Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Katherine of Aragon Festival

If one could be at Peterborough Cathedral tomorrow and the weekend, one could participate in several activities in honor of Queen Katherine of Aragon:

~~Friday 28th January at 10.30am
Katharine of Aragon Commemoration Service: Our annual service which commerates (sic) the life of Henry VIII (sic) first wife, Katharine. This uplifting service is open to all with primary schools from across the Peterborough region and historical musicians Hautbois performing.

~~Friday 28th January at 5.00pm
Candlelit Procession and Vespers: This service is in part a candlelit procession of honour of Katharine through the Cathedral grounds and up to her tomb. The procession harks back to her funeral and the 1000 candles lit for Katharine by approximately 200 mourners in 1536.

~~Friday 28th January at 7.30pm in the New Building
Talk on the Life and Times of Old Scarlett: Tickets are £5 or £3 concessions and available from the Cathedral Shop or Peterborough Destination Centre on 01733 452336.

~~Saturday 29th January 9.00am
Roman Catholic Mass by the grave of Katharine of Aragon: This moving Mass, held each year in her memory, is led by Father David Jennings from All Souls Park Road.

~~Saturday 29th January 10.00am to 3.00pm
Tudor Living History Day in the Cathedral and its grounds: Free admission. Tudor Living History Day at the Cathedral, with a chance to meet Katharine and Henry VIII, Tudor dancing and music, Tudor crafts, archery, surgery and much more.

~~Saturday 29th January at 7.30pm
The Sixteen in concert: The Sixteen are recognized as one of the world’s greatest choral and period instrument ensembles. This unique concert which will only ever be performed this evening will feature music Katharine would have heard at court, and also a piece reputedly written especially for her by Henry VIII. Full concert programme details can be found on the Cathedral website. Tickets are £20, £12, £8 and are available only from the Cathedral Shop or Peterborough Destination Centre on 01733 452336. Early booking is recommended as these concerts usually sell out.

~Sunday 30th January at 2.00pm
Tudor Walk around Peterborough city centre: This historical walk is guided by Stuart Orme. Tickets are £5, £3 concession and available from the Peterborough Destination Centre on 01733 452336.

Sounds like a great festival!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chinese Gordon and Gerontius

Major-General George "Chinese" Gordon died on January 26, 1885 during the Mahdi revolt in Khartoum, Sudan. Although he was an evangelical Christian, and therefore presumably the "Romish" doctrine of Purgatory would be anathema to him, a copy of Blessed John Henry Newman's poem The Dream of Gerontius was found among his belongings, with pencilled annotations in the margins. Newman had written the poem in 1865 and when he heard of Gordon's death he had been following the campaigns in the Sudan and was stunned that his poem would have accompanied such a man in his last days. Gordon wrote: 'Pray for me, O my friends... Prepare to meet thy God... Use well the interval... Now that the hour is come, my fear is fled'.

News that the great hero Gordon had admired this poem made Newman's work very popular, like the ultimate recommendation.

William Gladstone, a staunch Anglican, also admired Newman's poem, comparing it even to Dante's Divine Comedy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Catherine of Aragon by Giles Tremlett

Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII is the first full-length biography of the subject since Garrett Mattingly's 1942 study. Henry VIII was married to her longer than all of his other wives combined; she was his only consort with truly consequential international connections and Henry had known her since he was ten years old when she came to England to marry his older brother Arthur.

Tremlett tells the story of her childhood in Spain and her adolescence in England after Arthur died very effectively, identifying her background and resilence in the face of uncertainty while living as the widowed Princess of Wales until Henry VII dies and his heir Henry VIII decides to act upon the dispensation obtained and marry her, quietly, and crown her, magnificently. He mentions an adolescent eating disorder and some resulting feminine problems that might have contributed to her later troubled pregnancies. Tremlett also introduces the theme of the young King and Queen's difficulty in knowing exactly when she pregnant and when she would deliver a baby, based often on the rudimentary medical knowledge of the time. They rejoiced when two baby boys were born and mourned when they died as infants. When Mary was born in 1516, Henry was still hopeful that they would have a son.

As he notes, they were a well-matched pair, especially in the early days of their reign; he enjoyed having fun and she was often at the center of it; he was young and athletic and she was beautiful and talented. He recognized her abilities as queen and her qualities as a wife; she accepted his infidelities and supported most of his diplomatic projects, although she favored Spanish alliances. Catherine was able to serve as regent in Henry's absence and take leadership at Court, serving him domestically (making his shirts) and socially (hosting royal events and preparing for the great Field of the Cloth of Gold).

When Henry decided to have their marriage annulled, however, he demonstrated that he really did not know her that well: somehow he did not know how strong and defiant Catherine could and would be; how well she could use her connections in Europe and indeed how popular she was in England. Catherine really won the battle against Henry in his attempts to get the Papacy to set aside their marriage, but of course she lost the war once he began to use brute force, terror, and absolute power. Tremlett provides exquisite detail about how Henry's nobles regretted his use of them to harass and threaten her. They hoped they could have terrible accidents or die on the way to her homes in exile, leaving Court to return to their estates so they could avoid another mission to make her move again, take away her jewels, dismiss trusted servants, or inform her again that she was not the Queen of England. Otherwise, they had to face her strength and vulnerability, her willingness to suffer the humiliation Henry dealt out (often at the urging of Anne Boleyn), even to die, and yet remain obdurate. And then they had to go back to Henry and tell him how it all went!

