Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blessed John Henry Newman's First Feast in Oxford

On his blog, Once I Was a Clever Boy, John Whitehead provides this detail about the celebration of Blessed John Henry Newman's first feast day in Oxford:

Friday October 8th
~7.45 pm, starting at The Oxford Oratory, the annual Night Walk to Littlemore, stopping at places associated with Newman and following Bl. Dominic Barberi's route to Littlemore in 1845.
~9.30 pm Candlelit procession from Rose Hill to Littlemore Church.
~10 pm Holy Hour and Benediction in the church of Bl. Dominic Barberi.
~10.45 pm Procession to the College for thanksgiving prayers.

Saturday October 9th
~12 noon Mass at Littlemore - Celebrant and Preacher Very Rev Fr Robert Byrne CO, Provost of the Oxford Oratory.
~The College at Littlemore, Newman's church of SS Mary and Nicholas there, St Mary the Virgin in The High, Trinity and Oriel will all be open in the afternoon.
~5 pm A Newman Sermon read from the pulpit of St Mary the Virgin by RSC actor Nigel Cooke.

Sunday October 10th
~Feast observed at The Oratory, veneration of the relic of Bl. John Henry Newman after all Masses.

Wish I could be there!

He also has a post about a brochure Oriel College has produced about Newman.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Am I the Queen of England, or am I not?!"

So said Queen Victoria when news of the Restoration of the English Catholic hierarchy was announced in 1850. Pope Pius IX issued the Papal Bull "Universalis Ecclesiae" on September 29th that year. The first Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Nicholas Wiseman issued a pastoral letter to English Catholics, "Out of the Flaminian Gate," on October 7, 1850. His tone of exultation offended the Queen and her government, especially in its praise of the Pope:

And in nothing will it be fairer or brighter than in this, that the glow of more fervent love will be upon it. Whatever our sincere attachment and unflinching devotion to the Holy see till now, there is a new ingredient cast into these feelings; a warmer gratitude, a tenderer affection, a profounder admiration, a boundless and endless sense of obligation, for so new, so great, so sublime a gift, will be added to past sentiments of loyalty and fidelity to the supreme see of Peter. Our venerable Pontiff has shown himself a true shepherd, a true father; and we cannot but express our gratitude to him in our most fervent language, in the language of prayer. For when we raise our voices, as is meet, in loud and fervent thanksgiving to the Almighty, for the precious gifts bestowed upon our portion of Christ’s vineyard, we will also implore every choice blessing on him who has been so signally the divine instrument in procuring it. We will pray that his rule over the Church may be prolonged to many years, for its welfare; that health and strength may be preserved to him for the discharge of his arduous duties; that light and grace may be granted to him proportioned to the sublimity of his office; and that consolations, temporal and spiritual, may be poured out upon him abundantly, in compensation for past sorrows and past ingratitude. And of these consolations may one of the most sweet to his paternal heart be the propagation of holy religion in our country, the advancement of his spiritual children there in true piety and devotion, and our ever-increasing affection and attachment to the see of St. Peter.

As Cardinal Wiseman progressed on the Continent toward the British Isles he heard about the anger expressed in the British papers. Queen Victoria expressed herself in the strongest terms and the Cardinal responded by publishing a pamphlet and giving lectures that indicated the Catholic Church had no intention of opposing Her Majesty's Government in any way.

Queen Victoria's Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, introduced a bill in Parliament which passed making it illegal for the new Catholic Bishops to be physically present in their new dioceses--a law which was never enforced by the next government under Gladstone. There were still flare ups of anti-Catholic rioting and violence, but the Cardinal Archibishop had toned down his rather triumphalistic rhetoric and settled down to the restoration of simple things, like schools, chapels, seminaries, and churches. Because of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851, the hierarchy did not restore the pre-Reformation sees.
Don't forget--I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show talking about this at 6:45 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern today!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Princes, Pastors, and People

Subtitle: The Church and Religion in England, 1500-1700, Second Edition
London and New York: Routledge, 2003

By Susan Doran and Christopher Durston

From the book description:

Princes, Pastors and People traces the religious upheavals that occurred in England during the turbulent years of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book introduces recent research and guides readers through the major issues that have divided Reformation historians during the last forty years:

--The state of the late-medieval Catholic Church
--The causes of the English Reformation
--The success and popularity of the Elizabethan Protestant Church
--The impact of the Laudian innovations of Charles I's reign
--The Puritan attempt to bring about cultural revolution in the 1650s
--The nature of the Restoration Anglican Church and its relations with the dissenting community

Princes, Pastors and People uses a thematic approach to chart the long-term developments across the period in all the keys areas including theological and liturgical change, the role of the clergy and the importance of religion in the everyday lives of people.

This second edition brings the survey up to date to include historiographical developments since the appearance of the first edition [in 1991] and for the first time examines in detail the religious events of the period from 1500 to 1529.

