Friday, July 31, 2015

Jamestown in The National Catholic Register

After posting about the reliquary found in the grave of Captain Gabriel Archer, I wrote an article and posted it off to my contact at The National Catholic Register. My story was posted on-line the next day:

Several articles have appeared recently about the discovery and identification of remains in Jamestown, Va., in The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post. The Atlantic headline on July 28 summed up the issue: “A Skeleton, a Catholic Relic and a Mystery About American Origins.” In the article by Adrienne Lafrance, the researchers at Jamestown and others discuss the ramifications of one of the discoveries in the grave of Capt. Gabriel Archer, a leader of the English colony. His grave and those of three others were found in the sanctuary of the Anglican chapel.

A small silver box found in his grave is “a historical bombshell” because the archaeologists believe it is a reliquary, which leads them to believe that Archer, who had many conflicts with Capt. John Smith of Pocahontas fame, might have been a secret Catholic in Anglican Jamestown.

A reliquary is a receptacle containing a piece of bone or some other object associated with a saint. Relics have always been important to Catholics: Every church altar contains a reliquary, and the priest kisses the altar, usually on top of the reliquary, at the beginning and end of each Mass.

The presence of a Catholic reliquary buried in an Anglican church has provoked quite a few questions. Was Archer secretly a Catholic and just seeming to conform to the Church of England, with King James I as its supreme governor and defender of the faith? Since Jamestown “was fundamentally anti-Catholic” and was “meant to be the beachhead for an English empire in America that will serve as a bulwark against Catholicism,”
The Atlantic article states, his crypto-Catholicism brings questions about his leadership in the colony.

Please read the rest there.

The Last Late July Martyr: Blessed Everald Hanse (1581)

Blessed Everald Hanse was born in Northamptonshire; executed 31 July 1581. He was educated at Cambridge, and was soon presented to a good living. His brother William, who had become a priest in April 1579 tried to convert him, but in vain until a sharp attack of illness made him enter into himself. He then went over to Reims in northern France (1580–1581), was ordained and returned but his ministry was very short.

In July he was visiting in disguise some Catholic prisoners in the Marshalsea, when the keeper noticed that his shoes were of a foreign make. He was closely examined, and his priesthood was discovered. As yet there was no law against priests, and to satisfy the hypocritical professions of the persecutors, it was necessary to find some treason of which he was guilty. He was asked in court at the Newgate Sessions, what he thought of the pope's authority, and on his admitting that he believed him "to have the same authority now as he had a hundred years before", he was further asked whether the pope had not erred (i.e. sinned) in declaring queen Elizabeth I Tudor excommunicated, to which he answered, "I hope not." His words were at once written down as his indictment, and when he was further asked whether he wished others to believe as he did, he said "I would have all to believe the Catholic faith as I do." A second count was then added that he desired to make others also traitors like himself. He was at once found guilty of "persuasion" which was high treason by Elizabeth. He was therefore in due course sentenced and executed at Tyburn.

The trial is noteworthy as one of the most extreme cases of verbal treason on record, and it was so badly received that the Government had afterwards to change their methods of obtaining sentences. The martyr's last words were "O happy day!" and his constancy throughout "was a matter of great edification to the good". The Spanish ambassador wrote: "Two nights after his death, there was not a particle of earth on which his blood had been shed, which had not been carried off as a relic."

He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII. As you might recall, Elizabeth I's Parliament did not create the statutes that made the presence of a Catholic priest in England a matter of treason until 1585. When her government came to try St. Edmund Campion and his companions later in 1581, the court had to find them guilty of some conspiracy or another, because the kind of verbal twisting and interpretation they had to do to find Father Hanse guilty did not look good.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Penultimate Late July Martyrs: Catherine of Aragon's Chaplains

On July 30, 1540, two different sets of martyrs set off for Smithfield for execution. There were three Catholics, who had refused to swear Henry VIII's Oaths of Succession and Supremacy, and there were three Protestants--more properly, Zwinglians--who refused to accept the definition of Christian sacramental doctrine outlined in Henry VIII's Six Articles. The three Catholics were what I call Supremacy Martyrs, since the immediate cause of their execution/martyrdom was their refusal to accept Henry VIII as the Supreme Head and Governor of the Church of England.

Thomas Abell, Richard Fetherston, and Edward Powell had all been chaplains and defenders of Queen Catherine of Aragon--very learned men; graduates of the University of Oxford. Thomas Abell had written Invicta veritas. An answere, That by no manner of law, it may be lawfull for the most noble King of England, King Henry the eight to be divorced from the queens grace, his lawfull and very wife. B.L. in 1532 and had also been implicated in the Nun of Kent cause celebre. During his long imprisonment he wrote to Thomas Cromwell asking to be allowed to say Mass. Richard Fetherston had also written against Henry's divorce of Catherine in Contra divortium Henrici et Catharinae, Liber unus although no copy of the text survives. He also tutored the Princess Mary. Henry VIII had favored Edward Powell for his works against Lutheran doctrines in earlier days, but then Powell ran afoul of Henry's changing policies and desires to cast aside Catherine of Aragon.

The Zwinglians Robert Barnes, Thomas Garrett, and William Jerome were also taken to Smithfield that day. Robert Barnes had attended the University of Cambridge and had "hung out" at the White Horse Inn with other Lutheran minded students and masters. While Thomas Cromwell was in power, they had preached against the Catholic Bishop, Stephen Gardiner, but once Cromwell fell and was executed on July 28, 1540, they lost their protector and were sentenced to death.

Both the Catholics and the Zwinglians were sentenced to death without trial. Bills of Attainder condemned the Catholics as Traitors and the Zwinglians as Heretics. Three hurdles dragged the men to Smithfield from the Tower; each hurdle held a traitor and a heretic. At Smithfield, the traitors were hung, cut down and butchered while alive, their bodies quartered and their heads cut for display; the heretics were burnt alive at the stake. A poem titled, "The Metynge of Doctor Barnes and Dr. Powell at Paradise Gate and of theyre communicacion bothe drawen to Smithfylde fro the Towar" described the juxtaposition of the Catholic and the Protestant that day.

This day demonstrates Henry VIII's equal opportunity injustice; he sentenced both those who refused to swear the oaths he demanded and those who refused to obey the religious doctrine he required. The Catholics certainly knew the dangerous route they were taking -- defending Catherine against the king's wishes and refusing the oaths. By 1540, the pattern of execution for those offenses was well established. The Zwinglians were probably caught off guard by Cromwell's sudden fall; on the leading edge of Protestant thinking and theology, they lost their protector and were caught up in the strange factional divisions Henry countenanced in the later years of his reign. (See chapter 2 in Supremacy and Survival, in the section titled, "Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, and Henry's Reformation" for more insight into that period.)

Catherine's former chaplains were beatitified by Pope Leo XIII; the Zwinglian preachers were honored by John Foxe in his Acts and Monuments

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Were There Catholics at Jamestown?

From The Atlantic, news that archaeologists have found indications that one of the founder of Jamestown, Captain Gabriel Archer, might have been a secret Catholic:

“One of the major surprises was the discovery of this mysterious small silver box,” said James Horn, the president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. “I have to say, we’re still trying to figure this out. You have the very strange situation of a Catholic reliquary being found with the leader of the first Protestant church in the country.”The finding is a historical bombshell, unearthed in a grave on the site of what was once the first church built at Jamestown. Which means researchers may have just discovered proof of an underground community of Catholics—including Archer and perhaps the person who buried him with the relic—who pretended to be Protestants.

