Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The First Vatican Council and Infallibility

From Harvard University Press:

The enduring influence of the Catholic Church has many sources—its spiritual and intellectual appeal, missionary achievements, wealth, diplomatic effectiveness, and stable hierarchy. But in the first half of the nineteenth century, the foundations upon which the church had rested for centuries were shaken. In the eyes of many thoughtful people, liberalism in the guise of liberty, equality, and fraternity was the quintessence of the evils that shook those foundations. At the Vatican Council of 1869–1870, the church made a dramatic effort to set things right by defining the doctrine of papal infallibility.

In
Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church, John W. O’Malley draws us into the bitter controversies over papal infallibility that at one point seemed destined to rend the church in two. Archbishop Henry Manning was the principal driving force for the definition, and Lord Acton was his brilliant counterpart on the other side. But they shrink in significance alongside Pope Pius IX, whose zeal for the definition was so notable that it raised questions about the very legitimacy of the council. Entering the fray were politicians such as Gladstone and Bismarck. The growing tension in the council played out within the larger drama of the seizure of the Papal States by Italian forces and its seemingly inevitable consequence, the conquest of Rome itself.

Largely as a result of the council and its aftermath, the Catholic Church became more pope-centered than ever before. In the terminology of the period, it became ultramontane.

The Contents:

Introduction
1. Catholicism and the Century of Lights
2. The Ultramontane Movement
3. The Eve of the Council
4. Under Way and Moving toward
Dei Filius
5. Infallibility
Conclusion
Appendix: English Translation of
Pastor Aeternus
Basic Chronology
Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index


I've read Father O'Malley's book on Trent and really look forward to another book that's forthcoming, When Bishops Meet about Trent, Vatican I and II.

Why I read this book now: the Eighth Day Institute's second annual theological conference, this year called the "Florovsky-Newman Week", takes up the subject of authority in the Christian Church. The title and description:

The Patristic View of Authority: Bible, Pope, or Conciliarity?

Co-sponsored by Eighth Day Institute and the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies, the Florovsky-Newman Week promotes a “return to the sources for Christian unity.” Heeding Fr. Florovsky's advice, rather than simply overlooking differences, this conference seeks to overcome the different views of church authority. And we do so by returning to the common Tradition, by learning to read the Fathers as living masters, rather than as historical documents. Our hope is for you to deepen your understanding of the authority by which the Church grounds her faith and morals, examining authority from our respective traditions as Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians. Join us for this unique event as we dive into the Church Fathers in order to explore, challenge, and encourage one another to better love God and neighbor.


Note the addition of Blessed John Henry Newman to the title (last year it was just "Florovsky Week"!):

Soon to be St. John Henry Newman, this 19th century educator, poet, pastor, and theologian is considered by many to be the most important (and controversial) figure in the history of England. As a leader in the Oxford Movement, his immersion in the early Tradition of the Church, especially the Church Fathers, led to his conversion from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. Cited frequently by Fr. Georges Florovsky, a case can be made that Newman's emphasis on the Fathers was key to the development of Florovsky's ecumenical proposal for a neopatristic synthesis.

As at last year's event, three speakers, one Catholic, one Protestant, and one Orthodox, will make presentations in the evening and weekend plenary sessions. The other speakers will respond: the Catholic and the Orthodox to the Protestant speaker, etc. During the day there are academic paper sessions, time for prayer, meetings at Eighth Day Books, etc. The banquet and presentations on Wednesday through Friday are at Newman University; on Saturday, we move to St. George Orthodox Cathedral.

So anyway, this book is part of my preparation--I've submitted a proposal for a paper, but I haven't received notice officially that it's been accepted--for the conference.

Father O'Malley devotes three of the five chapters to the background of the First Vatican Council, the first Church Council since Trent in the 16th century. He reviews the political and culture situation in Europe, especially in Italy, where the Pope's temporal authority over the Papal States and Rome was in danger in the drive for Italian unity and nationhood. He examines the relationship between Church and the nations in Europe, especially trends like Gallicanism,  Febronianism, and Josephinism through which the state or the ruler controlled education, formation of priests, selection of bishops, monastic and religious foundations, etc. O'Malley's survey in those three chapters thus begins in the eighteenth century, explores the grassroots origins of the Ultramontane movement--meaning grassroots from the laity, to the priesthood, to the academic world, and to the episcopacy--and the pontificate of Pope Pius IX (including the history of the treatment of the popes personally during the revolutionary movements of France and Italy).


As Deal Hudson points out in his interview with Father O'Malley from April 2018, Pope Pius IX (Pio Nino) does not come off very well in the narration of the events at the First Vatican Council. He and Archbishop Manning and others in the majority Ultramontane party do things that range from the manipulative to the vindictive. They were already in the majority; there was going to be some statement on Papal Infallibility from the Council; they did not need to treat certain bishops so abusively. The two chapters on the events of the Council also point out how much the press, Catholic and secular, especially Louis Veuillot's Universnot only covered, but influenced the Council. At the same time, Lord Acton, William Gladstone, and Johann Dollinger were gathered (as shown in the picture above) to talk about the Council and its activities, trying to lobby against a decree on Papal Infallibility.

In his Conclusion Father O'Malley discusses the aftermath of the First Vatican Council, including, all too briefly I think, Newman's response to Gladstone's overreaction to Pastor Aeternus. In his interview with Deal Hudson, O'Malley opines that since the decree on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there has been no exercise of Papal Infallibility in matters of faith and morals. But the Church has been more centered on the role of the Pope in the everyday lives of Catholics, with Papal documents, speeches, travels, audiences, etc. One could also argue that the greatest event of the twentieth century for Catholics was the Second Vatican Council, which changed many aspects of daily Catholic life on the local, not Papal, level. Father O'Malley doesn't discuss this, but the long papacy of Pope Saint John Paul II also changed Catholics' view of the pope's role in our lives: his travels, his theological and philosophical influence, the saints he canonized, the reforms he instituted (Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, World Youth Day, the Synods of Bishops, etc), his great project of the celebration of the Third Millennium of Christianity, have formed our image of what a pope should be and do.

