Friday, July 29, 2016

The Beheading of Father Jacques

In the midst of recounting the stories of several priests martyred during the recusant or penal era in England here on my blog, I read early Tuesday morning about the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel, the 86 year old retired priest. He was decapitated on the altar while saying Mass in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy--a community and a church named for the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen the Deacon. Two radicalized jihadists took the small congregation hostage and brutalized the elderly priest. People have proclaimed him a martyr. He certainly suffered and died because he was a Catholic priest, but is he a martyr?

Jimmy Akin at Catholic Answers provides some background, citing a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in 2006:

It is of course necessary to find irrefutable proof of readiness for martyrdom, such as the outpouring of blood and of its acceptance by the victim. It is likewise necessary, directly or indirectly but always in a morally certain way, to ascertain the "odium Fidei" [hatred of the faith] of the persecutor. If this element is lacking there would be no true martyrdom according to the perennial theological and juridical doctrine of the Church. The concept of "martyrdom" as applied to the Saints and Blessed martyrs should be understood, in conformity with Benedict XIV's teaching, as "voluntaria mortis perpessio sive tolerantia propter Fidem Christi, vel alium virtutis actum in Deum relatum" (De Servorum Dei beatificatione et Beatorum canonizatione, Prato 1839-1841, Book III, chap. 11, 1). This is the constant teaching of the Church.

Akin provides a translation of the statement in Latin from Pope Benedict XIV ("The voluntary enduring or tolerating of death on account of the Faith of Christ or another act of virtue in reference to God.") As Akin analyzes our knowledge of the horrible attack:

As the most recent Benedict makes clear, it is necessary not only to ascertain the odium Fidei or hatred of the Faith on the part of the killer but also “irrefutable proof of readiness for martyrdom, such as the outpouring of blood and of its acceptance by the victim.”

This is what we do not yet appear to have regarding the death of Fr. Hamel.

That he was killed in hatred of the Faith may be regarded as certain. ISIS-linked killers entering a church and killing a priest while saying Mass is a clear sign of hatred of the Faith (barring a truly bizarre and improbable set of circumstances, such as the priest had somehow personally wronged them and they killed him for that reason).

What needs to be established for proof of martyrdom is that Fr. Hamel voluntarily endured or tolerated death on account of the Faith of Christ.

This could be done in a number of ways. For example, it could be done if witnesses in the church gave statements saying that Fr. Hamel faced death saying things like, “I accept my death at your hands for the love of Jesus Christ” or just telling the killers “I forgive you.”

Even apart from such statements, his acceptance of his death for the Faith could be established if he knew that his parish was likely to be targeted by terrorists and he went about his priestly duties anyway, braving the consequences in order to serve others spiritually.

The latter instance seems most likely: the church was on the list of churches targeted by the Islamic terrorists; if the French government hadn't told the pastor, that would be a great injustice. 

All the reports are that Father Hamel was a wonderful priest, ordained in 1958, serving his people with the Sacraments and through his compassion long beyond retirement age, urging them to holiness, according to this profile in The Catholic Herald

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

The Catholic priests executed in England during the Recusant or Penal era knew the dangers they faced, as did the laity who assisted them, or became Catholic. They knew their own country's government and official church hated the Catholic faith and that they faced torture and death if they continued in their practice of the faith. They were often offered freedom and even honors if they renounced their faith and attended a Church of England service. 

Image: Paolo Uccello's "Stoning of St. Stephen".

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Campion and Shakespeare Meet

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written a play about William Shakespeare and St. Edmund Campion. Its title, Shakeshafte, refers to the name mentioned in the annals of Hesketh Hall in Lancashire and the Jesuits in Britain are highlighting performance this week. In interviews about the play Williams says he believes Shakespeare was a Catholic and seems to accept one theory about Shakespeare's "lost years" as fact:

As part of his look into Shakespeare’s life and work, Dr Williams has also concluded The Bard was probably a Catholic.

He said of the play: “We know they both stayed at the same house in Lancashire. I found this a wonderful idea to play with: what might a Jesuit martyr and Shakespeare have said to each other?”

Regarding the ages-old debate over Shakespeare’s religion, Dr Wiliams says he now agrees with rumours that Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic at a time when Queen Elizabeth I was spearheadeding a brutal repression of the catholic faith.

Dr Williams said: “Shakespeare knows exactly where he does, and doesn’t, want to go, in matters of church and state. He deliberately puts some of his plays right outside the Christian, Tudor/Jacobean framework.

“For instance, King Lear takes place in a pre-Christian Britain. Again, some people argue that Cymbeline is about a rupture with Rome, leading to a reconciliation. I think Shakespeare did have a recusant Catholic background. My own hunch though is that he didn’t go to church much.”

The Dylan Thomas Theatre describes the play:

It is 1581 and the Protestant queen, Elizabeth I, is half way through her long reign, but not all her people are happy to turn from their Catholic past and obey the Protestant regime.

Talk of Catholic invasions and assassination of the queen is rife and those of the “old religion” live in fear and ever watchful spies.

This is the setting for “Shakeshafte” by Rowan Williams when Edmund Campion, a Jesuit priest travelling incognito from one household to another, meets a young Will Shakeshafte who has been hidden at the request of a schoolmaster in Stratford!

Based on some truth, gossip and rumour, it is an exciting play, full of suspense and drama and Rowan has used his poetical and philosophical gifts to create Will’s depth of thought and feelings about human relationships and to elaborate on the personal choices that he has to make.

This production commemorates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another July Martyr--From Wales

Blessed William Davies was beatified with the other 84 Martyrs of England and Wales in 1985 by Pope John Paul II. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, he was "one of the most illustrious of the priests who suffered under Queen Elizabeth":

b. in North Wales, probably and Croes yn Eris, Denbighshire, date uncertain; d. at Beaumaris, 27 July, 1593. He studied at Reims, where he arrived 6 April 1582 just in time to assist a the first Mass of the venerable martyr Nicholas Garlick. He received tonsure and minor orders 23 Sept., 1583, together with seventy-three other English students. Ordained priest in April, 1585, he laboured with wonderful zeal and success in Wales till March, 1591-2, when he was arrested at Holyhead with four students whom he was sending via Ireland to the English College at Valladolid. He was thrown into a loathsome dungeon in Beaumaris Castle and separated from his companions, having frankly confessed that he was a priest. After a month his sanctity and patience gained him some relaxation of his close confinement and he was able to join the students for and hour in the day, and even to celebrate Mass. By degrees the jailor became so indulgent that they might have escaped had they so willed. The fame of the priest's sanctity and wisdom brought Catholics from all parts to consult him and Protestant ministers came to dispute with him. At the assizes he and his companions were condemned to death, on which the martyr intoned the "Te Deum", which the others took up. The injustice of the sentence was so apparent that to still the people's murmurs the judge reprieved the condemned till the queen's pleasure be known. Sent to Ludlow, to be examined by the Council of the Marches, Father Davies had to submit to fresh assaults by the ministers. Here too he foiled the artifices of his enemies who took him to the church under pretext of a disputation, and then began the Protestant service. He at once began to recite the Latin Vespers in a louder voice than the ministers', and afterwards publicly exposed the trick of which he had been a victim. From Ludlow he was sent to Bewdley, where he had to share a foul dungeon with felons, and from thence to other prisons until at last he was sent back to Beaumaris, where, to their mutual consolation, he rejoined his young companions. For some six moths he lived with them the life of a religious community, dividing the time between prayer and study, "with so much comfort to themselves that they seemed to be rather in heaven than in prison". At the summer assizes it was decided that the priest must die as a traitor, though he was offered his life if he would go but once to church. In spite of the then open opposition of the people, who honoured him as a saint, the cruel sentence was carried out and he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Beaumaris. As he put the rope round his neck, the martyr said: "Thy yoke, O Lord is sweet and Thy burden is light." His cassock stained with his blood was brought by his companions and preserved as a relic. They, though condemned to imprisonment for life, managed in time to escape, and the youngest found his way at last to Valladolid, where he recounted the whole story to Bishop Yepes, who wrote it in his "Historia particular de la Persecucion en Inglaterra". There is now a chapel in Anglesey built as a memorial to the martyr.

