Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Father Kapaun at Newman University

On Saturday, September 24, I attended the Father Kapaun Symposium at Newman University. It was great program with highlights of the celebration of Holy Mass in St. John's Chapel in the Sacred Heart Hall, a presentation by William Latham on the experience of the POW's in the Korean War followed by a panel discussion, a fine lunch, and three great ferverinos by priests of our diocese. The Seminar was sponsored by the Father Kapaun Cause of the Diocese of Wichita and the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University.

William Latham is the author of Cold Days in Hell: American POWs in Korea published by Texas A&M University Press. He provided both background on the Korean War and Chaplain Kapaun's actions in the North Korean prison camp in which he died on May 23, 1951. Latham also provided the information that was instrumental in Chaplain Kapaun posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013 after a previous failed attempt:

Around 2002, Bill Latham entered the picture. Latham began noticing the name “Kapaun” in papers he collected. At reunions, Latham thought there was something wonderful about how soldiers talked about him. They said to him that Kapaun should have received the medal. The old soldiers’ passion for their friend touched Latham. After he heard about Todd Tiahrt’s failed application, he called the congressman’s office. Tiahrt’s staff told Latham that in 2002, Tiahrt had recommended to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that Kapaun be awarded the medal. Rumsfeld rejected it because of lack of “substantiating evidence.” Latham suspected there was plenty of substantiating evidence. He now went to find it.

Read more on how the story unfolds here. For more on Latham’s new book, in which Fr. Kapaun figures prominently, click here.

Latham is an excellent presenter and kindly gave me a private history lesson during a break when I asked why, if the Soviet Union and the United States of America had been negotiating about the future of Korea, it was the Chinese who supported the North Korean Army when they crossed the 38th Parallel into South Korea. We had to sit down because it was about a fifteen minute answer! He knows that history better than I know the history of the English Reformation!

Father Kapaun was ordained in Saint John's Chapel at what was then Sacred Heart Junior College, founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, by Bishop Christian Winkelmann on June 1, 1940. 

The chapel of course was named for Saint John the Evangelist, but since Newman's Beatification and Canonization, it's also become a center of devotion to St. John Henry Newman, with Masses on his feast day on October 9 and during the annual Heritage Month.

But also, St. John's Chapel and Sacred Heart Hall are strongly associated with Father Kapaun, with a painting in his honor at the back of the of the chapel and a case filled with memorabilia from his ordination outside the in hall. 

Because of my decades long devotion to Saint John Henry Newman and growing devotion to Servant of God Emil Joseph Kapaun, I've meditated a little since Saturday on the lives of these two men and what they have in common. 

On first glance, you might think not much: an English convert of the Victorian age and a Bohemian farm boy from Kansas?

But they were both called to serve the People of God--Newman's long life was spent in ministry from a young age first in the Church of England and then sacramentally in the Catholic Church; Kapaun's short life was spent in service to the Catholic Church as an altar server, seminarian, deacon, priest and chaplain. 

Both were assigned by their bishops to serve a certain community: Newman at first was asked to reach out to those Tractarians who remained in the Church of England to help them become Catholics (his Anglican Difficulties and his constant correspondence and counsel with those who were thinking about becoming Catholic); Father Kapaun to the Bohemian communities of St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, Kansas and then at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Timken, Kansas (now in the Diocese of Dodge City).

While Father Kapaun gave his life up for the men in the prison camp, serving them in both spiritual and physical ways--which makes him extraordinary and is the basis of his Cause for Canonization--as an Oratorian priest in Birmingham, England, we know that Father Newman served the poor in that industrial city--especially during a cholera outbreak in nearby Bilston in September, 1849--as Pope Benedict XVI commented at the Beatification Mass on September 19, 2010:

While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls. The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons: “Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathized with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you” (“Men, not Angels: the Priests of the Gospel”, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3). He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison.

Obviously, it's in that care for souls, souls and bodies, in their assigned congregations and beyond, that these two priests and holy men share the greatest link. But while Father Kapaun was not called to a life of study and teaching, even though Bishop Mark K. Carroll sent him to the Catholic University of America to earn a Master's degree in Education, and so can't "compete" with Doctor Newman (honored by Pope Pius IX and Trinity College with that title) they both were both students of the Word and of Catholic Faith.

Servant of God Emil J. Kapaun, pray for us!
Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Death of Pope Clement VII, 1534

Giulio de' Medici, the former Giulio Cardinal de' Medici and Cardinal Protector of England, died in office as Pope Clement VII on September 25, 1534. He had reigned as the Successor of Saint Peter since November 19, 1523.

He was the son of of Giuliano de’ Medici but was raised by Lorenzo the Magnificent, and was also the nephew of Pope Leo X.

He was, of course, the pope to whom Henry VIII appealed for an annulment--a decree of nullity--of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

It's interesting to read the evaluations of his character in different sources. The British 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica entry, composed by Walter Alison Phillips, summarizes it thus:

Though free from the grosser vices of his predecessors, a man of taste, and economical without being avaricious, Clement VII. was essentially a man of narrow outlook and interests. He failed to understand the great spiritual movement which was convulsing the Church; and instead of bending his mind to the problem of the Reformation, he from the first subordinated the cause of Catholicism and of the world to his interests as an Italian prince and a Medici. Even in these purely secular affairs, moreover, his timidity and indecision prevented him from pursuing a consistent policy; and his ill fortune, or his lack of judgment, placed him, as long as he had the power of choice, ever on the losing side.

The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia entry, written by Herbert Thurston, is a little more expansive:

In the more ecclesiastical aspects of his pontificate Clement was free from reproach. Two Franciscan reforms, that of the Capuchins and that of the Recollects, found in him a sufficiently sympathetic patron. He was genuinely in earnest over the crusade against the Turks, and he gave much encouragement to foreign missions. As a patron of art, he was much hampered by the sack of Rome and the other disastrous events of his pontificate. But he was keenly interested in such matters, and according to Benvenuto Cellini he had excellent taste. By the commission given to the last-named artist for the famous cope-clasp of which we hear so much in the autobiography, he became the founder of Benvenuto's fortunes. (See Cellini, Benvenuto.) Clement also continued to be the patron of Raphael and of Michelangelo, whose great fresco of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel was undertaken by his orders.