Father O'Malley is great historian and writer. He uses the sources well; writes succinctly and clearly; analyses cogently.

Highly recommended: except that I think he should have dedicated a few paragraphs to show how Newman's response to Gladstone formed the mainline interpretation of Papal Infallibility and authority.

Note that I purchased my copy of this book.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Et In Arcadia Ego: Sweeney's Southwell

As Gary Bouchard comments in his recently published study of St. Robert Southwell, SJ, it is sad that Anne R. Sweeney died too soon (of cancer) to continue her work on Southwell's life and poetry. She alludes to her illness in the Introduction of this book, Robert Southwell: Snow in Arcadia: redrawing the English lyric landscape, 1586-1595, published by Manchester University Press but distributed by Oxford University Press, which describes Sweeney's achievement in this book thus:

It has traditionally been held that Robert Southwell's poetry offers a curious view of Elizabethan England, one that is from the restricted perspective of a priest-hole. This book dismantles that idea by examining the poetry, word by word, discovering layers of new meanings, hidden emblems, and sharp critiques of Elizabeth's courtiers, and even of the ageing queen herself.

Using both the most recent edition of Southwell's poetry and manuscript materials, it addresses both poetry and private writings including letters and diary material to give dramatic context to the radicalisation of a generation of Southwell's countrymen and women, showing how the young Jesuit harnessed both drama and literature to give new poetic poignancy to their experience.

Bringing a rigorously forensic approach to Southwell's 'lighter' pieces, Sweeney can now show to what extent Southwell engaged exclusively through them in direct artistic debate with Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare, placing the poetry firmly in the English landscape familiar to Southwell's generation. Those interested in early modern and Elizabethan culture will find much of interest, including new insights into the function of the arts in the private Catholic milieu touched by Southwell in so many ways and places.


The contents of the book:

Preface and acknowledgements
Introduction: Ben Jonson's admiration for Southwell's 'Burning Babe'
1. Rome: the discernment of angels
2. The 'Spiritual Exercises': the 'inward eie'
3. Hidden ways and secret veins: into England
4. The flight of angels: England's altered confidence
5. Snow in Arcadia: rewriting the English lyric landscape
6. Southwell's war of words
7. The 'performing Word': Southwell's sacralised poetic
8. Conclusion

Bibliography 
Index

Sweeney comments in her preface on her limitations and those who helped her overcome them:

Stonyhurst College kindly made its Library available to my studies, its late librarian, Father Turner, S.J., and the late Bishop Foley, contributing much at the outset to a project that I was so very less qualified than they to embark upon. I am also very grateful that Father Thomas McCoog, S.J., of Mount Street, took the time to look over and comment on aspects of the work, which has, in any case, called much upon his expertise in this area. If I have committed any solecisms against the belief systems of the bodies represented by these gentlemen, it is unintentional, and regretted. I have been acutely aware from the outset that, in discussing a saint from outside the boundaries of religious studies, I was on the thinnest of ice. I hope it is evident that I am addressing discoursal and literary issues only: St. Robert Southwell is beyond all comment spiritually, but as a poet and an Englishman he earned his garlands, I believe. 'Muse not,' as he said, 'to see some mud in cleerest brooke / They once were brittle mould, that now are Saintes.'

Notwithstanding her statement, as I read her study of Southwell I appreciated his religious faith and spirituality more and more. His great efforts to comfort Catholics, reach out to those who had fallen away, confront the state authorities, and challenge other poets to greater things, as Sweeney explicates them, made his love for Jesus and His Church so clear. Because she consults and references his journals and letters as well as his poetry, the reader can see Southwell's struggles in his formation in Rome and his frustrations during his mission in England, sometimes with his Jesuit authorities on the Continent and their decisions. Although this may have been beyond her intent, Sweeney's study made him real to me, not just his poetry, his martyrdom, or his garlands.

Sweeney chose an appropriate motto for the book:

"To live at peace among . . . those who oppose us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and manly achievement." (from Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, translated and introduction by Leo Sherley-Price (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1952, repr. 1979), p. 71)

Southwell's formation as a Jesuit, his experience living in Counter-Reformation Rome, his vocation as priest and avocation as poet, graced him with that peace even in the midst of torture and imprisonment, as reports of his trial and execution attest.

One of the parts of the book that impressed me the most was Sweeney's exploration of the effects of art in Rome on Southwell while he was studying there in combination with his formation with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola--referencing Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome, 1565-1610 by Gauvin Alexander Bailey (University of Toronto Press, 2003). She elucidates how Southwell's formation influenced the brilliant imagery of his poetry, translating ideas into pictures, describing images to symbolize concepts, expressing the transcendent through earthly things in the imagination.

I highly recommend Snow in Arcadia to anyone interested in the era, Southwell, the English mission, Southwell's poetry, the situation of Catholics in England during Elizabeth I's reign, an understanding of the Jesuits in Rome, etc. 

As Gary M. Bouchard said, it is sad that Anne R. Sweeney died before she could continue developing her insights into St. Robert Southwell's poetry and his place in English literature. May she rest in the peace of Christ.

My review of Bouchard's Southwell's Sphere: The Influence of England's Secret Poet is forthcoming.

UPDATE: note that I purchased my copy of Snow in Arcadia.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sir Thomas More Resigns

Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor of England on May 16, 1532 after the Convocation of Bishops met to discuss and accept Henry VIII's three articles on how they would follow his guidelines for Church governance, the Submission of the Clergy.

