Saturday, November 29, 2014

P.D. James, R.I.P.

P.D. James died peacefully on Thursday, November 27. The Spectator posted this excerpt from her diary beginning with a discussion of the joys of being a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and then noting how bad the mothers are in Jane Austen's novels--and why:

I have been indulging in my annual re-reading of Jane Austen and it has struck me — strangely, for the first time — that not one of her five heroines has a satisfactory mother. Mrs Bennet is a disaster, over-indulgent to her favourite daughter, Lydia, and a constant embarrassment to Jane and Elizabeth. It could be said in her defence that in one respect she is a better parent than Mr Bennet. She does realise the total ignominy which would follow his death without at least one daughter having married well: removal to a cottage on the Longbourn estate and reliant on the charity of Mr Collins and Charlotte. Mrs Dashwood is charming but gravely irresponsible as a mother. Her refusal, despite all Elinor’s pleading, to ask Marianne about her relationship with Willoughby, could have resulted in her daughter’s ruin and did indeed nearly cause her death. Mrs Musgrove is affectionate but silly.

Indeed Jane Austen, somewhat unfeelingly, invites us to join her in despising the poor woman’s loud lamenting over her dead son, whom no one had greatly cared about during his life. Perhaps we should not expect too much of Mrs Morland, with ten children to bring up, but she was unwise to let Catherine go for a protracted stay at Northanger Abbey to a family she herself had never corresponded with or met. (General Tilney and Mrs Norris are arguably Austen’s only complete villains.) Emma Woodhouse and Anne Elliot lost their mothers when young. But in leaving her heroines without the wisdom, affection and guidance of a sensible mother, Jane Austen was artistically right. A book can only have one heroine and each of the novels has the same basic plot, the story of a virtuous and attractive woman who overcomes difficulties, including the lack of a mother, to win the husband of her choice. In other words, Mills & Boon written by a genius.

Mills & Boon is the English counterpart to Harlequin Romance in the U.S.! I remember a fellow graduate student saying that Jane Austen just wrote Harlequin Romances--obviously what she left out and I stoutly defended was that Jane Austen was a genius! More on P.D. James on Jane Austen here.

P.D. James, rest in peace! The BBC News posted this obit.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Edward Short on Ian Ker on Cardinal Newman on Vatican II

I purchased my copy of this book from OUP at Eighth Day Books this week--and had the pleasure of meeting an old acquaintance who promptly placed a copy of my book on his pile of purchases. I signed it after I made my purchase (and indeed that was the second copy of my book sold that day at Eighth Day Books!--if I'd arrived a few minutes earlier, I could have offered to sign that one too!)

Watch this space for the announcement of a fun event at Eighth Day Books next month combining Christmas and Chesterton!!

Anyway, as I start reading this major study, I've also read Edward Short's review of Father Ker's book in The Catholic World Report. 

To quote:

it is good to have so reliable an authority as Father Ian Ker sorting out what Newman would have truly thought of the Council. The author of the definitive intellectual biography of Newman and several other incisive books about the great convert, Father Ker is the perfect person to address this vexed matter and here he does so with acuity and élan. Newman and Vatican II is a superb study, which anyone with any interest in Newman or the Council will find richly rewarding.

Father Ker begins his study with an excellent overview of the subtlety of Newman’s thought, which so many commentators get wrong, choosing to see him either as a “Tory of Tories” (as Avery Dulles gave out) or a misunderstood liberal (as Eamon Duffy contended). In fact, as Father Ker shows, Newman was never a party man, whether in the political or the religious sense. . . .


For Father Ker, “Newman’s theology of the conscience and its relation to the teaching authority of the Church upholds the sovereignty but not the autonomy of the individual conscience.” In such elegant discriminations, one can see the command Father Ker has of his subject’s finely judicious thinking.

This is one reason why
Newman on Vatican II is such a vital read, though there is much else about the book to recommend it. Deeply researched and wonderfully well-written, it is full of insights that go to the very essence of both the Second Council and Newman. In his penultimate chapter, for example, “Secularization and the New Evangelization,” which includes a splendid reading of Newman’s neglected novel of conversion, Callista (1856), Father Ker shows how Newman both anticipates and exemplifies the genuine spirit of Vatican II by extolling the love of Christ that will always bind the faithful to Him and His Holy Church. Here, Father Ker also presents a portrait of the true Newman, in all his faithful caritas and wisdom, which will enlighten liberals and conservatives alike.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Spinning Some Discs

My husband bought a new needle or something for his old turntable (he's the audiophile, not me!) and we listened to a few LPs one night this week. He has lots of rock and roll and I have lots of opera and classical from the days before we were married. We listened to an LP he bought me a few years ago in Kansas City--the soundtrack of Ben Hur in the deluxe boxed set with the hardback book about the movie. It was in good shape, as guaranteed by the shop. My old LP of La Damnation de Faust from Decca with Frederica von Stade and Jose van Dam et al was a little worn and had some scratches.

We pulled out a couple of more unusual discs:

This is the cover of Seals & Crofts 1973 album with the controversial pro-life song, "Unborn Child"--which you can hear on YouTube here. Seals & Crofts were/are of the Bahá'í Faith and as this article notes, were therefore concerned about the rights of the unborn as part of the human family:

Jim Seals and Dash Crofts wrote their music to reflect—though never to proselytize—their Bahà’í faith, which sees all humanity as connected in one family. They understood the unborn child to be simply a part of that universal whole.

There was quite a backlash:

Dash Crofts told interviewer Bill de Young in 1993: “Warner Brothers warned us against it. They said, ‘This is a highly controversial subject, we advise that you don’t do this.’ And we said, ‘But you’re in the business to make money; we’re doing it to save lives. We don’t care about the money.’”

According to de Young, “The critics tore the record to pieces, and Seals and Crofts with it. . . . Unborn Child hurt Seals and Crofts’ reputation—it was as if they had crossed that thin line, that sacrosanct divider that separated their music from their religious beliefs.”

Oh little baby, you’ll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullabye.

Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin’ to do.
You’re still a-clingin’ to the tree of life, but soon you’ll be cut off before you get ripe.
Oh unborn child, beginning to grow inside your momma, but you’ll never know.
Oh tiny bud, that grows in the womb, only to be crushed before you can bloom.

Mama stop! Turn around, go back, think it over.
Now stop, turn around, go back, think it over.
Stop, turn around, go back think it over.


