Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pope Saint Pius V

The Catholic Herald remembers Pope Saint Pius V as a holy pope who lived like a monk in Renaissance Rome, living on broth and crayfish!

Pius V, pope from 1566 to 1572, was the kind of Counter Reformation pontiff dear to the hearts of Roman triumphalists. That he still freezes the blood of Protestants he would have regarded as a badge of honour.

Zealots, however, do not always apprehend the consequences of their actions. By excommunicating Queen Elizabeth in 1570, Pius V put paid to any chance that Catholicism might be tolerated in England. Even Philip II of Spain considered that the pope was mistaken in this matter.

Yet Pius V was certainly a holy man. . . .

Another of Henry VIII's "Thomases": Thomas Audley

Thomas Audley, lst Baron Audley of Warren died on April 30, 1544--he managed to die safely in his bed with his head intact by serving Henry VIII very well. A lawyer by training, Audley served Cardinal Wolsey and served in Parliament, representing Essex and he continued to rise in office throughout Henry VIII's reign.

Audley participated in the trials and executions of not only Thomas More and John Fisher, but also of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell, and he sentenced the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace to death. For these and other services (the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, for instance), he was not only knighted but became a member of the Order of the Garter. Audley was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1532, when he succeeded Thomas More, to 1544, when he resigned it on April 21. He also succeeded Thomas More as Speaker of the House of Commons in 1529 and a Lord Chancellor in 1533.

Audley also benefitted from the Dissolution of the Monasteries, receiving grants of Holy Trinity Priory in Aldgate, London (which had been founded by Queen Matilda or Maud, Henry I's wife) and Walden Abbey, where his grandson, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk built Audley End, which is now part of the English Heritage program. He founded Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge in 1542, after the Benedictine's Buckingham College was closed.

Audley's title as lst Baron Audley of Warren died with him.

Friday, April 29, 2011

William Johnstone on the Ordinariate

The UK Catholic Herald published this column by William Johnstone, himself a convert from Anglicanism. He brilliantly places today's Ordinariate in the context of the history of the English Reformation and its aftermath:

This new development could also help with our peculiar religious history. Most English people have a complicated attitude to Catholicism. On the one hand there is a degree of hostility. This often stems from ignorance about what Catholics believe. There is also suspicion of an uncompromising Church authority. On the other hand there is a fascination with the Church and a recognition that England was once a land of saints and martyrs. The warped genius of Henry VIII in implementing his plan of secession was to rebrand the Catholic faith as un-English. Those who adhered to the old faith were disloyal. This attitude has remained deeply embedded in the English psyche.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham could provide a solution to this historical wound. There are significant numbers of Christians who are doctrinally Catholic but culturally Anglican. Many of these cultural elements have their roots in the pre-Reformation English Church. A mechanism is now available for people to enter into full communion with Rome while retaining something of this heritage as well as their group identity. This is not going to be a soft option. The conversion required is real and individual. But there is no reason why an identity rooted in a legitimate English tradition cannot be maintained.

He also describes how the Ordinariate fulfills the true purpose of the ecumenical talks that were established in the 1960s between the Catholic Church and the Church of England:

Quite recently, I happened to read some of the original Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) documents. This gave me a new understanding of the ordinariate and a conviction that it is a profoundly ecumenical gesture. The explicit desire of ARCIC – initiated by Archbishop Michael Ramsay and Pope Paul VI in 1966 – was for visible unity between Catholics and Anglicans. It was not about remaining in separate bodies while appreciating each other’s traditions. This is the mistaken mindset of much that has passed for ecumenism in recent years.

The desire was to fulfil the Lord’s command that we should be one. It was to be done without the Anglican tradition being absorbed.

This seems to be what
Anglicanorum coetibus has achieved. The original aim of ARCIC involved the whole Church of England rather than a small section of it. But with developments in the Anglican Communion over the last few decades this vision is now unrealistic. As Cardinal Walter Kasper pointed out at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, Anglican self-understanding seems to be more rooted in the 16th century than the first millennium. This does not mean that we should cease striving for unity. But the fulfilment of this goal will only happen with Christians who have a shared understanding of faith and morals.

Although I'm over here across the pond and I am a cradle Catholic, I still think my two year old book provides an excellent survey of this history--from Henry VIII to Blessed John Henry Newman and beyond--describing both what Catholics in England endured and also why the Church of England faces such crises in this century. If you haven't read it yet, check my website for links to suggested retailers. Thank you very much.

Pope John Paul II on Newman III

In 2001, Pope John Paul sent a letter to the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, then the Archishop of Canterbury, remembering the 200th anniversary of Newman's birth:

On the occasion of the second centenary of the birth of the Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman, I gladly join you, your Brother Bishops of England and Wales, the priests of the Birmingham Oratory and a host of voices throughout the world in praising God for the gift of the great English Cardinal and for his enduring witness.
As Newman pondered the mysterious divine plan unfolding in his own life, he came to a deep and abiding sense that "God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission" (Meditations and Devotions). How true that thought now appears as we consider his long life and the influence which he has had beyond death. He was born at a particular time – 21 February 1801; in a particular place – London; and to a particular family – the firstborn of John Newman and Jemima Fourdrinier. But the particular mission entrusted to him by God ensures that John Henry Newman belongs to every time and place and people.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pope John Paul II on Newman II

In 1990, Pope John Paul II addressed the participants at the Academic Symposium organized to commemorate the centenary of the death of Cardinal John Henry Newman by the Spiritual Family the Work:

I am very pleased that this meeting allows me to take part as it were in the Academic Symposium which the International Community "The Work" and the Centre of Newman Friends have organized to commemorate the centenary of the death of the renowned Cardinal John Henry Newman. I welcome all of you and thank you for drawing attention through your celebration to the great English Cardinal’s special place in the history of the Church. The passage of a hundred years since his death has done nothing to diminish the importance of this extraordinary figure, many of whose ideas enjoy a particular relevance in our own day. The theme of your Symposium, "John Henry Newman - Lover of Truth", points to a major reason for the continuing attraction of Newman’s life and writings. His was a lifelong pursuit of the Truth which alone can make men free.

Like Cardinal Ratzinger at that time, John Paul was impressed by Newman's teaching on conscience:

Newman’s intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage was made in earnest response to an inner light of which he seemed always aware, the light which conscience projects on all of life’s movements and endeavours. For Newman, conscience was a "messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil" (Difficulties of Anglicans, Westminster, Md., II, p.248). It inevitably led him to obedience to the authority of the Church, first in the Anglican Communion, and later as a Catholic. His preaching and writings reflected his own lived experience. So, he could instruct his listeners: "Do but examine your thoughts and doings; do but attempt what you know to be God’s will, and you will most assuredly be led on into all the truth: you will recognize the force, meaning and awful graciousness of the Gospel Creed... " (Parochial and Plain Sermons, VIII, p. 120).

