. But if, to
use the well-known phrase addressed to Augustine, they " take and read," we
feel assured all will be convinced that the subject was eminently worthy of
being treated for the benefit of English-speaking Catholics, and that, in point
of fact, the author is a writer who can invest any subject with paramount
interest. Mgr. Dillon first visited Italy in the Spring of last year, with the
view of recruiting his health which was impaired after twenty years of mission-
arj^ labours in Australia. That he derived great pleasure from his visit to the
Ansonian land, that fertile nurse of great men, we have testimony sufficient in
Avhat he has Avritten ; but if the labour of writing an elaborate work such as
this since the spring of last year, was, in his case, consistent with the spending
of holidays for the benefit of health, we must conclude that he is endowed with
ability far above the ordinary kind, and a wonderful facility of composition.
He travelled much through Italy, and ever with the resolution to judge fairly
and to treasure all the information he could gather concerning men and man-
ners in the Peninsula. His observations prove that in the course of his short
experience ho laid up a great store of information. What he did see he
describes in graphic language ; it taught him that at least nine-tenths of the
Italians are practical Catholics, that they are far from being in sympathy with
the opponents of Catholicism, and that they not only recognise the Pope as
their spiritual ruler, but that they Avould hail with joy the restitution of his
temporal sovereignty. They do not exert their power in political affairs, but
to all attempts upon their religion they offer a determined and passive resist-
ance. Mgr. Dillon pays a tribute to the purity of their domestic life. He
assures us that, in general, family life amongst them equals the purity and inno-
cence of the farm-houses of Ireland. From their intense and universal devotion
to the Blessed Virgin he derived much edification, and his knowledge of the
many favours conferred upon them in consequence of their devotion to Our
Lady of Good Counsel induced him to compare the present work giving an
account of her shrine at Genazzano, and the miraculous translation of her
Sacred image from Scutari in Albania to Genazzano. When this extraordinary
event occurred, the Crescent had supplanted the Cross in the East, and the
heroic Scanderbeg, who had received help and counsel at the shrine of this
very image in Albania, had passed away. Then " Mary caused the miraculous
image to break away from the Avails of her temple in Scutari and to pass to
Latium." The writer examines critically the proofs of the translation of the
image and of its apparition amongst a multitude of people on the occasion of
a public festival ; and the preservation of Europe from the hordes of Turks
Avho poured down upon it and Avere crushed at Le^^anto at the Avails of Vienna,
he sees the influence of the Mother of Good Counsel. Of the supernatural re-
sults of devotion at the sh]-ine at Genazzano ho has had the most reliable and


convincing testimony. No one ever, lie informs us, went to that shrine less
credulous than he was ; but in the sight of the miracles wrought before his
eyes and carefully examined and pi-oved, he could only say that the hand of
God is not shortened, and that niiracles wrought through the intercession
of His Mother Avill never cease. There is in Mgr. Dillon's work an immense
amount of what may be called collateral information. Interesting historical
incidents are brought to mind, customs are carefully noted, and landscapes are
depicted with a master hand. A chapiter is devoted to au explanation, intended
for non-Catholics, of the worship which Catholics pay to the Blessed Virgin.
.... Mgr. Dillon, by making known to English-speaking Catholics a de-
votion so largely' practised and so fruitful in Italy, has done a service which
will, it is to be hoped, prove of permanent utility ; and he has, at the same
time, brought together a store of most important information respecting
Rome, the centre of the Catholic world,. and the Italian people, whose character
is the subject of so many contradictory statements. There is great beauty in
his style ; throughout the book is to be found ample proof that in narrative
and descriptions he has a facile pen, and that he has at command a rich voca-
bulary. Every sentence is vigorous and graceful.

From the "Weekly Register." /(rz/z/^^/y yd, 1885.

MoNSIGNOR DILLO^^, who describes himself simply as a visitor from Sydney
to the shrine of Our Lady at Genazzano, has devoted a goodly volume to an
account of his experiences in Italy, and especially to a descrij^tion of that
famous place of pilgrimage. Not the history of the miraculous image only,
but of almost everything that has any possible connection with it is painted
by his pen. The book thus covers a very wide field ; but Monsignor Dillon
writes mainl J' with the object of introducing to English speaking Catholics a
devotion which is very popular on some parts of the Continent.