And the LP that had the best sound and fewest pops and/or scratches: A Classic Case: The London Symphony Orchestra Plays the Music of Jethro Tull with Ian Anderson playing his flute:

And in keeping with the beginning of the holiday season we listened to one side of a Deutsche Grammaphone album of Christmas Concertos conducted by Herbert von Karajan, which had a warm and glorious sound:

My husband has plans for more LP listening--he still has some "Yes" albums in storage to retrieve and sample!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Conventional Wisdom Overthrown

Whenever Renaissance art and architecture is discussed, someone says that a certain work was the first since ancient Greece or Rome. The conventional wisdom is that Donatello's bronze David was the first free-standing male nude since antiquity. Perhaps (even though there is a fig leaf) that's not quite true--Tullio Lombardo's Adam might claim that title.

The sculpture has been restored--it was broken into hundreds of pieces when its pedestal collapsed in 2002--and is back on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. According to the exhibition website, its return is important not just because Adam has been restored after his fall, but because the Met developed new processes and techniques for restoration:

The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. Made in the early 1490s for the tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin, it is the only signed sculpture from that monumental complex. The serene, idealized figure, inspired by ancient sculpture, is deceptively complex. Carefully manipulating composition and finish, Tullio created God's perfect human being, but also the anxious victim of the serpent's wiles.

In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible.

The exhibition allows Adam to be viewed in the round and explains this unprecedented twelve-year research and conservation project. It also inaugurates a new permanent gallery for Venetian and northern Italian sculpture. The installation of this gallery was made possible by Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ignazio Peluso, Ada Peluso, and Romano I. Peluso.

The website includes videos of the process of putting Adam back together again, and to describe the statue's fascinating imbalance--Adam may be ready to eat the "apple", the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He holds the fruit and  his expression is anxious; although his body looks balanced and poised when seem from the front, but from another angle, on the right, he is counterbalanced in an uncomfortable pose--his weight looks even more strangely distributed when viewed from the left. I'm referring to and examining photos from the articles on the website, here and here. Tullio created the sculpture to reflect the image of God in Adam through the beauty of the statue and the crisis of the fall through the tension and anxiety depicted in the marble.

Obviously, the restoration of this statue of Adam after its fall reminds any Christian of the fall and rise of the Old Adam through the Paschal Sacrifice of the New Adam--Romans 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49--and this site describes how St. Paul compares and contrasts the two.

Father and Son: the Wattson's

The father of the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, whose cause for canonization has begun, was an Anglo-Catholic Tractarian, according to this article:

Grace works in strange ways. The path to sainthood of Fr. Paul Wattson, whose cause for beatification was endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops last week, may have begun with a practical joke one fateful day in 1844.

On that day Wattson’s father, Joseph Wattson, was kicked out of an Anglican seminary for joking that he was secretly a Jesuit.

The General Theological Seminary in New York City was cracking down on anything that smacked of “Popery,” including the reading of the extremely popular tracts of John Henry Newman, which called for a return to the more liturgical traditions of the past (sic).

When the elder Wattson suggested in jest that he was perhaps a “Jesuit in disguise,” he was expelled and, his career options now limited, consigned to life as a poor rural preacher.

According to, Wattson’s father was fond of telling the story to his sons. Perhaps it instilled a desire for reconciliation within his son, because throughout his life, Father Wattson, born Lewis Thomas Wattson in 1863, never wavered from his desire to join reunite the Episcopal and Anglican Church to the Catholic Church of Rome.

The article provides more detail about the crisis in the Anglican seminary brought about by the Tracts for the Times:

The “General” — as the seminary was known — was far too Protestant to welcome the Catholic nature of the tracts; they were forbidden literature to the students. Of course, they were smuggled into the place and eagerly read and discussed. Rumor had it that there were a number of “Jesuits in disguise” who had infiltrated the school and were subverting the students with the Popish literature. Young Joseph Wattson, who was a bit of a practical joker, led one of the more rabidly anti-Catholic seminarians to believe that he (Wattson) just might be one of those infiltrators. The matter was reported to the Dean and poor Wattson and another student were expelled, even though they were exonerated of being “secret Jesuits.” The Oxford tracts were causing such a stir in Anglican circles, that any hint of “Romish tendencies” put the seminarian on the suspect list. Not surprisingly, this incident haunted Joseph Wattson for the greater part of his ministerial career with the Anglicans, and the only pastoral positions he was able to find were in poverty-stricken areas.

On the other hand, the fate of some of his colleagues at the “General” who did “go to Rome” was anything but prejudicial. Edgar P. Wadhams, for example, sometime after his ordination and priestly ministry, became the founding bishop of Ogdensburg, New York, and Clarence E. Walworth befriended Father Isaac Hecker and became one of the original fathers of the Paulists, an order founded by Father Hecker after he was expelled from the Redemptorists. James A. McMaster, another Oxford convert, entered the Redemptorists, but concluded that he did not have a vocation to the religious life. Instead he became an outstanding figure in Catholic journalism, founding the New York Freeman’s Journal, one of the important Catholic American newspapers of the time. One cannot help but wonder what would have happened had the elder Wattson “poped” at the time of his expulsion from the seminary

While the father did not "pope", the son did, eventually, as clergyman Paul Wattson sought to create more "Catholic" structures in the Episcopalian Church, and began to argue for corporate reunion of the Church of England with the Catholic Church. It's quite a story!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Widower Priest

The Recusants and renegades blog tells the story of Father Henry Hawkins, a widower who became a Jesuit missionary to England:

It’s unclear how Henry Hawkins spent the years immediately after his graduation from Oxford, though since he was said to be ‘intelligent in affairs of government, very learned in the English laws’, perhaps he attended the Inns of Court and was destined for public office. On 9th February 1604, when he was twenty-seven years old, Henry married the twenty-year-old Aphra Norton, daughter of Thomas Norton, at the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Fordwich, a few miles to the east of Canterbury. The Norton family lived at Tancrey Island in Fordwich. Some commentators mistakenly suggest that Henry abandoned his wife to pursue his vocation as a priest: the source quoted above (a manuscript ‘status’ of the English College at Rome for 1613) claims that he had ‘left a wife, office, and many other commodities and expectations, to become a priest in the seminaries.’

However, the truth is rather more poignant. On 16th January 1605, less than a year after their marriage, Aphra Hawkins died and was buried in the church where they had been married. Her tomb is adorned with a female figure, and a plate with this touching inscription:

Here lyeth buryed the body of Aphra Hawkins, wife of Henry Hawkins, gent. and daughter of Thomas Norton, Esqr. who scarcely having arrived to 21 years of age, yet fully attained perfection in many virtues, departed this frayle life the 16th of January, 1605.

