Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Magna Carta and the English Reformation

Here's a subject for more research: did Henry VIII's actions from 1533 to 1535 violate the Magna Carta?

King John signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215, and the first clause contains this language:

FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.
and this guarantee is repeated at the end:
IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fulness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.

Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the abovementioned people and many others.

Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.
William Cobbett thought so in the 18th century--Robert Aske thought so in the 16th.
Remember that part of the background for the Magna Carta was the dispute over the election of Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury when John wanted another candidate. Pope Innocent III excommunicated John and placed England under the Interdict. Although they started out on different sides, Langton and the Barons united to force King John to seal (not sign) the Magna Carta. And, although they started out on different sides, Pope Innocent III and King John were against the Magna Carta and the barons, because John had made England a fief of the Papacy (feudally).
It's rather confusing, really, because what did Langton mean by "the English Church shall be free"?--free from interference from the monarch/the state or free from interference from the the Pope/the universal Church? Aske and Cobbett thought the former; Tudor and Stuart interpreters, like jurist Edward Coke, thought the latter.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Act of Supremacy, 1534

On October 30, 1534 the English Parliament passed Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy. Here is the text:

Albeit the king's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognized by the clergy of this realm in their convocations, yet nevertheless, for corroboration and confirmation thereof, and for increase of virtue in Christ's religion within this realm of England, and to repress and extirpate all errors, heresies, and other enormities and abuses heretofore used in the same, be it enacted, by authority of this present Parliament, that the king, our sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, called Anglicans Ecclesia; and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm, as well the title and style thereof, as all honors, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity of the supreme head of the same Church belonging and appertaining; and that our said sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, kings of this realm, shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities, whatsoever they be, which by any manner of spiritual authority or jurisdiction ought or may lawfully be reformed, repressed, ordered, redressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquility of this realm; any usage, foreign land, foreign authority, prescription, or any other thing or things to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.

Obviously it gave the monarch a wide range of power. I would say however that it failed in so doing to conserve "the peace, unity, and tranquility of this realm." Thus, as depicted above, Henry VIII rejected the spiritual and ecclesiastical authority of the Pope in England.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Evelyn Waugh's Birthday

Evelyn Waugh was born on October 28, 1903, and he became a Catholic on September 29, 1930, much to the shock of his readers and friends.

He was quite a prolific writer--I've enjoyed the dark humor and satire of his novels: Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, A Handful of Dust, etc--possibly best known for Brideshead Revisited because of the British TV mini-series and the recent movie adaptations.

After the Second Vatican Council and the introduction of the Novus Ordo, Waugh trenchantly protested against the changes in the celebration of the Mass, although he is not listed among those who signed a letter to Pope Paul VI, requesting an indult for the celebration of the Tridentine Rite in 1971:

Harold Acton, Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Bayler, Lennox Berkeley, Maurice Bowra, Agatha Christie, Kenneth Clark, Nevill Coghill, Cyril Connolly, Colin Davis, Hugh Delargy, +Robert Exeter, Miles Fitzalan-Howard, Constantine Fitzgibbon, William Glock, Magdalen Gofflin, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Ian Greenless, Joseph Grimond, Harman Grisewood, Colin Hardie, Rupert Hart-Davis, Barbara Hepworth, Auberon Herbert, John Jolliffe, David Jones, Osbert Lancaster, F.R. Leavis, Cecil Day Lewis, Compton Mackenzie, George Malcolm, Max Mallowan, Alfred Marnau, Yehudi Menuhin, Nancy Mitford, Raymond Mortimer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Iris Murdoch, John Murray, Sean O'Faolain, E.J. Oliver, Oxford and Asquith, William Plomer, Kathleen Raine, William Rees-Mogg, Ralph Richardson, +John Ripon, Charles Russell, Rivers Scott, Joan Sutherland, Philip Toynbee, Martin Turnell, Bernard Wall, Patrick Wall, E.I Watkin, R.C. Zaehner.

Pope Paul granted the indult: you might notice Agatha Christie's name in bold in the list--it is commonly called the "Agatha Christie Indult" because the Pope recognized her name! You might also note that many musicians signed the letter, which referenced the influence of the Latin Mass on art and music--Joan Sutherland, La Stupenda, died 10/10/10. And certainly, not all who signed the letter were Catholic! Colin Hardie was the classicist, Fellow at Balliol, Oxford.