One thing Tremlett brings up several times is Catherine's ability to dissemble, first in connection with all the confusion surrounding her first pregnancy (she wrote to her father long after the pregnancy terminated to let him know about the miscarriage) and perhaps in connection with her claim that her first marriage to Arthur was never consummated. But as Tremlett admits, Catherine had placed the matter of whether or not she was a virgin when she and Henry married firmly up to Henry. She challenged him at the great trial at Blackfriars and he never replied--his tender conscience evidently would not allow him to deny her claim. He, Wolsey and Cromwell were willing to lie about her otherwise (claiming at one point that she had some horrible disease that prevented him from sleeping with her), but Henry would not swear an oath denying that she was a virgin when they married. I really doubt that she lied about it.

At the end, Tremlett dwells on Catherine's feelings of guilt that her intransigence was leading Henry to destroy the Church, kill good men, and endanger his own soul. He doesn't absolve her (I might) but does commend her for avoiding the path that could have led to military invasion and civil war in England.

After finishing this book I am on to Anna Whitelock's Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, which begins with the admonition that one has to know about the mother (Katherine of Aragon; Anna uses the K spelling) to understand the daughter. Let's see how well prepared I am and how much Anna and Giles agree.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Charles Kingsley's Review of Froude

While preparing the post about Charles Kingsley and his dispute with then Father John Henry Newman, I read through his review of James Anthony Froude's History of England from the Fall of Cardinal Wolsey to the Death of Queen Elizabeth--the review in Macmillan's in whice he made his accusation of dishonesty against Newman and Catholic priests in general.

The editors certainly did not have any word limit. Here's a sample of the opening of the review--Kingsley takes a long time even to get to the book he is reviewing--and he introduces the theme of Catholic dishonesty early on, casting doubt on Father John Lingard's honesty reading or quoting the documents he referenced:

There appeared a few years since a 'Comic History of England,' duly caricaturing and falsifying all our great national events, and representing the English people, for many centuries back, as a mob of fools and knaves, led by the nose in each generation by a few arch-fools and arch-knaves. Some thoughtful persons regarded the book with utter contempt and indignation; it seemed to them a crime to have written it; a proof of 'banausia,' as Aristotle would have called it, only to be outdone by the writing a 'Comic Bible.' After a while, however, their indignation began to subside; their second thoughts, as usual, were more charitable than their first; they were not surprised to hear that the author was an honest, just, and able magistrate; they saw that the publication of such a book involved no moral turpitude; that it was merely meant as a jest on a subject on which jesting was permissible, and as a money speculation in a field of which men had a right to make money; while all which seemed offensive in it was merely the outcome, and as it were apotheosis, of that method of writing English history which has been popular for nearly a hundred years. 'Which of our modern historians,' they asked themselves, 'has had any real feeling of the importance, the sacredness, of his subject?--any real trust in, or respect for, the characters with whom he dealt? Has not the belief of each and all of them been the same--that on the whole, the many always have been fools and knaves; foolish and knavish enough, at least, to become the puppets of a few fools and knaves who held the reins of power? Have they not held that, on the whole, the problems of human nature and human history have been sufficiently solved by Gibbon and Voltaire, Gil Blas and Figaro; that our forefathers were silly barbarians; that this glorious nineteenth century is the one region of light, and that all before was outer darkness, peopled by 'foreign devils,' Englishmen, no doubt, according to the flesh, but in spirit, in knowledge, in creed, in customs, so utterly different from ourselves that we shall merely show our sentimentalism by doing aught but laughing at them? On what other principle have our English histories as yet been constructed, even down to the children's books, which taught us in childhood that the history of this country was nothing but a string of foolish wars, carried on by wicked kings, for reasons hitherto unexplained, save on that great historic law of Goldsmith's by which Sir Archibald Alison would still explain the French Revolution -

'The dog, to serve his private ends,
Went mad, and bit the man?'

It will be answered by some, and perhaps rather angrily, that these strictures are too sweeping; that there is arising, in a certain quarter, a school of history books for young people of a far more reverent tone, which tries to do full honour to the Church and her work in the world. Those books of this school which we have seen, we must reply, seem just as much wanting in real reverence for the past as the school of Gibbon and Voltaire. It is not the past which they reverence, but a few characters or facts eclectically picked out of the past, and, for the most part, made to look beautiful by ignoring all the features which will not suit their preconceived pseudo-ideal. There is in these books a scarcely concealed dissatisfaction with the whole course of the British mind since the Reformation, and (though they are not inclined to confess the fact) with its whole course before the Reformation, because that course was one of steady struggle against the Papacy and its anti-national pretensions. They are the outcome of an utterly un-English tone of thought; and the so-called 'ages of faith' are pleasant and useful to them, principally because they are distant and unknown enough to enable them to conceal from their readers that in the ages on which they look back as ideally perfect a Bernard and a Francis of Assisi were crying all day long--'O that my head were a fountain of tears, that I might weep for the sins of my people!' Dante was cursing popes and prelates in the name of the God of Righteousness; Boccaccio and Chaucer were lifting the veil from priestly abominations of which we now are ashamed even to read; and Wolsey, seeing the rottenness of the whole system, spent his mighty talents, and at last poured out his soul unto death, in one long useless effort to make the crooked straight, and number that which had been weighed in the balances of God, and found for ever wanting. To ignore wilfully facts like these, which were patent all along to the British nation, facts on which the British laity acted, till they finally conquered at the Reformation, and on which they are acting still, and will, probably, act for ever, is not to have any real reverence for the opinions or virtues of our forefathers; and we are not astonished to find repeated, in such books, the old stock calumnies against our lay and Protestant worthies, taken at second-hand from the pages of Lingard. In copying from Lingard, however,this party has done no more than those writers have who would repudiate any party--almost any Christian--purpose. Lingard is known to have been a learned man, and to have examined many manuscripts which few else had taken the trouble to look at; so his word is to be taken, no one thinking it worth while to ask whether he has either honestly read or honestly quoted the documents. It suited the sentimental and lazy liberality of the last generation to make a show of fairness by letting the Popish historian tell his side of the story, and to sneer at the illiberal old notion that gentlemen of his class were given to be rather careless about historic truth when they had a purpose to serve thereby; and Lingard is now actually recommended as a standard authority for the young by educated Protestants, who seem utterly unable to see that, whether the man be honest or not, his whole view of the course of British events since Becket first quarrelled with his king must be antipodal to their own; and that his account of all which has passed for three hundred years since the fall of Wolsey is most likely to be (and, indeed, may be proved to be) one huge libel on the whole nation, and the destiny which God has marked out for it.