More about Beaumaris Castle here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Martyrs on July 26

Blessed John Ingram and Blessed George Swallowell in 1594.

Blesseds Edward Thwing and Robert Nutter in 1600.

Blessed William Ward (born William Webster) in 1641.

When Pope John Paul II beatified the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales, he summarized their cause and their loyalty:

Among these eighty-five martyrs we find priests and laymen, scholars and craftsmen. The oldest was in his eighties, and the youngest no more than twenty-four. There were among them a printer, a bartender, a stable-hand, a tailor. What unites them all is the sacrifice of their lives in the service of Christ their Lord.

The priests among them wished only to feed their people with the Bread of Life and with the Word of the Gospel. To do so meant risking their lives. But for them this price was small compared to the riches they could bring to their people in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The twenty-two laymen in this group of martyrs shared to the full the same love of the Eucharist. They, too, repeatedly risked their lives, working together with their priests, assisting, protecting and sheltering them. Laymen and priests worked together; together they stood on the scaffold and together welcomed death. Many women, too, not included today in this group of martyrs, suffered for their faith and died in prison. They have earned our undying admiration and remembrance.

These martyrs gave their lives for their loyalty to the authority of the Successor of Peter, who alone is Pastor of the whole flock. They also gave their lives for the unity of the Church, since they shared the Church’s fait, unaltered down the ages, that the Successor of Peter has been given the task of serving and ensuring "the unity of the flock of Christ". He has been given by Christ the particular role of confirming the faith of his brethren.

The martyrs grasped the importance of that Petrine ministry. They gave their lives rather than deny this truth of their faith. Over the centuries the Church in England, Wales and Scotland has drawn inspiration from these martyrs and continues in love of the Mass and in faithful adherence to the Bishop of Rome. The same loyalty and faithfulness to the Pope is demonstrated today whenever the work of renewal in the Church is carried out in accordance with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and in communion with the universal Church.

Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us!

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Wedding of England & Spain: Philip and Mary

On July 25, 1554, Mary of England and Philip of Spain were married in Winchester Cathedral; their nuptials were witnessed by Stephen Gardiner, the Archbishop of Winchester and Mary's Chancellor. Author Conor Byrne offers some details about the celebration of "A Marriage of England & Spain":

 . . .the queen was attired magnificently in 'rich apparel', including a golden robe and a gown of rich tissue embroidered upon purple satin (purple being the colour of royalty) set with pearls and lined with purple taffeta, and a kirtle of white satin embroidered with silver. Mary was accompanied by loyal members of the nobility. Her soon-to-be husband was also splendidly attired in gold. The earl of Derby carried the sword of state before her, while her train was borne by the marquess of Winchester. Notable attendees included the bishops of Winchester, London, Ely, Durham, Chichester and Lincoln.

The wedding was attended by vast numbers of observers, who 'gave a great shout' of joy upon witnessing their sovereign's marriage. The queen's absence of close male relatives meant that she was given away by the marquess of Winchester and the earls of Derby, Bedford and Pembroke. Following a nuptial mass, Philip and Mary proceeded to the bishop's palace under the canopy of state. The couple spent several joyous days in Winchester following their summer wedding. They then departed for Windsor and then to London, in order for the capital's inhabitants to welcome their queen and new king.

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen made a recording of music that might have been performed at the first Christmas Mary and Philip celebrated together, when Mary and her physicians thought she might be pregnant. It includes music by both Spanish and English composers--most especially, Thomas Tallis Puer natus est Mass. The cover image is from the National Archives, Kew.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Newman and Sayers on the Son Rise Morning Show

Anna Mitchell contacted me and asked me to discuss my comparison between Dorothy L. Sayers and Blessed John Henry Newman, as I posted last week and as I presented it in my discussion of Sayers at this weekend's Inkling Festival. I'll be on the air Monday, July 25, during the first local hour--not on EWTN--on Sacred Heart Radio. Listen live here about 7:45 a.m. Eastern; 6:45 a.m. Central.

During my presentation at the Inklings Festival, I made the following comparison between Newman and Sayers' efforts to make the Gospel real to people who perhaps had heard it so often they had begun to take it for granted:
Like John Henry Newman, the Vicar of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford during the Second Oxford/Tractarian Movement, she wanted to make basic Christian doctrine real not notional or even misunderstood, to those who professed it. In “Christ's Privations a Meditation for Christians” Newman asked in the nineteenth century why the Anglicans in his congregation are not making any progress in their faith:
"But why is this? why do you so little understand the Gospel of your salvation? why are your eyes so dim, and your ears so hard of hearing? why have you so little faith? so little of heaven in your hearts?" 
And he answers:
"For this one reason, my brethren, if I must express my meaning in one word, because you so little meditate [upon the life of Christ]. You do not meditate, and therefore you are not impressed."
Sayers thought that by the 1940’s in England there were two reasons Christians did not progress in their faith: not only did they not meditate on the Person and life of Jesus Christ, but also they did not understand it. She believed that Christians didn’t just misunderstand the story or the symbols of the story, the Creeds, but worse, they thought they understood it when they didn’t!
To continue this parallel between Newman and Sayers, in another famous PPS, Newman tries to wake his congregation up, make them feel sorrow for the suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus, again noting their familiarity with the accounts of the Passion of Our Lord had somehow left them cold. So he used a homiletic shock therapy, exhorting the students and faculty and townspeople of Oxford: think of an animal being abused and tortured and how that moves you to pity and anger—think of a young child being abused and tortured and how that stirs you—think of an elderly man being abused and tortured and how that affects you—now remember that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Son of God and Son of Man was abused and tortured: this must move you to pity and additionally to repentance, because He did it for you.
That’s what Sayers wanted to achieve in The Man Born to Be King, using the medium of radio to take the Gospels out of the context of weekly Sunday readings and present them as a dramatic whole (in a monthly series of broadcasts) so they’d become real to the people again.
I'm happy to highlight the Eighth Day Institute's Inklings Festival on the Son Rise Morning Show--next year (2017!) Joseph Pearce will be the featured speaker! The first picture is of the pulpit in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford (c) Mark U. Mann. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Henry Fitzroy, RIP

Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy died on July 23, 1536. He was Henry's son by Elizabeth Blount, born in 1519 and Henry had bestowed many honors and much wealth upon him: the Order of the Garter; titles such as the Earl of Nottingham, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Admiral of England, Ireland, and Normandy, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland--these offices and titles made him very rich. His birth and survival was a sign to Henry that it was not his fault none of the sons borne by Katherine of Aragon survived.