Evelyn Waugh's correspondence with Cardinal Heenan is compiled in A Bitter Trial

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Renaissance Humanist is Born

Desiderius Erasmus was born on October 27, 1466. He traveled several times to England and met several prominent figures of the English Reformation period.

In 1499 he came to England, hoping to find some employment (as he had left the monastery) and did meet John Colet, then preaching on St. Paul at Oxford. Without any preferment, he traveled to Italy for further study.

He went back to England in 1505 and then met William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Foxe, Archbishop of Winchester, and Bishop John Fisher, who was overseeing the foundation of Christ's College at Cambridge.

Erasmus returned to England in 1509 and wrote The Praise of Folly with its Latin pun on Thomas More's name: Moriae encomium; he left England to have the book printed in Paris. In August of 1511, John Fisher invited him to teach Greek at Cambridge and Erasmus also received a living and a pension. In 1513, he went to Basel where he accomplished much of the work on his Novum Instrumentum edition of the New Testament. In 1515, 1516, and 1517, he made brief visits to England.

Unlike More and Fisher, however, Erasmus did not engage in apologetic works on Catholic teaching in answer to Martin Luther or other reformers. Like the late John Colet, he agreed with Luther that reforms were necessary in the Church, but he certainly was not in favor of completely dividing from the Catholic Church. He mourned the executions of Thomas More and John Fisher, but probably did not understand the faith, certitude and commitment that motivated them to oppose Henry VIII and refuse to accept his supremacy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A New Thomas is Chancellor of England

After the dismissal of Thomas Wolsey as Chancellor on October 25th, Henry did something new: he named a lay Chancellor. Sir Thomas More, Knight and Member of the Privy Council succeeded the Archbishop of York on October 26, 1529, while Henry re-evaluated his efforts to replace Katherine of Aragon with Anne Boleyn as his wife. Thomas More, as Chancellor, would not be involved in these efforts: Thomas Cromwell, who would eventually succeed him, would take the lead. Since More was a layman, he did not give his opinion on the validity of Henry's marriage.

More concentrated on the High Court of Chancery, where he judged many cases, including those for heresy, especially of relapsed heretics.

He resigned on May 16, 1532, pleading ill health--but actually he had opposed the latest of Henry's Acts of Parliament to separate English spiritual and ecclesiastical matters from the Pope in Rome, and More knew that Henry would not accept further opposition. He retired in poverty to his home in Chelsea, after less than three years in office.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Side with that Portion of London?

Inspired by this blog post, I'd like to take another trip from London to Winchester! Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in England with the longest nave of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St. Peter and St. Paul, and St. Swithin, and is the cathedral of the diocese of Winchester in the Church of England.

St. Swithun was the Anglo-Saxon, Catholic Bishop of Winchester in the 9th century. Of course, his shrine was desecrated and destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The feast of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester is celebrated on July 15 on the Kalender of Common Worship in the Church of England, and a shrine to him has been restored.

Jane Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral. The Cathedral honored her this past summer with some special programs.

While there, we will certainly have to sing "Winchester Cathedral" -- watch this version by Petula Clark.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fall of Wolsey

Early next Monday morning, I'll visit with Brian Patrick on the Son Rise Morning Show, as we meditate on the fall of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England. Henry VIII dismissed him from office on October 25, 1529. I'll be in the last segment of the program, around 6:45 a.m. Central; 7:45 a.m. Eastern.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

William Penn, Papist?

William and Mary deposed William Penn as Governor of Pennsylvania on October 21, 1692. The great Quaker was accused of being a Papist!

He was accused of being a Papist because he had been supporting James II's Declaration of Indulgence which "suspended all penal laws in matters ecclesiastical for not attending the established Church of England or not receiving communion according to its rites; permitted people to worship other than in the established Church of England either in private houses or in chapels; ended the requirement that people take various religious oaths before advancement to civil or military office." (as summarized on The Jacobite Heritage site.)
This Declaration would have applied to Catholics, all Protestant dissenters, including Quakers, and Jews. Penn went on preaching tour while visiting England to support James II's efforts. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Toleration Act of 1689 made those actions traitorous; Penn was imprisoned and lost all his lands to the Crown. He was eventually freed and spent many years in England involved in court cases against an embezzling agent.

Theologically, of course, Penn was not a Catholic. Indeed, he denied the central doctrine of Christianity, the Trinity, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for this denial in 1668 and 1669. But in Anglican terms at that time, being a Quaker was as bad as being a Papist, and Penn was even called a "Jesuit"!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My interview with the Catholic Writers Guild

I recently participated in an email interview with Maria for the Catholic Writers Guild newsletter; reproduced here by permission. If you are a Catholic writer and are interesting in a belonging to an organization that supports and encourages you, I'd recommend joining. I hope to attend the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE next year in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.