Henry Hawkins must have made his decision to join the Jesuits shortly after his young wife’s untimely death. When he entered the English College of Rome on 19th March 1609, using the pseudonym ‘Brooke’, he had already spent some time studying the classics at the college of the English Jesuits at St Omer. Henry received minor orders in 1613, was ordained priest soon afterwards, and, after spending two years in the study of scholastic theology, left for Belgium and entered the Society of Jesus in about 1615.

I don't think the Society of Jesus would have admitted a man who had proved unfaithful to the vows and vocation of matrimony! Father Hawkins survived being a missionary priest in England, although he was arrested and sent into exile--so he risked the not uncommon fate of being martyred for the faith. Read the rest of his story here. His Oxford DNB article is here. A copy of his Parthenia Sacra, an emblem book devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary was offered by Christie's in 2013 and sold well above its estimated price.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christ the King

Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe in the Ordinary Form; it is also the last Sunday of Ordinary Time--Advent begins next Sunday. In the Extraordinary Form we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King on the last Sunday of October, before the Solemnity of All Saints. The New Liturgical Movement site posted a link to an explanation of the different purposes of the different timings of this great solemnity--as originally intended by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and as intended after the Second Vatican Council:

Pius XI’s intention, as can be gleaned from n. 29 [of the Encyclical Letter Quas Primas, which proclaimed the feast], is to emphasize the glory of Christ as terminus of His earthly mission,a glory and mission visible and perpetuated in history by the saints. Hence the feast falls shortly before the Feast of All Saints, to emphasize that what Christ inaugurated in His own person before ascending in glory, the saints then instantiate and carry further in human society, culture, and nations. It is a feast primarily about celebrating Christ’s ongoing kingship over all reality, including this present world, where the Church must fight for the recognition of His rights, the actual extension of His dominion to all domains, individual and social.

Indeed, there's also the obvious fact, unmentioned in Quas Primas but surely in everyone's mind, that the last Sunday in October had, for centuries, been celebrated as Reformation Sunday. A Catholic counter-feast, reminding the world not only of the comprehensive Kingship of Jesus Christ—so often denied socially and culturally by various teachings of Protestantism—but also of the worldwide kingly authority of His Church, would certainly be a reasonable application of the principle lex orandi, lex credendi.

In the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council, its place was changed to the last Sunday of the Church year—that is, so that one week later would fall the first Sunday of Advent. This new position emphasizes rather the eschatological dimension of Christ’s kingship: the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, though begun in time, is here present “as in a mystery” (as
Lumen Gentium phrases it) and in a “crucified” way. This Kingdom will be perfected and fully manifested only at the end of time, with the Second Coming. Hence in the new calendar the feast comes at the very end of the Church’s year, as the summation of the whole of salvation history and the symbol of what we hope for:expectantes … adventum salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, as the liturgy in the Ordinary Form proclaims after the Lord’s Prayer.

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Leanda de Lisle on New Elizabeth I Biography

Reviewed in The Spectator: Lisa Hilton's Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince:

Women are ‘foolish, wanton flibbergibs, in every way doltified with the dregs of the devil’s dunghill’. So a cleric reminded Queen Elizabeth I. His sermon reassured her that her personal qualities made her exceptional. But Elizabeth was not merely an ‘exceptional woman’, snorts Lisa Hilton. She was also ‘an exceptional ruler’ — one who refashioned her kingdom as ‘a modern monarch, a Renaissance prince’.

Elizabeth’s accession in 1558 coincided with the publication of John Knox’s notorious blast against the ‘monstrous regiment’ or ‘rule’ of women. Happily such views were ‘based more on hostility to Catholicism than to female ruleper se’, we are told. Royalty ‘negated gender’, and Hilton believes Elizabeth would reign largely unrestricted by the issue. While the doltified Mary had wanted to drag ‘England back to Catholic conformity’, Elizabeth was destined to take her kingdom ‘from the darkened constrictions of medievalism towards a recognisable world’, imbued with the ‘new learning’.

But de Lisle takes issue with Hilton's view of Mary v. Elizabeth:

Many of Hilton’s assertions are controversial, not to say startling, and there is plenty to take issue with. Mary I, far from being backward-looking, ruled at the cutting edge of the Counter-Reformation. It was Elizabeth who looked back, clinging to the Protestantism of her brother’s reign, rather than pushing reform forward — to the disappointment of Cecil and others. Her stubborn conservatism was encapsulated in her motto Semper Eadem (‘I never change’), and as a ruler she proved a master of inactivity. Essex (whom Hilton under-estimates) complained that Elizabeth could be ‘brought to nothing except by a kind of necessity’.

She notes that Hilton offers something new:

Whether you agree with Hilton or not, she brings balance to the view that we must judge Elizabeth through the prism of her gender. It is refreshing to be confronted by challenging arguments instead of tired anecdotes. This biography is also full of unusual and interesting insights. I loved the observation that the three most important men in Elizabeth’s life were Cecil, Robert Dudley (whom she loved) and Philip II of Spain. Apparently she kept a painting of Philip in her bedroom. Hilton takes an admirably unsentimental view of Elizabeth’s necessary ruthlessness, while the chapters on Turkey and Russia help place her rule in its wider international context.

More about the book here.

No Debate Allowed at Christ Church in Oxford

I've posted on the censorship of opposing views at American universities on social topics, but now it's come up in England. Christ Church in Oxford was set to host a debate on the issue, "This House believes Britain's abortion culture hurts us all" when pro-abortion groups descried "cisgender" men talking about abortion! The Telegraph and The Catholic Herald published statements by the debater who was going to defend the statement.

Tim Stanley points out in both that they were not going to debate whether abortion should be legal or not:

this wasn’t a pro-life demo and the subject wasn’t whether or not women should have the right to choose abortion. Even though I was speaking for the proposition, my speech would've begun with noting that the motion has nothing to do with abortion rights per se and was simply a consideration of how having effective abortion on demand affects wider society. Brendan, speaking for the opposition, would've doubtless done a fine job and probably run rings round me. It was a fair and free debate that I half expected to lose.

The Catholic Herald now has a statement from a barrister: Christ Church may have broken the law:

A barrister has said that an Oxford college’s decision not to host an abortion debate is unlawful.

Neil Addison, national director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said: “It’s an unlawful decision under the Education No 2 Act 1986, which guarantees freedom of speech in universities.

Authorities at Christ Church, Oxford, ruled this week that Oxford Students for Life could not hold a debate on the motion “This House Believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All” at the college. The decision followed calls by the Oxford University Student Union’s Women’s Campaign (WomCam) to cancel the debate between journalists Tim Stanley and Brendan O’Neill.

