Fr. Swamp Fox, the Catholic Maquis, and You. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

I have written “Be The Maquis!” a few times.


Right now liberals – who misread Pope Francis and shamelessly instrumentalize him – are emboldened. They sense that they have the big mo, and, given the help they receive from the mainstream media, they do.

That means that those of us who pay attention to Catholic Cult, Code and Creed, that is, the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the texts and rubrics of the missal (in either form of the Roman Rite), the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or both Codes of Canon Law, are going to take a beating.

There is no creature on earth more oppressive or dictatorial than an emboldened liberal with power.

Therefore, I have been urging those on the Catholic side of issues to be especially attentive to corporal works of mercy and to be warm and inviting when it comes to the practice of the Faith, particularly in regard to fallen away Catholics.  We must not retreat.

We have to be read to “Be The Maquis”.

Cult, Code and Creed are clearly spelled out. We will not budge concerning Cult, Code and Creed for the sake of a misinterpretation of Francis’ vision and overarching project for the Church. We don’t have to abandon what is Catholic for the sake of being welcoming or of being involved with those in need.

“But Father! But Father!”, you may be saying, “What brought this on? Did something happen that we don’t know about?”

Yes, but it happened a long time ago.

Click to Buy!

I read this morning in Bill Bennett’ email blast from The American Patriot Almanac about a figure from the American Revolutionary War, who was nicknamed “The Swamp Fox”.

The Swamp Fox

On the night of September 29, 1780, militia loyal to King George III were camped on Black Mingo Creek in coastal South Carolina when suddenly a Patriot force materialized out of the steamy darkness with guns blazing. The surprised Tories put up a sharp defense but soon fled across the Santee River, leaving behind their supplies and ammunition. Francis Marion had struck again.

One of the heroes of the American Revolution, Marion was a short, quiet man who wore a sword so seldom drawn it rusted in its scabbard. His men knew the secret paths of the lowcountry swamps, and like phantoms they could appear out of cypress mazes for quick surprise attacks against much larger forces before melting away to the dark recesses of their forest retreats. Most were farmers, fighting without pay. Few had uniforms of any kind. They were always short on guns, ammunition, and food, but they fought with the zeal of true Patriots.

Marion’s guerrilla warfare kept the British in a constant state of confusion and alarm. With grudging respect, the redcoats began to refer to him as the Swamp Fox.

It is said that one day Marion invited a British officer to dinner in his camp under a flag of truce and served a meal of fire-baked potatoes on a slab of bark, with vinegar and water to wash it down. His guest was surprised at how little the Patriots had to eat. “But surely, General,” he inquired, “this can’t be your usual fare?”

“Indeed, sir, it is,” Marion replied, “and we are fortunate on this occasion, entertaining company, to have more than our usual allowance.”

The story goes that the British officer was so overcome by the Americans’ determination and sacrifice that he resigned his commission and sailed back to England.

I think that tonight I’ll re-watch The Patriot, the film by Mel Gibson based somewhat on the life of The Swamp Fox.

Those of you in these USA who have families with children might do well to have a copy of The American Patriot Almanac in the home to share everyday, to give children (and us grown-ups) a sense of continuity with our secular past.  For example, I have a copy of the Martyrologium Romanum open on a stand in my quarters, to remind me on a daily basis of my forebears sacrifices and what I may be called to give someday.  I also check a couple “this day in history” sites.

We in these USA may one day soon be called upon to be Catholic martyrs and American patriots.

In other American historical news today.

American History Parade

1780 Patriots under General Francis Marion surprise loyalist forces on Black Mingo Creek, South Carolina.
1892 At Mansfield, Pennsylvania, the first nighttime football game is played when Mansfield Teachers College faces Wyoming Seminary beneath twenty electric lights.
1915 In the first transcontinental demonstration of radiotelephone, speech is transmitted from New York City to Honolulu.
1957 Baseball’s New York Giants play their final game at the Polo Grounds, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9–1, before moving to San Francisco the next season.
2009 The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 778 points in one day during one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.

Get ready to be Catholic Maquis around Fr. Swamp Fox.

(That should get Fr. Fox‘s attention!)

I also remind you of this car magnet and/or sticker – mugs and stuff too:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Francis, Liberals, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Reading Francis Through Benedict, Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bosco says:

    I think there was a Disney TV series made about the Swamp Fox in the late 50s or early 60s as I remember my brothers and sisters and me running around the yard playing Brits and Americans singing something about ‘swamp fox hiding in the glen nobody knows where the swamp fox been’.
    Or maybe that was ‘Andy Burnett’.

  2. Bosco says:

    By the way, Father Z., I’m hoping to have some suggestions from you and my fellow Catholics about what I need to pack in my Catholic go-bag when it’s time to skeedaddle.

