Saturday, December 15, 2012

Empress of the Americas - The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The following text is taken from our book, From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America.

The Bishop and the Men of Blood

Fray Juan de Zumárraga was troubled. Being a bishop is never easy, but being the bishop of New Spain (it seemed) was a task beyond the power of any man. Indeed, Fray Juan had not wanted to be bishop. For over 30 years he had lived the quiet life of a Franciscan friar. He had prayed and fasted; he had said Mass, administered the sacraments, and preached to the people. Then one fatal day, in 1527, King Charles I had stopped at the Franciscan convent in Valladolid (vah•yeh•duh•LEE), in Spain. The king was so impressed by Fray Juan, who directed the life of the convent, that he wanted him to serve as the first bishop of New Spain. Fray Juan, the son of poor parents, did not think himself worthy of that great office; but his religious superior told him that he had to obey King Charles. So it was that one year later, Fray Juan found himself in the city of Mexico, the bishop of pagans, new Christian converts, and half civilized Spanish adventurers. 

Read the rest of the article here.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Stand at Armageddon - The U.S. Presidential Election of 1912

 With the November 2012 presidential elections lowering over us, we thought it would be interesting for our readers to take a look at another presidential election --- one held almost exactly 100 years ago. The 1912 election pitted three major candidates against each other: the Republican, William Howard Taft; his immediate predecessor, President Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as a "third party" candidate on the Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party ticket; and the Democrat "progressive," Woodrow Wilson. Though the candidates claimed to represent very different visions for America, really, there were not many profound differences between them. Even the "conservative" (as juxtaposed to Roosevelt and Wilson) candidate, President Taft, had spent his term enacting many of the same sorts of policies that the progressive President Roosevelt had put in place when in office.

The foregoing might lead one to conclude that not much has changed between 1912 and 2012. Yet, there are some striking differences --- for instance, in how party conventions are conducted (the presidential candidate was not a foregone conclusion), the vibrancy of third parties (not just the Bull Moosers but the Socialists made a splash in 1912), and the three-dimensional personalities of the candidates. What's more, these men could speak --- no tired analogies, no chiding headed off by, "make no mistake...", no hackneyed phraseology, such as "all options are on the table." Moreover, it has been a long time since we have had such a character as Teddy Roosevelt. One may not agree with all of his policies, but who wouldn't like to spend an afternoon over beer with the man --- even if it led to a "bully" fight?

Please click here read the article. It is taken from our yet-to-be published high school history of North America, Lands of Hope and Promise.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Rollicking Good Tale

Teaching History as Story

By Christopher Zehnder

Of the classes I can recall from high school, among the most tedious was sophomore history. History class with Mr. Faulmann (an alias) was almost invariably the same.  On an overhead projector, he would place an outline of the chapter he had assigned us to read and then proceed to read the outline aloud to us. We, the students, were required to copy the outline in our notebooks. That was all. He stuck with the book and only the book. The only variation in this routine came when Mr. Faulmann had to work on track scores (for he was the track coach.) At such times, he assigned us a chapter of our textbook to read, each to himself alone, in class.

I recall feeling a certain frustration with Mr. Faulmann’s procedure. I could not understand, having already read a chapter as homework and understood it, why I had it have it repeated to me in tedious outline form in class. But now, 30 years later, having myself taught both middle and high school history classes, I can somewhat sympathize with my erstwhile pedagogue. It is difficult to teach history, precisely because a student can simply read a good history text and understand the matter by himself. What is left for a teacher to explain in the classroom? This, of course, can make teaching history a simple affair for the pedant who is content just to “cover the material”; but for the teacher who wants history class to be something more than an exercise in the drilling in and regurgitation of facts, the teaching of history can offer a sturdy challenge.

Read the rest of the article HERE..

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Catholic Colony-Making in 19th Century America

From an article by Thomas Storck

It is easier to be a Catholic here than in the mixed and busy push of the towns and cities.
-John T. Reily in 1885, commenting on Conewago, a very early Catholic settlement near the Maryland border in Pennsylvania.

