About Charles A. Coulombe

I am a Catholic Historical speaker and author.

Charles I – Is he a Saint?

Charles Coulombe publishes an article in the Catholic Herald asking this question, and noting its relevance for Catholics of Anglican patrimony.  Here’s an excerpt:

Interesting as all these facts may be to students of English history and Anglican beliefs, what interest could the question of Charles I’s sanctity possibly have for Catholics? Quite a bit, really.

For one thing, his cultus plays a prominent role in that Anglican Patrimony which Pope Benedict XVI created the Personal Ordinariates to preserve within the Catholic Church. When various Eastern Orthodox groups have been reconciled to the Church, they have been allowed to continue to venerate a number of post-1054 figures as Saints. So, might our newly admitted brethren of Anglican background be able to do the same with Charles I?

Go on over and read the rest!

Charles I’s Vow to Return Land to the Church

In the latest SKCM news, Benjamin Guyer reveals the text of a vow made by Charles I at Oxford on April 16, 1646, to return all Monastery and other Church lands held by the Crown since Henry VIII stole them – this included “…any Abbey, or other Religious House.” Granted that this did not include such lands in private hands, it represents a return to the Marian settlement in this area, taken together with his oft-expressed desire for reunion with the Holy See. One cannot but help be struck with the resemblance of this vow to that of Louis XVI to the Sacred Heart.


From Sir John Betjeman –

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Our Lady’s Dowry

This being the day of my departure to take up studying for the Master’s programme at the International Theological Institute in Austria – AND, in the traditional Roman Calendar, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer as an envoi the Marian Shrines of Great Britain and Ireland. I have visited a few – and plan to see a lot more over the next few years!

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Westminster

Our Lady of Willesden: Catholic and Anglican

Our Lady of Muswell

Our Lady of Canterbury

Our Lady of Ipswich

Our Lady of Caversham

Our Lady of England

Our Lady of Glastonbury

Our Lady of Doncaster

Our Lady of Guisborough


Ladye Park

Our Lady of Cardigan

Our Lady of Carfinn

Our Lady of Aberdeen

Our Lady of Knock

Why the Church needs You, Specifically

The recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania 300 have forced many more Catholics into an uncomfortable realisation that some of us cradle Catholics of a certain age have lived with our entire adult lives: as Pope Adrian VI remarked of his immediately pre-Tridentine era, “the Catholic Church is sick in head and members.”

Of these specific scandals and their allied occurences (even within the Vatican) that have sullied the past few decades, much has been and can be written: how disgusting it is that men could seamlessly perform both the most sacred rites and loathsome acts imaginable; that a culture of acceptance of this horror has grown up within the hierarchy – a hierarchy so often committed to altering the Faith committed to its care in as brutal a manner possible; and that under the current Pontificate, favouritism from the highest quarters of that hierarchy has protected some of the worst offenders.

But there are other things to that can, have, and should be said: that in many ways – despite Church teaching – this de facto acceptance of these practises by prelates parallels developments among the elite in western society as a whole (not merely Hollywood but Washington, where recurrent page scandals underline the fact that the age of consent in DC is 16 by Act of Congress, and elsewhere); that the problem is as bad or worse amongst other religious and civil organisations – especially the public schools (who coincidentally are usually exempted from any government attempts to lengthen the statute of limitations); that what is so often misnamed “pedophilia” by the media is simply the desire for younger men by older homosexuals; and that the difficulty of homosexuality in the priesthood so demonstrated presents a marketing problem for our media and elites, who wish to promote the practise in the greater society while attacking it in the Church (hence the misuse of the “pedophilia” label). Continue reading

The Patrimony and the Precious Blood

In the Roman Rite prior to 1969, July 1 was the feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus; July remains the month of the Precious Blood. Cradle Catholics over a certain age will remember the line of booklets produced by the Confraternity of that name, based at the Brooklyn Monastery of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, an order with French-Canadian origins. Given that the feast was instituted by Bl. Pius IX in thanksgiving for his regaining control of Rome in 1849, an individual of Anglican origins might be forgiven for thinking that it is a devotion of more interest to Latins. This would be a great mistake.

Without wanting to plug my latest book, A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail, unduly, I describe at great length therein close connexion between the Holy Grail (an integral part of the Arthurian legend and so of patrimonial literature) and devotion to the Precious Blood. Catholic, Anglican, and New Age visitors thrill when visiting Glastonbury to the stories there of St. Joseph of Arimathea and his blooming thorn-staff, the Abbey, the Catholic shrine, and the Tor – many of which refer to the Holy Grail. But the chalice that Christ used at the Last Supper is, if it is anywhere, most likely in Valencia, Spain. Moreover, the earliest legends do not describe St. Joseph as bringing the Grail, but relics of the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s side at the Crucifixion. The Blood he is supposed to have concealed under what is now the Chalice Well, and the Water under the White Spring; geologists ascribe the reddish hue of the former’s water and the whitish of the latter’s to differing minerals in each. Still, it IS odd that such closely situated springs should have such radically different minerals.

In any case, the story is not quite as farfetched as one might think. In French legendry, St. Joseph and his sacred relics are said to have come from Palestine with the party of Apostles and Disciples that first evangelised Provence. In Medieval England, relics of Christ’s Blood were venerated at Hailes, Ashridge, and Westminster – even as similar relics are enshrined at Bruges, Fecamp, Mantua, Weingarten, Neuvy-Saint-Sepulchre, Reichenau, and elsewhere in Europe to-day. While the English relics were destroyed at the Reformation, the concept of the cleansing Blood of Christ washing the believer free of his sins was retained by all the Protestant churches: amongst Anglicans, the Caroline Divines and Nonjurors retained the identification of that Blood on the Cross with the contents of the chalice used at Holy Communion. This was revived under nascent Anglo-Catholicism, culminating in the foundation of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.

Among the first generation of Oxford Movement-era converts to Rome was Fr. Frederick Faber, founder of the Brompton Oratory. Foremost among the large number of devotional works he wrote was one about the Precious Blood, which became very popular among English Catholics.  That popularity, alongside the memory of the Holy Blood that had existed at Westminster Abbey, led in 1895 to the new cathedral of the Archdiocese being named “The Cathedral of The Precious Blood.” Ironically, the Catholic Church of the Most Precious Blood in Southwark has been placed in the hands of the Ordinariate.