Finding out something that you might not have known is always a fascinating and illuminating experience. Things that you may take for granted have a nifty back story or custom/tradition that dropped it into the collective consciousness.
As a budding historian, I have always been fascinated by facts and random tidbits of information. For some reason, they always seem to stick in my memory. So in an effort to impart knowledge and to shed some light on some little-known facts, I present a random sampling of random Catholic facts.
1. “Simon Peter bar Jonah,” if taken in its literal meaning would mean that Peter’s name is actually “Rocky Johnson.”
2. The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin have the same blood type and are dated from around the same time, providing a possible link between the two
3. The Tridentine rite, also now known as the “traditional Latin mass,” was promulgated in 1570
Contrary to popular belief, this rite was not imposed on the dioceses of the world, but was offered as a “novus ordo” in light of the decrees of the Council of Trent. Pope Pius V allowed the usage of any rites older than 200 years old, but because Rome was now using the Tridentine Rite, and dioceses wanted to be like Rome, they willingly changed over to the new rite. The older rites naturally fell out of usage but were still valid forms of the mass.
4. Pope Liberius (AD 352-366), the 36th supreme pontiff, was the first pope of the early Church not to be recognized as a saint.
Poor guy. I’m sure he was still very holy.
5. Patrick was actually not an Irishman, but a Roman Briton
6. Seminary education for priests was not actually standard until after the Council of Trent
Even then, it took time for the implementation of the decrees.
7. The chapel where St. Joan of Arc prayed is in Wisconsin
Formerly located in Chasse, France it was moved piece by piece to the Americas, resided for a time on Long Island, and now is on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
BONUS FACTOID: The rock slab on which she prayed is still extant and placed behind the altar. Scientific tests confirm that it remains at a cooler temperature than all other stones in the structure. Supernaturally epic.
8. Before the year 1000, there had already been 15 “Pope Johns.”
I’ll just give you the first of the Pope Johns
9. Vatican City was only truly “founded” on February 11, 1929
According to the most recent stats, the population of Vatican City sits at 451.
10. We can thank Pope Clement VIII for “baptizing” coffee
Now, when you say, “Thank God for coffee” you can mean it more seriously. Also remember to thank Pope Clement VIII for his service to the Church & humanity for this gift to mornings everywhere.
11. Pius IX was the first pope to be photographed while pope
12. There exists a recording of Leo XIII singing the Ave Maria
This makes him both the oldest born person to be recorded (b. 1810) and the first pope in history to have his voice recorded (Hear the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9Pv-UuGUDM).
13. Hitler’s mother, Klara, was a devout Catholic
It is too bad she did not rub off on her son.
14. Priests wear vestments because they evolved from typical Roman dress of the 4th & 5th centuries
They had practical applications at first, but as time wore on, the dress became more symbolic. Fashions changed, but clerical garb did not. Check out those styles. Timeless, really.
15. The oldest prayer for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the “Sub tuum praesidium (Beneath thy protection),” dates from circa AD 250
It was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy. You’re looking at the oldest known image of Mary, nursing Jesus, from Catacombs of Priscilla, circa 3rd c.
16. Christ’s Passion culminated in the “finishing” of the Passover meal
Begun the night before when he took the final “drink” from the cup of blessing when the sour wine was offered to Him on the sponge when he exclaimed, “I thirst.” His saying “It is finished” not only points to the fact that our salvation was now effected, but also to His Passover meal also being finished.
17. Valid apostolic orders remained within the Anglican Church for a time after the Reformation
Until Edward changed the rites of ordination for the English Church… Only after the last of the validly ordained bishops had passed did the English clergy eventually “return” to a form of the rites before the change. By that time, the Anglicans no longer had valid orders and had lost valid apostolic succession.
18. The Catholic University of America is the only school established with a papal charter in the United Stated of America
This charter allows them the authority to grant ecclesiastical degrees and is the only school able to do so. Check out CUA at www.cua.edu
19 Chief Sitting Bull was introduced to the Catholic faith by Father De Smet
He was never fully received into the church because he could not decide between his two wives. One of the most famous pictures of Sitting Bull, if it is not cropped, shows him with a crucifix around his neck.
20. There are 194 archdioceses/dioceses in the USA and 1 exarchate
21. Catholics believe in extra-terrestrials…
They’re known as angels. (But we would have no problem with physical extra-terrestrials, since they too are part of God’s creation).
22.The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
She is responsible for much of the rise of Western civilization and the institutions that we take for granted (hospitals, schools, universities, charities, etc.).
23. The Church is not opposed to science
Nor has she ever been. In fact, she has always championed truth in whatever form it takes so long as it is not opposed to revelation. Faith and reason, people!
(Check out Fr. Gregor Mendel regarding genetics. Also: http://www.magiscenter.com/)