Friday, January 19, 2007

The Conversion of George Washington

(Hat tip: Jeffrey Smith at The Roving Medievalist)

From a new blog titled Wanton Popery:
Today while surfing the FishEaters forum I came across an article from the SSPX's magazine, The Angelus from 1987 entitled "Catholics & the Republic".

Here it is: Catholics & the Republic

It attempts to review the suspicions that many traditional Catholics have against the founding of the American government as Masonic and anti-Catholic, presenting an alternate view that some elements of the Constitution were inspired by Catholic thought.

My favorite section, though, is on my favorite President, George Washington. To me, his legacy has always been tainted by his membership in the Freemasons, but this new information changes my opinion of him completely (provided its true and not just wishful thinking, also a possibility), and even demonstrates his final conversion to the holy Catholic faith ...

From a previous post of mine on the subject:
From the Denver Register, May 11, 1952:

A picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and one of St. John were among the effects found in an inventory of the articles at Mount Vernon at the death of George Washington, first president of the U.S.A. The Rev. W.C. Repetti, S.J., archivist at Georgetown University, reports he has discovered this information in an appendix to a biography of Washington. The book is a Life of George Washington by Edward Everett, published by Sheldon & Co. in New York in 1860. "The fact that he had a picture of the Blessed Virgin is rather unexpected, and, to the best of my knowledge, has not been brought out," says Fr. Repetti.

The long report among slaves of Mount Vernon as to Washington's deathbed conversion would be odd unless based on truth. These were not Catholic Negroes; it is part of the tradition that weeping and wailing occurred in the quarters that Massa Washington had been snared by the Scarlet Woman of Rome, whom they had been taught to fear and hate. Supposedly, Father Neale was rowed across the Piscatawney by Negro oarsmen; and men often talked freely when slaves were nearby, confidently ignoring their presence.

From the Denver Register, February 24, 1957:

It was a long tradition among both the Maryland Province Jesuit Fathers and the Negro slaves of the Washington plantation and those of the surrounding area that the first President died a Catholic. These and other facts about George Washington are reported in the Paulist Information magazine by Doran Hurley.

The story is that Father Leonard Neale, S.J., was called to Mount Vernon from St. Mary's Mission across the Piscatawney River four hours before Washington's death. Washington's body servant, Juba, is authority for the fact that the General made the Sign of the Cross at meals. He may have learned this from his Catholic lieutenants, Stephen Moylan or John Fitzgerald. At Valley Forge, Washington forbade the burning in effigy of the Pontiff on "Pope's Day." Several times as President he is reported to have slipped into a Catholic church to hear Sunday Mass.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:In Honor of the Father of Our Country - His Excellency, George Washington


At 1/19/2007 10:19 AM, Anonymous Kevin Hammer said...

That's interesting ... on a visit to Philadelphia I happened to walk by Old St. Mary's and was surprised to learn of all the connections to the Founding Fathers.

At 1/19/2007 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd need to see more evidence before coming to a conclusion, but he was the type of common sense person who would tend that way.


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