Monday, May 30, 2011

The Cause for Katherine of Aragon, Updated

Gregory Nassif St. John alerted me to this article in The American Spectator, for which Mr. St. John was interviewed by Thomas J. Craughwell: "An American Saint Maker"!

Katharine of Aragon (1485-1536), the first wife of the much-married English king, Henry VIII, has a new champion. Gregory Nassif St. John, a retired New York stage actor now living in Georgia, has begun the process that he hopes and prays will lead to the Catholic Church declaring that Katharine (Nassif St. John uses the traditional English spelling) is a saint. . . .

"Her story touched me very deeply," Nassif St. John said in a recent interview. "I knew she was being treated unfairly and cruelly. Her story stuck with me my whole life."

It's one thing to feel sympathy for Katharine, but how does one go about making her a saint? Encouraged by his parish priest, Nassif St. John wrote to Michael Evans, the Catholic bishop of East Anglia, (the diocese where Katharine died and where she lies buried) and Vincent Nichols, Catholic archbishop of Westminster, seeking their advice. Archbishop Nichols and Bishop Evans both expressed their support for the cause, but emphasized that there must be clear evidence of devotion to Katharine. In other words, there must be proof that people venerate Katharine's memory and consider her saintly.

That evidence has been supplied by Charles Taylor, Dean of the Anglican diocese of Peterborough, England. Every year, about the time of the anniversary of Katharine's death, the clergy of Peterborough Cathedral (site of Katharine's grave) host a three-day commemoration of this holy but cast-off queen. There is an ecumenical memorial service in the cathedral, a candlelight procession to Katharine's grave, and a Catholic Mass offered at the High Altar. . . .

Congratulations to Mr. St. John on reaching such a great audience!

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