You might note the barrister's organization: The Thomas More Legal Centre:

We are an independent Legal Charity and we exist to provide specialist free legal advice and assistance in cases involving issues of Religious Freedom or Religious Discrimination in England and Wales.

We are a predominantly Roman Catholic Organisation in origin and ethos but we offer our services to all Christians in support of shared Christian principles and faith

We are also concerned about any attack on the Christian heritage of England and Wales by attempts to remove Christian symbols or prevent the carrying on of Christian traditions. We are willing to support legal actions to prevent the destruction of the Christian heritage of our Island

We take our name and inspiration from Saint Thomas More the English Lawyer and Lord Chancellor who was martyred in 1535 because he refused to submit to a Tyrant or to compromise his Catholic Faith and principles.

St. Thomas More, pray for us!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Keeping Up to Date with the Ordinariate in Kansas City

The Catholic Key has this story about the new Ordinariate community in the KC-St. Joe, MO diocese: Our Lady of Hope Society and its new home at Our Lady of Sorrows near Crown Center:

KANSAS CITY — It was a stunning question to open a homily, and one that had more than one answer.

“What in the world are we doing here?” Father Ernie Davis asked his congregation of Catholics who in 2008 came into full communion with Rome as one former Anglican community.

Yes, they were celebrating Mass for the first time in their new home, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, adjacent to Crown Center.

Yes, though still small in number, they still dream big and of one day becoming a full parish in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, an organizational structure established by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for united Catholics from the Anglican, Episcopalian and Methodist traditions to celebrate unity while retaining their adapted prayers and liturgy.

In January this year the new society was approved by the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, according to this story.

My husband I attended Mass according to the Anglican Use at St. Therese the Little Flower several years ago, from which Our Lady of Hope is moving to Our Lady of Sorrows:

But make no mistake about it. They still love their first spiritual home at St. Therese Little Flower Church, 58th and Euclid, and they still intend to participate in the work that the small parish does for hundreds of poor and elderly in its parish boundaries.

“We think we can grow and keep connected to St. Therese, especially in the things they do for the people,” said Ann Straulman.

But Straulman said it was difficult for the community to grow at St. Therese Little Flower because the parish is not easy to find, nor its location easy to describe.

“Nobody knew where it was. We would invite people and say ‘58th and Euclid,’ and people would go blank,” she said.

Straulman is one of the more senior members of the Our Lady of Hope community, now officially a “mission” of the ordinariate, but still fully connected to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The pastor of their new church makes a nice point at the end of the article:

Then he remarked how appropriate that the Our Lady of Sorrows community and the Our Lady of Hope community unite in one church building, as he recalled Mary at the foot of the cross.

“Even in that sorrow, she had hope,” Father Pileggi said. “The two titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary are now joined together in one house.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

G.K. Chesterton and Iron Maiden? Yes!

No, not Yes, but Iron Maiden! Just the first verse of Chesterton's poem, "O God of Earth and Altar":

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honor, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

- G.K. Chesterton, 1906

A more common hymn tune is King's Lynn, here sung by the choir and congregation at St. Martin-in-the-Fields:

It can also be sung to the tune Aurelia ("The Church's One Foundation"). More information about the hymn here. It could be an appropriate hymn for the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this coming Sunday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What I'm Reading Now: Newman as Spiritual Director

I purchased this book in the Kindle edition to read for more background to the Newman lecture next February:

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was a man who sought to integrate life and holiness. He believed that the spiritual life needed to be lived in an active and dynamic way, touching a person's fundamental attitudes and actions.

Although Newman rejected the title of spiritual director as such, it is obvious from his correspondence that directing others through various facets of the Christian life was one of his dominant concerns. Surprisingly, comparatively little has been written about Newman's idea of spiritual direction. This book investigates Newman's understanding of spiritual direction during his life as a Roman Catholic, 1845-1890. It examines the major areas in which Newman gave spiritual direction through an analysis of the correspondence from his Catholic years. It also explicates those principles of Newman's own spiritual life that found expression in his direction of others.

Newman had a mammoth "apostolate of correspondence." His Letters and Diaries have been edited and published in a series of thirty-two volumes, embracing more than twenty thousand letters. The first ten volumes deal with Newman's Anglican period; the remaining twenty-two volumes cover his Catholic period and are the primary source for this book. These volumes have been studied chronologically in order to determine and extract the major areas in which Newman gave spiritual direction to others, and to investigate the stages of development in his spiritual advice.

One thing that caught my eye about the book was one of the blurbs:

"Drawing on Newman's vast correspondence, Wilcox has given us a very human portrait of a spiritual master of remarkable sensitivity. Readers will find Newman's account of the development of revealed doctrine reflected in his understanding of the spiritual development of ordinary people. Newman comes across as someone who listens with respect and then speaks with careful balance--promoting devotion without excessive piety, reasonableness without rationality, and compassion without sentimentality--always challenging without demanding."
--William Fey, OFM Cap., Bishop of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

Bishop Fey spoke years ago at the St. Paul's Parish-Newman Center at WSU on his book about Newman on Faith, Doubt, and Certainty--it was soon after the 1979 Newman School of Catholic Thought, but my notes aren't dated.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 Eighth Day Institute Symposium

The topic this year is Whatever Happened to Wonder? The Recovery of Mystery in a Secular Age. The speakers include James K.A. Smith, Rod Dreher, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, James Kushiner, and others.

The schedule is on-line with some titles to be filled in and you can register on-line or by mail. This event, from Thursday, January 15, through Sunday, January 17, includes prayer, a banquet, two receptions at Eighth Day Books, and many opportunities for fellowship and learning. My husband and I plan to go, God willing!

Beyond First Impressions: Gareth Russell's Introduction to the Tudors

My first impressions are that this is a well-illustrated (as befits the title) biographical survey of the Tudor dynasty and its origins. From what I have read so far, Russell acknowledges the fascination of the Tudors and supplies amble evidence of why we are so intrigued by the six monarchs (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Dudley, Mary I and, Elizabeth I) of this royal family. He has prepared a helpful timeline and list of suggested reading.

Now that I've finished reading An Illustrated Introduction to the Tudors by Gareth Russell, published by Amberley Publishing, here is my full review as promised.

My first impressions quoted above bore out throughout this short book which is part of a series of introductions including the Stuarts and the Georgians among English royal dynasties so far. Amberley might have to break up the Plantagenet dynasty since it keeps these books around 96 pages.