“The first settlers there were mostly members of the Church of England,” said James O’Toole, a history professor at Boston College who focuses on the roots of American Catholicism. “While they didn't have the same active hostility to Catholics that the slightly later Puritan colonists in New England did, they were not particularly welcoming to Catholics. If there were Catholics in Tidewater Virginia ... that would be news.”

It’s the kind of discovery that makes historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and other academics giddy with curiosity. But it raises even bigger questions, too—ideas that could rewrite our understanding of the intersection of religious and cultural identities in colonial America.

The English settlement of the New World is most often remembered as a Protestant endeavor. But if indeed there were Catholics at Jamestown, then, from the very beginning, it was a project pursued by those of multiple faiths, seeking new opportunities.

“There is this sense that American Catholic history begins in the 19th century with a wave of immigrants from Germany and Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s, but there is a history of earlier Catholicism,” said Maura Jane Farrelly, an associate professor of American studies at Brandeis University. “What’s captivating about it is the notion of the secretive nature. If he’s secretly Catholic, what does that faith mean to him that he’s willing to hold onto it even though it’s dangerous?”

I would take some issue with the statement that Anglicans weren't as actively hostile to Catholics in colonial England as Puritans. In England at least the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury under James I had led crackdowns on Catholics. Jamestown had recusancy laws too, at least as stated in this Smithsonian article, which has another issue:

But hadn’t Catholicism been banished in England? Weren’t they all Anglicans? Yes, Horn pointed out, but there were still Catholics practicing underground. Rosary beads, medallions of saints and a crucifix carved on jet have also turned up at Jamestown. Gabriel Archer’s father was among the Catholics, called a “recusant” and cited in court for failing to attend Anglican services. Archer had learned resistance at home.

Elizabethan recusancy and penal laws never officially "banished" Catholicism. It was illegal to attend Catholic Mass, to convert to Catholicism or influence another to convert, and it was certainly illegal for Catholic priests to be in England. Jamesian laws, passed after the Gunpowder Plot scare in 1605, made it more difficult for a Catholic to live and work in England. 

But if Captain Archer's father was a recusant and other Catholic objects have been dated to that period, as this paragraph implies, that silver box may indeed be a reliquary and Captain Archer a secret Catholic. Perhaps he was a Church Papist, outwardly conforming and secretly remaining a Catholic. One of the researchers in The Atlantic article wonders if Archer could have a Catholic priest, which seems doubtful: whatever other disguise Catholic priests in England donned, they would not attend a Church of England service in the normal course of events. 


The Reverend Owen Chadwick (OM, KBE, FBA, FRSE), RIP

The historian and Anglican minister Owen Chadwick died on July 17, 2015. I have read at least six of his books:

And have dipped into one a few times:

According to the obituary article in The Telegraph:

The Reverend Professor Owen Chadwick, OM, who has died aged 99, was a clergyman-academic of a kind once common in universities but now very rare; the holder successively of Cambridge University’s chairs of both Ecclesiastical and Modern History, he was a leading authority on the history of religion and the churches.

The greater part of his career was devoted to the study of post-Reformation history, particularly the English Church, state and society since the industrial and French revolutions.

His single biggest publication, The Victorian Church – published in two parts in 1966 and 1971 – was a gigantic survey of religious life in Britain in the 19th century, exploring the social and intellectual developments which lay behind the waning power of religion in the Victorian period.

Although it was based on a quite astonishing range of research, The Victorian Church was – typically for Chadwick – essentially a personal interpretation. It showed less interest in dissent than in the establishment, less liking for evangelicals than for the Oxford Movement, and less love for town than for country. If some critics accused him of lack of balance, they were unable to fault his analysis of the politics of established churchmanship.

Nor could they fault his prose style. For Chadwick was no dry-as-dust historian; he always preferred to tell a story to explore a situation or illustrate a point. The Victorian Church was enlivened by a wealth of vivid detail: Queen Victoria trying to slip a favourite preacher into a bishopric; a Dorset parishioner complaining that his astronomy-minded rector kept “a horoscope top o’ his house to look at the stares and sich”.

Although he wrote extensively on the relationship between the Christian denominations, Chadwick’s strength lay in his sympathetic understanding of the spiritual and social foundations of the Church of England.

He always wrote most warmly about the country clergy and, as he put it, their “reasonable, quiet, unpretentious, sober faith in God and way of worship”. The history of the English Church, he believed, was made not only by the decisions of the great at Lambeth or Westminster or in debates at Oxford, but by the convictions of obscure country parsons in Lincolnshire.

May he rest in peace. David Warren wrote an appreciation of Chadwick for The Catholic Thing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nancy Bilyeau on Cromwell's Execution--and Sir Walter Hungerford

For the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, author Nancy Bilyeau writes about the former Earl of Essex, Thomas Cromwell's execution--and the other man who suffered beheading on July 28, 1540:

Cromwell was arrested on June 10, 1540, in a way meant to cause as much humiliation as possible. The Duke of Norfolk ripped the Order of St. George from around Cromwell's neck while the Earl of Southampton tore the Order of the Garter insignia from his gown."Traitors must not wear the garter," shouted Norfolk. Cromwell was then hustled directly to the Tower of London; within two hours, the treasurer of the royal household had emptied Cromwell's house of valuables while others ransacked his papers.

There was no trial. Cromwell was condemned of treason and "abominable heresies" and executed on July 28, 1540.

But Cromwell did not die alone.

Following Thomas Cromwell to the scaffold erected on Tower Hill (not Tyburn, as some historians have written) was Sir Walter Hungerford. The decision to behead two men that day was unusual, though not unprecedented. Two noblemen that Cromwell had targeted for destruction--Henry Pole, Lord Montague, and Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter--died together in late 1538. But those two men, condemned without trial for treason, were lifelong friends, distantly related, and requested a joint execution.

Why was Sir Walter Hungerford chosen for this ghastly honour? Cromwell was the author of the Reformation, a brilliant and ruthless statesman. His enemies sent Hungerford on the same path, from Tower of London cell to scaffold. It's a mystery that still swirls around that hot, pitiless day. In this post, I examine the myths, the theories and evidence. . . .

Cromwell was the first to die, in a bungled beheading infamous for its ghastliness. Hungerford followed. Both bodies were carted to the nearby Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, within the Tower walls. Their graves are a few feet from Anne Boleyn's. As Macaulay wrote, "In truth there is no sadder spot on earth than that little cemetery."

Because he was a traitor, Hungerford's estates and homes were claimed by the crown. Henry VIII gave Farleigh Hungerford Castle to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Seymour. It was not a small acquisition. Which is perhaps as good a reason as any for the destruction of Sir Walter Hungerford.

Nancy depicts these executions, and the atmosphere of such public events, most immediately in the third novel of her Joanna Stafford trilogy, The Tapestry, which I reviewed here. Two days hence and we will see some of the fallout of Cromwell's demise as three Zwinglians suffer at Smithfield.

New Book about Syon Abbey

The Once I Was a Clever Boy blog features a post about a new book from Gracewing Publishing:

For those who do not know the story of Syon it can be summarised briefly as follows. In 1415 King Henry V - who was quite busy that year invading France - founded the only Bridgettine monastery in England. This was close to his palace at Sheen ( now Richmond) in Surrey and prospered until the reign of King Henry VIII. It was one of the mainsprings or wellsprings of late medieval English spirituality and devotion, influencing many members of the elite and beyond. The chaplain, St Richard Reynolds was one of the first martyrs of May 1535, and the house was dissolved four years later. Nothing daunted the Sisters went off to their family homes in groups and continued their common life. Returning to Syon in 1557 they were again dispersed in 1559, and left England with the retiring Spanish ambassador for Flanders. Forced by the Netherlandish revolt to seek refuge elsewhere they settled in Rouen until the victory of King Henri IV led this pro-Spanish community to seek refuge in Lisbon. There, always an English community in exile,they survived the Portuguese uprising against Spanish rule in 1640, the Earthquake of 1755, the Peninsular War, and desire some sisters leaving for England soon after the core community remained there until 1861 when they returned to England after more than three centuries. They settled first in Dorset and then Devon, latterly at South Brent. Tragically in recent decades the community has declined in numbers and they gave up their house in 2011 and now the two remaining sisters live the Bridgettine life within a home run by other religious in Plymouth.

