24 November 2007

Jefferson Davis and the Catholic Church

Whilst Davis was in prison, Blessed Pope Pius IX sent, to the former President of the Confederate States of America, a crown of Jerusalem thorns hand-woven by the Pope’s own hands which, given their sharpness, he could not have done without drawing blood. The Sovereign Pontiff also sent his own portrait self-autographed with the Scriptural verse:

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Blessed Pope Pius IX was the only European Catholic prince who recognised the Confederate States government referring to Davis as "His Excellency, the President of the Confederate States of America".
Davis always wore a St. Benedict Medal and a Miraculous Medal as well as a French scapular. Someone had also given him the brown scapular of the Discalced Carmelites. All of these he wore in prison and preserved to the end of his life.

He was known to be a familiar meditator on the Crucifixion and carried a worn and coverless 1861 edition of The Imitation of Christ, an 18th-century translation from the Latin by Richard Challoner, the English Roman Catholic Bishop, and which he used often, in his imprisonment, as a manual of prayer.

Later, before he died, Davis himself was formally received into the Catholic Church.

From Roman Christendom