Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Succession of infant King Henry VI

The son of Henry V and Katherine of Valois was born on December 6, 1421. When Henry V died untimely young, the nine-month old Henry VI succeeded him on August 31, 1422--with regents controlling the government, of course. He was crowned King of England on July 17, 1429 and King of France on December 16, 1431, coming of age in 1437.

He married Margaret of Anjou on April 23, 1445, lost his throne in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses because of bouts of madness and many governance problems at home and abroad, regained the throne in 1470 and died in the Tower of London on May 21, 1471.

Henry VI was certainly a devout Catholic and rumors of his sanctity continued after his death, with reported miracles. In fact, before the English Reformation, Henry might have been on his way to becoming declared a saint. Henry VII used his familial relationship to bolster his own Lancastrian claims, and therefore, encouraged this cult. (Henry VII's father Edmund Tudor was one of Henry VI's half-brothers, after Katherine of Valois and Owen Tudor got together!) But with the break from Rome under Henry VIII and the definite Calvinist Reformation during Edward VI's reign, that devotion was discouraged and his cult faded.
Henry VI therefore is remembered today for founding Eton College and King's College Chapel, which Henry VII and Henry VIII continued and completed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Newman's Feast Day!!!--no questions now!

News from the Catholic Herald: Blessed John Henry Newman's feast day will be on October 9, the date of his conversion! I sure would like to get one of those booklets mentioned in the article.

An Anonymous post indicated as much on my August 11 post about Newman's death, but I was surprised since the tradition is for the saint to be honored on the date of his or her death as the date of being born into eternal life in heaven.

August 11 did pose a conflict because the cult of St. Clare of Assisi. October 9--mark it on your calendars!

The Catholic Truth Society has also posted a pre-order "official textual and photographic record" to be completed during/after the Papal Visit and other items, including commemorative stamps from the Isle of Man.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Another Country Heard From"

I received an email from a reader in northeastern Europe:

I am writing from Vilnius, Lithuania, where I have been living for a number of years and where I was recently blessed to obtain a copy of your book, Supremacy and Survival. I found the book extremely interesting and very timely. It filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of this important history.

In further correspondence, the reader reminded me that Lithuanian Catholics endured great oppression under the Soviet Union and the country has been rebuilding since 1994, when Soviet troops finally left the Baltic states after Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia regained independence. Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai in 1993. Under Communist rule the Soviet authorities bulldozed the hill, where people came to place the crosses to proclaim their Christian identity, three times and considered flooding the area by building a dam. Each time the hill was destroyed, Lithuanians would come back to place more crosses and crucifixes. The Lithuanian tourist website features a tour that follows the path of the pope's visit.

I heard an NPR report earlier this week about continuing tensions in Estonia between the Russian nationals living there and the government of Estonia, which passed laws after independence that limited the civil rights of those Russian national families not in the country before Soviet domination began in 1944.

There's no way to compare what happened to Catholics in England to what happened to the Baltic peoples under the Soviet Union--but the connection we can apply is how long it takes for reconciliation after oppression and persecution. Even after Emancipation in 1829 and the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850, Catholics had years of rebuilding, reforming, and development to complete. They had to work out conflicts within their growing community and deal with violence and reaction against that growth in the wider British culture.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

England and the Papacy

As Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Scotland and England draws near, there are some interesting announcements. This is just the second visit of a reigning pope to England and the first State Visit of the Pope as head of the Vatican City-State. When he meets Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, he will be, as The Telegraph notes, the "honoured guest of the British people." The editorial goes on to ask: "But will he be honoured--or will his enemies in public life use the opportunity to humiliate him?" The editorial concludes:

This state invitation does not require Anglicans and other Christians to recognise papal authority. But, as the Archbishop of Canterbury recognises, if Benedict XVI is greeted with hostility and manufactured scandals, then British Christianity as a whole will be weakened. And, in the eyes of hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, our national reputation will be damaged. The Pope's visit is more than a great event for Catholics: it is a test of Britain's professionalism, hospitality, tolerance and maturity.

