Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Gunpowder Plotters Die, Part Two

On January 31, 1606, the second group of Gunpowder Plot conspirators were executed: Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Guy Fawkes. From the site I quoted yesterday:

On Friday, 31 January 1606, Fawkes, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes were taken to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster and hanged, drawn and quartered "in the very place which they had planned to demolish in order to hammer home the message of their wickedness". Thomas Wintour was followed by Rookwood and then by Keyes. Guido, the "romantic caped figure of such evil villainy" came last. A contemporary wrote:

"Last of all came the great devil of all, Guy Fawkes, alias Johnson, who should have put fire to the powder. His body being weak with the torture and sickness he was scarce able to go up the ladder, yet with much ado, by the help of the hangman, went high enough to break his neck by the fall. He made no speech, but with his crosses and idle ceremonies made his end upon the gallows and the block, to the great joy of all the beholders that the land was ended of so wicked a villainy".

Jardine says, "according to the accounts of him, he is not to be regarded as a mercenary ruffian, ready for hire to do any deed of blood; but as a zealot, misled by misguided fanaticism, who was, however, by no means destitute of piety or humanity".

Another of the condemned, Ambrose Rookwood, also escaped the agony of evisceration:

While being dragged to his execution, he asked to be told when they were passing his house in the Strand so he could have one last look at his beloved wife. He cried to Elizabeth 'pray for me, pray for me'. She replied "I will, and be of good courage. Offer thyself wholly to God. I, for my part, do as freely restore thee to God as He gave thee unto me".

At the scaffold, he made a speech where he freely confessed his sin, and asked God to bless the King and his family, that they might 'live long to reign in peace and happiness over this Kingdom', and beseeched God to make the King a Catholic. "The onlookers could scarcely restrain their tears since he had been well known and loved for his exemplary behaviour while he lived". This speech earned him his mercy, as he was hanged until he was almost dead.

The Death of Bonnie Prince Charlie

According to Theo Aronson in Kings Over the Water: The Saga of the Stuart Pretenders, the Young Pretender, AKA Bonnie Charlie, born Charles Edward Stuart, actually died on the anniversary of his grandfather's execution on January 30, 1788. His death, however, is dated January 31st of that year.

After the defeat at Culloden in '45 and the Holy See's recognition of the House of Hanover after Prince Charles' father died in 1766, the Pretender wandered in Europe, sometimes calling himself the Duke of Albany.

His wife, Princess Louise of Stolberg-Geden, left him in 1780, claiming abuse. He legitimized his daughter Charlotte, born of his mistress Clementine Walkinshaw, in 1783. They stayed together in Rome and Florence until his death in 1788. Prince Charles was first buried in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter's in Frascati where his brother was bishop, but then he was moved to St. Peter's Basilica when Henry Cardinal Stuart died in 1807. That's where the Prince Regent, later George IV of the House of Hanover, supported the construction of a monument by Antonio Canova to the three Stuart Pretenders--the threat was gone, after all--commemorating the saga of the Kings over the Water.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gunpowder Plotters Die, Part One

Sir Everard Digby, Robert Wintour, John Grant, and Thomas Bates, four of the surviving Gunpowder Plotters were executed in St. Paul's Churchyard on January 30, 1606. They and the other conspirators had been tried on January 27th in Westminster Hall.

According to this site:

Digby, Robert Wintour, John Grant and Thomas Bates were the first scheduled to be executed. Their executions took place at St. Paul's Churchyard on 30 January 1606. Digby was the first to mount the scaffold, which he did unrepentant. In his speech he had claimed that he 'could not condemn himself of any offense to God' in his motives of the 'ending of the persecution of the Catholics, the good of souls, and the cause of religion', although he freely admitted to offending the laws of the realm, for which he was willing to suffer death, and 'thought nothing too much to suffer for those respects which had moved him to that enterprise.'.

He refused to pray with the preachers, and called on the Catholics in the crowd to pray with him, whereby he "fell to his prayers with such devotion as much moved all the beholders".

He then saluted each nobleman and gentlemen upon the scaffold, in 'so friendly and cheerful manner' that they later said that he seemed 'so free from fear of death' that he could have been taking his leave of them as if he was just going from the Court or out of the city.

Digby was hung only a very short time, and was undoubtedly alive when he went to the quartering block and was disembowelled. Cecil's cousin, Sir Francis Bacon told the story that when the executioner plucked out his heart, and held it up saying, as was the custom "Here is the heart of a traitor", Digby managed to summon up the strength to respond "Thou liest".

Digby, perhaps given his youth and earlier popularity, made quite an impression, as recounted by Gerard:

"He was so much and so generally lamented, and is so much esteemed and praised by all sorts in England, both Catholics and others, although neither side do or can approve this last outrageous and exorbitant attempt...".

More about the other conspirators tomorrow.

Heads Roll on January 30 in 1649 and 1661

On January 30, 1649, King Charles I was executed in London outside the Banqueting House at Whitehall. Because of the cold, he wore two shirts so that he would not be seen to tremble, which could be interpreted as fear. I blogged about the start of his trial on January 20; this execution was the inevitable result. There are conflicting reports about crowd reaction to his beheading: one mentions a loud groan and people dipping their handkerchiefs in the blood at the scaffold as either relics or mementos. There is also some uncertainty about who the masked executioner was. Soon after his execution, the pamphlet Eikon Basilike (Royal Image) appeared, building up the image of Charles I as martyr for Anglicanism--John Milton wrote Eikonoklastes (The Iconoclast) as a Parliamentary reaction, attempting to destroy that image in popular imagination.

On January 30, 1661, the body of Oliver Cromwell was exhumed from its grave in Westminster Abbey and was posthumously executed by hanging, drawing and quartering as punishment for his crimes of treason and regicide. His body was left hanging at Tyburn and his head displayed outside Westminster Hall until 1685. Other regicides were either hunted or dug up, as the son exacted vengeance.

In London this morning, a service of commemoration is planned at the site of King Charles the Martyr's execution. According to the Society of King Charles the Martyr (SKCM):

Commemoration at the place of the Martyrdom
Noon High Mass with Sermon
Inside the Banqueting House, Whitehall
Celebrant: The Chaplain to SKCM
The Preacher: The Bishop of Richborough
Followed by Veneration of the Relic

The service is held at the site of S.Charles’s martyrdom, The Banqueting House in Whitehall, London. Wreath laying and prayers near the place of the martyrdom are offered at 11.40 a.m. followed by High Mass (sic) and sermon at noon within the Banqueting House itself.

When the 30th January falls on a Sunday it is customary to transfer the observance to the preceding Saturday.

The Society’s relics of S. Charles are placed upon the altar for the Mass and may be venerated and viewed after the service. A choir, usually from King’s College, London sings at the Mass. The Banqueting House is where S. Charles was kept for several hours on the day of his decollation. It is a magnificent setting for the Mass: the architect was Inigo Jones and the ceiling adorned by the great paintings of Rubens. There is an exhibition on the ground floor describing the events of 30th January 1649.

The Society is very grateful to the Royal Palaces Agency for their permission to hold the Mass. Access to the Banqueting House for the commemoration and Mass is free of charge. The costs of the service are considerable and donations gratefully received. SKCM also provides a bookstall after the Mass.

If you wish to attend, here are some travel notes. One of the SKCM's patrons is Lord Nicholas Windsor, who joined the Catholic Church in 2001 and then got married in the Vatican in 20006--he has thus lost his place in the succession (great-grandson of King George V, younger son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the latter of which became a Catholic in 1994 with Elizabeth II's approval.

Decollation. That's a fine Latinate term for beheading!

Frederick Oakeley, RIP

Frederick Oakeley died on January 30, 1880; he is better known for his English translation of Adestes Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful), but he was a member of the Oxford Movement, friend of W.G. Ward, defender of Newman's Tract 90, and a Catholic convert and priest.

