Silence: Japanese Catholic Martyrs Film by Scorsese

Martin Scorsese has produced a film adaptation of the Japanese novel Silence by Shusaku Endo. It stars Andrew Garfield (Spiderman and Hacksaw Ridge), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens), Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, and Ciarán Hinds:

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-36-01-am

It. Looks. Awesome.

The trailer (linked below) gave me chills, and hopefully Scorsese doesn’t make it into an anti-Catholic polemic. Check out the trailer to Silence:

Looks cool, right? Be assured that I’ll do a video reviewing this film as soon as it comes out.

Speaking of Catholic novels, my follow up “Saint George” novel sequel to Sword and Serpent comes out next week: The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II. Stay tuned for the book launch and how you can get a copy:

tenth-region-ebook-with-white-background

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Catholic Halloween and the New Evangelization

Is Halloween the Devil’s Day? Let’s break it down and see how Satan is trying to steal our Catholic holidays. Ready?

As you know, Halloween is short for All-Hallows-Even. “Even” or “Eve” refers to the evening before the day.

halloween saint

Christmas Eve is the night before December 25. Similarly, Hallows Eve is the night before November 1, the Catholic festival of All Saints.

This holy day of obligation was once known as “All Hallows” since “hallow” is a more ancient form of “holy.” For example, “hallowed by thy name” means “holy is thy name.”

All Saints = All Hallows. In fact, November 1 was once called “Hallowmas.” For those linguists out there, hallowed comes from the Old English word haligra which fell out of use before AD 1500. Those who know German will recognize it’s similarity to heiliger.

Is Halloween the Devil’s Day? Is it Evil?

There are some Christians who have written off Halloween per se as some sort of diabolical black mass.  This interpretation usually includes a legend of how the Catholic Church conspired with druids to corrupt Europe, or some other nonsense.

To be clear, it’s the vigil of a Christian holy day: All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Eve. Has it been corrupted by our culture and consumer market? You bet. But they have also attempted to redefine “marriage,” Easter, Christmas, St Valentines, and increasingly Ash Wednesday.

Yes, Christmas has also been derailed by the culture. Does that mean that we’re going hand over Christmas? No way! Same goes for Halloween. The Church does not surrender what rightfully belongs to her – she wins it back!

Hell is on defense since Jesus Christ came. It’s the “gates of hell.” Gates are defensive. We are supposed to be storming the gates of hell. The sacrament of Confirmation commissions us as soldiers.

Pandaemonium: Here’s your Greek word of the week

The word Pandaemonium derives from Greek “παν”, meaning “all” and “δαιμόνιον”, meaning “little devil.” Pandaemonium means “All Devils.”

John Milton imagined Pandaemonium as the capital city of Hell in Book I of his Paradise Lost (1667).

Milton was an Arian, but his Paradise Lost is a pretty cool book. If you’re a Member of NSTI, you should read it and let me know if you think his Arianism bleeds through the pages. Also, check out Milton’s Satan Trinity.

The Devil would love to take over the feast day “All Saints” and rebrand it as “All Devils” or “Pandaemonium.” Are we going to let him? Hell no [pun intended]. All the Saints are ready for battle.

Watch Dr. Taylor’s Youtube Video: Dracula vs. the Eucharist.
How do All the Saints hear us from Heaven? Free mp3 from Dr Taylor answering this question: Click here to listen (mp3).

Let’s take back the entire “Hallow Triduum” of:

  1. Halloween (Oct 31)
  2. All Saints Day (Hallowmas Nov 1)
  3. All Souls Day (Nov 2)

Celebrate Hallows Eve, but clarify “We don’t celebrate it by glorifying the demonic.” Dress your children as saints and be counter-cultural. Be leaven in the lump. Salt in the world. Be hallowed.

Oh, and don’t forget All Hallows (Nov 1) is a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s a mortal sin not to attend Holy Mass on this day (unless it is lawfully transferred by the bishops).

Don’t forget to read my 10 Tips for a Catholic Halloween by clicking here.

And share it on Facebook with all your friends by clicking here:

facebook-share-button

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please sign up for my daily email updates and get a FREE book on Thomas Aquinas by clicking here.

Get a free pre-release copy of Sword and Serpent Book 2!