Russell begins with the foundation of the Tudor family through misalliance between Henry V's widow and Owen Tudor and then highlights the major events and issues of each monarch's reign. He pauses to examine certain mysteries or controversies like Anne Boleyn's guilt or innocence of the charges against her and the cause of her fall, why Elizabeth I never married, etc. His reasoning is always careful and decisive: the reader knows what he thinks about these events and people and why.

I did not appreciate the inclusion of Nancy Mitford's comment about Jane Dudley and I think that Russell is wrong to say that Thomas More resigned because he was unhappy about the influence of Reformers at Henry VIII's Court--Thomas More resigned because he realized he had failed to influence Henry VIII on the matter of Papal authority. He had seen the growth of that reforming influence and had stayed at Court until Henry started implementing the break from Rome. As Chancellor, More would have been required to enforce the laws Henry's Parliament had passed--that is why he resigned.

Within the 96 pages I wish there had been room for a conclusion or epilogue. Perhaps even some of the material in the introduction could have been used as a summing up as the dynasty ended with Elizabeth's death in 1603.

Those few issues aside: Russell's prose is clear and colorful and his narrative flows along smoothly, mixed with the interpretation of certain events. The illustrations are excellent and the sidebars provide supplemental information that would otherwise interrupt the narrative--it is a well-designed book. Russell is au courant with the Tudor literature and thus delivers an excellent introduction to the Tudors in this slim volume.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Mendicant Orders and Italian Art in Nashville

Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy will be on exhibition at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee until January 25, 2015:

Beginning in the early thirteenth century, Italy was transformed by two innovative new religious orders known as the Dominicans, founded by Saint Dominic of Caleruega (1170–1221; canonized 1234), and the Franciscans, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226; canonized 1228). Whereas earlier religious orders, such as the Benedictines, had cloistered themselves in rural monasteries and lived off income from their property, the Dominicans and Franciscans settled in Italy’s growing cities and lived as mendicants, or beggars, who preached to laymen and women. When Francis and Dominic met in Rome in 1216, they recognized one another as brothers and embraced.

Both orders took a vow of poverty, but soon after the deaths of their founders they were building churches that rivaled cathedrals in size and splendor throughout Italy. With financial assistance from city governments, popes, and the laity, Dominican and Franciscan churches were constructed and filled with altarpieces, crucifixes, fresco cycles, illuminated manuscripts, and liturgical objects. Art became integral to the missions of these orders. Many works are narrative scenes focusing on the Dominican and Franciscan saints whose miracles sanctified contemporary Italian life.

This exhibition is the first to highlight the significant role played by the two major mendicant orders in the great flowering of art in Italy in the period 1200 to 1550. With works drawn from libraries and museums in the United States and the Vatican, it compares and contrasts ways the Dominicans and Franciscans employed art as propaganda and as didactic tools for themselves and their lay followers.

The book accompanying the exhibition is available here.

Another Victim of the English Reformation

The Catholic Herald writes about the eclipse of St. Hugh of Lincoln, brought about by the English Reformation:

A leading figure in the 12th century proto-Renaissance, Hugh of Lincoln has suffered a spectacular historical decline, going from being one of the most famous saints in English history at one point to a virtual unknown today.

He was born in Avalon in southern France around 1135. His father was the local lord and a soldier, who later retired to a monastery near Grenoble. Hugh’s mother died when he was sent to boarding school, becoming a religious novice at 15 and a deacon four years later.

In 1159, Hugh was sent to a nearby Benedictine monastery in Saint-Maximin, after which he left the order to enter the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the Carthusian order, just outside Grenoble.

In this famously austere environment he rose to become procurator, before being sent to Witham Charterhouse priory in Somerset, the first of the Carthusian houses in England. . . .

Then, in 1186, he was chosen as Bishop of Lincoln, a role in which he excelled. Generous and kind to his flock, he was also firm in standing up to the Crown. He also helped to improve education in the country and protected the Jews of Lincoln during the persecutions that begun during the Lionheart’s reign.

He also rebuilt Lincoln Cathedral, which had been damaged in 1186, and consecrated St Giles’s in Oxford in 1200. But he was also overworked, taking on the thankless task of being a diplomat for the new king, Richard’s appalling brother, John, and he died on November 16 1200.

Canonised 20 years later, St Hugh was very well known in the later medieval period but became less so after the Reformation.

He is the patron of sick children, shoemakers and swans.

David Farmer's 1985 biography is still probably the most reliable source. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

A magnificent golden shrine contained his relics, and Lincoln became the most celebrated centre of pilgrimage in the north of England. It is not known what became of St. Hugh's relics at the Reformation; the shrine and its wealth were a tempting bait to Henry VIII, who confiscated all its gold, silver and precious stones, "with which all the simple people be moch deceaved and broughte into greate supersticion and idolatrye". . . . In the Carthusian Order he is second only to St. Bruno, and the great modern Charterhouse at Parkminster, in Sussex, is dedicated to him.

St. Hugh of Lincoln, pray for us!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chesterton and Newman on English Catholic Literature

Our Wichita chapter of the American Chesterton Society will meet next week at Eighth Day Books to conclude our discussion of The Thing: Why I am a Catholic, reading the last three essays. The first of those three is titled "If They Had Believed" (Chapter 33) and Chesterton brings up John Henry Newman's summing up of English Literature:

ONE of the things our enemies do not know is the real case for their own side. It is always for me a great matter of pride that the proudest, the most genuine and the most unanswerable boast, that the Protestants of England could ever make, was made for them by a Catholic. Very few of the Protestants, of his time at any rate, would have had the historical enlargement or enlightenment to make it. For it was said by Newman, when that great master of English was surveying the glorious triumphs of our tongue from Bacon and Milton, to Swift and Burke, and he reminded us firmly that, though we convert England to the true faith a thousand times over, "English literature will always HAVE BEEN Protestant." 

That generous piece of candour might well be represented as even too generous; but I think it is very wise for us to be too generous. It is not entirely, or at least not exclusively true. The name of Chaucer is alone enough to show that English literature was English a long time before it was Protestant. Even a Protestant, if he were also English, could ask for nobody more entirely English than Chaucer. He was, in the essential national temper, very much more English than Milton. As a matter of fact, the argument is no stronger for Chaucer than it is for Shakespeare. But in the case of Shakespeare the argument is long and complicated, as conducted by partisans; though sufficiently simple and direct for people with a sense of reality. I believe that recent discoveries, as recorded in a book by a French lady, have very strongly confirmed the theory that Shakespeare died a Catholic. But I need no books and no discoveries to prove to me that he had lived a Catholic, or more probably, like the rest of us, tried unsuccessfully to live a Catholic; that he thought like a Catholic and felt like a Catholic and saw every question as a Catholic sees it. The proofs of this would be matter for a separate essay; if indeed so practical an impression can be proved at all. It is quite self-evident to me that he was a certain real and recognisable Renaissance type of Catholic; like Cervantes; like Ronsard. But if I were asked offhand for a short explanation, I could only say that I know he was a Catholic from the passages which are now used to prove he was an agnostic.