There is, indeed, no intrinsic cause why the ecclesiastical, or pseudo-Catholic, view of history should, in any wise, conduce to a just appreciation of our forefathers. For not only did our forefathers rebel against that conception again and again, till they finally trampled it under their feet, and so appear, prima facie, as offenders to be judged at its bar; but the conception itself is one which takes the very same view of nature as that cynic conception of which we spoke above. Man, with the Romish divines, is, ipso facto, the same being as the man of Voltaire, Le Sage, or Beaumarchais; he is an insane and degraded being, who is to be kept in order, and, as far as may be, cured and set to work by an ecclesiastical system; and the only threads of light in the dark web of his history are clerical and theurgic, not lay and human. Voltaire is the very experimentum crucis of this ugly fact. European history looks to him what it would have looked to his Jesuit preceptors, had the sacerdotal element in it been wanting; what heathen history actually did look to them. He eliminates the sacerdotal element, and nothing remains but the chaos of apes and wolves which the Jesuits had taught him to believe was the original substratum of society. The humanity of his history--even of his 'Pucelle d'Orleans,--is simply the humanity of Sanchez and the rest of those vingtquatre Peres who hang gibbeted forever in the pages of Pascal. He is superior to his teachers, certainly, in this, that he has hope for humanity on earth; dreams of a new and nobler life for society, by means of a true and scientific knowledge of the laws of the moral and material universe; in a word, he has, in the midst of all his filth and his atheism, a faith in a righteous and truth-revealing God, which the priests who brought him up had not. Let the truth be spoken, even though in favour of such a destroying Azrael as Voltaire. And what if his primary conception of humanity be utterly base? Is that of our modern historians so much higher? Do Christian men seem to them, on the whole, in all ages, to have had the spirit of God with them, leading them into truth, however imperfectly and confusedly they may have learnt his lessons?

Have they ever heard with their ears, or listened when their fathers have declared unto them, the noble works which God did in their days, and in the old time before them? Do they believe that the path of Christendom has been, on the whole, the path of life and the right way, and that the living God is leading her therein? Are they proud of the old British worthies? Are they jealous and tender of the reputation of their ancestors? Do they believe that there were any worthies at all in England before the steam-engine and political economy were discovered? Do their conceptions of past society and the past generations retain anything of that great thought which is common to all the Aryan races--that is, to all races who have left aught behind them better than mere mounds of earth--to Hindoo and Persian, Greek and Roman, Teuton and Scandinavian, that men are the sons of the heroes, who were the sons of God? Or do they believe that for civilised people of the nineteenth century it is as well to say as little as possible about ancestors who possessed our vices without our amenities, our ignorance without our science; who were bred, no matter how, like flies by summer heat, out of that everlasting midden which men call the world, to buzz and sting their foolish day, and leave behind them a fresh race which knows them not, and could win no honour by owning them, and which owes them no more than if it had been produced, as midden-flies were said to be of old, by some spontaneous generation?

It is clear from these excerpts how much the Oxford Movement and the resurgence of Catholicism disturbed Kingsley. Kingsley would have rejoiced at the arrest of Arthur Tooth and certainly feared the Popish ritual favored by the High Church Anglo-Catholics, because it undermined British independence from the Papacy's "anti-national pretensions". He descries a foolish sense of fairness in recognizing a "Papist" interpretation of English History and welcomes Froude's history that places the English Reformation firmly at the center of what makes England England in the nineteenth century and confirms her peoples' exceptional national pride. The myth of England as an Empire that Cromwell and Henry placed in those Parliamentary Acts to place the monarch at the apex of the Church in England is in Kingsley's very fiber of being.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wilfred Sheed, RIP

National Public Radio posts this tribute to the son of Frank and Maisie (Ward) Sheed, who died January 19, 2011.

Among his many works was this memoir of his parents, who did so much for the new establishment of Catholicism in England in the 20th century with the Catholic Evidence Guild and Sheed & Ward Publishers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Man for All Seasons

Paul Scofield, who played Thomas More in both the West End London and Broadway stage productions and in the 1966 film adaptation of Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons was born on January 21, 1922. He won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award for Best Actor in that role.

One of the best scenes occurs when everyone in his family wants More to have Richard Rich arrested. Robert H. Bork notes that Bolt gets More's attitude to the law right in that scene:

"Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons got More remarkably right. In one scene, More, then the Lord Chancellor, argues with family members who are urging him to arrest Richard Rich, the man who was later to betray him. More’s daughter, Margaret, says, “Father, that man’s bad.” More answers, “There is no law against that.” His son-in-law, William Roper: “There is! God’s law!” More: “Then God can arrest him. . . . The law, Roper, the law. I know what’s legal, not what’s right. And I’ll stick to what’s legal. . . . I’m not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can’t navigate. I’m no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I’m a forester.”