In 1533 he married Mary Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk. Henry Fitzroy died just when Henry VIII was considering naming him his heir, in spite of his illegitimacy, since he had no other son to succeed him. Fitzroy witnessed the executions of the Carthusians and of Anne Boleyn; we have no information about what he thought of the religious changes going on around him.

As this site notes, however, those changes would soon affect him--or at least his mortal remains--because his had to be moved a few years later:

In early July, 1536, Richmond was reported to be ill with pains in his chest and a cough, which was diagnosed as consumption (usually identified as tuberculosis), he died at the age of seventeen at St. James's Palace on 23 July 1536.

His father-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk issued orders that the body be wrapped in lead and taken in a closed cart for secret interment, in the Cluniac priory of Thetford. The only mourners were two attendants who followed at a distance. His young widow Mary Howard was refused a pension by the King, as the couple were so young it is doubtful that the marriage had ever been consummated. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries his body was moved to Framlingham Church in Suffolk. His wife, Mary Howard, was also buried in his ornate tomb after her death in 1557.

The Howard family did not want to see their family members moved from their resting place, according to British History Online:

The Duke of Norfolk, the powerful patron of Thetford Priory, naturally looked with dismay upon the approaching destruction of this house and of the church, where not only his remote but more immediate ancestors had been honourably interred. His father, Sir Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey and duke of Norfolk, who died on 21 May, 1524, was buried before the high altar of the conventual church, where a costly monument to himself and Agnes his wife had been erected; whilst still more recently, in 1536, Henry Fitzroy, duke of Somerset, had been buried in the same place. As a means of preserving the church and establishment, the duke proposed to convert the priory into a church of secular canons, with a dean and chapter. In 1539 he petitioned the king to that effect, stating that there lay buried in that church the bodies of the Duke of Richmond, the king's natural son; the duke's late wife, Lady Anne, aunt to his highness; the late Duke of Norfolk and other of his ancestors; and that he was setting up tombs for himself and the duke of Richmond which would cost £400. He also promised to make it ' a very honest parish church.' At first the king gave ear to the proposal, and Thetford was included in a list with five others, of ' collegiate churches newly to be made and erected by the king.' Whereupon the duke had articles of a thorough scheme drawn up for insertion in the expected letters patent, whereby the monastery was to be translated into a dean and chapter. The dean was to be Prior William, (fn. 50) and the six prebendaries and eight secular canons were to be the monks of the former house, whose names are set forth in detail. The nomination of the dean was to rest with the duke and his heirs. The scheme included the appointment by the dean and chapter of a doctor or bachelor of divinity as preacher in the house, with a stipend of £20. (fn. 51).

But the capricious king changed his mind, and insisted on the absolute dissolution of the priory. The duke found that further resistance was hopeless, and on 16 February, 1540, Prior William and thirteen monks signed a deed of surrender. (fn. 52) Two months later the site and the whole possessions of the priory passed to the Duke of Norfolk for £1,000, and by the service of a knight's fee and an annual rental of £59 5s. 1d. The bones of Henry's natural son, and of the late Duke of Norfolk and others, together with their tombs, were removed to a newly erected chancel of the Suffolk church of Framingham, and the grand church of St. Mary of Thetford speedily went to decay.

More about the Howard family tombs here. St. Michael's in Framingham has more information about Henry Fitzroy on its "Historical Tombs" page, including this sad comment: "The responsibility for FitzRoy's burial was placed upon Norfolk by the King who seems to have lost interest in his son, once dead."

Image Credit for Thetford Priory ruins: Wikipedia Commons (licensed: CC BY-SA 3.0); Portrait miniature by Lucas Horenbout , public domain.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jesus and Women: St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene is my confirmation saint. I attended the School of the Magdalen here in Wichita and the sisters were thrilled by my selection, except that I really chose the name to honor the grandmother I never knew. She had been raised Catholic but had left the Church. Personally, I am pleased that Pope Francis has raised St. Mary Magdalen's feast day to the level of a Feast (not just a Memorial). That means that the "Gloria in exclesis deo" will be sung or recited at Mass today and there is even a special Preface (before the Sanctus and the Canon).

When announcing the change, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche commented on the reasons and the timing:

Archbishop Roche drew attention to the fact Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection, and is the one who announced the event to the Apostles.

“Saint Mary Magdalene is an example of true and authentic evangelization; she is an evangelist who announces the joyful central message of Easter,” he writes.

“The Holy Father Francis took this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to signify the importance of this woman who showed a great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ,” writes Archbishop Roche.

He also notes Saint Magdalene was referred to as the "Apostle of the Apostles" (Apostolorum Apostola) by Thomas Aquinas, since she announced to them the Resurrection, and they, in turn, announced it to the whole world.

“Therefore it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same grade of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and shines a light on the special mission of this woman, who is an example and model for every woman in the Church.”

Dorothy L. Sayers clearly identifies with the women of the Gospels who are drawn to Jesus. In her radio play-cycle, The Man Born to Be King, Sayers identifies Mary of Bethany as Mary Magdalen as the woman who washes Jesus's feet with her tears in the house of Simon the Zealot. There are some controversies here, as Scott Hahn describes in his Dictionary of the Bible (Doubleday, 2009):

Tradition often identifies Mary Magdalene either with the sinful woman who anointed Christ's feet in Luke 7:36-50 or with Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 and John 11-12. By the sixth century A.D., figures such as Gregory the Great had begun to advance the notion that these two women mentioned in Scripture were one and the same person: Mary Magdalene, who hailed from Bethany and who had become a disciple of Jesus after leading a notoriously sinful life. This tradition explains why Mary Magdalene was revered for centuries as the "model penitent." From a biblical standpoint, it is not impossible that Mary Magdalene could be identified with either one or both of these two women, but decisive evidence is lacking and so it must remain uncertain.

In "The Human Not Quite Human" Sayers writes that it's

no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized . . . who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension . . . who . . . never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female . . . who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.

Then in “The Light and The Life,” the 7th play from The Man Born to Be King cycle, Sayers dramatizes this great attraction in a scene set at Bethany in the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Mary remembers how Jesus forgave her, referring to Luke 7:36-50:

MARY: I love the wrong things in the wrong way—yet it was love of a sort . . . until I found a better.

JESUS: Because the love was so great, the sin is all forgiven.

MARY: Kind Rabbi, you told me so, when I fell at your feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. . . . Did you know? My companions and I came there that day to mock you. We thought you would be sour and grim, hating all beauty and treating life as an enemy. But when I saw you, I was amazed. You were the only person there that was really alive. The rest of us were going about half-dead—making the gestures of life, pretending to be real people. The life was not with us but with you—intense and shining, like the strong sun when it rises and turns the flames of our candles to pale smoke. And I wept and was ashamed, seeing myself such a thing of trash and tawdry. But when you spoke to me, I felt the flame of the sun in my heart. I came alive for the first time. And I love life all the more since I have learnt its meaning. 

JESUS: That is what I am here for. I came that men should lay hold of life and possess it to the full.

Let us pray: O God, whose Only Begotten Son entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others with announcing the great joy of the Resurrection, grant, we pray, that through her intercession and example we may proclaim the living Christ and come to see him reigning in your glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Snapdragon: Newman and Sayers

I've been completing my preparations for my presentation on Dorothy L. Sayers at Saturday's Inkling Festival and I make some comparisons between Sayers and Newman in the course of my talk. They both tried to make the Gospel real to their audiences; Newman in his pulpit at St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford; Sayers in her essays and the radio play, The Man Born to Be King on the BBC.

