Father Charles P. Connor
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
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
Network, including: The History of the Catholic Church in the
United States, Historic Catholic Converts,
Defenders of Faith in Word
Doctors of the
Catholic Priesthood through the
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
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.
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.
of Faith in Word and Deed with
Fr. Charles Connor
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
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
on a title to listen in MP3 audio format
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
COUNTER REFORMATION –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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