In their preface to this edition the authors note that they completely re-wrote the book and updated it extensively based on the new scholarship of Duffy, MacCulloch, Peter Marshall, Christopher Haigh, and others. The introduction provides an excellent overview particularly reflecting the revisionist view of this era developed by Duffy and Haigh. There is a list of suggested reading at the end of each chapter; each chapter covers a theme chronologically; and the authors weigh the evidence and the different interpretations fairly and concisely. The themes covered/chapter titles are:

Theology and liturgy
Sacred spaces
The Church in England and churches abroad
Conformist belief and practices
Heresy and dissent
The clergy
The Church and social control

The book ends with "Conclusions" which contained the only quibble I had with the book. On page 200, the authors discuss some revisionists' "denial of the existence of all anti-clericalism on the eve of the Reformation", but never cite which revisionists and where this denial occurs. The authors then state that "Some of them, for example, wrote all Protestants out of their accounts", but again never cite which revisionists, in what books, articles, papers or presentations.

Otherwise, I would highly recommend this book which also includes a chronology and glossary.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Jesuits and England

On September 27, 1540 Pope Paul III approved the formation of the Society of Jesus. Founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Society would have a great impact on post-Reformation England. Many of the English martyrs mentioned on this blog were Jesuits, including most famously St. Edmund Campion and St. Robert Southworth. Forty years after the order's formation, the Jesuit mission to England began. As the U.K. site for the Society of Jesus states:

The history of the Elizabethan Jesuits is the stuff of legends and hagiography: clandestine meetings, priest-holes, raids, escapes from the Tower of London, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom.

There were also conflicts between the Jesuits and the secular priests over the strategy for perpetuating Catholicism in England. Some Catholics, the Appellants, wanted to demonstrate loyalty to the Queen and to England, while Father Robert Parsons, who came to England with Edmund Campion and then returned to the Continent, urged steps like the excommunication of Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada. Jesuit colleges in France, Spain, and Italy trained young men for the mission in England.

The Jesuits in England were also involved in some manner in the plots to place Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne of England and the Gunpowder Plot; then they were suspected in the so-called Popish Plot and supported the Jacobite rebellions after the Glorious Revolution--and therefore many of them suffered execution and/or martyrdom. On the other hand, Lord Baltimore asked the Jesuits to assist in the founding of Maryland in the New World.

The French Revolution drove the English Jesuits from the Continent to Stonyhurst in England in 1794, even though the Pope had suppressed the order in 1773. In 1801 the Jesuits were restored and in 1803 the English Province was restored. Finally, Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850 led to the foundation of many Jesuit colleges--including Campion Hall in Oxford--and parishes throughout England.

Famed English Jesuits of the modern era include: Gerard Manley Hopkins, convert and poet; Frederick Copleston, the historian of philosophy; John Hungerford Pollen and Philip Caraman, historians and biographers who focused on the English recusant era of Jesuit martyrdoms; and Clifford Howell, who wrote on doctrine and worship. A more infamous Jesuit was George Tyrrell, the Modernist theologian.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

EWTN Bookmark Video

My brother-in-law and webmaster worked some magic* to embed video of my interview with Doug Keck on my website, just in case you missed it. It's on the Contact/Events tab.

When I went to the Catholic Writers Conference in early August, the panel of publishers commented that most interviews don't have that great an effect on sales--readings and book signings really have the greatest impact, they said--except for interviews on EWTN. I think there was a pretty immediate increase in sales the day the interview aired.
*When he's not helping me with my book's website, he IS a magician.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Parting of Friends

On September 25, 1843, John Henry Newman preached his final sermon as an Anglican minister at St. Mary and St. Nicholas, the church he had built in Littlemore. He had resigned his University position and intended to retire to the College there in Littlemore with some other members of the Tractarian Movement.

The sermon's title is "The Parting of Friends." He took as his text "Man goes forth to his work and to his labour until the evening." It was the anniversary of the consecration of the church--I took the picture of the church last year on a tour of Newman's Littlemore. Newman gave examples of leave-taking in the Scripture: Jacob, Ishmael, Naomi, St. Paul.

Then he concluded:

And, O my brethren, O kind and affectionate hearts, O loving friends, should you know any one whose lot it has been, through writing or word of mouth, in some degree to help you thus to act; if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him and fell well inclined towards him; remember such a one in time to come, though you hear him not, and pray for him, that in all things he may know God's will, and at all times he may be ready to fulfill it.

Newman remained at the College for more than two years after preaching this sermon, working on his Essay on the Development Christian Doctrine, praying, fasting, and discerning.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Couple of Radio Gigs

On Wednesday, September 29, I'll conduct a brief radio interview on the Son Rise Morning Show, discussing the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in England in 1850—7:45 a.m. Eastern; 6:45 a.m. Central; listen here live!

Then on Saturday, October 2: I'll participate in a radio interview/live call in show on “The Good Fight” with Barbara McGuigan from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Central/2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, carried on the EWTN Radio Network. We'll discuss Blessed John Henry Newman, how Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the English martyrs during his visit to the UK--and Supremacy and Survival! Call 1-877-573-7825 with your questions and comments.