Then I was looking at an on-line collection of her poetry and found out that they had another connection: the snapdragon.

Newman thought that he would be living and working in Oxford all his life. He took the presence of the snapdragon growing on the walls of his alma mater Trinity College as the "emblem" of his "own perpetual residence even unto death in [his] University. Joyce Sugg took that image of the "Snapdragon in the Wall" as the subtitle of her biography of Newman originally published in 1965.

Newman wrote a poem about the snapdragon as "A Riddle for a Flower Book":

I AM rooted in the wall
Of buttress'd tower or ancient hall;
Prison'd in an art-wrought bed.
Cased in mortar, cramp'd with lead;
Of a living stock alone
Brother of the lifeless stone.

Else unprized, I have my worth
On the spot that gives me birth;
Nature's vast and varied field
Braver flowers than me will yield,
Bold in form and rich in hue,
Children of a purer dew;
Smiling lips and winning eyes
Meet for earthly paradise.
Choice are such,—and yet thou knowest
Highest he whose lot is lowest.
They, proud hearts, a home reject
Framed by human architect;
Humble-I can bear to dwell
Near the pale recluse's cell,
And I spread my crimson bloom,
Mingled with the cloister's gloom.
Life's gay gifts and honours rare,
Flowers of favour! win and wear!
Rose of beauty, be the queen
In pleasure's ring and festive scene.
Ivy, climb and cluster, where
Lordly oaks vouchsafe a stair.
Vaunt, fair Lily, stately dame,
Pride of birth and pomp of name.
Miser Crocus, starved with cold,
Hide in earth thy timid gold.
Travell'd Dahlia, freely boast
Knowledge brought from foreign coast.
Pleasure, wealth, birth, knowledge, power,
These have each an emblem flower;
So for me alone remains
Lowly thought and cheerful pains.
Be it mine to set restraint
On roving wish and selfish plaint;
And for man's drear haunts to leave
Dewy morn and balmy eve.
Be it mine the barren stone
To deck with green life not its own.
So to soften and to grace
Of human works the rugged face.
Mine, the Unseen to display
In the crowded public way,
Where life's busy arts combine
To shut out the Hand Divine.

Ah! no more a scentless flower,
By approving Heaven's high power,
Suddenly my leaves exhale
Fragrance of the Syrian gale.
Ah! 'tis timely comfort given
By the answering breath of Heaven!
May it be! then well might I
In College cloister live and die.

October 2, 1827.

Eighty-nine years later Dorothy L. Sayers had her first book of poetry published by Blackwell's in Oxford and it includes a poem title SNAP-DRAGONS:

I have the streets in mind
And the yellow sun,--
    Lad, you are left behind,--
    All that is done.

Snap-dragons on the wall
Were homely to see,--
    What was it after all
    But vanity?

Snap-dragons on the wall
In my garden too,--
    There is little to recall
    For me and you.

Dead blossoms adrift
Are falling away,--
    You never gave me a gift
    Would last for a day.

Swift is darkness -- swift
The death of a flower,--
    I never gave you a gift
    Would last for an hour.

Gone is the level light
From the wide lands,--
    I would be glad to-night
    Of the touch of your hands.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The O'Neill Dies in Rome

Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, "The O'Neill", died on July 20, 1616, in Rome. He is buried in San Pietro in Montorio, famous for Bramante's Il Tempietto. provides this background on his conflict with Elizabeth I and his final exile to Rome:

O’Neill surrendered to the English the following year on the day before Queen Elizabeth’s death. He went to London and met the new king, James I who, it seemed for a time, would be more understanding, but after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 patience with Catholicism ran out and the English regime returned to the whittling away of the O’Neill and O’Donnell estates. Hugh O’Neill hoped to argue his case again in London, but Red Hugh’s successor, his younger brother Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnel, decided to get away abroad. O’Neill realized that the English would take this to mean he was plotting another uprising and that he himself would be implicated. He decided he must go too and said a sad farewell to his friends.

O’Neill and O’Donnell and more than ninety followers set sail in a French ship from Rathmullan in Donegal. They landed in Normandy, went on to the Spanish Netherlands and were quickly packed off to Italy, where the pope provided them with a house in Rome paid for by Philip of Spain. Pleas for Spanish help in Ireland were ignored. The English government was surprised and delighted by the departure of the earls, which in the opinion of the attorney-general of Ireland, Sir John Davies, enabled it to complete the work of St Patrick, who ‘did only banish the poisonous worms, but suffered the men full of poison to inhabit the land still.’ O’Donnell soon died, in 1608, and was buried in the church of San Pietro di Montorio. British agents keeping an eye on O’Neill in Rome reported that after a good dinner he liked to talk of the prospect of ‘a good day in Ireland’.

Hugh O’Neill never saw his good day in Ireland. Almost blind in his final years, he died of fever in 1616 in his sixties and was interred beside O’Donnell. The Protestant plantation of Ulster proceeded apace and the flight of the earls would be the first of many departures from Ireland by native Irish over the following centuries.

You can see the marker for his grave on the church's website.

Image credit

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Her Nine Days Were Up Today in 1553

From This Day in History: July 19, 1553:

After only nine days as the monarch of England, Lady Jane Grey is deposed in favor of her cousin Mary. The 15-year-old Lady Jane, beautiful and intelligent, had only reluctantly agreed to be put on the throne. The decision would result in her execution.

Lady Jane Grey was the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII and the cousin of King Edward VI. Lady Jane and Edward were the same age, and they had almost been married in 1549. In May 1553 she was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, the son of John Dudley, the duke of Northumberland. When King Edward fell deathly ill with tuberculosis soon after, Jane’s father-in-law, John Dudley persuaded the dying king that Jane, a Protestant, should be chosen the royal successor over Edward’s half-sister Mary, a Catholic. On July 6, 1553, Edward died, and four days later Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen of England.

Lady Jane’s ascendance was supported by the Royal Council, but the populace supported Mary, the rightful heir. Two days into Lady Jane’s reign, Dudley departed London with an army to suppress Mary’s forces, and in his absence the Council declared him a traitor and Mary the queen, ending Jane’s nine-day reign.

Author Samantha Wilcoxon writes about why we don't refer to Lady Jane Grey as Queen Jane:

A recent post of mine brought questions to the forefront regarding Lady Jane Grey's status as a Tudor queen. I included her in my list of monarchs but noted that she is not always included in others. This list, for example, mentions her only parenthetically. Jane is referred to as a ruler by Royal.UK, but is still listed by the name Lady Jane Grey. In fact, we most commonly refer to her as Lady Jane Grey rather than Queen Jane.

Why is that? She had not had a coronation, but there are other examples of monarchs who have been accepted as such despite the lack of this ceremony. Edward V is a notable example quite close to Jane's time. Little Edward is never left out of discussions of England's kings though he ruled even less than his distant cousin Jane did.

Jane was proclaimed and deposed with lightening speed, causing some to refer to her as an unsuccessful usurper rather than a legal queen.

Read the rest there.

Image credit: the Streatham Portrait, discovered in 2005/2006, as noted by The Guardian:

Queen of England for nine days, then dispatched by the axeman at the Tower of London at the age of just 17, Lady Jane Grey and her tragic story have exerted a deep fascination for centuries. She is the only English monarch since 1500 of whom no portrait survives. Or so it has long been assumed.

