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Saint Philomena for Don Keller
Question from Raymond Antonini on 8/29/2001:

Dear Dr. Carroll,

In response to Don Keller's question on Saint Philomena you replied:

Answer by Warren H. Carroll, Ph.D on 08-18-2001: The so-called St. Philomena cannot be proved historically to have ever existed. See the excellent article in the old Catholic Encyclopedia, published in 1913 and wholly untainted with Modernism, online at This matter has been fully discussed in this Forum in the past. I know this comes as a shock to many good Catholics, but it is unfortunate fact. Please don't renew the discussion again; check our back files. - Dr. Carroll

Unfortunately while the old Catholic Encyclopedia may be a decent resource for certain articles, the one on Saint Philomena is certainly not one of them.

The author of the Saint Philomena article, who dismisses her with venom as fictitious, is a complete modernist denying anything of the supernatural - and also denying the pronoucements of various popes in support of Saint Philomena throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including the infallible canonization of Saint Philomena.

The problems we have experienced in the Church did not start recently and Pope St. Pius X himself said, during the era the Catholic Encyclopedia was compiled, "the enemny is now within". In fact when presented with a copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia Pope St. Pius X is reported to have thrown a volume to the floor in disgust.

In fact here are the words of Pope St, Pius X himself on those who would discredit Saint Philomena:

"... to discredit the present decisions and declarations concerning St. Philomena as not being permanent, stable, valid and effective, necessary of obedience, and in full-effect for all eternity, proceeds from an element that is null and void and without merit or authority."

Pope Gregory XVI, who had personally witnessed the miraculous recovery of Pauline Jaricot at Saint Philomena's intercession, was responsible for Saint Philomena's canonization and her place on the Calendar. He also sent to the Shrine at Mugnano a gold and silver lamp as a token of his affection and esteem. He gave St. Philomena the title of "Patroness of the Living Rosary".

Pope Pius IX was the subject of a miraculous cure effected for him by Saint Philomena. While Archbishop of Imola, a fervent client of the Saint and great promoter of devotion to her, who succumbed to a serious illness to the point where it seemed his death was imminent. As he lay in bed, apparently ready to breathe his last, knockings were heard on his bedside table. This signal heralded a complete recovery. On November 7, 1849, he showed his deep love for his benefactress by celebrating a Mass on the altar dedicated to her in her sanctuary and, in the same year, he named her "Patroness of the Children of Mary". In 1854, Rome approved a Proper Mass and Office in St. Philomena's honor.

Pope Leo XIII made two visits to the Shrine at Mugnano while he was apostolic administrator of Benevento, and sent to the Shrine a Cross from the Vatican Exposition. He raised the Confraternity of St. Philomena to the rank of archconfraternity and approved the wearing of her Cord, attaching to it indulgences and privileges. If we add to this list of Pontiffs the names of Saints who were devoted to Philomena -- the Cure of Ars, St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Peter Chanel, to name a few -- we assemble an impressive list, a very impressive list of people devoted to a Saint who the Modernists decided "never really existed".

Sound, truly CATHOLIC articles on Saint Philomena are to be found at:

In spite of the INFALLIBLE pronouncements of Pope Gregory XVI and Pope St. Pius X in support of Saint Philomena, on February 14, 1961 the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued a liturgical directive removing St. Philomena's feast day, August 11th, from all liturgical calendars.

The teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium, is infallible and indeffectible. It can never be in error and can never change. If there are changes, then those making those changes **ARE NOT OF THE CHURCH**. Those who would attempt to condemn this holy little saint are instead condemned by their own vile, venomous and wholly un-Catholic actions.

Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us!

Raymond Antonini

Answer by Dr. Warren Carroll on 8/29/2001:

I stand by the authority of the old Catholic Encyclopedia on this issue. You have no proof for your accusations against the author of this article nor sources for what you claim to be the negative view of the Encyclopedia by Pope St. Pius X. As an historian, I am satisfied that this article is historically correct. - Dr. Carroll


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