Our Lady of Walsingham

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. Today in Walsingham there are two shrines--one Catholic, one Anglican. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's vice regent in these spiritual matters, had the first (Catholic) shrine destroyed along with other shrines to the Mother of God throughout England. The statues were brought to the Chelsea area of the London and destroyed in a bonfire. More about the shrine here.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Last Sunday, before the recitation of the Angelus and after the Mass at which John Henry Newman was beatified, Pope Benedict spoke of Newman's devotion to Mary:

In so many ways, he lived his priestly ministry in a spirit of filial devotion
to the Mother of God. Meditating upon her role in the unfolding of God's plan
for our salvation, he was moved to exclaim: "Who can estimate the holiness and
perfection of her, who was chosen to be the Mother of Christ? What must have
been her gifts, who was chosen to be the only near earthly relative of the Son
of God, the only one whom He was bound by nature to revere and look up to; the
one appointed to train and educate Him, to instruct Him day by day, as He grew
in wisdom and in stature?" (Parochial and Plain Sermons, ii, 131-2).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From January to September

It's a long, long way from January to September. As I watched my interview with Doug Keck on EWTN Bookmark Sunday morning, I thought about all that's happened since I went to Birmingham early this year--some personal things, like my father dying in June, and some book-related things, like attending the Catholic Writers Conference in August.

My husband really got a kick out of Doug Keck asking about the dedication in Supremacy and Survival since he had encouraged me to write a book for years!

EWTN Bookmark repeats this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Central; 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

New Blessed John Henry Newman Devotional

Father Juan R. Velez kindly contacted me and sent me a copy of the book of meditations he edited with Mike Aquilina, published by Our Sunday Visitor. Father Juan is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei and he is preparing a biography of Blessed John Henry Newman.

This present volume offers a short overview of Blessed Newman's life and then uses short excerpts from his works with points for meditation, a passage of scripture, and a take-away for the day. Since I received it I have been using everyday and the selections dovetailed nicely with the Pope's visit to the United Kingdom. I recommend it highly.
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Monday, September 20, 2010

EWTN's Great Coverage

We really enjoyed EWTN's coverage of the Papal Visit last week--and I really like Raymond Arroyo's post about the "News Everybody Missed".

Pope Benedict encouraged the Catholic Bishops of England to be generous in implementing the Ordinariates as described in Anglicanorum Coetibus. He addressed the bishops at Oscott College, where Blessed John Henry Newman gave his great "Second Spring" sermon at the first Westminster Synod in 1852, two years after the restoration of the hierarchy!

Now the date of Blessed John Henry Newman's feast day really makes sense: October 9, the anniversary of his becoming a Catholic! Blessed John Henry is the guide for England to return to her Catholic roots, to refound Mary's Dowry!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Background on Pope Benedict's allusions during visit

    Here is background on some of the allusions Pope Benedict made during his visit to Scotland and England:

    • Pope Benedict referred to the significance of the name of Queen Elizabeth Palace in Edinburgh: Holyroodhouse (Holy Cross House)--the history of the Abbey connected with the palace is rather complex: it was damaged during Henry VIII's Rough Wooing when Mary of Scotland was betrothed to the Dauphin of France instead of to Edward, Henry's young heir; it was further demolished during the Scottish Reformation; James II/VII built a royal chapel there, which was then destroyed during the Glorious Revolution; the roof fell in during the 18th century and the ruins remain there today.

    • The word Rood could also remind us that before the English Reformation, Rood Screens were common in churches and chapels, with statuary depicting Jesus on the cross with his mother Mary and St. John on either side.

    • The University of St. Andrews was founded by Pope Benedict XIII via Papal Bull while he was in Avignon, in 1413--the University will celebrate its 600th anniversary in 2013.

    • Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope emphasized saints both Anglicans and Catholics reverence: Pope St. Gregory the Great; the Venerable Bede, St. Edmund the Confessor, and St. Benedict of Nursia

    William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury

    William Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury on 19 September 1633. His High Church liturgical practices, Arminian theology, and use of the Church Courts soon angered the Puritans in Parliament. Queen Henrietta Maria, on the other hand, was never happy with Laud because of his anti-Catholic views. Laud encouraged King Charles I to pursue uniformity in the Church of England, forcing or attempting to force the Kirk in Scotland to conform to the ritual of the Book of Common Prayer.

    He was Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1630 and Chancellor of the University of Dublin from 1633.

    Parliament arrested Laud and had him held in the Tower of London. He was tried without result and then attainted for treason by Parliament and executed on January 10, 1645. Laud is now remembered as a Reformation Martyr by the Church of England and his name is included on a plaque in the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford honoring English martyrs of the Reformation associated with the University (Catholic, Anglican, and Puritan) who were victims of Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I or Parliament!

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    This Historic Visit

    Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Scotland on Thursday this week to visit with Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, Defender of the Faith (a Papal title first awarded to Henry VIII!). Her consort, Prince Philip, met the Pope at the airport—a signal honor, and she and the Pope exchanged welcoming speeches before he attended a parade with 100,000 plus supporters and 60 protesters.

    He has since met the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace and has spoken to Parliament at Westminster Hall and prayed at Westminster Abbey.

    These details roll trippingly off the tongue, but they are momentous considering the history preceding them. At one time in England it was illegal to own something blessed by a pope--while successive popes wrangled with English monarchs, including Mary I, over spiritual and moral authority--excommunicating Henry and Elizabeth and even calling for subjects of the latter to remove her from the throne! When Pope Pius IX announced the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850, Queen Victoria bristled, "Am I the Queen of England, or I am not." It was not really a question. Queen Elizabeth II's friendly, measured welcome indicated that she is confident the papal visit does not affect her crown.