He was born on September 5, 1802 and attended Christ Church at Oxford, becoming a Fellow at Balliol College. He defended W.G. Ward when Ward defended Newman's Tract 90--Ward was removed from his post at Balliol. Oakeley also defended that Tract in which Newman judged that Anglican doctrine was closer to Catholic doctrine than to Protestant, and he lost his living at Margaret Chapel in London.

Thereafter, he joined Newman's community in Littlemore and became Catholic a few weeks after Newman. He studied at St. Edmund's College and was ordained by then Dr. Nicholas Wiseman in 1847.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1911:

"The next thirty-three years were spent as a canon of the Westminister chapter and missionary rector of St. John's, Islington. Short-sighted, small of stature, lame, he exercised a wide influence by his personality, his writings, and the charm of his conversation. His chief works are: Before his conversion: "Aristotelian and Platonic Ethics" (Oxford, 1837); "Whitehall Sermons" (Oxford, 1837-39) "The Subject of Tract XC examined" (London, 1841); "Homilies" (London, 1842); "Life of St. Augustine" (Newman's series, Toovey, 1844). After his conversion: "Practical Sermons" (London, 1848); "The Catholic Florist" (London, 1851); "The Church of the Bible" (London, 1857); "Lyra Liturgica" (London, 1865); "Historical Notes on the Tractarian Movement" (London, 1865); "The Priest on the Mission" (London, 1871)."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Sunday Series: "Our Lady and the English Martyrs"

Last year I dedicated quite a few posts to English churches from before the Reformation and the saints and shrines they featured. Now I am changing the Sunday Shrine series to focus on English "RC" churches built after Emancipation and Restoration that are dedicated to or feature shrines to the Catholic Martyrs. I'll start today with a series of posts on churches named for "Our Lady and the English Martyrs" beginning with the parish church of that name in Cambridge, aka OLEM:

The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, or OLEM, is situated in the heart of the city of Cambridge. An imposing example of the 19th Century Gothic Revival, it was built to the designs of Dunn & Hansom of Newcastle between 1885 and 1890, and founded solely by Mrs Yolande Marie Louise Lyne-Stephens, a former ballet dancer at the Paris Opera and Drury Lane, London, and widow of a wealthy banker. She promised to build the church on the feast of Our Lady of the Assumption, and Monsignor Christopher Scott - the first Rector - also wished to commemorate the Catholic Martyrs who died between 1535 and 1681, over thirty of whom had been in residence at the University.

Designed by architects Dunn and Hansom of Newcastle and built by the Cambridge firm of Rattee and Kett , OLEM is constructed in Casterton, Ancaster and Combe Down Stone. The church is a traditional cruciform structure in the early-decorated style with a large tower at the crossing, a polygonal apse and a west bell tower with a 65-metre spire, visible for miles around Cambridge. Quite often, it is quoted by visitors and local residents as a location point. The approximate internal dimensions of the church are: length 48 meters [156 ft] width across the aisles 16 meters [51 ft] width at the transepts 22 meters [71 ft], the height of the nave 15 meters [71ft].

Inside and over the west door stands the figure of Our Lady of the Assumption crowned with lilies and standing on the crescent moon with the vanquished serpent beneath. The west window shows the English Martyrs arranged in two principal groups, the clergy on the south side with St John Fisher in their midst and the laity on the north grouped round St Thomas More. . . .

The aisle windows were almost completely destroyed when the church was struck by a bomb on 1941, but were subsequently replaced in their original form. They epitomise the various sufferings of the English Martyrs, their being brought before the Council, racked, hung, drawn and quartered in the sight and sympathy of the faithful. The windows of the north aisle portray Carthusians, St Thomas Moore (sic), B. Margaret Pole and others, while the south aisle is made a “Fisher Aisle”, devoted to scenes from the life of St John, Cardinal Bishop of Rochester, who in so many important ways is identified with Cambridge.

Here are some photos from a Flickr photographer, focused on the stained glass windows.

Archbishop Chaput's "Render Unto Caesar"

I belong to a reading group that meets weekly, reading the chosen book aloud and discussing it as we go. We just finished Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's book Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs In Political Life which he wrote while serving the Denver Archdiocese. The book has nothing to do with the topic at hand--but, I found it interesting how Archbishop Chaput referred to historical figures I mention often on this blog, and highlighted in my own book, Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation.

Any book about Church and State will feature Thomas More, and Chaput features Thomas More extensively. He also highlights Bishop John Fisher.

Any book about the rights of religion in the USA will mention Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and Chaput features that great founder also.

Tolkien is the interesting figure and how Chaput works him in is a discussion of how Tolkien's mother Mabel became a Catholic and the very adverse reaction of her family: withdrawing material assistance and love. The Archbishop used her story to depict the cost of following Jesus Christ: "We can't follow Jesus Christ without sharing in his cross."

Reading a book aloud a paragraph (or so) at a time, even with different voices, highlights the rhythm of sentence structure, phraseology, and word choice in an author's prose. I read Supremacy and Survival aloud as I wrote it to hear what I was "saying" and how I was "saying" it. It's a big leap back to ancient times when all reading was aloud--remember how St. Augustine was amazed when St. Ambrose read silently? What reading groups do you belong to, readers, and have you ever participated in a read aloud group?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Henry Born; Another Henry Dies

Henry VII was born on January 28, 1457 while Henry VIII died on January 28, 1547.
Henry Tudor, founder of the Tudor Dynasty, was the son of Edmund Tudor the First Earl of Richmond and Margaret Beaufort. His Lancastrian claim to the throne of England was through his mother who was the great granddaughter of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. It was a rather tenuous claim, however, since it was maternal and based on a lineage of ancesters who had legitimized by Parliamentary act, since John's children by Kathryn Swynford were born before they were married. Through his father's ancestry, there was the link to Catherine of Valois through her marriage to Owen Tudor. His reputation, based on the joyous young reign of his second son, has been of a dour skinflint who just saved lots of money for that son to waste (per Hoskins). Henry VIII of course began that interpretation by executing his father's unpopular ministers, Empson and Dudley. Nevertheless Henry VII ended the Wars of the Roses, established the new dynasty, developed England's foreign policy; in doing so, he had to destroy any rivals to the throne through fair means or foul, curtail the power of the nobility, and institute unpopular taxes--except that England was ready for a stable central government and thus he succeeded in most of his efforts.

There is a new biography of Henry VII coming out soon: Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn, published by Simon and Schuster:

It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and countercoups. Through luck, guile and ruthlessness, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings, had clambered to the top of the heap—a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s throne. For many he remained a usurper, a false king.

But Henry had a crucial asset: his queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Queen Elizabeth was a member of the House of York. Henry himself was from the House of Lancaster, so between them they united the warring parties that had fought the bloody century-long Wars of the Roses. Now their older son, Arthur, was about to marry a Spanish princess. On a cold November day sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon arrived in London for a wedding that would mark a triumphal moment in Henry’s reign.

In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII—a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.

Rich with drama and insight, Winter King is an astonishing story of pageantry, treachery, intrigue and incident—and the fraught, dangerous birth of Tudor England.