But experts are now claiming that a painting that hung for years in a house in Streatham, south-west London, is of Lady Jane. The owner inherited the work from his great-grandfather, a collector of 16th-century antiques.

A pawn in the ambitious power games of her parents and father-in-law, Lady Jane was briefly queen after the death of her cousin Edward VI - until her short rule from the Tower of London was transformed into imprisonment when Mary I successfully claimed the throne.

Were this a painting of Lady Jane, it would satisfy a centuries-old hunger to know the appearance of this unfortunate teenager, described at the time as "prettily shaped and graceful" with a "gracious and animated figure". . . .

The "new" portrait, which experts have confidently dated to the second half of the 16th century, shows a slender young woman in an opulent gown and jewels, a book held in her left hand. Above her shoulder is a faint inscription reading "Lady Jayne". The costume she wears was in fashion in the early 1550s; Jane was queen in 1553.

There was quite a debate about whether or not this was a portrait of Lady Jane Grey; David Starkey rejected it. Eric Ives, evidently, accepted its validity enough to have it used on the cover of his 2009 book:

Lady Jane Grey, (sic) is one of the most elusive and tragic characters in English history.

In July 1553 the death of the childless Edward VI threw the Tudor dynasty into crisis. On Edward's instructions his cousin Jane Grey was proclaimed queen, only to be ousted 13 days later by his illegitimate half sister Mary and later beheaded. In this radical reassessment, Eric Ives rejects traditional portraits of Jane both as hapless victim of political intrigue or Protestant martyr. Instead he presents her as an accomplished young woman with a fierce personal integrity. The result is a compelling dissection by a master historian and storyteller of one of history’s most shocking injustices.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The College of Arms and Mary I

The College of Arms still holds its charter from Mary I of England (and Philip of Spain, her consort). It was granted on July 18, 1554 and according to this 1805 history of the College and its Heralds, it was an uncomfortable situation:

The College of Arms found a benefactress in Mary, though it must Mary I. have been painful to her to have had them proclaim her rivals When the council of Edward VI. could no longer keep the secret that he was dead, July 10, four days after his decease, his loss was promulgated in London, at the same time that it was declared, that the late Monarch had made a settlement of the Crown in favor of Lady Jane Grey. This was done by two heralds, and a trumpet blowing before them, first in Cheapside, then in Fleet-street, none opposing it but a young man, a vintner's apprentice, who alone spoke for Mary's "true right and title, for which he was immediately taken up, and the next day at eight o'clock in the morning, set on the pillory, and both his ears cut off, an herald present, and trumpet blowing, and incontinent he was taken down, and carried to the "Counter." We find that the herald was in his coat, and read the pretended offence of the unfortunate youth in the presence of William Gerrard, one of the sheriffs of London. When Norfolk, and other counties, had shewn their disapprobation of changing the order of succession, the Lord-Mayor and his brethren met the council at Baynard's Castle, where they all agreed to ride to Cheap, attended with the heralds, and proclaims the Lady Mary's Grace ; " but so " great was the concourse of people, that the lords could not ride by them' to the Cross, where was Master Garter, king at arms, in his rich coat of arms, with a trumpet ready. The trumpet was sounded, and then they proclaimed the Lady Mary, daughter to King Henry VIII. and " Queen Katherine, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.; which proclamation ended, the Lord-Mayor and all "the council rode to Paul's Church, where the canticle of Te Deum was sung". This put an end to all further attempts in London to establish Lady Jane upon the Throne.

The apology which the College would offer, could be no other, than that they had been under compulsion to do as the Duke of Northumberland and the council commanded: afterwards they had done as duty and inclination dictated. Mary accepted the excuse with some exceptions. She appeared so satisfied, that Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, having represented, as Earl Marshal, the intentions of the late King in favor of the heralds, of granting them Derby-house, she gave them a charter, dated at Hampton-court, July 18, 1554 (sic), of that mansion, to "enable them to assemble together, and consult, and agree amongst themselves, for the " good of their faculty, and that the records and rolls might be more safely and conveniently deposited."

According to the website for the College of Heralds, their functions have changed since the days of tournaments and jousting knights:

Although many of the ceremonial duties of heralds have disappeared they still carry out and organize under the Earl Marshal, certain extremely ancient and splendid ceremonies. In June each year at Windsor Castle is held the procession and service of the Sovereign and Knights Companion of the Order of the Garter. The State Opening of Parliament, usually in November, is another magnificent ceremony. The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, is one of the two Great Officers of State and the office is hereditary in his family. He has particular powers of supervision over the heralds and the College of Arms.

The arrangement of State funerals and the monarch's Coronation in Westminster Abbey fall under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, and the heralds have a role in their organization.

At all these ceremonies the heralds wear their highly distinctive medieval uniform, the tabard. This is a coat embroidered on its front, back and sleeves with the Royal Arms.

And the same page concludes with reference to this date, when Mary and Philip granted the charter:

They received the charter under which they now operate from Queen Mary and her husband Philip of Spain in 1555, together with the site of the present College of Arms on which then stood Derby Place. This building was the College of Arms until it burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present College building dates from the 1670s.

The Duke of Norfolk, currently Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, the 18th, is the Earl Marshal and in charge of the College of Arms and thus in charge of heraldry in England and Wales, approving each coat of arms granted, including this one for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Norfolks are, of course, one of the old recusant families, remaining Catholic throughout the centuries.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne

From my article published in the July/August 2013 issue of OSV's The Catholic Answer Magazine, based on a mini-pilgrimage I took while in Paris in 2010:

A visitor in Paris today might arrive at the Place de la Nation, a hub of transportation and commerce on the right bank of the Seine River, and never know about the revolutionary deeds of blood committed there.

Restaurants, taxis and buses ring around the Place de la Nation and its statue depicting Marianne, the symbol of the Republic, while locals walk their dogs in the park. But here, in the last hot summer of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, on July 17, 1794, 14 nuns, three lay sisters and two servants of the Carmelite house of Compiègne died for their Catholic faith.

What brought them to such a bloody end beneath the blade of the guillotine the day after the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel?

The answer might be surprising if we presume the ideals of liberty, fraternity and equality truly summarize the spirit of the French Revolution. After the fall of the traditional, absolute monarchy and the rise of the National Assembly with a constitutional monarchy in 1789, the state attacked the Catholic Church, confiscating churches and closing convents. . . .

For pilgrims seeking to walk the path of the Carmelites, after leaving the whirl of the Place de la Nation, they should walk to Cimitière de Picpus where the Carmelites are buried in one of the two mass graves behind the wall next to the family tombs. The opening hours are limited, the entrance fee is only two euros, and it is far off the tourist track.

But it is peaceful and apart, perfect for a traveler who wants to be a pilgrim in Paris, contemplating the mystery and the glory of martyrdom.

The ultimate source on the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne is William Bush's To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne from ICS Publications:

Recounts the dramatic true story of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, martyred during the French Revolution's "Great Terror," and known to the world through their fictional representation in Gertrud von Le Fort's Song at the Scaffoldand Francis Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites. Includes index and 15 photos. 
At the height of the French Revolution's "Great Terror," a community of sixteen Carmelite nuns from Compiègne offered their lives to restore peace to the church and to France. Ten days after their deaths by the guillotine, Robespierre fell, and with his execution on the same scaffold the Reign of Terror effectively ended. Had God thus accepted and used the Carmelites' generous self-gift?