In their verdict upon the character of Pope Clement VII almost all historians are agreed. He was an Italian prince, a de' Medici, and a diplomat first, and a spiritual ruler afterwards. His intelligence was of a high order, though his diplomacy was feeble and irresolute. On the other hand, his private life was free from reproach, and he had many excellent impulses, but despite good intentions, all qualities of heroism and greatness must emphatically be denied him.

In his Characters of the Reformation, Hilaire Belloc agrees but adds another insight into these character evaluations:

He was a man of excellent morals, very great erudition, good manners, perfect refinement, if anything rather too much delicacy of mind and of taste, a splendid patron of the arts and a sure judge of excellence in them. He was also a remarkably hard worker, taking the tremendous duties of his office most seriously. Moreover he was as intelligent as any man in Europe. What he lacked was simplicity, also strength of initiative and power of direction. He lacked both those qualities which make for strong command through what may be called the "squareness" of a character, and those which make for successful command through the moral simplicity of a character. In the face of a difficult and involved position his policy became a tangle of secret and involved intrigues, and he had that fatal symptom of weakness which takes the form of always playing for time. There are, obviously, occasions when playing for time is wise, but Clement VII was one of those men who always play for time, and when they find a decision difficult, say to themselves that with sufficient delay anything may turn up in their favour, and who therefore create delay for its own sake. All his method, from the first mention of the desire for divorce expressed by the English Court up to the very last still hesitating and half tentative declarations against the actions of the English government, consisted in dependence on delay. For seven years he played delay as his only card.

As we look back on people from the past--PBS is airing another Ken Burn's documentary, this time on The U.S. and the Holocaust--and we're asked to evaluate what they did and what they should have, could have, would have done better, I think we have to be careful in our judgment and discernment. 

Who knows (God knows!) but that Giulio/Clement's personal virtues, efforts to do the right thing in difficult circumstances (the Sack of Rome! the conflict and contest between Charles V and Francis I! Henry VIII's Great Matter! the beginning of the Reformation!, etc!) may have won him greater rewards than the verdicts of historians would indicate. 

In other words, he may be a saint in Heaven. But we should still pray: Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let Your Perpetual Light shine upon him. May the soul of Pope Clement VII, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. May Clement VII rest in peace. Amen.

Image Credit (Public Domain): Portrait of Clement VII by Giuliano Bugiardini (c. 1532)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Battle of Prestonpans and King Charles III

There was a comment/meme on Facebook when the King of England, etc., after Elizabeth II's death and his immediate succession, announced that he would be known as King Charles III, that there'd already been a King Charles III! 

Of course, the meme was referring to the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the grandson of King James II and VII, and the son of the Old Pretender, James Frances Edward Stuart!

On September 21, 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie, fighting for his father's succession to the throne as King James III and VIII thirty years after the first attempt to invade England and claim the throne ("the Fifteen"), won a great battle at Prestonpans. 

This was last, best chance of the Catholic Stuarts to take the throne of Great Britain by force. The Act of Succession denied them the legal right to rule, so it had to be through conquest. 

The Young Pretender's forces won a stunning victory at the Battle of Prestonpans against a larger, better supplied, and supposedly more disciplined Hanoverian Army, defending King George II's occupation of the throne. This website describes the two armies:

In September 1745, an army of British regulars mustered near the village of Prestonpans on the shores of the Firth of Forth.

The commander of the Redcoats was Sir John Cope. He was supremely confident of victory. Although the two sides were equal in number, Cope had more cavalry and artillery, and his infantry was trained to deliver well-aimed volleys. Facing west, moreover – towards Edinburgh, from which his opponents had marched – there were the walls and dykes of two grand houses providing protection for his men.

Cope’s opponents were the Jacobite army raised in rebellion some weeks before by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the ‘Young Pretender’; he was the son of James Edward Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, who was in turn the son of King James II, ousted in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688. Charles’s shock troops were Scottish Highland clansman, most of whom spoke Gaelic, and were regarded as barbarians by most Lowland Scots and the English.

What was to happen at Prestonpans on 21 September 1745, however, was a signal humiliation for the British Army.

It was the charge of the Jacobite army that took the Hanoverian forces by surprise and routed them. The Young Pretender returned to Edinburgh and entered Holyrood House, as depicted in the painting above (Public Domain), by John Pettie, c. 1892. Sir John Cope and fewer than 500 survivors returned to England; Cope and his commanders faced a Court Martial.

King George II recalled his son Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and 12,000 troops from the War of Austrian Succession on the Continent to prepare a new army to prevent any further success of the Jacobites. And at the Battle of Culloden, Cumberland defeated the Young Pretender's army decisively on April 16, 1746. Charles Edward Louis John Sylvester Maria Casimir Stuart fled Scotland, protected by many Jacobite Highlanders, including Flora MacDonald, leaving on September 19 and arriving in France on September 29, 1746.

The Young Pretender never returned to Scotland, although he did travel to London in September, 1750. According to The Jacobite Heritage website, "It is commonly believed that on this occasion he apostasized from the Catholic Church and conformed to the Established Church of England." He thought that would strengthen his claim to the throne. He did return to the Catholic Faith before he died on January 30, 1788 (January 30 was the anniversary of his great-grandfather Charles I's beheading). He and his father and brother (Henry Cardinal Stuart) are buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, in a monument to which the future George IV (the Prince Regent) donated funds to complete!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Unceremonious Burial of A Scottish Recusant Catholic

This is tantalizing: On this date, September 17, in 1637, Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton, daughter of Gervase Clifton, 1st Baron Clifton (c. 1570 – 14 October 1618) and Katherine Darcy, widow of Esmé Stuart, wife of James Hamilton, mother of 14, was buried--without ceremony.

