Thursday, November 17, 2016

Queen Mary I and Reginald Pole, RIP

Hopes for the Catholic revival in England ended on November 17, 1558, when Mary I and Reginald Cardinal Pole, the Archbishop of Canterbury both died. The National Catholic Register has posted my comments on how Catholics should respond to the history of her reign--particularly the burning of Protestants and heretics at the stake:

On November 17 in 1558, the first and only Catholic Queen Regnant of England died. She was Mary I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon. She is better known as “Bloody Mary” because of the almost 300 men and women burned alive at the stake after being found guilty of heresy during her reign. These men and women included bishops and ministers of the Church of England, many Protestant laity, and some who denied basic Christian doctrines, such as the divinity of Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. Those men and women, particularly celebrated by John Foxe in his “Book of Martyrs”, have haunted Catholicism in England and in the modern world for centuries.

How should Catholics respond to these haunting echoes of the past? Very carefully and precisely.

Please read the rest there.

We must also remember that Reginald Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury died the same day. The Catholic Encyclopedia has this comment on his character:

Throughout his life Pole's moral conduct was above reproach, his sincere piety and ascetical habits were the admiration of all. "Seldom", writes Dr. James Gairdner, than whom no one is more competent to pronounce judgment, "has any life been animated by a more single-minded purpose". As compared with the majority of his contemporaries, Pole was conspicuously gentle, both in his opinions and in his language. He had the gift ofinspiring warm friendships and he was most generous and charitable in the administration of his revenues.

Dr. James Gairdner was a British historian specializing in the Tudor era.

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