Their archives are now at Exeter University where Prof Jones is based, and Exeter has made an important contribution to modern scholarship on this remarkable community.

From his book I discovered that one of the great treasures of Syon is now at the Catholic church at Heavitree near Exeter. This is one of the pinnacles from the original gatehouse at Syon, and presumably the one on which St Richard Reynolds head was impaled in 1535. This substantial relic has accompanied the sisters on their wanderings from Syon to Flanders, France, Portugal and back to England. They also, in token of ownership, retained the door key of the abbey buildings at Syon - the site now being occupied by Syon House, now the property of the Duke of Northumberland.

The book is handsomely illustrated and reflects academic research and the latest scholarship on the Order and the unique place of Syon on English Catholic history.

A comment on the post reveals there is a blog dedicated to the study of Syon Abbey presented by the Syon Abbey Society. 

St. Bridget of Sweden, pray for us! St. Richard Reynolds, pray for us!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Another Late July Martyr: Blessed Robert Sutton (and His Brother)

There are two Blessed Robert Suttons among the martyrs of England and Wales. One was a priest and the other was a layman. Today's martyr is the priest, who was executed on July 27, 1587. Father Robert Sutton had studied at Oxford and had been attracted by Protestant doctrines but responded to the call of some friends to leave Oxford and study for the priesthood at Douai, along with his brother Abraham. They were both ordained there and then returned to England as missionary priests.

According to Bishop Challoner, Father Robert Sutton served in his native county, Staffordshire, and both he and Abraham were captured and exiled in 1585. They both returned to England and Robert was captured again, found guilty under the Elizabethan statute against Catholic priest, and then hung, drawn, and quartered in Stafford.

The parish of Our Lady of Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus in Lutterworth has more detail:

Our Robert Sutton, (not to be confused with another martyr of the same name who came from the Kegworth area) was born in Burton on Trent. He was baptised in St Modwen's Parish Church on 11th September, 1545. The son of a carpenter, he was one of four sons who were all brought up as Protestants. Later, three of them became Catholic priests.

In 1561 Robert Sutton became an undergraduate at Christchurch College, Oxford, where he gained his BA in 1564. He was ordained an Anglican Minister in 1566 and gained his MA in 1567. Under Elizabeth 1st he was appointed to theliving of Lutterworth and was inducted on 17th June, 1571. So Robert was only 32 when he made his historic announcement and set in train the events which he no doubt knew all along were likely to end with painful martyrdom.

Robert was arrested again and was tried for treason on the basis of his being a Catholic Seminary Priest at Stafford Assizes in June 1588.

He was martyred at Gallows Flat, Stafford on July 27th 1588. As was the practice he was hanged, cut down while still alive, disembowelled and dismembered. As commanded his body was left on public display for 12 months. During that time his bones were picked clean by the birds except for the flesh around one forefinger and thumb which did not corrupt. Why that part of him should remain is open to conjecture, but he would certainly have used is forefinger and thumb to hold the sacred host.

The relic was passed on to his brother Abraham who, in spite of a second arrest, was still working in Lancashire as late as 1610. He passed the relic on to Father John Gerrard (sic) who composed a note of authentication in Latin. This note, written within 40 years of Robert Sutton's martyrdom, has accompanied the relic from that time and is still in existence.

"The thumb of Mr Robert Sutton priest, who, when in prison in Stafford, the night before his passion was seen to pray surrounded by a great light. After the parts of his body being exposed to the birds of the air for a year, they were carried away by Catholics. The thumb and forefinger were untouched though the rest was consumed to the bones."

Father Gerrard (sic) gave the relic and the note to the Jesuit order. From around 1830 the relic was venerated at Stoneyhurst College where it remained until 1987. In that year thanks to the co-operation and generosity of the Jesuits, it was permanently translated back to Lutterworth and is reserved in a niche within the altar.

The statue pictured above is in the Church of Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus; the picture is from Wikipedia commons and used by permission of the photographer. Father Abraham Sutton remained in England through the latter part of Elizabeth I's reign and into the reign of James I. Then he was exiled from England again in 1605 and did not return. What a remarkable mission for two brothers have shared!

Blessed Robert Sutton, pray for us!

The Crutched Friars

While researching a list of orders and their houses suppressed by Henry VIII between 1536 and 1540, I found an order I hadn't read about before: the Crutched Friars. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Crutched Friars, or Crossed Friars were:

An order of mendicant friars who went to England in the thirteenth century from Italy, where they existed for some time, and where they were called "Fratres Cruciferi". There (sic) first appearance in England was at a synod of the Diocese of Rochester in 1244, when they presented documents from the pope and asked to be allowed to settle in the country (Matthew Paris). Each friar carried in his hand a wooden staff surmounted by a cross and also had a cross of red cloth upon his habit, from which circumstances originated the name by which they became commonly known. Their rule was that of St. Augustine and their habit originally brown or black, was later on changed to blue by Pope Pius II. They established eight or nine houses in England, the first being at either Colchester (according to Dugdale), or at Reigate (according to Reyner), founded in 1245. They settled in London in 1249, where they gave their name to the locality, near Tower Hill, still called "Crutched Friars". Other houses were at Oxford (1348), York, Great Weltham (Suffolk), Barham (a cell to Gt. Weltham), Wotten-under-Edge (Gloucestershire), Brackley (Northants) and Kildale (Yorkshire).

They were never a very large order, but they have been lost to history except for that area of London named for them and a pub in the area. More about them here.

The photo above is from Wikipedia commons, with the permission of the photographer. More about the sculpture here. It's too bad that the sculptor did not include the Crutched Friar cross on the staff held by one of the friars, since that's the identifying mark of the order! According to this site, the figures represent the title characters of a Hermann Hesse novel, Narcissus and Goldmund, but then the sculpture would have nothing to do with the Crutched Friars, since that novel is set in Germany and is about two German monks! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

YET Another Martyrdom in July: Blessed George Swallowell, Layman

Today's final late July martyr is connected to St. John Boste from just a couple of days ago: Blessed George Swallowell was executed on July 26, 1594 in Darlington. He was a layman and former Anglican minister and was condemned to death for the crime of becoming a Catholic, which was not just a felony punishable by hanging, but an act of treason--according to Parlimentary statute--punishable by drawing, hanging, and quartering.

This story provides some excellent background to the situation of Catholics in Durham, especially after the Northern Rebellion, when many showed themselves most ready and willing to return to the Catholic faith. About today's martyr, the author, Chris Lloyd notes:

George Swalwell - his name is often spelled Swallowell - was born in Darlington in 1564. He became a clerk at Trimdon in 1575 and, after he was ordained in 1577, became a curate there. A few years later he moved on to work and teach in the parish of Houghton-le-Spring.

In 1590, his work caused him to visit a Catholic languishing in Durham Jail because of his faith. They fell into argument during which George saw the light and converted to Catholicism. Rather than keep it hidden, he rushed to the pulpit in Houghton and announced that he had hitherto been in error, that there was "no true mission" in Protestantism and so he quit the church on the spot. He was arrested and thrown in Durham Jail.