Why was she buried without ceremony? Because she was a recusant Catholic in Scotland and had been excommunicated by the Synod of Paisley on February 3, 1628.

Katherine Clifton was the surviving heir of Gervase Clifton, First Baron Clifton. Her older brother had died in a curious way, according to her father's entry in the History of Parliament:

In February of that year [1602], perhaps during a visit to his relatives, he attended a bear-baiting at Nottingham, when the bear broke loose and chased Clifton’s son upstairs. Clifton ‘opposed himself with his rapier against the fury of the beast and saved his son’. Soon after this, his son died, leaving him with an only daughter married [Katherine], at King James’s suggestion, to Esmé Stuart, Seigneur d’Aubigny, younger brother of the Duke of Lennox and a kinsman of the King.

Her father died, a suicide, in 1618, after a protracted legal battle involving Sir Francis Bacon:

The dispute found its way into Chancery and, after much delay, was heard by the King’s command in March 1617. Wishing ‘to tire and weary Lord Aubigny’ [his son-in-law]he tried to persuade the lord keeper, Francis Bacon, to postpone the hearing. He failed, and threatened to kill Bacon, as ‘he cared not for his own life’ and ‘it was but a matter of hanging’. For this offence he was fined £1,000 and imprisoned in the Fleet. Hearing that Bacon had ordered a survey of his lands, he declared that if a ‘hard decree’ were made against him, Bacon ‘should not be keeper long after’, for which he was put in the Tower by the Privy Council on 30 Dec. and, on 17 Mar. following, prosecuted in the Star Chamber. Thanks to royal intervention, he was soon back in the less stringent Fleet prison and allowed to see visitors. During the summer he became reconciled to his relatives [his son-in-law and daughter?], and it came as a surprise to Chamberlain when, on 5 Oct. 1618, Clifton stabbed himself. As a suicide his goods were forfeited to the Crown; on 18 Nov. 1618 they were granted to Aubigny.
With Esmé Stuart, she had many children; they were married from 1609 until 1624, when Esmé died. 

Among their sons (seven! with six surviving childhood), three died fighting for the Royalist Cause during the English Civil War: George (1618–1642), John (1621–1644) , and Bernard (1623–1645). Another son, Ludovic Stewart, 11th Seigneur d'Aubigny (1619–1665), became a Catholic priest, almoner (in charge of charity) to Queen Henrietta Maria, and served as a Canon at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He was buried in the Church of the Chartreux de Vauvert (the Carthusians) in Paris, France--which was dissolved in 1792 and no longer stands ("The church was located on today's Bv. St Michel and included the southern part of the Jardin de Luxembourg down to the Fontaine de l'Observatoire").

Esmé and Katherine also had four daughters, three of whom survived into adulthood. Their daughter Elizabeth married Henry Howard, the 15th Earl of Arundel; one of their sons (Katherine's grandson) was Philip, Cardinal Howard

After Esme died on August 6, 1624, he was buried in Westminster Abbey. Katherine married James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Abercorn three years later and they had three sons, two of whom died before their father, and the third died unmarried and without an heir. 

James Hamilton's mother, Marion Boyd, was a recusant Catholic, while his father was a Protestant, but all their children were raised Catholic, and had the protection of King Charles I from persecution by the Kirk. But, according to this narrative in Wikipedia: 

Abercorn's problems with the Church of Scotland (the Kirk) began with the process engaged by the Paisley Presbytery against his mother and some of her servants. In June 1626 she fled to James Law, the Archbishop of Glasgow for protection. The Bishop obtained a letter from the King, written by William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling that directed the church not to trouble her as long as she kept quiet.[37] However, in April 1627 Abercorn returned from his travels on the continent and provoked the church by declaring himself openly a Catholic.[30] [Which means that his mother still kept quiet! He was the one who spoke up!] On 20 January 1628 his mother, the Dowager Countess, was excommunicated by the Paisley Synod of the Church of Scotland.[38] He escaped excommunication only by being absent at the royal court in London.[39] His wife similarly was excommunicated on 3 February.[31]

On 26 August 1632 his mother died in Edinburgh.[40] On 21 August 1637 his wife died at Paisley and was buried "without ceremony" on 17 September.[41] Like his mother she was a recusant. As Catholic, she was buried without religious ceremony. Her title as Baroness Clifton passed to James, her eldest son from her first marriage. At that time his father was deep in debt owing more than 400,000 merks (about £20,000 Sterling) to his creditors.[42][g]

In 1649 Abercorn himself was excommunicated by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and ordered to leave Scotland.[45]

The reason I say this story is so tantalizing is that there's an even greater story below the surface of these facts. Being excommunicated from a church you aren't even a member is one issue; I wonder if being "buried without ceremony" means that no public ceremony according to the Rites of Kirk was allowed, while the family had a Requiem Mass celebrated in their secret chapel at Paisley with their recusant priest chanting the Dies Irae; where they (Marion, Katherine, and James) are buried is not stated. Perhaps it was Paisley Abbey church, formerly a Cluniac monastery church? (If you visit the church and go to the gift shop, according to one of the pictures, there's even a section called "the Cluny corner"!).

Both of Katherine's families by marriage had connections, land and wealth, the ability to travel to the Continent (Grand Tours), loyalty to the Crown, dedication to their Catholic faith, and fecundity (she bore 10 sons by two husbands, and four daughters by the first!). As always, there's just a magnificent human story of life and death, love and separation, politics and family life behind the outline of this story. 

As the Carthusian motto states, Stat crux dum volvitur orbis (the Cross stands firmly as the world turns): seems appropriate since one of her sons was buried in a Carthusian cemetery. It had to be only her faith in Christ and His Church that gave her any peace to endure a brother mauled by a bear, a father's suicide after trouble about property, two children dying young, three sons dying in battle, one husband dying, persecution by the Kirk, and even the thought of burial without ceremony when she died (or would that matter to her, knowing that she didn't want a ceremony according to the Kirk and would have Masses offered for her repose?).