Here is an analysis of Henry VIII's legacy and last will and testament from a very popular Tudor blog. The reputation of Henry VIII as a ruler is so bound up in popular imagination with our desire to see people in the past and present be happy (that is, do whatever they want to do) that we sometimes forget Henry VIII's vocation and purpose in life was to be a good king, husband, and father. His sexual and marital life, a la The Tudors, perhaps prevents us from judging his actions in those three roles more objectively. From my point of view, for instance, citing the establishment of the Church of England as an accomplishment of his reign deserves a great deal of qualification. It was not based upon a theological reforming inspiration; it involved horrible destruction and loss of life; it required the establishment of an empire and a tyranny, and Henry VIII died wanting all the consolations of a traditional Catholic death: Masses and prayers, forgiveness and Heaven. By dividing England from the universal Catholic Church and the spiritual and moral authority of the Pope in Rome, Henry ensured that his bequests for spiritual assistance in the afterlife would never be fulfilled. Along the way, in addition to becoming a tyrant to his people, he proved himself a poor model of a husband (treating Katherine of Aragon cruelly and inhumanely and sentencing Anne Boleyn to a unjust death) and of a father (humiliating and threatening Mary; neglecting Elizabeth). As Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury said a few years ago, if Henry VIII gained Heaven it was only through the prayers of one of the holy men he condemned to hideous death--because they opposed his break away from the universal Catholic Church and his claim on ecclesiastical supremacy in establishing the Ecclesiae Anglicanae. [And the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury would even say such a thing, indicating a belief in salvation through works or even purgation after death, demonstrates again the confused legacy of Henry VIII's Church of England!]

It is also interesting to remember the words of Henry Peto, Observant Franciscan, who warned Henry VIII that dogs would lick his blood after his death, just like the bad King Ahab in the Old Testament: When Henry's body was being brought to Windsor Castle for burial, it rested overnight at the former Syon Abbey:

Syon Abbey had become renowned for its spiritual learning, public preaching and library. It was favoured and visited by King Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon but it got embroiled in the religious turmoil of the King’s divorce and his subsequent action of making himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. The Father Confessor, of the nuns, Richard Reynolds, could not accept the King’s supremacy and was brutally executed in 1535, his body placed on the abbey gateway. He was later canonised as a martyr.

In 1547, King Henry VIII's coffin was brought to Syon on its way to Windsor for burial. It burst open during the night and in the morning dogs were found licking up the remains! This was regarded as a divine judgement for the King's desecration of Syon Abbey.

And the fulfillment of Henry Peto's warning to Henry/Ahab about Anne/Jezebel! I'm sorry, I just don't agree that Henry VIII's establishment of the Church of England was an accomplishment worthy of unmitigated or unreserved praise.

The English Reformation and "Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran School v. EEOC"

The recent decision from The Supreme Court of the United States of American reversing a Sixth Circuit Court decision was written by Chief Justice Roberts. He cites the history of religious conflict in England from King John and the Magna Carta to Henry VIII and the Act of Supremacy--and beyond, to the colonies of "New England":

Controversy between church and state over religious offices is hardly new. In 1215, the issue was addressed in the very first clause of Magna Carta. There, King John agreed that “the English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.” The King in particular accepted the “freedom of elections,”a right “thought to be of the greatest necessity and importance to the English church.” J. Holt, Magna Carta App. IV, p. 317, cl. 1 (1965).

That freedom in many cases may have been more theoretical than real. See, e.g., W. Warren, Henry II 312(1973) (recounting the writ sent by Henry II to the electorsof a bishopric in Winchester, stating: “I order you to hold a free election, but forbid you to elect anyone but Richard my clerk”). In any event, it did not survive the reign of Henry VIII, even in theory. The Act of Supremacy of 1534, 26 Hen. 8, ch. 1, made the English monarch the supreme head of the Church, and the Act in Restraint of Annates, 25 Hen. 8, ch. 20, passed that same year, gave him the authority to appoint the Church’s high officials. See G. Elton, The Tudor Constitution: Documents and Commentary 331–332 (1960). Various Acts of Uniformity, enacted subsequently, tightened further the government’s grip onthe exercise of religion. See, e.g., Act of Uniformity, 1559,1 Eliz., ch. 2; Act of Uniformity, 1549, 2 & 3 Edw. 6, ch. 1. The Uniformity Act of 1662, for instance, limited service as a minister to those who formally assented to prescribed tenets and pledged to follow the mode of worship set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. Any minister who refusedto make that pledge was “deprived of all his Spiritual Promotions.” Act of Uniformity, 1662, 14 Car. 2, ch. 4.

Seeking to escape the control of the national church, the Puritans fled to New England, where they hoped to elect their own ministers and establish their own modes of worship. See T. Curry, The First Freedoms: Church and State in America to the Passage of the First Amendment 3 (1986); McConnell, The Origins and Historical Understanding of Free Exercise of Religion, 103 Harv. L. Rev.1409, 1422 (1990). William Penn, the Quaker proprietor of what would eventually become Pennsylvania and Delaware, also sought independence from the Church of England. The charter creating the province of Pennsylvania contained no clause establishing a religion. See S. Cobb, The Rise of Religious Liberty in America 440–441 (1970).

Colonists in the South, in contrast, brought the Church of England with them. But even they sometimes chafed at the control exercised by the Crown and its representatives over religious offices. In Virginia, for example, the law vested the governor with the power to induct ministers presented to him by parish vestries, 2 Hening’s Statutes at Large 46 (1642), but the vestries often refused to make such presentations and instead chose ministers on their own. See H. Eckenrode, Separation of Church and State in Virginia 13–19 (1910). Controversies over the selection of ministers also arose in other Colonies with Anglican establishments, including North Carolina. See C. Antieau, A. Downey, & E. Roberts, Freedom from Federal Establishment: Formation and Early History of the First Amendment Religion Clauses 10–11 (1964). There, the royal governor insisted that the right of presentation lay with the Bishop of London, but the colonial assembly enacted laws placing that right in the vestries. Authorities in England intervened, repealing those laws as inconsistent with the rights of the Crown. See id., at 11; Weeks, Church and State in North Carolina, Johns Hopkins U. Studies in Hist. & Pol. Sci., 11th Ser., Nos. 5–6, pp. 29–36 (1893).

It was against this background that the First Amendment was adopted. Familiar with life under the established Church of England, the founding generation sought to foreclose the possibility of a national church. See 1 Annals of Cong. 730–731 (1789) (noting that the Establishment Clause addressed the fear that “one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform” (remarks of J. Madison)). . . .

Chief Justice Roberts goes on to cite a proof text of the government's non-interference in the naming of church ministers, in connection with the Catholic Church and the firt Archbishop of Baltimore, John Carroll:

The first [example] occurred in 1806, when John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States, solicited the Executive’s opinion on who should be appointed to direct the affairs of the Catholic Church in the territory newly acquired by the Louisiana Purchase. After consulting with President Jefferson, then-Secretary of State Madison responded that the selection of church “functionaries” was an “entirely ecclesiastical” matter left to the Church’s own judgment. Letter from James Madison to Bishop Carroll (Nov. 20, 1806), reprinted in 20 Records of the American Catholic Historical Society 63 (1909). The “scrupulous policy of the Constitution in guarding against a political interference with religious affairs,” Madison explained, prevented the Government from rendering an opinion on the “selection of ecclesiastical individuals.” Id., at 63–64.

It is interesting that Roberts does not cite Maryland and the Lords Baltimore in the paragraph on the Puritans and the Quakers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Your Own Personal Tour of an Historic Building

Elizabeth Chadwick, an author of historical fiction set in Medieval England, offers this post on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog about a personal tour she received of the Palace of Westminster. Since she writes about William Wallace, she was attuned to certain things during the tour:

A little while ago, A reader called Mike Pinchen wrote to me to say he'd been enjoying the novels about William Marshal. He also told me that he worked as an usher for Black Rod's department at the House of Lords and that should I ever wish for a bespoke guided tour of the Palace of Westminster, he would be delighted to show me round. How could I refuse? What a wonderful and unique opportunity. I accepted with alacrity and delight. Thank you Mike. What gave the invitation that extra frisson is that 800 years ago, John Marshal - hero of my novel A Place Beyond Courage, was in charge of the King's ushers, and the Marshal always carried a rod of office when on official business. We also know the name of two of the ushers from John Marshal's time - Bonhomme and Ralf. What a connection down the centuries. It gives me a feeling of warmth and pride and security to know that the job still exists. I guess that's what experiencing roots and continuity does for you.