He came to trial a year later and was reprieved. However, the authorities decided to have another go at him in 1594. They had lost the only witness, known as Willie, who had heard George's pulpit pronouncement, but a fellow called Finch testified that he had once heard Willie tell the story, and this was enough. On Tuesday, July 23, George was sentenced to death for treason. He stood in the dock with two other accused Catholics, Father John Ingram, of Warwickshire, and Father John Boste, of Penrith. Poor Mr Boste had already done time in the Tower of London, where he had been stretched on the rack at least four times "in a manner that rendered him a permanent cripple".

When the death sentence was announced, George immediately reconverted to Protestantism and promised to do whatever the judge said if he could keep his life. But Mr Boste fixed him with a steely stare and asked: "George Swalwell, what hast thou done?" George immediately converted back once more to Catholicism, and the judge ordered that he be hanged, drawn and quartered at Darlington.

On July 24, Mr Boste was executed at Durham; on July 25, Mr Ingram was executed at Gateshead; on July 26, it was George Swalwell's turn.

Here are some details of Blessed George Swallowell or Swalwell's execution, from the same article:

"Upon the day designed for execution, he was brought two miles off the place on foot, and then was put into a cart, where he lay on his back with his hands and eyes up to heaven, and so he was drawn to the gallows," records Bishop Richard Challoner in his 1741 book, Memoirs of the Missionary Priests.

The gallows had been erected on Bakehouse Hill, between the Market Square and Tubwell Row. "To terrify him the more, they led him by two great fires, the one made for burning his bowels, the other for boiling his quarters," says Challoner.

Four priests accompanied him on the walk across the Market Square to the gallows, beseeching him to reconvert yet again to the Protestant faith. He would not listen, and they became so fed up with him that they beat him with a rod to make him climb the ladder to his death more quickly.

The rope was put around his neck and "Mr Swalwell desired if there were any Catholics there they would say three paters, three aves and the creed for him, and so making the sign of the cross, he was turned off the ladder". He was cut down before he lost consciousness "and the hangman, who was but a boy, drew him along by the rope yet alive, and there dismembered and bowelled him, and cast his bowels into the fire". "Then the hangman cut off his head and held it up saying: 'Behold the head of a traitor!' His quarters, after they were boiled in the cauldron, were buried in the baker's dunghill."

Although Elizabeth I had not wanted to make windows into men's souls, an Act of Parliament that made conversion, re-version, or influencing another to join the Catholic Church a treasonous crime was going beyond requiring or controlling the outward conformity of attending Church of England services.

Pater Noster; Ave Maria; Credo: Blessed George Swallowell, pray for us!

Another Martyr in July: Blessed William Ward (William Webster)

Blessed William Ward was born William Webster in Thornby, Westmorland around 1560 and was raised as an Anglican. Although there isn't any record in the sources I found of his educational career, he became a teacher and then traveled to Spain with a Catholic friend. Something happened while he was in Spain--perhaps the expressions of faith, attending Mass with his friend, the art and culture influenced him--and William Webster became a Catholic.

Back home, he converted his mother--under laws passed by Elizabeth I's government, both his efforts and her conversion were treasonous felonies. Webster was repeatedly imprisoned for professing his faith--paying fines for his recusancy and refusal to attend Church of England services. When he was over 40 years old he went to Belgium to study for the priesthood; he arrived there on 18 September, 1604; received the minor orders on 16 December, 1605; the subdiaconate on 26 October, 1607; the diaconate on 31 May, 1608; and the priesthood on the following day, taking the name Father William Ward. On 14 October he started for England, but was driven on to the shores of Scotland, arrested, and imprisoned for three years.

Upon being released, he worked the next 30 years in and around London, secretly ministering to the Catholic population and the poor in general. According to Bishop Challoner, "he was zealous [with a] fiery temperament, severe with himself and others, and especially devoted to hearing confessions. Though he had the reputation of being a very exacting director his earnestness drew to him many penitents. So mortified was his personal life and so secret his numerous charities that he was even accused of avarice." Father Ward was frequently jailed or banished during the reigns of both James I and Charles I, as those periods of relative tolerance ebbed and flowed. He was in London when Parliament issued the proclamation of 7 April, 1641, banishing all priests under pain of death, but refused to retire, and on 15 July was arrested in the house of his nephew. (Charles I had to accept this proclamation because he needed funds from Parliament to fight the rebels in Ireland.) Six days later he was brought to trial at the Old Bailey and was condemned on 23 July. Martyred at age 81 on July 26, 1641, he died uttering the words: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, receive my soul!” 

He was among the 162 English Martyrs Pope Pius XI beatified in 1929.

More Martyrs in July: Blessed Edward Thwing and Blessed Robert Nutter

These two martyrs, executed on July 26 in 1600, each had a relative (nephew and brother, respectively) who also suffered martyrdom for their priesthood in recusant England. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982 as two of the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales:

Edward Thwing was born in Yorkshire. He went to Reims, France in the summer of 1583 to study for the priesthood and then went to the Jesuit community at Pont-a-Mousson, evidently intending to enter the order. But within two years, he was back at the English College. After completing his studies with a stay in Rome, he returned to France for his ordination in Laon on December 20, 1590. His return to England was delayed by health problems. In 1597, he was finally able to go to England but was captured by the Elizabethan authorities as soon as he arrived. He and a fellow priest, (Blessed) Robert Nutter, managed to escape from their prison, and eluded arrest for the next three years. In May of 1600, they were re-captured. On July 26, 1600, Father Thwing was executed at Lancaster by drawing and quartering, together with Father Nutter. His nephew was also martyred, during the Popish Plot craziness: Blessed Thomas Thwing.

Blessed Robert Nutter was born at Burnley, Lancashire, c. 1550; executed at Lancaster, 26 July, 1600. He entered Brasenose College, Oxford in 1564 or 1565, and, with his brother John, also a martyr (executed at Tyburn on February 12, 1584 with four other priests and beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929) became a student of the English College, Reims. Having been ordained priest, 21 Dec., 1581, he returned to England. On 2 Feb., 1583-4 he was committed to the Tower, where he remained in the pit forty-seven days, wearing irons for forty-three days, and twice subjected to the tortures of "the scavenger's daughter". On 10 November, 1584, he was again consigned to the pit, where he remained until, on 21 Jan., 1584-5, he, with twenty other priests and one layman, was shipped aboard the "Mary Martin" of Colchester, at Tower Wharf. Landing at Boulogne, 2 Feb., he revisited Rome in July, but, on 30 November, was again committed to prison in London, this time to Newgate, under the alias of Rowley. In 1587 he was removed to the Marshalsea, and thence, in 1589-90, was sent to Wisbech Castle, Cambridgeshire. There, in 1597, he signed a petition to Father Garnet in favour of having a Jesuit superior, but, on 8 Nov., 1598, he and his fellow martyr, Edward Thwing, with others, besought the pope to institute an archpriest.

This site offers more detail on each martyr:

Blessed John Nutter: He was a man of strong body but of a stronger soul, who rather despised than conquered death; and went before his companion to the gallows with as much cheerfulness and joy as if he had been going to a feast, to the astonishment of the spectators.

Blessed Edward Thwing: Thwing was of a Yorkshire family, a man of admirable meekness and patience, suffering long with a painful infirmity.

Blesseds Thwing and Nutter are among the Lancaster Martyrs, listed here.