Image Credit (public domain) Two of the younger sons of the 3rd Duke of Richmond, who together with their elder brother Lord George Stewart, died as young men during the Civil War supporting the Royalist cause, left: Lord John Stewart (1621–1644), died aged 23 and right: Lord Bernard Stewart (1623–1645), died aged 22. Lord John Stuart and his Brother, Lord Bernard Stuart, c. 1638, by Sir Anthony van Dyck, National Gallery, London

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A 19th Nineteenth Century Quixotic Quest (Book Review)

William Palmer of Magdalen College, University of Oxford, was not really a member or follower of the Oxford or Tractarian Movement, unlike William Palmer of Worcester College at the University of Oxford. 

Magdalen's Palmer did take some inspiration from Newman's interpretation of the Thirty-Nine Articles in Tract 90, but he went in a completely direction--or more accurately, he went further east than Rome and all the way to Russia. He sought to receive Holy Communion in the Russian Orthodox Church without renouncing his communion with the Church of England. His attempt to base his claim on Newman's image of the Church of England as a Via Media and part of the one Church founded by Jesus Christ was consistently refuted by Russian Orthodox clergy and never supported by any but a very few members of the Church of England or the Anglican Church of Scotland.

I purchased William Palmer: The Oxford Movement and a Quest for Orthodoxy from Eighth Day Books. According to the publisher,  Holy Trinity Seminary Press:

This is a fascinating account of a failed "journey to Orthodoxy" that should provide food for thought to all who may follow this path in the future and offer grounds for reflection to Orthodox believers on how to remove unnecessary stumbling blocks that can arise on the path to their Church.

This book charts the eccentric career of William Palmer, a fellow of Magdalen College and deacon of the Anglican Church. Seemingly destined for a conventional life as a classics don at Oxford, in 1840 and 1842 he travelled to Russia to seek communion with the Russian Orthodox Church. In interactions with Metropolitan of Moscow Philaret (Drozdov), the lay theologian Khomyakov, and others, he sought their affirmation that the Anglican Church was part of the ancient Catholic and Apostolic Church world-wide. Their discussions clarify the mutual misgivings and sincere theological disagreements that ultimately ended Palmer’s quest.

After some years in ecclesiastical limbo, Palmer followed the example of his Oxford friends such as John Henry Newman, and was received into the Roman Catholic Church in Rome in 1855. He lived in Rome as a Catholic layman until his death in 1879.

This is a new edition of the work previously entitled
Palmer's Pilgrimage: The Life of William Palmer of Magdalen, published by Peter Lang in 2006.

I might take issue with the description of "fascinating account" but certainly agree that Palmer of Magdalen had an "eccentric career". He pursued this quixotic quest of inter-communion with Russian Orthodoxy almost entirely alone, and author Robin Wheeler outlines the quest in great detail but sometimes flagging sympathy. My sympathy for the author and the publisher sometimes flagged too, because of the numerous typographical and formatting errors. One particular fault I found with the narrative is that biographical information on any personage introduced is placed in the end notes (at least it could have been in footnotes to the page!), meaning that the reader has to break off from the narration to find the notes at the back of the book. That might have been the required format for a PhD dissertation (?) but it's not helpful in a book. Also, the publisher should have provided some maps, since this is at least partially a travelogue. My sympathies never flagged with Palmer's father and brother, alternatively referred to as Selborne or Roundell (why?), and Dr. Martin Joseph Routh*, President of Magdalen College, who worked with Russell on his letters, proposals, and other documents, smoothing out his eccentricities of expression (calling himself the unworthy chief of sinners, etc), and other possibly offensive methods of presentation and persuasion. 

As he pursues these efforts, Palmer also continually urges the Russian Orthodox officials he meets with that they should be working to bring Anglicans, Lutherans, other Protestants, and Catholics into their Church, since (if) they believe it is the True Church founded by Jesus Christ. He is perplexed by their lack of zeal for conversions.

As Wheeler sums up the result of Palmer's unrelenting efforts on page 183: "Palmer's determined adherence to 'his private opinions' and his refusal to let sleeping dogs lie, meant that he was now regarded as an eccentric nuisance by both the Anglican and the Orthodox Churches." 

It is clear throughout Palmer's quest to be admitted to the Russian or Greek Orthodox communion that he wants his Sacramental Baptism in the Church of England to be accepted. As the old Dictionary of National Biography states the Catholic Church accepted his Baptism as valid so that he "was received into the Roman church, the rite of baptism being dispensed with, in the chapel of the Roman College on 28 Feb. 1855." The same, of course, had been true for Newman: he made a general confession, received absolution, and then received his First Holy Communion--there was no issue with his baptism in the Church of England. His brother Selborne supported him financially after his conversion to Catholicism and life in Rome.

On pages 230-232, Wheeler summarizes Palmer's "intellectual position" after his conversion: as being still with the Eastern Church liturgically and dogmatically, having "suspended his intellect" while expressing his "comfort in [his] present communion" and his "real peace" in  his "religious position" which he felt "able to defend." Rome (the Catholic Church) "spoke with one voice" and "the cultural difficulties remained" with his becoming Orthodox. By becoming Catholic he could receive "certain sacraments" as he could not in the Church of England--nor in the Eastern Churches without being re-baptized as he saw it--and hold "positive doctrine on certain points on which the Anglican church cannot, strictly speaking, be said to have any doctrine at all." (LP MS 1878, f. 255) 

He was already suffering from gout when he moved to Rome; then he began to suffer chest pain and insomnia, was bedridden, contracted pneumonia, and died on April 4, 1879. His brother Edwin attended the Catholic Funeral Mass.

