Columbus, Catholicism, and America

Greetings on Columbus Day in the United States!

(or what is called "Discoverers' Day in Hawaii).

Many places are closed for business today, and most public services such as the U.S. Post Office are closed as well.

Today, we honor a devout Catholic for his 'discovery' of America. Now there are some debates that are 'out there' regarding the man and the legitimacy of his 'discovery'. That is not the purpose of this posting today, yet please know that I respect your position if you have that stand.

After some googling on the web, I learned more than I ever knew about this man.

I will cite the following statements from Father John A. Harden's Seven Lectures (2003) on the CATHOLIC DISCOVERY OF AMERICA by Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo - translation "Christ-Bearer" & "White Dove" and born in Italy):

What do we mean by the Catholic discovery of America?

  • We mean the discovery of America by Spain, a country that for 700 years had suffered martyrdom under Islam, in defense of the Catholic Faith.
  • We mean the discovery of America made possible by the apostolic zeal of Isabella I, the Catholic Queen of Spain. After seven centuries; the Moors were finally driven out of Spain in the year 1491; 1492 came on the heels of seven centuries of martyrdom.
  • We mean the discovery of America achieved by the Catholic genius of Christopher Columbus.
  • We mean the discovery that was inspired by the Catholic vision of the Franciscans in Spain, without whom Columbus could never have been able to undertake his voyage to what became the new world.
  • We mean the discovery of America that planted the seed of the Catholic Faith through the missionaries who evangelized the Americas and, how happy I am to say, and covered with the blood of many martyrs including my own Jesuit confreres.
  • We mean the discovery that was blessed by Our Lady of Guadalupe, during the lifetime of Fernando Columbus, the youngest son and biographer of his father, Christopher Columbus.
  • We mean the discovery that was seen by the Roman Pontiffs as the dawn of a new era in Catholic evangelization.
  • We mean the discovery that should inspire us to preserve, to purify and to promote the faith that so many of our forbearers, since 1492, have labored, suffered and died so that we might be believing Catholics today.

Most Americans do not discuss the "Catholic-icity" of our country's discoverer and motivation behind the discovery of America. This is sad, because we have so much to be thankful for in this country, and especially the Catholic Faith that motivated Columbus and Queen Isabella for that quest.


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