Another Martyr in July: Blessed John Ingram

The Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle posts this prayer for the canonization of Blessed John Ingram on their site:

O God, you gave us Blessed John Ingram to inspire and encourage us. Grant that we may know the benefit of his prayers so that we, your Church, can give witness to his sanctity. We make our Prayer through our Lord Jesus. Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

The site also tells the story of his trial and execution:

From Berwick he was sent to Newcastle, then to York and eventually to the Tower of London for examination by Richard Topcliffe. He suffered grievous torture while in the Tower, yet steadfastly refused to betray his friends and associates.

From London he was sent to Durham to stand trial with two other Martyrs, St. John Boste and Blessed George Swallowell.

All three were convicted and condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. St. John Boste was executed that same day (July 24th) in Durham, Blessed George Swallowell in Darlington on Monday 29th July.

Blessed John Ingram was executed at Gateshead on Friday 26th July 1594, at a gallows near where is now the church of the Holy Trinity. He was only 29 years of age.

His last words to the people assembled to see him suffer were "I take God and His Holy Angels to the record that I die only for the Holy Catholic Faith and Religion, and do rejoice and thank God with all my heart that He made me worthy to testify my faith therein by the spending of my blood in this manner."

These last days of July offer us a great testimony of how these martyrs consoled and supported each other. St. John Boste had strengthened Blessed George Swallowell (about whom more soon), and their trial and executions demonstrated the endurance of recusancy in northern England.

Blessed John Ingram - Pray for us.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

One Drowning Victim Among Many: Robert Parsons

The BBC History Magazine posts an extra: why did so many people drown in Tudor England?:

Travel across and beside water was as risky as travel on it. Rickety bridges, slippery banks, panicky horses, and fords where the depth of the water or the speed of the current were hard to judge all posed threats.

Everyone was at risk, from a labourer like John Hayward, walking the six miles from Broadway to market in Evesham across the brook at Childswickham on a dark December morning, to a yeoman like Richard Mongombery, riding the eight miles from Uppingham to Kirby late on a February afternoon beside the flooded river Welland.

Animals and water were a dangerous combination. The easiest way to wash a horse was to ride it into deep water, but falling off could be fatal, as Griffin Home found when he rode a black horse into the ‘horse pool’ at Bishop’s Castle and it stumbled. Even taking excitable horses to drink was risky. William Hill, aged 17, took two colts to the river Soar at Burton on the Wolds on 15 June 1558, but they ran into the river and pulled him in after them.

Sheep needed washing before they were sheared and that too could have tragic consequences. One June morning in 1560 Alice and Katherine Bonde were washing sheep in the river Hodder at Slaidburn. A wether (castrated ram) jumped up and knocked Alice head over heels into a whirlpool. Seeing her sister in trouble, Katherine went after her, while John Swinglehirst jumped in from the bank to help. All three died.

Children’s curiosity could get them into trouble with anything that moved. John Choppinge, a Hertford toddler, followed a gosling into a pond in the yard of his family home in April 1560 with fatal results.

One drowning in every ten involved women fetching water for cooking or washing. They died this way three times as often as men, as we might expect from their predominant role in domestic work. Wells, slippery-sided streams and rivers like the Tyne at Newcastle, where Elizabeth Garret fell in on 26 June 1560, all posed problems.

Washing linen in rivers could also prove fatal for women. And in the devastating epidemics of the late 1550s, men and women alike drowned in the attempt to slake their fevered thirst. Some were described as losing their reason in the heat of the fever, like Dorothy Cawthorn of Belton in Lincolnshire, who got out of bed between 4 and 5am on 19 October 1559 and smashed a hole in the kitchen wall so she could get out into her mistress’s hop-garden, where she drowned in a pit five-feet deep. . . .

Read the rest there. Robert Parsons, the great Tudor composer, died of drowning. Naxos posts this biographical note:

Little is known about the life of Robert Parsons. Much of his music has survived to the modern day, however, often in incomplete editions. Born in England around 1535, Parsons was appointed as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1563, a post he held until his death in 1572, when he was succeeded by William Byrd.

Parsons’ output of music was varied, and although the majority of his surviving scores are for choir, he is believed to have written a large amount of instrumental music for the Chapel Royal as well. It is the story surrounding the death of Robert Parsons that arouses great intrigue. On a cold and wet January day, Parsons fell into a swollen River Trent and drowned. Such was the upset and suspicion surrounding his death that much of his music ceased to be performed in the Chapel Royal, as musicians tried to move on and forget this tragic incident. These unfortunate circumstances may also have led to the poor maintenance of Parsons’ music over the years. The consequence of the lack of performance of Parsons’ works after his death has, in the course of time, led to this English polyphonic master being largely unrecognised and even forgotten. His vocal writing is very gifted, and he must have been well versed in composition to have access to the skills of writing music for seven part viols.

His Ave Maria, here sung by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, is one of his best known works. The Cardinall's Musicke performed several of his works on their 2011 release, pictured above:

Gramophone award-winning ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick return to another master of the Renaissance, Robert Parsons. Very few records remain of the composer’s short life, and his musical output is often overlooked, perhaps in the shadow of the prolific William Byrd, his successor as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. However, his vocal writing is some of the most opulent of the period.

The Cardinall’s Musick give sublime performances of some of the composer’s most sumptuous choral works, from the remarkably sophisticated Magnificat to the dramatic O bone Jesu. As demonstrated in their previous recordings, their resonant, pure-toned singing is the perfect advocate for such exquisite polyphony. The ensemble’s seemingly effortless and magical performance of the glorious Ave Maria is the perfect conclusion to an enlightening recording.

The Feast of St. James at Spanish Place

Today is the Feast of St. James the Greater. Every year on this feast day I think of the quip of my mother regarding my late father when deciding which was his patron saint, St. James the Greater or St. James the Lesser? She said immediately: "St. James THE Great". I certainly hope and pray that my father is a saint in heaven today.

In London, the parish of St. James Spanish Place is celebrating not only the patronal feast day but its 125th anniversary! From the parish's history page:

The visitor to St James's Church is often puzzled to know why a church which stands in George Street, W1, should have derived a kind of secondary title from a street called Spanish Place which can be found opposite the Presbytery door. The explanation is that St James's, Spanish Place, like so many of the older parishes in the Westminster diocese, can trace its origin to the penal times and to the benefactions of a friendly Catholic embassy. And this is perhaps the reason why, despite the magnificence of the church, there is within an atmosphere that breathes our Catholic past.

In the reign of Elizabeth I the Bishops of Ely let their palace and chapel in Ely Place to the Spanish Ambassador, and until the reign of Charles I it was occupied by the representative of the Court of Spain. During this period the chapel was freely used by English Catholics and became a place of sanctuary for them.

After the restoration of Charles II the Spanish Embassy was re-established in London, first on Ormond Street and then at Hartford house, Manchester Square, where the Wallace Collection is now housed. Here, in 1791, shortly after the first repeal of some of the laws affecting Catholic worship, a chapel was built on the corner of Spanish Place and Charles Street (now George Street), largely through the efforts of DOctor Thomas Hussey who had been a chaplain at the Embassy since his ordination in 1769. Most of the objects of piety in the present church are legacies from this older building which was famous enough in its day to be mentioned by Thackeray in
Vanity Fair as the church attended by the Marchioness of Steyne. . . .

In the year 1827 the official Spanish connection with the chapel ceased and it was handed over to the London Vicariate. However, there is much in the present church to remind us of our Spanish heritage including Alfonso XIII's personal standard which is in a frame over the sacristy door, and the parishioners of Spanish Place have never forgotten their debt to Spain for having established and maintained the mission in the dark days. An unofficial connection with the Embassy of Spain has continued and is still cherished by the Church of St James today. . . .

