Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – The popular point of view is that Hernan Cortes and his murderous, marauding band of evil, despicable, crusading Catholic warriors went to Mexico, raped robbed and plundered everything that they could get their hands on, upended the wonderful, idyllic, peaceful people that were living there, who were living in harmony with nature and growing corn and sniffing poppies during the day and making the world a better place. The evil Cortes goes in there and does all these despicable things. There’s a couple problems with this. Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
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Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Where did we leave off this fascinating conversation that we were having, Mr. Bloom?
Jordan Bloom: We were talking about Catholicism and the American idea. Now that we’re back, I wanted to bring up a little bit happier of a note, because we kind of ended on a downer. There’s an update to the Jamestown reliquary story that I’ve been meaning to mention. I guess it was earlier this year they found four graves at the Jamestown excavation. There’s a little known fact — we know a lot less about Jamestown then everybody expects to, being only 400 years old. The excavation actually only began in 2008 when they discovered that the fort was not actually in the James River; it was mostly out of the James River. They’ve been excavating it ever since. Bill Kelso is the name of the lead archaeologist. He’s quickly becoming a bit of a celebrity in the field. [/private]
A couple of weeks ago they found four graves underneath the chapel there. On one of them they kind a reliquary. This is very interesting. At the time, a reliquary — it’s questionable whether a reliquary — this is a box that contains a relic alleged to have come from a saint. They found this reliquary on top of his grave, which suggests it wasn’t folded in his clothes. It wasn’t a secret. It was buried and it public way. This means a couple things. It could mean that he was a recusant. He was a Catholic who refused to attend Anglican services. He could have been a crypto-Catholic who went to Anglican services but maintained certain Catholic devotionals in private. He could have been an overt Catholic. He could have just been an Anglican that maintained devotion to relics. It’s getting less and less likely because this guy, his name is Captain Gabriel Archer. Both of his Catholic parents were recusants. He certainly had this in the family.
This all raises the question of: Were there Catholics at Jamestown? They’ve kind of — they’ve broached that topic before, but it’s always been in the context of: Were there Spanish spies at Jamestown? This is an actual Englishman with a reliquary. It’s a very, very fascinating thing. The news as of yesterday is that they’ve taken this thing to Cornell and they’ve CT scanned it. I’ll read a bit from the very brief archaeology article.
Jamestown Rediscovery senior conservator Michael Lavin and senior staff archaeologist David Givens took a small, sealed silver box and a block of earth containing silver threads to Riccio, who developed protocols to scan the objects. Together, the scientists were able to establish that the block of earth contained silver and silk threads and silver spangles that came from a captain’s sash, leading to the identification of Captain William West. . . .
The silver box was examined and sent on to General Electric for even higher energy CT scans, which revealed small bones and a lead ampulla traditionally used for holding blood in a Roman Catholic reliquary.
Bloom: Pretty fascinating stuff. I think there are still more scans to come, so we may find out what was written on that. An ampulla is the little jar of sorts, circular shaped. It keeps the blood in it.
Mike: I did not know that.
Bloom: Yeah. The article mentions the possibility that there’s some sort of seal on it that could eventually be deciphered with more intense scans. I think it’s a very fascinating story.
Mike: [mocking] “Why don’t they just open the box?” They don’t want to open the box because they’re afraid the box is going to crumble if they try to crack it. It’s just going to disintegrate. They’re content to just scan the inside of it, which is almost the same thing because the scans are so powerful now that you can see down to the etches on something inside of a metal box or inside the human body. You can get an MRI to find out precisely where that little crack in your bone is or where the individual muscle tear is. That’s how precise it is.
You bring up an interesting point. Yesterday on the post-show show, Church Doctrine, which is available at MikeChurch.com for all you Founders Pass members. I hope some of you will take me up on my offer to join the Founders Pass and support the work that we do on the site when we’re not here. I had my buddy Steve Cunningham on yesterday and this is kind of on the same subject. We did a little crash course into apologetics and what are they. I’m not going to get into that. One of the things that we discussed, and I am studying this right now because I’m studying the founding of New Spain, what we call Mexico today.