In the meantime, the Vatican has issued the official schedule; afternoon free timess have been identfied as rest or nap periods for the octogenarian pontiff, which have led to some smutty comments in on-line newspaper stories (demonstrating some failure in maturity, at least).

On the other hand, the Birmingham Oratory plans several special events around the celebration of Newman's beatification, including a conference with presentations by great Newman biographers (Fr. Ian Ker, Dr. William Oddie and Fr. Keith Beaumont), a performance of Elgar's oratorio based on Newman's "Dream of Gerontius", exhibitions, solemn vespers, Mass of Thanksgiving, and a pilgrimage to Littlemore!

When you read Newman's lectures on The Present Position of Catholics in England--even in an excerpt like this (and it is notably hard to excerpt Newman; one usually ends up with pages or more of "excerpts")--it's clear their position has not improved that much; instead of Protestants being the "enemy", as The Telegraph editorial comments, it's unbelievers or secularists, who cannot tolerate the claims of religion. Just substitute those words when Newman uses the word Protestants:

The duty of the Catholic Church is to preach to the world; and her promise and prerogative is success in preaching; but this is a subject which has not come into the scope of our discussions in this place. What I have been saying has no direct reference to any such end. I have not urged it on you, as I well might, in the case of those who, like you, love their religion so well that they wish others to enjoy the benefit of it with them. What I have said, however, does not presuppose this; it has not sprung out of any duty that we have of extending the limits of the Catholic pale; it would not have been superseded, if we had no such duty. I have not been aiming at the conversion of any persons, who are not Catholics, who have heard me: I have not been defending Catholic, or attacking Protestant doctrines, except indirectly and incidentally. The condition or hypothesis with which I have been entering into the discussion has been the present anti-Catholic agitation; and my object has been that of self-defence with reference to it. In the present state of things Catholics must, from the mere instinct of self-preservation, look about them; they are assailed by a very formidable party, or power, as I should rather call it, in this country, by its Protestantism. In the Protestantism of the country I do not include, of course, all who are not Catholics. By Protestants I mean the heirs of the Traditions of Elizabeth; I mean the country gentlemen, the Whig political party, the Church Establishment, and the Wesleyan Conference. I cannot over-estimate their power: they and their principles are established: yet I should be unjust, on the other hand, to all classes in the community if I made this Elizabethan Protestantism synonymous with the mind and the philosophy of the whole country. However, it is a tremendous power, and we are menaced by it; this is the condition of things . . .

Therefore, we should not be surprised of this last bit of news:

Catholic adoption agencies may no longer function in England and Wales as Catholic adoption agencies, because they place babies and children only with married heterosexual couples.

For those of use who are not going to England for the visit, there is this good news: EWTN will cover the events live and will have other special programming.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Preview of Upcoming Events

On Thursday, August 26, I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show to talk about Blessed Dominic Barberi and his connection to John Henry Newman--the usual time slot, 6:45 a.m. Central; 7:45 a.m. Eastern.

Then on Sunday, August 29, the interview taped earlier this year with Doug Keck for EWTN Bookmark will air at 8:30 a.m. Central; 9:30 a.m. Eastern--and they repeat it during the week.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An 80-Year Old Victim of the Popish Plot

The Catholic Herald highlights the martyrdom of St. John Kemble, found guilty of conspiring against King Charles II in the non-existent Popish Plot.