Through Gertrud von Le Fort's modern novella, Song at the Scaffold, and Francis Poulenc's famed opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites, (with its libretto by Georges Bernanos), modern audiences around the world have become captivated by the mysterious destiny of these Compiègne martyrs, Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and her companions. Now, for the first time in English, William Bush explores at length the facts behind the fictional representations, and reflects on their spiritual significance. Based on years of research, this book recounts in lively detail virtually all that is known of the life and background of each of the martyrs, as well as the troubled times in which they lived. The Compiègne Carmelites, sustained by their remarkable prioress, emerge as distinct individuals, struggling as Christians to understand and respond to an awesome calling, relying not on their own strength but on the mercy of God and the guiding hand of Providence.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Scarisbrick on MacCulloch

Writing for The Catholic Herald, Henry VIII biographer J.J. (Jack) Scarisbrick reviews Diarmaid MacCulloch's book of essays on the Reformations (English and Continental):

There are remarkable essays, for example, on the Protestant reformers and Our Lady, on the making of the Book of Common Prayer, the (Catholic) genius William Byrd and the (eventually rather tragic) career of Richard Hooker. There is a masterly review of writings on the English Reformation, including positive appreciations of Hilaire Belloc, the Redemptorist Fr Thomas Edward Bridgett and Philip Hughes’s bold trilogy; and a fascinating account of how the 17th-century Irish Protestant firebrand (psychopath?) Robert Ware produced blatant forgeries to promote his cause.

Some of these essays are a bit heavy going, but MacCulloch has a gift for explaining complicated things simply. He can also produce the arresting new insight: for example, that Thomas Cromwell may have indeed have been a “sacramentary”, as his enemies claimed, ie one who denied any Real Presence, and was thus more radical than was Cranmer at the time. Or how the Polish ex-priest-turned-Protestant Jan Łaski did much to drive forward the English Reformation. Or how remarkable was the survival – unique in Protestant lands – of our cathedrals with their full array of deans and canons, organs, choirs and closes, and how their liturgy and hymnody contributed to the rise of Anglicanism. . . . 

Alas, there is an anti-Catholic tone throughout this book. Catholics are always “Roman” or “Romish”. There are anachronistic references to “the Vatican” (a rather nasty place). The Jesuits are a “sect”. The revolution of 1688 is “Glorious” without inverted commas. It is really excessive to describe as a “catastrophe” the Council of Chalcedon (491) which, thanks not least to Pope Leo the Great, courageously reaffirmed the crucial truth that Christ is both truly God and truly man. . . .

There is another worry. He says several times that Catholics believe in a “corporal” or “corporeal” presence in the Eucharist. He even adds the word “physical” sometimes. That one so accomplished in elucidating even the subtlest differences between Luther and his ex-followers, and between him and other major Protestant leaders such as Bucer, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, Bullinger and, above all, John Calvin (not to mention the radicals who fled to Poland and Hungary, etc), this is alarming. How can he be so inaccurate?

One reason that Catholics don't like the label Roman Catholics is that it ignores the diversity of the Catholic Church. It forgets about the other Latin Rites, for example, and displays compete ignorance of Eastern Rite Catholics. The error that Scarisbrick is highlighting in MacCulloch's statements about the Eucharist is that our doctrine is that the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is Sacramental, not physical (corporal or corporeal). It's stated clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so MacCulloch has a ready resource for accuracy.

The cover illustrated above is the U.K. edition, which is out now. The U.S. edition, with a different subtitle, is due out in August. According to OUP-USA:

The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome, and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today. In All Things Made New, Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of the New York Times bestseller Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, examines not only the Reformation's impact across Europe, but also the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the special evolution of religion in England, revealing how one of the most turbulent, bloody, and transformational events in Western history has shaped modern society.

The Reformation may have launched a social revolution, MacCulloch argues, but it was not caused by social and economic forces, or even by a secular idea like nationalism; it sprang from a big idea about death, salvation, and the afterlife. This idea - that salvation was entirely in God's hands and there was nothing humans could do to alter his decision - ended the Catholic Church's monopoly in Europe and altered the trajectory of the entire future of the West.

By turns passionate, funny, meditative, and subversive, All Things Made New takes readers onto fascinating new ground, exploring the original conflicts of the Reformation and cutting through prejudices that continue to distort popular conceptions of a religious divide still with us after five centuries. This monumental work, from one of the most distinguished scholars of Christianity writing today, explores the ways in which historians have told the tale of the Reformation, why their interpretations have changed so dramatically over time, and ultimately, how the contested legacy of this revolution continues to impact the world today.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Happy Birthday to Henry Cardinal Manning

Henry Edward Manning, future Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, was born on July 15, 1808. Although influenced in some ways by John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement to become a Catholic in 1851, Manning did not always appreciate Newman's personality, theology, or influence among English Catholics.

Cited on The Victorian Web, Lawrence Poston (from his book The Antagonist Principle: John Henry Newman and the Paradox of Personality. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2014comments on the conflicts between Henry Cardinal Manning and John Henry Cardinal Newman:

Newman's vexed relationship with Henry Manning was not the least of the products of his Catholic years. Over the last century, Manning, on the whole (and with the exceptions of such balanced scholars as David Newsome and James Pereiro) has had a bad press. He was doubtless much that he has been accused of being—ambitious, devious, and politically motivated—and he has earned a reputation for equivocation, particularly in interpreting Newman's actions to the hierarchy. Certainly temperament had much to do with their differences. Manning was a well-informed man and no mean theologian. But he was a man of the world, not a cloistered university don, and his practical experience as an archdeacon in the Church of England had shown his capacity to manage men. He was an accomplished bureaucrat who moved naturally in the complexities of Vatican politics; Newman was not. Both men craved power, but Manning through authority, Newman through influence. Yet Manning was no stranger to the joys and sorrows of the human condition. The loss of his wife in the years before his own reception into the Roman Catholic Church was a source of continuing sorrow throughout his life, though he did not make a public display of his bereavements, and his intervention in the London Dock Strike (1889) demonstrated a political pragmatism quite beyond Newman's ken.

To Newman's principle of personality Manning posed the antagonist principle of bureaucracy as a way of containing gifted but excitable individuals who might disrupt ecclesiastical due process. Manning had small sympathy for theories of development, and even less interest in the role of the laity, whom he famously dismissed as fit for hunting and fishing* but not for theological disputation [sic]. He was decisive where Newman was hesitant, but a virtue of his limitations as well as a consequence of his power was that he found it easier to eschew grudges. As John Page has noted, Newman's intellectual response to the papal claims was indirect, veering and tacking, in short (to take a term from Ian Ker)unscholastic, because his personality was "careful, tolerant, and given to second thoughts" (Page 421), while his historical method elevated inference over logic. His argument in counseling troubled Catholics was that confession did not demand adherence to a specific definition de fide as long as they had made an active avowal of faith in the Church's teaching. This would have struck Manning as worse than hairsplitting; it was a failure of loyalty and indeed of nerve.