Bolt, in a familiar passage, has More say when assailed by his son-in-law with the charge that he would give the devil the benefit of law:

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? . . . And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down . . . d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? . . . Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake."

It's also interesting to note that Susannah York, who played his daughter Margaret--and shows off her Latin a bit too much for Henry VIII--died just last weekend.

Here is the trailer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale, translator of the Holy Bible into English, died on January 20, 1569. After attending Cambridge University, he became an Augustinian Canon in Cambridge, and came under the influence of Robert Barnes, a Reformer.

Although he was not proficient in Hebrew or Greek, he produced an English translation of the Holy Bible in 1535, using Tyndale's translation and other source documents. He fled England after the execution of Thomas Cromwell in 1540, having first defended his mentor Robert Barnes in his heresy trial. (Barnes was one of three Protestants executed for heresy/violation of Henry VIII's Six Articles along with three Catholics executed for treason/refusal to swear Henry VIII's Oaths on the same day). Nevertheless, it was Coverdale's Bible that Henry ordered be chained in every church in England for the peoples' use.

Coverdale returned to England during Edward VI's reign, appointed Bishop of Exeter and even serving as almoner (in charge of charity) for Queen Dowager Catherine Parr, but then went back to the Continent during Mary I's reign. He returned again to England during Elizabeth I's reign but his Puritan scruples about vestments kept him from being restored to his bishopric. He died in London.

His travels certainly track with the religious changes during the Tudor dynasty not just between reigns but even within the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. His translation of the Roman Canon is used in some Anglican Use Catholic rites and his translation of the Psalms is used in many musical settings in the Church of England.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mary, Queen of Scotland's First Husband

Francois II, eldest son of Henri II and Catherine de' Medici, was born at the Royal Chateau of Fontainebleau on January 19, 1544. He was the Dauphin of France and his marriage to Mary of Scotland was arranged in 1548.
He and Mary came to the throne of France when Henri II died after an accident in a jousting match on June 30, 1559 at the Place des Vosges in Paris. Henri's eye was pierced by a lance and he died on July 10, 1559. When crowned and anointed King of France at Reims on September 21 that year, Francis was only 15 years old. His mother served as Regent, although the Guise family, Mary's uncles Francis and Charles probably held the most control.

He was very sickly and died on December 5, 1560 after an ear infection lead to brain abscess. His brother, Charles IX was also rather sickly and died young. The last heir of the House of Valois was Henri III.

Francois II's father Henri II had supported Mary's claim to the throne of England and hoped through her marriage to the Dauphin--and their children-- to extend the "Auld Alliance" between France and Scotland to outright French rule of Scotland. French rule of Scotland would have been a tremendous threat to England, of course, and that was certainly one of the reasons that Henry VIII had desired marriage between Mary of Scotland and his heir, Edward when the two were children.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tudor Rose

On January 18, 1486, Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York. The symbol that resulted was the Tudor Rose, both red (Lancaster) and white (York). This marrriage was one of the actions Henry took after defeating Richard III at Bosworth Field to establish his rightful claim to the throne. She was the eldest child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

Richard III had Parliament declare her parents' marriage null and void and their children illegitimate in 1483, just before he took the throne. After defeating Richard, Henry directed Parliament to repeal that law, strengthening the effectiveness of his marriage to the house of York through Eizabeth.

Accounts indicate that Henry and Elizabeth had a happy arranged marriage, blessed by children, four of whom survived childhood (out of seven): Margaret, Arthur, Mary, and Henry.

I'm reading Giles Tremlett's biography of Catherine of Aragon right now, and after the death of Arthur, the Prince of Wales, Tremlett recounts that Elizabeth hoped to provide Henry with another "spare" heir in 1501-1502. She did become pregnant, but died in February of 1503 after delivering a girl, Katherine, who died the same day she was born, February 2, 1503.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Joanna Bogle on EWTN Live

Last Wednesday night, Father Mitch Pacwa interviewed Joanna Bogle, who was there to talk about a tv series she is recording. I was more interested in what she said about the Pope's recent visit to the UK and about the establishment of the Ordinariate.

One of the points she made about the traditions the former Anglicans may bring with them was that the new Catholic establishment has been so urban, so that many Catholic parishes may not have the kind of harvest festivals and traditions that the Anglican churches do.

She also suggested that Choral Evensong would be another transplant from the Church of England to the Ordinariate. Of course, the BBC broadcasts Choral Evensong every week.

After yesterday's announcement and the ordination of the three former Anglican bishops, we will have to watch for how this all works.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Building up Gloriana

Edmund Spenser died on January 13, 1599. His great allegorical poem, The Faerie Queene is one of the great works of the Elizabethan era, while his Shepherd's Calendar pays homage to Chaucer and rustic seasons.

In his own day, Spenser was known as the "prince of poets." He helped build up the image of Gloriana and the high ideals of the Renaissance in England, especially with his allegory of virtues.

His great prose work is the View of the State of Ireland (not printed until 1633) in which he proposes the total eradication of Celtic and Catholic culture in Ireland as the only means for the English to conquer and control Ireland. He lived most of his adult life in Ireland, returning to England only for visits, until his castle in Ireland was destroyed and he was sent to England with reports from the revolts in 1598. He died in Westminster and was buried in the Poet's Corner, next to Chaucer, in Westminster Abbey.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to Dorchester

In July 2009 I went to Oxford, England for the Oxford Experience at Christ Church. Our tutor led us on a tour of Oxford Movement sites first in Oxford and then in the area around Oxford: Littlemore, Chiselhampton, Dorchester, and Jericho. At Dorchester-on-Thames we toured the Dorchester Abbey Church quite extensively. Dr. Kate Tiller, our tutor had edited a book on the history of the Abbey. Our purpose in touring it was to focus on the Anglo-Catholic renovations made to the church in the nineteenth century. Before that, it had fallen into disrepair. When the monasteries were suppressed during the reign of Henry VIII, Dorchester's church had been saved from destruction, like the Abbey, by Sir Richard Bewfforeste buying it from the Court of Augmentations. Here are some pictures.