She describes visiting the House of Commons, Westminster Hall, the undercroft chapel, (more images here from another source on flicker) and the House of Lords, and provides photographs of the areas where photography was allowed. It's a very worthwhile post.

Reading it led me to consider what I would really pay attention to and be meditating on when given a personal tour of the Palace of Westminster. In Westminster Hall I would certainly want to find the marker on the floor designating St. Thomas More's trial, but would also remember St. John Fisher and many others tried and convicted there, some later led to martyrdom on Tower Hill or at Tyburn Tree. St. Mary's Undercroft looks absolutely gorgeous and I would enjoy the Gothic glories there, while in the House of Commons again, I would think, not of William Marshal, but of Thomas More withstanding Thomas Cardinal Wosley, or of Charles I entering the House of Commons to arrest certain members of that house who had already fled. Visiting the chapel in the undercroft would also call to mind the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes's capture while checking on the gunpowder stored in the undercroft to plow up the Houses of Parliament; today is the anniversary of the trials in 1606 of the surviving conspirators in Westminster Hall. Found guilty of treason, they were scheduled to be executed the last two days of January, two cold midwinter mornings.

What would you want to see in the Houses of Parliament? What other historic building would you want to tour with a personal guide?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

TRENT AND ALL THAT: Catholic Reformation or Counter Reformation? Or Something Else??

One of the last purchases on my Eighth Day Books gift certificate from my husband this Christmas is Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era by John W. O'Malley. Previously, I have enjoyed reading his book Four Cultures of the West (prophetic, academic, humanistic, performance/art). Re: this book, Harvard University Press states:

Counter Reformation, Catholic Reformation, the Baroque Age, the Tridentine Age, the Confessional Age: why does Catholicism in the early modern era go by so many names? And what political situations, what religious and cultural prejudices in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave rise to this confusion? Taking up these questions, John O’Malley works out a remarkable guide to the intellectual and historical developments behind the concepts of Catholic reform, the Counter Reformation, and, in his felicitous term, Early Modern Catholicism. The result is the single best overview of scholarship on Catholicism in early modern Europe, delivered in a pithy, lucid, and entertaining style. Although its subject is fundamental to virtually all other issues relating to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, there is no other book like this in any language.

More than a historiographical review, Trent and All That makes a compelling case for subsuming the present confusion of terminology under the concept of Early Modern Catholicism. The term indicates clearly what this book so eloquently demonstrates: that Early Modern Catholicism was an aspect of early modern history, which it strongly influenced and by which it was itself in large measure determined. As a reviewer commented, O’Malley’s discussion of terminology "opens up a different way of conceiving of the whole history of Catholicism between the Reformation and the French Revolution."

Table of Contents:
Introduction: What’s in a Name?
1. How It All Began
2. Hubert Jedi and the Classic Position
3. England and Italy in Jedin’s Wake
4. France, Germany, and Beyond
Conclusion: There’s Much in a Name

The work he highlights in chapter three is H. Outram Evennett's Spirit of the Counter-Reformation, based on his Birkbeck Lectures of 1951 edited by John Bossy, one of Evennett's students and the author of the major study on English Catholicism, The English Catholic Community, 1570-1850 . What both O'Malley and Bossy point out in their evaulation of Evennett's achievement in this book (which has NOT BEEN OUT OF PRINT since publication), is that he was working in a cultural milieu, British academia at the University of Cambridge that of course had not considered the Catholic side of early modern history at all. I read Evennett's book a few years ago while preparing a couple of presentations on the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic/Counter Reformation for my parish's RCIA program.

After tracing the development of the names of what O'Malley calls "the Catholic side" of the religious changes that happened in Europe during the 16th and 17th century, he summarizes their effectiveness and proposes a new name (as of 2001, at least): Early Modern Catholicism. The other terms used: The Counter Reformation (describes the actions taken by the Catholic Church to "counter" the Protestant Reformation; The Catholic Reformation (describes the actions taken by the Catholic Church to address abuses, improve discipline); The Tridentine Age (focuses on the efforts of the Council of Trent); Confessional Catholicism (focuses on the efforts of states and nations to identify themselves politically as Catholic)--each have strengths and weaknesses in attempting to summarize the Church's activities in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The term O'Malley proposes, Early Modern Catholicism, suffers, as he admits, from some vagueness but benefits by comprehending all the other names under its big tent, and other names besides--like the Baroque Era, the Age of Gold in Spain, the Great Century in France, etc. Robert S. Miola uses that term in the title of his great anthology.

Although he uses yet another term for the Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation ("The Reinvention of Catholicism") I thought of Nathan Mitchell's book on the Rosary as I read O'Malley describing how his term Early Modern Catholicism allows much more leeway in discussing people and events that don't fit under the categories claimed in the names listed above: the missionary efforts (including England); the devotional and confraternity movements and new orders founded in the 16th and 17th centuries, like the Oratory; and the role of women, the Ursulines, Mary of Agreda, etc.

Another book that represents that broader reach and uses YET ANOTHER TERM, "Catholic Renewal" also demonstrates the dating issue O'Malley brings up, extending the period from 1540 to 1770, up to Enlightenment times. The second edition added a chapter on "The Catholic Book", which means I need to supplement the edition I already have!

Finally, there is Robert Bireley's book, The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation published by Catholic University of America Press:

Throughout its history, Christianity has adapted to contemporary society and culture in order to reach people effectively and have an impact on the world. This process often evokes controversy. Certainly this is the case in the current century, and so it was in the sixteenth. Robert Bireley argues that early modern Catholicism, the period known more traditionally as the Counter Reformation, was both shaped by and an active response to the profound changes of the sixteenth century--the growth of the state; economic expansion and social dislocation; European colonialism across the seas; the Renaissance; and, of course, the Protestant Reformation.

Bireley finds that there were two fundamental, contrasting desires that helped shape early modern Catholicism: the desire especially of a lay elite to lead a full Christian life in the world and the widespread desire for order and discipline after the upheavals of the long sixteenth century. He devotes particular attention to new methods of evangelization in the Old World and the New, education at the elementary, secondary, and university levels, the new active religious orders of women as well as men, and the effort to create a spirituality for the Christian living in the world.

This book will be of great value to all those studying the political, social, religious, and cultural history of the period.

What term do you think best describes "the Catholic side" of the 16th and 17th centuries? Please cast your vote in the comment box and tell why:

1) Catholic Counter Reformation
2) Catholic Reformation
3) Tridentine Age
4) Confessional Catholicism
5) Early Modern Catholicism
6) Catholic Renewal or Catholic Refashioning
7) Your Own Term

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tract 90--January 25, 1841

The last of the Tracts of the Times came out on January 25, 1841 and received a very cold reaction that had nothing to do with the winter weather. The full title of Tract 90 is "Remarks on certain Passages of the Thirty-nine Articles."

In it, Tractarian John Henry Newman examined the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England and argued that they had more in common with Roman Catholicism than with Protestantism: as he noted in the introduction, "while our Prayer Book is acknowledged on all hands to be of Catholic origin, our articles also, the offspring of an uncatholic age, are, through GOD'S good providence, to say the least, not uncatholic, and may be subscribed by those who aim at being catholic in heart and doctrine." Because of Tract 90, the Oxford Movement was effectively shut down; Newman soon retreated to Littlemore. The Tract was condemned and Newman barely escaped censure--it was a good time to leave town!

As he wrote later in the Apologia Pro Vita Sua:

I saw indeed clearly that my place in the Movement was lost; public confidence was at an end; my occupation was gone. It was simply an impossibility that I could say any thing henceforth to good effect, when I had been posted up by the marshal on the buttery-hatch of every College of my University, after the manner of discommoned pastry-cooks, and when in every part of the country and every class of society, through every organ and opportunity of opinion, in newspapers, in periodicals, at meetings, in pulpits, at dinner-tables, in coffee-rooms, in railway carriages, I was denounced as a traitor who had laid his train and was detected in the very act of firing it against the time-honoured Establishment.