More deeply, the two men held different beliefs on how one comes to religious faith. Newman's
Grammar of Assent . . . was the product of a patient mind disentangling, over many years, the intricate processes by which individuals come to belief: how the reason cooperates, through the accumulation of probabilities, in the task of finding certitude. Manning’s idea of certainty (not the same as Newman's "certitude") amounted to a rejection of the Butlerian theory of probability that Newman had embraced years before, and Manning's interpretation of the Catholic position was that right reason "leads us to the fact of a Divine Teacher; but thenceforward His voice, and not our balancing of probabilities, will be the formal motive of the faith." The Church's witness was not only "human and historical" but "supernatural and divine." Thus, "My faith terminates no longer in a cumulus of probabilities, gathered from the past, but upon the veracity of a Divine Power guiding me with His presence" (Manning 75-76). This standard, enunciated three years before the appearance of the Grammar of Assent, was surely behind Manning’s belief that Newman had never really left off being an Anglican at heart. [218-19]

*While Manning might have agreed with this dismissal, I think that Poston has attributed this comment incorrectly. Monsignor George Talbot wrote to Manning, after Newman had written his famous article in The Rambler on "Consulting the Laity in Matters of Doctrine":
What is the province of the laity? To hunt, to shoot, to entertain? These matters they understand, but to meddle with ecclesiastical matters they have no right at all, and this affair of Newman is a matter purely ecclesiastical…. Dr. Newman is the most dangerous man in England, and you will see that he will make use of the laity against your Grace.
When Newman was beatified in 2010 Robert Gray wrote in The Spectator, comparing and contrasting Manning and Newman:

Newman and Manning did have one thing in common: they had both been born into evangelical families. At Oxford, however, Newman soon came to detest the smugness and vulgarity of those who claimed intimate converse with the Almighty. More pertinently, he apprehended that an ill-defined mishmash of individual enlightenment, pious sentiment and good works could never stand against the secularising tendencies of the times.

If Christianity were to survive (and Newman was quite prepared to concede that it might not), Christians must have firmly and objectively fixed propositions into which to fasten their mental hooks. In a word, they required dogma, which could only be delivered by a divinely appointed Church.

To the young Henry Manning, preaching the Word to a rustic congregation at Lavington in Sussex, such teaching appeared as manna in the desert. How infinitely more satisfying, for a temperament attracted to power, to stand before his humble flock as a successor of the Apostles than as a mere expositor of biblical texts.

Yet while Manning followed Newman in theology, he retained throughout his life an evangelical sympathy for the outcast. Newman, on the other hand, was in general far too obsessed by the eternal drama to bestow much time or notice upon the sufferings of this world.

Read the rest there, especially as Gray comments on all the good work Henry Manning did as Archbishop of Westminster:

His first duty, he judged, was to the Irish in London, in danger of being lost to the Church in the slums of the capital. By the time of his death in 1892 more than 10,000 extra places had been provided in parish elementary schools. He also succeeded, with the help of his friend William Gladstone, in extricating thousands of Catholic children from Protestant workhouses, so that by 1884 not a single one was left therein.

At the same time he developed orphanages and reformatories for neglected children. After the Education Act of 1870, he raised funds to ensure that Catholic schools did not fall under the rule of godless local boards of education. Later he played an important role in establishing the principle that denominational, or ‘voluntary’ schools should be financed from the rates on the same basis as board schools.

Whereas the Oxford Movement converts who followed Newman into the Catholic Church may be measured in hundreds, those whom Manning saved for Rome must be numbered in tens of thousands. Catholic intellectuals, however, have rarely found the Archbishop’s social labours as compelling as Newman’s exquisite disquisitions on the nature of faith or on the evolution of his religious opinions.

That last comment is echoed by the author of the CTS Biography of Cardinal Manning, pictured above, as I've posted before.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blessed Richard Langhorne

Blessed Richard Langhorne (c. 1624 – 14 July 1679) was a barrister executed as part of the Popish Plot. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in May 1647 and called to the bar in November 1654. He provided legal and financial advice for the Jesuits.

His wife, Dorothy, was a Protestant from Havering in Essex. His sons Charles and Francis were both priests. When, in October 1677, Titus Oates was expelled from the English College at St Omer "for serious moral lapses", Charles Langhorne entrusted Oates with a letter to his father. Oates returned to St Omer with a letter from Richard thanking the Jesuits for all they had done for his sons.

When Oates and Israel Tonge unleashed their Popish Plot in September 1678, three Jesuits and a Benedictine were arrested. Langhorne was arrested a week later, imprisoned at Newgate and charged with Treason. Oates claimed, corroborated by William Bedloe, that Langhorne's earlier correspondence dealt with treason.

He was found guilty of High Treason. As the result of a petition by his wife, a ‘true Protestant’, he received a month's reprieve to tidy the affairs of his clients. He was executed at Tyburn, London, on 14 July 1679. According to the Benedictines at Tyburn Convent, "He declared on the scaffold at Tyburn, that not only a pardon, but many preferments and estates had been offered to him if he would for sake his religion. As the hangman was placing the rope round his neck, he took it into his hands and kissed it."

This notice from The Tablet archives has this additional detail about his execution from a contemporary account:

"He then said, 'Pray God bless his Majesty and this kingdom, and defend him from all his enemies '; and then prayed that there might be no more blood shed, and that God would forgive them that designed or rejoyced in his death, and suddenly added, 'I shall say no more in publick.' And presently applyed himself to his private devotions, and by some words which he spake lowder than ordinary it appeared that some of his prayers were in Latin and some in English. One near him saying, the Lord have mercy on his soul,' he, turning to him, said, I thank you for your charity.' Having continued about a quarter of an hour in his private ejaculations (though the sheriff told him he might take half an hour if he pleased), he asked whether the rope were right. A while after he said, You need stay no longer for me.' Upon which the cart was immediately drawn away, and the hangman, having struck him on the breast and pull'd his legs to dispatch him, he was stripp'd, and being quite dead, was cut down and the sentence executed upon him. . . .

"After his bowels were burnt and his body quartered according to his sentence, his corps was, by his Majesty's most gracious order, delivered to his friends, who put it into a hearse, with escutcheons about it, and was afterwards interred in the Temple church, in which place he was once a student of the laws."

On 15 December 1929, he was beatified by Pope Pius XI.

As I've noted before on this blog when discussing the Popish Plot, England's justice system benefited the accuser and gave little leeway to a defendant trying to prove a negative: Langhorne could not prove their interpretation of his letters was wrong. Samuel Pepys and other defendants finally received some measure of justice because Judge Scrogg figured out Oates' and his confreres' perjury. Samuel Pepys was accused that same year of giving naval secrets to the French and of being a Catholic, just because of his loyalty to James, the Duke of York. He spent six months in the Tower of London and eventually established, not his innocence per se, but his accuser's guilt. Pepys was cleared of charges and reinstated as Secretary to the Admirality--in 1684!

Blessed Richard Langhorne, pray for us!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Inklings Festival, July 23, 2016

Early bird registration for the Second Annual Eighth Day Inklings Festival ends this Friday, July 15--and includes a free C.S. Lewis tote bag! The entire event is held inside and on the grounds of St. George Orthodox Cathedral here in Wichita, Kansas!

Here's the poster: (Note the need for CASH)

Here's the schedule:

Most of the presentations at this year's Inkling Festival are dedicated to C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia and Till We Have Faces are featured), but my presentation is about Dorothy L. Sayers, the Oxford graduate (BA and MA), Christian apologist, translator of Dante and The Song of Roland, advertising copywriter, mystery writer, and playwright! My presentation is also distinguished by having the shortest abstract!