    In both the meetings with the Queen and the Archbishop, Benedict has empathized not what divides Catholics and Anglicans, but what they share--faith in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Saviour!

    Thomas More was tried and unjustly convicted upon the perjury of Sir Richard Rich in Westminster Hall, and Pope Benedict mentioned More in the context of the relationship between church and state. His speech there was a very subtle and strong argument for government to pay attention to what the church can contribute to society, rather than regard it as an obstruction.

    Westminster Abbey was founded as a Catholic church before the Reformation as part of a Benedictine Abbey suppressed by Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Vice-Regent. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope both refered to the history of Westminster Abbey, named for St. Peter and for centuries before the English Reformation a Benedictine monastery whose Abbot reported directly to the Pope in Rome. The Archbishop even referred to Pope John Paul II's Ut Unim Sint which called for reflection on ways in which the Pope, the successor of St. Peter, as Benedict reminded everyone at the Abbey twice last night (!), may represent unity of Christians.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ

    Today's saint has connections to England and the aftermath of the English Reformation. First, his book addressing Protestant teaching and doctrine, The Controversies, based on lectures he gave at the Roman College, proved so effective that Queen Elizabeth I banned its publication and distribution in England.

    Robert Bellarmine conducted disputations with James I of England and one of the king's favorite Anglican bishops, Lancelot Andrewes. Bellarmine did not support James I's doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, arguing that the true source of political power was indeed from God, but that the power of the king or magistrate depended on the consent of the people and that, indeed, the people may withdraw their consent and change the form of government. This scholar even argues that Bellarmine's disputations with King James I provided Thomas Jefferson with some of the terminology of the Declaration of Independence.

    The late great Fr. Hardon provides this overview of Bellarmine's life and works. He died on September 17, 1621 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on the same date in 1931.

    Back Where it All Began

    On September 22 after the 7:00 p.m. Rosary (with Confessions concurrently) and the 7:30 p.m. Mass at St. Paul's Parish/Newman Center on the campus of Wichita State University, I will make a presentation on Blessed John Henry Newman to the students during their "Catholicism Exposed" program.

    One of the reasons I'm so excited about this opportunity is that my interest in John Henry Newman and in the history of Catholics in England and the Church of England began at the Newman Center when I was an undergraduate--a sophomore, in fact. The pastor at that time, Father Joseph Gorentz organized a week long conference called the Newman School of Catholic Thought focusing on Newman with speakers (H. Lyman Stebbins, founder of Catholics United for the Faith, Dr. John Crosby, who was then I think at the University of Dallas, Father Stephen Almagno and Father Charles Taylor). Bishop James Conley, now in Denver, Colorado, attended that conference and so did Father John Lanzrath of the Diocese of Wichita!

    My husband and I met at the Newman Center--and we wouldn't have any other way that I can see now: he was a Business/Accounting major and I was an English major; his home parish was in a different part of town than mine--except for the Newman Center our paths would have probably never crossed!

    I'll also contribute an article for the Shocker Catholic newsletter, and after the presentation, sell and sign copies of Supremacy and Survival!

    Big Weekend

    Don't forget--in the midst of all the coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's State Visit to the United Kingdom and the Beatification of John Henry Newman, my interview with Doug Keck on EWTN's Bookmark (discussing Supremacy and Survival) will be airing on EWTN RADIO on Saturday, September 18 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern--3:30 p.m. Central--2:30 p.m. Mountain--and 1:30 p.m. Pacific! EWTN also posts schedules for SKY and Shortwave radio on their website. And you can listen live here.

    Then, after the live coverage of the Beatification Mass early Sunday Morning, the same interview will be broadcast on EWTN TV at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, etc.

    EWTN has posted the schedule for live coverage of Papal Visit events--all airing early for us in U.S.--and they are repeating the Beatification Mass in primetime Sunday night! (I took the picture above in the garden at the Newman Centre in Littlemore in July 2009.)

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    The "Old Pretender" Succeeds His Exiled Father

    On September 16, 1701, the exiled, deposed King James II of England, Ireland and James VII of Scotland died at St. Germain-en-Laye. His court in exile --and, more importantly, King Louis XIV of France --proclaimed his son and heir, James Francis Edward, King as James III and VIII.

    According to A Court in Exile: The Stuarts in France, 1689-1718 by Edward Corp with contributions by other authors, James II had repented of his earlier sins of adultery and developed a spiritual life marked by prayer, sacrifice, order, and frequent reception of the sacraments. As he withdrew from political life after the Battle of the Boyne and other failures to return to England as King, he also turned his attention to the education of the "Prince of Wales" so that his son would be prepared to reign. James Francis Edward was proficient in languages, dancing, riding, and other courtly arts. His father trained him in matters of ruling, often by addressing his own lapses and examples.

