Saturday, July 25, 2015

Great Moments in Interreligious Dialogue: St. Fernando III

July 25th is the feast of Santiago Matamoros, "St. James the Moor-Slayer", the patron saint of Spain. In honor of St. James - and calling to mind a former day and time when men of God had not yet started down the desolate path of "dialogue" with Islam - we bring you this marvelous little passage from the life of St. Fernando III.

Fernando III (r. 1217-1252), King of Castile and later of Leon and Galicia, won back more territory from the Moors than any other Spanish monarch of the Reconquista. In the passage quoted below, St. Fernando is speaking to his mother, Queen Berenguera, about his desire to make war on the Moors. This decision, which St. Fernando formulated around Pentecost, 1224, Fernando said was "revealed by almighty God." This inspiration would lead to the campaign that would almost entirely conquer Andalusia from the Moors. St. Fernando told his mother:

"Most beloved mother and sweet lady: Of what benefit to me is the kingdom of Castile, which, though due to you by right, your generosity abdicated and granted to me; of what benefit to me is the most noble consort [Princess Beatrice of Swabia] brought from distant lands through your solicitude and labor and joined to me in marriage with indescribable honor; of what benefit to me is it that you anticipate my desires with maternal sweetness, and before I have fully conceived them, you bring them to most brilliant effect: if I am dulled by laziness, if the flower of my youth is fading away without fruit, if the light of royal glory, which already had begun to shine like certain rays, is being extinguished and annihilated? Behold, the time is revealed by almighty God, in which, unless I want to pretend otherwise like a weak and deficient man, I am able to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom kings reign, against the enemies of the Christian faith, to the honor and glory of His name. The door is open indeed and the way is clear. Peace has been restored to us in our kingdom; discord and deadly enmities exist among the Moors; factions and quarrels have broken out anew. Christ, God and Man, is on our side; on that of the Moors , the infidel and damned apostate Muhammad. What more is there to say? Most kind mother, from whom, after God, I hold whatever I have, I beg that it may please you that I wage war against the Moors" [1].

A great moment in interreligious dialogue indeed! St. Fernando was under no illusion of how to deal with the threat of Islam. And he had greater success against the Moors than any modern democratic nation-builder. Were another great leader to arise who, like St. Fernando, was zealous for the glory of God and the kingdom of Christ, who knows what future victories God might grant?

For more on St. Fernando III, we recommend St. Fernando III: A Kingdom for Christ by James Fitzhenry, available for purchase here.

Also related: Our very non-PC Santiago Matamoros T-Shirt, available in the Cruachan Hill webstore.

Santiago Matamoros, ora pro nobis!
Sancte Fernando, ora pro nobis!

[1] Joseph F. O'Callaghan, The Latin Chronicle of the Kings of Castile (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Tempe, AZ, 2002), pg. 88


Solitary Sojourning said...

It is a very interesting dichotomy we have now when it comes to dialogue. If anyone spoke like St. Fernando in these times, they would be accused of being intolerant and not appreciating religious diversity!

Anonymous said...

I read that in 1965 Paul VI sent the Moslem flag captured by the Catholics at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 to the schismatic Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople.

If true, what can be more distressing than knowing the blood and sacrifices of the millions who have fought against the enemies of Christ were dishonored by the very person thought to be the Vicar of Christ?

Boniface said...

I wouldn't say that was a dishonor per se. Yes, Athenagoras is schismatic. But the Moslems are common enemies of all Christians, and sending the sign of the West's victory over them to Athenagoras isn't an affirmation of his schism. It was gesture of good-will, which is not a bad thing. Obviously we all know these gestures can go too far and often do - I wonder if the flag was returned or if he let the Greeks keep it.

Konstantin said...

It seems that the flag was returned to the Turkish state, not to the schismatic Patriarch. Check out this old newspaper article from the Courier-Journal:

a picture of the flag:

"The ensign used by Muezzinzade Ali Pasha in Lephanto Battle in 1571 was handed back to Turkey as a sign of courtesy in 1964 by Papa VI. Paul."

Boniface said...

Huh...that's even worse if you ask me.

Blue said...

A gesture of goodwill? Are you serious? Considering the fact Islam has more adherents today than Catholicism and the horrific sacrifices that Christians have made, especially their lives, for Christ against the demonic-inspired religion of Islam for centuries and the terrorism that Islam has spread throughout the world today, with many more Christian martyrs, while Islam is destroying all of Western civilization, you approve of this act of a so-called pope which is so blasphemous that the mind cannot comprehend it.

Boniface said...

Hey goofball, read the thread.The gesture of good will comment was when I thought the flag was given to the Greek Orthodox. The comment was not made with reference to Muslims.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Brother Boniface, At daily mass today (Lil' Licit liturgy) the presider ignored the fantastic true story (numbers 12) and sermonised about how Pope John 23rd called the Second Vatican Council so that the Holy Spirit could evolve (he didn't)

Shitteth me thou?

Evolve is to change which means this presider thinks the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is not God for God does not change; nah, he probably has no idea what he is saying, he is just doing his part to keep the kids on the reservation when this pope has the synod enact his will.

But this is the kind of crap ABS hears on his mini way-of-the-cross which is what daily Mass is in the Lil' Licit Liturgy where even when one is given eggs in the readings, the presider will rhetorically give the communicants scorpions in a sermon but such is life in any local Franchise of Dead Diocese Inc. America