When he compiled works from the Tractarian movement in The Via Media of the Anglican Church Illustrated in Lectures, Letters and Tracts Written between 1830 and 1841, then Cardinal Newman explained the background and purpose of the Tract:

THIS Tract was written under the conviction that the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, of which it treated, were, when taken in their letter, so loosely worded, so incomplete in statement, and so ambiguous in their meaning, as to need an authoritative interpretation; and that neither those who drew them up, nor those who imposed them were sufficiently agreed among themselves, or clear and consistent in their theological views individually to be able to supply it.

There was but one authority to whom recourse could be had for such interpretation—the Church Catholic. She had been taught the revealed truth by Christ and His Apostles in the beginning, and had in turn taught it in every age to her faithful children, and would teach it on to the end. And what she taught, all her branches taught; and this the Anglican Church did teach, must teach, if it was a branch of the Church Catholic, otherwise it was not a branch; but a branch it certainly was, for, if it was not a branch, what had we to do with it? And it being a branch, it was the duty of all its members, priests and people, ever to profess what the Universal Church had from the beginning professed, and nothing else, and nothing short of it, that is, what had been held semper et ubique et ab omnibus. Accordingly, it was their plain duty to interpret the Thirty-nine Articles in this one distinct Catholic sense, the sense of the Holy Fathers, of Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, and of all Doctors and Saints; it being impossible that in any important matters those Articles should diverge from that sense, or resist the interpretation which that sense required, inasmuch as the Divine Lord of the Church watched over all her portions, and would not suffer the Anglican or any portion to commit itself to statements which could not fairly and honestly be made to give forth a Catholic meaning.

And the circumstances under which the Thirty-nine Articles came into existence, favoured this view. Its compilers were not likely knowingly to exclude the possibility of a Catholic interpretation of them. Doubtless they wished to introduce the new doctrine, but it did not follow from that that they wished to exclude those who still held the old. The ambiguity above spoken of, in the instance of men so acute and learned as they were, could only be accounted for by great differences of opinions among themselves, and a wish by means of compromise to include among the subscriptions to their formulary a great variety of the then circulating opinions, of which a moderate quasi-Catholicity was one. This would lead them to the use of words, which in the long-run, as they would consider, would tell in favour of Protestantism, while in the letter and in their first effect they did not enforce it.

It must be added, in corroboration, that, as is well known, the very Convocation which received and passed the Thirty-nine Articles, also enjoined that "preachers should be careful, that they should never teach aught in a sermon, to be religiously held and believed by the people, except that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, and which the Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops have collected from that very doctrine." Could they mean their Thirty-nine Articles to be inconsistent with that patristical literature, which at the same time they made the rule even for the interpretation of inspired Scripture?

This primâ facie view of the Thirty-nine Articles as not excluding a moderate Catholicism (that is, Roman doctrine, as far as it was Catholic) became more cogent, when it was considered that one of these Articles recognized, approved, and appealed to the two Books of "Homilies," as "containing a godly and wholesome doctrine," and by this appeal determined the animus and drift of the Articles to be Catholic. It was evidence of this in two ways, positively and negatively:—positively, inasmuch as the Homilies, though hitherto claimed by the Evangelical party as one of their special weapons against the High Church . . . were found on a closer inspection to take a view more or less favourable to Rome as regards the number of the Sacraments, the Canon of Scripture, the efficacy of penance, and other points; and negatively, because the Homilies for the most part struck, not at certain Roman doctrines and practices, but at their abuse, and therefore, when, once these Homilies were taken as a legitimate comment on the Articles, they suggested that the repudiations of Roman teaching in the Articles were repudiations of it so far as it was abused, not as it was in itself.

Indeed, it may be further asked, if the Articles were not aimed at the abuses, doctrinal and practical, as drawn out in the Homilies, the abuses of times and places, of particular dioceses, schools, preachers, and people, against what could they be directed? Certainly not against any formal doctrines of Rome, call them Catholic or not, for the Tridentine Decrees were not promulgated till 1564, and the Thirty-nine Articles were agreed on in Convocation in 1562.
For these reasons it appeared likely, that when the Articles were carefully handled, little in them would interfere with the liberty of teaching in the Church of England the semper, ubique, et ab omnibus of the Catholic Religion, the unanimous teaching of the Holy Fathers, the present teaching, as far as concordant, of the East and West.

The all-important question followed, whether the Articles, when examined, actually fulfilled this expectation for which there were several good reasons; whether, one by one, they were (as was said at the time) "patient, though not ambitious, of a Catholic interpretation." The Tract which follows made that experiment.

1. Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Church.
2. Justification by Faith only.
3. Works before and after Justification.
4. The Visible Church.
5. General Councils.
6. Purgatory, Pardons, Images, Relics, Invocation of Saints.
7. The Sacraments.
8. Transubstantiation.
9. Masses.
10. Marriage of Clergy.
11. The Homilies.
12. The Bishop of Rome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First Jesuit Popish Plot Martyrs

Blessed William Ireland, SJ (picture) and Blessed John Grove, a Jesuit lay brother, were executed on 24 January 1679, found guilty in Titus Oates' perjured plot:

William Ireland (1636-1679) worked for 10 years in Flanders, waiting to return to his native England. When he was finally able to do so, he served as procurator (responsible for finances) for only one year before he became the first victim of the infamous Titus Oates plot. Ireland studied at the English College at Saint-Omer, Flanders, and entered the Jesuit novitiate at age 19. After studying theology at Liège, he was ordained in 1667. For the next decade he taught at his alma mater and was confessor to the Poor Clares at Gravelines. Finally, he was able to return to England in June 1677 and settled in London where he used the alias "Ironmonger" while he cared for the financial affairs of the Jesuit mission.

Titus Oates was a renegade Anglican minister who hated the Society of Jesus. Along with another minister, Israel Tonge, he invented a story that the English Jesuits planned to assassinate King Charles II, overthrow the government and its established religion and reinstate Catholicism. This fabricated tale raised an angry furor and led to a renewed persecution of Catholics. Among the first to suffer was Father Ireland who was arrested along with Father John Fenwick and their lay assistant, Mr. John Grove. They were imprisoned in the Newgate and burdened with heavy chains that rubbed the flesh on their legs raw. After three months, Ireland and his companions came to trial on Dec. 17, 1678; along with them were Fr. Thomas Whitbread and Thomas Pickering, a Benedictine brother.

At the trial Titus Oates testified that he had been present at a meeting of Jesuits in April that year and listened to plans being made to murder the king. He claimed that Ireland, Fenwick and Grove were present at the meeting, while Whitbread and Pickering had been assigned to carry out the murder. According to Oates, Ireland had been seen loitering about the royal residence during August; an attempt would have already been made but Pickering's pistol failed three times to fire. A second witness agreed with most of the testimony. Ireland had witnesses to prove that he was in the Midlands and North Wales at the time he was alleged to have loitered about the royal palace. To contradict him, Oates bribed a maid to say she had seen him in London at that time. On the basis of the false testimony, Ireland, Grove and Pickering were found guilty of high treason and condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The execution was postponed for a month by royal order because Charles II never believed that the Jesuits were involved in a plot against him. Oates produced more unreliable witnesses and the king allowed the executions to take place out of fear for popular anger.

Ireland and Grove were taken to Tyburn on Jan. 24, 1679. The people of London pelted them with stones and insults as they were dragged to the gallows. They were hanged until dead, and then cut down so their bodies could be drawn and quartered.