Wheeler notes what a great classical scholar or ecclesiastic William Palmer could have been, except for his absolute refusal to compromise (although he seems to have compromised by becoming a Catholic), his "logical and stubborn" character and his lack of "common-sense". Nevertheless he never became "an eccentric nuisance" to the Pope or any Catholics in Rome.

I assure you that I had not read this characterization of him as an "ecclesiastical Don Quixote" (p. 249) before I wrote my headline! Palmer indeed "dream[ed] the impossible dream".

I do wonder if Wheeler, in that summary, should have done more to make clear the "grounds for reflection to Orthodox believers on how to remove unnecessary stumbling blocks that can arise on the path to their Church" highlighted in the publisher's blurb. By focusing at the end on Palmer's faults, he may have missed an opportunity.

The back matter of Abbreviations, End Notes, and Bibliography demonstrates Wheeler's in-depth research with access to many of Palmer's letters, journals, and works (some at the Birmingham Oratory since Palmer willed many unpublished works to Newman).

Newman edited and published Palmer's Notes of a Visit to the Russian Church after Palmer's death in 1879, 24 years years after being received into the Catholic Church. Then Cardinal Newman wrote in the Prefatory Notice in 1882 how this came about:

 . . . So much on the contents of this volume, which I have brought together and put into shape, to the best of my power, out of the materials and according to the evident intentions of Mr. Palmer, and, I should add, with the valuable assistance of the Rev. Father Eaglesim of this Oratory. I need hardly say I have no acquaintance with the Russian language, a condition, if not necessary, at least desirable, for my present undertaking; but I have been called to it, as a religious duty, in the following way:—I had often heard speak of Mr. Palmer's journals of foreign travel at the date when they were written; and years after, when he was wont to pay me an annual visit here in the summer or autumn, the only seasons in which the English climate was possible to him, I used to urge upon him their publication. But he never gave me any hopes of it, and I ceased to trouble him on the subject. After a time his spells of serious indisposition became so frequent, that when we took leave of each other, {xv} it was on my part with the sad feeling that I was bidding him a last farewell. At length the end came, in 1879, just before I, in turn, was to have been his guest at Rome [during Newman's trip to Rome to receive the Cardinalate from Pope Leo XIII]; and then I found to my surprise that, so far from passing over my wish about his journals, he had by will left me all his papers. This is how he answered my importunity, showing a loving confidence in me, though involving me in an anxious responsibility. Of course he did not anticipate that at my advanced age I could myself do much; but it will be a true satisfaction to me, if, as I am sanguine enough to expect, this volume, illustrative of his first visit to Russia, should prove interesting and useful generally to Christian readers.

I will say one word more:—I cannot disguise from myself that to common observers, Mr. Palmer was a man difficult to understand. No casual, nay, no mere acquaintance would have suspected what keen affections and what energetic {xvi} enthusiasm lived under a grave, unimpassioned, and almost formal demeanour. To unsympathetic or hostile visitors he was careless to defend, or even to explain, himself or his sayings and doings; and he let such men go away, indifferent what they might report or think of him. They would have been surprised to find that what in conversation they might think a paradox or conceit in him, was, whether a truth or an error, the deep sentiment and belief of a soul set upon realities and actuated by a severe conscientiousness. But, whatever might be the criticisms of those who saw him casually, no one who saw him much could be insensible to his many and winning virtues; to his simplicity, to his unselfishness, to his gentleness and patience, to his singular meekness, to his zeal for the Truth, and his honesty, whether in seeking or in defending it; and to his calmness and cheerfulness in pain, perplexity, and disappointment. However, I do not pretend to draw his character; {xvii} apart from all personal attributes, he was to me a true and loyal friend, and his memory is very dear to me.

I cannot help from comparing Newman and Palmer, because Palmer does not seem to have the same intellectual, spiritual, and moral certitude Newman did, nor make a real assent to the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church as Newman did. Newman writes in the fifth chapter of the Apologia pro Vita Sua, the "Position of My Mind Since 1845", that after becoming a Catholic, he had “no further history of [his] religious opinions to narrate”. Of course he was still thinking about theological and doctrinal matters, but he didn't have to form private judgments about them in the same way as he did before. For instance, he mentions the teaching on transubstantiation:

People say that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is difficult to believe; I did not believe the doctrine till I was a Catholic. I had no difficulty in believing it, as soon as I believed that the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God, and that she had declared this doctrine to be part of the original revelation. It is difficult, impossible, to imagine, I grant;—but how is it difficult to believe?

It seems that Palmer still maintained that private judgment or opinion and could not assent certainly to the belief that "the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God". Perhaps Wheeler would say that Newman was the one who compromised . . . but Newman in his search for truth had achieved certitude; Palmer may never have done . . . 

*Newman dedicated his Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church to President Routh:

More about Routh here, including this appreciation of Newman: 

Routh had a great personal regard for Newman and often they would meet for extended discussion of theological matters. He spoke of Newman as that ‘clever young gentleman of Oriel, Mr. Newman’, and later as ‘the great Newman’.

Image Credit (Public Domain): The Revd. Dr. Martin Routh (1755-1854), President of Magdalen College, Oxford (1791-1854). Anonymous daguerreotype): Routh was 99 years old when he died and "wore a wig and knee-britches in the Georgian manner to the end of his days", according to the history page on the Magdalen College website.

Monday, September 12, 2022

St. J.H. Newman, the Holy Name of Mary, and "Newman's Marian Theology of History"

Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, a feast, like that of the Holy Rosary in October, inspired by a great defensive victory over the Turkish armies/navies. This feast commemorates the defeat of the Turks who were besieging Vienna on September 12, 1683. Remember that the Battle of Vienna began on September 11, 1683. Pope Blessed Innocent XI instituted the today's feast of the Holy Name of Mary to commemorate that victory. After the Second Vatican Council the feast was suppressed, but Pope St. John Paul II restored it to the universal Roman Calendar in 2002, the year after the 9-11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, DC (and Shanksville, PA before the plane reached its target). Pope St. John Paul II also restored the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus that year (celebrated on January 3).