St. John Kemble was butchered by another incompetent executioner (see the story of Blessed Hugh Green) in Hereford after serving Catholics in Monmouthshire for more that 50--fifty!--years. The Anglicans in the area respected him and he had dwelt unmolested in his brother's castle (Pembridge). He was betrayed by the husband of one of his parishioners.
He was taken to London, where nothing could be proved against him in connection with the Popish Plot (since Titus Oates had made the whole thing up and had perjured himself before Parliament!). Therefore, he was found guilty of the old Elizabethan statute against the presence of Catholic priests in England. (He was born near the end of Elizabeth's reign in 1599 of a recusant family and ordained in 1625, so he was certainly guilty and had been for a longtime).
On August 22, 1679 he suffered, forgiving his enemies and proclaiming that he died for the religion that had made England Christian! Before his death, he asked for time to finish his prayers and smoke his last pipe and imbibe a last cup of wine, shared by the undersheriff (who after all had not arrested him for the last fifty years!) . Evidently, this is still remembered in Herefordshire in the sayings "a Kemble pipe" and "a Kemble cup".
The famous stage family, including Sarah (Kemble) Siddons, are related to this great priest and martyr. He is buried in an Anglican churchyard and area Catholics make a pilgrimage to his grave each August 22nd. His left hand is preserved in the Catholic church in Hereford, St. Francis Xavier.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Sequel--bien sur!

Trianon and Madame Royale certainly deserve to be read consecutively but the reader must adjust her expectations. After the poetic and multifaceted episodes of Trianon, offering different people’s views of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Madame Royale is a thorough-composed historical novel telling the story of their one surviving child, Marie-Therese, spanning time and place, with an omniscient narrator unbound by geography or character. The prologue, however, offers a transition in style of sorts, as it depicts a scene that presages the horror to befall the title character’s family—a scene of conspiracy and cruelty taking place while she is an innocent and unaware child.

While Elena-Maria Vidal artfully composes the episodes of Trianon to redress the calumnies against the king and queen consort and tell a sympathetic version of Revolutionary history, she addresses a more complex narrative in Madame Royale. This is a broader canvas—a more expansive scene: Marie-Therese travels the world widely, while her mother’s world was geographically restricted and Marie-Therese crosses the sea and the English Channel, while her mother never even saw the ocean. Such a story requires a more direct narrative approach.

Mother and daughter endure many of the same struggles, however: the family divisions, unhappy (at first) arranged marriages, misunderstanding, revolutions, violence, and flight. Marie-Therese must live with uncles who betrayed her father and slandered her mother while encountering a cousin whose father cast the deciding vote that condemned her father to death. She also accepts poverty, difficult travel, and most of all, takes on the frustrating and emotional effort to find out what happened to her little brother, abused and imprisoned in the Temple.

That narrative thread competes with the patterns of exile and restoration, triumph and defeat, charity and conflict that emerge from the story of the Bourbon court, first in England, then in France, then returning to France after Waterloo, then in Scotland , briefly in Italy and finally in Austria. Throughout these peregrinations, Madame Royale bears the burden of the Bourbon dynasty, encountering both betrayal and loyalty. Some of the best passages in the novel depict the conflict in Marie-Therese’s soul, as when she returns to the scenes of so much tragedy in the French Revolution during the festivities celebrating the restoration of the monarchy after Napoleon’s abdication and first exile. She recalls the suffering of her parents even as she experiences the triumph of her new family.

She is steadfast in her Catholic faith and devoted to the remembrance of her parents and the restoration of the Catholic Church in France, welcoming the Marian apparitions experienced by Catherine Laboure on Rue de Bac in Paris and the children at La Sallette.

Marie-Therese finally accepts a conclusion of uncertainty as to the fate of her brother. Although she never bears a child, she becomes the de facto mother of the heir to the Bourbon throne, Henri, the Comte de Chambord and his sister, Louise. She raises them while their mother, the widow of Marie-Therese’s brother-in-law, the Duc de Berry remarries and briefly fights for her son’s rights.

The drive and devotion of the title character infuse the narrative of Madame Royale, indefatigably following the heroic and amazing journey of Marie-Therese.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Catholic Advance

The editor for our local diocesan newspaper noticed that I had the article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and he CONTACTED ME for a story.