They were beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Charles Kingsley, RIP

Charles Kingsley died on January 23, 1875. Clergyman, proponent of "muscular Christianity", novelist (Westward Ho! and Water Babies), and Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, he also provoked Father John Henry Newman, Oratorian to write his Apologia pro Vita Sua in response to Kingsley's attacks on Newman's honesty--and that of all Catholic priests.

Kingsley had reviewed Froude's History of England in Macmillans Magazine and commented: "truth, for its own sake had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy . . . [and] Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage."

Although Newman contacted Kingsley asking him to point out where and when he had ever said such a thing, Kingsley ignored that question and just offered an apology.

An exchange of letters ensued which resulted in Newman's pamphlet Mr. Kingsley and Dr. Newman: A Correspondence on the Question Whether Dr. Newman Teaches That Truth is No Virtue. Instead of letting the matter drop, Kingsley flailed out in his own pamphlet: "What, Then, Does Dr. Newman Mean?" A Reply to a Pamphlet Lately Published by Dr. Newman. In his pamphlet Kingsley foolishly broadened his charge: not only had Newman made a statement he denied having made and which Kingsley was unable to locate, Newman had also lived a dishonest life. Throughout that text, Kingsley presents one of his main themes (found for instance in his novel Westward, Ho!): that there is something un-English about Catholicism, that the latter is foreign, deceptive, and manipulative--and that somehow becoming Catholic (Romish, Romanist are Kingsley's perferred terms) Newman had betrayed his country, wasted his Oxford education, and ignored the virtues of his English heritage.

Of course the Apologia pro Vita Sua put the lie to that charge, vindicated Newman completely, and made Kingsley look rather ridiculous. Kingsley was not sophisticated enough to face Newman's argument and persona; I remember reading that their verbal duel was like a country bumpkin challenging a trained swordsman, the former armed with a stick, the latter with a fine rapier. By giving Newman the occasion to write about his religious opinions from his youth to his conversion to Catholicism to demonstrate his honesty, Kingsley also gave Newman the opportunity to convince Anglicans who had remained in the Oxford Movement that he had been sincere in his efforts in that cause and to persuade Catholics that he was truly a Catholic, not with one foot in Canterbury and the other in Rome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

St. Vincent Pallotti's London Connection

Today would be the memorial of St. Vincent Pallotti if t'were not Sunday (I once applied for a position with the Pallotines here in Wichita; the order was setting up an office of their Society of the Catholic Apostolate--I had to write a long essay in which I waxed eloquent, to no avail, on the correspondences between Newman's Oratory and Pallotti's Society), the nineteenth century founder of the Pallotines. He died on January 22, 1850 and was canonized in 1963 by Blessed Pope John XXIII. His London connection?--St. Peter's Italian Church on Clerkenwell Road. According to the parish website:

In the early 19th century the Saffron Hill area of London was a poor neighbourhood of densely populated slum-ridden alleys. By 1850, nearly 2000 Italian immigrants had settled there, chiefly employed as itinerant workers - street musicians, organ-grinders, street vendors or as artisans producing plaster figures, picture-frames, looking-glasses, barometers and other scientific instruments. They worshipped at the Royal Sardinian Chapel, Lincoln's Inn Fields, because they had no church of their own.

In 1845 St. Vincent Pallotti, a RC priest and founder of the S.A.C. (Pallottine Fathers), thought of constructing a church in London for Italian immigrants.
The Irish architect, Sir John Miller-Bryson, modelled the church on the Basilica of San Crisogono in Rome.

Originally it was meant to hold 3,400 people, but the plans were scaled down. It was consecrated as "The Church of St. Peter of all Nations" on 16 April 1863 and, at that time, it was the only church in Britain in the Roman Basilica style.


St Vincent Pallotti, the priest asked by Cardinal Wiseman to establish St Peter's, was born in Rome in 1795. His parents Pietro Paolo and Magdalena were the decisive religious influence during his youth. He was ordained priest on the 16th of May 1818. After his ordination, he committed himself to keep alive the Christian faith of the people of Rome. His pastoral presence on all fronts urged him on to become an animator of collaboration among clergy, religious and laity. He held very strongly a belief in the then new concept that every Christian, not just those in the holy orders, has from Jesus a mission for the Church and for the world.

To put this concept into action he founded in 1835 the Union of Catholic Apostolate. This movement brought together priests, monks, nuns and lay people as a community for the common purpose of living and spreading awareness of the Good News to all of the world.

St. Vincent died on the 22nd of January 1850 at the centre of his new community, the church of San Salvatore in Onda, Rome. He was beatified by Pope Pius XII on 22 January 1950, and proclaimed a Saint by Pope John XXIII in January 1963.

Dangerous Time to Come Home

Bl. William Patenson was martyred on January 22, 1592. Born at Durham, he departed his homeland and studied at Reims before receiving ordination there in 1587. The following year he sailed home and worked to promote the Catholic cause in the dangerous atmosphere of Elizabethan England, arriving in the year of the Spanish Armada and the intense government reaction against English Catholics, including multiple executions. Arrested in 1591, he was tried and condemned for being a priest and was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. During his imprisonment, he converted six other prisoners to the Catholic faith. Pope Pius XI beatified him in 1929.

Arthur Tooth Arrested January 22, 1877

As John Shelton Reed's Glorious Battle: The Cultural Politics of Victorian Anglo-Catholicism recounts, the Anglo-Catholic ritualists who carried on the work of the Oxford Movement into local parishes and communities often faced tremendous conflict with the hierarchy of the Church of England. As the established church, it was able to use Parliament to pass laws forbidding certain ritualistic practices. The Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874, introduced in Parliament by the Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait was supported by Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, and descried by William Gladstone, future Prime Minister . Among the ritualistic practices condemned by the Act: incense, lighted candles, genuflecting, mixed chalice (water added to the wine), ad orientatem position at the altar (facing East), and wearing vestments.

One Anglican clergyman who fell afoul of this Act was the Reverend Arthur Tooth, Vicar of St. James, Hatcham in South London. He rejected Parliament's authority to pass such an act without the concurrence of the Convocation of Bishops, but soon found himself arrested and imprisoned for such criminal acts -- he also wore a biretta and the choir sung the Agnus Dei! He was arrested on January 22, 1877 after protesting against the law, ignoring Court summons, and enduring riots and other disturbances at Sunday services.

He was only in gaol until February 17 but his health was broken down. He went abroad to recover and returned to find his church locked against him--but he found a way in through a window. Reverend Tooth soon had to retire his living at St. James and went to live in Woodside, Croydon, a borough of London where he continued his work with an orphanage for boys and an order of Anglican religious, the Sisterhood of the Holy Paraclete. He died on March 5, 1931.

In 1906, a Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline formally recognized diversity in worship throughout the Church of England but the law was not repealed until 1965.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cold January Mornings, January 21, 1586 and 1642

The facts:
~Blessed Edward Stransham, priest and martyr--A native of Oxford, born about 1554, earning his BA from St. John's College in 1575-76. Then he went to Douai in 1577 and Reims in 1578. Because he was ill he returned to England to recuperate; then went back to Reims in 1579; ordained in 1580. In 1581 he returned to England as a missionary priest, but was still suffering from consumption; he left England in 1583, bringing 12 Oxford converts with him to Reims. After a stay in Paris, he returned to England and was arrested while saying Mass in London in 1585 and executed at Tyburn on January 21, 1586.
~Blessed Nicholas Wheeler (or Woodfen), priest and martyr--Born at Leominster in 1550, he studied for the priesthood in Reims, after ordination he returned to England with Edward Stransham, and was executed with him at Tyburn in 1586. (He is honored at this church in Herefordshire.)