    James III would never regain the throne, and after the death of Louis XIV could no longer remain in France at St. Germain-en-Laye. He married, had two sons, lived in Rome as a guest of the Pope, and died on January 1, 1766.
    Although his claim to succeed his half-sister Anne (who would succeed William III) was secure, Parliament had passed the Act of Succession in June of 1701, preventing any Catholic to become monarch or be married to a monarch. At his birth, of course, there had been rumors that he was not really the son of James II and Mary Beatrice of Modena, but his great likeness to his father and mother as he grew up put the lie to that. Winston Churchill commented that if James Francis Edward had renounced his Catholicism in 1714, the Tory party would have backed his 1715 invasion and he might have reigned.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    BBC's Worst Briton of the 17th century born this date in 1649

    BBC History Magazine selected Titus Oates as the Worst Briton of the 17th century and the third worst Briton in last one thousand years in 2006. (By the way, the BBC completed a Greatest Briton list in 2002-Winston Churchill was #1 and Princess Diana was #3!)

    With the so-called Popish Plot, Oates implicated and caused the deaths of 15 Catholic priests and laity who were certainly not guilty of any plot to kill King Charles II--since there was no plot. Before the horror of those three years, however, Titus Oates also indicated an inability to decide which Church he belonged to, a propensity to immorality, and a previous charge of perjury. Although he failed at two colleges at the University of Cambridge, he was ordained in the Church of England and served in a parish and as chaplain on a ship, during which service he was accused of sodomy.

    After joining the household of the Catholic Duke of Norfolk as a chaplain to the Anglicans in that household, he became a Catholic in 1677. At the same time, however, he was writing anti-Catholic pamphlets.

    He studied for a time with the Jesuits in the seminary at Valladolid in Spain, later claiming just to have been there as a spy--he was indeed kicked out in 1678. By September of that same year, Oates was testifying to the King's Council about the Jesuit's plot to murder the Anglican Charles so that Charles' brother James, the Catholic Duke of York could succeed him.

    Charles soon figured out that Oates was making some things up, at least, when he caught him in several lies and inaccuracies. He had Oates arrested, but Parliament forced his release. Oates was soon in posh apartments with a nice annual stipend. After a time, however, Judge William Scroggs, who had been subjecting the Catholic defendants to horrible verbal abuse in addition to sentencing them to death, began to turn his scorn upon those testifying against them, and declared the midwife Elizabeth Cellier and Lord Castlemaine, the husband of one of Charles II's mistresses, Barbara, innocent in their trials. In Cellier's trial, he sentenced her accuser to prison for perjury.

    Finally, in 1681, Oates was disgraced--kicked out of his nice pad, charged and convicted of sedition, and put in prison. When the Duke of York did succeed his brother, James II had Oates retried, convicted of perjury and sentenced to annual pillory, as pictured above.

    During the reign of William and Mary Oates was pardoned and granted another pension. He died in 1705, after marrying and becoming a Baptist minister (and then defrocked).

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    "Heart Speaks to Heart" CD

    I received yesterday a CD titled "Heart Speaks to Heart" which I'd ordered from the Catholic Truth Society. It is "A spiritual day with Blessed John Henry Newman in words and music" narrated by The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and performed by the Schola Cantamus directed by Jeremy de Satge, released by The Music Makers.

    According to the liner notes, it offers a selection of the spiritual writings of Blessed Newman, including translations of hymns for the Divine Office made by him. The CD begins with "Lead, Kindly Light, continues with the Hours of Matins, Prime, etc, and concludes with Compline and "Praise to the Holiest" one of the hymns taken from "The Dream of Gerontius".

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Philip II, King of Spain

    Philip II of Spain died on September 13, 1598 in Madrid and is buried in El Escorial.

    His historical reputation might be exemplified by this site's judgment of his character: "Vain, bigoted, ruthless, ambitious"! He has certainly borne the brunt of the Black Legend of Spain. His failures (the Spanish Armada) are magnified while his successes (the Battle of Lepanto) are minimized. Philip ruled as absolutely as Louis XIV, except that his two great goals were the spread of Catholicism and the suppression of heresy. He used the Inquisition as the tool for the latter.

    He also has his virtues: he was hard-working, a great patron of the arts, pious, generous, loyal, and courageous. (Any site that does not include the good with the bad obviously has an agenda!)

    When Elizabeth I came to the throne he suggested himself as a consort (after having been married to her half-sister Mary I). Philip was not immediately her implacable enemy--he even argued against the attempts to depose her and excommunicate her before 1569-1570. It was only when the English pirates began to harrass Spanish ships and Elizabeth began to support the Protestant cause in his kingdom of the Netherlands--and after Mary, Queen of Scots was executed--that Philip planned the invasion of England with the Armada in 1588.

    As Christopher Check points out on his CD set on the Battle of Lepanto, the failure of the Armada is well-known, while the success of the battle against the Turks in the Mediterranean is undiscovered. It is unfortunate that in admiring Elizabeth I or William the Silent, two of Philip II's opponents, some historians cannot also fairly evaluate him--as though admitting his efforts, successes, and good characteristics would somehow minimize the other leaders' stature.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Just Before Pope Benedict's Visit to England, a Couple of Announcements

    Yesterday I commemorated novelist Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson's conversion. Earlier this week, the Catholic Herald posted this story about two Church of England ministers announcing that they will become Catholic to their congregations.