It’s finally ready. The sequel to my best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel Sword and Serpent about Saint George, Saint Christopher, Saint Nicholas, and Constantine is ready for printing.

sword and serpent box shot cropped

Book 1 – Book 2 is on it’s way. Cover art coming soon.

The title of the new book is The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II. I’ll be sharing cover art soon.

The title refers to an Egyptian myth about a serpent that is killed just before the dawn of the day – at the tenth region of the night. Book II begins in Egypt with Jurian (Saint George) meeting Aikaterina (the historical Saint Catherine of Alexandria). The new book features Constantine (as in Sword and Serpent) and includes Saint Helen his mother and a number of newly included saints.

In my opinion, Book 2 is better than Sword and Serpent Book 1!

My publication team will be choosing 200 “Tenth Region Launch Team” readers who will receive an advanced free digital before the publication date and their name printed in the back of the book with a thank you message from me.

Here is who we are looking for in our Launch Team:

  1. Readers who have read Sword and Serpent Book 1 already
  2. Readers who can read the book in about 1 week
  3. Readers who are willing to promote the book with a tweet or Facebook or Instagram post
  4. Readers who are willing to write a review on Amazon.com
  5. Readers who won’t share or publish their advanced digital copy to the public

So if you’d like to get an advanced copy and read it before the book is published for the public (and have your name printed in the book), please apply using this form:

Click here to join the Sword and Serpent 2 Launch Team!

I look forward to sending out a free copy to you!

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

PS: Palabra press in Madrid Spain is about to release the Spanish translation of Sword and Serpent Book 1 – La Espada y La Serpient. If you know any Spanish speakers who love Catholic fiction, please tell them about this upcoming release!

spanish-sword-and-serpent

 

Taylor Marshall is Part Jewish as it turns out

When I was 22 years old, a Jewish woman stopped me in the street. I remember her cupping my face in her hands and she said, “You are a Jewish boy.”

I said, “I’m not Jewish.”

She responded, “Oh yes you are. You are Jewish. However, you just don’t know that you’re Jewish. I see it in your eyes and in your mouth. You are Jewish.”

She smiled and was so kind and sweet. It was a surreal moment.

But as it turns out, she was correct!

My uncle recently had a genealogical blood test that identified him as 19.3% Ashkenazi Jewish…which makes me 9.65% Jewish.

There have been rumors of our Jewish ancestry for years. My grandfather Philip claimed to be Swedish and Lutheran, but he had the last name of “Koppel” – a traditional Jewish last name.

“Koppel” is the Ashkenazic Jewish diminutive (little nick name) for Jakob, that is “Little Jacob.”

 

So this explains a few Jewish things in my life:

  1. My first book is titled: The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-50-08-pm
  2. That trilogy of books is given to showing how Christianity transitioned from Jerusalem to Rome by God’s design and as a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy:
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-56-19-pm
  3. My audio series on the book of Revelation is a study on the forgotten Jewishness of the Apocalyptic signs and visions.
  4. A teach a class in Rome for Seminarians that includes the Jewish origins of the Catholic Church in Rome.
  5. A founded the Maccabee Society – a Christian fraternity for men – and named it after the great Jewish warrior and general Judas Maccabeus. I did this before I knew about the Jewish lineage.

So there you have it. My inner Jew has been discreetly speaking all along.

I’m going to anticipate an objection that I foresee in the comments: “You’re not Jewish because Judaism says that your mother must be Jewish in order for you to be Jewish.”

Some Jews may say this, but it’s not biblical and it’s not true. Here’s why Judaism has never truly been matrilineal:

  1. Ephraim and Manasseh were the fathers of two Jewish tribes. Their father was Joseph of the colored coat. And their mother was an Egyptian daughter of an Egyptian priest, that is, non-Israelite. So these 2 men were born of a non-Israelite mother. Are you seriously going to claim that 2 of the 12 Tribes of Israel are not truly Israelite?
  2. Moses married a non-Israelite wife. His children were obviously Israelite.
  3. Boaz married the non-Jewish Ruth. She has a book of the Bible named after her. Ruth was the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. So if Obed (born of a non-Jewish mother) is not Jewish, then, neither is King David.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-5-15-50-pm

More biblical examples could be given. Israelites are merely children of the Israelites, even if there is a mixed marriage. Michael Barber even has a cool theory that the DNA of Abraham has descended to almost of all humanity through the exile and assimilation of the ten northern tribes.