And he emphasized Newman's contemporary relevance:

In the present changing circumstances of European culture, does Newman not indicate the essential Christian contribution to building a new era based on a deeper truth and higher values? He wrote: "I want to destroy that diversity of centres, which puts everything into confusion by creating a contrariety of influences. I wish the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles of philosophy and shrines of devotion..." (Ibid). In this endeavour the path the Church must follow in succinctly expressed by the English Cardinal in this way: "The Church fears no knowledge, but she purifies all; she represses no element of our nature, but cultivates the whole" (The Idea of a University, Westminster, Md., p. 234).

Holy Week and the Ordinariate in England

Last week, the reality of Our Lady of Walsingham's Ordinariate became clear, as former Anglicans professed their faith in the Catholic Church, were confirmed and received their first Holy Communion throughout Holy Week. The Catholic Herald reported on the first reception on the Monday of Holy Week at the Cathedral of St. Georges in Southwark:

The ordinariate is really happening. It really is. After a year and a half since the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which made establishing an ordinariate possible, and many earlier years of gestation, it is finally becoming real. Sure, it was established in January but until last night, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham numbered fewer than 20 people.

Today its numbers have already more than doubled and by Easter morning its numbers will have swelled to close to a thousand members. These will not only include more than 60 members of clergy, but also very importantly, the committed lay people who have followed their pastors into full Communion with the Catholic Church.

The Telegraph provided a more sinister interpretation of how these events of Holy Week developed in this story ("The faithful torn apart")--notice the emphasis on darkness and secrecy, and the interpretation and dramatization:

Dressed in their black cassocks, the three Anglican bishops had hoped to pass unnoticed as they emerged from the Vatican into the shadows lengthening across St Peter’s Square.

Having just assured one of the Pope’s key advisers of their momentous decision to defect to Rome, they walked along the cobbled streets fearful of being recognised, hoping to keep these discussions to themselves.

But they were betrayed even before they had returned to England, with word of their meeting spreading from one rectory to another, angering and alarming clergy loyal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who feared he was being undermined by this papal gambit tempting disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.

This week, the plots hatched behind closed doors in the Vatican last year will be played out in the open as the former bishops lead dozens of clergy and hundreds of worshippers in taking up this historic offer.

Perhaps another narrative of these events might be: after years of struggle in a church that did not really respect their beliefs about the priesthood, the family, and other moral issues, Anglo-Catholics have found a welcome home in the Catholic Church. The Pope and the English Bishops have demonstrated respect and value for their spiritual patrimony through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham with the guidance of Blessed John Henry Newman. As they enter the Catholic Church, the former Anglicans know they have truly come home to what Blessed John Henry Newman called "the one true of Christ"!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wizard Earl Born on April 27, 1564

Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland AKA "The Wizard Earl" was born on April 27, 1564. His father was also named Henry Percy, but he was the 8th Earl of Northumberland, receiving that title when his brother, the Wizard Earl's uncle, Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumbland was executed in 1572 for his leadership of the Northern Rebellion. The Wizard Earl's father died in the Tower of London, imprisoned there under suspicion of treason. His grandfather had also run afoul of the Tudor monarch of his era, as Sir Thomas Percy was executed by Henry VIII in 1537 for his involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace. I think we can see a pattern of trouble in this family's relationship to the Tudors--and it held true for the Wizard Earl during the reign of James I of England.

According to this website:

Henry Percy, the 9th or ‘Wizard’ Earl of Northumberland led an extraordinary life of a true Renaissance nobleman, despite his deafness and 15 years as a prisoner. He was a great scholar, became the patron of the English astronomer Thomas Harriot, the first man to map the surface of the moon before Galileo and earned his nickname ‘Wizard’ by experimenting in alchemy. He was a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh and their interest in the New World led them to consume great quantities of tobacco and potatoes. But it was on 4 November 1605, that the Earl’s fortunes declined literally overnight! A distant cousin, Thomas Percy, who was a staunch Roman Catholic, dined with the Earl at Syon before joining Guy Fawkes and his accomplices the next day, in the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. As one of the principal ‘gunpowder plotters’, Thomas was shot trying to make his escape. Although innocent of the charges brought against him, the Earl was implicated through his association with Thomas and the fateful meeting at Syon. He was confined in the Tower of London for the next 15 years on the orders of King James I.

The 9th Earl was known as the Wizard Earl because of his great interest in science--even in alchemy--and his development of a great library. He was eventually released from the Tower and he died on November 5, 1632. Believe it--or not!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pope John Paul II on Blessed John Henry Newman I

As the first of three posts on John Paul's views of Blessed John Henry Newman, here are some excerpts from a letter the Pope wrote reflecting on the 100th anniversary of Newman's Cardinalate in 1979:

In spiritual communion and with pastoral solicitude I gladly respond to your invitation to celebrate together with the Church throughout England the centenary of the elevation to the Cardinalate of one of her great sons and witnesses of the faith, John Henry Newman, created Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church by my venerable predecessor Leo XIII on 12 May 1879, with the title of Saint George in Velabro.

The elevation of Newman to the Cardinalate, like his conversion to the Catholic Church, is an event that transcends the simple historical fact, as well as the importance it had for his own country. The two events have long since been deeply inscribed in ecclesial life far beyond the shores of England. The providential meaning and importance of these events for the Church at large have been seen more clearly in the course of our own century. Newman himself, with almost prophetic vision, was convinced that he was working and suffering for the defence and affirmation of the cause of religion and of the Church not only in his own time but also in the future. His inspiring influence as a great teacher of the faith and as a spiritual guide is being ever more clearly perceived in our own day, as was pointed out by Paul VI in his address to the Cardinal Newman Academic Symposium during the Holy Year 1975: "He (Newman) who was convinced of being faithful throughout his life, with all his heart devoted to the light of truth, today becomes an ever brighter beacon for all who are seeking an informed orientation and sure guidance amid the uncertainties of the modern world-a world which he himself prophetically foresaw" (Address of 7 April 1975).

In raising John Henry Newman to the Cardinalate, Leo XIII wished to defend and honour his activity and mission in the Church. Acceding to the earnest desire expressed by members of the English laity under the leadership of the Duke of Norfolk, the Pope meant to pay tribute to the genius of Newman and to give public expression to his own personal appreciation of Newman's merits. He intended to recognize the value of Newman's many writings in defence of God and the Church. In this way Pope Leo upheld and encouraged all those-inside and outside the Catholic Church-who regarded Newman as their spiritual teacher and guide in the way of holiness. Newman himself made this comment on the Pope's intentions: "He judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour" (Talk given on his reception of the Biglietto, 12 May 1879).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pope John Paul II and the English Martyrs

Picking up the series of posts on Venerable John Paul II and the English Reformation as we prepare for his beatification in Rome on the Second Sunday of Easter:

On Sunday, 22 November 1987, the Feast of Christ the King, Pope John Paul II beatified 85 English Martyrs. In his homily, he highlighted some of the last words of the martyrs:

Blessed Nicholas Postgate welcomed his execution "as a short cut to heaven". Blessed Joseph Lambton encouraged those who were to die with him with the words "Let us be merry, for tomorrow I hope we shall have a heavenly breakfast". Blessed Hugh Taylor, not knowing the day of his death, said: "How happy I should be if on this Friday, on which Christ died for me, I might encounter death for him". He was executed on that very day, Friday 6 November 1585. Blessed Henry Heath, who died in 1643, thanked the court for condemning him and giving him the "singular honour to die with Christ".