The popular point of view is that Hernan Cortes and his murderous, marauding band of evil, despicable, crusading Catholic warriors went to Mexico, raped robbed and plundered everything that they could get their hands on, upended the wonderful, idyllic, peaceful people that were living there, who were living in harmony with nature and growing corn and sniffing poppies during the day and making the world a better place. The evil Cortes goes in there and does all these despicable things. There’s a couple problems with this.
Number one, that’s not Hernan Cortes, and if you say that, you don’t know anything about Hernan Cortes. Number two, there’s a very reliable biography written by Castillo. It is the written factual account that they keep the original copy of at Oxford. That’s where it’s being studied at today because that’s the only account written by one of the conquistadors. Who was one of Hernan Cortes’ buddies, Mr. Bloom? Everyone knows this guy’s name. Ponce de Leon. Ponce de Leon wanted a little slice of the famous action for himself. He told Cortes: On your next mission there with the monks, I think I’m going to go take a north turn from Hispaniola. Where did he wind up at? It’s a city in Florida today, the oldest city in North America, St. Augustine.
Bloom: Whose feast day was a few days ago.
Mike: It was founded by Ponce de Leon. Was he founded there because he was in a pagan hunt for a fountain of youth? They have to say that so you won’t actually look at the history. He claimed Florida for Isabella. Isabella was in communion with Rome. He basically staked a part of what we call the United States today, Florida, for the Catholics. They flourished until Andrew Jackson decided: They got Indians down there. They’re hanging out with Indians. They’re even marrying them. We gotta stop this. Of course, Jackson, without permission from Monroe, went in and basically raided Florida and took Florida from the Spaniards without having to pay for it. The rest, as they say, is history. That’s just another part of American history that few people know, and I doubt very seriously when people are informed of it, that they wish to explore the issue any further, which is what always makes me think: Do people actually want actual history or do they want people like me to make it up?
Bloom: It’s like the way people mention the Crusades or the Inquisition to shut down conversation.
Mike: [mocking] “What about the Crusades?” What about them? Most of them were by and large very good and very productive. Were there bad actors? Yes. Were there conquistadors who were rapers and robbers and pillagers? Of course there were. Humans are fallible. Catholic humans, Jewish humans, Christian humans, Protestant, Lutheran, we’re fallible. Perfection is not a model of humanity. Were there? Yes. The point is, that was not the mission. I had not seen that update on the reliquary story. I want to talk to Russ in Wisconsin. Hello, Russ.
Caller Russ: Hello, Mike. You pointed to a number of issues here this morning. With regard to Jefferson and his bias against the church, I was wondering to what extent this bias was based on personal experience or legend. In other words, what was his interaction with the church or was he really playing off of what he had read or been told historically? [/private]
Mike: I don’t think he had any. As a matter of fact, there’s a letter that Jefferson wrote in his old age, and I want to say — who was he writing to in the 1920s? He was writing to Adams. He was writing to one of his contemporaries. Contained in the letter was this line about how the American Revolution had finished the work of Locke and Hobbes and American man had finally now been able to slough off or get rid of the yolk of monkish ignorance. I’ll never forget the line. When I made The Road to Independence the movie, I didn’t think anything of it because I hadn’t reverted at the time. Now monkish ignorance means something to me. Right, Jordan?
Bloom: Right. I think the idea of his personal beliefs — I’m not a Jefferson biographer, so I don’t know if I’m qualified to opine about that, but I might suggest that that’s not the most important thing. When you’re talking about — I just finished reading this fantastic book called The King’s Three Faces. It talks about the development of British royal identity in America. The British colonial government has a very difficult task ahead of them. They have to reconcile all of these different groups in America. You have to get them all in the same civic program, basically. Anti-Catholicism is a big part of that. It’s almost one of the few things that the Anglican leadership and say a Puritan in Massachusetts could agree upon.
End Mike Church Show Transcript