Question: Has anyone else out there discovered a Jewish heritage later in life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Shalom,
Taylor Marshall

Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation with Dr Marshall

This Thursday night at 8pm I’ll be hosting another free Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation from a biblical, traditional, and Catholic point of view. If you’ve ever had questions or confusions about the End Times of the Book of Revelation, you won’t want to miss this Catholic Webinar Event.

YOU WILL DISCOVER:

  • Why the Book of Revelation was written
  • a Catholic interpretation of Revelation based on Scripture, Tradition, and Church Fathers
  • the Virgin Mary in Revelation 12
  • the Mark of the Beast and 666 from a Catholic view point of view
  • EVERYONE THAT ATTENDS WILL RECEIVE a FREE pdf worksheet of the Webinar. Dr Marshall will make available his 16 part series on Catholic Revelation.
  • Register to reserve your spot by clicking here.

Register here no border

How St Francis differed from Martin Luther or Catholic Reform vs. Protestant Reform

How did Saint Francis’ reformation of the Catholic Church (“Francis, rebuild my Church”) differ from Martin Luther’s “reformation”?

For Audio Podcast version of: “My True Opinion of Martin Luther” click here.

Essentially, Francis teaches us that we cannot fight heresy by creating new heresies. Francis always submitted to the Church, the popes, and the bishops.

Whenever “reformation” begins to the buck against the institutional Church, more heresy arises. For example, in many regards the Monophysite heresy (i.e. “Christ has one nature”) was an over-reaction to the Nestorian heresy (i.e. “Christ is two persons”). The Catholic Church has always sought to aim directly at the truth, and not merely at the destruction of error. Too often the refutation of error crosses over into further error.

Similarly, Luther and Calvin sought to displace misunderstandings about grace and merit (i.e. the faulty nominalism spawned by William of Ockham) by creating an alternate vision of grace and merit (which ironically embraced Ockham’s nominalism and repackaged it). Luther’s “solution” was in fact heretical. A quick fix is often faulty. Duct tape can “fix” almost anything – but it eventually gives way to other problems.

The annals of Church history are filled with Catholic Reformers: Paul, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Maximus, John Damascene, Pope Gregory VII, Francis, Dominic, Catherine of Sienna, Ignatius, Teresa of Avila, et al. Each of these Catholic Reformers retained the unity of Christ’s Church, submitted to church leadership, and patiently brought about renewal. In many cases, each experienced active persecution from other Christians and even fell under the suspicion of heresy. However, their humility and silence eventually vindicated their cause as advocates for the evangelical truth of Christ’s doctrine.

Saint Francis of Assisi is perhaps one of the best examples of patience in the cause of reform. When St Francis went to Rome to seek recognition from the Pope, the Pope dismissed him impatiently and told him to go “lie down with the pigs.”

After a little while, Francis returned smeared with swine feces and stinking to high heaven. When the Pope objected, Francis answered, “I obeyed your words and merely did as you said. I lay down with the pigs.” Suddenly the Pope realized that this was a holy man who was willing to obey even in the face of humiliation. The Pope listened to Francis’ vision for renewal and the rest is history.

When rebuffed by the pope, Saint Francis could have appealed to Sacred Scripture, showing this his pattern of life was poor and lowly like that of Christ. He might even have contrasted his own “biblical life” against the extravagance of the Papal court. Francis may even have rightly rebuked the abbots, bishops, and cardinals for lacking evangelical witness. Instead, Francis followed the path of Christ. He allowed himself to be misunderstood and maligned, knowing that God would bring about his vindication…and God always does.

Contrast Saint Francis to Martin Luther. Luther did not visit Rome for confirmation of his cause, nor did he respect the structures of the Church. In fact, Cardinal Cajetan met privately with Luther and explained how Luther might modify his message so that Cajetan could have it approved by the Roman Curia. If Luther had moved more slowly and charitably, he may have become “Saint” Martin Luther.