He emphasized how the martyred priests and laity had worked together and died together:

The twenty-two laymen in this group of martyrs shared to the full the same love of the Eucharist. They, too, repeatedly risked their lives, working together with their priests, assisting, protecting and sheltering them. Laymen and priests worked together; together they stood on the scaffold and together welcomed death. Many women, too, not included today in this group of martyrs, suffered for their faith and died in prison. They have earned our undying admiration and remembrance.

And he referred to the martyrs that Pope Paul VI had canonized previously:

Seventeen years ago forty of the glorious company of martyrs were canonized. It was the prayer of the Church on that day that the blood of those martyrs would be a source of healing for the divisions between Christians. Today we may fittingly give thanks for the progress made in the intervening years towards fuller communion between Anglicans and Catholics. We rejoice in the deeper understanding, broader collaboration and common witness that have taken place through the power of God.

Among the 85 beatified that day were two men whose relics are now venerated at Leeds Cathedral, Father Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston, a layman. Their heads were found in the Cathedral and a local forensic scientist reconstructed their faces, as illustrated above. Ralph Grimston tried to protect the young priest as they travelled to York, but they were arrested, tried, and found guilty of being a Catholic priest and a Catholic layman protecting a Catholic priest. Blessed Peter Snow was 32 years old; he was hung, drawn and quartered. He looks so very young! Blessed Ralph Grimston was hung and beheaded. Both were executed under statute 27 Eliz. c. 2, which made it high treason for a Catholic priest to even be in England and a felony to harbor or aid a priest.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20 and the Beginning of England's Reign of Terror

I was browsing through Father Philip Hughes' A Popular History of the Reformation, in the old Doubleday Image paperback edition (95 cents). [There were several pages of book descriptions at the back of the book, including everything from Summa Contra Gentiles to Marie de Chapdelaine.] I read the two chapters he dedicated to the English Reformation.

Father Hughes provides an excellent chronological narrative of events, describing the influence of the Lutheran Reformation in England before Henry VIII's Break from Rome. He then traces the events leading up to the Break, the Reformation Parliament and "the deed of blood" that was a turning point:

The deed of blood was the condemnation by attainder (i.e., by an act of Parliament, without any trial) and the execution at Tyburn of "the Nun of Kent" and four priests condemned as her accomplices. "We now enter on a period which is happily unique in the annals of England, a period of terror. It lasts from [1534 to 1540]. --quoting H.A.L. Fisher's History of England from the Accession of Henry VII to the Death of Henry VIII (1918).

I have discussed the Nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton before on this blog, so I will not recount the details here. I was impressed by the quotation Father Hughes selected and the use of the term "period of terror" like the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. As Father Hughes goes on to comment by April 20, 1534 Sir Thomas More and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester are imprisoned--even though they escaped being included in the attainder because of their contact with Elizabeth Barton.

Between 1534 and 1540, the king's terror did rage and the list of victims is long: The Carthusians of the Charterhouse of London, executed and starved to death; the Observant Franciscan Friars of Greenwich; More and Fisher; the rebels from the Pilgrimage of Grace, the abbots of Colchester, Reading, and Glastonbury, Anne Boleyn, the Knights of Malta, Catholic "traitors" and Protestant "heretics"--even Thomas Cromwell, Vice-Regent and Earl of Essex! I might extend the period of terror to 1541 or 1542 to include Margaret Pole, her family and Catherine Howard. Henry VIII had certainly terrorized the bishops in Convocation to get his way and his actions were definitely intimidating to many at his Court and in his family (his wife and daughter certainly experienced the threats and intimidation!).

So what changed after 1540? Henry had his male heir, of course, and diplomatic events turned his attention away from asserting his will over his subjects in religious matters. The opposition was gone and he might have regretted Cromwell's death since it removed such a loyal head from his service. The bishops and Parliament had done all he wanted . . . perhaps Henry had just won.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas More

On October 31, 2000, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter Issued Motu Proprio Proclaiming St. Thomas More Patron of Statesmen and Politicians:

The life and martyrdom of Saint Thomas More have been the source of a message which spans the centuries and which speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience, which, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, is "the most intimate centre and sanctuary of a person, in which he or she is alone with God, whose voice echoes within them" (
Gaudium et Spes, 16). Whenever men or women heed the call of truth, their conscience then guides their actions reliably towards good. Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth over power, Saint Thomas More is venerated as an imperishable example of moral integrity. And even outside the Church, particularly among those with responsibility for the destinies of peoples, he is acknowledged as a source of inspiration for a political system which has as its supreme goal the service of the human person.

Although he was issuing this on his own initiative (motu proprio), the Pope mentioned the encouragement he had received:

Recently, several Heads of State and of Government, numerous political figures, and some Episcopal Conferences and individual Bishops have asked me to proclaim Saint Thomas More the Patron of Statesmen and Politicians. Those supporting this petition include people from different political, cultural and religious allegiances, and this is a sign of the deep and widespread interest in the thought and activity of this outstanding Statesman.

After tracing More's political history, the cause for which he died, and his canonization, Pope John Paul offered reasons for this proclamation:

There are many reasons for proclaiming Thomas More Patron of statesmen and people in public life. Among these is the need felt by the world of politics and public administration for credible role models able to indicate the path of truth at a time in history when difficult challenges and crucial responsibilities are increasing. Today in fact strongly innovative economic forces are reshaping social structures; on the other hand, scientific achievements in the area of biotechnology underline the need to defend human life at all its different stages, while the promises of a new society — successfully presented to a bewildered public opinion — urgently demand clear political decisions in favour of the family, young people, the elderly and the marginalized.

And he concluded with the proclamation itself:

Therefore, after due consideration and willingly acceding to the petitions addressed to me, I establish and declare Saint Thomas More the heavenly Patron of Statesmen and Politicians, and I decree that he be ascribed all the liturgical honours and privileges which, according to law, belong to the Patrons of categories of people.

The Sarum Triduum on The Son Rise Morning Show

I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show Thursday morning at 7:45 Eastern/6:45 Central to discuss the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. You can listen live here. You can also hear my interview on April 7 about St. Henry Walpole here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Survey of Catholic Heritage of Scotland II

On June 1, 1982, Pope John Paul II concluded his remarks about the history of Catholicism in Scotland. He had just noted the abrupt and vehement destruction of the Church in Scotland during the sixteenth century and highlighted, as Pope Benedict did last year, the example of St. John Ogilvie, priest and martyr:

Even this, however forms part of God’s providence: for the centuries that followed witnessed a valiant struggle for survival, in the face of persecution and exile. To remedy the scarcity of priests, Pope Clement VIII founded a college in Rome for your young countrymen and similar seminaries were opened in other safe places on the Continent, to send labourers back to the “Scottish Mission”. The religious Orders too released trained members to collaborate in that work. Who has not heard of Saint John Ogilvie, the Jesuit, who - only a few miles from where I now stand - surrendered life itself to witness to the Faith of Christ!