British History Online documents his resignation and surrender of the Great Seal in the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, June 1532, 1-15:

1075. Delivery Of The Great Seal.

Memorandum that on the 16th May 24 Hen. VIII. the Great Seal, being in the custody of Sir Thos. More, chancellor of England, enclosed in a white leather bag sealed with his seal, was delivered into the King's hands in the garden of York Place by Westminster, about 3 o'clock p.m., in presence of Thos. duke of Norfolk, when the said Sir Thomas surrendered his office of Chancellor. And on Monday, 20 May, about 4 p.m., the King, at his manor of Plesaunce or Est Grenewych, in a certain inner chamber near his oratory, took the said Seal out of the bag in presence of Thos. duke of Norfolk, treasurer of England, Henry marquis of Exeter, Henry earl of Northumberland, Rob. earl of Sussex, Steph. bp. of Winchester, Sir Will. Fitzwilliam, treasurer of the Household, Brian Tuke, treasurer of the Chamber, Sir Will. Kyngeston, John Sampson, dean of the Chapel, Thos. Crumwell, keeper of the Jewels, and others of the Privy Chamber; and after inspecting the same, delivered it to Thos. Audeley, whom he ordered to be called keeper of the Great Seal, and to exercise all the functions of the Chancellor in the Chancery, Star Chamber, and Council. And the said Thomas received it, and therewith, in presence of the King, caused to be sealed certain letters patent of the stewardship of the manors of Lewsham and Est Grenewych in Kent granted to Henry Norres, and afterwards replaced it in the bag, and sealed it with his own seal, and retained it in his custody. The King also then made him a knight.

And on Wednesday, 5 June, the first day of Trinity term, the said Sir Thomas Audeley in the Court of Chancery at Westminster took his oath of office as keeper of the Privy Seal. (Form of the oath subjoined.)


About a month later, More wrote to Desiderius Erasmus an explanation for his resignation that emphasized his health:

The thing which I have wished for from a boy, dear Desiderius, which I rejoice in your having ever enjoyed, and myself occasionally,—namely, that being free from public business, I might have some time to devote to God and myself,—that, by the grace of a great and good God, and by the favour of an indulgent prince, I have at last obtained.

I have not, however, obtained it as I wished. For I wished to reach that last stage of my life in a state, which, though suitable to my age, might yet enable me to enjoy my remaining years healthy and unbroken, free from disease and pain. But it remaineth in the hand of God, whether this wish, perhaps unreasonable, shall be accomplished. Meantime a disorder of I know not what nature hath attacked my breast, by which I suffer less in present pain than in fear of the consequence. For when it had plagued me without abatement some months, the physicians whom I consulted gave their opinion, that the long continuance of it was dangerous, and the speedy cure impossible; but that it must be cured by the gradual alterative effects of time, proper diet and medicine. Neither could they fix the period of my recovery, or ensure me a complete cure at last.

Considering this, I saw that I must either lay down my office, or discharge my duty in it incompletely. And since I could not discharge that duty without the hazard of my life, and by so doing should lose both life and office, I determined to lose one of them rather than both. Wherefore, that I might consult the public good as well as my own welfare, I entreated of the kindness of my good and great prince, that from the high office with which (as you know) he honoured me by his incredible favour, far above my pretensions, above my hopes, above my wishes, he should now release me, sinking as I was under the weight of it.


That letter is documented in Henry VIII's State Papers:

1094. More to Erasmus.
Gives an account of his resignation of the chancellorship. Complains of the rapid progress of heretical doctrines, notwithstanding the efforts that have hitherto been made to repress them. Incorrect versions of the Scriptures, and heretical books of all kinds, make their way from Flanders into England. Has replied to several, and does not fear what the result will be with impartial judges. Chelsea, 14 June 1532.
Lat.

2. Erasmus to John Faber, Bishop of Vienne.
Enclosing the above letter, and speaking very highly in praise of More. States that cardinal Wolsey, who was a man of no small ability, said, when he saw no prospect of being restored to favor, that More was the only person who was fitted to succeed him, though he was not partial to More when he was alive. Gives an account of his house at Chelsea, and his family, and their mode of education. Encloses a copy of the epitaph composed by More for himself.
Lat.

The Future Pope Blessed Innocent XI Born

Benedetto Odescalchi, the future Pope Innocent XI was born in Como, Italy on May 16, 1611. He was elected Pope on September 21, 1676, over the objections of King Louis XIV of France, succeeding Pope Clement X. He died on August 11, 1689 but his feast on is August 12 (St. Clare of Assisi is celebrated on August 11--that's also why Blessed John Henry Newman's feast is on October 9 even though he died on August 11, to avoid conflict with such an important saint).**

Speaking of conflicts, Pope Innocent XI and Louis XIV were in conflict throughout his reign and that conflict spilled over into the pope's official relations with King James II of England, even as that monarch tried to advance Catholic freedom of worship in his country, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The tension between the pope and the king [Louis XIV] was still increased by the pope's procedure in filling the vacant archiepiscopal See of Cologne. The two candidates for the see were Cardinal Wilhelm Fürstenberg, then Bishop of Strasburg, and Joseph Clement, a brother of Max Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. The former was a willing tool in the hands of Louis XIV, and his appointment as Archbishop and Elector of Cologne would have implied French preponderance in north-western Germany. Joseph Clement was not only the candidate of Emperor Leopold I of Austria but of all European rulers, with the exception of the King of France and his servile supporter, King James II of England. At the election, which took place on 19 July, 1688, neither of the candidates received the required number of votes. The decision, therefore, fell to the pope, who designated Joseph Clement as Archbishop and Elector of Cologne. Louis XIV retaliated by taking possession of the papal territory of Avignon, imprisoning the papal nuncio and appealing to a general council. Nor did he conceal his intention to separate the French Church entirely from Rome. But the pope remained firm. The subsequent fall of James II of England destroyed French preponderance in Europe and soon after Innocent's death the struggle between Louis XIV and the papacy was settled in favour of the Church. Innocent XI did not approve the imprudent manner in which James II attempted to restore Catholicism in England. He also repeatedly expressed his displeasure at the support which James II gave to the autocratic King Louis XIV in his measures hostile to the Church. It is, therefore, not surprising that Innocent XI had little sympathy for the Catholic King of England, and that he did not assist him in his hour of trial. There is, however, no ground for the accusation that Innocent XI was informed of the designs which William of Orange had upon England, much less that he supported him in the overthrow of James II. . . . 