From the nascent community in first century Jerusalem, which held all things in common (Acts 2:42-47), to efforts of today, Catholics have very often sought to establish explicitly Catholic communities, communities in which they could live out the Faith by establishing a way of life that corresponded with the teaching of the Gospel. And in some circumstances there was the additional reason that such separate communities were made necessary by the active hostility and persecution of surrounding society. In nineteenth-century America both the desire to live a way of life more in keeping with the Faith as well as the hostility of the surrounding Protestant society gave the impetus for the founding of many Catholic communities, and in this article I will describe a few of them. This is certainly not an exhaustive account of Catholic colonization in the United States during the last century, but simply a brief survey and a highlighting of some of the episodes that seem to me most interesting.
                The original European settlers of North America were, of course, Spanish Catholics, and those coming later included the Catholic French, and the English Catholics of Maryland. So in a sense all of their settlement could be called Catholic colonization. Moreover, these European Catholics evangelized the Native Americans and in many cases established Catholic communities for them. The French, for example, in order to protect their Indian converts from the still pagan atmosphere of their homelands, set up explicitly Catholic Indian villages near Montreal, and in Florida Indians converted by Spanish priests dwelt in Catholic communities.
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

We Die For God- Cristero Revolution Part 7

The Uprising Rekindled

With the rebellion again in full swing, the Liga Defensora decided that the scattered Cristero forces needed coordination and military discipline. They turned thus to a retired general, Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, to take on overall command of the rebellion. Gorostieta however did not embrace the aims of the Cristeros. The mercenary general (he demanded twice the salary of a federal general) was a Liberal and a Freemason and mocked the religion for which the Cristeros died. But Gorostieta opposed Calles. His dream, it seems was to establish a truly Liberal republic that enforced separation of Church and state but did not interfere with religious belief or practice.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

We Die For God- Cristero Revolution Part 6

Revolution and Counter-revolution
Struggle of Rival Factions

The government that replaced Carranza in 1920 was able to bring some peace to Mexico. Pancho Villa was bought off by the gift of a hacienda in Durango. The zapatistas laid down their arms when the government assured them they could keep whatever lands they had taken in Morelos. President Obregón, unlike Carranza, seemed a friend to labor and radical agrarian aspirations – so much so that disgruntled businessmen in the United States soon were complaining that the president of Mexico was a “Bolshevist.”

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Monday, August 27, 2012

We Die for God- Cristero Revolution Part 5

The Revolution Turns Radical
Struggle of Rival Factions

The overthrow of Victoriano Huerta could not bring peace to Mexico. After victory, the divisions that had all the while plagued the revolutionary forces now became clearly pronounced, with villistas and carranzistas each accusing the other of betraying the struggle. General Obregón, after installing Carranza in the presidential palace, went north to negotiate with Pancho Villa. The two revolutionary chieftains agreed that Carranza should serve only as provisional president until elections could be held. Carranza apparently agreed to this (for him) unwelcome plan, though he secretly was looking for some way to maintain power. He suggested holding a convention of rebel leaders in Mexico City --- safely within his own sphere of influence --- to discuss this all important question of the presidential succession.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

We Die for God- Cristero Revolution Part 4

The Mexican Revolution and La Cristiada
Chaos Returns- Fire from the North

Mexico's new president, Victoriano Huerta, seemed in every way the opposite of Madero. For one thing, he was no teetotaller; indeed, he spent a good part of his day drunk. Unlike Madero, he had little regard for constitutional order or justice. To assure his absolute sway over the state, Huerta replaced several state governors with generals faithful to him. He conducted a purge of Congress, jailing over a hundred representatives who opposed his regime. One congressman, Belisario Dominguez, a senator from Chiapas, spoke out publicly against Huerta; he was later found dead. He had been shot. Huerta spared members of the National Catholic Party (PCN), but in Congress, they now had to do his bidding.

When he had come into power, Huerta secured the PCN's acquiesence to his regime by promising the party 100 seats in the congress. He pledged that if a PCN candidate won the planned presidential election in October 1913, he would uphold the results. Both the Church and the party had expressed their disapproval of Huerta; but, then again, for good or ill, he was the government; it seemed that little good would come from opposing him. One could attempt a revolution, but it was doubtful whether a revolution would succeed. This, it seems, may have been the reasoning that led the PCN leadership to strike a bargain with Huerta. It was, however, a devil's bargain. As we shall see, Huerta was not about to concede an election to any opponent. Moreover, as the only party left after the purge of Congress, the PCN lost its independence and became tainted with the reputation of being huértista. In the end, Huerta turned on the PCN. In early 1914, he arrested the PCN president, Gabriel Fernández and exiled him. The alliance with Huerta killed the PCN. It could not survive the fall of the Huerta regime.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