Stephanie, your book Supremacy and Survival is about how Catholics endured the English Reformation. Can you say in 3 words what characteristics allowed Catholics to survive such a tumultuous time?
Stephanie: Faithfulness. Courage. Priests.

Maria: What did you think about the Pope's visit to London? Turning point or moot point? Why? (By the way, were you there?)
Stephanie: I was not able to attend--I hope the visit will be a turning point for Catholics in Britain, at least. It should revive their faith and their dedication to Jesus. Pope Benedict made a special appeal to the young people, reminding them that happiness only comes with holiness. He also encouraged the Bishops in England and Scotland to welcome former Anglican priests and bishops and their congregations through the program he outlined in "Anglicanorum Coetibus." People in England, Scotland and Wales just have to act upon his encouragement.

Maria: How did you research or prepared to write this book? Was it easy to find a publisher?
Stephanie: I first taught a class, which helped me organize my material. Then I just kept supplementing my background in English history with books, articles, on-line resources, etc--rewriting and rewriting to lose the research in the story as much as possible. As to finding a publisher, I sent out Book Proposals to almost a dozen Catholic publishers and John G. Powers from Scepter wrote back to me a year after I'd sent the proposal asking to see the manuscript. Then I addressed some of his suggestions and rewrote the manuscript, working with a great copy editor.

Maria: If you had to pick ONE most influential English Catholic of the 16th & 17th century, who would that be? (I know, that may be an unfair question)
Stephanie: St. Thomas More is probably the more conventional answer--but I think of that era, it would be George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, founder of Maryland. He set out to prove that a Catholic could be true to his Church and his monarch, something no one countenanced in the 17th century. Lord Baltimore founded his colony with freedom of religion and true tolerance as its unique feature; one did not have to belong to the Church of England to take part its governance.

In the eighteenth century, it would be Richard Challoner, the Vicar Apostolic for England. He worked very hard to remind Catholics of that age of their legacy of holiness and martyrdom, while they were so ignored by British society that it wasn't worth persecuting them anymore!

In the nineteenth: Blessed John Henry Newman.

In the twentieth: ChesterBelloc (G. K. Chesterton AND Hilaire Belloc)

Maria: I may be looking at this twistedly, but my first thought upon the recent wave of Anglican conversions was: "will those beautiful churches finally be returned to their rightful "owners" (the Catholic Church)? But of course souls are more important than buildings. Do you think we will be experiencing more Anglican conversions into the Catholic Church?
Stephanie: Yes I do. But in England at least, "we" will never get those great Cathedrals back!

Maria: You had a recent interview on EWTN (September 19), how was that interview experience on EWTN?
Stephanie: I went to EWTN in January of this year, appeared on EWTN Live with Father Mitch Pacwa and then taped the Bookmark episode with Doug Keck the next day. By the time it aired, I really had forgotten what I said! The hospitality at EWTN was great and I really appreciated the opportunity.

Maria: Not only are you writer but also a speaker on various topics, like the English Reformation, Saints of the 16th & 17th century, Kings and Queens of England, etc. What is your favorite topic?
Stephanie: Probably my favorite is to discuss Blessed John Henry Newman--I just appeared on Barbara McGuigan's The Good Fight this weekend (October 2) and spoke recently at our local Newman Center, addressing aspects of his life and teachings.

Maria: Who is your favorite British saint?
Stephanie: Blessed John Henry Newman

Maria: What advice would you give to future writers wanting to tackle a historical topic?
Stephanie: Find some way to test your thesis on an audience--write shorter articles for publication or teach a class; prepare a platform with a website and a blog. Since you have some knowledge and background, just find the best sources you can and integrate them into your narrative.