Saint John Henry Newman composed a Litany on the Holy Name of Mary in his Meditations and Devotions.

I've been listening to this podcast of Dr. Rebekah Lamb's lecture on "Newman's Marian Theology of History" posted by the Thomistic Institute, given on April 26, 2022 at Oxford University. Here are a couple of quotations from her lecture, which the Thomistic Institute used on their Facebook page announcements of this lecture:

"Newman's early poetic interests in the relationship between hiddenness and holiness demonstrate how his heart already stirred after the Marian even before he recognized, let alone fully accepted, the Mother of God's central and distinctive importance within salvation history." —Dr. Rebekah Lamb

"The Marian influences on Newman's thought are Marian in character: that is, they're hidden, humble, and yet profoundly essential." —Dr. Rebekah Lamb

It's interesting that she cites many of the same sources (the Apologia pro Vita Sua, Parochial and Plain Sermons, the Development of Doctrine, etc) I highlighted in the August series on the Son Rise Morning Show! Rather "affirms" me that I do know what I'm talking about!

Rebekah Ann Lamb is a Lecturer in Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the School of Divinity at St Mary's College at the University of St. Andrew in Scotland. Her research interests pique my interest:

Dr. Lamb focuses on intersections between theology, visual arts and literature, from the long nineteenth century to the present. However, her research and teaching has also led her into Biblical Studies, Dante, and Christian Personalism. She is especially interested in the religious and aesthetic implications of inter-art projects, such as Pre-Raphaelite poem and painting pairings, and links between writing and theology in the Victorian period and late modernity. Her research increasingly focuses on John Henry Newman, Christina Rossetti, TS Eliot, Catherine Doherty, and Michael O’Brien. She is completing a book on the aesthetic and religious implications of boredom in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (McGill-Queen’s University Press), and is currently co-editing a special issue on the life and thought of John Henry Newman with Michael D. Hurley (Cambridge) for Religion and Literature.

Dr Lamb has published articles, encyclopedia entries, book chapters, and review essays in The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing, New Blackfriars, Religions, Theology in Scotland, and elsewhere. A developing branch of her research involves a series of essays on the relationship between history, theology and formation--in the contexts of the university and digital culture--as informed by the thought of John Henry Newman, Stratford Caldecott and Joseph Ratzinger.

I'll be on the lookout for her book Suspended in Time: Boredom and Other Discontents in the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle and will subscribe to Religion and Literature forthwith.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Queen Henrietta Maria Dies in France, 1669

I checked in earlier this week with Elena Maria Vidal, author of several historical novels and a biography of Marie Antoinette. She is working on the second volume in her "Henrietta of France" trilogy. (I participated in the blog tour last year.) I made contact with her since this is the anniversary of the death of Henrietta Maria, widowed Dowager Queen of Charles I. This website provides a narration of her last days and death:

10 September 1669 [According to the Gregorian Calendar in effect in France] - The Death of Henrietta Maria of France, Queen of England, Scotland & Ireland:

Gradually Henrietta was preparing for death… She had already made a general confession of all her sins, “with great application and very firm designs to apply herself to the care of her salvation.” Now she often said “that she saw clearly that is was necessary to think of leaving.” … She was fed up with doctors and medicines, she said: she would think of them no more, “but only of her salvation.” But still, at [her daughter] Henrietta Anne’s insistence, France’s leading physicians descended on Colombes… Their examination, on Saturday, August 28, was promising. All the Queen’s symptoms - the fainting fits, insomnia, recurring fevers, and chest infections - were “painful, but without danger of death,” pronounced Antoine Vallot, first physician to Louis XIV. He prescribed a regime of opiates and purges… Henrietta was reluctant, she knew from experience that laudanum “disagreed with her”: “the famous English physician, Monsieur de Mayerne, had warned her never to take any.” But Vallot persisted… So unwillingly, Henrietta agreed. All the next day, Henrietta was occupied with religious observances, it being Lady Day… That night she took her “usual remedy,” and on Monday morning she was purged “with a certain opiate designed for that purpose.” That day was also tiring, as the queen received “several visits” from friends and spent hours in “long spiritual conversations” with her confessor, preparing to receive Communion the next day. . . .When she retired to bed, she was rather feverish, so her physician, Antone d’Aquin, decided not to give her the laudanum after all. On Henrietta’s orders, the curtains were drawn around her bed and her courtiers departed. But Henrietta could not sleep, so around 11 p.m. she summoned d’Aquin and demanded the dose. Reluctantly, he gave it to her, mixed into a raw egg yolk. At once the queen fell asleep. But d’Aquin, sitting by her bedside and observing her shallow, sighing breaths and irregular pulse,realized that she was sleeping “too profoundly.” Desperately, he “endeavored by all means he could to walk her,” but “all the several remedies used in such cases” had no effect. Her valets de chambre were sent rushing to summon more doctors and Henrietta’s priests, who begged her to confess her sins or at least “to give some sign that she understood.” But they met only “a mortal silence…” “Seeing that there was no abatement of her malady,” Father Gamache gave orders for the queen to receive Extreme Unction. Through the dark night, the village curé of Colombes “came in haste” bearing holy oil, with which he anointed the queen’s eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, and feet. Between three and four in the morning of Tuesday, August 31 [O.S.], “without violence, without the slightest convulsion, with great serenity, and a sweet expression of countenance,” the fifty-nine-year-old queen slipped away into death. (source: A Royal Passion: The Turbulent Marriage of King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France, by Katie Whitaker)

Henrietta Maria was interred in the great royal necropolis and basilica, St. Denis. Therefore, her remains were desecrated during the French Revolution in 1793 and now are mixed in with the other royals in the mass graves in the crypt.

There's a special poignancy to remembering the death of this Queen (consort) of England as the death of Queen Elizabeth II was announced on Thursday (September 8, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary). 

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and the may the souls of the Faithful Departed rest in peace.

Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop, Named a Cardinal

On the 10th of September in 1515, Pope Leo X, who would later name Henry VIII "Defender of the Faith" (on October 11, 1521), elevated the Archbishop of York, Thomas Wolsey, to the office of Cardinal. Christopher Cardinal Bainbridge, his predecessor as Cardinal and Archbishop of York, had died on July 14, 1514 in Rome.

As this biography by Glenn Richardson from History Extra demonstrates, this was just another step in Wolsey's rise to power and influence in England:

Known for: Being England’s greatest medieval cardinal. Wolsey had a brilliant mastery of foreign policy, as well as the legal and ecclesiastical administration of England under King Henry VIII. He organised three major peace treaties which improved Henry’s strategic position when war did not succeed. Wolsey oversaw Parliament and the Court of Chancery, introduced legal changes and exercised crown authority over nobles and commoners alike. He also oversaw the running of the church in England, countered Lutheran heresy and introduced monastic and educational reforms. Most famously, however, he could not secure from Pope Clement VII the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Responsibilities: He was made the royal almoner (responsible for charitable giving) and royal counsellor in 1509. He became quarter-master general of war against France in 1512–3. Wolsey was made Bishop of Tournai in 1513, Bishop of Lincoln and then Archbishop of York in 1514. Pope Leo X created him Cardinal Saint-Cecilia-beyond-Tiber in 1515. The same year, Henry made him lord chancellor of England. In 1518 he became a papal legate (high representative), confirmed for life in 1524. He was also abbot of St Albans and successively bishop of Bath and Wells (1518–23); Durham (1523–9), and Winchester (1529–30).

When Pope Leo X died, Henry VIII wanted his Lord Chancellor to be elected as Pope and was willing to spend money at the conclave of 1521-1522, although he would have been happy if Giulio de' Medici, Cardinal Protector of England from 1514 to 1518, would have succeeded. Instead, Adriaan Floriszoon Boeyens was elected and reigned as Pope Adrian VI for little more than a year--then Cardinal Medici was elected and reigned as Pope Clement VII. (Henry thought his former Cardinal Protector would continue to serve England's--his--interests as Pontiff!)

But as the article later notes, Wolsey would fall from power because of that failure, highlighted above, to secure the annulment Henry VIII sought from that former Cardinal Protector of England:

Thomas Wolsey fell from power in October 1529, in the aftermath of his inability to obtain an annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Virtually from the outset of the campaign in 1527, Henry was convinced of the rightness of his cause. The outcome of the legatine trial of the marriage at Blackfriars in July 1529 was Catherine’s direct appeal to Rome, and a consequent campaign of intimidation against the church in England. Following this outcome, Wolsey lost favour with Henry and last saw the king at Grafton in September 1529.

Glenn Richardson is the author of the latest biography of Thomas Wolsey, and he concludes this History Extra article with a point that his biography, according to the publisher's blurb, contends:

On 17 October, Wolsey was commanded to surrender the Great Seal of England he held as Chancellor, and in April 1530 travelled to York, finally to take up his seat as its archbishop. On 4 November, however, he was arrested for treason for allegedly plotting outside the realm, seeking to have himself restored to power. In reality, there was little substantial evidence for the charge.

History Extra also provides an analysis of Anne Boleyn's role in Wolsey's fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Sacred Music: St. John Henry Newman's Words and Music

I purchased and have listened to Harry Christophers and The Sixteen's new CD of various settings of St. John Henry Newman's poetry and famous meditation adapted for commissioned works:

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

Harry Christophers went to a Church of England minister for a "translation" of Newman's Meditation more suited to be set to music and Christophers is most pleased that Robert Willis, the Dean of Canterbury, eliminated the use of the third person singular masculine pronoun when referring to God. So listening to the CD, one hears five different variations on the theme of Newman's Meditation, with different texts. They are all meditative, virtuosic, and inward looking. 

But Harry Christophers has programmed more traditional settings of Newman's works: Sir William Henry Harris's version of "Lead, Kindly Light", Richard Runciman Terry's of "Praise to the Holiest in the Height, and "Firmly I Believe and Truly" with a hymn tune by William Boyce (Halton Holgate). So these are works for congregations to sing, and the Sixteen sing them gloriously. 

The adapted works for Meditation mostly just glided by as I listened to them, while the three quoted hymns stand out as praise to God, declarations of faith, and thanksgiving for providence.

I've also listened twice to the recent performance of Sir Edward Elgar's setting of Newman's poem, The Dream of Gerontius at the Proms. Critical reception of this work, almost always from a secular publication, is always mixed: admiring Elgar's achievement, but descrying Newman's religion (what Harry Christophers refers to as his "ideology" in the Meditation CD liner notes). For example, The Guardian review has to remind us:

First performed in Birmingham town hall, Gerontius has always provoked extreme reactions, initially to its Roman Catholicism in a mostly Anglican country, now because its religiosity, with all the resonance of that word, is too much for some.

I don't think that Newman should be even indirectly accused of religiosity, with its implications of falsity and hypocrisy of excessive piety. And certainly not Elgar, who as this article from The Newman Review notes, had a very common-man view of the title character:

I imagined Gerontius to be a man like us, not a Priest or a Saint, but a sinner, a repentant one of course but still no end of a worldly man in his life, & now brought to book. Therefore I’ve not filled his part with Church tunes & rubbish but a good, healthy full-blooded romantic, remembered worldliness, so to speak. It is, I imagine, much more difficult to tear one’s self away from a well to do world than from a cloister.[3]

Perhaps Elgar went a little far in his judgment of the title character, but he sees Gerontius, even in this Dream, as a real human being. I rather think Gerontius was not as worldly as Elgar thinks, as he proclaims:

Rouse thee, my fainting soul, and play the man;
and through such waning span
Of life and thought as still has to be trod,
Prepare to meet thy God.
And while the storm of that bewilderment
Is for a season spent
And, ere afresh the ruin on me fall,
Use well the interval.