The Vicars Apostolic, to whom the organization of all the missionary activity was entrusted, testified in their letters to Rome to the attachment of that handful of Scottish Catholics to the Faith of their Fathers, to the See of Peter and to the person of the Pope. Carefully preserved throughout all these years, these documents now serve as a mirror, in which is accurately reflected the noble face of the Scottish Catholic community, lined with the unmistakable signs of poverty and hardship, but radiant with expectation that in God’s own time a new day would surely dawn for the Church in Scotland.

Dear beloved Catholics of Scotland, the prayers of your forefathers did not go unanswered! Their firm hope in divine providence was not disillusioned! A century and a half ago the tide of repression turned. The small Catholic community gradually gained new vitality. The advent of numerous Catholic emigrants from nearby Ireland, accompanied by zealous Irish priests, enlarged and enriched it spiritually. This induced Pope Leo XIII to restore the Catholic hierarchy to Scotland - the very first act of his pontificate - and since that moment there has been a rapid and continous progress.

8. You are the heirs to the sacred heritage. Your forefathers have handed on to you the only inheritance they really prized, our holy Catholic faith! From heaven their heartfelt appeal to you would be this: “Set your hearts on his Kingdom” (Luc. 12, 31). With grateful hearts turn to God and thank him that tranquil days have been restored to the Catholic community in Scotland.

9. What was a dream a century ago has become the reality of today. A complete transformation of Catholic life has come about in Scotland, with the Catholics of Scotland assuming their legitimate role in every sector of public life and some of them invested with the most important and prestigious offices of this land. Is this not what Saint Paul has to say to us in today’s reading from Ephesians: “So the body grows, until it has built itself up, in love” (Eph. 4, 16).

You originate in a glorious past, but you do not live in the past. You belong to the present and your generation must not be content simply to rest on the laurels won by your grandparents and great-grandparents. You must give your response to Christ’s call to follow him and enter with him as co-heirs into his Father’s heavenly Kingdom. But we find it harder to follow Christ today than appears to have been the case before. Witnessing to him in modern life means a daily contest, not so quickly and decisively resolved as for the martyrs in the past. As believers we are constantly exposed to pressures by modern society, which would compel us to conform to the standards of this secular age, substitute new priorities, restrict our aspirations at the risk of compromising our Christian conscience.

At the end of Mass, the crowd sang, "Will Ye No Come Back Again?"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Murder in Another Cathedral

The Catholic Herald recently featured St. Stanislaus, the Patron Saint of Poland, whose feast day is celebrated on April 11. Part of the interest is the parallels between St. Stanislaus and St. Thomas a Becket, since both were assassinated because of conflict with their monarch--but there are variations--

Stanislaus (1030-1079), the patron saint of Poland, was killed by King Bolesław II after using his position as bishop of Kraków to denounce that monarch.

His story has parallels with that of St Thomas Becket, whose murder was authorised by King Henry II almost a century later. Both saints have inspired admiration in some and scepticism in others.

One of Stanislaus’s greatest devotees was John Paul II, who in 1979 devoted his first Apostolic Letter, Rutilans Agmen, to the saint. The letter expressed his wonder that he, a successor of Stanislaus in the see of Kraków, should, “by the inscrutable designs of God”, have been elected Pope in the 900th anniversary year of his predecessor’s martyrdom. In truth, very little is known of Stanislaus. No contemporary biography has survived; and the earliest account of his life was produced by a Dominican monk at the time of Stanislaus’s canonisation, 174 years after his death.

Unlike St. Thomas a Becket, St. Stanislaus was more concerned with the moral behaviour of his monarch, King Boleslaw II, sometimes called Boleslaw the Cruel:

At all events, when Bolesław showed no disposition to repent, Stanislaus excommunicated him. The infuriated monarch made his way to the chapel outside Kraków where the bishop was hiding, and ordered his guards to kill him.

Unlike the knights who murdered Thomas Becket, Bolesław’s henchmen had no stomach for the task. Furious, the king himself entered the church and slew Stanislaus, in some versions as he was celebrating Mass. The body was then hacked to pieces and thrown into a pool, wherein (we are told) it miraculously re-integrated.

Reaction to St. Stanislaus' death led to the king's exile and eventual assassination, but not to the quick canonization St. Thomas a Becket's martyrdom occasioned. However, St. Stanislaus' remains, once reassembled, and his tomb were not destroyed--although the Nazis certainly planned to blow up all of Krakow during World War II.

(Picture credit: Wikipedia, Bogitor)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Survey of Catholic Heritage of Scotland I

On Tuesday, June 1, 1982 Pope John Paul II continued his apostolic journey to Great Britain with a vist to Scotland. According to his website:

The Holy Father spent a day-and-a-half of his tour north of the border in Scotland. Although the time was short, the Pope visited a total of seven venues and greeted hundreds of thousands of people. Young people held a special place in His Holiness’s heart as witnessed at World Youth Days subsequently hosted across the world from 1984. In addressing the young people who had gathered at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on 31st May. From Murrayfield the Pope made his way to a gathering of priests and religious, met with Christian church leaders and subsequently travelled to St Joseph’s Hospital in Rosewell where he greeted the patients , the staff and the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. His final task in Edinburgh was to address the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The Glasgow leg of his tour saw him visit St Andrew’s College, before making his way to Bellahouston Park for an open air Mass. His ended his homily with: ‘Beloved People of Scotland… May the prayers of the blessed Apostles Peter and Andrew obtain this for you!... “Lord, let Scotland flourish through the preaching of Thy word and the praising of Thy name!” Amen.’

300,000 attended the Mass at Bellahouston Park on sweltering hot day and many in the congregation were treated for heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunstroke! Pope John Paul II provided a pretty comprehensive overview of the history of Catholicism in Scotland--here are some of his remarks:



Glasgow: Tuesday, 1 June 1982

7. Dearly beloved in Christ! What response has Scotland given in the past to God’s invitation?

Christian history narrates that from very early times, perhaps even as early as the second half of the fourth century, Scotland embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For over one thousand five hundred years his holy Name has been invoked in this land. Saint Ninian, Saint Columba and Saint Kentigern were the first to evangelise the pagans and establish a primitive Christian Church. After the Dark Ages had passed, during which the Viking invasions failed to quench the light of the Faith, the coming of Queen Margaret inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the Church in Scotland, which received fresh vigour from internal reorganization and from closer contact with the universal Church.

Although situated geographically on the remote edge of Europe, the Church in Scotland became especially dear to the Popes, at the centre and heart of Christianity, and they conferred upon it the exceptional title Specialis Filia Romanae Ecclesiae, “Special Daughter of the Roman Church!”

What a magnificent designation!

The Church was intimately involved in the struggle for national independence, with the bishops - men like Robert Wishart of Glasgow - to the forefront of your patriots. And throughout the later Middle Ages our holy Faith continued to flourish in these parts, fine cathedrals and collegiate churches being built, numerous monastic houses being endowed, across the length and breadth of this land. The names of Bishops Wardlaw, Turnbull and Elphinstone remain inseparably linked with the foundation of your universities, of which this little nation has always been so justifiably proud.

