Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vespers from the Brompton Oratory

BBC 3 has posted the vespers for St. Andrew's day, performed at 3:30 p.m. in London today, featuring the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria:

Choral Vespers for the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle, from the Church of the London Oratory.
Organ Prelude: Intonazione octavo tono (Giovanni Gabrieli)
Invitatory: Deus in adjutorium meum (Victoria)
Antiphons & Psalms: 110, 113, 116, 126, 117 (Victoria)
Hymn: Exsultet orbis gaudiis (Victoria)
Antiphon: Cum pervenisset (Plainsong)
Canticle: Magnificat primi toni (Victoria)
Antiphon of Our Lady: Alma Redemptoris mater (Victoria)
Organ Voluntary: Tiento de quinto tono (Francisco Correa de Arauxo)
Celebrant: The Revd Fr. George Bowen
Director of Music: Patrick Russill
Organist: Matthew Martin.

You only have seven days to listen here.

November 30, 1554: A New Holy Day

On November 30, 1554, Reginald Cardinal Pole, the Papal Legate, soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury, received the submission of the English Parliament and granted absolution to the entire kingdom, reconclining England to the Holy See and the universal Catholic Church. As both Alison Weir and H.F.M. Prescott comment in their biographies of Mary I, the first Queen Regnant of England and Ireland, this must have been one of the happiest days of her life as she witnessed this solemn act. She was married to Philip of Spain, her cousin had returned, Parliament and Convocation were both repenting of the acts led by her father and her half-brother to separate England from the Catholic Church--and she believed she was pregnant (as her doctors had told her).

For this day to occur, several things had to be arranged and decided. First of all, for the Papal Legate to arrive in England, the Act of Attainder against Reginald Pole had to be removed by Parliament. This was the Act that condemned his mother Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, and many others to death. Parliament lifted this sentence of death and Mary invited the Papal Legate to return from exile on November 20, 1554. He would be the first Papal Legate present in England since the trial of her mother's marriage in 1529--when Katherine of Aragon appeared before Cardinal Campeggio and Cardinal Wolsey, appealed to Henry her husband and left the Court, impervious to pleas to return.

The matter of former Church lands also had to be decided: Henry VIII and then Edward VI had seized the monasteries and then the chantries and the chantry schools, destroyed most of them, sold or given the lands to courtiers and others who benefitted. Were these all to be given back?

The Papal Legate wanted them back, but Mary was more concerned about alienating the Court and nobility her reign had so lately unified against the plots of Northumberland to replace her in the succession with Lady Jane Grey and that of Thomas Wyatt the younger to prevent the Spanish marriage and place her half-sister Elizabeth and young Edward Courtenay on the throne. So the lands and property stayed with their current owners.

On November 28 Cardinal Pole spoke to Parliament and asked them to repeal all the other acts that were obstacles to reunion. On November 29 Parliament did so and then petitioned Queen Mary to intercede with the Papal Legate for absolution and reunion with Rome (two members refused to sign the petition).

Then on St. Andrew's Day Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Mary's Chancellor, led the members of both houses of Parliament to kneel before the Papal Legate and Mary, presenting the petition. The petition proclaimed that Parliament was "very sorry and repentant of the schism and disobedience committed in this realm against the See Apostolic" and begged to be returned "into the bosom and unity of Christ's Church."

Cardinal Pole then welcomed "the return of the lost sheep" and granted absolution to the entire kingdom, proclaiming a new Holy Day on November 30: the Feast of Reconciliation.

As readers might remember, not quite two weeks ago (November 17) I posted a reflection on the day this Catholic revival ended in England when Mary and Pole died on the same day in 1558. They did not live long enough to celebrate the fourth anniversary of this great day! This event took place in the Palace of Whitehall which Henry VIII had taken from Cardinal Wolsey after his fall. Whitehall, except for the Banqueting Hall, burned down in 1698.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Naked to Mine Enemies": Thomas Wosley, RIP

Henry VIII dismissed his Chancellor, Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York on October 25, 1529. Henry held Wolsey responsible for the failure of the papal legatine court to dissolve his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, allowing him to marry Anne Boleyn. Also, Wolsey's diplomatic efforts had failed when France and the Holy Roman Empire made peace--Henry and Wolsey had attempted to play them off against each other so that England would have greater power on the Continent.

Wolsey offered and/or Henry took many of the Archbishop's great homes and lands. Henry had particularly coveted Hampton Court. As a Renaissance Prince of the Church, Wolsey had lived very well, especially in view of his middle-class birth.

Henry briefly forgave Wolsey, but finally had him brought from York to London to stand trial for high treason; Anne Boleyn's influence is often cited here. Wolsey died on the way (at a monastery!) on November 29, 1530 and Shakespeare adapted his last words:

Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my King, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies. (Henry VIII)

Shakespeare has Wolsey make this speech as he leaves Court in disgrace. Wolsey had many enemies among the nobility, not least because he had risen so high from lower birth. Wolsey had never been enthusiastic about Henry VIII's efforts to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon; at the end Anne Boleyn was such an enemy that he really hoped for their failure.

The most recent biography of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey places him in an international context: Cardinal Wolsey: A Life in Renaissance Europe by Stella Fletcher, published in 2009 by Continuum. One of the most available lives of Wolsey is Charles W. Ferguson's Naked to Mine Enemies, because it was part of the Time Reading Program and is still readily available in used bookstores (hopefully with both volumes together!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Eleanor of Castile and the Eleanor Crosses

When Edward I's consort Eleanor of Castile died on November 28, 1290, the royal couple were travelling near Lincoln. After her body was transported from Lincoln to Westminster, Edward I had crosses set up along the stages of that journey. Twelve crosses marked the twelve stops--at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing. This site provides a great deal of detail, including a map and several images, of the Eleanor Crosses.

Some of the Eleanor Crosses were destroyed during the English Civil War by Parliamentary troops, and the crosses that stand today are often nineteenth century reconstructions. The English Heritage organization offers this website on the Geddington cross. The image of the Northamption cross is sourced here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

St. Werburgh and Chester Cathedral

Following up on the surrender of Fountains Abbey, let's look at the Chester Abbey church that became Chester Cathedral in 1541. It was surrendered in January of 1540. The church at Chester had been famed as the site of St. Werburgh's tomb. St. Werburgh was a seventh century royal Benedictine abbess. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1912, she was

born in Staffordshire early in the seventh century; died at Trentham, 3 February, 699or 700. Her mother was St. Ermenilda, daughter of Ercombert, King of Kent, and St. Sexburga, and her father, Wulfhere, son of Penda the fiercest of the Mercian kings. St. Werburgh thus united in her veins the blood of two very different races: one fiercely cruel and pagan; the other a type of gentle valour and Christian sanctity. In her, likewise, centred the royal blood of all the chief Saxon kings, while her father on the assassination of his elder brother Peada, who had been converted to Christianity, succeeded to the largest kingdom of the heptarchy. . . . On account of her beauty and grace the princess was eagerly sought in marriage, chief among her suitors being Werebode, a headstrong warrior, to whom Wulfhere was much indebted; but the constancy of Werbrugh overcame all obstacles so that at length she obtained her father's consent to enter the Abbey of Ely, which had been founded by her great- aunt, St. Etheldra, and the fame of which was widespread.

When her uncle Ethelred succeeded to the throne, he asked St. Werburgh to take on a great challenge:

This king invited St. Werburgh to assume the direction of all the monasteries of nuns in his dominion, in order that she might bring them to that high level of discipline and perfection which had so often edified him at Ely. The saint with some difficulty consented to sacrifice the seclusion she prized, and undertook the work of reforming the existing Mercian monasteries, and of founding new ones which King Ethelred generously endowed, namely, Trentham and Hanbury, in Staffordshire, and Weedon, in Northamptonshire. It had been the privilege of St. Werburgh to be trained by saints; at home by St. Chad (afterwards Bishop of Lichfield), and by her mother, and in the cloister by her aunt and grandmother. Her position worked no change in the humility which had always characterized her, so that in devotedness to all committed to her care she seemed rather the servant than the mistress. Her sole thought was to excel her sisters in the practice of religious perfection. God rewarded her childlike trust by many miracles, which have made St. Werburgh one of the best known and loved of the Saxon saints.