Yesterday, I highlighted Innocent XI's refusal to allow Father Edward Petre, SJ, to accept the (Anglican?) See of the Archdiocese of York at James II's request. 

Pope Innocent, like Pope St. Pius V before, rallied the Holy League to defend Europe from the invasion of the Ottoman Empire:

It was due to Innocent's earnest and incessant exhortations that the German Estates and King John Sobieski of Poland in 1683 hastened to the relief of Vienna which was being besieged by the Turks. After the siege was raised, Innocent again spared no efforts to induce the Christian princes to lend a helping hand for the expulsion of the Turks from Hungary. He contributed millions of scudi to the Turkish war fund in Austria and Hungary and had the satisfaction of surviving the capture of Belgrade, 6 Sept., 1688.

Because of his assistance to the Austro-Hungarians during the siege of Vienna and until the Turks were driven from Belgrade, he is called the "Savior of Hungary." Pope Leo XIII paid tribute to him in his August 22, 1886 encyclical Quod Multum on the liberty of the Church, written to the Bishops of Hungary:

We have long and ardently desired an opportunity to address you with an apostolic letter. Just as We have addressed the bishops of many other nations, We desire to inform you of Our plans, which concern the prosperity of the Christian cause and the salvation of the Hungarian nation. These days present Us with an excellent opportunity, since Hungary is celebrating the liberation, two centuries ago, of Budapest. - That victory will stand out forever in the memory of the Hungarian people. It was granted to your ancestors, because of their strength and perseverance, to recapture their capital city, which for a century and a half had been occupied by their enemies. That the grace and memory of this divine blessing might remain, Pope Innocent XI justly decreed a celebration throughout all Christendom in honor of St. Stephen, the first of your apostolic kings, on the second day of September, the anniversary of this great event. Moreover it is well-known that the Apostolic See took a significant part in the almost spontaneous victory three years before over the same foe at Vienna. This victory, rightly attributed in great part to the apostolic efforts of Pope Innocent, began the decline of the influence of the Mohammedans in Europe. - Besides, even before that age and under similar circumstances, Our predecessors assisted the Hungarian forces with counsel, aid, money, and treaties. From Callistus III to Innocent XI, many Roman Ponfiffs are recorded whose names deserve to be honored for their activity in such affairs.

He was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1956. There's a video of a new report of the event! 

**Note that Newman's feast of October 9 will be the mandatory feast to be celebrated on that date in England and Wales, once he has been canonized. The optional memorials that are on that date will be moved:

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales agrees to the raising of Bl. John Henry Newman to the rank of Feast on 9 October, subsequent to his canonisation, in the National Calendar for England and the National Calendar for Wales.

It requests the optional memorials of St Denis and Companions and St John Leonardi be transferred to 10 October.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sir/Father Edward Petre, SJ, RIP

Father Edward Petre, SJ was an adviser to King James II. According to the Dictionary of National Biography he was a victim of the Popish Plot but survived:

the second son of Sir Francis Petre, bart., of the Cranham branch of the family, of which the Barons Petre constituted the eldest branch. His mother was Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir John Gage, bart., of Firle Place, Sussex, and grandson of Sir John Gage [q. v.], constable of the Tower under Henry VIII. The story told in ‘Revolution Politicks,’ implying that he was educated at Westminster under Busby, is apocryphal. His family being devout Roman catholics (sic), he was sent in 1649 to study at St. Omer, and three years later he entered the Society of Jesus at Watten, under the name of Spencer, though he was not professed of the four vows until 2 Feb. 1671. He obtained some prominence in the society, not so much for learning as for boldness and address. On the death of his elder brother Frances, at Cranham in Essex, about 1679, he succeeded to the title, and about the same time he received orders from his provincial, and was sent on the English mission. Being rector of the Hampshire district at the time of the popish plot (1679), he was arrested and committed to Newgate; but, as Oates and his satellites produced no specific charges against him, he was released, after a year's confinement, in June 1680. In the following August he became rector of the London district and vice-provincial of England; and, intelligence of this appointment having leaked out, he was promptly rearrested and imprisoned until 6 Feb. 1683. Exactly two years after his liberation James II ascended the throne, and at once summoned Petre to court.

James wanted Father Petre to have a high position in the Catholic Church to serve him, but Pope Innocent XI did not cooperate:

James recognised in him ‘a resolute and undertaking man,’ and resolved to assign him an official place among his advisers. As a preliminary step, it was determined to seek some preferment for him from Innocent XI. In December 1686 Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine [q. v.], was sent to Rome to petition the pope to this effect. The first proposal apparently was that the pope should grant Petre a dispensation which would enable him to accept high office in the English church, and Eachard states that the dignity ultimately designed for Petre was the archbishopric of York, a see which was left vacant (from April 1686 to November 1688) for this purpose. The pope, however, who had little fondness for the Jesuits, proved obdurate, both to the original request and to the subsequent proposal which Sunderland had the effrontery to make, that Petre should be made a cardinal. Innocent professed himself utterly unable to comply ‘salva conscientia,’ and added that ‘such a promotion would very much reflect upon his majesty's fame’ (see abstract of the correspondence in Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 424–5; D'Adda Correspondence in Addit. MS. 15396). He shortly afterwards ordered the general of the Jesuits to rebuke Petre for his ambition.