The site was purchased and the design for a new church was made an open competition. Edward Goldie, great grandson of the architect of the old chapel, Signor Joseph Bonomi, won the competition and the present edifice, partially completed, was opened on Michaelmas Day, 1890.

Happy Feast of St. James! St. James, pray for us!

Friday, July 24, 2015

More Martyrs in July: Blessed Joseph Lambton and St. John Boste

The Catholic Encyclopedia cites a horrible detail in the execution of Blessed Joseph Lambton, most likely on July 24, 1592 at Newcastle-on-Tyne:

English martyr, b. 1569; d. at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The day of his death is variously given as 23 June, 23 July, and 27 July, and the year as 1592 and 1593; but from a letter of Lord Huntingdon it is clear he died before 31 July, 1592, and Father Holtby's Stonyhurst manuscript says he died on a Monday, so that the probable date is 24 July, 1592. He was the second son of Thomas Lambton of Malton-in-Rydall, Yorks, and Katharine, daughter of Robert Birkhead of West Brandon, Durham. He arrived at the English College, Reims, in 1584, and at the English College, Rome, in 1589. Being allowed to curtail his theological course, he was ordained priest when only twenty-three, and sent on the mission on 22 April 1592. He was arrested at Newcastle on landing with [Blessed] Edward Waterson, and condemned at the next assizes under 27 Eliz., c. 2. He was cut down alive, and the reprieved felon who acted as hangman refused to complete the sentence, which was at last carried out by a Frenchman practicing as a surgeon at Kenton.

So half-strangled he had to wait on another executioner--perhaps the surgeon was able to complete the process more humanely than the felon would have!

On the same date, two years later, another martyr, St. John Boste, suffered in Durham:

Priest and martyr, b. of good Catholic family at Dufton, in Westmoreland, about 1544; d. at Durham, 24 July, 1594. He studied at Queen's College, Oxford, 1569-72, became a Fellow, and was received into the Church at Brome, in Suffolk, in 1576. Resigning his Fellowship in 1580, he went to Reims, where he was ordained priest, 4 March, 1581, and in April was sent to England. He landed at Hartlepool and became a most zealous missioner, so that the persecutors made extraordinary efforts to capture him. At last, after many narrow escapes, he was taken to Waterhouses, the house of William Claxton, near Durham, betrayed by one Eglesfield [or Ecclesfield], 5 July, 1593. The place is still visited by Catholics. From Durham he was conveyed to London, showing himself throughout "resolute, bold, joyful, and pleasant", although terribly racked in the Tower. Sent back to Durham for the July Assizes, 1594, he behaved with undaunted courage and resolution, and induced his fellow-martyr, Bl. George Swalwell [or Swallowell], a convert minister, who had recanted through fear, to repent of his cowardice, absolving him publicly in court. He suffered at Dryburn, outside Durham. He recited the Angelus while mounting the ladder, and was executed with extraordinary brutality; for he was scarcely turned off the ladder when he was cut down, so that he stood on his feet, and in that posture was cruelly butchered alive. An account of his trial and execution was written by an eye-witness, [Blessed] Christopher Robinson, who suffered martyrdom shortly afterwards at Carlisle.

Blessed Joseph Lambton was among the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Blessed John Paul II, while St. John Boste was canonized by Pope Paul VI. Blessed George Swalwell, Blessed Christopher Robinson, and Blessed Edward Waterson are also among those beatified in 1987.

More Martyrs in July: Blessed Nicholas Garlick, Blessed Robert Ludlam, and Blessed Richard Simpson

Blessed Nicholas Garlick, Blessed Robert Ludlam, and Blessed Richard Simpson, three priests, suffered martyrdom on July 24, 1588 in Derby. They were beatified by Pope St. John Paul II among the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales in 1987. Bishop Challoner quotes this poem in his 1741 Memoirs of Missionary Priests:

When Garlick did the ladder kiss,
And Sympson after hie,
Methought that there St. Andrew was
Desirous for to die.

When Ludlam lookèd smilingly,
And joyful did remain,
It seemed St. Stephen was standing by,
For to be stoned again.

And what if Sympson seemed to yield,
For doubt and dread to die;
He rose again, and won the field
And died most constantly.

His watching, fasting, shirt of hair;
His speech, his death, and all,
Do record give, do witness bear,
He wailed his former fall.

It's neat when one can find a parish website commemorating the English martyrs, Blessed Nicholas Garlick and Blessed Robert Ludlam are featured on this site from the Catholic Church at Glossop in Derbyshire:

Who is Blessed Nicholas? None other than one of the martyrs of what is called the English Reformation. Nicholas was a local boy, from Dinting, about a half hour’s walk west from Old Glossop. The Catholic Encyclopaedia tells us that Nicholas was born in about 1555 and met his end at Derby in 1588, following his capture with his brother priest Robert Ludlum at Padley, also in the Peak District and to the south-east of Glossop.

A charismatic man, Nicholas seems to have had great influence, for example, during his time as school-master at Tideswell in the Peak, enough indeed that some of his pupils followed him to the seminary at Rheims in France, where men were being prepared for the missionary priesthood in protestant England, men who expected to meet a grisly end if they were arrested by the authorities (at a time when being a priest was considered in England to be an act of treason). Nicholas went there in 1581, was ordained and returned to England in 1583. He was arrested soon afterwards and exiled in 1585 with a warning.

The Catholic Encyclopedia tells more about the second and third priests who suffered that day:

With Garlick was arrested another priest, Robert Ludlam, or Ludham, who had, like Garlick, been at Oxford and had engaged in teaching before his ordination in May, 1581. In Derby Gaol, a small and pestiferous prison, they found a third priest, Robert Sympson, who was of Garlick's college at Oxford. There he had taken Protestant orders, but was soon after reconciled to the Church, for which he suffered long imprisonment in York Castle. In this trial his faith had grown stronger, but having been ordained and passed through many labours, including exile, he was again in durance and in danger of his life, and this time he was wavering. Garlick and Ludlam cheered, reconciled, and comforted their fellow-captive, and all three were tried and suffered together.

These martyrs are remembered annually with a pilgrimage and Mass at Padley Chapel; it was at Padley, the home of John Fitzherbert, that Fathers Garlick and Ludlam were captured. The Catholic Fitzherberts suffered much for their faith, including the invasion of their home on July 12, 1588 when these priests were captured, according to this site:

The special events which led up to the execution, and subsequent martyrdom of the two Catholic priests who were captured at Padley have been recorded many times, but briefly the main protagonists in the saga were:-

Sir Thomas FITZHERBERT, who married Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur EYRE. Inherited Padley through his marriage to Anne. Lived at Norbury, having handed over the tenancy of Padley to John, his younger brother. A staunch Catholic, he had been imprisoned in 1559 at Derby for his recusancy. Although he was later released, he was ultimately denounced by his nephew, imprisoned again and died in the Tower of London on 2nd October 1591.

John FITZHERBERT, Thomas's brother. Captured by George, Earl of Shrewsbury at Padley on 12th July 1588, with his son Anthony, three of his daughters, Matilda, Jane and Mary (married respectively to - Thomas BARLOW, Thomas EYRE and - DRAYCOTT), and ten serving men from the estate. Jane and Mary were placed in the custody of the Anglican Rectors of Aston, and Weston upon Trent. The others were taken to the county Gaol at Derby. John was reprieved of the death sentence, by an alleged payment of £10,000 in bribes; kept 2 years in Derby Gaol and then sent to Fleet Prison in London where he died on 8th November 1590.

Thomas FITZHERBERT, John's traitorous son, who betrayed his uncle Thomas. Had Norbury estate after his uncle died, but was refused Padley by arch-villain Richard TOPCLIFFE.