The representation of Our Lady at this shrine is a fresco, painted long
ages ago, but when and in what country none can tell. It has remained in
the place where it now is for four hunded and sixteen years ; and how many
centuries it existed before is unknown. It first came into public notice during
that great struggle between the Crescent and the Cross, when the eastern
empire was overthrown. The heroic Rcanderbeg, King of Albania, in whose
country Scutari with its shrine and image lay, was enabled to resist the
advancing arms of Islam and drive back Mahomet II., the captor of Constanti-
nople, from the walls of his little caj)ital. Eor twenty years he saved his
country and Christendom ; and, when he died, his ashes were not cold before
the Turks swept over the land and passed to the Adriatic. It was then that
the miraculous translation of the image from Scutari to Genazzano took place ;
and fVom that date Italy presented an impregnable barrier to the infidel. A
second Scauderbeg arose in the person of Colonna, Lord of Genazzano whom
Pius v., in an hour of supreme danger, called to the defence of Christendom.
At Lepanto, Colonna, as Admiral of the Pope's fleet, and Don John of Austria,
together representing the two outposts of Christian Europe, struck such a
decisive blow that the Turks were driven from the waters, which they have
never since regained. From that day to the present time the shrine has had
varied fortunes. Many miraculous cures took place, and pilgrimages were
attracted from all parts of Italy and the Continent. In course of time a new
church was built, and was enriched by the devotion of pilgrims with precious
gifts of gold, silver, and gems. The wealth of the shrine before long excited
the cupidity of spoilers, audit was stripped to feed the ambition of Napoleon.
But it was left to the agents of Victor Emmanuel to drive the inmates of the
convent from their home and to confiscate the monastic revenues ; and though
afterwards the I'cligious were permitteil, through fear of popular disaffection,
to occupy part of the old conventual liuildings, they were allowed to do so
only as tenants paying rent. The Church of Genazzano has lately been
ri;stored to somewhat of its ancient glory, and now glows with beautiful
marbles and frescoes.

Monsignor Dillon had abundant o])portuuities of mixing with the peo])le
of the country, and studying thei]- feelings and convictions. He tells us that
he thinks no pepolc could be more devoted to their religion than tliey. His


impression was that tlio Lulk of the people in the Eonian States wouhl irhully
receive back the temporal government of the Pontiff. Heavy burdens of
taxation and conscription have followed in the steps of the new regime. It is,
he thinks, by means of hired mobs and newspaper rorrespondents that pid)lic
opinion in England and France is misled. The Italian peoi)lt' liavc obtained
the reputation of being formal in their religion, but Monsigiun- Dillon shows
that though they are fond of the beautiful ceremonies of the Church their
religion is far from being confined to externals.

" Long hours before tlie English visitors leave their hotel beds thi- Italian
population in cities and villages are up and stirring, and up and stirring, too,
simply because of religion. As early as half-past four, even on winter morn-
ings, the Church of Santa Maria in Genazzano is crowded by a congregation
of people who desire to hear Mass before going to their daily labour. With,
thousands in every city Mass is not confined to the Sunday. The devout attend
it every day. The works of St. Liguori, Avhicli are very connnon, lead souit;
millions in Italj- to practice without ostentation meditation, visits to the Most
Holy Sacrament, and works even of the highest perfection.''

The volume, which was printed at the Propaganda in Rome, and contains
four illustrations, will doubtless become a classic on the subject which
Monsignor Dillon has so happily taken in hand.

From "The Ave Maria," Indiana, U. S., Xoreiubcr 1, 1884.