How nice! I wish I could find a similar interest in our local MSM newspaper, The Wichita Eagle. I have sent them two media releases about my book and my appearance on EWTN Live! but it is probably my fault for not making a strong enough connection. I'll try again with the Newman beatification--local interest since we have Newman University and the WSU Newman Center.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Newman an Anglican AND a Catholic--at the Same Time?

In this Catholic Herald comment/blog, William Oddie disagrees with the Anglican Professor John Milbank. The latter tries to say that Newman was a member of both the Church of England and the Catholic Church at the same time, which is an absurdity. As Dr. Oddie comments, Newman was a controversialist in these matters. After his conversion, he had little interest in Anglican matters. As I noted in my article published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, he still valued the Church of England as the bulwark it was against atheism, but he thought it was only a temporary half-way house to the one True Church, the Catholic Church.

The late Father Stanley Jaki would agree with William Oddie. I have a copy of the Catholic Dossier issue dedicated to Cardinal Newman with Father Jaki's article on "Newman and His Converts: An Existential Ecclesiology."

Apropos of that, this would be a interesting mug to have in one's office.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Little Off Topic, But It's a Birthday Present!

When I attended the Catholic Writers Conference last week, I obtained a copy of Trianon: A Novel of Royal France by Elena-Maria Vidal, kindly signed by the author. Reading it on my much delayed flight home I was transported to the places and time of Revolutionary France, almost completely secure within the world of Trianon. Although there were a couple times when the veil opened and I saw the art and intent behind the world Vidal creates in these vignettes, I was otherwise completely present and involved.

As in her most recent novel, The Night's Dark Shade, Vidal achieves wonderful immediacy and versimilitude in historical fiction. These episodes from the life of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette sympathetically and honestly depict the trials, triumphs, sadness, joy, and ultimate sacrifice of this much-maligned couple. They emerge as real people, neither monsters nor angels, but, as we are, mixtures of faults and virtues.

The novel begins with the celebration of St. Teresa of Avila's feast day, honored both at the Carmelite convent and at the French court. It ends with the death of the priest who accompanied Louis Capet to the guillotine as the one surviving member of the royal family, Marie-Therese, waits by his bedside. (Fortunately, her story is continued in Madame Royale.) In between, Vidal depicts how love grew between the royal couple after their arranged marriage of state, the births, growth, and deaths of their children, the rising tide of Revolution and the efforts of the King first to forestall it with reforms and then to survive it with accommodations that sometimes cost him dearly, and finally with the family's capture and imprisonment, the execution of Louis and then of Marie Antoinette, the abuse of the young Dauphin and the sufferings of Marie-Therese. I highly recommend this book, and its sequel.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Henry VIII and "Choosing a Good Husband"

Last weekend, my husband and I dropped in on the Midwest Catholic Family Conference here in Wichita to visit the vendors--particularly to meet with one vendor and one speaker. My husband took this picture and then recognized the juxtaposition of one of the images on my book and the title next to it--Henry VIII and The ABC's of Choosing a Good Husband!

Among all his other qualities, being a good husband might not be Henry VIII's strongest.

In my high school Latin class, we called that "litotes"!

There is also a companion volume, The ABC's of Choosing a Good Wife! In his own estimation, he may not have a good record there either: two for six?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sherlock Holmes and Pope Leo XIII?

Last week at the Catholic Writers Conference, I purchased this collection of previously undocumented cases solved by the great Victorian detective, Sherlock Holmes. He teamed up with Pope Leo XIII twice at the Vatican, and the pope even wrote a report on one of the cases when Dr. Watson could not accompany Holmes to Rome.

Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes contains three stories: "The Death of Cardinal Tosca", "The Vatican Cameos", and "The Second Coptic Patriarch". Within the recounting of these cases, we find out that Pope Leo XIII may have helped Holmes as much as Holmes helped him--after Holmes battled Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.

Chesterton's Father Brown (first as Deacon Brown) makes two appearances, and names like Henry Cardinal Manning, Nicholas Wiseman, John Henry Newman, and Ambrose St. John drop enticingly.