Maria: So, what does a smart girl like you do in her free time? For some reason I picture you watching British comedies, like Faulty Towers and Yes Minister or are you more of a Dr. Who fan? What do you do to relax and refresh your mind?
Stephanie: I do like to watch TCM movies, but I'm not an aficionado of British comedy that much, although my favorite actors and actresses are from the UK (Deborah Kerr, Vivien Leigh, Robert Donat, etc). My husband and I have two dogs we enjoy walking and playing with. I love to travel and to plan trips--I'm hoping we can go to London next year with a priest friend (with side trips to Oxford/Littlemore and Winchester) and looking forward to a trip to Paris next

Maria: Thank you Stephanie, this was great!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Destinations in London

On this well-imagined London trip, I also have a list of sights to see and places to visit in London itself:
  • The Convent at Tyburn

  • Westminster Cathedral and the CTS Bookshop

  • St. Etheldreda's

  • The Bromption Oratory

  • Victoria and Albert Museum (its tower is pictured above from that trip several years ago)

  • Chelsea--St. Thomas More statue

  • The British Library

  • St. Bartholomew the Great

  • Gordon's Wine Bar (near the Embankment tube)

  • Grays of Westminster (Nikon) and R.G. Lewis (Leica)

(The camera stores are on my husband's wish list.) We have done absolutely nothing to prepare for this trip--no dates, no flights, no lodging--it's just a dream.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oriel College, Oxford

Oriel College will surely be on our itinerary should we visit Oxford next year on our day trip from London. (The picture above is from our last trip together to Oxford.) It was founded in 1324 under the patronage of King Edward II. During the English Civil War it was the home of King Charles I's Privy Council.

Before the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century, it was home to the Oriel Noetics, Richard Whately and Thomas Arnold. John Henry Newman came under the influence of Whately for a time. Then the Oxford or Tractarian Movement began in 1833, with Fellows John Keble and Blessed John Henry Newman as leaders, writing Tracts and giving sermons.

Sir Walter Raleigh, Cardinal William Allen, Samuel Wilberforce, Anglican Bishop of Oxford, and many other famous alumni attended Oriel.

Last year when I attended the Oxford Experience at Christ Church Oriel was closed to visitors every day--so I really hope we can visit it next year, especially since Oriel is responding very well to the beatification of Newman (like Trinity, they sent representatives to the Mass on September 19).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Regicides, Revenge and "Saints"

  • On October 17, 1660, the Restoration of Charles II looked back to the execution of the king's father on January 30, 1649. The Indemity and Oblivion Act forgave many of the faults of the former regimes during the Interregnum while the Declaration of Breda proclaimed that Charles had succeeded his father in 1649, as though the past eleven years had not mattered. But it mattered that 59 commissioners had condemned Charles I to death, and 31 of them were still alive. (The illustration above depicts the trial of Charles I.)
  • Some of the bodies of the deceased--particularly Oliver Cromwell's--were exhumed and hung in chains for their treason. Cromwell's head was mounted on a pole outside Westminster Hall until 1685.
  • Ten men were tried in October and endured hanging or hanging, drawing, and quartering on October 17, 1660. Others still living had fled to the Continent--some were imprisoned in the Tower of London for the rest of their lives.

  • In 1660, King Charles I was named a martyr-saint in the Church of England, although he is not commonly honored today, except by the Society of King Charles the Martyr (SKCM). The Church of England honors "saints" but doesn't really call them SAINTS. It has no process for canonization and the church makes no judgment that those it honors are in heaven; they don't look for miracles--just historical importance, obvious devotion, and an avoidance of controversy (according to the Lambeth Conference).

  • A look at the Kalendar for Common Worship certainly demonstrates the range of those honored throughout the year. Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Thomas More, William Tyndale, and John Fisher are honored--as are William Laud and George Fox. John Keble and John Henry Newman; Florence Nightingale (a Unitarian Universalist) and Edith Cavell. There are quite a few High-Church, Anglo-Catholic names: William Law, Thomas Ken, Richard Hooker, John Mason Neale. On May 4th, there is a catch-all feast for the England Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era, which includes Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants; there is no standard for orthodoxy within the list. Thomas a Becket and John Wyclif are honored at the end of the year, December 29 and 31 respectively. A couple of Popes even make the list--Gregory the Great and Leo the Great--although they are called Bishops of Rome.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cardinal William Allen, RIP

Cardinal William Allen, founder of colleges and seminaries for English Catholics on the Continent in the 16th century, died on October 16, 1594. He was also responsible for the English translation of the Holy Bible, the Douai-Rheims version.

He attended Oriel College at Oxford and became a Fellow there. With the accession of Elizabeth I, he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy. Therefore he had to leave England and went into exile on the Continent, joining other Catholics in Leuven in present-day Belgium. Allen returned to England before ordination and began to work with Catholics, recognizing that the religious changes legislated by Parliament were not the will of the people.

