A look at some of the history and holidays on November 22
Feast of St. Cecilia, a second century Christian martyred for her religion and of whom it is recorded that, at her wedding, “she sang in her heart to God.” She is the Patron Saint of music and musicians and one of the most famous of the Roman Martyrs. The earliest musical society in the American colonies was established in Charleston, SC in the 1766 and named in her honor, The St. Cecilia Society.
1307 – Arrest of the Templars:
The Templars were an order of warrior monks created in 1119 to protect travelers to the Holy Land. Setting up their headquarters on the Temple Mount in the Al Aska Mosque, the later in Acre, the Templar became famous for their ferocity in battle as a highly trained heavy cavalry force. But there was much more to the Templars. Templar military prowess made the monastic order wealthy as people across Christendom contributed money, lands and estates. Someone had to manage the wealth and property. Thus a significant majority of the Templars were not warriors but bureaucrats and builders stationed all across Europe. And the Templar’s most long term significance was developing the world’s first proto-banks as a service for pilgrims to the holy land. Pilgrims could place their wealth in Templar hands in, say, England. The Templars would issue a receipt that would allow the pilgrim then to travel without worry of presenting an inviting target to bandits, then reclaim their wealth from the Templars once arrived in the Holy Land.
The biggest mistake of the Templars was lending their wealth to scurrilous individuals . . . such as French Kings. And for that, they ended up getting something normally reserved in medieval times for Jewish moneylenders.
In 1307, France’s King Phillip II was deeply in debt to the Templars. Rather than — or perhaps unable to — repay it, and with greed for Templar wealth, the French King opted to destroy the Templars. He found a man who had been forced out of the Order and who was making wild accusations against them. Phillip II knew he alone could not destroy the order. He need to add an air of verisimilitude to the charges and he needed a person of high standing to do it. In short, he needed the backing of a Pope. And in his blood relative, Pope Clement V, Phillip found a willing accomplice.
On this day in 1307, Pope Clement V issued the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets. No trials were held. No evidence of any wrongdoing by the monks was ever introduced. In the blink of an eye, the Templar Order was destroyed, or at least it was as soon as Phillip II had tortured confessions out of the Templar’s highest ranking members. Things like this are the reason “due process” came to exist in Anglo law.
In the end, the leadership of the Templar order were executed by being burnt alive at the stake. In the moments before the flames overtook him, the Grand Master of the Templars shouted out to Phillip II and Pope Clement that they would soon be meeting him in the afterlife. That proved prophetic. Within a year, both Pope Clement V and King Phillip II were dead.
1963 – Assassination of a President.
On this date in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who had become a communist fanatic, fired upon U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, killing the President. Kennedy’s Vice President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was shortly thereafter sworn in as President and set about to bring us fully into the Vietnam War and to establish a vast welfare state as part of his “Great Society.” Our nation has been paying the price for that ever since.
Kennedy was the fourth President in U.S. history to fall to an assassin’s bullet, the others being Garfield (1881), McKinley (1901) and Lincoln (1865). Probably every President has been threatened, but either nothing came of it, or in the cases of Presidents Jackson (1835), Teddy Roosevelt (1912). Franklin Roosevelt (1933), Truman (1950), Nixon (1974), Ford (1975), and Reagan (1981), and Clinton (1996) the attempts were foiled or the President survived.
Kennedy’s assassination spawned a wave of conspiracy theories as to who might have been behind it, ranging from “the FBI, the CIA, the U.S. military, the Mafia, Vice President Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination” thereof. Nothing has ever been definitively established, though it seems the weight of the evidence is that Oswald acted alone and of his own accord.
1967 – UN Security Council adopts Resolution 242
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any extended period of time in history when there has been peace in the Middle East. But the justifications for incessant war took a turn in 1948 with the creation of Israel. Suddenly, Israel became the convenient scapegoat for all the problems of dysfunctional Muslim nations in the Middle East, and its destruction the only solution. Regardless, on this date in 1967, the UN interceded with Resolution 242, establishing a set of the principles aimed at guiding negotiations for an Arab–Israeli peace settlement. Now, some fifty two years on, it is safe to say that peace is not possible when one side to the equation is not interested in peace, but in genocide and destruction. That might be changing though, as Iran, the nation most responsible over the past three decades for funding Arab terrorist groups with an eye to destroying Israel, is now rising to become an actual threat to all of the other nations of the Middle East.
1990 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdraws from the Conservative Party leadership election, stepping down from her eleven year Prime-Ministership. Ironically, her fall was over her opposition to joining closer with the EU in a monetary union.
1995 – Toy Story is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.
2005 – Former East German communist apparatchik Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany, a position she has held since. With her leftist disregard for the importance of any religion other than government, she has opened the doors of Europe to massive Muslim immigration. Germany and all of Europe will be dealing with the fallout of her disastrous policies long into the future.
1744 – Abigail Adams, wife of one President, John Adams, and mother to a second, John Quincy Adams, was born this day in 1740. Abigail’s relationship to John was both emotional and cerebral. Their life was a surprisingly close love affair, and their correspondence during periods of frequent separation provides a unique illumination of the era of the American Revolution and the early years of our nation.
1890 – Charles de Gaulle, a President of France who was jealous of America and who had delusions of France as a preeminent world power.
1718 – The most famous pirate during the Age of Sail, Blackbeard, was finally hunted down by the Royal Marines and died fighting aboard ship near an island in North Carolina.
1963 – C. S. Lewis, a deeply religious man and author of several major works, including the Narnia series.
1980 – Mae West, one of the Silver Screen’s first bad girls. Her most memorable line on film was “So is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”