Defenders of Faith in Word and Deed with Fr. Charles Connor

Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)

Fr. Charles Connor

Father Charles P. Connor

Father Charles P. Connor, the Historian of the Diocese of Scranton, received his early education in Saint Rose School, Carbondale, Penna.  He is a graduate of the University of Scranton, where he also received his Master's Degree in United States History.  In 1979, he received his PH.D, in United States History from Fordham University, New York City.
He served as Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Scranton, and his articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and Catholic publications.  His column OUR CATHOLIC HERITAGE appears in each issue of The Catholic Light, official newspaper of the Diocese of Scranton.  Two of his books have been published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco:  Classic Catholic Converts in 2001, and DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH IN WORD AND DEED in 2003.

Father has co-produced several series for the Eternal Word Television Network, including:  The History of the Catholic Church in the United States, Historic Catholic Converts,

Defenders of Faith in Word and Deed,

 Doctors of the Church

The Catholic Priesthood through the Ages,

Therese of Lisieux:  The Saint for the Third Millennium, and most recently, The Sacraments through the Ages.  He has appeared several times as the guest of Mother Angelica on her nationally syndicated program, MOTHER ANGELICA LIVE, as well as with Marcus Grodi on the Journey Home, and THE WORLD OVER, E.W.T.N's national news program.

Father Connor received a PH.D in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, and an S.T.B and M.A. in Theology from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, where he received his priestly formation at the North American College.
Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Scranton in 1990, he served for ten years as Assistant Pastor of Saint Patrick's Parish in Scranton.  He has served as Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Susquehanna, Penna., and on July 3, 2003 was named Pastor of Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Carbondale, Penna.

Mother Angelica and Marcus Grodi with Rosalind Moss and Kristine Franklin

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Fr. Charles Connor

This series seeks to examine Catholics who have defended the faith in word and deed by their wet martyrdom, (the shedding of blood) and dry martyrdom, (exclusion or banishment, persecution, imprisonment.) It is hoped that Catholics who view these programs will be strengthened in the Faith they profess by looking more closely at the lives of these who have sacrificed all in it's defense.
 Defenders of Faith in Word and Deed with
Fr. Charles Connor

Produced by EWTN

Fr. Charles Connor shares in this series seeks to examine Catholics who have defended the faith in word and deed by their wet martyrdom, (the shedding of blood) and dry martyrdom, (exclusion or banishment, persecution, imprisonment.) It is hoped that Catholics who view these programs will be strengthened in the Faith they profess by looking more closely at the lives of these who have sacrificed all in it's defense.

Fr. Charles P. Connor examines several men and women whose holiness, heroism and perseverance while defending the Faith will inspire readers. Each chapter is a well-crafted portrait, filled with historical detail, theological insight and lessons about living and spreading the Gospel in trying times

Defenders of the faith have been raised up in every era of the Church to proclaim fidelity to the truth by their words and deeds. Some have fought heresy and overcome confusion like Athanasius against the Arians and Ignatius Loyola in response to the Protestant reformers. Others have shed their blood for the faith, like the early Christian martyrs of Rome, or Thomas More, John Fisher and Edmund Campion in Reformation England.  Still others have endured a "dry" martyrdom like St. Philip Howard, Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty and Jesuit Walter Ciszek. Intellectuals have been no less conspicuous in their zealous defense of the faith, like Bonaventure, Albert, Thomas Aquinas, or Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The stories of all these,and more, are told here in this book.

Episodes  -   Click on a title to listen in MP3 audio format

The Early Christian Martyrs of Rome
1) Fr. Charles Connor teaches about how the early Christian Church was persecuted on and off for over 300 years by the Emperors of Rome. Christians were considered enemies of the state and were persecuted and martyred until the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in the year 313 AD.
St. Philip Howard
9) St. Philip Howard was a member of the nobility of England and became the Earl of Arundel in 1580. St. Philip wrote a letter to Cardinal Allen, asking what he could do to help the Catholic Church in England. The letter was intercepted and Howard eventually was arrested for treason. Although St. Philip was not executed, he suffered a dry martyrdom of imprisonment and died in his bed in prison in 1593.
THE 4TH Century – Augustine & Athanasius
2) These two great Doctors of the Church defended the faith against the heresy of Arianism which promoted the idea that Jesus Christ was not a divine person of the Trinity but merely a human created by God.
Fourty Martyrs of England and Wales
10) The forty Martyrs of England and Wales were Canonized in 1970 along with Campion, Howard and Southwell. Some of the most notable of these great Defenders of Faith were three Cathusians priests, Houghton, Lawrence & Webster who refused to take the oath against the Pope and renounce the catholic Church. Others martyrs include St. Cuthbert Maine, John Southwarth, Edmund Arrowsmith, Margaret Clitherow. Many were imprisoned and executed for attending and offering Holy Mass.
THE 13TH CENTURY – Albert & Aquinas
3) These two great Doctors of the Church of the 13th Century were instrumental in explaining the Theology of the Catholic Church.
Modern British Defender: Hillaire Belloc
11) Hillarie Belloc wrote many books about the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith. As Historian, Cultural Commentator and Critic, Belloc opposed the ideology of the “Servile Liberal Welfare State.” He along with Chesterton believed in a theory called “distributism.” He criticized greed that ignored the needs of others but favored a free economy in which people would be able to receive their justly due dignity, freedom and power.
Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits

4) St. Ignatius of Loyola along with six others began the Jesuit order and was blessed by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540. The Society of Jesus was like no other order in Church history. They first sought to defend the Roman Catholic faith from the ever, spreading heresy of the Protestant reformation. They were expertly educated men of great character and strength and sought to secure the faith by preaching first to those in political power.
Catholic Evidence Guild & Truth Society
12) Begun in 1884 by Bishop Vaughn a group of laity who met weekly at various members homes. Both of these groups were composed primarily of laity who wrote and published informational and evangelical pamphlets about the Catholic faith which were then distributed to parish churches as well as to anyone who wished to know more about the faith. These lay persons were rigorously trained in the faith before they would be allowed to go out into their daily lives and distribute these pamphlets, preach on the streets and give talks and lectures which Defended the Catholic Faith.
St. Charles Boromeo and the Reform of the Clergy
5) The counter-reformation also tackled the problems that led to the protestant reformation which included a laxity among the Catholic clergy. In many religious communities there was ignorance, immorality, laxity, spiritual decay, superstition, abuse in Religious practice. St. Charles Boromeo was instrumental in the reformation of the clergy. He opened several seminaries, organized the laity into spiritual guilds and wrote the Catechism of Trent.
Maryknoll Martyrs: Ford & Walsh
13) In 1912 James E. Walsh joined the Catholic Foreign Missionaries of America, also known as the Maryknolls. Walsh, along with Fr. Francis Ford were missionaries to China. When the communists took over, these Maryknoll Bishops refused to leave. They were both imprisoned as spies and tortured. They are known as the Martyr Bishops of Maryknoll.
St. Thomas More
6) St. Thomas More was one of several Catholic martyrs who refused to accept King Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church in England, with authority superceding that of the Roman Pontiff. Consequently, St. Thomas was striped of his Office as Chancellor of England and imprisoned in the tower of London. Refusing to sign the oath of succession, he was executed in 1545.
Cardinal Mindzenty-Dry Martyr of Hungary
14) The Nazi’s had control of Hungary and Jews living in Budapest were ordered to the Ghettos. Mindzenty and other Hungarian Bishops wrote a letter denouncing this action and called for their human rights endowed by God. Minzenty was arrested for writing this letter and charged with offering resistance to the authorities.After the war the communists took over Hungary and in 1949 Mindzenty was charged with espionage and imprisoned for eight years in solitary confinement. When released he took refuge in the American Embassy in Budapest in order to escape deportation to Russia. He was there for 15 years.
St. John Fisher
7) St. John Fisher was another Martyr of the English Protestant reformation instigated by King Henry VIII. St. John was the last Catholic Bishop of Rochester. When imprisoned by Henry the Pope elevated him to Cardinal. King Henry resented this and is quoted as saying: “Well let the Pope send him a red hat when he will – But I will so provide that when so ever it comes, he shall wear it on his shoulders, for head he shall have none.”
Walter Ciszek: with God in Russia
15) Fr. Walter Ciszek was born in America of Polish descent. He became a missionary priest to the people of Russia. He had to have a fake Polish passport, fake name and disguise his identity as a priest. Once behind the Iron Curtain, he was eventually arrested and sent to the Lubianka prison. He spent a total of 23 years in various prison and labor camps in the Soviet Union, yet all the while he continued his work as a holy priest of God by ministering to any and everyone he possibly could. He remained not only faithful, but joyfully so, in serving his God throughout tremendous pain, hunger and suffering.
St. Edmund Campion
8) Another Martyr of the English Protestant reformation, St. Edmund Campion was executed during the reign of Elizabeth I. Once a favorite of the Queen and Court, Campion returned to the Catholic faith, left England and joined the Society of Jesus. He then returned to England at the risk of being tried and executed as a traitor to the Crown. On his return he ministered to the many recusants Catholics who were ostensibly Protestant, but practiced their true Catholic faith in secret. He was found out, imprisoned, tortured and executed.
Joseph CardinalL Ratzinger
16) As a young seminarian Ratzinger wanted to be a priest but as a brilliant student he also wanted to continue his scholarly studies in theology. He was blessed by winning a writing contest, which allowed him to do both. He was eventually made Archbishop of Munich and in 1978 met John Paul II. He was made prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has written extensively on the problems facing the church in the modern world – a culture that has become selfishly individualistic, rationalistic and hedonistic. He has addressed the difficulties with cross-cultural assimilation. He tells us that reform in the Church will not come from forums and synods but from “the convincing personalities whom we call saint.”

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