Writing a brilliant pastiche, Ann Margaret Lewis nevertheless undercovers serious issues in Victorian England: the tension between the newly refounded hierarchy and Queen Victoria, for instance, which precipitates the second mystery, "The Vatican Cameos" and the supposed conflict between faith and reason or religion and science which Holmes and Pope Leo debate.

Ann Margaret Lewis is the President of the Catholic Writers Guild and the organizer of the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE. I only hope Holmes had other cases at the Vatican previously unchronicled for the author to discover.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prayers for Newman's Feast

Following up on the anniversary of Newman's death/birth to eternal life yesterday--the blog Once I Was Clever Boy posts the proposed Propers for the Divine Office.

I like how the prayer mentions "your kindly light" and references being led "out of the shadows and images" into the fulness of truth!

"Clever Boy" also provides this link to the rest of the office of readings, from the Common of Pastors.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

John Henry Newman's Feast Day?

John Henry Cardinal Newman died on August 11, 1890. The Times of London reported his death on August 12:

"We have to record, with feelings of the most sincere regret, the death of His Eminence Cardinal Newman. He died last evening at the Oratory, Edgbaston, in his 90th year, after less than three days' illness. The Cardinal has for many years manifested the feebleness of advanced age, although he has fully retained his mental faculties, and has rallied in a wonderful manner from more than one severe illness. . . .

"The medical attendants have issued the following account of their patient's last illness. "The Oratory, August 11, 1890. His Eminence Cardinal Newman was seized with inflammation of the right lung at 2 o'clock a.m. on Sunday, August 10. He very rapidly became worse until this evening at 8:45, when he expired. His Eminence expressed himself as feeling quite well an hour before this attack occurred.—G. Vernon Blunt, M.D.; C. H. Jenner Hogg, M.R.C.S.E." The private prayers of the congregation were asked for the Cardinal at the Oratory Church on Sunday, and in the evening there were numerous and anxious inquiries respecting him. He will be buried at the little country retreat of the Oratorians, at Rednall, where there is a private cemetery and chapel. The body will be exposed in the Oratory Church from noon today until it is removed for burial. The date of the funeral is not yet fixed."

Next year, this could be his Feast Day! (St. Clare of Assisi is already honored on that day, however.) I presume he will be added to the National Calendar for England and Wales and that there will be other projects to honor his beatification.

The Catholic Herald posted this story about the shrines to be built in his honor at the three Oratories in England: Birmingham, Oxford, and London.

"The Birmingham Oratory
In Birmingham, St Philip Neri’s chapel on the south side of the high altar is to be re-dedicated to Newman and contain his relics.

"The Oxford Oratory
The Oxford Oratory has major, long-term plans to include a new chapel designed by Anthony Delarue in their extension to the north-west end of St Aloysius church. . . .They have designed a temporary shrine dedicated to Newman to go into the chapel, with a reredos in the form of a copy of the Ouless portrait, contained in an elegant Classical aedicule. It promises to be a fitting anticipation of a permanent memorial to Newman in Oxford.

"The London Oratory
The London Oratory has commissioned a new chapel to be dedicated to Newman, designed by Russell Taylor, one of the most distinguished Classical architects currently working in Britain, to be situated beneath the organ loft in the south aisle, and replaces the Calvary chapel."

John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Don't forget that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show today!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Age of Dryden

John Dryden, English Poet Laureate and Catholic convert, was born on August 9, 1631; he so dominated the Restoration era of literature that it is called "The Age of Dryden". He was a poet, playwright, critic, and translator, of course establishing the heroic couplet as the standard in poetry of the age.

His play, "All for Love: Or, the World Well Lost" was an attempt to revive Shakesperean tragedy, while his "Marriage a la Mode" signifies his dominance in Restoration Comedy, after the Puritan ban on the stage was lifted by Charles II.

