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Rampolla Affair - 3

The Church has always been Cautious Regarding Divine Interventions

In the last issue of Brandende Lamp (no. 110) an article by Hubert Luns was published regarding God’s active intervention during the First World War, whereby the Germans were driven back at crucial moments, no less than three times. Who knows what disaster Europe was spared! The miraculous events are known as “The Angels of Mons” and “The White Cavalry”. The older readers among us in particular, who are familiar with this war, have trouble seeing eye to eye with this representation of events. Which is understandable, since the official and semi-official histories make no mention of them.

Below is a letter written by Hubert Luns and dated 7th September 2007, addressed to one of our readers, who had expressed his doubts in a letter to the editors.

Dear Sir,
Your letter of the 27th has been passed on to me. In that letter you responded to my article published in the Brandende Lamp entitled “God steered World War I by His miraculous interventions”. With regard to the ‘Angels of Mons’ and the ‘White Cavalry’ you state: “In my opinion this has more to do with mythology and folk tales than with reality.” To formulate

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your objection otherwise: you doubt the scientific foundation of the occurrences, but do not doubt their possibility. I may presume that as a reader of the journal you are a believer. So what happened is, in your opinion, insufficiently documented by official witness statements and military reports. Hence you ask for the sources, and you are quite right to do so. The Roman Catholic Church has always been cautious with statements regarding divine intervention, on the one hand because human imagination can take strange routes and, on the other, in order to use documented investigations so that a witness is left for subsequent generations. By way of illustration, the following. A remarkable miracle occurred on 29th March 1640, when a young farmer in the Spanish town of Calanda, whose leg had been amputated two years previously, had his leg restored by the intercession of La Virgen del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar). Recently an Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori, working for La Stampa, once again verified this well documented occurrence and recorded his findings in “Il Miracolo” (1998). He came to the conclusion that this miracle did indeed take place and was thus absolved of any myth-forming. Outside the Roman Catholic Church precisely the opposite happens. There where the loving and compassionate intervention of God intervenes, the worldly person will do all in his power to destroy every proof of it. He experiences a God of this kind as an imputation, because his own deeds are evil (or good as far as external appearances are concerned but with impure intentions). For this reason you should not expect that the witness statements taken from German officers taken prisoner would still be preserved in the archives. But a great many newspaper articles referring to the occurrence were published. And I was able to find reports from the 1950s on the Internet, all of which more or less agree and refer to the war archives. I enclose examples. Although the occurrences can probably no longer be proved on the basis of the original eyewitness accounts, we are not entirely empty-handed. There is, in fact, circumstantial evidence taken from the war reports that are most certainly preserved in the archives. In our times many details of these can be found in general histories. For this purpose I have consulted David Shermer’s “World War I”, but there must be many more writings dealing with the subject in even greater detail. It is clear that the activities of war must match up with the accounts. This supports the credibility of the miracle of God’s intervention. In fact it is clear that inaccuracies have crept into the original accounts as regards the descriptions of the movements of troops and the activities of war, but with a little effort on my part I have been able to root these out. The important thing is that I have been unable to find any contradictions in the accounts and the official military reports. Which is quite remarkable. The entire occurrence radiates an atmosphere of truth. I agree with you that there is need of more detailed investigations, though unfortunately I have no time to pursue such studies. And yet I am persuaded that any findings would point in the same direction.

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By way of extra element in our considerations there is the theological. Had God any reason to intervene? This I indicated at the end of my article, making a link with the position of France as the oldest daughter of the Church. I quote: «« Four months after Pius X was crowned Pope, he spoke the following words on the occasion of the beatification of Joan of Arc on 13th December 1903, quoting a letter written by Pope Gregory IX to Saint Louis, King of France: “France”, he said, “is the kingdom of God itself; the enemies of France are the enemies of Christ!” »» Personally I have no difficulty believing in God’s active intervention. Human freedom is not unlimited! God sets the limits: thus far and no further. A miracle for God – you and I will agree – is just as easy for Him as letting things run their course, which is not as simple as it seems. Anyone wishing to delve into the divine mystic must first of all wonder at the ordinary. The priest and poet, Guido Gezelle of Bruges, understood this all too well! I hope that this has answered your question satisfactorily.

Hubert Luns
[Published in “De Brandende Lamp”, No. 111 – 3rd quarter 2007]

Additional note from the editors of the periodical:
It should be noted here that God intervened in a similar manner on earlier occasions. The events that took place during the First World War are not without precedent. Here I am referring to what happened in Bayonne, of which there is no doubt that it occurred. On 20th August 1451 the siege of Bayonne started, twenty years after the death of Joan of Arc on the pyre. The city was spared thanks to God’s miraculous intervention, the impressive report of which can be found on a commemorative plaque in the cathedral of Bayonne. The history books state the following: «« One day in August 1451 Bayonne surrendered to Dunois, the French king’s general, supported by Sire d’Albret and Gaston de Foix-Béarn. And thus three centuries of English dominion over Bayonne came to a close, dominion that had its origins in the marriage between the Duchess of Aquitaine and the Duke of Anjou, the man who was to become king of England two years later. »» The commemorative plaque in the cathedral of Bayonne bears the following narrative: «« On Friday XXth August MCCCCLI, at about seven o’clock in the morning, at the instant that the victorious French entered the castle of Bayonne in beautiful weather, above the city and to the right, towards Spain, there appeared in the sky a large white cross in the form of a crucifix surmounted by a crown, a crown that changed into the shape of a lily (emblem of the French royal family). Besiegers and besieged were able to examine the cross closely for a whole hour. The amazed inhabitants made the sign of the cross, removed their pennants and knightly banners bearing the red cross, while saying that it pleased God that they should be Frenchmen and that they should

French Lily

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bear the white cross. The Dukes Gaston de Foix-Béarn and Dunois reported the incident to King Charles VII, who in his turn let it be known throughout the whole of France and ordered that processions of gratitude should be held everywhere. He also had a medal struck to commemorate the miracle of Bayonne. God thus confirmed Joan of Arc’s heavenly calling. »» This lesson shows how the Allies ought to have reacted to the divine protection given to France during the First World War, according to the words of the psalmist: “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.” (Ps. 145:4-5) But in the pestilential atmosphere of the time (and are we any better?) people did not want to know about a God who came to save. And thus no commemorative medals were struck celebrating God’s intervention at Mons and Le Cateau and later on at Béthune. No commemorative plaques were carved. The building of a separate church would have been a fine gesture of gratitude. No Masses of thanksgiving were celebrated (as far as I know), because the events were not given the required adequate publicity. Very regrettable. Where are the reports by secular historians of the death of Jesus on the Cross and the darkness that gripped the earth, followed by terrible earthquakes? There are none. As the French say “L'histoire se répète” ....history repeats itself. It is our duty towards God and towards our fellow men to keep alive the memory of the Angels of Mons and the White Cavalry. Shout it from the rooftops: God is concerned about us!

Joan of Arc, Nancy – France

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