When we left Dorchester-on-Thames we drove by and Kate pointed out the Catholic Church in town, St. Birinus. Turns out that in the twenty-first century, St. Birinus has been renovated quite a bit too. A Rood Screen has been installed and other improvements made. The New Liturgical Movement blog has quite a few posts here.

From a January 2007 post:

William Wilkinson Wardell (1824-1899) was a friend and student of A.W.N. Pugin and a convert from Anglicanism in 1843. In 1858 he emigrated to Australia, where he built such notable churches as St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney and St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne. However, before he left for the Antipodes, he built some 30 churches in England.

This activity came shortly after the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), which restored the Catholic Hierarchy of England and Wales and made possible the public worship of Catholics. This obviously led to a revival of Catholic England and a spate of church building. One such building - among the first Catholic churches to be built after the Reformation - was the church of St Birinus in Dorchester-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. As with so many of these early churches, it was sited in a historically important town: in 634 Pope Honorius I had sent bishop Birinus to preach the Gospel in these parts and he evangelised King Cynegils of Wessex and established his see at Dorchester. After his canonisation, his shrine formed the centre of the Augustianian abbey of Ss Peter and Paul in Dorchester.

Waddell's church was begun in 1846 and completed three years later. It is a small chapel in a prominent position, a stone's throw from the abbey and by the bridge that fords the river Thames in which St Birinus had baptised thousands. The church is an almost exact replica of a 14th-century Gothic chapel. It is constructed of Littlemore stone with a Caen stone porch and the interior is just one rectangular nave with a smaller chancel in the east end.

Book Review: Getting the Reformation Wrong

Subtitle: Correcting Some Misunderstandings, by James R. Payton, Jr. (purchased by the reviewer)

I am not among the targeted, intended audience for this book, for Professor Payton is writing to clear up misunderstandings among Protestants of their own history. Anglo-Catholics are also exempted, because he does not discuss the English Reformation except for a brief mention of Bucer in England during Edward VI's reign. Surprisingly, he does not include the Reformation in Scotland either, with John Knox and the Presbyterian Kirk.


1. The Medieval Call for Reform
2. The Renaissance: Friend or Foe?
3. Carried Along by Misunderstandings
4. Conflict Among the Reformers
5. What the Reformers meant by Sola Fide
6. What the Reformers meant by Sola Scriptura
7. How the Anabaptists Fit In
8. Reformation in Rome
9. Changing Direction: From the Reformation to Protestant Scholasticism
10. Was the Reformation a Success?
11. Is the Reformation a Norm?
12. The Reformation as Triumph and Tragedy

Name Index
Subject Index

Here is my review:

As I read Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings by James R. Payton Jr. I kept thinking of Blessed John Henry Newman’s quotation from the Introduction to his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” It is important to note that Blessed Newman does not say “To be deep in history is to become a Catholic.” Nevertheless, he presents an historical argument in the rest of the text of that volume that led him to become a Catholic. I don’t know how an Evangelical Protestant would or will respond to Payton’s argument, since I am a Catholic, but he certainly goes deep enough in history to perhaps unsettle some certainties he or she might hold. As I read his examination of some aspects of Reformation history, I began to think he did not go deep enough.

Payton’s argument boils down to: most Protestants today don’t know their history*; they might celebrate Reformation Sunday but they are repeating axiomatic myths and legends when they look back at the sixteenth century. Sometimes they don’t understand the Reformation founders’ teaching on the most basic elements of Lutheran or Reformed doctrine, like Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura. They have certainly forgotten about the divisions and arguments that from the sixteenth century on have led to 26,000 different Protestant communities all teaching the same Gospel. They might be getting the Reformation wrong also because they don’t understand the historical context or the effects of the Renaissance. He wants these readers to understand the complexity of Reformation history and yet remain secure in their Protestant, Lutheran or Reformed, beliefs.

Those readers might be disappointed, for example, to read how the Catholic Reformation and Counter-Reformation regained much of the territory gained by the Reformation. The Jesuits and other reform movements in the Catholic Church provided an apologetic and evangelistic method and unity that the Protestants could not match, as Payton admits. When Payton tallies the successes and failures of the reformers in the sixteenth century, the Jesuits are the only group that is successful. Although he accounts Martin Luther’s efforts to spread his doctrine of Sola Fide a success, all the other Reformers failed, according to their own standards. Payton recounts Desiderius Erasmus’ response to Martin Bucer who asked him why he had not left the Catholic Church since the Reformation movement’s method aligned so well with his humanist studies; Erasmus replied that he saw no greater holiness among the new Protestants than he saw among the Catholics—there was certainly no reason for him to leave the church of his youth. Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and Bucer all failed to achieve the reform goals they set, while Zwingli and Oecolampadius died before they could achieve their goals—only the Catholics succeeded. The Jesuits won back many territories, especially in Eastern Europe, and the Popes successfully reformed morality in Rome. Payton goes pretty deep here and what he uncovers could be pretty upsetting to those who haven’t studied Church history.

