Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last Priest Executed at Tyburn Tree

Today is the memorial of St. Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, victim of Stuart injustice during the Anti-Catholic madness of the so-called Popish Plot.

The Whigs in Parliament, opposed most of all to the succession of Charles II's Catholic brother, James the Duke of York, jumped at the opportunity to attack Catholics--and James--when Titus Oates fabricated the story of a great conspiracy. Charles II did not believe most of the elements of the plot Oates "revealed", especially when the perjuror implicated his own queen, Catherine of Braganza and his brother.

St. Oliver Plunkett was in Ireland but was brought to London and accused of conspiring to bring French soldiers and recruit members of his diocese to mount a rebellion against the King and Parliament. There was, of course, no evidence of these accusations and Plunkett could bring no witnesses to testify for him.

The prelate was found guilty and sentenced to death, dying by being hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn Tree, the last Catholic priest to suffer there.

Titus Oates was finally found out and punished for his perjury. When the Duke of York came to the throne as James II, he strictly carried out the sentence of the court against Oates, with annual pillory and imprisonment. After the Glorious Revolution, Oates received a pension from William and Mary, thus being rewarded for lying and causing the deaths of many innocent men, including St. Oliver Plunkett, who was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.

(Don't forget that I'll be Kresta in the Afternoon today at 4:35 p.m. Central/5;35 p.m. Eastern!)

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