A New Job Requirement

Applicants will be expected to teach from...
Regina Coeli Academy is seeking a 5th-8th Grade English and History Teacher for the 2012-2013 academic year, who would also serve as the 7th-8th grade homeroom and religion teacher. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in history, literature, liberal arts, or a related field with a focus on the Western Classical Tradition. Applicants will be expected to teach from texts within the classical curriculum, including Voyages (English), Catholic Schools Textbook Project (history), and Faith and Life (religion). In addition, reading of classic literature, memorizing of poetry and the catechism, and integrating subjects are key components of our curriculum. All applicants must be practicing Catholics and willing to sign an oath of fidelity to all of the magisterial teachings of the Church. Salary is commensurate with teaching experience and relevant degrees. In addition to your resume, please send to Board President Mrs. Barbara Henkels a cover letter and bio, 2 professional reference names, and 1 priest reference name, along with their contact information.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

We Die for God- Cristero Revolution Part 3

The Mexican Revolution and La Cristiada
Chaos Returns 

The provisional president of the revolutionary government, Francisco de la Barra was anything but a revolutionary. This man, who had been Díaz’s ambassador to the United States, had strong connections with the wealthy families of Mexico and the científicos. He was hardly the man to carry out the only radical provision of Madero’s Plan de San Luis Potosí -- agrarian reform, the redistribution of land to the poor from whom it had been taken. Emiliano Zapata, for one, was not pleased with de la Barra and had become disillusioned with Madero. In August, Zapata and Madero had met in Cuernevaca, the capitol of Morelos. Zapata left the meeting convinced that Madero was not committed to agrarian reform.

Zapata was not alone in distrusting Madero; some of the Mexican bishops were wary of him, though not for the same reasons as the Morelos revolutionary. In a May 28, 1911 letter to the archbishop of Mexico City, José de Jesús Ortizy y Rodriguez, the archbishop of Guadalajara, lamented that “we will no longer be able to depend on the tolerance and the spirit of conciliatory supervision of the illustrious General Díaz, who has been until now our only defense under God.” But Archbishop Ortiz did not express the sentiments of the many clergy who supported Madero and of the Catholic people, who rejoiced over Díaz's overthrow. CLICK HERE to continue...

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Friday, July 27, 2012

We Die for God- Cristero Revolution Part 2

The Mexican Revolution and La Cristiada
The Fall of Don Porfirio

Resistance to El Porfiriato – Díaz’s regime – had already begun south of Mexico City, in the tiny state of Morelos.

Since the 1880s, Morelos had become a major producer of sugar cane, and haciendas had been seizing the lands of small farmers and Indian ejidos, forcing their owners to work as peons on the ever-growing sugar-cane plantations. One such hacienda was El Hospital, which threatened lands held by the peasants of the village of Anencuilco. El Hospital would have successfully absorbed the small property around Anencuilco as it, and other haciendas, had successfully done Indian lands before but for one unexpected factor: a man named Emiliano Zapata.

Emiliano Zapata, the son of a mestizo share-cropper and small landowner, did not share the poverty of the Indians among whom he lived. Emiliano was known far and wide as a successful horse trainer – a profession that could have earned him more money and conferred a higher social status in nearby Mexico City had he chosen to go there. Money and social status, though, did not move Zapata; the cause of justice and freedom for his people did. Born into a family that had fought under Juárez against the imperialists, Emiliano had from infancy imbibed ideals of liberty for the small man and small landowner --- though Juárez himself had, in the end, betrayed these ideals. For Zapata, however, juárismo did not include a disdain for the Catholic faith. Emiliano and his men would go into battle with images of Our Lady of Guadalupe pinned to their sombreros. CLICK HERE to continue...

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Cristero Revolution Part 1

One of the goals for this blog is to provide our readers with links and texts of historical interest. We begin this feature of the blog with excerpts from a chapter about the Cristero revolution from our yet-to-be published high school American history text, 'Lands of Hope and Promise'.


To provide the proper context to the Cristero revolt, we will describe the events that gave rise to it --- the Mexican Revolution of 1911. We will publish the chapter serially, so please check back frequently to catch each installment of this interesting and inspiring story of men and women who gave all to defend their Catholic faith. CLICK HERE to continue...

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cathy Duffy Review

Reviews. Whether it's using two thumbs up, five stars, or a scoring system, product reviews are important for consumers to see before making a purchase.

Not only will we provide you with actual chapters from our textbooks to preview the quality of the content, we also provide you with third party reviews and testimonials to assist you in choosing the right textbook for your child and student.

"This book and its forthcoming companion will fill a clear need for a study of world history that fully acknowledges the vital role Catholicism has played in the development of our own civilization."