While Scottish scholars, such as Duns Scotus, Richard of Saint Victor and John Major, gained an international repute for learning and brought honour to their native land.

The sixteenth century found the churchmen and the laity unprepared for the religious upheaval of that day, which vehemently swept away the mediaeval Church from Scotland, almost, though not quite, without trace. The hierarchy became extinct; the remnant of the faithful was dispersed: Scotland was isolated from the reforms decreed by the Council of Trent.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pope John Paul II on St. Boniface and (Then) Cardinal Newman

On the Solemnity of Pentecost in 1982, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass with Confirmation at Coventry Airport--where at one time the Beatification Mass for John Henry Newman was to be scheduled during Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 visit. During his homily, he highlighted the inspiration of Saint Boniface, the English missionary to Germany and of Cardinal John Henry Newman:

Solemnity of Pentecost
Coventry, 30 May 1982

4. Today you must understand that you are not alone. We are one body, one people, one Church of Christ. The sponsor who stands at your side represents for you the whole community. Together, with a great crowd of witnesses drawn from all peoples and every age, you represent Christ. You are young people who have received a mission from Christ, for he says to you today: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.”

Let me recall for a moment the memory of two great Englishmen who can inspire you today. Study the example of Saint Boniface, born at Crediton in Devon, one of your greatest fellow-countrymen and also one of the Church’s greatest missionaries. And the Holy Spirit, given to Boniface through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, strengthened his personal love for Christ and brought him to a maturity of faith. This faith radiated through his whole life. He longed to share it with others, even with those in other lands. And so, with complete trust in God and with courage and perseverance, he helped to establish the Church on the continent of Europe. You, too, must show courage and perseverance in living by the standards of the Gospel in all the circumstances of your lives.

I cannot come to the Midlands without remembering that great man of God, that pilgrim for truth, Cardinal John Henry Newman. His quest for God and for the fullness of truth - a sign of the Holy Spirit at work within him - brought him to a prayerfulness and a wisdom which still inspire us today. Indeed Cardinal Newman’s many years of seeking a fuller understanding of the faith reflect his abiding confidence in the words of Christ: “I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive since it neither sees nor knows him” (Io. 14, 16-17). And so I commend to you his example of persevering faith and longing for the truth. He can help you to draw nearer to God, in whose presence he lived, and to whose service he gave himself totally. His teaching has great importance today in our search for Christian unity too, not only in this country but throughout the world. Imitate his humility and his obedience to God; pray for a wisdom like his, a wisdom that can come from God alone.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The New Ordinariate and the Liturgy

Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement examines some possibilities in the development of liturgy fostered by the new Ordinariates bringing in some aspects of Anglican patrimony, including the solemnity of English language used in the Anglican Use Mass, English polyphony and chant, the celebration of daily prayer in the parish, and the architectural influences of the Oxford and Traditionalist movements.

To quote from each section, briefly:

On the use of English language:

Enter the Anglican Ordinariate. Within the context of Anglican liturgical patrimony one cannot fail to be stirred by the hieratic English liturgical tradition found there. This hieratic tradition presents a majestic and liturgical form of English that very clearly sits outside the day-to-day world and day-to-day speech. In this regard, it might be understood as similar to the early Latin liturgical tradition itself.

This aspect is not only worth pursuing and preserving as part of the Ordinariate, but here the Anglican Ordinariate can bring something to the table for broader liturgical consideration within the Roman rite. Indeed, I think it is no exaggeration to say that it can be a tangible, living witness as to how to approach and pursue vernacular liturgical forms in a way which is eminently liturgical and sacral.

On the musical tradition:

In addition to these purely textual considerations, another dimension of this is certainly the English polyphony and chant found within the Anglican tradition. From the vernacular compositions of the renaissance, to modern composers such as Healey Willan or the "Englished" Gregorian style chant of the like of the Anglican gradual -- not to mention Anglican chant proper -- these present examples of both the richness of this musical patrimony and also the potentialities that can exist for vernacular forms of liturgical music generally.

On the Divine Office in parish churches:

Pass many an Anglican church and you will likely see denoted the times and days for "Evensong" and Matins. Certainly this is an aspect of the Anglican patrimony, and should it find expression within the context of the Anglican Ordinariate, it could help to heighten an awareness of this aspect of liturgical life generally, which might in turn (we can hope) influence such practices within parishes of the Roman rite -- though within the context of the Roman Divine Office of course.

And, finally, on architecture and aesthetics:

Anglicanism was influenced in the 19th and 20th century by the Ecclesiologists, the ritualists, the Oxford Movement and the gothic revival. During this time the mediaeval Catholic order was gradually rediscovered and restored to the point that this has now become the most recognizable form of the Anglican sanctuary today. As part of this revival, various examples exist of excellent altars, altar frontals and other altar appointments, rood screens, vestments and so forth.

Interesting discussion of how the past may influence the future. The illustrations and the musical examples are excellent.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pope John Paul II and the Priests of England

Continuing the celebration of the Seven Sacraments, Pope John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass and priestly ordination on May 31, 1982 in Manchester, England, recalling the history of holy priests, including several recusant martyrs and Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Italian Passionist missionary who received John Henry Newman as a Catholic on October 9, 1845:



Monday, 31 May 1982

England is fortunate to have a distinguished legacy of holy priests. Many of her sons left home and country in penal times to prepare for the priesthood. After ordination, they returned to England to face danger and often death for their faith. Manchester is rightly proud of its great martyr, Saint Ambrose Barlow, the Benedictine. Catholic Lancashire honours its other martyrs: Saint Edmund Arrowsmith and all those saints called “John”: John Almond, John Plessington, John Rigby, John Southworth. But in addition to your martyrs, rejoice in the memory of many holy priests from this region who lived each day the fullness of their vocation. Near here, in Sutton, St Helens, is the tomb of Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Passionist from Italy who received John Henry Newman into the Church. He is but one example of the countless other priests who continue to serve as models of holiness for the clergy of today.

St. Ambrose Barlow, OSB, pictured above, was born at Barlow Hall near Manchester in 1585. His family had reluctantly conformed to the Church of England after his grandfather had died in prison for his Catholic faith in 1584 and the family had lost two-thirds of their estate. He became a Catholic in 1607, traveled to the Continent and became a Benedictine in 1617. His career as a missionary priest in Manchester, England was furthered by a pension and residence with the Tyldesey family. On Easter Sunday, April 25, 1641 Father Barlow was captured while celebrating Mass. He was then tried and convicted for his Catholic priesthood and executed on September 10, 1641.

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

The 17th Earl of Oxford was born on April 12, 1550. For some, he is the main contender of the true author of the plays and poetry commonly ascribed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. He was a poet and patron of the arts, a favorite for a time at Elizabeth I's Court--and a secret Catholic after a trip to the Continent. According to the Luminarium website:

De Vere was, in his earlier years, a favourite at court, where he seems to have mostly lived when young. At 25, he undertook a tour of France, Germany and Italy in 1575 and was abroad for some sixteen months. The Earl flirted with Catholicism but in late 1580 he denounced a group of Catholic friends to the Queen, accusing them of treasonous activities and asking her mercy for his own, now repudiated, Catholicism. He was retained under house arrest for a short time and, following the birth to Anne Vavasour of an illegitimate child fathered by him in 1581 (Sir Edward Vere), was briefly in the Tower of London.