Then Chesterton poses an intriguing question: What "If They Had Believed" in Catholicism?:

But that is another and much more subtle question, which is not the question I proposed to myself in starting this essay. In starting it, I proposed to grant the whole sound and solid truth of Newman's admission; that there has indeed arisen out of the disunion of Europe a great and glorious English Protestant literature; and to make some further speculations upon the point. And I think that nothing could make clearer to the modern English, the one supreme thing that they don't know (which is what our religion really is and why we think it real) than to put this rather interesting historical question. What difference would it have made to the great masters of English literature, if they had been Catholics?

He discusses a few examples, Bunyan, Milton, the Romantics, and then comes back to Milton and even Sir Walter Scott:

I take it that the imaginative magnificence of Milton's epic, in such matters as the War in Heaven, would have been much more convincing, if it had been modelled more on the profound mediaeval mysteries about the nature of angels and archangels, and less on the merely fanciful Greek myths about giants and gods. PARADISE LOST is an immortal poem; but it has just failed to be an immortal religious poem. Those are most happy in reading Milton who can read him as they would read Hesiod. It is doubtful whether those seeking spiritual satisfaction now read him even as naturally as they would read Crashaw. I suppose nobody will dispute that the pageantry of Scott might have taken on a tenfold splendour if he could have understood the emblems of an everlasting faith as sympathetically as he did the emblems of a dead feudalism. For him it was the habit that made the monk; but the habit would have been quite as picturesque if there had been a real monk inside it; let alone a real mind inside the monk, like the mind of St. Dominic or St. Hugh of Lincoln. "English literature will always have been Protestant"; but it might have been Catholic; without ceasing to be English literature, and perhaps succeeding in producing a deeper literature and a happier England.

Coincidentally, Father C. John McCloskey provides more insight into Newman's appreciation of Catholic Literature in The Catholic Thing (get it: Chesterton's The Thing, Father McCloskey in The Catholic Thing--too perfect for coincidence!) and its influences:

Blessed John Henry Newman gave a classic justification for paying attention to such works. In his lectures to the students at the Catholic university that he founded in Dublin in the mid-1800s (later published as The Idea of the University), he discusses the meaning and purpose of Catholic literature. And he draws very interesting distinctions – and lessons from them:

When a “Catholic Literature in the English tongue” is spoken of as a desideratum, no reasonable person will mean by “Catholic works” much more than the “works of Catholics.” The phrase does not mean a religious literature. “Religious Literature” indeed would mean much more than “the Literature of religious men;” it means over and above this, that the subject-matter of the Literature is religious; but by “Catholic Literature” is not to be understood a literature which treats exclusively or primarily of Catholic matters, of Catholic doctrine, controversy, history, persons, or politics; but it includes all subjects of literature whatever, treated as a Catholic would treat them, and as he only can treat them.

Newman was clearly trying to stake out a particular kind of writing that would not be the usual apologetics or spiritual works or theology. In his day, he could assume most people would understand what he was getting at: “Why it is important to have them treated by Catholics hardly need be explained here. . . .For it is evident that, if by a Catholic Literature were meant nothing more or less than a religious literature, its writers would be mainly ecclesiastics; just as writers on Law are mainly lawyers, and writers on Medicine are mainly physicians or surgeons.”

The point has a bearing far beyond what might apply in professional groups or academic disciplines: “if this be so, a Catholic Literature is no object special to a University, unless a University is to be considered identical with a Seminary or a Theological School.”

For Newman, the importance of literature stems from our very nature and God-given powers as human beings, especially language:

if by means of words the secrets of the heart are brought to light, pain of soul is relieved, hidden grief is carried off, sympathy conveyed, counsel imparted, experience recorded, and wisdom perpetuated,—if by great authors the many are drawn up into unity, national character is fixed, a people speaks, the past and the future, the East and the West are brought into communication with each other,—if such men are, in a word, the spokesmen and prophets of the human family,—it will not answer to make light of Literature or to neglect its study; rather we may be sure that, in proportion as we master it in whatever language, and imbibe its spirit, we shall ourselves become in our own measure the ministers of like benefits to others, be they many or few, be they in the obscurer or the more distinguished walks of life,—who are united to us by social ties, and are within the sphere of our personal influence.

Here is the source for Newman's comments on Catholic Literature.

I think I will bring Father McCloskey's article to our meeting next Friday, November 21, at 6:30 p.m., gathering around the table on the second floor of Eighth Day Books--along with the Maple Bacon and Pumpkin Spice cookies I'm going to bake! If you are in Wichita, drop by and join the group! There will certainly be other refreshments and libations!

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Blog to Follow: Recusants and Renegades

A facebook friend Martin Robb messaged me with a link to his new blog, Recusants and Renegades:

My name is Martin Robb and I’m a university lecturer, blogger and very amateur historian, based in Hitchin, England.

This blog grew out of my work on family history, and more specifically my interest in my sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Kent and Sussex ancestors, including the Fowle family, who seem to have held on to their Catholic faith, either openly or covertly, through the turbulent events of the Reformation. Now that my research has strayed into exploring a network of families only loosely connected with my own ancestors, I've decided to relocate this part of my research to a separate site. (New readers are encouraged to start here.)

Readers sometimes ask me about ancestry and research--and I really haven't gotten in to that. I probably should and perhaps one day shall. One of my aunts on my mother's side, Aunt Eileen, researched their Threlfall and Smithhisler ancestry so she could become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The links are on the Threlfall side as I recall going back to colonial Maryland.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Project: 2015 Cardinal Newman Lecture

I'm preparing for Lent and it isn't even Advent yet?!

John McCormick, Director of the Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies at Newman University has asked me to deliver the 2015 Cardinal Newman Week lecture on Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015, and of course, I've accepted. The title and the description are:

Blessed John Henry Newman on Lent: Affliction and Love

Blessed John Henry Newman was the greatest homilist in nineteenth century England. As an Anglican vicar and as a Catholic priest he prepared his homilies in harmony with the liturgical year, urging his congregations to strive for holiness in every season. In this year's Cardinal Newman Day lecture, local author Stephanie A. Mann will explore Newman's homilies for Lent with their emphasis both on affliction or self-denial and devotion to Jesus in His Passion and Death. Mann will also describe how Newman "practiced what he preached" with examples from his life and personal devotions.