So he returned to the Continent and went to another town in Flanders, Mechelen. (When I visited Belgium many years ago, I had no idea of these connections!) There he was ordained in 1565--and never returned to England. Allen founded the college and seminary in Douai for the training of English Catholic priests to return to their native land to serve the Catholic people.

Allen also founded the English College in Rome for the same purpose. He had to move the college at Douai to Rheims--all the while working on an English translation of the Holy Bible. First the New Testament was produced at Rheims in 1582; the Old Testament was delayed until 1609--published two years before King James's Authorized Version.

Those are Allen's uncontrovertible achievements; however, he also dabbled in political and diplomatic efforts. There his record is more controversial as he encouraged the excommunication of Elizabeth I, attempts to remove her from the throne, and the Spanish Armada. It was planned that he would follow the victorious Armada and become the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury!

When all these plans came to naught, Allen became a Librarian at the Vatican and helped found another English college in Spain. He died in Rome at the Venerable English College.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trinity College, Oxford

My husband and I recently had dinner with the priest who was Newman Center Chaplain when we were in college--and who concelebrated our wedding Mass. We traveled with him several years ago on trips to Rome and to London and we started talking about another trip to London. As my husband well knows, just talking about traveling encourages me to start planning a trip. There are lots of sights to see in London, and I've made a list, but we also like to plan day trips by train. We talked about returning to Oxford.

One place to visit there is Trinity College, founded by Thomas Pope in 1555 on the site of Durham College, where the monks from Durham studied before the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Mary I and Philip of Spain gave Thomas Pope the patents and approvals to found The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. He intended the students and fellows of the college to remember him and his wife in prayers and Masses after their deaths. Of course, that purpose was never fulfilled because by the time the college was built, Elizabeth I had come to the throne and the Church of England would soon take over.

The College is located on Broad Street, next to Blackwell's Bookstore (in the photo above) and the White Horse pub! It is open to visitors from 10 to 12 and 14-16 Monday through Friday with a nominal entrance charge.

Famous students of Trinity are Cecil Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, A.E.W. Mason, the novelist, and of course, Blessed John Henry Newman. The College sent representatives to the Mass of Beatification on September 19. Trinity College honored Newman in 1878 as an Honorary Fellow, the year before he received the Cardinal's hat from Pope Leo XIII.

Jay Gatsby said he attended Trinity in Fitzgerald's novel.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

James II and VII Born

On October 14, 1633, King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria welcomed the birth of their second son and third child, further securing the succession. James was titled the Duke of York. During the English Civil War he was captured by Fairfax but escaped to Holland.
He served in the armies of France and of Spain while on the Continent after the fall of the monarchy and the execution of his father. He secretly married Anne Hyde, the daughter of Lord Clarendon in 1660, but continued his womanizing ways. Anne bore him two daughters, Mary and Anne. When Charles II returned to England and the throne, James became the Lord High Admiral and declared himself a Catholic in 1672.
Anne Hyde, the Duchess of York had also become a Catholic and died in 1671--James then married Mary Beatrice of Modena, a Catholic Italian princess.
His reputation for courage in battle suffered after the invasion of William of Orange. He panicked and fled for France. Before the Battle of the Boyne he suffered nose bleeds and did not execute a successful battle plan. The Encyclopedia Britannica in 1910 offered this harsh assessment:
"The political ineptitude of James is clear; he often showed firmness when conciliation was needful, and weakness when resolution alone could have saved the day. Moreover, though he mismanaged almost every political problem with which he personally dealt, he was singularly tactless and impatient of advice. But in general political morality he was not below his age, and in his advocacy of toleration decidedly above it. He was more honest and sincere than Charles II, more genuinely patriotic in his foreign policy, and more consistent in his religious attitude. That his brother retained the throne while James lost it is an ironical demonstration that a more pitiless fate awaits the ruler whose faults are of the intellect, than one whose faults are of the heart."
The line, "But in general political morality he was not below his age, and in his advocacy of toleration decidedly above it" does give James the credit he deserves although it does not go far enough. James did not just advocate toleration or tolerance; his Declaration of Indulgence addresses freedom of conscience for his subjects.
Also, as I have alluded to Edward Corps' The Court in Exile before, he seems to have repented both for the moral harm he did in being unfaithful to both his wives and for the political errors he made in ruling while he lived in France at St. Germain-en-Laye. James became prayerful and devout, and more sincerely lived up to his religious beliefs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Discerning Hearts: Podcast from "Inside the Pages"

Last week, I recorded this interview with Kris McGregor of KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio Network in Omaha/Lincoln, Nebraska.