The three friends he denounced were Lord Henry Howard, the 1st Earl of Northampton, Charles Arundel, and Francis Southwell. I see a parallel between Oxford's career as a Catholic/Anglican and John Donne's--once Oxford got into some trouble or foresaw some trouble because of his extramarital activities, he had to shed his Catholicism rather dramatically. John Donne wrote anti-Jesuit pamphlets; Oxford denounced Catholic friends.

For someone like Lord Henry Howard, son of the Earl of Surrey executed by Henry VIII in 1547 and brother of Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk executed by Elizabeth I in 1572 , such an accusation of treason was extremely dangerous. All three men managed to convince Elizabeth that they were not guilty of Oxford's charges, but Henry Howard continued to attract suspicion throughout her reign.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recusant Catholic Women

Once I Was a Clever Boy features a fascinating post on Catholic Englishwomen during the Reformation era--tounching on the lives of the noble recusants like Anne Dacre Howard, Countess of Arundell and dwelling on the greatness of St. Margaret Clitherow:

Some of them were aristocrats, such as Madeleine, Lady Dacre, whose religious opinions earned the respect of Queen Elizabeth I, and about whom Alice Hogge has written in God's Secret Agents, Lady Vaux and the other well-born ladies who appear in Fr. John Gerard's Autobiography, and Anne, Countess of Arundel, the wife of St Philip Howard.

As women of birth and rank they were able to exercise their authority in their local communities and in some cases protect their co-religionists.

Rather different was the story of the York housewife St Margaret Clitherow. As a regular visitor to York I have known her story virtually all my life. . . .

Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pope John Paul II in York

On the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, 1982, Venerable Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass with families in York. His homilies and speeches throughout this pastoral visit were prepared in consultation with the bishops of England, Scotland, and Wales. This pastoral visit, with very subdued contact with the government of Queen Elizabeth II, was paid for by the Catholics of England, Scotland, and Wales. Because of the Falklands War, it had very nearly been called off. In this homily the Pope highlighted important Catholic martyrs and saints from York, specifically St. Margaret Clitherow:


York, Monday, 31 May 1982

My brothers and sisters,
1. On this feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary I greet you in the Lord. I am happy to be with you in this historic city of York. We are in the shadow, as it were, of the beautiful Minster, and in the spiritual company of so many saintly men and women who have graced these northern counties.
I deeply appreciate the presence here of many fellow Christians. I rejoice that we are united in a common Baptism and in our renewed search for full Christian unity.
I greet all those civic representatives from different cities and towns of Northern England. I thank you all for your welcome.
I am conscious of the history, especially the religious history, of this part of England. I refer to Holy Island where Aidan and Cuthbert brought the Catholic faith. I recall Bede, who wrote so lovingly of the early life of the Church in England. I remember that a thousand years later men and women laid down their lives in this region for the faith they loved. Mary Ward taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ to English exiles; Margaret Clitheroe gave her life in this city of York. These holy women inspire women today to take their rightful place in the life of the Church, as befits their equality of rights and particular dignity. In that same period the priest, Nicholas Postgate, carried the Gospel across the moors and gave his life on this very spot.

Here is an interesting feature about Father Nicholas Postgate, who was martyred during the Popish Plot hysteria on August 7, 1679. Pope John Paul II included him among those English martyrs beatified in 1987.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kenneth Clark, CIVILISATION and Civilization

Henrik Bering reviews In Search of Civilization: Remaking a Tarnished Idea by John Armstrong for the WSJ and includes this strange anecdote about Lord Kenneth Clark and his BBC series, Civilisation:

"Among academics, the word "civilization" has long had a sinister ring to it, carrying associations of elitism and luxury. Worse, it is linked to imperialism, having provided Europeans with the justification for their far-flung conquests in centuries past—and, these days, for endless self-flagellation.

"With "In Search of Civilization," John Armstrong, the resident philosopher at the Melbourne Business School in Australia, sets out to restore the reputation of a word that, to him, represents something infinitely precious and life-sustaining, a source of strength and inspiration. The great civilizations, he says, provide "a community of maturity in which across the ages individuals try to help each other cope with the demands of mortality."

"As he makes clear, his purpose is not to provide a history of various civilizations or to update Samuel Huntington's seminal 1996 book on the post-Cold War world, "The Clash of Civilizations," though he cites Huntington's conclusion that today's real conflict is between civilization and barbarism. Mr. Armstrong wishes to convey what the idea means to him personally.

"He identifies two basic attitudes toward civilization. One is that of the pessimist, exemplified here by the medieval abbot Bernard of Clairvaux. To Bernard, civilization was a rare and delicate plant, one that could survive only when sheltered behind the thick walls of a monastery. Outside were brutal barons, vulgar merchants and hoggish peasants. Such benighted folk he considered beyond reach.

"Mr. Armstrong notes that even though British art historian Kenneth Clark crafted the 1969 television documentary series "Civilisation"—a survey of Europe's greatest artistic achievements and a cultural event in its own right—deep down he shared Bernard's pessimism. Clark once delivered a speech in Washington to rapturous applause, we're told, and then fled to the men's room, where he "sobbed and howled for a quarter of an hour." The historian felt like a fraud for having betrayed great artworks by peddling his thoughts about them to people who lacked the insight to truly appreciate them. . . ."

Then he goes on to identify the more positive view, using the Abbot Suger as an example. The story of Clark sobbing in the men's room that he had just wasted his time and betrayed great art just doesn't fit with my view of his purpose in that series, gained from watching the series and reading the book so many times. The booklet with the DVD set does include the note that he wanted to do an episode on the Germans, especially Goethe, and he felt badly that he was so limited by the number of episodes--had to stop with the odd number. What I've read about his view of the series was that it was as much entertainment as it was education. Here is an analysis of the series that includes that point.

I enjoyed Civilisation when I watched it years ago and I learned a lot from it, too. I thought Lord Clark wise to declare his commentary "A Personal View".

Pope John Paul II and Our Lady of Walsingham

As part of his busy day on May 29, 1982, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Wembley Stadium, leading the congregation in the renewal of Baptismal promises.

V. Do you reject Satan? R.I do.
V. And all his works? R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises? R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? R. I do. V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? R. I do.
V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? R. I do.
V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. R. Amen.

As might be expected, in view of his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he highlighted her as a model of faithfulness and prayer:


Wembley Stadium

Saturday, 29 May 1982

4. Brothers and sisters! In order to be faithful to this alliance we must be a people of prayer and deep spirituality. Our society needs to recover a sense of God’s loving presence, and a renewed sense of respect for his will.