After her death:

So numerous and marvellous were the cures worked at the saint's tomb that in 708 her body was solemnly translated to a more conspicuous place in the church, in the presence of her brother, Kenred, who had now succeeded King Ethelred. In spite of having been nine years in the tomb, the body was intact. So great was the impression made on Kenred that he resolved to resign his crown and followed in his sister's footsteps. In 875, through fear of the Danes and in order to show greater honour to the saint, the body was removed to Chester. The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the site of the present cathedral of Chester, was rededicated to St. Werburgh and St. Oswald, most probably in the reign of Athelstan. The great Leofric, Earl of Mercia (who was likewise styled Earl of Chester), and his wife, Lady Godiva, repaired and enlarged the church, and in 1093, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, richly endowed the abbey and its church. By the instrumentality of this noble, Chester, which had been in the hands of secular canons, became a great Benedictine abbey, the name of St. Anselm, then a monk at Bee, being associated with this transformation.

Her shrine, of course, was demolished and her remains scattered with the dissolution of the abbey. According to the wikipedia article (source of the image above), Chester Cathedral is a magnificent Norman/Gothic structure. It was, however, one of those cathedrals that suffered much damage, especially to its stained glass, from Parliamentary troops in the English Civil War. St. Werburgh is still the patron saint of Chester, and this site provides some detail of her reconstructed shrine.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Surrender of Fountains Abbey: November 26, 1539

Fountains Abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's agents on November 26, 1539. As this site notes, it had a very close connection to the Pilgrimage of Grace:

Huby's successor, William Thirsk, was not as wise as Huby, nor as virtuous. He is said to have sold land, timber and jewels belonging to the abbey for his own use. Admittedly, however, this accusation is biased, as it relies entirely on the evidence supplied by Thomas Cromwell's agents during the Visitation of the Monasteries in 1536. Cromwelll, Henry VIII's chief minister, had begun to take account of the riches that the monks had secreted behind their monastery walls, and to look for ways to relieve them of it. Cromwell's protestant zeal and his practical desire to please the king were united behind the cause of showing the monks to be corrupt and superstitious. Thirsk was forced to resign as abbot and went to live at the nearby abbey of Jervaulx. Instead of living quietly on the pension that he had been provided with, however, Thirsk became involved with the Pilgrimage of Grace. This was a revolt led by Northern Catholics in 1536, who sought to force Henry VIII to return to the Catholic Church, reopen the abbeys and get rid of Protestant reformers. Henry VIII, however, was not to be stopped. Thirsk and the Abbot of Jervaulx were sent to the Tower of London, where they were both found guilty of treason and suffered traitors' deaths -- hanging, drawing and quartering.

Although the monks at Fountains were innocent of complicity in the revolt, the days of the monasteries were numbered. In 1539, all the monasteries of England were suppressed, their lands and buildings sold and their contents stripped away. The greatest Cistercian abbey in the kingdom was chopped up and dispersed. Today the abbey still tells a mute tale of its butchery. The great nave is roofless, its lead sold to the highest bidder. There are holes through the masonry where lead piping once ran; sockets and corbels where timbers once rested; empty spaces once filled by glass that was transported to Ripon and York. The abbey doors can be seen in a nearby mill (the only example of a Cistercian corn mill in the country), where they were used as flooring. The Elizabethan house nearby -- Fountains Hall -- was built with stones torn from the abbey walls.

The community signed a surrender deed on November 26, but the document has not survived. The abbot, Marmaduke Bradley, received an annuity of 100 pounds, the prior, Thomas Kydde, 8 pounds, and each of the 30 monks 6 pounds.

This site contains a wealth of information about the Cistercian abbeys in Yorkshire and offers this detail of the Crown's takings from Fountains:

An inventory was taken and a valuation of the abbey and its lands made. Fountains was valued at £1115 18s 2d, making it the wealthiest Cistercian abbey in the country, although this was considerably less than the great Benedictine houses such as the abbeys of Westminster and Glastonbury, which had a net income of £3470 and £3311 respectively; St Mary’s, York, had a net income of £1650. Still, Fountains offered rich pickings for the Crown. There were fine ecclesiastical vestments and vessels - copes, mitres encrusted with silver gilt decoration, silver-headed crosiers and chalices; plate, jewels and relics – including a piece of the True Cross. Another highly prized material was the abbey’s lead, and this was stripped from the roof, pipes and elsewhere, and melted down to form ingots, or ‘pigs’, which were easier to transport. Each pig weighed nine hundredweights.

Fountains Abbey survived for a time intact because Henry VIII thought about locating a new diocese there so that the bishop would use the buildings and the abbey church would become the cathedral. He changed his mind, however, and settled the new bishop at Chester.

Today, Fountains Abbey is a property of The National Trust and a major tourist destination.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An American Thanksgiving in London

The Wall Street Journal ran this story yesterday by Thomas Fleming, about American service men in England celebrating Thanksgiving in 1942. He focuses on a special service at Westminster Abbey:

The most dramatic ceremony was in London's Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned for centuries. No British government had ever permitted any ritual on its altar except the prescribed devotions of the Church of England. But on Nov. 26, 1942, they made an exception for their American cousins.

No orders were issued to guarantee a large audience. There was only a brief announcement in the newspapers. But when the Abbey's doors opened, 3,000 uniformed men and women poured down the aisles. In 10 minutes there was not a single empty seat and crowds were standing in the side aisles. One reporter said there was a veritable "hedge of khaki" around the tomb of Britain's unknown soldier of World War I.

Cpl. Heinz Arnold of Patchogue, N.Y., played "Onward Christian Soldiers" on the mighty coronation organ. With stately strides, Sgt. Francis Bohannan of Philadelphia advanced up the center aisle carrying a huge American flag. Behind him came three chaplains, the dean of the Abbey, and a Who's Who of top American admirals, generals and diplomats. On the high altar, other soldiers draped an even larger American flag.

Their faces "plainly reflected what lay in their heart," one reporter noted, as the visitors sang "America the Beautiful" and "Lead On O King Eternal." The U.S. ambassador to Britain, John G. Winant, read a brief message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words." The Dean of Westminster and one of the Abbey's chaplains also spoke. "God has dealt mercifully and bountifully with us," the chaplain said. "True, we have had our difficulties . . . but all of these trials have made us stronger to do the great tasks which have fallen to us."

Throughout Britain, the first global Thanksgiving gave men and women from the New World and the Old World a much-needed feeling of spiritual solidarity. Let us hope that today's overseas service men and women can have a similar impact on a troubled and divided world. Happy Thanksgiving—and our nation's sincerest thanks— to them all, wherever they may be deployed.

Amen to that!

Off Topic: Charles, Duke of Orleans and Historical Fiction

Charles, the Duke of Orleans was born on November 24, 1394. His father, Louis, the Duke of Orleans was assasinated by Jean sans Peur, the Duke of Burgundy. Jean's eponymous tower is a tourist sight in Paris today. Charles and his brothers swore an oath of vengeance against the house of Burgundy and this oath, according to Hella Haasse's extraordinary historical novel In a Dark Wood Wandering, dominated and directed his life.