    The full text of Reverend Pinnock's resignation message to his congregation is here; and the full text of Reverend Robin Farrow's is here. They both have been leading Traditionalist Anglican communities, which means they have been opposed to the ordination of women as priests and bishops in the Church of England and have desired leadership from bishops who believed the same. Reverend Pinnock's church, St. Mary-the-Virgin, according to its website is a Forward in Faith parish.

    Reverend Pinnock blogs at onetimothyfour, while Reverend Farrow's wife blogs here, describing some special circumstances as she, her husband, and their young family enter a tremendous period of transition.

    Please pray for these men, their families, and their congregations!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    The Son of the Archbishop of Canterbury "Popes"

    Robert Hugh Benson, son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, joined the Catholic Church on September 11, 1903. He had been ordained a minister of the Church of England by his father Edmund White Benson in 1895 and after his father's death in 1896 he began to doubt the truth of the Church of England and to consider the Catholic Church. He told the story of his conversion in Confessions of a Convert. After becoming a Catholic, he was ordained a priest in 1904 and served in Cambridge.

    He wrote many novels, some children's books, devotion and apologetic works and even plays. Benson wrote novels in three different genres: science fiction, historical fiction, and general, contemporary fiction. One of his older brothers, E.F. Benson, wrote the Mapp and Lucia series of novels and the other, A. C. Benson is best known for writing the lyrics to the patriotic anthem, "Land of Hope and Glory" always performed on the last nights of the Proms at Prince Albert Hall, so his writing career is part of the pattern in his family.

    It's his historical novels that I'm most interested in, although The Lord of the World is greatly acclaimed as an apocalyptic story. In The King's Achievement, By What Authority? and Come Rack! Come Rope! Benson demonstrates the impact of historical fiction on our understanding of the past. His historical novels tell a revisionist version of the English Reformation, based on the work accomplished by Gasquet and Camm. By telling domestic stories--for all three books focus on a family or two families--he dramatizes the impact of the English Reformation on their daily lives.

    In The King's Achievement, for example, he recounts the conflict within the Torridon family when one brother Ralph becomes an agent for Thomas Cromwell in the suppression of the monasteries, including the convent where his sister Margaret and the house where his brother Christopher are pursuing their religious vocations. These fictional characters interact with Thomas More, Cromwell, and even Henry VIII.

    My personal favorite is By What Authority? in which Benson arranges a kind of "Gift of the Magi" exchange (referring to O. Henry's story about the couple who buy each other gifts by sacrificing the treasures the gifts complement). He tells the story of two families, one Catholic (the Maxwell's) and one Puritan (the Norris's). Isabel Norris and Hubert Maxwell fall in love and intend to marry but while they are separated she, the former Puritan, becomes Catholic, while he becomes Protestant--and the marriage plans are soon off. Her brother Anthony also converts and becomes a Catholic priest! Queen Elizabeth I interrogates Father Anthony Norris. The former nun Margaret from The King's Achievement lives with her sister and brother-in-law and teaches Isabel about Catholic devotional practices but the great delight of the novel is the character of Mary Corbet, a Catholic lady-in-waiting to the queen. She is vibrant, devout, courageous, and loyal, even though she at first seems overly dramatic and even flippant.
    All of Benson's books are in the public domain, so there are many on-line sources for them, and my husband has found free downloads of a few of them for his Kindle!

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    September 9, 1669, Dowager Queen Henrietta Maria Dies

    Henrietta Maria, Charles I's widow, died in France on September 9, 1669; she had been given a dose of opiates and did not revive. She was 60 years old and had been a widow for 20 years.

    At first her arranged marriage to Charles I was as unhappy as one could be when the husband had a male favorite who opposed her possible influence on the young monarch. But once Buckingham was assassinated, Charles and Henrietta Maria grew to love each other. She was the sister of the most Catholic King of France, Louis XIII and had been sent to England with a mission to convert her Anglican husband. She was not crowned Queen of England because she could not receive Holy Communion in the Church of England.

    As Charles became so uxurious, there were some who feared that he would become a Catholic just to please his wife and the mother of their growing brood. Conversions at Court and the very presence of Catholic priest and sacraments at Court were unsettling to the Puritans in Parliament. She was attractive and gathered Catholics and converts around her.

    When the Civil War began, Charles and his queen set up court in Oxford. She used the chapel at Merton College for Mass. Eventually Henrietta Maria fled England, home to France after a stop in the Netherlands, because she was attainted a traitor by Parliament. She worked hard to raise funds for her husband's cause and was bitterly grieved by his capture and execution.

    Upon the Restoration of the Monarchy in the person of her son Charles II she returned to England for a time but then came back home to France, always wearing mourning for her husband.
    Perhaps she led the widowed life in exile denied Marie Antoinette. There are certainly other parallels between the two monarch couples--the strained relationship at first; the deepening love and interdependence; the loyalty and faithfulness; the queen's role in the king's difficulties in ruling the nation--the role of the executed monarch as a saintly figure--except that Louis XVI had been deposed and Charles I still held his title. The great difference between them is that Henrietta Maria escaped.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    September 10 Radio Interview

    Anna Mitchell and I will talk about Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson on the eve of the anniversary of his joining the Catholic Church on Friday, September 10 on The Son Rise Morning Show at 7:35 a.m. Eastern/6:35 a.m. Central.

