Humility Of Heart: Restored original 1906 translation

Mandeville, LAHumility of Heart, the work by by Father Cajetan de Bergamo, was summarized recently by the blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam:

In the early 18th century, a priest named Fr. Cajetan Mary de Bergamo (d. 1753) wrote a treatise entitled Humility of Heart, which was popularized by the English Cardinal Vaughn in his 1903 translation and has subsequently become a classic on the virtue. In his treatise, Bergamo insists on the universal practice of humility, but notes that the way humility looks externally will vary depending on one’s station in life. He says:

Humility of heart…has no limits, because before God we can always abase ourselves more and more, even unto utter nothingness, and we can do the same to our fellow men; but in the exercise of these exterior acts of humility, it is necessary to be directed with discretion, in order not to fall into an extravagance that might seem excessive

Profound humility should exist in every state of life, but exterior acts of humility are not expedient to all. For this reason Holy Writ says, “Beware that thou be not deceived into folly, and be humbled” (Ecclus 13:10).

To practice humility of heart in the midst of pomp and honors, we can learn from the pious Esther, how she cried to God, “Thou knowest my necessity, how I abominate the sign of my pride” (Est. 14:16). I attire myself in this rich apparel and with these jewels because my position demands it; but Thou, Lord, seest my heart, that through Thy grace I am not attached to these things, nor this apparel, and that I only wear them of necessity. Here indeed is a great example of that true inward humility which can be practiced and felt amid external grandeur.” [5]

Listen to a talk about the book here, or download the MP3 version. Read more and download the book FREE, here.

Why I decided to republish Humility of Heart:

When I first heard of Humility of Heart, it was presented in a sermon delivered by a priest from the order of FSSP. He said that “reverence toward God leads to humility” and that has stuck with me ever since. Soon after hearing this sermon I located the 1944 edition of Humility via the website published by the Newman Bookshop of Westminster MD. This edition is the most widely available digital version I have located. I became so enamored with Fr. Cajetan’s text that I decided to republish the work myself in digital and literary form, update the footnotes and then restore Fr. Cajetan Bergamo’s blessed essays on the Our Father and all fifteen of the Holy Rosary’s Mysteries (which no one ever bothered to translate from the Italian, but I have now completed). In comparing the two works I discovered dozens of discrepancies in the footnotes of the 1944 edition and the 1739 original.

This led to a quest for a digitized copy of the 1906 original translated work of Cardinal Vaughan, to compare to the 1944 printing, you are currently reading, but none could be found. I began to think “there must be a copy of this magnificent work, in its original form.” After a search of every Catholic library in Louisiana I was ready to give up when I recalled that a friend, the Rev. Michael P. Morris, is the current Archivist for the Archdiocese of New York. Rev. Morris arranged for a copy of the original 1906 Vaughan edition, to be sent from the library at St. John’s in Collegeview, MN, to me. You are about to read that work as it was originally read by the English reading faithful.

What I have learned from this little book has altered my thinking on and approach to The Faith so profoundly it is difficult to describe, but I will try. In the first paragraph Fr. Cajetan lays out the conclusion “in Paradise there is no Saint who was not humble.” From there Father leads us on a meditation of what Humility is and how we may learn the disciplines necessary to acquire this most primary of graces. Father also cautions against ever coming to believe one has achieved Humility for as Augustine says “If there be holiness in you, fear lest you may lose it. How? Through pride.” I have learned through reading, praying and meditating on this work that nearly every human action is either corrupted by pride or made graceful by humility. In Father’s words:

But I will say more: and that is, examine yourself first, and see whether you really have this virtue that you think you possess. What I mean to say is: is it a real virtue, or perhaps only a disposition of your natural temperament, be it melancholy, sanguine or phlegmatic? And even should this virtue be real, is it a Christian virtue or purely a human one? Every act of virtue which docs not proceed from a supernatural motive, in order to bring us to everlasting bliss, is of no value. And in the practice o? virtue, do you join to your external actions the inward and spiritual acts of the heart? O true Christian virtues, I fear that in me you are nothing but beautiful outward appearances! I deserve the reproach of God’s word:”Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked.” And in the same manner the counsel of St Augustine is good for me, that it is better to think of those virtues in which we are lacking rather than of those which we possess. “I will humble myself more for those virtues which I lack than pride myself on those I possess.”!  [emphasis mine]