Charles was a great poet and composed most of his poems while held a prisoner of war in England after the Battle of Agincourt for 24 years. When the English laid siege to Orleans--the occasion of St. Joan of Arc's great victory--it was a transgression of the contemporary military code, since its ruler was being held captive. I remember reading Haasse's novel soon after I'd graduated from WSU with my BA. (Note that Haasse died in September this year, known as the "Grand Old Lady" of Dutch literature.) After all the required reading for my degree, I was thrilled with her historical fiction. At the time, it was a great publishing event, because of the source of the English translation. I read the book again a few years ago, and had the same experience of being completely transported to that time and era, being involved in the struggles of the characters and yet (I was an English major, after all) noticing some of the technique Haasse and her translators used. For instance, the section depicting Charles's 24 years in captivity in England is written in the historical present, as though time stood still. The text included some of his poetry, in French and English. Here is an English translation of a rondel composed by Charles, the Duke of Orleans:

Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid,
For Jealousy, with all them of his part,
Strong siege about the weary tower has laid.
Nay, if to break his bands thou art afraid,
Too weak to make his cruel force depart,
Strengthen at least this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid.
Nay, let not Jealousy, for all his art
Be master, and the tower in ruin laid,
That still, ah Love! thy gracious rule obeyed.
Advance, and give me succour of thy part;
Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my U.S. readers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thomas Tallis, RIP

Thomas Tallis, musician and composer, died on November 23, 1585. My favorite recordings of the music of Thomas Tallis are by The Tallis Scholars and Stile Antico.

From the liner notes for The Tallis Scholars Sing Thomas Tallis CD set posted on the Gimell Records website, Peter Phillips comments:

My view of Tallis's genius has only deepened with time. Not only was he the arch-survivor but also, unlike those who trim and so build their monuments on shifting sands, he had the ability to create masterpieces in whatever style was the currency of the day. This should not be underestimated, because those styles changed out of recognition during his eighty-or-so years. First it was the traditional Catholic style of Henry VIII's reign; then it was the most severely chordal Protestant style of Edward VI's reign; then it was back to Latin and Catholic writing again under Mary, though this time in a more mature idiom than in Henry's reign - Tallis was by now turning fifty; then it was the compromise style for Elizabeth whom he served for twenty-six years and who left him sufficiently alone for him to produce some of his greatest music.

The two CD set contains examples from each of Tallis's styles. His first style, Phillips notes, is marked by the use of melismas: "A melisma is a melodic line which only uses one syllable, like the ‘A' of Amen, allowing the composer's imagination to fly free of text-setting. This essentially abstract way of thinking was admired by the pre-Reformation Catholics, and needless to say was particularly objected to by the Protestants."

Tallis's second style, when he wrote for Edward VI: "Nothing could be further removed from the glories of Spem or Gaude gloriosa. Gone are the melismas, the Latin texts, the interweaving of the lines in polyphony. The accent was now on simplicity and comprehension - hence the English texts and the chordal style, which was designed to make the words audible."

And, finally, his mature and late style: "Nowhere is Tallis's mature style more perfectly on display than in his two sets of Lamentations, which in modern times have been the yardstick by which every set of Lamentations of the period is judged, whether English or from the Continent. . . . [In] Tallis's late style . . . he took the prevailing Flemish technique of imitative entries between the voices, built up a full sonority as each voice joined in, and then moved on to the next phrase of words and the next set of entries. It is a transparent idiom in which the words are set more or less syllabically - thus fulfilling the Protestant need for clarity - yet the music is allowed to expand and breathe."

Stile Antico's Heavenly Harmonies juxtaposes Thomas Tallis's Protestant psalm tunes with William Byrd's Catholic motets and the Mass propers for Pentecost.

Of William Byrd on The Tallis Scholars CD Playing Elizabeth's Tune, Peter Phillips noted that:

Although Byrd was a genius to rival his teacher, Thomas Tallis, he was not required to write church music in quite so many styles as Tallis did - the political and religious situation in England in Byrd's lifetime was a little more settled. Nonetheless he had to face up to the same basic challenge as Tallis: to write music for the Protestant authorities when arguably his heart wasn't really in it; and to find opportunities to write the kind of music he really wanted to write - for the Catholic liturgy - and not be arrested for it. As in Tallis's time the compositional methods required for those two traditions were different. The Protestants wanted their music to have English words which could be heard, requiring a style which was simple enough to enable that to happen. The Catholic tradition, by this time fairly remote from Byrd, still favoured Latin texts and a style which in theory could be more elaborate. However in practice, as this disc shows, Byrd wrote quite simple music for the Catholics and, as in his Great Service, quite complex music for the Anglicans.

For an artist merely to survive is no mark of success. Perhaps it's anachronistic to assume the same level of artistic struggle to remain true to one's art (as the story of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony demonstrates, especially with Michael Tilson Thomas's interpretation), but it's hard for me to believe that Tallis could compose the beautiful music he did in these different styles merely as a compromise to the changing religious trends of the Tudor monarchs. I just don't like to think he was a musical "Vicar of Bray". William Byrd, according to the Tallis Scholar's DVD Playing Elizabeth's Tune with its documentary by Charles Hazlewood, makes it clear that Byrd was frustrated by the dual roles he had to play: loyal subject of the monarch and faithful Catholic--did Tallis feel the same frustration?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Art of Newman

Early each Sunday morning we listen to Celtic Connections on EWTN Radio. Host Kathy Sinnott has some great guests and this weekend she featured Frank Cottrell Boyce on Blessed John Henry Newman as an artist and writer. The Catholic Herald also commented on the presentation Boyce made in October as the first Newman Lecture:

On the evening of Friday October 28 the award-winning screenwriter and acclaimed author Frank Cottrell Boyce delivered the Inaugural Newman Lecture.

The lecture, which was delivered at Notre Dame University in Trafalgar Square, London, was entitled “A footling little parson: The greatest of English prose writers” and focused on the craft of writing, exploring the source of a writer’s creativity and inspiration. . . .

The Newman Lecture is offered in support of the legacy of the 2010 papal visit to Britain and is an initiative of the bishops’ conference department for evangelisation and catechesis.

Bishop Kieran Conry, chairman of the department, said: “Cardinal Newman was a very imaginative writer whose works not only influenced theological debate but he also left a treasure for people of all faiths and none in his hymns, prayers and meditations. The aim of the first Newman Lecture is to affirm the craft of writing and stimulate reflection and discussion about what makes for good writing and where does creativity and inspiration find its source.”

Although Newman is so often praised as a master of English prose style, many find that very style difficult to read because of long periodic sentences. But Newman was an artist: a novelist, a poet, and a musician. You can find the text of Boyce's lecture here.

I like this excerpt: 

Newman too had strong ideas about where writing would take him - it would keep him safely cloistered in his beloved Oxford. And he was fairly sure about that definite purpose - he was going to reconnect the Anglican Church with its Roman roots - and maybe even possibly reconcile those two churches. It didn’t work out like that. After years of agonising he became a Roman Catholic and that meant saying goodbye to his friends, his living and hardest of all, to Oxford. This is what he wrote about leaving Trinity ...

“…there used to be much snapdragon growing on the walls opposite my freshman’s rooms there and I had for years taken it as the emblem of my own perpetual residence even unto death in my University.

On the morning of the 23rd I left the Observatory. I have never seen Oxford since, excepting its spires, as they are seen from the railway.”

That’s a brilliant, heart-stopping paragraph. I love the detail of the snapdragons. I love the way he smuggles in that epic, medieval atmosphere - emblem, perpetual, and that “even unto” and I love the way he puts the boot in to all of that with that blunt “the railway”. You can see there why Joyce said that no one had ever written prose to compare with Newman’s.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Feast of Christ the King

To Jesus Christ our Sovereign King
who is the world's salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring
and thanks and adoration

Your reign extend O King benign,
to every land and nation;
For in your kingdom Lord divine
Alone do we find salvation

To you and to your Church, great King
We pledge our heart's oblation;
Until before your throne we sing
In endless jubilation

Christ Jesus, Victor!
Christ Jesus, Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer

The Liturgical Year in the Catholic Church (and in other liturgical churches) ends today with the Feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI proclaimed this feast in 1925 and it was celebrated on the last Sunday of October--and still is in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite. Pope Paul VI renamed the Feast and moved its celebration to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time as a Solemnity.