His satiric poetry is occasional, as when he wrote "Absalom and Achitophel" as a commentary on the Exclusion crisis, the Popish Plot and the Monmouth Rebellion during Charles II's reign.

Around 1685, Dryden became a Catholic. In 1687, he published "The Hind and the Panther" a long poem describing his conversion. With the accession of William and Mary, Dryden refused to take the new Oaths of Allegiance and he lost his position as Poet Laureate and retired to work on translations of ancient Greek and Latin writers. He translated works of Horace, Juvenal, Ovid, Lucretius, Theocritus, and Virgil.

He died on May 1, 1700 and is buried in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner.

Now only English majors focusing on the literature of the British Isles would read Dryden--I haven't read him since I had to in Restoration lit courses, I admit. I studied Andrew Marvell and John Donne in courses too, and I do read their poetry for pleasure now. Luminarium offers many of his works on-line, perhaps we should sample them. "Alexander's Feast" or "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day" are shorter works to start with.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Venerable John Henry Newman and the Son Rise Morning Show

I'll be on the air Wednesday morning, August 11 at 6:45 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern--for all you early risers!--to discuss the upcoming beatification of John Henry Newman on the Son Rise Morning Show. Newman died on August 11, 1890, so it presumably will be his feast day.
Last week I heard that Brian Patrick's mother was very ill, so I might be talking to Matt Swaim.

You can listen live HERE.

A Wedding in Scotland

On August 8, 1503, Margaret Tudor of England married James IV of Scotland. This marriage, of course, was one of the three Henry VII negotiated to forge alliances. Margaret married James IV; Mary, King Louis XII of France, and Arthur, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain.

The marriage of Margaret Tudor and James IV was blessed with a male heir, who reigned in Scotland as James V. By James V's second marriage, to Mary of Guise, was born Mary, who reigned briefly (as had Mary Tudor) as Queen Consort of France before returning to Scotland as Queen.

Both Margaret and Mary Tudor became widows: James IV died on the battlefield of Flodden, a battle overseen by Catherine of Aragon as Henry VIII's regent. Louis XII was 53 years old when he married the young Mary Tudor, hoping to conceive a male heir; after three months of trying, he died. Much against her brother's will, Mary got married to Charles Brandon, Henry VIII's good friend.

Margaret also remarried, to Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and their daughter Margaret was born in 1515. Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox was the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley who would marry the Queen of Scotland in 1565. Margaret Douglas and Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's daughter, not his sister) were very good friends.

Although Henry VIII had been opposed to his younger sister's marriage to Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, he chose her heirs to succeed his children, bypassing his older sister's. The irony is that the available heirs of either Mary or Margaret were female: Frances Brandon who married Henry Grey and had three daughters: Jane, Catherine, and Mary; and of course, Mary, Queen of Scots!

Confused yet? Margaret and Mary, Mary and Mary, Margaret, Mary, and Mary! That's why I provide a bookmark guide to all the common names when I do book signings. The Tudor family tree is quite complex.

If you want to understand Henry VIII's relationship with his two sisters, I'd recommend Maria Perry's The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France. Tumultuous is an apt word!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Homiletic & Pastoral Review Article

My article titled "Preparing the Church for Converts" is in the August/September issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. The table of contents includes the precis: "Newman and the Oxford Movement offer lessons for Catholics and Anglicans today". I can't wait to receive my courtesy copies! (Subscription is required to see the article on-line.)

Devotions of Thomas Weld

Note this interesting story from The Catholic Herald in the UK--an 18th century recusant's devotional diary, found in the archives of a Sussex convent, dating from 1792.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Last Morning at the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE!

I'm in the American Airlines Admirals Club room waiting to board my late afternoon flight. The airport shuttle left the hotel filled with Catholic marketers and me, the only author in the van. With so much time before my flight, I decided to buy the day pass, which I was able to do at the check-in kiosk.