Utilizing the lives and works of St Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, St Bernard and St Gregory of Nanzien; Father guides us though a meditative learning process whereby the inspired words of the Saints is anchored to the greatest examples of Humility in history: the public Ministry of Our Lord, his Humble birth and the penultimate act of Our Lady at the Annunciation. You will be moved to tears and great (sic) “examens of conscience.” This book is not meant to be read in a linear way but rather taken as a process, much like reading the Consecration to Our Lady by de Montfort. This work is an inspired treasure and we are in the debt of Cardinal Vaughan for his translation, Fr. Cajetan for his authorship and the most Blessed Trinity for the graces granted to these men and their humility of heart.

About This Edition

The following pages were scanned over the course of five days in July of 2015 from the original 1906 printing of Humility of Heart, loaned to us by the college of St John’s, Collegeville, MN. The scans were done with an eye on preserving the page integrity of this very well-worn copy. For continuity we cropped the pages to a uniform size and left any additional gaps not containing book contents as they were scanned. This preserves the look and feel of the actual book as it was printed not as simply a digitized representation of its contents. Some of the pages, because of the binding, were difficult to scan and had to be digitally skewed and adjusted. The only additions made were on the table of contents page, where the text was not legible to scan. The beautiful lithograph on the inside book cover carries the caption “EXALTAVIT HUMILES” which means “lifted up the lowly.” This piece was touched up so the caption text is legible and I patched the tears to the inner binding, which distracted from the artwork. I pray you enjoy this work and will treasure it as we have in the last six months spent preparing our new printed and digital version which will include this edition. Please consider making a donation to help cover the costs of this process. Download the book FREE, here.

This post republished from

Catholics at Jamestown?

Bill Kelso & co. found a reliquary on top of the coffin of one of the original colonists:

Four newly identified leaders buried in the chancel of Historic Jamestowne’s 1608 church may have included a spy or a secret practitioner of a traitorous religion…

A silver reliquary box atop the coffin of early Jamestown leader Gabriel Archer raises questions about who he really was and who he was really supporting.


Archer’s grave raised the most questions. He was one of the ringleaders of a conspiracy that removed the first president of the Jamestown settlement only four months after arrival in 1607, Horn said. Archer was also instrumental in ridding the colony of Capt. John Smith.

“Several of the early leaders are thrown out of office or deposed, and Archer is involved in all of them. You might say he’s just a conspirator.  He wants to be the leader,” Horn said. “Maybe there’s a different reason that we hadn’t considered before this new evidence of his Catholic leanings.”

Beyond the carefully placed reliquary box, Archer’s burial was oriented in the priestly fashion.

“Was Archer the leader of a Catholic cell at Jamestown? Was he a Catholic priest and does that explain why his head is to the east?” Horn asked. “There’s not a hint of Catholic in the records. He would be disgraced or worse. You could not be an open Catholic in a position of authority” after King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church in 1536.

Archer’s parents, however, had been staunch Catholics, declared outlaws for not attending the Church of England.

Update: An interesting quote from Kelso in the Atlantic:

“We have been finding bits and pieces of rosaries and crucifixes and other things that obviously were Catholic,” Kelso said. “One interpretation is they were bought over here to give to the Indians, even just to trade as trinkets. But now I think about it in a whole different way.”

And here’s a video:

When we worry about our persecutors

A few weeks ago, the image of Charleston shooter Dylann Roof standing in his cell with two armed guards behind him was live-streamed to the courtroom occupied by the family, which was in turn broadcasted to news networks. Something kind of amazing happened. The teary-faced family members forgave him, and in fact said that they were worried about him. Why should they be worried about the rotten-to-the-core white supremacist that just murdered their loved ones?

“I pray God on your soul,” said the sister of one of the victims.

There’s actually some kind of symmetry in this scenario, even if it doesn’t initially look like it makes any sense. If the trick to being being a good person is to do more good things than bad things, Roof has an astronomically negative balance, approximating the national debt of the United States. So if anyone’s soul is in need of prayers, it’s Dylann Roof’s.