According to this site:

Pope Pius XI universally instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. Pope Pius connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ's authority, as well as the Church's, and even doubting Christ's existence. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point [I'm not sure about that], the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was most needed. In fact, it is still needed today, as these problems have not vanished, but instead have worsened.

Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:

1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).

2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).

3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

I wonder what Henry VIII would have thought of a Pope establishing a feast which pointed out an authority above the King of England? Henry was a Christian, of course, with devotion to Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer; he worshipped Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar. Would he have been able to separate his own Temporal claims to authority in England and the Pope's proclamation of Jesus's supremacy over all the world, superceding any nationalist claims? I find it interesting that the Church of England celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, but they also mark this Sunday as "Stir up Sunday". The collect for the last Sunday of the liturgical year begins with the words "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people" and it is the day to start making the Christmas pudding!!

St. Hugh of Lincoln and Lincoln Cathedral

November 17th was the feast of St. Hugh of Lincoln, so a Sunday Shrine post in his honor is appropriate. He was a Carthusian and bishop of Lincoln. John Whitehead's Once I Was a Clever Boy blog provides some details on his shrine and devotion to him and some information on the saint.

According to this website:

William the Conqueror ordered the first cathedral to be built in Lincoln in 1072. The church that existed before that, St. Mary's Church, was a mother church but not a cathedral. Bishop Remigius built the first Lincoln Cathedral on the present site, finishing it in 1092. He died two days before it was to be consecrated on May 9 of that year. About 50 years later, most of that building was destroyed in a fire.

Bishop Alexander rebuilt and expanded the cathedral, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1185. Only the central portion of the west front and lower halves of the west towers survive from this period.

King Henry II of England approved the election of St. Hugh of Avalon, a Carthusian monk, as Bishop of Lincoln in 1186. St. Hugh began a major rebuilding project in the emerging Early English Gothic style, but died in 1200 before his plan was completed.

The east end of the cathedral was moved each time the building was enlarged. The eastern wall of the Norman cathedral (1073) was in the middle of what is now St. Hugh's Choir. The east end of the Early English building (1186) was in what is now the Angel Choir behind the High Altar.

The existing structure was finished by about 1280, but repairs and remodeling have continued. There have been repeated problems with the spires (removed in 1807) and towers, which were sometimes thought to be in danger of collapsing. This was despite attempts to shore up the towers by digging underneath them to increase support, an early attempt of what is a common engineering project today on such building as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Lincoln Cathedral and its bishops have had a leading role in the history of England. The Magna Carta was signed by the Bishop of Lincoln amongst others, and one of only two remaining copies resides in the cathedral's library.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Second Son of James VI and Anne of Denmark

Charles, the second son of James VI and Anne of Denmark was born on November 19, 1600 in Scotland. He was not a healthy child and suffered from rickets. His elder brother, Henry was the Prince of Wales and received most of the attention and focus on education. Charles was too weak to travel with the rest of the family to England when James VI succeeded to the throne after Elizabeth's death in 1603.

He was named Duke of York in 1611 after overcoming this early weakness (the picture depicts him in the year he obtained that title). When Henry died in 1612, Charles became the heir and Prince of Wales, as this official biography from the website of the British Monarchy indicates.

He also inherited the marriage negotiations for the hand of the Infanta of Spain. James I's proposal that his heir marry the princess of an old ally infuriated the Puritans in Parliament. There is a new novel from Sophia Institute Press about that planned marriage--which did not occur. Read more about The Spanish Match here.

Charles became king when his father died on March 27, 1625 and of course he did marry a Catholic princess: of France.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cuthbert Tunstall, Former Bishop of Durham, Dies

On November 18, 1559 Cuthbert Tunstall, the former Bishop of Durham, who refused to take Elizabeth I's Oath of Supremacy, died under house arrest at Lambeth Palace, the "guest" of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. As his biography describes, he managed to weather the stormy seas of religious change through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I.

I guess he reached a "tipping point" when faced with another oath that would allow the monarch to change religious practices in England. He had been one of Queen Catherine of Aragon's legal counsel for the Blackfriar trial, but unlike Bishop John Fisher, Thomas Abel, Richard Fetherston, and Edward Powell, he did not suffer imprisonment or execution (obviously). Tunstall accepted Henry's Supremacy while maintaining loyalty to Catholic doctrines--but he must have begun to see that without the established authority of the Pope, the Church in England was just a feather in the wind.

Tunstall did protest against the Calvinist Reformation during Edward VI's reign, and ended up under house arrest and ultimately in the Tower of London in 1551 and was deprived of his bishopric in 1552. He was then freed when Mary I succeeded and restored to Durham. When Elizabeth I came to the throne he recognized the error of the royal supremacy and refused both to take the new Oath of Supremacy or to participate in the consecration of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury.

It must been a little awkward to be held under house arrest by the same man he'd refused to recognize, but he did not have to endure the discomfort very long.

This website summarizes his written works and his survival during the Tudor Reformation thus:

His works, exclusive of published letters and sermons, are: "De Arte Supputandi Libri IV" (London, 1522); "Confutatio cavillationum quibus SS. Eucharistiae Sacramentum ab impiis Caphernaitis impeti solet" (Paris, 1552); "De veritate Corporis et Sanguinis Domini in Eucharistia Libri II" (Paris, 1554); "Compendium in decem libros ethicorum Aristotelis" (Paris, 1554); "Certaine godly and devout prayers made in Latin by C. Tunstall and translated into Englishe by Thomas Paynelle, Clerke" (London, 1558). Much of his political correspondence is preserved in the British Museum. Despite his weakness under Henry VIII, we may endorse the verdict of the Anglican historian, Pollard, who writes: "Tunstall's long career of eighty-five years, for thirty-seven of which he was a Bishop, is one of the most consistent and honourable in the sixteenth century. The extent of the religious revolution under Edward VI caused him to reverse his views on the royal supremacy and he refused to change them again under Elizabeth".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The End of Catholic Revival in England, 1558

Mary, Queen of England and Ireland and her Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Cardinal Pole, both died on November 17, 1558. The fact that both of them died that day meant that their efforts to revive Catholicism in England would end with Mary's reign.

Mary's half-sister Elizabeth succeeded to the throne and was able to appoint a new Archbishop of Canterbury. That appointment did not occur without opposition, however. One definite achievement of Archbishop Pole was his turnaround of the English episcopacy--whereas only one bishop (martyr St. John Fisher) opposed Henry VIII's religious revolution--all but one bishop--and he was an elderly man--opposed Elizabeth's. It was also difficult to find two bishops who would consecrate Elizabeth's selection to succeed Pole, Matthew Parker, formerly chaplain to her mother, Anne Boleyn.

IF Reginald Pole had lived and remained Archbishop of Canterbury in Elizabeth's reign, he probably would have ended up removed from office and under house arrest or in exile for not swearing her new oaths of Supremacy and Uniformity. But it's an interesting alternative history view--what could have happened if he had survived the end of Mary's reign? Would his reforming spirit and positive catechetical approach: preparing an English Bible, a catechism, books of sermons, etc have had influence on Convocation and Parliament?

Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York, and other Catholic Bishops were there to oppose Elizabeth I's religious settlement in Parliament. Heath remonstrated with her to defend the Catholic Church, but she rejected his counsels. He was imprisoned briefly, but ended up living under comfortable house arrest in Surrey, dying in 1578. Like Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham (see post tomorrow), he had repented of accepting the royal supremacy over the Church under Henry VIII and opposed it during the reign of Edward VI (particulary because of the new ordinal)--and was deprived of his bishopric. Restored when Mary I came to the throne, he continued to serve Elizabeth I until her religious settlement led to his deprivation, imprisonment, and exile.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

U.S. Ordinariate Update

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met Monday and Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland. Cardinal Wuerl announced that the Personal Ordinariate for Episcopalians wanting to cross the Tiber, come home to Rome, or return to what Blessed John Henry Newman called the "one, true flock of Christ" will be established on January 1, 2012:

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington announced November 15 that the new ordinariate for former Anglicans in the United States will be established January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

At the same time he confirmed that Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, will succeed Archbishop John Myers of Newark as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, through which married Anglican priests become diocesan priests in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Wuerl, who is the delegate for the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the head of an ad hoc committee of U.S. bishops to lead efforts in the United States to receive Anglican groups into the Catholic Church, made the announcement during the fall plenary meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore. Bishop Vann is a member of the ad hoc committee.

The ordinariate stems from the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 that authorized the creation of ‘ordinariates,’ geographic regions similar to dioceses but typically national in scope. Parishes in these ordinariates are to be Catholic yet retain elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgical practices. They are to be led by an ‘ordinary,’ who will have a role similar to a bishop, but who may be either a bishop or a priest. The ordinary for the United States will be named on January 1.

Bishop Vann’s appointment as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision was made by the Vatican. He succeeds Archbishop Myers in this position. Among the duties of the Ecclesiastical Delegate is to ensure the former Anglican priests in formation receive theological, spiritual and pastoral preparation for ministry in the Catholic Church.

The situation is a little different in the United States than it is in Great Britain, because we already do have some Anglican Use parishes or parishes in which one of the regular Sunday services is according to the Anglican Use rite:

The Pastoral Provision is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. While Bishop Vann’s work as Ecclesiastical Delegate and the ordinariate are separate, close communication and cooperation will exist between the Pastoral Provision office and the ordinariate.

The Ecclesiastical Delegate administers the process by which married, former Anglican ministers can become priests sponsored by a diocesan bishop. The process includes the gathering of information by the candidate and his sponsoring bishop concerning his suitability for ordination. This information is then submitted to the Holy See through the Ecclesiastical Delegate. To this is added the academic assessment and certification of each candidate by a body of theologians established by the Ecclesiastical Delegate.

The Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision was created by the Holy See in 1980 in response to requests from Episcopal priests and laity who were seeking full Communion with the Catholic Church. Since creating the Pastoral Provision, more than 100 men have been ordained as priests, three personal parishes have been established and use of the Book of Divine Worship, a liturgical text authorized by the Vatican that incorporates Anglican prayers and material, has been authorized.

Our Lady of Walsingham Anglican Use parish and shrine has posted this prayer on its website:

Prayer for the Forthcoming American Ordinariate to be erected January 1, 2012.

O GOD, Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful, visit,
we pray thee, all members of this Ordinariate with
thy love and favour; enlighten our minds more and more
with the light of the everlasting Gospel; graft in our hearts
a love of the truth; increase in us true religion; nourish us
with all goodness; and of thy great mercy keep us in
the same, O blessed Spirit, whom, with the Father
and the Son together, we worship and glorify as
one God, world without end. Amen.
Adapted BCP, 1928

Blessed John Henry Newman on the Liturgy

EWTN's National Catholic Register featured an article by Father Timothy Byerley about Blessed John Henry Newman and liturgical reverence last month:

The great English convert and Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was convinced that the issue of liturgical reverence was of decisive importance in every age of the Church.

In fact, he contended that the presence or absence of this virtue distinguished true believers from fraudulent Christians.

With audacious verbiage, Newman declared, “There never was a time since the apostles’ day when the Church was not; and there never was a time but men were to be found who preferred some other way of worship to the Church’s way. These two kinds of professed Christians ever have been — Church Christians and Christians not of the Church; and it is remarkable, I say, that while, on the one hand, reverence for sacred things has been a characteristic of Church Christians on the whole, so, want of reverence has been the characteristic on the whole of Christians not of the Church.”

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us at the beatification Mass in September, 2010, Blessed John Henry Newman spent most of his life as a pastor, first in the Church of England and then in the Catholic Church. The reverent celebration of the Liturgy would be a significant aspect of that pastoral work. Newman's commentary on Liturgy and reverence includes his common theme of real and unreal, true and false.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 1539--Glastonbury and Reading Abbeys

Blesseds Richard Whiting (Abbot), John Thorne and Roger James were executed on Glastonbury Tor in Somerset in the southwest of England, while Blesseds Hugh Faringdon (Abbot), John Rugge, and John Eynon were executed in Berkshire at Reading Abbey, all on November 15, 1539. The ruins of their abbeys, Glastonbury and Reading, are pictured above (Wikipedia sources). A third Abbot, Blessed John Beche (aka Thomas Marshall) would be executed on December 1 that year--more about him soon.

As I've been working on the chapter on these martyrs in Their Faith Was Their Crime, I've had a nagging thought about the relative paucity of martyrs among the 8,000 monks and nuns affected by the dissolution. Of course, the Observant Franciscian friaries, the Brigdittine Abbey of Syon, and the Carthusian Charterhouses were destroyed earlier in the course of Henry VIII's power grab--and many of their members suffered horrendously. But out of the 8,000 monks and nuns whose houses were suppressed, not very many stood up against Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's officials.

The four last abbots of Fountains Abbey (William Thirsk), Jervaulx Abbey (Adam Sedbergh or Sedbar), Barlings (Matthew Mackarel), and Sawley (William Trafford) and some companion monks, were executed for their part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, but they have never been recognized as martyrs--and I am not sure why.

Of course, I must remember that only one bishop stood up to Henry VIII to suffer martyrdom.

Remember that I will be discussing my article on the Dissolution of the Monasteries in OSV's The Catholic Answer Magazine with Al Kresta on his radio show this afternoon at 4:40 p.m. Eastern/3:40 p.m. Central--listen live here. UPDATE: Dr. Matthew Bunson, editor of the magazine, let me know that the article is available free of charge here. Such a deal!

Serra Club Metro members in Wichita will hear my presentation on the English Reformation and the Catholic Martyrs at the Spiritual Life Center tonight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Perfect Timing: Charles Carroll and the Maryland Bishops

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, last surviving signer of the Declaration of the Independence, died on November 14, 1832. Just in time for the anniversary of his death, the Catholic bishops of Maryland issued a statement on protecting religious liberty. EWTN's National Catholic Register provides some context:

BALTIMORE (CNA)—Religious freedom is fundamental to a free society, but some political and cultural trends are threatening that freedom, the Catholic bishops of Maryland said in a new statement.

“Efforts to restrict the rights of individuals and institutions because of their religious or moral beliefs are on the rise here in Maryland and around the nation,” the bishops wrote.

“Religious liberty — a right rooted in our human dignity and protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — is being silently and subtly eroded.”

The 12-page document, titled “The Most Sacred of All Property: Religious Freedom and the People of Maryland,” was signed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, the apostolic administrator of Baltimore; and Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del.

The document took its title from American Founding Father James Madison, who called conscience “the most sacred of all property” and its exercise “a natural and unalienable right.”

The Acton Institute reminds us of all that Charles Carroll risked and all he hoped to gain when he signed the Declaration of Independence:

When the signatories of the Declaration of Independence pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor,” few men had more to lose than Charles Carroll of Carrollton. A wealthy landowner, businessman, and member of a prominent Maryland family, Carroll risked the confiscation of his estate and the loss of his life if the British had prevailed. Yet when asked if he would sign or not, he replied, “Most willingly,“ and ratified what he called ”this record of glory.” Reflecting on that act fifty years later, Carroll–by then the last surviving signer–concluded that the civil and religious liberties secured by the Declaration and enjoyed by that present generation were “the best earthly inheritance their ancestors could bequeath to them.”