Richard TOPCLIFFE, a spy for the Privy Council, who persuaded Thomas to betray his uncle. Sir Thomas made a will whilst he was in the Tower, disinheriting his nephew, but Topcliffe managed to get hold of it, and destroyed it. He obtained Padley for himself after Sir Thomas and John's deaths, but lost it again after 1603 (when Elizabeth I died) to Anthony FITZHERBERT, Thomas's brother (who although captured in 1588 apparently survived!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First in a Series: English Catholic Martyrs at the End of July

We're entering another period with a cluster of martyrs, starting today with two Popish Plot victims, canonized in 1970 among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Father Philip Evans, SJ and Father John Lloyd suffered martyrdom on July 22, 1679 in Cardiff, Wales. Although they were tried for supposed involvement in the Popish Plot, they were found guilty of their priesthood and their presence in Wales. This blog provides some detail about their background and contains this great understatement: "1678 was a bad year to be a Roman Catholic priest on the island of Great Britain. (There were many such years in in the 1600s.) But, in 1678, there was a fictional plot by Roman Catholic to assassinate King Charles II. (This was ironic, given the Roman Catholic sympathies of the House of Stuart.) Anyway, a wave of anti-Roman Catholic hysteria swept the land,where authorities political and religious had planted, watered, and nurtured anti-Roman Catholicism for a long time. And hysterical people did not check facts, to confirm or refute them. So the two priest-martyrs became prisoners. They became casualties of hysteria and religious bigotry. Their crime was to be priests, a charge considered on par with committing treason." That's because, of course, of the Elizabethan statute which declared the mere presence of an English Catholic priest in his own native land to be an act of treason.

As the site summarizes their careers: St. Philip Evans, educated at St. Omer Monastery in France, became a Jesuit in 1665, at age 20. Ten years later, at Liege, he entered the priesthood then embarked for his Welsh mission. For three years Evans ministered there.

St. John Lloyd, educated at Ghent (now in Belgium, but a Hapsburg domain) and at Valladolid, Spain (also a Hapsburg domain at the the time). Ordained at Valladolid in 1653, he began this twenty-four-year long Welsh mission the following year.

Among the priests who suffered during the Popish Plot hysteria, St. John Lloyd's long tenure as a missionary priest is not unusual: St. John Kemble served his flock in Monmouthshire for more than 50--fifty--years! and St. David Lewis, SJ served in Wales for 30 years. Pope Paul VI canonized today's martyrs (and John Kemble and David Lewis) among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970. Since today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, their feast is usually observed--in parishes named for them, for instance, and in the dioceses of Wales, on July 23. They are also honored on October 25, the Feast of the Welsh Martyrs, and May 4, the Feast of ALL the Martyrs of England and Wales.

St. John Lloyd and St. Philip Evans, pray for us!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Archbishop Chaput and Religious Liberty

George Weigel writes in his National Review column about reaction to Archbishop Charles Chaput's support of a Catholic school upholding Catholic teaching about the reality of marriage:

It consisted in part of vile e-mail. One “correspondent” advised the mild-mannered Capuchin archbishop (whom he described as a “CHILD MOLESTING SACK OF SH*T”) to “GO F**K YOURSELF,” adding the eschatological note that he hoped Chaput would “ROT IN HELL.”
This is the peace that was supposed to follow a live-and-let-live adjudication of the “same-sex marriage” question?
Michael Newall, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, was less vulgar but no less angry and equally mindless. Waving the bloody shirt of sexual abuse, as if this had anything to do with what had happened at Waldron Mercy Academy, he accused the archbishop of “hypocrisy” (a term he evidently understands in an Alice in Wonderland sort of way) before dismissing Chaput as a “relic” who stands in poor contrast to the embracing, affirming Pope Francis — although, Newall went on to write, the pope is “far from perfect on the subject” of “LGBT acceptance” because even he “still opposes gay marriage itself.”

Mr. Newall buttressed his calumnies of both the archbishop and the pope by adverting to his “12 years in Catholic schools and another four at a Catholic college,” although he declined to identify his
almae matres — which may be a relief to the schools in question.

Some may consider me a suspect witness in the case of Archbishop Chaput, who has been a close friend for decades. But I fear no conviction on the charge of special pleading when I say that Chaput has been a stalwart, courageous, and unflinching reformer of the Church in the three dioceses he has served, where he has made clear that, as John Paul II said to the U.S. cardinals in 2002, “there is no room” in the clergy “for those who would abuse the young”; that he is widely respected by his peers in the American hierarchy as one of the best bishops of his generation; and that he has saved the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from utter financial — and thus evangelical — catastrophe by dint of performing wonders since his arrival in Philadelphia in 2011. No other bishop envies him the job he took on then; more than one American bishop believes that he is the only one of their number who could have pulled it off in Philadelphia, in terms of both the Church’s public credibility and the stabilization of its finances.

But now this good, decent, compassionate, and holy man — a bishop who truly knows “the smell of the sheep,” in Pope Francis’s formula — is the target of vicious attacks privately and wicked canards publicly. Why? Because he believes that the Catholic Church has a better answer to the human longing for happiness than the false promises of the sexual revolution in a society-without-aberrant-behavior — the New Normal. Because he thinks that Catholic institutions and those who work in them should embody the truths about life and love that the Catholic Church professes on the basis of both revelation and reason. Because he understands that, when the state demands that we believe something that we know is not true, all sorts of bad consequences for democracy follow.

Archbishop Chaput is an admirer of St. Thomas More and wrote an excellent review of Travis Curtright's The One Thomas More in which he highlighted More's importance today and also mentioned St. John Fisher, who I think is the model all our Catholic bishops and priests are going to have to follow:

Having said all this, Thomas More has been dead nearly 500 years. Why should his legacy matter today?

Barring relief from the courts, Christian entities, employers, and ministers in the coming year will face a range of unhappy choices. As the Affordable Care Act takes force and the HHS contraceptive mandate imposes itself on Christian life, Catholic and other Christian leaders can refuse to comply, either declining to pay the consequent fines in outright civil disobedience, or trying to pay them; they can divest themselves of their impacted Christian institutions; they can seek some unexplored compromise or way of circumventing the law; or they can simply give in and comply with the government coercion under protest.

Good people can obviously disagree on the strategy to deal with such serious matters. But the cost of choosing the last course—simply cooperating with the HHS mandate and its evil effects under protest—would be bitterly high and heavily damaging to the witness of the Church in the United States. Having fought loudly and hard for religious liberty over the past year, in part because of the HHS mandate, America’s Catholic bishops cannot simply grumble and shrug, and go along with the mandate now, without implicating themselves in cowardice. Their current resolve risks unraveling unless they reaffirm their opposition to the mandate forcefully and as a united body. The past can be a useful teacher. One of its lessons is this: The passage of time can invite confusion and doubt—and both work against courage. . . .

But readers might nonetheless profit in the coming months from some reflection on the life of Sir Thomas. We might also take a moment to remember More’s friend and fellow martyr, John Fisher, the only bishop who refused to bend to the king’s will; the man who shortly before his own arrest told his brother bishops: “. . . the fort has been betrayed even [by] them that should have defended it.”

Pray God that none of our bishops betray the fort.

Something More and Tyndale Would Agree Upon!