He barely escaped the fall of King James II and the invasion of the William of Orange:

The night before the king's departure he slept at St. James's, whence, making his exit next day by a secret passage, he escaped to Dover in disguise, and succeeded in reaching France before his master. He never saw James again. His rooms at Whitehall were occupied by Jeffreys for a short time after his flight; when Jeffreys himself decamped to Wapping, they were broken into by a protestant mob (cf. Twelve Bad Men, ed. Seccombe, p. 92). Petre spent the next year quietly at St. Omer, unheeding the torrent of abusive pamphlets and broadsides with which he was assailed. In December 1689 he was at Rome, but ‘not much lookt on there’ (Luttrell, i. 616). In 1693 he was appointed rector of the college at St. Omer, where the enlightened attention that he paid to the health and cleanliness of the community made him highly valued (Oliver, Collections). In 1697 he was sent to Watten, where he died on 15 May 1699.
 
As this blog points out, we don't have a reliable portrait of Father Petre; the images we have of him are all caricatures, salacious and suggestive.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reminds us that we have no evidence that Father Petre did anything immoral and that, among his famous recusant family he

fills more space in history than any of his family, owing to the multiplicity of attacks made upon him as a chaplain and adviser of James II. Petre's unpopularity as a Jesuit was so great that it harmed the king's cause; but if we regard his conduct by itself, no serious fault has yet been proved against him. If we cannot yet confidently acquit him of all blame, that is chiefly because first-hand evidence is very deficient; but the nearer we get to first-hand evidence, the better does Petre's conduct appear. Before James's accession (6 Feb., 1685) he had shown good, but not extraordinary virtue and ability, and was then vice-provincial of his order. . . . 

Setting aside prejudiced witnesses (and it will be remembered that there was a party against him, even among Catholics), and studying those in sympathy with the Jesuit, we seem to perceive in him a steadfast, kind-hearted English priest, devoting himself with energy to the opportunities for spiritual good that opened out before him. With little gift for politics, nor paying much heed to them, he was nevertheless severely blamed when things went wrong. He was also regardless, almost callous, as to what was said about him by friend or foe.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Newman and Consulting the Faithful

Matt Swaim and I will discuss Newman and the Laity early this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show at 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central. On Friday, I included Newman's famous statement about the Catholic laity knowing and defending their faith. Newman's Oratory, the Catholic University of Ireland, and his famous article in The Rambler "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine" are three examples of his efforts to stress the role of the laity in nineteenth century England.

Newman became the rector of the Catholic University of Ireland in 1851; first he opened the chapel for the university, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in 1853; then the university opened for classes in 1854. Three years later, he resigned because the bishops of Ireland decided they really wanted a seminary for priests, not a university for laymen on the model of Oxford or Cambridge.

As Rev. Michael Sharkey explains:

The Irish bishops who had invited him were not yet ready for Newman's Idea of a University, which included appointing laymen to the professorships. In 1873 he recalled:

"One of the chief evils which I deplored in the management of the affairs of the University twenty years ago, was the resolute refusal with which my urgent representations ever met that the Catholic laity should be allowed to cooperate with the archbishops in the work. As far as I can see there are ecclesiastics all over Europe, whose policy is to keep the laity at arm's length, and hence the laity have been disgusted and become infidel, and only two parties exist, both ultras in opposite directions. I came away from Ireland with the distressing fear that in that Catholic country, in like manner, there was to be an antagonism, as time went on, between the hierarchy and the educated classes.

"You will be doing the greatest possible benefit to the Catholic cause all over the world, if you succeed in making the University a middle station at which clergy and laity can meet, so as to learn to understand, and to yield to each other—and from which, as from a common ground, they may act in union upon an age which is running into infidelity".


In 1859, Newman took over the editorship of The Rambler, a Catholic publication for and by the laity to save it from closure. As Father Paul Chavasse of the Birmingham, formerly postulator for Newman's Cause explains:

In May 1859 the first issue with Newman as editor was published. The magazines attitude was changed, and Newman published an apology for the previous criticism of the bishops but suggested that their Lordships really desire to know the opinion of the laity on subjects in which the laity are especially concerned. He added that if even in the preparation of a dogmatic definition, such as recently on that of the Immaculate Conception, the laity were consulted, how much more they should be in a practical matter that concerned them closely, such as education. A row developed, as some theologians, principally John Gillow of Ushaw College, Durham, thought Newman's language had implied too much to the role of the laity; and Dr. Ullathorne, Newman's bishop in Birmingham, asked him to give up the newly acquired editorship. Newman had one issue still in hand, that of July 1859, and he regarded it as his last remaining opportunity to explain both himself and the true place of the laity within the Church. He worked hard, his letters almost ceased, and in July there duly appeared On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine. What Newman taught in that article was to be taught in a more solemn manner some one hundred years later in the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. But in the Church of 1859 the reception to his words was very different, and eventually he was secretly delated to Rome for heresy by Bishop Brown of Newport. Early in 1860 Dr. Ullathorne informed Newman of this, and he at once offered to explain his writings in a Catholic sense. Due to a series of misunderstandings between Newman, Wiseman, and Manning, Rome gained the impression that Newman had refused to comply with the request. Much whispering against Newman in both Rome and London for years to come meant that his influence was both suspect and curtailed heavily. As John Coulson put it:

"His publication of this essay was an act of political suicide from which his career in the Church was never fully to recover; at one stroke he, whose reputation as the one honest broker between the extremes of English Catholic opinion had hitherto stood untarnished, gained the Popes personal displeasure, the reputation in Rome of being the most dangerous man in England, and a formal accusation of heresy proffered against him."


Newman had answered the charges of heresy but Bishop Ullathorne had not forwarded his answer to Rome! This was the cloud that hung over Newman for years.

Some of bishops and others in the newly formed hierarchy seemed to fear the laity or not understand us at all. Monsignor George Talbot wrote to Henry Manning, Archbishop of Westminster:

"What is the province of the laity? To hunt, to shoot, to entertain? These matters they understand, but to meddle with ecclesiastical matters they have no right at all, and this affair of Newman is a matter purely ecclesiastical…. Dr. Newman is the most dangerous man in England, and you will see that he will make use of the laity against your Grace."