Gerontius is more aware of his condition than someone who has been "no end of a worldly man in his life"; he's been well-instructed in the Faith and believes it, even as he faces the crisis of his death.

Nevertheless, every time I listen to live or recorded performance, I appreciate how Elgar created a dramatic, almost operatic musical narrative. The deathbed sequence in the first part is filled with Gerontius' expressions of both faith and fear, as he tries to rouse himself even before he dies to declare his faith and trust in his Saviour. Elgar sets Newman's quotations from the traditional prayers for the dying with clarity, while Gerontius' fears are also sensitively set as he fades away from life. The Priest confidently send Gerontius on his way:

Proficiscere, anima Christiana, de hoc mundo!
Go forth upon thy journey, Christian soul!
Go from this world! Go, in the Name of God
The Omnipotent Father, Who created thee!

And the second part, as the Soul adjusts to eternal life "temporarily" without a body, is imaginative and inspires awe. The dialog between the Soul and Angel transports the listener to the Soul's particular judgment, and the long interlude of the Choirs of Angelicals prepares us for the denouement of the promised-to-be-brief parting of the Angel from the Soul, with the final intrusion of the Soul's deathbed on earth, even as the Souls in Purgatory join him in the hopes to "see Him in the truth of everlasting day." And the Angel's loving farewell! Glorious!

Elgar's music is transcendent and Newman's drama is based on doctrine and devotion. Perhaps Elgar's work--not an oratorio, as he would not allow that term--is something only a Catholic may fully appreciate. 

Nevertheless, the announcers on the BBC mentioned the audience's rapt silence during the performance in Albert Hall, and the ovation was enthusiastic at the end. Such a confident, promising conclusion, as the orchestra, choirs, and Angel serenade the Soul demonstrates more than the audience may have dreamed as true--even as that final Amen and timpani roll presage a warning for the rest of us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Father Dermot Fenlon, RIP: Newman and Pole

A Facebook friend sent me a link to an obituary of Father Dermot Fenlon, one of the famous "Birmingham Three" who were removed from St. John Henry Newman's Birmingham Oratory in 2010 before Newman's beatification that September by Pope Benedict XVI. There's a blog dedicated to their defense, particularly to him (which actually linked to this blog in 2011 when I posted a story about the connection between Sophie Scholl of the White Rose resistance movement against Nazism and Newman, one of Father Fenlon's contributions to Newman scholarship). 

He died on August 17, 2022. According to the homily delivered at his funeral he was

. . . Born in 1941, the son of Dermot & Mary (nee Tutty) Fenlon. His elder brother Frank predeceased him. He grew up in Booterstown, Co. Dublin. After attending Willow Park Primary School and Blackrock College, he tried his vocation, as they used to say, with the Holy Ghost Fathers (the Spiritans) but then left and opted for the study of history at UCD, where he took his B.A. and then M.A, under the direction of Professor Desmond Williams. It was around this time that he published for the first time on 17th-century Irish history in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

He then went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, where his supervisor was the preeminent historian of Tudor England Geoffrey ( G.R. ) Elton (later Sir Geoffrey Elton). There he worked on Cardinal Reginald Pole (eventually the subject of his book published by Cambridge University Press). In 1969 he became a University assistant lecturer, later University Lecturer in history and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College. There he remained for 10 more years, when he published articles on Thomas More and the French historian Lucien Febvre. He enjoyed a universal reputation in Cambridge, a reputation that is untarnished to this day. A promising academic future beckoned to him, but then he abandoned it to study for the priesthood.

Father Vincent Twomey continued in his homily to described how Father Fenlon's interest in Newman led him to the Oratory in Birmingham:

During his time in Cambridge, he had developed a great interest in Cardinal John Henry Newman, who, after his conversion, became a priest in the order St Philip Neri founded, the Oratorians. This in turn led him to study St Philip Neri the great counter reformation theologian, scholar and poet. Not only did he become a world expert on the life and times of these two saints, but, it would seem, his study of them led him back to God.

In 1978 he entered the Pontifical Beda College in Rome. Ordained in 1982, he served as a priest in the East Anglia diocese. But his love of St Philip Neri and St John Henry Newman led him to enter the Birmingham Oratory in 1991 which had been founded by Newman. There he spent two decades as Newman archivist.

And Twomey also recounts the troubles at the Oratory in 2010 and Father Fenlon's exile, later years, and death. Please read the rest there.  

I've ordered a copy of Father Fenlon's book on Cardinal Pole:

Reginald Pole was one of the most complex figures in sixteenth-century history. The only Englishman to follow a career at the Roman Curia in the crucial decades of the Reformation, the victim successively of the Tudor Reformation and the Roman Inquisition, his life was marked by misunderstanding, failure and tragedy. This book is a study of his career in Italy, his involvement in the Council of Trent and his share in the vain attempt to obtain reunification with the Protestants. Dr Fenlon discusses in great detail Pole's attitudes towards the doctrine of the Protestant reformers, its influence within Italy and the development of his group of `spirituals' at Viterbo. But this is not simply a biography of Pole nor an analysis of his influence. Rather it is an examination of the crisis the Catholic Church and its adherents faced in the Reformation, the conflict exemplified in Pole's personal experience and that of the groups among which he moved, between obedience to the established ecclesiastical order and sympathy with Luther's tenets. The crisis and its resolution reflect the genesis of the Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation which resulted in the final confessional divisions of Christian Europe.

Although it deals mainly with that particular Italian period of Reginald Cardinal Pole's life, I am eager to read more about the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, whom (and his mother) I have blogged about often. The Table of Contents and the Preface are available here and ten pages of chapter one here.

Here's the complete article about Newman and Scholl published in the National Catholic Register, describing Father Fenlon's research. I would like to be able to read this article, "Elite and Popular Religion: The Case of Newman" but it's behind a paywall and would cost as much as the book! There's also a video of Father Fenlon discussing Newman and education.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. May Father Dermot Fenlon rest in peace. Amen.