As a Roman Catholic–the only one to sign the Declaration–Carroll also had much to gain. Though many American colonists harbored intense suspicion toward Catholics (it was widely believed that Catholic doctrine was incompatible with republicanism), Carroll and his contemporary co-religionists presciently perceived that the American understanding of liberty entailed not only political and economic freedom but religious freedom as well.

It's too bad the writers of the Maryland bishops' statement did not reference Charles Carroll and the Carroll Family in the document!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deposed and Found Guilty

Lady Jane Grey Dudley was accused of treason and tried at the Guildhall in London on November 13, 1553, along with her husband Guildford Dudley. They were found guilty for their roles in subverting the orderly succession as outlined by Henry VIII and Parliament when Edward VI died. Northumberland, who had developed the plot to place his daughter-in-law upon the throne had already been executed.

Mary did not, however, allow the sentences of death by carried out against the Nine Days Queen and the others. Jane and Guildford remained under arrest in the Tower of London, but it was clear to Mary that they had been pawns of Northumberland.

It was not until Jane's father Henry Grey, the Duke of Suffolk (pictured) was implicated in Wyatt's Rebellion in January and February of 1554 that it became clear to Mary that Jane's survival was dangerous to the throne. Jane was a focus of rebellion while she lived. Otherwise, Mary had hoped eventually to release her from the Tower!

St. Thomas More and Chelsea

The Anglican Chelsea Old Church honors Sir Thomas More--the statue of him seated with his chain of office resting on his knees stands outside it. According to the church website:

Sir Thomas More settled in Chelsea in about 1520 and built himself a house there. It stood on the site of the present Beaufort Street, in spacious, formal grounds which stretched from the river, where his barge was moored to take him to Westminster or Hampton Court on state business, to the present King's Road. No traces of the house remain, other than parts of the original orchard wall, which now border the gardens of the houses on the west side of Paultons Square.
Sir Thomas rebuilt one of the chapels in the Old Church when he moved to Chelsea and his association with the church was close and devout. He and his family worshipped there regularly.
The Old Church was largely destroyed an an air-raid in 1941 and subsquently restored in 1949/1950; however, the More Chapel and Monument were happily rescued almost intact. . . .
Thomas More's links with Chelsea Old Church are commemorated each year in the Thomas More Commemoration Service, at which a distinguished guest preacher is invited to give a sermon on a topic linked to Thomas More or any aspect of his life.

The most current sermon on the website dates from 2000.

The Catholic Church honoring Our Holy Redeemer and St. Thomas More in Chelsea was consecrated in 1905 and St. Thomas More was added to its title after he was canonized in 1935.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stephen Gardiner, Mary I's Chancellor

Stephen Gardiner, Mary I's Chancellor and the Bishop of Winchester, died on November 12, 1555. While he had supported Henry VIII's supremacy, opposed Edward VI's Calvinist Reformation, and then assisted Mary I, which included renouncing his views on the supremacy, since that was a role she rejected. The 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica summed up his life and character thusly:

Perhaps no celebrated character of that age has been the subject of so much ill-merited abuse at the hands of popular historians. That his virtue was not equal to every trial must be admitted, but that he was anything like the morose and narrowminded bigot he is commonly represented there is nothing whatever to show. He has been called ambitious, turbulent, crafty, abject, vindictive, bloodthirsty and a good many other things besides, not quite in keeping with each other; in addition to which it is roundly asserted by Bishop Burnet that he was despised alike by Henry and by Mary, both of whom made use of him as a tool. How such a mean and abject character submitted to remain five years in prison rather than change his principles is not very clearly explained; and as to his being despised, we have seen already that neither Henry nor Mary considered him by any means despicable. The truth is, there is not a single divine or statesman of that day whose course throughout was so thoroughly consistent. He was no friend to the Reformation, it is true, but he was at least a conscientious opponent. In doctrine he adhered to the old faith from first to last, while as a question of church policy, the only matter for consideration with him was whether the new laws and ordinances were constitutionally justifiable.

His merits as a theologian it is unnecessary to discuss; it is as a statesman and a lawyer that he stands conspicuous. But his learning even in divinity was far from commonplace. The part that he was allowed to take in the drawing up of doctrinal formularies in Henry VIII's time is not clear; but at a later date he was the author of various tracts in defence of the Real Presence against Cranmer, some of which, being written in prison, were published abroad under a feigned name. Controversial writings also passed between him and Bucer, with whom he had several interviews in Germany, when he was there as Henry VIII's ambassador.

He was a friend of learning in every form, and took great interest especially in promoting the study of Greek at Cambridge. He was, however, opposed to the new method of pronouncing the language introduced by Sir John Cheke, and wrote letters to him and Sir Thomas Smith upon the subject, in which, according to Ascham, his opponents showed themselves the better critics, but he the superior genius. In his own household he loved to take in young university men of promise; and many whom he thus encouraged became distinguished in after life as bishops, ambassadors and secretaries of state. His house, indeed, was spoken of by Leland as the seat of eloquence and the special abode of the muses.

He lies buried in his own cathedral at Winchester, where his effigy is still to be seen.

More from this site. Of course, I refer to Stephen Gardiner in Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation.

What I'm Reading Now

Two books I'm reading now:

Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe by Brad S. Gregory. From the Harvard University Press website:

Thousands of men and women were executed for incompatible religious views in sixteenth-century Europe. The meaning and significance of those deaths are studied here comparatively for the first time, providing a compelling argument for the importance of martyrdom as both a window onto religious sensibilities and a crucial component in the formation of divergent Christian traditions and identities.

Gregory explores Protestant, Catholic, and Anabaptist martyrs in a sustained fashion, addressing the similarities and differences in their self-understanding. He traces the processes and impact of their memorialization by co-believers, and he reconstructs the arguments of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities responsible for their deaths. In addition, he assesses the controversy over the meaning of executions for competing views of Christian truth, and the intractable dispute over the distinction between true and false martyrs. He employs a wide range of sources, including pamphlets, martyrologies, theological and devotional treatises, sermons, songs, woodcuts and engravings, correspondence, and legal records. Reconstructing religious motivation, conviction, and behavior in early modern Europe, Gregory shows us the shifting perspectives of authorities willing to kill, martyrs willing to die, martyrologists eager to memorialize, and controversialists keen to dispute.


The She-Apostle: The Extraordinary Life and Death of Luisa de Carvajal by Glyn Redworth. From the Oxford University Press website:

Before dawn one morning in June 1612, an elderly Frenchman took charge of a carriage carrying a precious cargo near Tyburn Fields, London's notorious place of execution. It was heading for a house in Spitalfields, where a wizened Spanish woman was waiting to receive the mortal remains of freshly-martyred Catholic priests. Her name was Luisa de Carvajal and this book tells her story.

Born into a great Spanish noble family, Luisa suffered a horribly abusive childhood and from her early years hankered to become a martyr for her faith. For almost 20 years she struggled to become possibly the first female missionary of modern times. In 1605 - the year of the Gunpowder Plot - she was secreted into England by the Jesuits, despite the fact that she spoke not a word of English. To everyone's surprise including her own, she steadily assumed a prominent role within London's underground Catholic community, setting up an unofficial nunnery, offering Roman priests a secure place to live, consoling prisoners awaiting execution, importing banned books, and helping persecuted Catholics to flee abroad. Throughout this time she ran the grave risk of imprisonment and execution, yet she miraculously managed to avoid this ultimate fate in spite of being arrested on a number of occasions. This vividly written biography, the first to give equal treatment to her double life in Spain and England, is based on Luisa's own autobiographical writings, her sparkling collection of poems and letters, and the detailed reminiscences by dozens of people who worked with her. In parts humorous, the book contains Luisa's biting descriptions of the cost of living in Shakespeare's London, the poor quality of food in the capital, as well as the weekend rowdiness of the English.