~Saint Alban Roe, OSB, priest and martyr--Born in Suffolk in 1583, after his conversion to Catholicism, he became a Benedictine and was ordained; he was arrested several times during his ministry, and exiled and imprisoned for seventeen years. He was executed at Tyburn in 1642.
~Blessed Thomas Green (Reynolds), priest and martyr--Born under the name Green, he trained at Rheims, Valladolid and Seville; exiled from England once, he returned and spent fourteen years imprisoned until his execution at Tyburn in 1642 at the age of 80.

The significance:
In 1586, Blessed William Freeman witnessed the executions of Stransham and Wheeler. He became a Catholic, went to Reims, was ordained and returned to England as a missionary priest. He was hung, drawn, and quartered for that crime on 13 August 1595in Warwick, after spending some time in Stratford-on-Avon.

Notice, however, that the time Fathers Stransham and Wheeler spent in England was relatively short. Although Stransham traveled back and forth between England and the Continent because of his health (how poorly he must have fared in prison while waiting trial and execution!), he and Wheeler received no second chances once finally captured--during some periods of Elizabeth I's reign, that was the common practice: capture, torture (if some plot was suspected), trial, execution.

St. Alban Roe and Blessed Thomas Green, ministering during the Stuart dynasty, however, received different treatment. They were captured, imprisoned, and exiled, sent back to the Continent--then they returned. Their long final imprisonments were spent in relative "freedom". St. Alban Roe was allowed to leave his cell in the Fleet prison, minister to Catholics, and return at night for lock-up. In 1641 he was transferred to close confinement within the strict Newgate prison and was finally tried in 1642 and found guilty of treason under the statute 27 Eliz c.2 for being a priest. [The authorities really didn't know what to do with him and at trial Roe perplexed the judge so much that he suspended his sentence of execution!] Just before his death, Alban asked the sheriff if his life would be spared if he renounced his Catholic religion and became an Anglican. The sheriff swore he would be spared if he did. Alban then said to all: “See, then, what the crime is for which I am to die, and whether my religion be not my only treason... I wish I had a thousand lives; then would I sacrifice them all for so worthy a cause.” More about him here, on the website of Ampleforth Abbey.

His companion, Blessed Thomas Reynolds (Green) had also been exiled in 1606, during the reign of James I--after the Gunpowder Plot!--but had returned to England to serve Catholics until he was arrested in 1628. He spent fourteen years in prison before his trial and execution. Why the long prison sentences, the relative freedom, the delay in trial and execution? Because Charles I was reigning without Parliament! "When he finally had to recall Parliament and the Long Parliament convened, however, the hangings began again in earnest (20 between 1641 and 1646 including Fr. Alban [and Fr. Reynolds])" Ampleforth Abbey notes.

The situation: (a little Ignatian method here, as I shared yesterday on the Son Rise Morning Show): think of the cold these men endured those January mornings. After all dangers of their missionary efforts, the discomforts of imprisonment, and the anticipation of the horrendously painful and humiliating death they were about to undergo, they were shivering with cold. The hurdles they were tied to, on their backs, bumped and jostled on frozen ground. St. John Roberts, executed in December of 1610, managed to joke about the cold: when someone said he should be wearing a cap, he asked "are you afraid I'll catch a cold?"; when he arrived at the scaffold he saw the fire (which would actually be used to burn his guts) and said "I see you have prepared a hot breakfast for us!" It's clear that the demeanor and steadiness of these four men moved the crowds to empathy--and at least in one case we know of, conversion.

The stories of the English Catholic martyrs--like all the Church's martyrs from Apostolic times until today--never cease to inspire!

BTW, I will post a link to the podcast of my interview yesterday on this facebook page dedicated to The Catholic English Martyrs when it is available.

Priests Holes and Safe Houses

The blog Laudem Gloriae posted this very well illustrated examination of the construction of "priests holes" in Catholic households where priests, their altar vessels and other sacramentals could be be hidden if pursuivants came hunting:

Under the reign of "Good Queen Bess", a law was passed prohibiting the celebration of Mass, on pain of extradition. On a second offense, the guilty priest would be sentenced to a year in prison, and on the third offense, jailed for life. In some cases, the offending priest would be put to death, usually by hanging, drawing, and quartering. Another law was passed that punished with death any Catholic who should convert a Protestant.

It was during this time that the Jesuit and martyr Nicholas Owen was called on to design and build priest holes in all the great Catholic manses in England. He spent the greater part of his life doing so.

St. Nicholas Owen, a Jesuit lay brother, died under torture when James I's government, further investigating the background of the Gunpowder Plot, sought information about the various hiding places he had constructed:

The Jesuits were taken to London, and Owen was put into Marshalsea Prison before being moved to the Tower to be tortured. The king's men realized they had the only person who knew the location of the hiding places and residences of priests all over the kingdom. They were eager to force him to uncover the Catholic underground, but he was even more firm that he would not betray those whom he had spent so much time protecting. He was tortured on the rack for hours a day, several days in succession but maintained his silence. In frustration the torturers kept adding weight to his feet but went beyond all limits. On March 1 his abdomen burst open and his intestines spilled out. Owen lingered on for one painful day before dying in the early hours of March 2. The rack-master tried to cover his behavior, excessive even under the harsh standards of the day, by saying that the Jesuit had committed suicide. Clever and hard-working in his life, Nicholas Owen remained courageous and faithful in his death.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Son Rise Morning Show Preview of January 21 Blog Post

While you will have to wait for the unveiling of my post about four Recusant martyrs on January 21 in 1586 and 1642 until tomorrow, you can hear me on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning at 7:45 a.m. Eastern; 6:45 a.m. Central. Brian Patrick and I will discuss these four martyrs: Blessed Edward Stransham, Blessed Nicholas Wheeler, St. Alban Roe, OSB, and Blessed Thomas Reynolds. Please listen live here.

The King on Trial

The trial of King Charles I began on January 20, 1649--a unique event. Not even King Louis XVI would be tried as monarch in the French Revolution; he was deposed and tried as Louis Capet: and he had defense counsel and knew the charges against him before the trial. Charles' grandmother had been deposed as Queen of Scotland when she was tried, and like him, Mary of Scotland protested against the grounds of the trial. She was not the subject of Elizabeth, Queen of England; she was an anointed and consecrated monarch (and that's why Elizabeth was concerned about the precedent set). How can one Queen commit treason against another Queen?

It's one thing to depose a king and murder him (as happened to Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI), it's another thing to put him on trial when he is, according to the custom and the law, the source of law and justice in the land. With his high, divine right of kings view of his role in the British polity, Charles I would not recognize the Parliamentary Court and he would not plead or participate in the trial. Luckily for him, they did not sentence him to peinte et dure (pressing until he would plead one way or the other (remember St. Margaret Clitherow). But they did find his lack of plea an admission of guilt. He challenged the legality of the trial and the court on the first day of the proceedings:

I would know by what power I am called hither ... I would know by what authority, I mean lawful; there are many unlawful authorities in the world; thieves and robbers by the high-ways ... Remember, I am your King, your lawful King, and what sins you bring upon your heads, and the judgement of God upon this land. Think well upon it, I say, think well upon it, before you go further from one sin to a greater ... I have a trust committed to me by God, by old and lawful descent, I will not betray it, to answer a new unlawful authority; therefore resolve me that, and you shall hear more of me.

I do stand more for the liberty of my people, than any here that come to be my pretended judges ... I do not come here as submitting to the Court. I will stand as much for the privilege of the House of Commons, rightly understood, as any man here whatsoever: I see no House of Lords here, that may constitute a Parliament ... Let me see a legal authority warranted by the Word of God, the Scriptures, or warranted by the constitutions of the Kingdom, and I will answer.

As this attorney notes,

The trial of King Charles I was, by legal standards, a rather discreditable affair. The "Court" had no legal authority. It was the creature of the power of the army. The King had no advance notice of the charge. No one was appointed to help him with his defence. The court did not even pretend to be impartial. When the King scored a point in argument, the soldiers around the Hall showed where the real power lay. . . .