A MOST attractive volume. The learned author begins at the very origin of the
town of Genazzano, traces its history through the times when it was the scene
of the infamous orgies of heathen worship, to the blessed dawn of Christianity,
which purified and consecrated its polluted walls and groves ; and then through
the vicissitudes which followed the decline of the Roman Empire in Italy,
interesting alike to the arclueologist, the historian, and the poet. But most
interesting among all events that have occurred in that favoured spot is the
coming of the miraculous painting from Scutari to the church rebuilt by the
devotion of a poor widow, Avho lacked the means to complete the good work
she had begun, but whose faith and piety were rewarded by this signal assist-
ance from Heaven. Full particulars of the miracle are given, and a detailed
narrative of the event, illustrated by drawings, of the ruined church in Scutari
whence the picture — a fresco painted on the wall — was convej'ed by angelic
hands, after tlu; final capture of Albania by the Turks. The sworn testimony
of witnesses, copied from the records, follows, and a family tree of the principal
Albanian witness, whose descendants now reside in Genazzano, is given. Then
follows as perfect an account as could be found of the miracles since Avrought
at the shrine, the records of which were imperfectly kept, both on account of
their great frequency ;uid the expense of the formalities which ecclesiastical
law requires for the verification of supernatural events, and also on account of
the troubled state of the country, and the frequent robberies committed in the
name of secular authority. These miracles are extremely interesting, especially
one that occurred under the very eye of the author of the present work — the
cure of blindness and epileptic fits in a young girl who had been given up by
the physicians. They extend from the middle of the fifteenth century to the
l)resent time— -over four hundred years of constant divine interposition. Follow-
ing, we find accounts of various miraculous copies of the original picture of
Our Lady of Good Counsel, piously venerated in different localities. The
volume itself is enriched with engraved copies of the painting, the beauty of
whose execution is what might be expected from the Italian artists. Succeed-
ing chapters give an account of the devotion of nuiiiy distinguished Popes
and many learned and pious men to this remarkable shrine ; of the pilgrimages
that are constantly made to it; of the apostles of this devotion, and in jiarti-
cular of Canon IJacci and Don Stephen Andrea Rodota ; of the Pioper Mass
and Ofhce granted as the most distinguished mark of ecclesiastical approbation ;
of the indulgences attached to the devotion ; of the rise, progress, and present
prosperity of the confraternity known as the Pious Union ; of the present state
of the church and sanctuary itself of Our Lady of Good Counsel : and of the
devotion of the Italian people. A concluding chapter gives a full and dogmatic
account of the veneration due and paid by the Catholic Church to the Blessed
Virgin, with the blessings that have attended its practice.


Trom " The Irish Ecclesiastical Record," October, 1884.

Detotiox to our " Mother of Good Counsel " is not without being cultivated
in these countries, but it is cultivated to a far less extent than it ought to be.
" Good Counsel " is one of the attributes that strikes us as specially becoming
in her whom we salute as the " Yirgo Sapiens," and to whom the Church
applies the words of the Holy Ghost "in me is Counsel." Besides, we feel
assured that it is an attribute that is calculated to call forth in a very special
Avay the devotion of the faithful, who are so trustful in the protection and
.c-uidance of the Mother of God, particularly in times of doubt and difficulty.
Yet the picture of the " Virgin Mother of Good Counsel " — and it is indeed a
very distinctive and devotional picture — is not often met with in our churches
or oratories, nor is the invocation of the Blessed Virgin under this sweet title
so frequently on our lips as the many other ejaculations that are so famiHar to
us from childhood onwards. The real cause, however, of this omission is to be
traced to the fact that the people generally had no knowledge of the devotion
to the Mother of God under this special form : at least we had no full history
of its origin and wonderful development in other countries. This want, we
are happy to say, is now admii-ably met by Monsignor Dillon's beautiful book.

Among the-shrines of the Blessed Virgin, there is none, perhaps, so ancient,
and fcAV more famous for its miracles, the number of its pilgrims, and the
extraordinary manifestation of piety to be witnessed there from year to year,
than the shrine of the " Virgin Mother of Good Counsel." This famous shrine
is at Genazzano, a picturesquely situated little town, in the Sabine Eanges,
some thirty miles from Eome, near Palestrina, the old Praeneste capital of
Latium. Here our Mother of Good Counsel has been honoured under this
beautiful title from the earliest times, indeed from those far off times Avhen the
deserted pagan temples round Eome were taken up by the Christians, and the
abominations of idolatry replaced by the pure worship of the true God. We
are told that the first sanctuary of our Lady of Good Counsel at Genazzano had
been a temple of Venus.

In course of time God manifested His pleasure at the great honour paid to
His Mother at Genazzano by a miracle of a kind which reminds us forcibly of
that other renowned sanctuary, the holy House of Loretto. In the year 14(37,
a beautiful picture of the Virgin, holding in her arms the Divine Infant,
passed miraculously from Albania when seized by the Turks, to the shrine at
Genazzano. This picture is preserved with jealous care, and we have been told
by friends, who were present on the occasion of the annual Feast when the
picture is uncovered, that the piety of the people was such as to make even
one who had witnessed the enthusiasnr of the pilgrims at Lourdes, to marvel.

But we must send our readers to Monsignor Dillon's highly interesting
book for a full history of our Lady's Shrine at Genazzano. The work is so
complete and of so useful a character as to merit the high commendation of

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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 25 of 26)