Unfortunately, Luther was adamant and stiff-necked. He would not attempt compromise. If the Pope would not agree with him, then he would reject the papacy. Period. Luther would not tolerate any authority that failed to support him immediately and without question. Consequently, when the papal bull arrived, Luther burned it publicly and began to curse the pope as Antichrist.

Note the difference between Francis and Luther. The former moved slowly and humbly. The latter acted independently and rashly. Consequently, the history of Protestantism is marked by rash and hasty division – there are now 36,000 Protestant denominations.

As the Apostle James wrote: “the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God” (Jas 1:20). History shows that God does not use “hot-heads” to guide His Church into righteousness. God chooses those who are little, meek, and humble – for such is the kingdom of Heaven.

Herein lies the mystery of Catholic Reform.

Saint Hubert – Patron Saint of Bowhunters (and Jagermeister)

Whenever I talk about hunting, I get critics who think I’m a mean red-neck killer. Before the critics cast their stones, let it be know that I hunt because:

saint Hubertus taylor marshall bowhunting

  1. Hunting provides organic, grass-fed, hormone free meat for my family of 8 children.
  2. It feels exhilarating to serve food to your family that you trained for, hunted, butchered, prepared, and cooked.
  3. I like having a tangible connection with the food that I prepare and eat.
  4. Hunting is the #1 way to promote funding for wildlife conservation.
  5. I love the outdoors.
  6. It’s a craft or an art that requires practice and dedication.
  7. All of our ancestors did it.

We were recently discussing the Troops of Saint George achievement in “Hunting” and I suggested that we focus on Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunting:

Saint Hubertus was born around the year AD 656. Saint Hubert’s wife (the daughter of a count) died giving birth to their son who would eventually become a bishop. Heartbroken by the death of his wife, Saint Hubert retreated from the court and gave himself up entirely to hunting.

On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert went hunting. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal turned and he beheld a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying:
St.Hubert Ottawa“Hubert, unless thou turn to the Lord, and lead an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into Hell”.

Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what would Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert [bishop of Maastricht-Liège, Tongeren], and he will instruct you.”

He was condemned by God not for hunting but for withdrawing from the world and shirking his duties as a member of court and as a Christian (he was out hunting on Good Friday!).

Saint Hubertus is honored among hunters as the father of ethical hunting behavior. It is said that Saint Hubertus established the hunting principle of conserving wildlife, not killing a mother with its young, and preferring older bucks and bulls past their breeding prime. He also advocated only shooting an animal when a humane, clean and quick kill is assured.

After leaving the wilderness as a hunter, he became a priest and eventually the successor bishop to his master Saint Lambert of Maastricht. He was famous for his asceticism and preaching.

He is thus the patron saint of hunters, and bowhunters in particular.

For those interested, here’s a podcast I did about one of my hunts for Indian Nilgai.

Question: Share your thoughts about ethical hunting and/or Saint Hubert. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Fun facts:

  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a hunt for the members of the International Order of St. Hubertus.
  • The Jägermeister logo is taken from the vision of Saint Hubertus. Jägermeister means “master hunter.”

jagermeister

 

Catholic Video: What is the Historical Date of Mary’s Assumption?

In what year did Christ raise and elevate the body of His Blessed Mother into Heaven? Some say in the AD 40s or 50s. I argue based on data in the New Testament that Mary was assumed in AD 63. Please watch the video lesson that I’ve prepared on this topic for NSTI.

[If you don’t see the video in your browser or email, click here to begin watching.]

This is lesson 7 of Church History: Module 2 – Redemptive History: Christ of the Covenants. To sign up and watch the rest of the lessons and modules in this Catholic Church History Course (and earn a Certificate), please visit: New Saint Thomas Institute’s Certificate in Catholic History:

Question: Do you agree that dating the Dormition/Assumption to AD 63 makes the most sense? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

And here are some interesting resources for you as we celebrate Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption:

  1. Did the Virgin Mary Die? The Answer May Surprise You (The majority tradition in Catholic history is that Our Lady did experience the separation of body and soul.)
  2. Audio: Mary as Assumed in Revelation 12 Podcast: Our Lady of the Apocalypse
  3. Did Christ receive an assumption or ascension or both?
  4. The year of the assumption according to Maria Agreda
  5. The Assumption of Saint Joseph – A forgotten tradition
  6. If you deny the Assumption – You have fallen away!
  7. Saint Gregory of Tours on the Assumption
  8. The Assumption of Mary in the Book of Psalms
  9. Does the Rosary Pre-Date Dominic?
  10. Mary’s Special Role over Purgatory
  11. Mary’s Empty Tomb Information
  12. Did Pope Pius XII Teach that Mary died? Yes he did

Enjoy!

to Jesus through Mary,
Taylor Marshall

Can Priests Wear Perfume?

