North America takes a day off today — for Canadian Thanksgiving, and Columbus Day down there in Buffalo and points south; or Día de la Raza more properly celebrated on the 12th of October (the actual date of Columbus’s first landing in this New World). It is also, I understand, a Fiesta Nacional in Spain, and Giornata Nazionale in Italy; and Día del Respeto a la Diversidad in poor, benighted Argentina.

There were European visitors before Columbus: Basque fishermen to the rich codfields of Newfoundland, perhaps, and Norsemen before them. Leif Erikson landed, most likely in the autumn of the year 1000, and for all we know, Saint Brendan the Navigator nearly half of a millennium before him. Christians all, and given their ages, quite certainly Catholic.

One way or another, Canada has the deepest Christian roots in the Americas, and our early northern Thanksgiving should reflect that. The second Monday in October is as good a day as any to pray on it.

In Canada as elsewhere in this New World a great deal of neurosis has being exhibited over the last generation or so. By the Leftist trolls, Columbus has been associated with wickedness, and the salvation of so many native souls with “cultural imperialism.” True, the conquistadors from Extramaduro were in some respects no better than those from Saint-Malo and Bristol — greedy and unscrupulous, even murderous in pursuit of gold and glory. Humans have been like that in all cultures.

Against this we must consider what was unique: the selfless devotion of the Jesuits and other missionaries who carried the Cross. They were another party entirely, often protesting the behaviour of their godless countrymen, and a constant irritant to the nominally Christian governments back home.

High enterprise, and its requisite courage, are to be commended. The accomplishments of first explorers into unknown lands merit our qualified admiration. But where this courage is combined with the evangelical calling, in expectation of martyrdom, the qualifications are removed. America became the burial ground for so many Christian saints.

In giving thanks, for the divine providence that brings the harvest year on year — for the sun that gilds the corn, and the moisture that feeds life upon our little rock hurtling through space — we are doing what all men have done by instinct since time out of mind. Those alive enough to read this are indebted for everything we have. Let us get to Mass so we may address this thanks to Him who hath bestowed every gift of Being.