While not an active member of the Inkling group, mystery writer and Anglo-Catholic theologian Dorothy L. Sayers was known to Lewis, Tolkien, et al. This presentation will serve as an introduction to Sayers’ life and work - particularly her examination of the role of women in society and the Church. Her dedication to essential Christian doctrines as the guides to creating great drama and framing true morality will also demonstrate her support of the Inklings’ literary and religious revivals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Another Catholic Howard Born

Henry Howard, who would become the 6th Duke of Norfolk, was born on July 12, 1628. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, he was the

Second son of Henry Frederick Howard, third Earl of Arundel and Lady Elizabeth Stuart, was educated abroad, as a Catholic. In 1660 he went as ambassador extraordinary to Morocco. In 1677 he succeeded his brother as duke, having previously been made hereditary earl-marshal. During the Commonwealth and Protectorate he lived in total seclusion. In January, 1678, he took his seat in the House of Lords, but in August the first development of the Titus Oates Plot was followed by an Act for disabling Catholics from sitting in either house of Parliament. He would not comply with the oath and, suspected of doubtful loyalty, withdrew to Bruges for three years. There he built a house attached to a Franciscan convent and enjoyed freedom of worship and scope for his munificence. He was a man of benevolent disposition and gave away the greater part of his splendid library, and grounds and rooms to the Royal Society, and the Arundelian marbles to Oxford University. Jealous of the family honour, he compounded a debt of £200,000 contracted by his grandfather.

The Wikipedia entry for this duke includes more detail about his reaction to the Popish Plot and the Test Acts, because he remained in the House of Lords

long enough to sit as a peer at the trial for treason of his close relative William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, a fellow victim of the Popish Plot; unfortunately for Stafford, "a man not beloved", he had quarreled with most of his relatives, including Norfolk, and with the exception of the future 7th Duke of Norfolk all the Howard peers present (seven out of eight) including the 6th Duke, voted him Guilty. Stafford was beheaded on 29 December; the Duke does not seem to have interceded for his cousin's life.

He died on January 13, 1684 and was succeeded by his son Thomas by his first marriage to Anne Somerset--he married his mistress Jane Bickerton in 1676 or 1677. More information about his second marriage here.

Erasmus on More

Desiderius Erasmus died on July 12, 1536--just a year and six days after his friend Thomas More--in Basel of dysentery. This blog describes their friendship, and this paper, provided by the Center for Thomas More Studies provides more analysis, especially in reaction to Richard Marius' 1984 biography of More.

Erasmus and More were friends, even though they certainly had different responses to the Protestant Reformation. Erasmus appreciated More's character, which he described in a 1519 letter:

You ask me to paint you a full-length portrait of More as in a picture. Would that I could do it as perfectly as you eagerly desire it. At least I will try to give a sketch of the man, as well as from my long familiarity with him I have either observed or can now recall. To begin, then, with what is least known to you, in stature he is not tall, though not remarkably short. His limbs are formed with such perfect symmetry as to leave nothing to be desired. His complexion is white, his face fair rather than pale, and though by no means ruddy, a faint flush of pink appears beneath the whiteness of his skin. His hair is dark brown, or brownish black. The eyes are grayish The eyes are grayish blue, with some spots, a kind which betokens singular talent, and among the English is considered attractive, whereas Germans generally prefer black. It is said that none are so free from vice.

His countenance is in harmony with his character, being always expressive of an amiable joyousness, and even an incipient laughter, and, to speak candidly, it is better framed for gladness than for gravity and dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery. The right shoulder is a little higher than the left, especially when he walks. This is not a defect of birth, but the result of habit, such as we often contract. In the rest of his person there is nothing to offend. His hands are the least refined part of his body.

He was from his boyhood always most careless about whatever concerned his body. His youthful beauty may be guessed from what still remains, though I knew him when be was not more than three-and-twenty. Even now he is not much over forty. He has good health, though not robust; able to endure all honourable toil, and subject to very few diseases. He seems to promise a long life, as his father still survives in a wonderfully green old age.

I never saw anyone so indifferent about food. Until he was a young man he delighted in drinking water, but that was natural to him (id illi patrium fuit). Yet not to seem singular or morose, he would hide his temperance from his guests by drinking out of a pewter vessel beer almost as light as water, or often pure water. It is the custom in England to pledge each other in drinking wine. In doing so he will merely touch it with his lips, not to seem to dislike it, or to fall in with the custom. He likes to eat corned beef and coarse bread much leavened, rather than what most people count delicacies. Otherwise he has no aversion to what gives harmless pleasure to the body. He prefers milk diet and fruits, and is especially fond of eggs.

His voice is neither loud nor very weak, but penetrating; not resounding or soft, but that of a clear speaker. Though he delights in every kind of music he has no vocal talents. He speaks with great clearness and perfect articulation, without rapidity or hesitation. He likes a simple dress, using neither silk nor purple nor gold chain, except when it may not be omitted. It is wonderful how negligent he is as regards all the ceremonious forms in which most men make politeness to consist. He does not require them from others, nor is he anxious to use them himself, at interviews or banquets, though he is not unacquainted with them when necessary. But he thinks it unmanly to spend much time in such trifles. Formerly he was most averse to the frequentation of the court, for he has a great hatred of constraint (tyrannis) and loves equality. Not without much trouble he was drawn into the court of Henry VIII., though nothing more gentle and modest than that prince can be desired. By nature More is chary of his liberty and of ease, yet, though he enjoys ease, no one is more alert or patient when duty requires it.

He seems born and framed for friendship, and is a most faithful and enduring friend. He is easy of access to all; but if he chances to get familiar with one whose vices admit no correction, he manages to loosen and let go the intimacy rather than to break it off suddenly. When he finds any sincere and according to his heart, he so delights in their society and conversation as to place in it the principal charm of life. He abhors games of tennis, dice, cards, and the like, by which most gentlemen kill time. Though he is rather too negligent of his own interests, no one is more diligent in those of his friends. In a word, if you want a perfect model of friendship, you will find it in no one better than in More. In society he is so polite, so sweet-mannered, that no one is of so melancholy a disposition as not to be cheered by him, and there is no misfortune that he does not alleviate. Since his boyhood he has so delighted in merriment, that it seems to be part of his nature; yet he does not carry it to buffoonery, nor did he ever like biting pleasantries. When a youth he both wrote and acted some small comedies. If a retort is made against himself, even without ground, he likes it from the pleasure he finds in witty repartees. Hence he amused himself with composing epigrams when a young man, and enjoyed Lucian above all writers. Indeed, it was he who pushed me to write the "Praise of Folly," that is to say, he made a camel frisk.

In human affairs there is nothing from which he does not extract enjoyment, even from things that are most serious. If he converses with the learned and judicious, he delights in their talent; if with the ignorant and foolish, he enjoys their stupidity. He is not even offended by professional jesters. With a wonderful dexterity he accommodates himself to every disposition. As a rule, in talking with women, even with his own wife, he is full of jokes and banter.

No one is less led by the opinions of the crowd, yet no one departs less from common sense. One of his great delights is to consider the forms, the habits, and the instincts of different kinds of animals. There is hardly a species of bird that he does not keep in his house, and rare animals such as monkeys, foxes, ferrets, weasels and the like. If he meets with anything foreign, or in any way remarkable, he eagerly buys it, so that his house is full of such things, and at every turn they attract the eye of visitors, and his own pleasure is renewed whenever he sees others pleased.

I had the great pleasure and honor to take a directed study class on Erasmus with J.K. Sowards, who writes here about how much Erasmus influenced More in matters of liberal education.