So I'm reading several sermons on Lent from Newman's Parochial and Plain Sermons, outlining my presentation, and gathering other sources. What a great opportunity!

Actually, I've done this before: When I worked as an Admissions Counselor at then Kansas Newman College after graduation from Wichita State University, I delivered the Cardinal Newman Day lecture on Monday, February 21, 1983. My topic: "The Rambler Crisis".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

St. Augustine and His Dog in Venice

Willard Spiegelman, the editor-in-chief of the Southwest Review at SMU in Dallas,writes about Vittore Carpacio's Cycle for the Scuola de San Giorgio Degli Schiavoni in Venice for The Wall Street Journal's Masterpiece column. I thoroughly appreciate and agree with his first paragraph:

After a first visit, every tourist to a famous place begins to turn from the hot spots, the three-star must-sees and the crowds—to yearn for intimacy, something out of the way. Nowhere is this quest more natural or essential than in Venice. Forget St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto. Forget Murano and its glass. Look for the big rewards that come from small packages.

Between the Bellini family, which came before him, and Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, who followed, the most important Venetian artist was Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1525). He bridged the turn to the new century. His large cycle depicting the legend of St. Ursula is one of the prizes of the Accademia. (These rooms were closed on the days I visited the museum, owing to “weather,” whatever that meant.) But for sheer intensity, variety, elegance and charm, nothing can beat his nine paintings that hang above eye level, beneath a coffered ceiling on the ground floor—they were on the second story until a mid-16th-century rearrangement—of the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, the Dalmatian Confraternity. This lovely spot is both a (long) stone’s throw and a world away from bustling Piazza San Marco.

"After a first visit" assumes that the tourist or traveler goes back to the same city again to see it beyond the tourist's highlights--something about the city or location is so attractive that we want to go back and explore further.

St. Augustine in his study receives a vision of St. Jerome as the latter dies. He stops writing, looks out the window--and his little dog looks up at him, wondering what's outside. As Spiegelman concludes:

We are not in north Africa in the fifth century. We are in Venice, at the turn of the 16th. La Serenissima is the queen of the Adriatic, the point of contact between the riches of the Orient and the western Mediterranean. The Renaissance has begun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

For My Review: Gareth Russell's Tudor Overview

Amberley Publishing sent me a review copy of Gareth Russell's new book, An Illustrated Introduction to THE TUDORS, part of their "Illustrated Introduction" series. My first impressions are that this is a well-illustrated (as befits the title) biographical survey of the Tudor dynasty and its origins. From what I have read so far, Russell acknowledges the fascination of the Tudors and supplies amble evidence of why we are so intrigued by the six monarchs (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Dudley, Mary I and, Elizabeth I) of this royal family. He has prepared a helpful timeline and list of suggested reading. Full review forthcoming.
On his blog Gareth has announced that he is working on a biography of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, to be published by Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins: Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the court of King Henry VIII. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Father John Saward on Beauty and Poverty

You might remember that I mentioned this lecture series several months ago; the first lecture took place in October:

This year’s Art of the Beautiful series opens on Saturday, October 11th at the Catholic Center at NYU. Rev. John Saward (Oxford University) will discuss The Poverty of the Church and the Beauty of the Liturgy.

The lecture will ask: “Is there a place for liturgical beauty in what Pope Francis has called ‘the Church that is poor and for the poor’?”

Now you can hear Father Saward's answer. As Father Saward was previously an Anglo-Catholic, it's appropriate to note that the Ritualist movement in the Church of England after the Oxford Movement was always aligned with great work among the poor, especially in urban areas in the nineteenth century. It is also appropriate to listen to this today while we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran in Rome and one could take this virtual tour to see the great beauty of this basilica, the seat of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thomas Woods in Wichita (November 16)

Thomas E. Woods, Jr (who blurbed the first printing of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation) will be speaking at the Church of the Magdalen on Sunday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m.--

Thomas Woods is the New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (featuring a foreword by Antonio Cardinal Canizares, former prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship), The Church Confronts Modernity, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. His book The Church and the Market, to be released in a 10th anniversary edition next year, won the $50,000 first prize in the Templeton Enterprise Awards. His books have been translated into a dozen languages.

Dr. Woods' writing has appeared in the Catholic Social Science Review, Catholic Historical Review, Inside the Vatican, the Journal of Markets and Morality, New Oxford Review, and many other religious and secular publications, both popular and scholarly. He is co-editor of Exploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877, an 11-volume encyclopedia. Dr. Woods has appeared on MSNBC, FOX News, CNBC, C-Span, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets, and hosted the 13-program series "The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization" on EWTN.

Dr. Woods holds a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and his Master's and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He lives in Topeka, Kansas, with his wife and five daughters.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Newman and Liturgy: From Anglican to Catholic

My friend Annie sent me this link to a lecture on “Marvellous Disclosures”: John Henry Newman’s Anglican Reflections on the Liturgy:

Over fifty years ago, as he reflected on the legacy of John Henry Newman, Fr Frank O’Malley asked: “What was the spirit of this man who is with us a constant reference and a standard and a sign?” By way of an answer, he pointed to something that few Newman scholars before or since have sought to highlight:

the spirit of Newman moved within the spirit of the liturgy, the liturgy thought of in its most significant sense as the very rhythm of Christian existence, stirred and centred by the life of Christ. Newman absorbed the liturgical character of existence. He lived by the liturgy. 

It was as an Anglican that “the liturgical character of existence” first impressed itself upon Newman. On the eve of his fourteenth birthday his mother made him a gift of The Book of Common Prayer – or would have done had he not preempted her offer by buying the book himself for her to give to him, which she then did “without saying a word”, bemused no doubt by her “impatient headstrong” boy. From the time of his ordination he preached regularly on the importance of the sacraments and the indispensability of public prayer, eventually coming to believe that the Church’s public prayer was the means through which the Church is visibly manifested in time and space. And during the early years of the Oxford Movement he came to regard the Prayer Book as the depository of Apostolic teaching in England, and a sure sign that the Anglican Communion belonged to and expressed the Catholic Faith – a belief he would gradually question.

Newman was known to celebrate the services of the Church with great care and devotion, and to encourage the faithful to attend them regularly, believing (as Donald Withey writes) “the daily office and frequent celebration of communion to be of the essence of the life of the Church”. “Religious worship”, Newman would assert, “supplies all our spiritual need...[and] suits every mood of mind and variety of circumstance”. At Littlemore, as Pusey recounted in 1837, during parts of the Daily Service Newman followed the ancient practice of kneeling “towards the East, the same way as the congregation, turning to the congregation in the parts directed to them”, though he always retained the protestant practice of celebrating the Sunday Communion at the north end of the holy table. Although he was not principally concerned with ritualism, he had a great appreciation for the importance of outward forms of public prayer and the liturgical cycle whose yearly round impressed the “great revealed verities” of the Faith onto the memories and imaginations of the faithful.