    He became a Catholic on September 11, 1903--Anna and I will be discussing his historical novels about the English Reformation:

    The King's Achievement, set during Henry VIII's campaign to suppress the monasteries;
    By What Authority? and Come Rack! Come Rope!, both set during the Elizabethan era.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Newman and Conscience vs. the Pope?

    Jonathan Aitken has an article in the September issue of The American Spectator titled "A Saintly Conscience" about Cardinal Newman's beatification and various misunderstandings and misinterpretations of his life and work. He examines the made-up controversy about Newman's sexuality and closes off the discussion by saying that there is absolutely no evidence that Newman ever deviated from his vow of celibacy, taken before he became an Anglican minister, so the point is moot.

    Aitken wants to emphasize Newman as the champion of conscience and mentions Pope Benedict XVI's interest in Newman in this area--as the successor of St. Augustine. But Aitken casts Newman as a "dissident" and a "liberal"; "ambivalent about the newly formulated dogma in 1870 of papal infallibility, famously remarking, 'I shall drink--to the Pope, if you please--still to Conscience first and to the Pope afterwards.'" (This is not a "remark" of Newman's but the conclusion to the section on conscience in Newman's Letter to the Duke of Norfolk addressing Gladstone's attack on the newly-proclaimed doctrine.) Aitken has taken the comment seriously out of context.

    Aitken does not address Newman's concerns about the formation of conscience: conscience cannot be totally subjective and must be formed to the objective standard of Truth. "Conscience has rights because it has duties." When writing to the Duke of Norfolk, he contrasts the classic Catholic definition of conscience with the modern idea, noting that the latter thinks of conscience as "the right of thinking, speaking, writing and acting, according to their judgment or their humour, without any thought of God at all." This counterfeit conscience, Newman says, is "the right of self-will."

    Newman clarifies that in the classic Catholic definition, conscience is "a dutiful obedience to what claims to be a divine voice speaking within us." It is "not a judgment upon any speculative truth, any abstract doctrine, but bears immediately on conduct, on something to be done or not done."

    He furthers states that "conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church's or the Pope's infallibility; which is engaged in general propositions and in the condemnation of particular and given errors." The only time conscience and the Pope could conflict is when the latter legislates or gives practical orders--but Newman reminds the Duke of Norfolk (and Gladstone, who raised the specter of divided loyalties), the Pope "is not infallible in his laws, nor his commands, nor in his acts of state, nor in his administration, nor in his public policy."

    Nevertheless, Newman even states that the burden of disobeying the Pope is serious indeed: "Unless a man is able to say to himself, as in the Presence of God, that he must not, and dare not, act upon the Papal injunction, he is bound to obey it, and would commit a great sin in disobeying it." These are not dissident or liberal words!

    Mr. Aitken concludes his appreciation of Newman with the comments that "The central message of Newman's life is that nobody should accept in docile fashion what they are taught by their parents, their school, their church, their mosque, or by any self-proclaimed source of authority. Instead they should travel on their own journey, searching for truth by the light of their conscience."

    There are half-truths and completely erroneous ideas in those two sentences: the primary issue is that Newman believed and assented with obedience to the Church Jesus Christ established, the Catholic Church. He may have struggled with disappointment and frustration, but he did "accept in docile fashion" what Jesus Christ's Church told him. He clearly states that in his Apologia pro vita sua, in the chapter on the position of his mind on religious matters since 1845--as he wrote in connection with doctrine of Transubstantiation, "I had no difficulty in believing it, as soon as I believed that the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God." That seems an example of docility and obedience. He followed the light of his conscience, which he had found in the Pillar of the Cloud, not a "self-proclaimed source of authority", but the Infallibility of the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    NCRegister and Anglican Use Mass

    While in KC yesterday, I received the daily update e-mail from the National Catholic Register and found out that the Managing Editor is just about finished reading Supremacy and Survival! He has it on his bedside table stack of books; it's second from the top. Tom Wehner has been reading it as background to the Pope's visit to the UK. I've had another reader tell me that he thought it was good preparation for one of the official pilgrimages to the Beatification and other Newman sites (all three English Oratories, the University of Oxford, etc!).

    We felt wonderfully welcome at St. Therese Little Flower. Father Ernie Davis met us on the porch of the church as the previous Mass had just concluded. He set up a table for me at the back of the church and chatted. The congregation was pretty small, the organist excellent, and the liturgy beautiful. There were some photocopied and bound brochures with the order the Anglican Use Mass, and the readings were the same as the Roman Rite for this Sunday. One thing Mark and I both appreciated was that we received Holy Communion under both forms while kneeling at the step at the bottom of the sanctuary (there was no altar rail).

    After Holy Communion there were a few announcements and then Father announced my presence and invited everyone to help me carry my books downstairs to coffee and donuts after Mass! There was more than coffee and donuts, however: some delicious hominy dish, hummus and crackers, a cookie pizza with fruit, and other sweet treats. Some parishioners came over and asked me some questions--and purchased copies of my book--and then Father Davis asked me to say a few words about Anglicanorum Coetibus in the context of the English Reformation. He told me afterwards that the ordinariate in that area will be based out of St. Therese the Little Flower. All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Kansas City, Kansas City--Here I am!