Even Newman's own bishop, Ullathorne, asked, "Who are the laity?" Newman reported that he "answered (not in these words) that the Church would look foolish without them". As if the church could be made up of only the ordained!

As Father Ian Ker explains in his book Newman on Vatican II, this is one of the ways that Newman anticipated the Second Vatican Council with its emphasis on holiness for all the baptized, not just the ordained or those who've taken religious vows, including the laity. The fact that the laity had a document dedicated  to us and our in role the Church indicates that the bishops at Vatican II knew who they laity are and believed we have a mission beyond hunting, shooting, entertaining, praying, and paying.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Preview: Newman and the Laity

On Monday, May 13, Matt Swaim and I will talk about Newman and the Laity on the Son Rise Morning Show (7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central). Blessed John Henry Newman was a champion of the Catholic laity in 19th century England at a crucial time.

Remember the important dates and events:

1829: Catholic Emancipation or Relief Passed: Catholics able to vote, serve in office, take up any profession, etc.,

1845: Newman, with some Oxford Movement followers preceding him and following him, became a Catholic

1846: Newman goes to Rome to study for the priesthood

1847: He decides to become an Oratorian, takes St. Philip Neri as a patron

1848: Newman returns to England and establishes the first Oratory there in Maryvale

1849: The Oratory moves to Birmingham

Newman's choice of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri indicates his vocation to serve the laity. As the website for the Brooklyn Oratory explains he was following his patron's way:

Perhaps because of his long and dedicated life as a layman going about the business of charity and prayer and his reluctance to receive Holy Orders, Philip built within the structure of the Oratory a collaborative and representative constitution. Unlike some other religious orders in the Catholic Church where the laity are the “third order” (after the priests – first order – and the religious brothers and sisters – the second order) in the Oratory the laity are the first and the priests and brothers exist only to serve the laity who are therefore rightly the first order.

Some have said that Philip’s emphasis on the laity put him 400 years ahead of his time. But Newman also emphasized this aspect of Church tradition in 19th Century England. The role of the laity in his ministry and work was also an authentic expression of Catholicity. It is little surprise then that one of Newman’s most famous works is “On Consulting the Laity on Matters of Doctrine.” It remains to this day an important work in the area. There is also more than an echo of Philip in another of Newman’s seminal works “On the Development of Doctrine” for he too sought means to preserve fidelity to the deposit of faith while being responsive to the needs of his day. Perhaps we can see in Newman’s extraordinarily productive correspondence a continuation of Philip’s own highly personal approach to ministry. “Each one,” Philip said, “has a particular gift which he must follow and this is a matter to which he must pay great attention.”


Remember also that the Catholic laity of England--and of Ireland--had led the fight for Catholic Emancipation; the laity had saved the Catholic Church in England in special ways: sending their sons to the Continent to study for the priesthood; sheltering the priests who returned (St. Oliver Plunkett of Ireland was the last Catholic priest to be executed, but it was still an act of treason for a priest to be present in England), funding the chapels and chaplains who served their communities, etc.


The process of Catholic Emancipation in the late eighteenth century had been championed by Catholic nobles like Robert Edward Petre, 9th Baron Petre. The Catholic laity wanted to be full citizens of their country and be able to practice their religion at the same time. The UK Parliament website explains what the first Catholic Relief Acts achieved:

In 1778 Parliament passed the Catholic Relief Act. Although it did not grant freedom of worship, it allowed Catholics to join the army and purchase land if they took an oath of allegiance.

The Act raised a storm of protest, however, and after a huge petition had been presented to the House of Commons, organised by Lord George Gordon, several days and nights of rioting erupted on London’s streets.

The Catholic Relief Act of 1791 was a much broader measure which gave Catholics freedom to worship. It also removed a wide range of other restrictions and allowed Catholics their own schools, to hold junior public offices, and to live in London.

In the 1820's, Catholic Emancipation was driven by the election of Daniel O'Connell in Ireland, who wouldn't be allowed to take his seat unless the laws were changed (from the same source as above):

The question of political rights for Catholics was driven largely by Irish politics after the Act of Union of 1800.

Although Catholics made up most of the Irish population, they were not allowed to become Members of Parliament.

In 1823 an Irish barrister, Daniel O’Connell, formed the Catholic Association which began a mass movement in Ireland demanding full public and political rights.

Great concern was felt at Westminster about the possible effects of Catholic emancipation but government fears that British rule in Ireland might otherwise break down persuaded MPs in 1829 to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act.

This landmark measure allowed Catholics to sit as MPs, vote in elections and hold most senior government offices.  

Obviously, the rights of Catholics to worship and practice their faith were also addressed in the 1829 Act, although Parliament was still not comfortable with the presence of Jesuits in England:

And whereas Jesuits and members of other religious orders, communities or societies, of the church of Rome, bound by monastic or religious vows, are resident within the United Kingdom; and it is expedient to make provision for the gradual suppression and final prohibition of the same therein; Be it therefore Enacted, That every Jesuit, and every member of any other religious order, community or society of the church of Rome, bound by monastic or religious vows, who at the time of the commencement of this Act shall be within the United Kingdom, shall within Six calendar months after the commencement of this Act, deliver to the clerk of the peace of the county or place where such person shall reside, or his deputy, a notice or statement, in the form and containing the particulars set forth in the Schedule to this Act annexed; which notice or statement, such clerk of the peace, or his deputy, is hereby required to preserve and register amongst the other records of such county or place, for which no fee shall be payable, and a copy of which said notice or statement shall be by such clerk of the peace, or his deputy, forthwith transmitted to the chief secretary of the Lord Lieutenant, or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland, if such person shall reside in Ireland, or if in Great Britain, to one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State; and in case any person shall offend in the premises, he shall forfeit and pay to His Majesty, for every calendar month during which he shall remain in the United Kingdom without having delivered such notice or statement as is hereinbefore required, the sum of Fifty pounds.