I attended only one session of the Catholic Writers Conference because I had to check out at 11 a.m. from the Radisson. First I went to the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson for the Catholic Marketing Network's Rosary and Daily Mass (for the Feast of the Transfiguration!) and then walked over to the Scanticon hotel to attend the session on Trends in Catholic Publishing---which can really summarized with one idea: electronic media. The Kindle, Nook, IPad with Kindle app--all the publishers thought that was the future. They also said that some books are better for electronic media and some books will always need to be printed. Right now, you cannot browse or even search the ebooks that well.

I admit that I have been reacting negatively to the idea of ebooks; I thought it was great a couple of weeks ago when an acquaintance of mine announced that he wanted to start a new bookstore in Wichita, with the title TANGIBLE BOOKS! (He and his partners intend to open a 24 hour bookstore and coffee shop in downtown Wichita!) But the panelists today said this new electronic media could really be beneficial to authors, because it will reduce the publishers' risk in taking on the writer's project! So perhaps I just need to think about how different media suit different books.

It was a fascinating session and after it I went over to the Catholic Marketing Network show to buy a Cardinal Newman coffee mug (!) at a vendor who told me Wednesday he would sell it to me the last day of the show. I also picked up a couple of free books from Sophia Institute Press (uncorrected press proofs). Then I had to hussle back to the Radisson to finish packing and check-out and then wait for the shuttle. I completed my evaluation form for the Catholic Writers Conference and dropped it off too.

I just ate a tuna salad sandwich here in the Admirals Club (seemed shipshape to me) and am now reading Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Ann Margaret Lewis, the organizer of the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day Two of the Catholic Writers Conference

Thursday, August 5, 2010; King of Prussia, Penn.,--Today began with a social event (buffet breakfast and presentations); then I pitched a book and article ideas to two editors; handed off a book proposal to another; met again with the rep for my publisher and attended a couple of sessions--one on Catholic journalism.

I am eager to go home, I admit, and will pack my bag this evening after attending another social event. My airport shuttle leaves at 12:00 noon, so I have another long travel day ahead of me.
Everyone I have talked to has been very positive and supportive--and I have tried to be the same!

Mary I, Queen of England

Mary Tudor, Queen of England and Ireland has recently been receiving scholarly attention--not just the "interpretation" by the London Dungeon--with biographies and studies. Last year I reviewed Judith Richard's biography on Amazon.com and provided a review essay for First Things on-line that mentioned Richard's book, Linda Porter's biography, Eamon Duffy's Fires of Faith, and this biography I browsed through at Blackwell's in Oxford last July, but is just being released here in the USA next month: Anna Whitelock's Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen. Random House describes the book further here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day One of the Catholic Writers Conference Live

This morning began with the Rosary and daily Mass hosted by the Catholic Marketing Network in the Radisson grand ballroom. Then I walked over to the Catholic Writers Conference in the Scanticon Valley Forge Hotel, through a labyrinthine maze of hallways.

The first session was an introduction to the Catholic Writers Guild and what it offers -- I met several authors before the session started and enjoyed hearing about their books (and telling them about mine)!

The second session I attended (there were three options) was a presentation by Lisa Wheeler of The Maximus Group, a PR and Communications agency. She gave several good tips on book promotion. I then attended a session on "How to Make the Most of Your Blog" which I left half way through to take a tour of the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in the Valley Forge Convention Center on the lower level of the hotel. I talked to one publisher about submitting a book proposal, one print media company about publishing a review of Supremacy and Survival, and one broadcast media company about a TV interview. I also stopped by my publisher's booth, Scepter and checked in with their marketing specialist.

After lunch in the Radisson, I walked back over to the Scanticon to attend the panel discussion on Catholic fiction which included my friend Elena-Maria Vidal and then stayed in the same room to hear her talk on Catholic historical fiction. She and I plan to get together for a reception tonight here in the Radisson.
When I arrived back in my room and connected to the internet, I found this very nice post by Rich Leonardi, Ten Reasons blogger and Catechist on the Son Rise Morning Show! Then I found this nice post on Le Fleur de Lys too!