Here are some more excerpts about our textbooks from Cathy Duffy Reviews:

"The Catholic Textbook Project’s goal is to produce high quality history textbooks that teach from a Catholic worldview."
"...nicely illustrated in full color. They are written in more of a narrative style than most traditional texts, so they are fairly interesting to read."
"...extensive teaching material for each chapter that includes a chapter overview, chapter goals, paragraph-long explanations of each key piece of information students should master, vocabulary terms and definitions, review questions, optional activities, sample quiz and test questions, and answers to all the questions."
From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America
"Overall, this is an excellent text and one of the best choices for grades 5 though 8."
All Ye Lands: World Cultures and Geography
"...this is an excellent overview of world history and cultures."
Light to the Nations, Part I: Development of Christian Civilization
" actually makes it easier for students to grasp the “story” of history with a presentation like this since it follows the story line of Christian civilization. With a clear understanding of the development of our western, Christian civilization, students can branch out for further study of other cultures later on."
"This book and its forthcoming companion will fill a clear need for a study of world history that fully acknowledges the vital role Catholicism has played in the development of our own civilization."
"Overall, the Catholic Textbook Project makes an extremely valuable contribution to Catholic education—one long overdue and sorely needed."

Read the entire Cathy Duffy Review HERE

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America

Stories. Do you recall the stories you were told as a child? Most likely they're as vivid today, as they were when you were younger. That's why stories are able to be passed down from generation to generation.

The editors of the Catholic Textbook Project are convinced that story is the most effective way of presenting history to students. 'From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America' is aimed at grades 5–9 and teaches American history and geography. 

View From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America Chapters 1-3 

Produced using the highest quality in design, color, illustrations, paper and bindings, this textbook tells the story of North America—the Indian nations, European colonization, and the founding and history of the United States up to the Twentieth Century. 

View Chapters 1-3 From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America 

Told as a series of historically accurate stories, the textbook includes thumbnail biographies, lives of the saints, maps, illustrations, and other supplemental material. The lavish use of color photos, drawings and maps, combined with the excellent writing of highly qualified teachers, authors and editors, make this volume and history series the best available today.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

CTP comes to CHCs

If you are new to Catholic homeschooling or are curious about it, Catholic Homeschooling Conferences, or CHCs, are simply an invaluable experience.

Typically they are one or two day events held at a Catholic parish or conference center where speakers offer practical advice and vendors display curriculum materials. The speakers are often a mixture of veteran homeschooling mothers, Catholic priests, and professional educators who explain the basics of homeschooling and elaborate on some of the motivations behind doing it.

Vendors, like Catholic Textbook Project, are usually arrayed in a large area in which different Catholic curriculum providers, publishers, and retailers have tables displaying thousands of homeschooling books and products. Examining the vendor materials allows you an unrivaled opportunity to look through the pages of actual homeschooling text books and lesson plans.

Even more importantly, you get to see and meet numerous other Catholic homeschooling families; ordinary mothers and fathers just like you, who care deeply about the welfare and education of their children, and want to do what seems best for them. Getting this concrete experience with other homeschoolers can make a world of difference to a family deciding whether or not to homeschool.

Homeschooling is often hard work, and for veteran homeschoolers, the reason to come to a conference is often to be rejuvenated. Even if on an intellectual level you think homeschooling is the best, the fact is that having a once a year gathering where you can feel uplifted, encouraged, and feel connected with other homeschooling parents is often just what is needed to approach the new school year refreshed and eager.

The opportunity to shop for curriculum with the physical books and lesson plans in your hand is just a categorically different experience than trying to shop online with only a few sample pages, sometimes depending on vague book descriptions to make very important choices about your child’s education.

Look for us at the following upcoming conferences:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In the Beginning

The Catholic School Textbook Project was begun by Catholic teachers and educators convinced by years of experience in Catholic classrooms that serious new Catholic history and social studies books are vitally needed. Books in which the role of Christ and the Faith have not been reduced to an inadequate shadow of the truth. Sharing this conviction, in 1996, a concerned parent, familiar with the problems of teaching history in Catholic classrooms, contributed the first financial resources with a bequest of $17,000. By early 2000, the Project had enough resources to engage a team of writers, history scholars and advisors and start work on the first five volumes of the Project.

We are now well into the painstaking work of writing, editing and producing textbooks for our Catholic youth: textbooks that are superior to any now on the market. Superior, first of all in content, because they tell the story of civilization in light of the universal Truth that is Catholic Faith. Superior in design and graphic appeal, using fine art and clear concise maps. They are what our children need, not only for their minds, but, for their souls.

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