Those readers would also be surprised to find out that the Reformers of the sixteenth century all revered and referenced the Fathers of the Church, the early successors of the Apostles. As Payton laments, Protestant scholars have neglected that heritage of the early Church—the Fathers, the Councils and the Creeds. Payton demonstrates that Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Bucer, and Calvin all cited the Fathers, Councils and Creeds—without ever citing, except in the case of the early Church Councils and Creeds defining Trinitarian and Christological doctrines, what the Reformers found so important in the Fathers. Payton also does not address those doctrines and disciplines of the early Church that the Reformers rejected and Protestants reject today that the Fathers teach: the Sacraments, the Sacramental Priesthood, the Episcopate, intercession of the saints in heaven, Salvation, grace and merit, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role—Payton does not go deep enough.

The other book I thought of as I read Getting the Reformation Wrong was Louis Bouyer’s classic The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (1956). One thing that Payton never sufficiently addresses is Luther’s scholastic background and his authority, which is based on his academic achievement as a scholastic. Payton starts by setting up a dichotomy between late Medieval Catholic scholasticism (never really identifying the issue as nominalist scholasticism), which he identifies as decadent and ridiculous, and the Northern Renaissance Humanism that many other Reformers adopted, led by Erasmus, which he identifies as scriptural and based on Christian antiquity. Luther does not fit neatly into this scheme, however: Luther was a scholastic and a university professor. Payton does not address deeply enough the philosophical method behind Luther’s theology—nominalism. Payton does not seem to recognize the difference between scholastic realism and scholastic nominalism—between Aquinas and Ockham. The denial of universals, Bouyer notes, leads to subjectivity, for it is up to the individual mind to make the associations between individual ideas and truth. While Payton is a little uncomfortable with some of Luther’s methods—for instance, his way of attacking opponents, he does not reveal the scatological tone of these attacks in this discussion. Yet Payton seems to accept Luther’s claim to authority when accused of subjectivity: 'I am the smartest person here; I am the University Professor and I am right!'

Payton accomplishes much to address common misunderstandings of the Reformation many Protestants today may have about their own history. He does not address the English Reformation, nor the Reformation in Scotland nor the French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Huguenots. The latter may be understandable but leaving out Thomas Cranmer and the other theologians of the Church of England is an interesting choice. Perhaps the Via Media of Anglicanism is too difficult to include since the progress of the Reformation in England is so completely bound up with the supreme will of the monarch. (Here of course I thought of my own little book, Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation.) On the other hand, why not include John Knox and the Presbyterian Kirk? Surely Presbyterian history is very important to many Protestants today? Didn’t Knox successfully transplant the Reformed tradition to the British Isles?

*Note: most Catholics today don’t know their history, either!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Parliament Executes William Laud

As Once I Was a Clever Boy reminds us, today is the anniversary of William Laud's execution, ordered by Parliament in 1645.

In Supremacy and Survival, I quote the line by Owen Chadwick, that because Laud's execution was ordered even after a trial had not found him guilty of treason, 'they took a step "in the course whereby Englishmen would for years associate the puritan programme with injustice and illegality."'

William Laud is commemorated on the Calendar of the Church of England and I remember seeing his name on the plaque honoring Reformation martyrs in the University Church of St. Mary's the Virgin in Oxford.

Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays? Was Shakespeare Catholic?

Francis Phillips dives into the ocean on conjecture about 1) whether the William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon wrote the plays, poems and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare and 2) whether that William Shakespeare was Catholic in this post at The Catholic Herald.

Spoiler alert:

Phillips emerges from the waves with the answer to both questions--YES, based first upon James Shapiro's book Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? and then upon the works of Peter Ackroyd, Father Peter Milward, SJ, and Clare Asquith. Paul Voss summarizes some of the evidence here.

The Son Rise Morning Show and Bishop Richard Challoner

I'll be starting a new year of brief radio interviews on the Son Rise Morning Show, broadcast on the EWTN radio network from Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio this week--Wednesday, January 12, at 6:45 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern. Host Brian Patrick and I will discuss the life and career of Bishop Richard Challoner, Vicar Apostolic for the minority Catholic population of England during the eighteenth century. He died on that date in 1781, after enduring the menace of the Gordon Riots!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 2011 Reading List

My birthday and Christmas are close together, so the end of each year brings me good opportunities to develop a nice stack of reading materials for the next year.

I am going to start my year with reading new biographies first of Katherine of Aragon and then of her daughter, Mary. First, however, I am in the midst of this book and will complete it soon.

And after my husband finishes it, Defending Constantine is next in line, unless some other book cuts in front.

What's on your reading list?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reprinted and Revised!

Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation is back in print! The first printing (January 2009) sold out in November 2010; the second printing includes updates in the final chapter on the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and the beatification of John Henry Newman.

As I've worked on promoting the book since early 2009, it has garnered some nice praise:

“We present here a remarkable synthesis. . . . Stephanie Mann shows how to write accurate and trustworthy history while unabashedly staking a claim about wrongs and rights and final judgment on matters. . . .”
--Warren Farha, Proprietor, Eighth Day Books, Wichita, Kansas

(I'm standing in Eighth Day Books holding a copy of my book in the picture above! On the second floor, near the Church history section, but in front of the Biblical studies section--in a great room filled also with books on Philosophy, Theology, and Education!)