Let us learn this from Mary our Mother. In England, “the Dowry of Mary”, the faithful, for centuries, have made pilgrimage to her shrine at Walsingham. Today Walsingham comes to Wembley, and the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, present here, lifts our minds to meditate on our Mother. She obeyed the will of God fearlessly and gave birth to the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faithful at the foot of the Cross, she then waited in prayer for the Holy Spirit to descend on the infant Church. It is Mary who will teach us how to be silent, how to listen for the voice of God in the midst of a busy and noisy world. It is Mary who will help us to find time for prayer. Through the Rosary, that great Gospel prayer, she will help us to know Christ. We need to live as she did, in the presence of God, raising our minds and hearts to him in our daily activities and worries.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pope John Paul II Recalling English Religious Heritage

Pope John Paul II had a very busy schedule on Saturday, May 29, 1982, during his visit to Great Britain. He made this address to the members of religious orders, participated in the prayer service at Canterbury, and celebrated Mass at Wembley Stadium. In this address, he recalls the history of religious orders in England, passing over the Dissolution of the Monasteries and highlighting the career of Venerable Mary Ward.

Saturday, 29 May 1982

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish to express my special joy at this meeting. You are here in such large numbers as representatives of all the religious of England and Wales. On the eve of Pentecost you are here to renew your religious vows. With the Pope, the Successor of Peter, you will proclaim before the whole Church that you believe in your consecration; that it is your call to follow Christ which inspires your joy and your peace. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4, 4). 2.

You worthily continue a tradition that goes back to the dawn of English Christian history. Augustine and his companions were Benedictine monks. The great monastic foundations of Anglo-Saxon and mediaeval times were not just the staging posts for evangelization; they were also the centres of learning and the seedbeds of culture and civilization. Places such as Canterbury, Jarrow, Glastonbury and St Albans are indicative of the role monasticism played in English history. Men like Bede of Jarrow, Boniface of Devon who became the Apostle of the Germans, and Dunstan of Glanstonbury who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 960; women such as Hilda of Whitby, Walburga and Lioba, and many others - these are famous names in English history. Nor can we forget Anselm, or Nicholas Breakspear, born at Abbots Langley, who became Pope Adrian IV in 1154.

In Norman times this army of Christ reached new splendour with the foundation of monasteries of Cistercians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians. Later, religious life suffered greatly. English religious communities were scattered and destroyed, or fled to foreign lands. It is impossible here to name all the men and women religious of this period who followed our Lord to the point of giving their lives in defence of their faith. To that unhappy age belonged also an extraordinary Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward, who became a pioneer of the active unenclosed congregations for women.

The last century saw an amazing rebirth of religious life. Hundreds of religious houses, schools, orphanages, hospitals and other social services were established. Missionary congregations spread the faith in distant lands.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Cause for Katherine of Aragon

A couple of months ago, I heard from the gentleman who has launched this website and begun the process of promoting the cause of canonization for Katherine of Aragon. Just last week he scored the great coup of having UK's Catholic Herald interview him. That article is not available in the newspaper's website, but Gregory Nassif St. John has posted it from the .pdf version of the Catholic Herald on his website.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pope John Paul II at Canterbury Cathedral

Like Benedict XVI last year, John Paul II included a special prayer event with the Church of England in his 1982 itinerary. This was fraught with some difficulty as the Archbishop of Canterbury was attacked by some Protestant factions for having any contact with the "Church of Rome"; classic anti-Catholicism. Ian Paisley proposed that Pope John Paul II wanted to conquer the British Isles and place them under the absolute control of the Holy See. The whole trip was almost cancelled because (Catholic) Argentina had invaded the Falkland Islands and (Protestant) England had gone to war just before the trip was to begin.

The Pope did not meet with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and his meeting with Queen Elizabeth was more low-key. Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie knelt in prayer at the spot of St. Thomas a Becket's martyrdom/assasination. Paying tribute to St. Thomas a Becket was ironic: a thoroughly ROMAN Catholic saint who died because he upheld the rights of the Church above the control of the State and whose shrine was pillaged by a later king who adamantly opposed the saint's efforts . . . .

The meeting at Canterbury Cathedral included a renewal of baptismal promises, reflecting both on the sacramental theme of the entire visit and an ecumenical emphasis on what unites all Christians, and specifically the Catholic Church and the Church of England.


Saturday, 29 May 1982

5. My dear brothers and sisters of the Anglican Communion, “whom I love and long for” (Phil. 4, 1), how happy I am to be able to speak directly to you today in this great Cathedral! The building itself is an eloquent witness both to our long years of common inheritance and to the sad years of division that followed. Beneath this roof Saint Thomas Becket suffered martyrdom. Here too we recall Augustine and Dunstan and Anselm and all those monks who gave such diligent service in this church. The great events of salvation history are retold in the ancient stained glass windows above us. And we have venerated here the manuscript of the Gospels sent from Rome to Canterbury thirteen hundred years ago. Encouraged by the witness of so many who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ through the centuries - often at the cost of their own lives a sacrifice which even today is asked of not a few, as the new chapel we shall visit reminds us - I appeal to you in this holy place, all my fellow Christians, and especially the members of the Church of England and the members of the Anglican Communion throughout the world, to accept the commitment to which Archbishop Runcie and I pledge ourselves anew before you today. This commitment is that of praying and working for reconciliation and ecclesial unity according to the mind and heart of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

6. On this first visit of a Pope to Canterbury, I come to you in love - the love of Peter to whom the Lord said, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luc. 22, 32). I come to you also in the love of Gregory, who sent Saint Augustine to this place to give the Lord’s flock a shepherd’s care (Cfr. 1 Petr. 5, 2). Just as every minister of the Gospel must do, so today I echo the words of the Master: “I am among you as one who serves” (Luc. 22, 27). With me I bring to you, beloved brothers and sisters of the Anglican Communion, the hopes and the desires, the prayers and good will of all who are united with the Church of Rome, which from earliest times was said to “preside in love” (S. IGNATII ANTIOCHENI Ad Romanos, Prooem.).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mary I Writes Her Will

From Mary Tudor, Renaissance Queen comes this analysis of Mary I's will written in late March 1558, when she thought she was pregnant:

During her reign, Mary perceived herself to be pregnant on two occasions. The final time was in 1557-8, the last years of Mary’s life and reign. Philip left England in July 1557, and by December Mary was confident enough of her pregnancy to write to him of the news. On this day [March 30th] in 1558, Mary made her will believing the birth was fast approaching (a due date of early/mid April appears to have been given). This was a customary procedure. Childbirth was rife with danger, so the prospect of the queen and her infant dying in the process was daunting though certainly not unthinkable.

Among her last requests was that she and her mother--QUEEN Kateryn--be reunited in their tombs at Westminster Abbey: ‘And further I will that the body of the vertuous Lady and my most dere and well-beloved mother of happy memory, Quene Kateryn, whych lyeth now buried at Peterborowh, shall within as short tyme as conveniently yt may after my burial, be removed, brought and layde nye the place of my sepulture, In wch place I will my Executors to cawse to be made honorable tombs or monuments for a decent memory of us’.

She also makes provision for the succession, should she die in childbirth: She leaves her realm to the ‘heyres, issewe and frewte of my bodye accordyng to the laws of this Realme’. So her successor is her supposed unborn child. Aware of the possibility of leaving the throne to an infant, Mary provides a regent. This was to be ‘my saide most Dere and well beloved Husband’. She lists her husband’s many virtues, especially his dedication to the Church. She asks for the loyalty shown unto her by her subjects to be transferred to her husband on the occasion of his regency.