The liturgy inspired and shaped Newman’s preaching. An obvious example of this is that the sanctoral and seasonal cycle of the liturgical year became the organizing principle of Volume Two of the Parochial Sermons, first published in 1835. Despite the sermons having been written over many years, Newman arranged them not in the order in which they were written but according to their place in the liturgical calendar. In doing so he situated the volume in an Anglican tradition of liturgically ordered works that includes George Herbert’s The Temple (1633), Robert Nelson’s Companion for the Fasts and Festivals of the Church of England (1704), Charles Wheatly’s A Rational Illustration Upon the Book of Common Prayer (1710), and John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827). Beyond the liturgical arrangement of Volume Two, Newman’s sermons more generally reflect, as Placid Murray writes, the “range of Christian feeling aroused by the mysteries of Christ’s life as commemorated in the liturgy”.

Read the rest there. Turns out my receiving this was most timely, because I've just been asked to give the annual Cardinal Newman lecture at Newman University next year on Ash Wednesday, February 18 (before Mass that evening) on the theme of Newman and Lent. I'm working on the title and the blurb, but you can be sure the lecture will be based on Newman's sermons for the season of Lent.

Monday, November 3, 2014

From Boston Witch to Catholic Saint?

This story from the Catholic News Agency recalls the depiction of the indentured servitude/slavery of Irish Catholics in British America depicted by Robert Emmett Curran in Papist Devils:

The last person hanged for witchcraft in Boston could be considered a Catholic martyr.

In the 1650s, Ann Glover and her family, along with some 50,000 other native Irish people, were enslaved by Englishman Oliver Cromwell during the occupation of Ireland and shipped to the island of Barbados, where they were sold as indentured servants.

What is known of her history is sporadic at best, though she was definitely Irish and definitely Catholic. According to an article in the Boston Globe, even Ann's real name remains a mystery, as indentured servants were often forced to take the names of their masters.

While in Barbados, Ann's husband was reportedly killed for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith. By 1680, Ann and her daughter had moved to Boston where Ann worked as a “goodwife” (a housekeeper and nanny) for the John Goodwin family.

Father Robert O'Grady, director of the Boston Catholic Directory for the Archdiocese of Boston, said that after working for the Goodwins for a few years, Ann Glover became sick, and the illness spread to four of the five Goodwin children.

“She was, unsurprisingly, not well-educated, and in working with the family, apparently she got sick at some point and the kids for whom she was primarily responsible caught whatever it was,” Fr. O'Grady told CNA.

A doctor allegedly concluded that “nothing but a hellish Witchcraft could be the origin of these maladies,” and one of the daughters confirmed the claim, saying she fell ill after an argument with Ann.

Cotton Mather advised at her trial, packed with judges from his congregation, and a contemporary noted that it was unjust and cruel:

Allegedly, Boston merchant Robert Calef, who knew Ann when she was alive, said she “was a despised, crazy, poor old woman, an Irish Catholic who was tried for afflicting the Goodwin children. Her behavior at her trial was like that of one distracted. They did her cruel. The proof against her was wholly deficient. The jury brought her guilty. She was hung. She died a Catholic."

Mather convicted Ann of being an “idolatrous Roman Catholick” and a witch, and she hung on Boston Common on November 16, 1688. Today, just a 15 minute walk away, the parish of Our Lady of Victories holds a plaque commemorating her martyrdom, which reads:

“Not far from here on 16 November 1688, Goodwife Ann Glover an elderly Irish widow, was hanged as a witch because she had refused to renounce her Catholic faith. Having been deported from her native Ireland to the Barbados with her husband, who died there because of his own loyalty to the Catholic faith, she came to Boston where she was living for at least six years before she was unjustly condemned to death. This memorial is erected to commemorate “Goody” Glover as the first Catholic martyr in Massachusetts.”

A Catholic condemned as a witch also figures in Mary Sharratt's Daughters of the Witching Hill, her historical novel about the Pendle Hill Witches. One of the women convicted and hung for witchcraft was a well known recusant, Alice Nutter.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Hymn for All Souls Day

My husband and I made visits to his parents' grave and to church for All Soul's Day to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory this evening. Here's hymn for All Souls by Blessed John Henry Newman, "Help, Lord, the Souls that Thou hast Made", written at the Oratory in 1857:

HELP, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

Those holy souls, they suffer on,
Resign'd in heart and will,
Until Thy high behest is done,
And justice has its fill.
For daily falls, for pardon'd crime,
They joy to undergo
The shadow of Thy cross sublime,
The remnant of Thy woe.

Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made,
The souls to Thee so dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here. {316}

Oh, by their patience of delay,
Their hope amid their pain,
Their sacred zeal to burn away
Disfigurement and stain;
Oh, by their fire of love, not less
In keenness than the flame,
Oh, by their very helplessness,
Oh, by Thy own great Name,

Good Jesu, help! sweet Jesu, aid
The souls to Thee most dear,
In prison for the debt unpaid
Of sins committed here.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

An Anglican Hymn for All Saints

The words of this hymn were written by an Anglican bishop, Walsham How, and first sung to the tune Sarum; most commonly, the hymn is now sung to a Ralph Vaughn Williams's melody, Sine Nomine!

1. For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

2. Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

3. For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

4. For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

5. For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

6. O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

7. O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

8. And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

9. The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

10. But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

11. From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

William Walsham How (Walsham), 13 December 1823 – 10 August 1897, wrote several other hymns:

  • Lord Jesus, when we stand afar
  • O Jesu, thou art standing
  • O my Saviour, lifted from the earth for me
  • It is a thing most wonderful
  • For all the Saints, who from their labours rest
  • "Thou art the Christ, O Lord"
  • To Thee, Our God, we fly
  • Jesus! name of wondrous love
  • Soldiers of the cross, arise
  • We give thee but thine own

  • He was the first bishop of Wakefield in the north of England from 1888 until  his death (that Anglican diocese was absorbed into Leeds). Although neither biography I've found (Wikipedia and here) states it directly, he must have been Anglo-Catholic. He wrote a book on devotion to Holy Communion; founded an order of deaconess sisters to serve the poor, and obviously, wrote a hymn to celebrate All Saints! Happy All Saints Day!