"Stephanie Mann has written an instructive popular history of Catholics under Protestant rule in England. . . . If you are a fan of the history of English Catholicism, this is a book to own."
--Rich Leonardi, Son Rise Morning Show Catechist on EWTN and Ten Reasons blogger

"This is, in fact, a highly readable, fast-paced historical overview of the Catholic Church in England from the whole period stretching from the late Middle Ages to the middle of the 20th century. . . ."
--Mike Lord, Proprietor, Southwell Books, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England

"More than a stimulating history of the Catholic Church in post-reformation England. Mann describes how a modern state imposed its confused, contradictory version of Christianity on an often unwilling and resistant English Catholic people."
--Scott McDermott, author of Charles Carroll, Faithful Revolutionary

"Reading Stephanie Mann's marvelous account of the English Reformation was an exhilarating experience! It was particularly inspiring to learn how the English Catholic laity behaved when the winds of arrogance and anarchy blew violently in England. No one can deny that their example is most fitting for us to recall and to emulate as we, Catholic laity of the 21st Century, try to remain standing in our own 'dictatorship of relativism'."
--Barbara McGuigan, EWTN host of Open Line and The Good Fight

"When it comes to tellings of the English Reformation, a delicate balance of wit and gravity must be observed if any justice is to be done to this dramatic period in Western history. Stephanie Mann has done just that; in Supremacy and Survival, one gets the facts and figures of the English Reformation, while at the same time getting a hearty dose of the irony and sheer tragedy of English religion in the years following the reign of King Henry VIII."
--Matt Swaim, Producer of the Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN, author of The Eucharist and the Rosary and Prayer in the Digital Age

"Narrat[ing] with clarity and insight, Mann draws from a variety of scholarly studies on the Reformation, making the book an excellent introduction to the fall and subsequent rise of the Catholic Church in the British Isles . . . the way in which Mann synthesizes the information into a coherent and flowing analysis gave me a deeper understanding of the sequence and significance of events. . . ."
--Elena Maria Vidal, author of Trianon, Madame Royale, and The Night’s Dark Shade

"Stephanie Mann succeeds in describing the aftermath of the English Reformation in a way which is informative, convincing, and readable. Her account is surprisingly thorough for such a short book, and includes a whole range of political and cultural consequences of the English Catholic Revival--a truly amazing event which continues to this day"
--Father John Vidmar, OP, Associate Professor of History at Providence College, author of English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation, 1585-1954 and
The Catholic Church through the Ages

"Heroism, betrayal, murder, conniving – this period of history has it all, and Stephanie Mann tells the gripping story with skill and verve."
--Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D., New York Times best-selling author of
How the Catholic Church Built Civilization

I certainly appreciate each of these formal recommendations--and the comments I've received from other readers of Supremacy and Survival, those who've sent emails after radio interviews, and other comments and suggestions, etc.

Remember that Supremacy and Survival is also available in ebook formats, including Kindle, Nook, iPhone/iPad applications and coming soon, Google's ebook!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

England and the Papacy, Part II

In addition to the news of the bishops, nuns and other former Anglicans being received into the Catholic Church on New Year’s Day, with the bishops’ ordinations as deacons and priests coming soon, the after effects of Pope Benedict XVI’s September 2010 visit to the United Kingdom continue. He was invited by the BBC to record the “Thought for the Day” that aired on Saturday, December 25, Christmas Day:

Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!

In the Catholic Herald, Francis Philips points out that this simple honest message was rather disappointing to one of the BBC’s presenters:

“Naturally enough, it was all too simple for John Humphrys. Questioning the Archbishop of Birmingham a little later on the Today programme, he was clearly disappointed that the Pope had not been more controversial. To proclaim the Good News is bad news for the air waves. We were reminded yet again of the vast gulf between the Fourth Estate and matters supernatural. Poor Archbishop Bernard Longley struggled to bring in Cardinal Newman and the idea of the development of doctrine. Humphrys was having none of it: “I’d rather you talked about the Pope than Cardinal Newman,” he interrupted. After all, Newman is old news, even dead news. And the Pope? Only good news if he is being controversial. If only he could have talked about women priests and condoms in his Christmas message, Humphrys implied, ‘Thought for the Day’ would have been much jollier. Sorry John: Christmas is about joy, not jollity.”

Also, on November 23rd last year, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Ninth General Synod and referenced the Pope’s message during his September visit as something the Church of England should heed(!):

In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and of none. Yet, as the recent visit of His Holiness The Pope reminded us, churches and the other great faith traditions retain the potential to inspire great enthusiasm, loyalty and a concern for the common good.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Puer Natus Est and other Tudor Christmas Music

During the Twelve Days of Christmas, I have been enjoying some Tudor Christmas cds my husband gave me!

Stile Antico's Puer Natus Est:Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas--you can listen to some excerpts and an interview on the Millennium of Music website.

1. Tallis: Videte miraculum ("Behold the miracle of the Mother of our Lord")
2. Taverner: Audivi vocem de caelo ("I heard a voice coming down from heaven")
3. Byrd: Rorate caeli desuper ("Drop down, heavens, from above")
4. Tallis: Gloria (Missa Puer natus est)
5. Byrd: Tollite portas ("Lift up your gates, o princes")
6. Tallis: Sanctus & Benedictus (Missa Puer natus est)
7. Byrd: Ave Maria ("Hail Mary, full of grace")
8. Tallis: Agnus Dei (Missa Puer natus est)
9. Byrd: Ecce virgo concipiet ("Behold, a virgin shall conceive")
10. White: Magnificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord")
11. Plainchant: Puer natus est ("To us a Child is born")
12. Sheppard: Verbum caro ("The word has been made flesh")


Parthenia/A Consort of Viols and Julianne Baird's As It Fell on a Holie Eve: Music for an Elizabethan Christmas--"Following a long-treasured tradition of music for Christmas, the viols of Parthenia join famed soprano Julianne Baird to present a sparkling array of songs, dances and carols from Elizabethan England. Along with music by Thomas Morley, Anthony Holborne, Thomas Ravenscroft, Dr. John Bull and Tobias Hume, this disc features a wide variety of music by the celebrated master composer of England's Golden Age, William Byrd." (from the website)


The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas by Anonymous 4

Monday, January 3, 2011

Report from the Telegraph in the UK about ceremony at Westminster Cathedral bringing former Anglicans into the Catholic Church. Their reception, Confirmation and First Holy Communion were celebrated during the 12:30 p.m. Mass with little fanfare and no big announcement.