Of course, now we know that she was not pregnant, that her half-sister Elizabeth would succeed her, and that she and Elizabeth would end up together in Westminster Abbey.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Venerable John Paul II and the English Reformation

Venerable John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 and he will be beatified on May 1, 2011 in Rome. Starting today, I am beginning a series of posts referencing Pope John Paul's homilies and speeches from his visit to England, Scotland, and Wales in 1982, the beatification of Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales, and comments on Blessed John Henry Newman and St. Thomas More.

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Scotland and England in September last year, the BBC and other media set up comparisons and contrasts between the visits and the popes. John Paul was younger, flashier, more popular, etc while Benedict is older, more scholarly, with the enforcer reputation, etc . . . When John Paul visited in 1982, he traveled throughout England, Scotland, and Wales more extensively: he followed a theme of celebrating the Seven Sacraments (Baptism, Penance, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Anointing, Marriage, and Holy Orders) and ecumenical meetings with the Church of England and other Christian denominations.

His first celebration was of Baptism at the Cathedral of Westminster, during which he paid tribute to the architecture of the church building, and mentioned not only St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, but also Bishop Richard Challoner, Vicar Apostolic during the 18th century:


Friday, 28 May 1982

“Lord, you know everything: you know that I love you!”

My brothers and sisters,

1. With heartfelt gratitude and love I thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that he has given me the grace of coming among you today. Today, for the first time in history, a Bishop of Rome sets foot on English soil. I am deeply moved at this thought. This fair land, once a distant outpost of the pagan world, has become, through the preaching of the Gospel, a beloved and gifted portion of Christ’s vineyard.

Yours is a tradition embedded in the history of Christian civilization. The roll of your saints and of your great men and women, your treasures of literature and music, your cathedrals and colleges, your rich heritage of parish life speak of a tradition of faith. And it is to the faith of your fathers - living still - that I wish to pay tribute by my visit. . . .

This fine church where we meet is a symbol of the faith and energy of the English Catholic community in modern times. Its architecture is unusual for this country: it evokes memories of other parts of the Christian world, reminding us of our universality. Tomorrow I shall be welcomed in the much older cathedral of Canterbury, where Saint Augustine, sent by my predecessor Saint Gregory, first built a little church whose foundations remain. There indeed everything speaks of ancient common traditions, which, in this modern age, we are ready to stress together.

I, too, want to speak in this way - to mourn the long estrangement between Christians, to hear gladly our blessed Lord’s prayer and command that we should be completely one, to thank him for that inspiration of the Holy Spirit which has filled us with a longing to leave behind our divisions and aspire to a common witness to our Lord and Saviour. My deep desire, my ardent hope and prayer is that my visit may serve the cause of Christian unity. . . .

John Fisher, the Cambridge scholar of Renaissance learning, became Bishop of Rochester. He is an example to all Bishops in his loyalty to the faith and in his devoted attention to the people of his diocese, especially the poor and the sick. Thomas More was a model layman living the Gospel to the full. He was a fine scholar and an ornament to his profession, a loving husband and father, humble in prosperity, courageous in adversity, humorous and godly. Together they served God and their country - Bishop and layman. Together they died, victims of an unhappy age. Today we have the grace, all of us, to proclaim their greatness and to thank God for giving such men to England.

In this England of fair and generous minds, no one will begrudge the Catholic community pride in its own history. So I speak last of another Christian name, less famous but no less deserving honour. Bishop Richard Challoner guided the Catholics of this London district in the eighteenth century, at what seemed the lowest point of their fortunes. They were few. It seemed they might well not survive. Yet Bishop Challoner bravely raised his voice to prophesy a better future for his people.

And now, two centuries later, I am privileged to stand here and to speak to you, in no triumphal spirit, but as a friend, grateful for your kind welcome and full of love for all of you.

Bishop Challoner’s courage may remind all of us where the seeds of courage lie, where the confidence of renewal comes from. It is through water and the Holy Spirit that a New People is born, whatever the darkness of the time.

The Death of the Prince of Wales

Not today's Prince Charles, of course, but Henry VII's eldest son, Prince Arthur. He died on April 2, 1502 while he and his young bride, Catherine of Aragon were in residence as Prince and Princess of Wales at Ludlow Castle. He was only 15 years old when he died, possibly of consumption or of the "sweating sickness," some kind of virus. Catherine of Aragon was ill too but she survived. Arthur was buried at Worcester Cathedral, without any members of his family attending. (King John is also buried at Worcester Cathedral!) After she recovered, Catherine of Aragon remained in seclusion until such time had passed to verify whether or not she was pregnant by Arthur. Once that time had passed--and she was not pregant--Henry, the king's younger son, was named Prince of Wales. Then Catherine of Aragon entered that long period of waiting that Giles Tremlett described so well in his recent biography of Henry VIII's first Queen as negotiations for her possible marriage to Prince Henry started and stalled.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our Lady of Walsingham in the News

As John Whitehead comments on his blog, the title Our Lady of Walsingham is going to come up often this year, because of both the Ordinariate and the 950th anniversary of the shrine. On the same day St. Margaret Clitherow was honored in York, Our Lady was honored at Westminster Cathedral and Mr. Whitehead reports here on attending the Mass. The BBC also reported on the event and this blog provides more details. The Mass launches six months of celebrations leading up to the Feast of Our Lady on Walsingham on September 24 this year. Also, the three former Anglican sisters from Walsingham, Sister Carolyne Joseph, Sister Wendy Renate and Sister Jane Louise, are making rosaries to help support their newly formed Catholic religious community.

Old St.Patrick's Cathedral and the Church of Our Saviour

On Saturday last week, my husband and I attended the Vigil Mass at Our Saviour on Park Avenue. We met Father George Rutler after Mass and I presented him with a copy of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation, hoping for a favourable review or recommendation once he reads it. The Church of Our Saviour has the first shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman in the USA. Its design and construction was supervised by Father Rutler. He commented that the portrait of Newman on the cover of my book was the inspiration for the bust. The National Catholic Register reported on its dedication last year and Father Rutler described its installation here. Earlier in the day we went to Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in Lower Manhattan and visited a local independent bookstore (which was a disappointment). At Old St. Patrick's a wedding party was gathering, so we just stayed a few minutes and took a few pictures without intruding on the wedding photography. The National Catholic Register posted a story about the old cathedral being named a basilica in 2010. After our visit we ate lunch at Gatsby's on Spring Street and talked to a very nice waitress from Australia who responded to our orders and requests with "No worries!" She is spending a couple of years in the Americas before heading back to Australia for her first post-college job. We then shopped in Kate's Paperie and Muji in SOHO on our way to K&M Camera. Then we boarded the 6 heading uptown to Park Avenue, shopping at the Morgan Library and this elegant hotel's boutique before attending Mass at Our Saviour. I took the picture of the Blessed John Henry Newman Shrine; my husband took the picture of Our Saviour and Old St. Patrick's at the bottom and top of this post.