Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Map of New Amsterdam
with view of Fort Amsterdam.

Fort Amsterdam

Birth place of the city of New York, its location on the southern tip of Manhattan made it the logical administrative headquarters of the city for the original Dutch colonizers and then the British. The fort was in continual use form1625 until being torn down in 1790 after the American Revolution.

In 1625 Willem Verhulst, second director of the New Netherland colony began the construction of the fort, under the supervision of Cryn Fredericksz chief engineer of the project. The following year Fredericksz returned to the Netherlands and the building project was temporarily abandoned.

The danger of an English or French attack pushed propelled the Dutch authorities to complete the building of the Fort albeit no longer with stones but rather lumber.

In 1665 relations between Holland and England became bellicose. War—the second Anglo-Dutch war broke out. As a consequence on August 27, 1664 the Duke of York, the Lord High Admiral of England, sailed into what is today the Harbor of New York and without firing a single shot captured both Fort Amsterdam and the City of New Amsterdam. Both the fort and the city were renamed, the first becoming Fort James in honor of the Duke’s brother, James II King of England, and the latter the City of New York.

In August of 1673 the Dutch returned with a fleet of 21 ships under the control of the very qualified admiral Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest. Manhattan was retaken and the City of New York renamed New Orange. Fort James also was renamed. This time it was rechristened Fort Willem Hendrick in honor of the Prince of Orange who would in time become himself King of England and rule together with Queen Mary II daughter of Charles Duke of York. The Fort, the city of New Orange and the whole of the New Netherlands were consequently returned into English rule one year after, as a consequence of the ratification of the 1674 treaty of Westminster which brought to an end the third Anglo-Dutch war. Both city and fort reverted to their English names.

In October 1683 Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick, a Catholic, and royal governor of New York opened the first legislature of New York, which met in Fort James.

After the so-called “Glorious Revolution” During the regime of Mary and William, Fort James was renamed, this time to Fort William, the anglicized version of Fort Willem. After the rule of William and Mary and the ascension to the throne of Queen Ann, the fort once again changed names, this time to Fort Ann, and again after the extinction of the Protestant Stuart line, and the rice of the Hanovians, at which time it became Fort George.

During the Battle of Brooklyn at the time of the American War of Independence, George Washington managed to seize the fort and turn its guns on the English forces on Governors Island, He eventually abandon the fort to the Royal forces.

On November 25th 1783, commonly referred to as “Evacuation Day”—the day when the last vestige of British military authority abandoned the territory of the new American Republic, Fort George fell into the hands of the new Americans government. By 1790 the fort was demolished, and the area around it turned into a promenade.

Today the site of what was once Fort Amsterdam is occupied by the elegant U.S. Customs House across the way from Battery Park, at 1 Bowling Green.

U.S. Customs House

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Truth about Mary

The Most Holy Mother of God

The Marian Credo

The four Marian dogmas

Four facts of the life of our Lady that all Catholics
must hold and believe as true.


  • We believe that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the Holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from His very conception united to Himself the temple He took from Her.

[therefore] if anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, anathema sit (let him be cast out).

[Council of Ephesus 431]

"How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43)


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God was preserved in the integrity of Her virginity before, during, and after the birth of the Redeemer.

If anyone will not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, that which is before all ages from the Father, outside time and without a body, and secondly that nativity of these latter days when the Word of God came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, mother of God and ever-virgin, and was born from her: let him be anathema.

[Second Council of Constantinople 553]

"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, It shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by It; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by It, therefore It shall be shut." (Ezekiel 44:2)


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from the moment of Her conception from the stain of original sin by a singular grace of the Almighty.

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Hence, if anyone shall dare--which God forbid!--to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

[Apostolic Constitution; Ineffabilis Deus: Pope Pius IX 1854]


  • We believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God was assumed body and soul into the Glory of Heaven at the end of Her life.

We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of Her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

[Apostolic Constitution; Munificentissimus Deus: Pope Pius XII 1950]

"When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. " (I Corinthians 15:54)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Queen of Heaven and Earth

August 22

On the Queenship of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God

[T]he Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through His Humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if He uses His Sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should He not make use of the role and work of His most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption? "With a heart that is truly a mother's," to quote again Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, "does she approach the problem of our salvation, and is solicitous for the whole human race; made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother's prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused." On this point another of Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII, has said that an "almost immeasurable" power has been given Mary in the distribution of graces; St. Pius X adds that she fills this office "as by the right of a mother."

Let all Christians, therefore, glory in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Assumpta est Maria

August 15

The Dogma of the bodily Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin MARY
Mother of God
into Heaven.

[F]or the honor of her [the Blessed Virgin Mary] Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma:

that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Pope Pius XII