Another important date:

In 1850: Pope Pius IX restored the Catholic hierarchy, replacing the Vicars Apostolic with Diocesan Bishops.

Queen Victoria and Parliament were not pleased with what they saw as Papal Aggression, and some in the laity thought the Pope and the returning hierarchy were too triumphant in their tone and would harm the progress Catholics had made with integration into their communities. 

So Newman was stepping into the conflict between the hierarchy and the educated laity who heretofore had been the leaders of the Catholic community in England when as an Oratorian he championed the rights of the laity to contribute to the Church and to spread the Gospel to their fellow Englishmen. As he saw it, the laity were the ones who needed to reach out to Englishmen and women to defend the Catholic Faith.

In The Present Position of Catholics in England Newman told the laity of the Oratory:

What I desiderate [desire] in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is. I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity. I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion.

More on Monday about Newman's efforts to defend the Catholic laity's right to a voice in the Church, especially in practical matters, like education.

Image Source Top: Poster from my Theology on Tap Presentation Last Month: the quotation is "The Voice of the Whole Church in Time will Make Itself Heard" a partial version of one of Newman's reactions to the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility*

Image Source Middle: George Romney (English, 1734–1802), Robert, 9th Baron Petre, Demonstrating the Use of an Écorché Figure to His Son, Robert Edward c. 1775 – 1776**

*The writer of this icon seems to apply this quotation to Newman's defense of the laity, but the quotation is not complete. Father Ian Ker does not present the quotation from one of Newman's letters completely either, but Newman seems to referring to theologians ("the voice of the Schola Theologorum, of the whole Church diffusive" would "in time make itself heard" LD xxv 284) p. 681 in Ker's John Henry Newman: A Biography (OUP: 1988, 2009)

**UPDATE: an Écorché Figure is a 3D model of the musculature of the body without skin. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Spring Time for the Martyrs




































From Blessed John Henry Newman's "Second Spring" sermon, preached July 13, 1852, in St. Mary's, Oscott, in the first Provincial Synod of Westminster:

Can we religiously suppose that the blood of our martyrs, three centuries ago and since, shall never receive its recompense? Those priests, secular and regular, did they suffer for no end? or rather, for an end which is not yet accomplished? The long imprisonment, the fetid dungeon, the weary suspense, the tyrannous trial, the barbarous sentence, the savage execution, the rack, the gibbet, the knife, the cauldron, the numberless tortures of those holy victims, O my God, are they to have no reward? Are Thy martyrs to cry from under Thine altar for their loving vengeance on this guilty people, and to cry in vain? Shall they lose life, and not gain a better life for the children of those who persecuted them?Is this Thy way, O my God, righteous and true? Is it according to Thy promise, O King of saints, if I may dare talk to Thee of justice? Did not Thou Thyself pray for Thine enemies upon the cross, and convert them? Did not Thy first Martyr win Thy great Apostle, then a persecutor, by his loving prayer? And in that day of trial and desolation for England, when hearts were pierced through and through with Mary's woe, at the crucifixion of Thy body mystical, was not every tear that flowed, and every drop of blood that was shed, the seeds of a future harvest, when they who sowed in sorrow were to reap in joy? . . .

When the English College at Rome was set up by the solicitude of a great Pontiff in the beginning of England's sorrows, and missionaries were trained there for confessorship and martyrdom here, who was it that saluted the fair Saxon youths as they passed by him in the streets of the great city, with the salutation, "Salvete flores martyrum"? And when the time came for each in turn to leave that peaceful home, and to go forth to the conflict, to whom did they betake themselves before leaving Rome, to receive a blessing which might nerve them for their work? They went for a Saint's blessing; they went to a calm old man, who had never seen blood, except in penance; who had longed indeed to die for Christ, what time the great St. Francis opened the way to the far East, but who had been fixed as if a sentinel in the holy city, and walked up and down for fifty years on one beat, while his brethren were in the battle. Oh! the fire of that heart, too great for its frail tenement, which tormented him to be kept at home when the whole Church was at war! and therefore came those bright-haired strangers to him, ere they set out for the scene of their passion, that the full zeal and love pent up in that burning breast might find a vent, and flow over, from him who was kept at home, upon those who were to face the foe. Therefore one by one, each in his turn, those youthful soldiers came to the old man; and one by one they persevered and gained the crown and the palm,—all but one, who had not gone, and would not go, for the salutary blessing.

The Collect for the Feast of the Martyrs of England and Wales from the Divine Worship form of the Roman Rite of the Anglican Ordinariate:

O MERCIFUL GOD, who, when thy Church on earth was torn apart by the ravages of sin, didst raise up men and women in England who witnessed to their faith with courage and constancy: give unto thy Church that peace which is thy will, and grant that the who have been divided on earth may be reconciled in heaven and be partakers together in the vision of thy glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Image Credit: English Martyrs window at Holy Name,Oxton,Birkenhead by Margaret Agnes Rope, Sister Margaret of the Mother of God (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Thomas More's Successor and Judge

Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Warren died on April 30, 1544--he managed to die safely in his bed with his head intact by serving Henry VIII very well. A lawyer by training, Audley served Cardinal Wolsey and served in Parliament, representing Essex and he continued to rise in office throughout Henry VIII's reign. 

Audley participated in the trials and executions of not only Thomas More and John Fisher, but also of Thomas Cromwell, and he sentenced the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace to death. For these and other services (the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, for instance), he was not only knighted but became a member of the Order of the Garter. He succeeded Thomas More in nearly several offices: as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and as Speaker of the House of Commons in 1529, as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1532, and as Lord Chancellor in 1533. 