The King was denied the chance to appeal to a true Parliament, the only body that might have been relevant in his case. His deprivation of liberty, and ultimately of his life, was by the power of a purported Parliament and not by a procedure established by law. He was not informed at the time of his arrest of the charges against him. Indeed, until the trial began, he was not informed of the precise accusations. Nor was he brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise the judicial power. Instead, he was kept in close custody in successive isolated places of detention whilst his accusers decided what they would do with him. He had no access to a court to invoke the Great Writ to secure his liberty. Although he was treated with courtesy and dignity, he was not treated with humanity. He was kept away from his family, friends and advisers. He was surrounded by guards, informers and pimps engaged by the army for surveillance.

Charles I spoke as much as he could at trial to warn the people that the precedent set by this trial guaranteed further injustices--and the royalists left behind would discover that he was right.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Henry VIII's Last Victim: Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey

The Earl's father, Thomas Howard, the Third Duke of Norfolk survived just because Henry VIII died before signing the final order for execution. The Earl was executed on January 19, 1547 because Henry VIII feared that he wanted to usurp the throne from Edward, the Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales. According to this site:

When Henry VIII's health was failing in 1546, Surrey made the mistake of announcing his opinion of the obviousness of his father becoming Protector to young Prince Edward. The Seymours finally had their day, when Surrey ill-advisedly displayed royal quarterings on his shield. Arrested along with his father on charges of treason, he was imprisoned in the Tower. Several additional claims were made against him, including that he was secretly a papist. Surrey was indicted of high treason in January 1547, despite the lack of any real evidence, condemned, and executed on January 19, 1547 on Tower Hill.

Although the Howard family had been so loyal to the first two Tudor kings, conflict between the Seymour family, especially the brothers of Jane Seymour, the Queen who finally fulfilled Henry VIII's hopes for a male heir, and the Howard family meant trouble for both Thomas and Henry Howard. The Seymours tried to spread rumours that the Howards were opposed to the Dissolution of the Monasteries (although they benefitted from it) and supported the Pilgrimage of Grace (although they fought against it). Henry Howard even spent some timed imprisoned at Windsor Castle after striking a courtier who repeated the slander. Therefore, he wrote a poem contrasting his time in prison to the time he spent there with Henry Fitzroy:


SO cruel prison how could betide, alas,
As proud Windsor, where I in lust and joy,
With a Kinges son, my childish years did pass,
In greater feast than Priam's sons of Troy.
Where each sweet place returns a taste full sour.
The large green courts, where we were wont to hove,
With eyes cast up into the Maiden's tower,
And easy sighs, such as folk draw in love.
The stately seats, the ladies bright of hue.
The dances short, long tales of great delight;
With words and looks, that tigers could but rue;
Where each of us did plead the other's right.
The palme-play, where, despoiled for the game,
With dazed eyes oft we by gleams of love
Have miss'd the ball, and got sight of our dame,
To bait her eyes, which kept the leads above.
The gravel'd ground, with sleeves tied on the helm,
On foaming horse, with swords and friendly hearts;
With chere, as though one should another whelm,
Where we have fought, and chased oft with darts.
With silver drops the mead yet spread for ruth,
In active games of nimbleness and strength,
Where we did strain, trained with swarms of youth,
Our tender limbs, that yet shot up in length.
The secret groves, which oft we made resound
Of pleasant plaint, and of our ladies' praise;
Recording oft what grace each one had found,
What hope of speed, what dread of long delays.
The wild forest, the clothed holts with green;
With reins availed, and swift y-breathed horse,
With cry of hounds, and merry blasts between,
Where we did chase the fearful hart of force.
The void vales eke, that harbour'd us each night:
Wherewith, alas ! reviveth in my breast
The sweet accord, such sleeps as yet delight;
The pleasant dreams, the quiet bed of rest;
The secret thoughts, imparted with such trust;
The wanton talk, the divers change of play;
The friendship sworn, each promise kept so just,
Wherewith we past the winter night away.
And with this thought the blood forsakes the face;
The tears berain my cheeks of deadly hue:
The which, as soon as sobbing sighs, alas!
Up-supped have, thus I my plaint renew:
'O place of bliss! renewer of my woes!
Give me account, where is my noble fere?
Whom in thy walls thou d[id]st each night enclose;
To other lief; but unto me most dear.'
Echo, alas! that doth my sorrow rue,
Returns thereto a hollow sound of plaint.
Thus I alone, where all my freedom grew,
In prison pine, with bondage and restraint:
And with remembrance of the greater grief,
To banish the less, I find my chief relief.

Along with Sir Thomas Wyatt, Howard was the great developer of the sonnet form in English, and he even wrote a sonnet on the death of his fellow poet:


DIVERS thy death do diversely bemoan :
Some, that in presence of thy livelihed
Lurked, whose breasts envy with hate had swoln,
Yield Cæsar's tears upon Pompeius' head.
Some, that watched with the murd'rer's knife,
With eager thirst to drink thy guiltless blood,
Whose practice brake by happy end of life,
With envious tears to hear thy fame so good.
But I, that knew what harbour'd in that head ;
What virtues rare were tempered in that breast ;
Honour the place that such a jewel bred,
And kiss the ground whereas the corpse doth rest ;
With vapour'd eyes : from whence such streams availe,
As Pyramus did on Thisbe's breast bewail.

Robert Hutchinson traces the career of the Howard family in House of Treason: The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynastyand describes the situation at Court in The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conspiracy, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Updates on Our Lady of Walsingham Ordinariate in England

On Sunday, the first Personal Ordinariate established for groups of Anglicans celebrated its first year anniversary. Monsignor Keith Newton announced a new Lenten preparation of groups to enter the Catholic Church around Easter time:

Several new groups of former Anglicans will join the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham this Easter, the head of the ordinariate has said.

In a pastoral letter marking the ordinariate’s first anniversary, Mgr Keith Newton said that he expected several new groups to be received into the Catholic Church through the ordinariate at Easter and that a number of men would be ordained to the priesthood around Pentecost

The full text of the Ordinary's pastoral letter is here. Also, Once I Was a Clever Boy directs us to some photos from the Evensong and Benediction at St. James, Spanish Place.

More on the US/Canadian Ordinariate and Its Ordinary

EWTN's National Catholic Register features this interview with Father Jeffrey Steenson, the new Ordinary (like a bishop) for the Ordinariate (like a diocese) of former Anglicans in the United States. The Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter will be based in Houston:

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham — the first one to be created — was established in the United Kingdom in January of last year. The Chair of St. Peter is the second ordinariate to be erected, though Anglicans in Australia also hope to have an ordinariate established there.

“The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate is a historic moment in the history of the Church,” Father Steenson said. “For perhaps the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century, a corporate structure has been given to assist those who in conscience seek to return to the fold of St. Peter and his successors.”

A former Episcopal bishop who entered the Catholic Church in 2007 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 2009, Father Steenson proclaimed himself to be “mesmerized” by the name of the new ordinariate.

“I am so excited about the title of the ordinariate,” said Father Steenson, “because we who are pilgrims coming into the Church want to embrace this beautiful teaching, the primacy of St. Peter in Rome, where St. Peter sits in his chair and teaches us.”

Speaking in a press call-in from Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church in Houston, an Anglican-use parish founded in 1984 that will serve as the principal church of the ordinariate, Father Steenson was flanked by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Bishop Kevin Vann of Forth Worth, Texas.

Bishop Vann is in charge of formation for former Episcopal priests who seek ordination to the Catholic priesthood under Pope John Paul II’s 1982 Pastoral Provision.

The Pastoral Provision was Blessed John Paul II's program for accepting former Episcopalian ministers, who were married, to fulfill vocations in the Catholic priesthood. More on it here, from Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, whose pastor was ordained under the Pastoral Provision.