As you might know, St. Thomas More and William Tyndale exchanged sometimes rather vituperative arguments and personal attacks on the relationship between the Church and the Holy Bible. More defended the consistent Catholic view that the Church preceded the Bible, teaching according to the oral tradition of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, and that the Church was therefore most qualified to interpret the Bible; after all, she wrote it, she canonized its contents, she read it and taught it. As this Christianity Today posts notes, Tyndale argued the opposite:

Sir Thomas More, who had been commissioned by the Church to refute Tyndale, had published his Dialogue Concerning Heresies in 1529. Tyndale’s Practice of Prelates includes brief rebuttals of More’s assertions in this book, and his Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, published in 1531, was a fuller response. One man was staunchly Catholic, the other staunchly Protestant and, indicative of the vicissitudes of chameleon-like Henry, both would be executed within five years for their differing views of the faith.

Their debate centered on the relation of the church, or Church, and Scripture. Tyndale argues that the gospel preceded the church, formed the church, and now provides the test for discerning the true church—made up of those people who read the Scriptures with eyes of faith. “For the whole Scripture and all believing hearts testify that we are begotten through the Word.”

Viewed from the 20th-century perspective, Tyndale’s polemics might seem harsh, full of personal attacks, occasionally illogical, and at times almost paranoid. His language is frequently rough, and he often abuses his opponents in personal-attack terms.

He calls Wolsey “Cardinal Wolfsee” because the cleric occupied more than one church office at the same time; he baits Sir Thomas More for his friendship with the Dutch scholar Erasmus (“His darling Erasmus” is Tyndale’s mocking phrase). He begs the question, assuming as true the point he is trying to prove. When the histories do not record clerical intrigue, he assumes that the writers, clergymen themselves, have covered their own tracks.

Yet this was the prevailing style of religious argumentation during the 16th century.

If you want to read Tyndale's work answering More's Dialogue, it's wonderful and ironic to note that the Catholic University of America Press is the publisher! Scepter Publishers provides a modernized version of More's Dialogue.

Unlike this balanced and scholarly analysis of the More-Tyndale debates/conflict, I have seen some posts, including comments on Wolf Hall stories about St. Thomas More, that offer the ridiculous suggestion that Thomas More, while in the Tower of London, orchestrated the arrest and trial and subsequent execution of William Tyndale. There is no evidence of this and if More had a part in Tyndale's burning at the stake in Vilvoorde, it was from beyond the grave, as Tyndale's execution took place more than a year after More was beheaded. More had resigned all authority in England, had no influence upon Henry VIII, and was not active in any search or arrest of Tyndale on the Continent: his goods and life were forfeit to the king!

All that background aside, I think St. Thomas More would be glad to hear that Tyndale Publishers, named for the reforming translator, has been granted a reprieve from the HHS contraception mandate, according to this CNA story:

A Bible publisher based in Illinois has won its lawsuit against the federal contraception mandate, with a final ruling delivered July 15 by a federal district court.

The ruling means that Tyndale House Publishers cannot be subject to the mandate, which was issued four years ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“In America, citizens have always had the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom to operate their businesses accordingly,” said Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which was representing Tyndale House in court.

“The Supreme Court upheld that principle in its Conestoga/Hobby Lobby decision last year, and the district court has rightly done the same,” Bowman said.

Tyndale House is the world’s largest privately-held Christian publisher of books, Bibles, and digital media. It gives more than 95 percent of its profits each year to religious non-profit causes across the globe.

The U.S. Supreme Court will have to defend the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor, however, since "the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rul[ed] against the Little Sisters, saying that they must follow the demands of the contraceptive mandate or else face fines of up to $2.5 million a year, or about 40 percent of the $6 million the Sisters beg for annually to run their ministry."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Church History Apologetics: Blessed Junipero Serra

It's the third Monday of the month, so I'll be talking Church History Apologetics with Matt Swaim on the Son Rise Morning Show during the last national segment on EWTN: after the 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central news break with Annie Mitchell. We'll discuss the controversy over Blessed Junipero Serra and Spanish colonization in California.

Pope Francis will canonize the Mallorca-born missionary priest when he visits the United States in September this year. There has been some controversy about this because some people accuse Blessed Junipero Serra of abusing the natives in California while establishing the missions. The first thing to establish is that critics are chronologically confused, according to Professor Ruben Mendoza of California State University, Monterey Bay, in this National Catholic Reporter article:

The professor has been involved in research and conservation projects at several California missions founded by Serra. He said many of the Spanish missionary's critics are confusing the impact of Spanish colonizing and missionary activity on the native communities with what happened after California became a U.S. territory in 1848.

"A decimation of the Native American population," Mendoza said, occurred "in the period after 1850; Serra had no connection to that phenomenon. Those who criticize Serra the most tend to conflate the American period with that of the missionaries."

Another major objection to Serra's canonization involves reports that Native American adults at his mission were beaten.

"There is no documentation that Serra himself abused any Native American," Mendoza said. "The system under which he operated did use corporal punishment, but that was also used for transgressors from all walks of life, including soldiers."

Mendoza supports the canonization and said he believes it "has much to offer the peoples of Latin America, especially those of us of Mexican-Indian heritage who currently live under a shadow of doubt and denigration."

Just as with St. Thomas More during the Wolf Hall controveries, I've seen some articles with the headline or comment: "Saint or sinner?" and the answer, just as with St. Thomas More, is: both! Sainthood does not mean that the canonized confessor or martyr was perfect or never sinned; it means that the Church has determined that the confessor practiced the theological virtues heroically and that, by evidence of both devotion and miracles through the intercession of the saint, the Church is certain that the confessor is in heaven. Everyone in heaven is a saint, canonized and recognized by the Church or not; that's one reason we have the glorious feast of All Saints Day.

As the head of the Knights of Columbus noted, these attacks on Father Serra are part of the "Black Legend":

The “black legend” is a term historians use to explain a propaganda war of English speaking nations against Spain. It originally arose when Spain had a vast empire and England was competing with Spain.

We all know, for example, the story of the Spanish Armada trying to invade England. It has come down through history as a prejudice against Spaniards as being unusually cruel, unusually greed, unusually untrustworthy. . . .

The presumption of the black legend is that the Indians — the native peoples — were treated cruelly, maybe were tortured, were exploited. When the fact of the matter is, what drove and motivated Junípero Serra and the other missionaries was the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that these people have dignity. When she appeared to Juan Diego, she said: “Am I not your Mother?” Did she not come with their appearance, as one of them. She also said: “I have the honor to be your mother.”

Disciples of Our Lady of Guadalupe understand that she is coming out of respect. And therefore, evangelization does not mean domination; it doesn’t mean exploitation. It means bringing the Gospel to people and cultures that you respect.

And Carl Anderson notes that it was the State of California, in the days of the 49ers, that abused the natives:

And that’s the key to understanding Junípero Serra. In fact, many of the horrible things that people want to say occurred under the Spanish missionaries actually occurred after Spain and Mexico were driven out of California. It is during the gold rush — in 1849 and 1850 — that you see the suppression of the Indian people, i.e. the natives of California. . . .

You even have the governor of the time saying the Indians must be exterminated. There was no thought of treating the native people with the kind of respect and multiculturalism that Junípero Serra wanted. The governor stated this quite clearly and used the word ‘extermination’, so it’s very clear what was going on.

The Black Legend is one of those sloppy, easy ways to think (or not think) about history, using some simplistic, generalized framework to sort out the heroes and the villains. We know that history is more complex than that but this propaganda device is hard to dislodge from popular culture.

A final aspect of this issue is the statue of Blessed Junipero Serra in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection (pictured above/public domain)--there was a move to have it replaced with one of Sally Ride, but that has been put on hold, at least until after Pope Francis' visit. St. Damien of Molokai, the Leper priest, is the other Catholic saint depicted in the hall. Do you know which historic figures represent your state? Perhaps I'll quiz Matt on who represents Ohio!