I'll let you know what I think of them soon. What are you reading?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dissolution of the Monasteries Redux

I commented yesterday to Brian Patrick on the Son Rise Morning Show that Henry VIII's "Achievement" of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England--and in the parts of Ireland he controlled--was not a unique event in European history. Derek Beales' book on the effects of the Enlightenment anti-clericalism and the Revolutionary movements in a long view of the seventeenth century proves that:

In the Catholic countries of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Europe, communities of monks and nuns were growing in number and wealth. They constructed vast buildings, dominated education, and played a large part in the practice and patronage of learning, music, and the arts. This lavishly-illustrated book offers a unique, comparative description of these communities--their wealth, growth, life, and importance--and then explains their catastrophic decline and fall between 1650 and 1815 by reforming rulers, the 'Enlightenment', and the French Revolution. Derek Beales, Professor Emeritus of Modern History, Cambridge, is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the British Academy. He has published numerous historical monographs including a book on musical history entitled, Mozart and the Habsburgs (Reeding, 1993) as well as articles in the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement.

I have not read this book, but it looks very interesting:

After the defeat of liberalism in the Revolution of 1848, and in the face of the dramatic revival of popular Catholicism, German middle-class liberals used anti-Catholicism to orient themselves culturally in a new age. Michael B. Gross's study shows how anti-Catholicism and specifically the Kulturkampf—the campaign to break the power of the Catholic Church—were not simply attacks against the church, nor were they merely an attempt to secure state autonomy. Instead, Gross shows that the liberal attack on Catholicism was actually a complex attempt to preserve moral, social, political, and sexual order during a period of dramatic pressures for change.

By offering a provocative reinterpretation of liberalism and its relationship to the German anti-Catholic movement, this work ultimately demonstrates that in Germany, liberalism itself contributed to a culture of intolerance that would prove to be a serious liability in the twentieth century. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars of culture, ideology, religion, and politics.

Michael B. Gross is Associate Professor of History at East Carolina University.

And finally, Owen Chadwick's A History of the Popes, 1830-1914 is an absolutely great resource for understanding the kulturkampf movements not only in Germany but in Switzerland and France, and the general anti-clerical movements in Spain and Portugal. Chadwick ranges far beyond just the popes, covering the religious orders, saints canonized in that era, and other fascinating themes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some Resources on The Dissolution of the Monasteries

If you've heard my interview on the Dissolution of the Monasteries this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show, here are some resources:

Geoffrey Moorhouse wrote this book on the Dissolution, focused on what happened at Durham. He also wrote The Pilgrimage of Grace: The Rebellion that Shook Henry VIII's Throne. More information on that book here.

Dom David Knowles' Bare Ruined Choirs is another great resource, adapted from his three volume study of monasteries in England.

In my article in OSV's The Catholic Answer Magazine, I reference two novels: H.F.M. Prescott's The Man on a Donkey and Robert Hugh Benson's
The King's Achievement. Benson's is particularly evocative as it focuses on a family experiencing division and conflict over the dissolution: one brother suppresses both this sister's convent and his brother's monastery (Lewes Priory).

Of course, I dedicate a section of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation to the dissolution and uprising against it.

John Carroll and the Carroll Family

Hearing Kevin Schmiesing on the Son Rise Morning Show Monday morning, I was reminded that John Carroll, former Jesuit, became the first Catholic bishop in the United States of America on November 6, 1789. His older brother Daniel was one of only two Catholics to sign the Constitution and one of only five men who signed both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. His cousin Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the only Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence and also served as the first Senator from Maryland.

I've mentioned the Carroll family before on this blog and I include Maryland, the Calverts (Lords Baltimore), and the attempt to establish a colony in the New World where the colonists could be loyal both to their sovereign and their Church in several chapters of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation. The link between the Carrolls and the English Reformation begins with the Jesuit College of St. Omer in what is now France, but was then the Spanish Netherlands (roughly today's Belgium). Robert Parsons/Persons, SJ founded the College for the education of England Catholic boys who could not otherwise receive a Catholic education. Charles, Daniel and John all attended the College at St. Omers, which subsequently moved to Bruges, Liege and finally to Stonyhurst in England (!) because of unrest in those continental areas.

John Carroll continued his education in the Jesuit seminary and was ordained in 1769 and finally returned to Maryland as a missionary priest in 1773, after Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus. With his cousin Charles, he accompanied Samuel Chase and Benjamin Franklin to Quebec on the Continental Congress's attempt to gain French (Catholic) Canadian support for the Revolution in 1776. Once colonial independence had been won from Great Britain and eventually religious freedom assured by the Constitution, Catholics had greater freedom in the new United States of America. Archbishop Charles Chaput describes the reasons for Charles Carroll's support of the Revolution and the Constitution in his book, Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, (Chapter Five. The American Experiment)--I'm attending a book group at Eighth Day Books reading and discussing this book weekly.

Carroll was elected the first Catholic bishop on November 6, 1789 by the clergy (24 out of 26 voted for him) and his selection was approved by Pope Pius VI. The next year Carroll was ordained in England and then took up his see in Baltimore, Maryland. Among his accomplishments were the founding of Georgetown University, holding the first diocesan synod in 1791, and building the first Catholic cathedral in the United States, now the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He laid the cornerstone but did not live to see it completed. Pope Pius VII raised Baltimore to the Archdiocesan level, and Carroll as its first Archbishop, overseeing bishops in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky. Archbishop John Carroll died on December 3, 1815 and he is buried in the cathedral he founded--more detail on his life here at its official website. You might note the location of his ordination as bishop--England. The Catholic Church in the colonies had been under the leadership of the ordinaries of England, specifically the Vicars Apostolic. It was Bishop Richard Challoner who wrote to Carroll in 1773 about the suppression of the Jesuits, and Benjamin Franklin even opined that the Catholics of the new USA should rather be led by French bishops.

This connection between the Carrolls and the struggles of Catholics in England to secure freedom of worship and religious conscience after the English Reformation fascinates me, especially as I see -- per Archbishop Chaput's book cited above -- that this is really an ongoing struggle for balance and justice between Church and State in every nation and society. John Carroll and the Carrollton family made great contributes to that balance and justice and I think it's good to remember the election of the first Catholic bishop in the United States of America (even though it's a little late!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: The Elizabethan World

This book is by Lacey Baldwin Smith and has an interesting publication history. It was first published as the text accompanying a coffee table picture book on the Elizabethan era. Then it was issued as a trade paperback (I have the American Heritage Library edition); Smith wrote a new introduction but was not allowed to revise the text at all. Perhaps the bibliography was updated. He notes in the new introduction that there were updates he would like to make, but couldn't. More about that below. The contents:

Introduction: The Elizabethan Age
Medieval Twilight: The Odour of Despair
Medieval Twilight: The Scent of Optimism
Sin and Schism
The 'Calm and Quiet Season'
Rage in Heaven
Catherine de Medici and the Ordeal of France
Philip of Spain and God's Obvious Design
Plot and Counterplot
The Great Enterprise
A Decade of Heroes
New Horizons
Epilogue: 'Dead But Not Buried'

NOTA BENE: This book should not be confused with the classic by E.M.W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture.

Although Smith could not update it before this edition came out in 1991, I derived some great benefits from reading this book. Lacey Baldwin Smith certainly has his opinions and his interpretations: Elizabeth is his heroine, but he is as fair as he can be to Catherine de Medici and Philip II--not so for Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots. His scholarship is really behind the times on those two monarchs, as he condemns the latter of her husband's murder and claims the former was unbalanced mentally when she thought she was pregnant.