Kris comments: “Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation is an outstanding introduction to the persecution of Catholics [that] began in 16th century England. Lasting over 250 years, the effects can still be felt in some ways even in today’s world. But through the witness of great saints such as St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher to Blessed John Henry Newman, Catholics in England, as well as throughout the rest of the world, have been encouraged and inspired to continue standing for the truths found in the Catholic Church, which ultimately reflect the great Truth, who is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Stephanie Mann does a beautiful job of presenting this period and many of those heroic lives in her work."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Henry VIII, Defender of the Faith!!

Pope Leo X conferred the honor and title of "Defender of the Faith" upon King Henry VIII on October 11, 1521! Henry VIII sought the title and wrote his Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defense of the Seven Sacraments) as a refutation of Martin Luther's teaching to obtain it.

Henry further wrote to Pope Leo X that it was part of his duty as King of England to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church:

No duty is more incumbent on a Catholic sovereign than to preserve and increase the Christian faith and religion and the proofs thereof, and to trans­mit them preserved thus inviolate to posterity, by his example in preventing them from being destroyed by any assailant of the Faith or in any wise impaired.

He went on to comment on his efforts to eliminate the heresy of Luther's teaching:

But convinced that, in our ardour for the welfare of Christendom, in our zeal for the Catholic Faith and our devotion to the Apostolic See, we had not yet done enough, we determined to show by our own writings our attitude towards Luther and our opinion of his vile books; to manifest more openly to all the world that we shall ever defend and uphold the Holy Roman Church, not only by force of arms but by the resources of our intelligence and our services as a Christian.

For this reason we have thought that this first attempt of our modest ability and learning could not be more worthily dedicated than to your Holiness, both as a token of our filial reverence and an acknowledgment of your careful solicitude for the weal of Christendom.

We feel assured that our first fruits will be enhanced in value if it be approved by the wholesome judgment of your Blessedness. May you live long and happily!

From our Royal Palace at Greenwich, the twenty-first day of May, 1521.

Your Holiness' most devoted and humble son, Henry, by the grace of God King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland.

Pope Paul III stripped Henry of the title in 1538 when he excommunicated the former "devoted and humble son" after the break from Rome. Parliament restored the title for Edward VI and again after the Restoration in 1660. Queen Elizabeth II swore an oath to defend the Church of England at her coronation and she is known as the Defender of the Faith. If Charles, the Prince of Wales, is crowned, he plans to be called the Defender of Faith (omitting the article). That might mean that this oath is somehow revised:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Edward VI on the Son Rise Morning Show

I'll be talking to Anna Mitchell early Tuesday morning on the Son Rise Morning Show as we discuss the birth of Henry VIII's son, Edward, the Duke of Cornwall (never invested as the Prince of Wales). That's Tuesday, October 12--at 6:45 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern on Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the next few days my interview with Kris McGregor for Inside the Pages on KVSS 102.7 FM in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska should air and then be posted on her blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How do you celebrate the first feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman?

With a prayer!

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman
the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church;
graciously grant that, through his intercession and example,
we may be led out of shadows and images
into the fulness of your truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The selection for the Office of Readings from the Common of Pastors is here.

And the Prayer for his Canonization:
Eternal Father, You led John Henry Newman to Follow the Kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he labored to build up your Kingdom.Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints."May you manifest your Servant's power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions in his name and in the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
John Burger on the National Catholic Register, posted some other ideas for celebration.

Death of a Mistress

Charles II was a notably unfaithful husband, just like his brother, the Duke of York. (I believe the commonly quoted gossip is that his brother's mistresses were all ugly, however.) Charles II is also known for having both Catholic and Protestant mistresses, although the putative religious observance of the mistresses seems not to matter that much to us now.

At the time, however, it did have an impact--Nell Gwyn once saved herself from a mob by announcing that she was the Protestant whore!

On October 9, 1709, Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, the First Duchess of Cleveland died. She had been born Barbara Villiers. In 1659 she married Roger Palmer, who sadly became known as Europe's most famous cuckold. They remained married, even though she continued to be the mistress of the Earl of Chesterfield and then became mistress of Charles II soon after the Restoration. Palmer was completely loyal to his Catholic faith and to the Stuart monarchy: the former prevented him from divorcing her, the latter from protesting against her infidelity, since it was with the King. In spite of his high position in the Court, because he countenanced his wife's relationship with Charles, he was arrested during the Popish Plot but defended himself ably enough in Judge Jeffrey's Court.