    Today, I'm in Kansas City, MO with my husband. We arrived yesterday to shop and dine on the Country Club Plaza, staying at the Marriott Courtyard nearby. My aunt Eileen lived in KCMO when I was a little girl and I suppose I've visited the Plaza many dozens of times. When we were dating, Mark and I would drive up Saturday morning, hit a few favorites and drive back that evening. One time we bought my father a quarter-size ping-pong table at the old Abercrombie & Fitch store; that was when it carried country-club style clothing and neat accessories. We carried the huge wrapped package back to Mark's Chevy Blazer.

    At one time, people really dressed up to shop on the Plaza and it was a tremendous destination with many local stores serving the nearby apartment dwellers. My mother used to say that people on the Plaza looked "sharp". Now most of the stores are chains and shoppers are pretty casual but there is still a fun and sophisticated atmosphere. We visited The Better Cheddar among other shops and enjoyed a fine dinner at M&S Grill, after an excursion to Crick Camera.

    We are attending the Anglican Use Mass at St. Therese Little Flower this morning. St. Therese is in the Blue Hills neighborhood and the pastor, Father Ernie Davis, celebrates three Masses each Sunday: one more traditional, one Gospel, and one Anglican Use.

    As I read through the Rite on-line, I noticed that some of the language matches that to be introduced to the Novus Ordo English translation next Advent: "And with thy [your] spirit"; "I believe . . ."; "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof . . ."

    I will report tomorrow on the experience and the book signing after Mass.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    London in Flames, September 4, 1666

    The Great Fire of London was blazing 344 years ago today. King Charles II and his brother James, the Duke of York worked hard to direct fire-fighting efforts, but Tuesday, September 4th was the day of greatest destruction, as St. Paul's Cathedral caught fire and was ruined that day. This was the great medieval, Gothic cathedral built between 1089 and 1314, containing wondrous stained glass and with a tall spire. It had of course fallen into disrepair, having been damaged by Puritan forces during the Civil War.
    Its destruction gave Sir Christopher Wren the opportunity to design and build a new Anglican Cathedral influenced by the design of St. Peter's in Rome and Val-de-Grace in Paris, along with 50 other Anglican churches.

    In the aftermath of the fire, someone had to be blamed, and Catholics were held responsible. A French watchmaker did claim responsibility (as an agent of the Pope) but after he was hung at Tyburn, authorities found out he had arrived in London two days after the fire started. Too late!

    Charles II commissioned The Monument to the Great Fire of London, which Sir Christopher Wren also designed. In 1668, words were added to the Monument to reflect fear of Catholics and their role in the Great Fire:
    Here by permission of heaven, hell broke loose upon his Protestant city . .
    . the most dreadful burning of this City; begun and carried on by the treachery
    and malice of the Popish faction . . . Popish frenzy which wrought such horrors,
    is not yet quenched.
    During the reign of James II, those words were removed; with the invasion and coup d'etat of the Glorious Revolution they were restored and remained there until 1830 after Catholic Emancipation.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Reflections on Newman and Friendship

    EWTN recently added this excellent article to its on-line library. It provides a concise overview of Newman's life.

    The author, Father Thomas Rosica, CSB highlights Newman's capacity for friendship. He refers to the depth and breadth of Newman's friendships and relationships, noting that Newman was not a lighthearted extrovert. Some of those friendships were broken off when he became a Catholic, but some were restored after Newman's Apologia pro vita sua explained things that had been misunderstood and never addressed.
    As William Oddie comments in the Catholic Herald these very deep friendships and Newman's availability to people in correspondence, discourse, and contact really puts the lie to the idea that Newman was aloof and unreachable.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Some Updates on Promotional Activity

    I've confirmed with the producer of EWTN Bookmark that the episode I taped with Doug Keck will air Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19--first on the radio broadcast Saturday afternoon and then on the telecast Sunday morning.

    This weekend I am looking forward to attending the Anglican Use Mass at the Church of St. Therese of the Little Flower in Kansas City, Missouri. After Mass, I will hold a book signing and look forward to meeting the pastor and his parishioners.

    The weekend after Newman's Beatification, I'll be a guest on Barbara McGuigan's Saturday radio call-in show, "The Good Fight" talking about Blessed John Henry Newman and the English Reformation.

    My website is updated with these events with links and more details.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    More Details from the Catholic Herald

    When Pope Benedict visits Scotland and England, he will get to hear Susan Boyle sing! Even before Mass, I don't think "I dreamed a dream" is an appropriate selection.

    Even as the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster rejoices in the opportunities offered by the Papal Visit, some Catholics reportedly want the Pope to tone it down:

    "English Catholic officials are hoping that the Pope will not further inflame anti-Catholic sentiment by speaking out against gay marriage or adoption, or abortion or divorce."

    Irish Travellers are on their way to Birmingham, setting up to see the Pope, while the Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh doesn't seem to share the official view described above because he

    "should particularly like the Holy Father to remind Catholics in Scotland of the basics of our Catholic faith and how we should be living it in these challenging times."

    EWTN has posted a promo for their coverage of the Papal Visit--unfortunately, they picture Westminster Abbey instead of Westminster Cathedral when announcing the Pope's Mass in London!

    Counting down the days!