Smith provides a good overview of the structures of Elizabeth's Court, which were a modern corporate compliance officer's nightmare: all the side deals, "improper payments" and arrangements certainly provided a "near occasion" of corruption! His comparison and contrast of John Calvin and St. Ignatius Loyola is provocative and insightful and his analysis of the heroes of Elizabeth's Court (Drake, Raleigh, Essex, Sidney, et al) depicts their extremes of heroism and egoism, usually occurring at the same time!

The bibliography is extensive and the illustrations, while helpful, are of pretty poor quality.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sacred Music by Robert Parsons

I have been listening to this new CD of Tudor church music by the composer Robert Parsons. Andrew Carwood includes these interesting details about the last track on the disc, an Ave Maria:

Ave Maria has become Parsons’ most famous and well-loved motet since it was included in the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems in 1978. Settings of the Ave Maria are not frequent in England—even William Byrd only set them as required by the liturgy in his two books of Gradualia (1605 and 1607) rather than as stand-alone pieces. Parsons simply sets the lines found in the Gospel of St Luke and has no invocation for the dead (authorized by Pope Pius V in 1568). This is a magical setting and it is not surprising that there is a beautiful ‘Amen’ coda. Initially the piece gives the impression of using a cantus firmus in the top part but it is in fact free-composed throughout. Parsons starts each medius phrase one note higher than the previous one, beginning on F and then moving up to D with long slow notes before reaching ‘benedicta tu’ when it joins the other voices in equal importance. Paul Doe has suggested that this piece might have been prompted by the early promise or subsequent plight of Mary, Queen of Scots. There is no direct evidence for this but it is not unreasonable to consider Parsons and indeed most of the mid-sixteenth-century writers—Sheppard, Tallis, White, Mundy and Tye—as Catholic sympathizers. They seem more free, more expressive, more expansive and more brave in their Latin compositions and it is tempting to speculate that in setting words from Psalms 15 and 119, the Lamentations and the Funeral Responds, they were consciously producing music with a Catholic slant. In comparison their English works tend to be shorter and less virtuosic and even the fledgling Great Services are short on excellent material, but then these mid-sixteenth-century composers were creating a new genre not previously explored and were probably writing to fulfil a set of rules which were not entirely clear. England had to wait for another generation—headed by William Byrd, Thomas Weelkes and Thomas Morley—before writing in English could achieve greatness.

Robert Parsons became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1563 and died in 1572, of drowning.

The recording was made in the Fitzalan Chapel of Arundell Castle in 2010. You can listen to extracts and read the liner notes here. Note how often Andrew Carwood highlights the religious changes of the Tudor succession while discussing the Parson's compositions and their dates.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Catholic Writers Guild Blog

Have I mentioned lately how great the Catholic Writers Guild is? Look at this great post developed by Larissa Hoffman, helping me promote:

~~Two radio interviews (on the Son Rise Morning Show and Kresta in the Afternoon);
~~My article in The Catholic Answer Magazine ("Henry VIII's 'Achievement': What was the Dissolution of the Monasteries?");
~~My book; and
~~This blog.

I'll say it again--if you are a Catholic writer, you should belong to and participate in this great organization! The next big event is the annual On-line conference: more info here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Christchurch Priory

As the Dissolution of the Monasteries is still on my mind (because of the article I wrote for the November/December issue of OSV's The Catholic Answer Magazine, an interview on the Son Rise Morning Show on November 10, the interview I have scheduled on November 15 with Al Kresta, and a Serra Club presentation that evening), today's Sunday Shrine post is about Christchurch Priory in Dorset. The priory church was part of the Augustinian monastery dissolved in 1539. The priory church was set for destruction, but the former prior, John Draper (who had surrendered the monastery and received a generous pension) supported the townspeoples' request that the church become the parish church. Henry VIII granted that request in 1540.

The official website lists this timeline.

There is a miracle associated with the building of the priory church: the Miraculous Beam--

In the first half of the 12th century lies the origin of the legend of the Miraculous Beam.

It is said that in the early building operations, a mysterious carpenter assisted the work. One evening a wooden beam was found to be too short, but the next morning the workmen found to their amazement that it had grown to the proper length overnight and had already been placed in the correct position. The mysterious carpenter did not appear after this and it was assumed by all that he must have been Jesus Christ who helped to build his own church, which thus became known as Christ's Church of Twynham, as the town was then called. Later the town became Twynham-Christchurch, later Christchurch.

That story reminds me of the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with its mysterious carpenter and extraordinary staircase. Sadly, the Loretto Chapel has been deconsecrated and is a privately owned museum and event location (for weddings). Franciscans were still there and it was an active chapel when I visited with my parents many years ago (today was my father's birthday--he would be 90 years old--may he rest eternally young in the peace and glory of Christ!) and I still have a postcard depicting one of the friars. Christchurch Priory is an active Anglican parish church; the wikipedia entry says it is Broadchurch in churchmanship.

William II of Orange Dies

On November 6, 1650, William II, the Prince of Orange, stadtholder of the Netherlands died, leaving his widow, Mary, the former Princess Royal of England (daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria) as the regent for their son William III, Prince of Orange, who was born posthumously. The Prince of Orange was only 24 years old and died of smallpox. His widow would survive him until December 24, 1660, when she was only 29 years old, also of smallpox.

Their son would marry another royal princess, also named Mary (James, the Duke of York's daughter) and William and Mary would reign together as King and Queen of England after the Glorious Revolution, until Mary's death in 1694--of smallpox.

William III died of not smallpox but pneumonia in 1702.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bonfire Night and Occupy Wall Street

The Fifth of November, Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night: November 5th marks the anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

I think this is one of the saddest episodes of Catholic reaction to the recusancy and penal laws imposed upon them by the English government. It was so desperate and impossible, not to mention absolutely murderous and immoral. Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes, and the other conspirators thought that they could blow up Parliament and the Royal Family, except for Elizabeth, the oldest daughter whom they would kidnap and force to rule under their control--and the people of England would rise up against their rulers and put them in charge!

Instead they either died on the scaffold as traitors or in fights with local constabularies. They implicated priests accused of hearing their confessions and not betraying the sanctity of the Sacrament by reporting them to the government and those priests were also sentenced to death. And, of course, the government passed even stricter penal laws against Catholics, restricting their travel, increasing the fines for recusancy, making Catholics liable to search at any time, and requiring all marriages, baptisms, and funerals be registered first in the Church of England, or the family would be fined.

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

For a couple of centuries, the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot was marked by prayers of thanks for deliverance from Catholic plotting. Bonfire Night and the burning of Guy Fawkes and sometimes the current Pope in effigy also continued for two centuries--and there are still bonfires throughout England and former colonial areas today, but some of the historical and religious implications have faded. James Sharpe, in his book on the commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot, traces the fascination with Guy Fawkes, the fading of anti-Catholicism, and the more recent concerns about frightened pets and rowdy drunks. The Guardian posted this review essay in 2005, the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot.

Note that during the Revolutionary War, George Washington forbade his soldiers' celebrating of the Fifth of November. It just didn't make sense at the time.

November 5 also recalls the invasion of Prince William of Orange, landing at Brixham, Torbay in 1688. And this, also, to me is one of the saddest responses of the Anglican elite to the possibility of religious tolerance in England--invite an invasion and depose a legitimately ruling king! William the new conqueror brought a force of around 21,000--mostly foreign mercenaries--including cavalry and artillery. The fact that 1688 was the 100th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada also seemed providential to the Whigs and Tories who rejected James II and his young son and heir. Unlike the Spanish attempt 100 years ago, this invasion would succeed!

A current event note: the Occupy Wall Street movement has adopted the visage of Guy Fawkes from the V for Vendetta comic book (oops, graphic novel) and movie. Forbes offer its interpretation here. As I noted one time when some political group was using the Gunpowder Plot date as an impetus for fundraising, it could be a mistake to adopt as a symbol a failed conspiracy and violent attempt to overthrow the government. It's like a prediction that your effort will fail too.