This is a huge complex and walking back and forth between the Scanticon and the Radisson will probably be my main form of exercise this week! I do need to step outside; I've been in the hotel complex all day.

The Catholic Writers Conference Live

I am in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania this week attending the Catholic Writers Conference. I arrived yesterday afternoon at the Philadelphia International Airport and rode a shuttle with several other attendees to the hotel here at the Valley Forge Convention Center. Attendance at the Catholic Writers Conference also includes access to the Catholic Marketing Network show and convention, so I look forward to seeing vendors, including my publisher, Scepter. I met a blogging and book reviewing friend, author Elena-Maria Vidal last night for dinner!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Day of Triumph for Mary Tudor

On August 3, 1553 Mary Tudor, now Queen of England and Ireland, entered London in triumph. She had defeated the attempt by her deceased half-brother Edward VI and the president of his council, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland to place Lady Jane Dudley (nee Gray) on the throne in contravention of Henry VIII's will.
Her half-sister Elizabeth accompanied Mary on this triumphant day--the restoration of Mary's claim to the throne as willed by Henry VIII also meant that Elizabeth's claim was more secure. Mary's anointing and coronation as Queen in October meant that Elizabeth could be anointed and crowned, because Mary set the precedent for a Queen Regnant to receive the same regalia and ritual a King Regnant received.

The "Nine Days Queen" was held in the Tower of London as was her spouse, Guildford Dudley. Mary demonstrated remarkable clemency in not having Jane executed immediately for treason--although Jane's father-in-law, John Dudley would soon be on the block!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elizabeth I's Erstwhile French Suitor Dies

On August 2, 1589 Henri III, last Valois King of France, died from wounds sustained the day previous during an attack by a crazed assassin (a Dominican friar!). As the Duke of Anjou, he had briefly been a suitor to Elizabeth I in 1570 (the date of this portrait).

His death cleared the way for Henri IV to come to the throne of France, establishing the Bourbon dynasty. Formerly Protestant he became Catholic ("Paris is well worth a Mass") and issued the Edict of Nantes. (Henri IV would also be assassinated, by Francois Ravaillac in 1610.)

Comparing and contrasting England and France during the Reformation era yields some fascinating distinctions. French Huguenots and the Crown fought a series of Wars of Religion, going back and forth on religious rights for the French Calvinists. As Duke of Anjou and as King of France, Henri was involved in the armed conflict, for instance at the seige of La Rochelle. When he issued the Edict of Beaulieu, granting concessions to the Huguenots, the Duke of Guise formed the Catholic League against Henri; then Henri had him assassinated.

England endured rebellions and recusancy but escaped outright civil war until the reign of the Charles I. England never held a meeting like the Colloquy of Poissy or issued any edicts allowing Catholics even limited freedom of worship. The crucial difference must be that the Catholic Church was not the established Church of France. The Valois kings--or their mother and regent, Catherine de Medici--may have fought the Huguenots, but they always had to deal with the factions of the Bourbons and the House of Guise. Therefore she and her sons were sometimes willing to grant freedoms to the Huguenots when they needed the aid of the Bourbons against the House of Guise. Then she would need to clamp down on the Huguenots and the Bourbons when she desired the support of the House of Guise!
In England, the Wars of the Roses and subsequent purging of the any noble rivals by the Tudors, especially Henry VII and VIII AND the position of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as the Supreme Head and Governor of the established Church of England meant fewer opportunities or less necessity for negotiation. Commoners or nobles might rise against Henry and his daughter (the Pilgrimage of Grace; the Northern Rebellion), but the field of battle was different, and as I commented two days ago in my review of the book about the Northern Rebellion, English rebels were not so willing to shed English blood in the Tudor era--or at least, not to do so in the quantity necessary to prevail in their efforts.