Barbara herself became a Catholic in 1663 while her children by Charles had the last name "Fitzroy" and he gave them titles as she remained "Lady of the Bedchamber". One of her daughters, Barbara, joined the Priory of St. Nicholas at Pontoise in Normandy in 1691, after bearing a child out of wedlock. After 1673, the king's attentions turned to another "Catholic" mistress: Louise de Kerouaille, the Duchess of Portsmouth.

Roger Palmer died in 1705 and Barbara four years after. She is an important character in Kathleen Winsor's novel Forever Amber, as scandalous as she was in its own day (1944) and was depicted in the Linda Darnell movie (1947) with George Sanders portraying Charles. Natalie Draper played her.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"The Good Fight" Interview

Last Saturday I talked to Barbara McGuigan on her Saturday interview/call in show, "The Good Fight"! It was the first time I'd been on a two hour show with listeners calling in with questions and comments. To prepare for it, I purchased a Plantronics Telephone Headset System so I wouldn't have to hold a telephone receiver for all that time.

Barbara prepared for the show extensively and sent me an outline/script a couple of days before. EWTN has posted the interview in their audio library. She begins the show with an introduction to Blessed John Henry Newman, using Pope Benedict XVI's homily from the beatification Mass last month; then she and I discuss the new blessed, and then turn to Supremacy and Survival. The two hours flew by; Barbara had told me that they would!

I have been praying the novena for the canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman for a special intention and it concludes tomorrow, on his feast day.

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Analysis of Papal Visit

Ignatius Insight links two follow-up articles from Catholic World Report and Homiletic and Pastoral Review on Pope Benedict's visit to England and Scotland last month.

In the first, George Neumayr comments on the new Battle of Britain.

In the second, Donal Anthony Foley recalls Pope St. Gregory the Great sending St. Augustine of Canterbury to bring Christ to the Anglo-Saxons: "Non Angli, sed Angeli! The Pope's visit to Britain."

Both articles are steeped in history. Neumayr's references the more recent history of World War II, which Pope Benedict mentioned several times during his visit, reminding the people of Great Britain how they had stood up to great evil in the mid-twentieth century. Foley rehearses Warren Carroll's thesis that the English Reformation prevented the restoration of Christendom, which the Holy Roman Empire and England could have fostered.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There and Back Again--and Again

On October 6, 1588 Father John Hewitt (aka Weldon, aka Savel) was martyred at Mile End Green in the East End of London. His date of birth is not known, but he first attended Caius College at Cambridge and then went to the Continent to study for the priesthood at Reims.

After receiving minor orders in 1583 he returned to England; he was arrested and exiled in 1585. He came back to England and was exiled a second time to the Spanish Netherlands in 1587. There the Earl of Leceister, Robert Dudley, who was leading an English campaign against Spain in support of the Dutch revolt, captured him and sent him back to England for trial.

Father Hewitt is one of the Armada martyrs; he was arraigned and found guilty of seeking ordination from the Catholic Church and of coming to England to practice his priestly ministry.

The fact that he was exiled twice from England demonstrates that the government sometimes ameliorated its treatment of Catholic priests--many Catholic laity would also be exiled for protecting a priest or for obdurate recusancy, refusing to attend official Church of England services. But he kept returning to England to fulfil his mission!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Last Catholic Queen of England

Mary Beatrice of Modena was born on October 5, 1658. She was the second wife of James, the Duke of York; they married in 1673. He was 25 years older than she and indeed presented her to his children as their new playmate! Charles II allowed his brother and heir to marry an Italian Catholic princess, but demanded that the children of James' first wife, Anne Hyde (who herself had become Catholic) continue to be raised an Anglicans. The succession was already under stress because of James's conversion to Catholicism and word of further Catholic heirs would encourage greater opposition in Parliament.

And that, of course, is ultimately what happened! During the course of the Exclusionist Crisis and the Popish Plot, the Catholic Duke and Duchess of York endured exile in Brussels and Edinburgh. When Charles II died, James came to the throne as James II/VII, King of England, Ireland and Scotland, although he had to defend the succession against a rebellion by the Duke of Monmouth, Charles's favorite illegitimate son.
After several pregnancies ended in miscarriage or death in infancy, Mary Beatrice finally bore James II a son and heir in 1688. As the Catholic Prince of Wales, James Francis Edward would displace his Anglican half-sisters.