    [The usual necessities, of course: food, water a/o purifier, fire-making tool, protective clothing, survival knife, guns, ammo, fishing stuff, paracord, med kit, notebook, cards, transceiver, etc. ROSARY, of course. Small prayer book. I have contemplated a well-loaded Kindle with a light and flexible USB solar charger. And A PLAN… where to go to find those with whom you have networked ahead of time, hopefully being a group including a priest.]

  3. Bosco says:

    Thanks Father Z.! Good tips. I can get MREs here in Ireland but forget the guns, ammo, and survival knife too. I’m sure to bump into a priest because there are so many on the run here already for one reason or another.
    Just in case I might persuade the fugitive father from his priest-hole I might ask him to say a TLM for us. What version of the Missale Romanum (compact size) should I have at hand in case he’s forgotten his?

  4. Bosco says:

    Oops! You answered the question about the pocket-size Missale Romanum in a post of yours on 01 September 2007, Father Z. I should have known you’d have all the angels covered!

  5. teomatteo says:

    This made me smile because I am prone to burst into song at the drop of a hat (kinda like the schtick “niagra falls”). And when one of my children mentions “swamp” I burst….
    Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox tail on his hat, nobody knows where Swamp Fox at,; Swamp Fox Swamp Fox hiding in the glen he’ll run away to fight again.
    Yes, the old Disney TV show.

  6. Scott W. says:

    Just to balance the reading list a little, a few books about/by people who woke up one day and found that the surrounding society had gone insane and many had to endure harassment and flee persecution:

    Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War by Allen, Thomas B
    Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion: A Tory View by Peter Oliver
    The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War by Charles Stedman

  7. And for what it’s worth…portrayed, in the day, by Leslie Nielsen (he of the Poseidon Adventure, Airplane, and the Police Squad movies and short-lived TV series).

    Who remembers ‘The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”?

    That was when Disney was interested in producing family friendly entertainment versus their agenda-driven subtle propaganda in support of the social zeitgeist, wherever that blows…

  8. gracie says:


    Yes, indeed. Walt Disney had a program called ‘The Swamp Fox’ starring Leslie Neilsen with the song you remember:

    There were so many great shows for kids back then. I still have the words for ‘Zorro’ and ‘Johnny Tremain’ stuck in my head – goes to show how much the shows captured our attention. There were some really good adventure shows for boys which they don’t have now.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    I had such a crush on the Swamp Fox as a little girl. Wow. As to being ready, some of us cannot afford or are not in a position for the little kits.

    Maybe a nice person could start making kits for the poor and pass these out. I was in a different place financially at Y2K and helped with neighborhood preparedness. I am a person who loves this type of readiness.

    Of course, the other readiness is becoming holy. We shall need to be saints and help others be saints as well under strain and pressure.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    PS Fr. Z, rant away more and often.

    Too many Catholics still have their heads in the sand. Met two triumphalists yesterday who honestly think we shall see a huge turn-around soon and a blossoming of the Church. Not in the way they think, but yes, through the blood of martyrs…

  11. Supertradmum says:

    PPS (it is almost midnight here after a hard two days) May I add that one of the beautiful things of being in the monastery was the daily reading of the Benedictine Martyrology and the great stories of the saints. A shortened version is found here.

  12. Jacob says:

    Father, I would love for you to take some time to read Mustard Seeds by Brent Bozell, Jr. and then comment on it here at the blog. Your response to his ideas regarding what he called the Confessional Tribe would I’m sure be enlightening. And I’d love to read your thoughts on his view of the US.

    I’d be happy to send you copy or order you one if you add it to your wishlist.

  13. Gaetano says:

    My wife is a Marion – likely a collateral descendant. That family was Hugenot at the time of the Revolution. A Catholic branch of the family existed at least as early as the early 20th Century.

  14. St. Corbinian's Bear says:

    That’s almost good enough to make me abandon “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” as a motto. (An interesting bit of American history in itself.)

  15. pj_houston says:

    What the swamp fox say?

    What the swamp fox say?
    A-hee-ahee ha-ahee-ho!

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve loved the Swamp Fox since I read a biography from the school library – ‘those were the days’ for children’s books in a lot of ways, too (never saw the Disney, though I loved their Scarecrow). It was Francis Marion who turned me into a vinegar drinker…

    Interesting to see your remark about the Gibson film – I’ve heard it well spoken of, but have come so thoroughly to distrust Roland Emmerich, that having missed it before, I have now been hesitating to see it.

    Scott W.: Can you venture any brief remarks about Catholics, ‘Loyalists’, and ‘Patriots’ during that War?

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