The former bishops of Fulham, Ebbsfleet and Richborough, John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton respectively, were applauded after they received holy communion before a packed congregation at the cathedral yesterday.

They have been key to orchestrating the exodus from the Church of England and advocating the Ordinariate, which they described as an “answer to their prayers”.


Two of the bishops’ wives were also confirmed as Catholics yesterday, along with three former Anglican nuns who were forced to take refuge in a Catholic convent after being told to leave their house at Walsingham Abbey.

Their departure devastated the community in Walsingham, leaving four older nuns to run the priory while the younger ones faced a period of uncertainty.

One of the nuns, Sister Wendy Renata, said she felt “fantastic” after formally being welcomed into the Catholic Church.

“I’ve wanted to do it for years. I’ve finally done it,” she said.

In the next few weeks, the next groups of clergy and worshippers are set to be received into the Catholic Church, which is due to announce the precise timetable for the launch of the Ordinariate this month.

The confirmations at yesterday’s service were the first step to its establishment in this country. All of the clergy who have resigned from the Church of England now have to be re-ordained as the Catholic Church does not recognise Anglican orders.

It is expected that as many as 50 clergy will be ordained by Easter as the new structure begins to take shape, but there are likely to be many disputes in parishes torn over whether to remain in the Church of England.

and finally, an older Anglican convert almost seems to be quoting Blessed John Henry Newman:

Commenting on how the Anglican Archbishop might feel about the arrangement, Bishop Hopes said he understood he would be feeling unhappy.

“But I know too that he understands that we are all on a journey of faith, and sometimes our paths take standard routes.

“And if you truly believe that you have found fullness of truth in the Catholic Church, there is nothing you can do about it.

“You have to become a Catholic.”

A former Anglican convert himself, Bishop Hopes was received into the Catholic Church in 1994.

The Catholic Herald also covered the story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"The Age of Plunder" A Book Review--Henry VIII's Disastrous Reign

The Age of Plunder: The England of Henry VIII 1500-1547 by W.G. Hoskins is part of the Social and economic history of England series edited by Asa Briggs and published by Longman in the 1970s.

W.G. Hoskins was a pioneer in local history and landscape history and held positions at both the University of Oxford and the University of Leicester.

I do not usually find social and economic history that exciting: all those statistics, tables, and interpretations of data. I know it is very necessary and provides excellent background. Hoskins provides all the requisite graphs and charts but he also summarizes his interpretation in sometimes trenchant comments:

At the beginning of the book he quotes Thomas More, whom he calls "that great man whose life redeems the squalid reign of Henry VIII": "So God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of a Commonwealth" (Utopia) and continues with that theme as he describes the underpopulated, underdeveloped, and oppressed country throughout Henry VIII's reign.

Commenting on the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which he includes in a chapter titled "The Plunder of the Church" he says, "In these matters the only true god is Mammon. The sixteenth century showed it abundantly in every decade. Catholic or Protestant, what did it matter when Mammon was sitting in the seat of power?" (p. 131)

He summarizes Henry VIII's economic effects on his country as disastrous in every way, noting that Henry VII left his heir a massive personal fortune and that Henry VIII wasted it on useless foreign wars and excessive building, oppressing his people with taxation and military service.

When discussing exports and imports during Henry's reign, he states, "To put it simply, Henry VIII inherited a healthy trading position from his father, besides an immense personal fortune, and squandered all his inheritance in foreign wars and madly extravagant building at home. He was, apart from all else, an economic disaster for his country." (p. 181)

He notes that Henry's reputation as a tyrant and a loathsome character was publicly stated after Elizabeth I's death, quoting Sir Walter Raleigh's comment that if no one knew what a merciless prince was, one look at Henry's reign would provide the pattern. As he concludes:

"It was [James Anthony] Froude in the nineteenth century who produced the myth of a noble Henry 'the architect and saviour of the English nation'. One look at the Holbein portrait, with its ruthless and porcine face, should have made him think afresh: but even to the economic and social historian, not directly concerned with Henry's sadistic brutalities, he appears at the end to have been a disaster for his country, impoverishing its resources and stunting its growth for the sake of his futile wars, leaving it an empty treasury; and leaving its government in the hands of the most unprincipled gang of political adventurers and predators that England had seem for many centuries." (p. 233)

Hoskins is referring to James Anthony Froude's History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, in which Froude's anti-Catholicism informed his view of Henry VIII as the great hero who freed England from the oppression of the Church of Rome. Froude was the younger brother of Richard Hurrell Froude, Blessed John Henry Newman's great Oxford Movement friend. When Newman and John Keble gathered Richard Hurrell Froude's works into a volume called the Remains, it was cause celebre in Oxford, because of Froude's opposition to the English Reformation, expressing the desire it had never occurred. James Anthony Froude at first had been a member of the Oxford Movement, but then turned to more unorthodox religious and spiritual sources like Spinoza, Strauss, Emerson, and Carlyle. He took a position completely opposite his brother's, claiming that the English Reformation was absolutely necessary as "the salvation of England".

The "unprincipled gang of political adventurers and predators" were of course the Seymours, Richard Rich, Dudley, et al.

This is an excellent study of farming, industry, trade, work, land ownership, taxation, etc during the reign of Henry VIII.