Before he committed the massacre, Dylann Roof took pictures of himself posing with the Confederate flag (actually the second Confederate Navy Jack, but whatever) which led to a wave of vandalism with text reading “black lives matter” over memorials honoring the Confederate dead. A more polite kind of iconoclasm came in the form of calls to remove Confederate monuments and rename landmarks.

Gloria Victis

The monument in the header image of this post, Spirit of the Confederacy, was one of the targets. It depicts an angel carrying away a defeated and dying Confederate soldier, who appears to need help standing. the base inscribed with the words “Gloria Victis,” which means “Glory to the vanquished.” It’s an uplifting reassurance that even the dead who fought on the wrong side were cared for and granted immortality.


Why the National Cathedral must exhume Woodrow Wilson

To the Dean of the National Cathedral, the Very Rev. Gary Hall,

It is my understanding that you have advised the Episcopal Church to replace the windows installed in 1953 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, in honor of Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

I will not criticize this decision. Jackson was a Presbyterian anyway, he doesn’t even belong there.

But, Dean Hall, your work isn’t done. You won’t have even gotten rid of all the Confederacy-apologizing Presbyterian bigots yet. There is another, and his bones lie beneath your feet.

Randy Barnett has explained why this disastrous president should be erased from all official government memory, whether on statues, plaques, street signs, microfiche databases, or commemorative spoons. But as people of faith, we must do better. We must take the lead in coming to grips with the dark past of the man who unveiled Arlington Cemetery’s Confederate memorial. By that I mean, it’s time to dig up Woodrow Wilson’s remains and hang them. Though this practice of desecrating the carcasses of bad people was most famously applied to Oliver Cromwell (or Akhenaten) we have recently crossed another threshold in which exhumation of those with Confederate sympathies is now acceptable. This is an incredible opportunity to bring social justice to the dead, Dean Hall, if only you seize it.

I’m surprised you haven’t gone through with it already! Don’t you know this is 2015? There have been fistfuls of articles in the last few weeks discussing whether “Gone With the Wind” should be licensed or even watched anymore, but we haven’t yet dug up the man who literally screened “Birth of a Nation” in the White House? And whose administration resegregated government buildings? He also belonged to a fraternity alleged by Rolling Stone to have revolved around ritual gang-rape. With today’s epidemic of campus sexual assault, how can you condone the memory of someone who is clearly an enabler of rape culture?

Wilson wasn’t even an Episcopalian, his wife was. The New York Times describes the circumstances of his internment like so:

He was buried in the cathedral because the Episcopal bishop of Washington wanted to make it America’s Westminster Abbey, and Mrs. Wilson, who was an Episcopalian, liked the idea.

While this neatly reflects Episcopalianism’s aspiration to state churchhood, best exemplified today by the Center for American Progress’s resident bishop (not to mention that healthy federal revenue stream), I urge you to consider the need to demonstrate your moral, as well as vexillological, superiority.

This is about not offending anyone. And make no mistake, I am offended. This self-satisfied warmonger has no business being glorified by religious institutions.

Know that should you choose to do so, you would be acting within a venerable tradition. Apologizing for past sins is the dominant strain of modern Episcopalian theology. Take it from the energetic young pastor of St. Mark’s in the Bowery, who is upset that the General Convention decided not to divest from Israel yet:

The Episcopal Church has a troubled history of reconciliation. We are a church that never split on slavery. We welcomed back unrepentant, former-slave holding bishops after the Civil War. We chose a side. We reconciled with injustice, and we live with the consequences today.

Kudos to Rev. Verghese for recognizing that oppression is oppression, be it slavery or Sodastream. Rev. Verghese has also continued one of the other venerable traditions at St. Mark’s in the Bowery, where she is now rector; what the parish website describes as a “high energy, disco-tinged Holy Eucharist” for gay pride week.