After the Glorious Revolution, James II and Mary Beatrice lived in the Chateau at St. Germain-en-Laye, guests of King Louis XIV. Their daughter Louise Mary was born there in 1692 and she also died there in 1712.

Queen Mary Beatrice was popular at Versailles, noted for her wit and charm. When James II died in 1701, she became the regent for James III/VIII, proclaimed by some as the rightful King of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Like her late husband, Mary Beatrice turned to more spiritual matters later in life, often visiting the Convent of the Visitations in Chaillot where one of King Louis XIV's former mistresses, the repentant Louise de la Valliere had sought refuge. She died of cancer on May 7, 1718, alone in France as James Francis Edward was exiled after France recongized the Hanoverian succession in the Treaty of Utrecht.
Some in France called her a saint; she had certainly endured many vissicitudes: exile, the unfaithfulness of her husband, little babies dying, widowhood, the loss of her daughter, and separation from her son--and by all reports, Queen Mary Beatrice responded to these sorrows by relying on prayer and her Catholic faith.

Death of Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester

Richard Fox or Foxe, the Bishop of Winchester, died on October 5, 1528--clearing the way for Thomas Wolsey to take his place at one of the richest bishoprics (for a year!). Richard Fox was one of those churchmen, like Wolsey, who neglected his episcopal duties to engage in political and diplomatic service.

He rose to prominence during the reign of Henry VII, negotiating marriages and treaties. The young King Henry VIII also relied on the Bishop to take care of many details at the beginning of his reign. When Fox finally left Court, encouraged by Wolsey in 1523, he finally turned his attention to his duties as bishop in Winchester.

His greatest legacy was the 1517 foundation Corpus Christi College, with one of the most beautiful main quads at the University of Oxford. Catherine of Aragon visited there and the great Erasmus admired the college library.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Howard Family

On October 4, 1646, Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel and 1st Earl of Norfolk, and Earl Marshal died--also known as the "Collector Earl" for amassing a fine array of ancient marbles and Renaissance paintings. He was the son of St. Philip Howard, who died in the Tower of London after asking to see him, who had been born after Philip was imprisoned--that request being denied by Elizabeth I's government unless he renounced his Catholicism and become an Anglican (heartless!).

James I restored the family Earldom to Thomas in 1604. He then married a wealthy noblewoman, Alethea Talbot, in 1606. Thomas Howard evidently swore oaths of loyalty to both James I and Charles I--because he served in their governments and courts--although he returned to the Catholic Church sometime before his death.

Thomas and Alethea Howard had three children, one of whom, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, would be accused, because of his Catholicism, in the Popish Plot, executed on December 29, 1680 and beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

Their second son, Henry Howard, the 22nd Earl of Arundel, was the father of Philip Cardinal Howard and of Henry Howard, who was:
6th Duke of Norfolk,
4th Earl of Norfolk
7th Earl of Surrey
24th Earl of Arundel
20th Baron Segrave
19th Baron Mowbray
15th Baron Furnivall
14th Baron Maltravers
and Earl Marshal!
This multi-titled nobleman went into exile in August 1678 when the Popish Plot was first gathering steam, living in Bruges. His son, Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk (1655-1701), served on the Privy Council of William and Mary and at first refused to take the new oaths of Supremacy but then renounced his Catholicism to serve in the House of Lords.

By the late eighteenth century, around the time of debates about Catholic Relief, the 11th Duke of Norfolk had also renounced his Catholicism to further his political career. He supported the effort to emancipate Catholics which George III blocked. The 13th Duke of Norfolk, Bernard Howard, took his seat as the first Catholic in the House of Lords after Emancipation in 1829.

The title of Earl Marshal means that the Duke of Norfolk arranges the coronations, weddings, and funerals of the Royal Family. The 16th Duke of Norfolk, Bernard Fitzalan-Howard (1908-1975) for example, organized the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth I, and the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales.

While all these titles are confusing (as is the family tree with all its branches), the pattern that emerges of a noble Catholic family that sometimes accommodated itself out of loyalty to the monarch, sometimes endured imprisonment, martyrdom, and exile is poignant and fascinating.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"The Good Fight" Interview and Call-in Show

Don't forget: I'll be on “The Good Fight” with Barbara McGuigan from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Central/2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time this afternoon, carried on the EWTN Radio Network.

We'll discuss Blessed John Henry Newman and Supremacy and Survival! Please call 1-877-573-7825 with your questions and comments.