Friday, May 24, 2013

Mary, Help of Christians, ora pro nobis!


"Emperor" Napoleon
Give us victory over our enemies!

Our Lady Help of Christians, commemorates the defeat of one of history's greatest generals (and most wicked men), Napoleon Bonaparte.  Waterloo was a decisive battle in more than one sense. It definitively ended the series of wars that had convulsed Europe, and involved many other regions of the world, since the French Revolution of the early 1790s.  It ushered in almost half a century of international peace in Europe; no further major conflict occurred until the Crimean War.

In the end, his prisoner Pope Pius VII would prevail where Napoleonic France would surrender.

Liturgical feasts celebrating military victories
  • May 24, Our Lady Help of Christians, commemorates the defeat of one of history’s greatest generals (and most wicked men), Napoleon Bonaparte. 
  • August 6, The Transfiguration of Christ, was extended to the Universal Church by Pope Calixtus III to celebrate legendary Hungarian general János Hunyadi’s victory over the Turks at Belgrade in 1456. This feast has great significance for Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic churches.
  • September 12, the Holy Name of Mary, celebrates the victory of John Sobieski and his Polish warriors over the Ottoman Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
  • October 7, In thanksgiving for the victory at the Battle of Lepanto on the first Sunday(eventually a fixed feast on Oct 7) of October 1571, Pope St. Pius V ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made on that day. 
Napoleon serving notice of imprisonment
on Pope Pius VII, Scarpelli, Tancredi (1866-1937)
May Our Lady intercedes against today's enemies of Christ

1 comment:

  1. Not saying Napoleon didn't do a lot of bad things (heck he did kidnap the Pope, get excommunicated, and invaded a lot of countries) but not sure if he should get the tag of one of the "most wicked" men in history without the caveat that unlike a lot of the other villains of history, he did repent.

    In his public life he sort of ranged from nominal Catholic to surprisingly "modern" indifferent and pragmatic agnostic but he never really got on board with the more militant atheist side of the French Revolution and his taking power was probably a best case scenario for France in the late 1790s, (without intensive foreign intervention the Bourbon monarchy just was not coming back.) Napoleon basically had to cut a deal (concordat) with the Church which again, while not ideal, wasn't terrible. Also Napoleon did appreciate the liturgy and ceremony of the Church as well as its positive role in society. During his second exile he became more devout (according to some accounts he even made rather inspiring and fascinating statements about his reborn Catholic faith in debates with Atheist friends) and he certainly declared himself a Catholic in his last will and testament, left a large ammount of money to the Church, and received the last Rites from his chaplain.

    Both among his supporters and detractors there was a need to downplay any Catholic aspects of his life (especially his later life) for posterity.

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