In August of 1534, when Thomas More had been in the Tower of London for four months, Audley visited Alice Alington, More's step-daughter (Lady Alice's daughter by her first marriage). He thought that Thomas More was being stubborn about the Oath of Succession and told Alice two Aesop fables to illustrate the issue. Margaret Roper wrote to her father, and More replied: thus The Dialogue on Conscience was composed.

And at the trial of St. Thomas More, Audley made two mistakes: first, he tried to pass sentence before letting More speak after being found guilty and second, he let More speak:

Interrupting Audley, More calmly stated: “My lord, when I was toward the law, the manner in such a case was to ask the prisoner before judgment why judgment should not be given against him.”

Audley was undoubtedly anxious about the role he was now playing in the condemnation of an old friend and honored colleague. This unease may well explain the departure he had made from established procedure. But that anxiety would have been even greater had he known what More was about to do.

Aware that his words would echo throughout England, throughout Europe, and throughout subsequent history, Sir Thomas More now brought into full play all of the rhetorical power and legal expertise that a lifetime of training had placed at his disposal. . . .


According to this parliamentary history website, there has been some controversy about his activity at these trials and about his religious positions:

If his knightly status exempted Audley from the trial of Anne Boleyn in 1536 (it was not he but John, 8th Lord Audley, who took part in this), he was involved in all the other state trials of these years. His conduct in these trials, and especially in More’s, has been much criticized but it deserves to be judged in the light of Audley’s own beliefs concerning the rights of the sovereign and the duties of the subject. No such criticism, despite occasional and clearly prejudiced charges of favouritism and corruption, can be levelled against his conduct as an equity judge, and even in cases of treason his attitude is illustrated by his advice in 1536 that the Duke of Suffolk should be armed against the Lincolnshire rebels with a commission to try cases of treason, showing that he took for granted, even in such circumstances, the necessity of a trial at common law.

Audley’s religious position is difficult to assess. A correspondent of Melanchthon named him with Cromwell and Cranmer as friends to Protestantism but, if he was, the friendship was always qualified by his allegiance to the King whose policies he faithfully carried out, a course which in general gives an impression of conservatism. Thus an anonymous enthusiast for the Act of Six Articles (31 Hen. VIII, c.14) again linked Audley with Cromwell as two men who, this time in contrast to Cranmer and to other bishops, had been ‘as good as we can desire’ in the furtherance of the measure. Audley was equally content to follow Cromwell’s lead and what few clashes there were between them arose largely out of minor questions of patronage.

Audley also benefited from the Dissolution of the Monasteries, receiving grants of Holy Trinity Priory in Aldgate, London (which had been founded by Queen Matilda or Maud, Henry I's wife) and Walden Abbey, where his grandson, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk built Audley End, which is now part of the English Heritage program. He founded Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge in 1542, after the Benedictine's Buckingham College was closed. 

Audley's title as 1st Baron Audley of Warren died with him. One of his daughters, Margaret, married Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk (who was executed by Elizabeth I).

Image source and copyright information: anonymous artist.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Newman and Converts and the Church

Matt Swaim--who also works for the Coming Home Network--and I will talk about Blessed John Henry Newman and conversion on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 7:50 a.m. Eastern DST/6:50 a.m. Central DST. All last week we prayed at the daily Masses of the Octave of Easter for those who joined the Church at the Easter Vigil, particularly through Baptism. According to CRUX, publishing a story by the Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tens of thousands of new Catholics are expected to join the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil liturgies in parishes throughout the United States the night of April 20.

While a precise number was not available, reports from 89 U.S. Latin-rite dioceses, roughly half the total number, indicate that their dioceses alone will account for about 37,000 Catholics joining the Church.


As the article states, many of those who became Catholic on Saturday, April 20, came through a parish Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. They were prepared for the Rites of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion, through study, prayer, reflection, questions and answers, practices and rehearsals, and the final decision to join the Catholic Church, either leaving another faith community or coming to the Sacraments for the first time.

But how has the Church or the individual parish been prepared to receive them? Welcome them beyond a "recruiting" process, and help them become part of the parish? The process of initiation can't end at the Easter Vigil.

That was a concern Newman certainly had about the individuals and groups of Anglican converts coming to the Catholic Church in the 1840's and later. The converts had to be prepared for the Church, but he also thought the Church needed to be prepared for them: how to welcome them; how to integrate them; how to make use of their education and abilities. As he commented:  “There are those who only wish to convert, and then leave the poor converts to shift for themselves, as far as knowledge of their religion goes. The other end which is so important, is what I call levelling up." He did not want failed conversions: “I am afraid to make hasty converts of educated men lest they should not have counted the cost & should have difficulties after they have entered the Church . . . . ” 

It is true that Newman thought the Catholic Church in England needed to focus on making sure the Catholics she had were well formed and educated, but he also worked with hundreds of prospective converts, helping them prepare for life in the Catholic Church, to understand what they faced with their families and friends, etc. But when he knew that they believed that the Catholic Church was the one, true Church that Jesus had founded, he insisted that they should become Catholics as soon as possible and he pointed to the example of himself and others who may suffered loss and trouble in temporal matters, but had received great spiritual consolation and comfort in knowing they were in the "one fold of Christ." 

Father Stanley Jaki and Peter Wilcox have written about the letters Newman sent to prospective converts and those who had joined the Church, advising them, consoling them, urging them to be patient, forbearing, and brave.

The Anglican Ordinariate, which will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus this November 4th, provides a structure for groups of Anglicans coming into the Catholic Church. The Pastoral Provision which Pope John Paul II arranged in 1980 still assists individual Anglicans and Episcopalians. The Coming Home Network--perhaps I should interview Matt!--reaches out to all Protestant pastors and their families to help them in their journeys to the Catholic Church. For most of the men, women and children who became Catholic at the Easter Vigil on April 20, however, it will be up to the parishes they joined to help them progress in their love of Jesus and His Church.