Nothing says holiness like a drag queen named Velveeta singing out the Cross to “We Are Family”:

Do you want to be on the side of Anglicanism that views history (its own included) with judiciousness, yes, but also magnanimity? Or are you with Velveeta? Think very carefully about your answer, lest you end up on the wrong side of history. If you’ve decided to remain with the main thrust of Episcopalianism today, there is only one thing to do with President Wilson: Dig him up. As Rev. Varghese says, you can’t reconcile with injustice. It’s what Velveeta would want. I await your reply.

Yours, respectfully,
J. Arthur Bloom

Dom Aidan Kavanagh on sacramental discourse

From On Liturgical Theology:

It would be foolish not to recognize that placing sacramental discourse prior to, above, and in a role which subordinates theology in the modern academic sense is a difficult if not incomprehensible move for many people. We generally think of the two sorts of discourse the other way around, theology coming first and sacramental discourse very much later as a possibly implied excursus off the former. Sacramental discourse in fact is often thought of as theological adiaphora best practiced by those with a taste for banners, ceremonial, and arts and crafts. It is regarded as an academically less than disciplined swamp in which Anglican high churchmen, Orthodox bishops, and many if not all Roman Catholics and others are hopelessly mired. …

The relationship of embroidery to the driving of a diesel locomotive seems easier to demonstrate than the connection between stoles and proclaiming the Gospel. Something here seems to have been enthusiastically trivialized. Incongruities are joined, reality warped, meaning maimed. Artifact becomes plaything, sacramentum a rubber duck.

Human language about worldly matters such as reality, life and death, City and Church, always goes “sacramental” when it gets beneath mere surface appearances. Scientists start talking about charmed quarks; Christians start talking about tombs and wombs. While the City may often seem little more than a cluster of stores and alleys, it is more than this because people live and work there, and their corporate aspirations image the City as exalted, timeless, with streets of gold and walls of precious stones, a heavenly Jerusalem. While the Church may often seem little more than an institution like all others, it has from the beginning been deemed more than that because its members are graced people. St. Paul called it a Body, a mysterious entity to which only the intimate metaphor of marriage between man and woman, that primordial human society, gives access.


‘I beg you, brethren, not to yield one inch to those who would for any reason … deprive you of your Tabernacles.’

Apropos this post and the Episcopal Church’s $42 million in property litigation costs, a word from Frank Weston, Anglican Bishop of Zanzibar, 1923:

I beg you, brethren, not to yield one inch to those who would for any reason or specious excuse deprive you of your Tabernacles. I beg you, do not yield, but remember when you struggle, or, as Father Frere told us to-day, when you fight for the Church—do remember that the Church is the body of Christ, and you fight in the presence of Christ. Do not forget that. I want you to make your stand for the Tabernacle, not for your own sakes but for the sake of truth first, and in the second place for the sake of reunion hereafter. But for the truth, because the one great thing that England needs to learn is that Christ is found in and amid matter—Spirit through matter—God in flesh, God in the Sacrament. But I say to you, and I say it to you with all the earnestness that I have, that if you are prepared to fight for the right of adoring Jesus in his Blessed Sacrament, then you have got to come out from before your Tabernacle and walk, with Christ mystically present in you, out into the streets of this country, and find the same Jesus in the people of your cities and your villages. You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slum.

Now mark that—this is the Gospel truth. If you are prepared to say that the Anglo-Catholic is at perfect liberty to rake in all the money he can get no matter what the wages are that are paid, no matter what the conditions are under which people work; if you say that the Anglo-Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels below the levels of the streets, this I say to you, that you do not yet know the Lord Jesus in his Sacrament. You have begun with the Christ of Bethlehem, you have gone on to know something of the Christ of Calvary—but the Christ of the Sacrament, not yet. Oh brethren! if only you listen to-night your movement is going to sweep England. If you listen. I am not talking economics, I do not understand them. I am not talking politics, I do not understand them. I am talking the Gospel, and I say to you this: If you are Christians then your Jesus is one and the same: Jesus on the Throne of his glory, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, Jesus with you mystically as you pray, and Jesus enthroned in the hearts and bodies of his brothers and sisters up and down this country. And it is folly—it is madness—to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the Throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children. It cannot be done.

In a bit of good news, the Fort Worth Anglican Diocese wins big in court!

Update: more good news — in South Carolina TEC is trying to settle.