I was recently preparing a class on the Iconoclastic Controversy and the Second Council of Nicea (AD 787) for the New Saint Thomas Institute and while reading the canons of Nicea II, I came across this peculiar canon about “bishop bling” and “priestly perfume”:

All indulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order . Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished. The same holds for those who use perfumes. (Canon 16 of Second Council of Nicea of 787)

I’m aware that there is a cologne on the market which is allegedly a reproduction of the one worn by Pope Pius IX, but let’s be honest:

pope_cologne

A) Men wear cologne for women – and aspiring to smell like a 19th century Pope is not going to win you points with the ladies at the next YCP function.

B) Technically, an infallible council put the kibosh down on priestly perfumes. So priests, just say no.

Question: Has anyone heard of this priestly perfume canon or smelled the “Pope’s Cologne”? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

St Clare: Virgin Warrior against Islamic Terror!

You may think that a medieval shieldmaiden looked like this:

lagertha

But in reality, she looks like Saint Clare of Assisi:

st clare assisi

St Clare is a Virgin Warrior against Islamic Terror!

In AD 1240, Saint Clare shielded her convent from Muslims through the power of the Eucharist.

The Muslims (and the Vikings) were increasingly aware that Catholic convents contained gold, treasure, and…virgins.

As the Muslims invaded the walls of her convent, Saint Clare of Assisi entered into spiritual battle and she took up the most powerful shield known to men or angels:

“By imperial order, regiments of Saracen soldiers and bowmen were stationed there (the convent of San Damiano in Assisi, Italy), massed like bees, ready to devastate the encampments and seize the cities. Once, during an enemy attack against Assisi, city beloved of the Lord, and while the army was approaching the gates, the fierce Saracens invaded San Damiano, entered the confines of the monastery and even the very cloister of the virgins. The women swooned in terror, their voices trembling with fear as they cried to their Holy Mother Clare.

Saint Clare, with a fearless heart, commanded them to lead her, sick as she was, to the enemy, preceded by a silver and ivory monstrance in which the Body of the Holy of Holies was kept with great devotion. And prostrating herself before the Lord, she spoke tearfully to her Christ:

‘Behold, my Lord, is it possible You want to deliver into the hands of pagans Your defenseless handmaids, whom I have taught out of love for You? I pray You, Lord, protect these Your handmaids whom I cannot now save by myself.’

Suddenly a voice like that of a child resounded in her ears from the tabernacle: ‘I will always protect you!’ ‘My Lord,’ she added, ‘if it is Your wish, protect also this city which is sustained by Your love.’ Christ replied, ‘It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by My protection.’

Then the virgin, raising a face bathed in tears, comforted the sisters: ‘I assure you, daughters, that you will suffer no evil; only have faith in Christ.’

Upon seeing the courage of the sisters, the Saracens took flight and fled back over the walls they had scaled, unnerved by the strength of she who prayed. And Clare immediately admonished those who heard the voice I spoke of above, telling them severely: ‘Take care not to tell anyone about that voice while I am still alive, dearest daughters.’” (The History of Saint Clare the Virgin by Tommaso da Celano)

This episode is the reason that Saint Clare is so often depicted holding a Eucharistic monstrance (sometimes against the Muslim invaders in the photo below):

st_clare eucharist

I was recently at the tomb of Saint Clare in Assisi. I have a twin daughter named after Saint Clare and so this 800 year old saint from Assisi holds a special place in my heart. Here’s a photo of my with my twin daughters praying at the tomb of the Saint Clare:

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.43.24 AM

And me with my daughter named after Saint Clare still down in the crypt of Saint Clare of Assisi:Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.44.40 AM

And with another daughter sneaking in from below:

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.44.56 AM

St Clare is the patroness of television, and you can read about how she had a flat screen TV 800 years ago by clicking here.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall