Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Anticlericalism and the English Reformation

On the First Things blog, Peter Leithart cites some quotations from David Loades' chapter "Anticlericalism in the Church of England before 1558: An 'Eating Canker'?" in the 2001 book Anticlericalism in Britain c. 1500 to 1914, saying that

Anticlerical agitation was more consequence than cause of the English Reformation . . .

Thus, “there was . . . a certain amount of anti-ecclesisticism before the Reformation; a feeling that the Church was too rich, too self-satisfied and incapable of responding to new challenges” (8).

For the most part, anticlericalism arose with the Reformation. Protestant polemicists attacked priests as ignorant and unqualified—which they indeed were, by Protestant standards that required knowledge of the Bible and capacity to teach (9–10). Henry VIII found that anticlerical rhetoric could be used to his advantage. He used it “because it was a convenient weapon, rather than because it evoked a powerful response.” He wanted a male heir, but even before the succession crisis emerged, he expressed his unhappiness at the independence of the clergy: They were “‘scarse his subjects,' and were evading his laws” (13). Monasteries were dissolved not because monks were hated but “because they were no longer seen as performing the vital spiritual function that had once justified their huge resources.” To be sure, he had his eye on monastic wealth, but “his move would never have succeeded if many others had not shared his covetousness, or if the prestige of all the orders had been as high as that of the Carthusians” (13).

These few comments and quotations are out of context, of course, but I wonder about that statement that monasteries were dissolved "because they were no longer seen as performing the vital spiritual function that had once justified their huge resources". By whom were they no longer seen performing these functions? The people of North certainly saw their benefit. Glastonbury, for example, was fulfilling its purposes. In The Tudors, G. J. Meyer pointed out that the monastic movement in England had its ups and downs, it required reform and revival several times in its long history. The monks of Henry VIII's era weren't given the opportunity to change. And I don't remember that there was any great outcry when the Carthusians were so brutally destroyed in spite of their prestige--they had no great wealth to speak of; nor the friars or canons. It came down to covetousness, not concern for monastic effectiveness and spiritual functioning.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Queen's Chaplain Resigns

On Epiphany, a verse from the Koran was read in the Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, as Christianity Today explains:

The congregation at St Mary's cathedral heard the Muslim version of the Virgin Mary's conception of Jesus, from the Koran's Sura 19, sung by Madinah Javed. The passage explains how Mary gave birth after an angel told her God would give her a child.

Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet, and that He was a precursor to Mohammed rather than the Son of God.

Sura 19 states that Mary was "ashamed" after she gave birth, and that the infant Jesus miraculously spoke to her from his crib and claimed he was "a servant of God".

It denies Jesus was the Son of God.

One of Queen Elizabeth II's chaplains, The Reverend Gavin Ashenden, said that he thought that was terribly out of place at a service on Epiphany, the manifestation of the Savior and Son of God to the Gentiles. Denying the Incarnation of Jesus is a great betrayal of the Christian faith and I agree with Ashenden that it has no place in a Christian church.

He has since resigned, not wanting to draw Her Majesty into a controversy. He describes his situation in this interview:

The C of E is a rich mixture of the spiritual and the political. If you make political enemies, or your face does not fit, or you fail to adopt increasingly secular values, options that might have otherwise been open are closed down. One senior bishop invited me to tea in the House of Lords to tell me that I was finished in the C of E as an organisation because what he described as my ‘critics’ were too determined.

His final comment is this:

Demographically and financially it [the Church of England] is dying. Spiritually it appears to be on its last legs too. I’m not sure I see much point in a church that just wants to be accepted as a sort of not too irritating chaplain to a secular and hedonistic culture, which is what it seems to be becoming. I want to remain a faithful Anglican, but increasingly it looks like that is only possible outside the C of E. It has opted for a kind of spiritualised socialism and feminism in opposition to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. You get new life when you repent. But there is no sign that it is ready to take that path.

God bless him!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Funeral and a Miscarriage: January 29, 1536

In one of those incredible juxtapositions of history, Henry VIII's first wife Katherine of Aragon was buried in Peterborough Cathedral (correction!) and his second wife Anne Boleyn suffered a miscarriage on the same day, January 29, 1536.

Henry VIII refused at the end to acknowledge the validity of his marriage to Katherine and had her buried as the Princess Dowager of Wales, but it was a duly elaborate funeral. This blog, profusely illustrated, provides the detail from the state papers:

First, 16 priests or clergymen in surplices went on horseback, without saying a word, having a gilded laten cross borne before them; after them several gentlemen, of whom there were only two of the house, et le demeurant estoient tous emprouvez, and after them followed the maître d’hotel and chamberlain, with their rods of office in their hands; and, to keep them in order, went by their sides 9 or 10 heralds, with mourning hoods and wearing their coats of arms; after them followed 50 servants of the aforesaid gentlemen, bearing torches and bâtons allumés, which lasted but a short time, and in the middle of them was drawn a wagon, upon which the body was drawn by six horses all covered with black cloth to the ground.

The said wagon was covered with black velvet, in the midst of which was a great silver cross; and within, as one looked upon the corpse, was stretched a cloth of gold frieze with a cross of crimson velvet, and before and behind the said wagon stood two gentlemen ushers with mourning hoods looking into the wagon, round which the said four banners were carried by four heralds and the standards with the representations by four gentlemen.

Then followed seven ladies, as chief mourners, upon hackneys, that of the first being harnessed with black velvet and the others with black cloth. After which ladies followed the wagon of the Queen’s gentlemen; and after them, on hackneys, came nine ladies, wives of knights. Then followed the wagon of the Queen’s chambermaids; then her maids to the number of 36, and in their wake followed certain servants on horseback.

Meanwhile, back at Court, Anne Boleyn suffered a catastrophic miscarriage that may have contributed to her fall and execution. Henry VIII had pursued her and married her, divided England from Christendom, abandoned his first wife and daughter all because he expected Anne Boleyn to deliver a healthy baby boy who would survive infancy, and she failed again. This blog describes the repercussions of that miscarriage, as recounted by Eustace Chapuys, the Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador:

On the day of the interment the Concubine had an abortion which seemed to be a male child which she had not borne 3½ months, at which the King has shown great distress. The said concubine wished to lay the blame on the duke of Norfolk, whom she hates, saying he frightened her by bringing the news of the fall the King had six days before. But it is well known that is not the cause, for it was told her in a way that she should not be alarmed or attach much importance to it. Some think it was owing to her own incapacity to bear children, others to a fear that the King would treat her like the late Queen, especially considering the treatment shown to a lady of the Court, named Mistress Semel, to whom, as many say, he has lately made great presents.

I think that Katherine of Aragon would have felt grief for the loss of another little baby, as she had lost several herself to miscarriage, stillbirth or death during infancy.

Mistress Semel was Jane Seymour, who would be Henry VIII's third wife. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chesterton on St. Thomas Aquinas's Eucharistic Poetry

In chapter five of his study of St. Thomas Aquinas ("The Real Life of St. Thomas), Chesterton tries to convey some of the mystery of the saint in spite of the efforts of hagiography. He highlights the great vision St. Thomas had when Jesus asked him, "You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?":

Nobody supposes that Thomas Aquinas, when offered by God his choice among all the gifts of God, would ask for a thousand pounds, or the Crown of Sicily, or a present of rare Greek wine. But he might have asked for things that he really wanted: and he was a man who could want things; as he wanted the lost manuscript of St. Chrysostom. He might have asked for the solution of an old difficulty; or the secret of a new science; or a flash of the inconceivable intuitive mind of the angels, or any one of a thousand things that would really have satisfied his broad and virile appetite for the very vastness and variety of the universe. The point is that for him, when the voice spoke from between the outstretched arms of the Crucified, those arms were truly opened wide, and opening most gloriously the gates of all the worlds; they were arms pointing to the east and to the west, to the ends of the earth and the very extremes of existence. They were truly spread out with a gesture of omnipotent generosity; the Creator himself offering Creation itself; with all its millionfold mystery of separate beings, and the triumphal chorus of the creatures. That is the blazing background of multitudinous Being that gives the particular strength, and even a sort of surprise, to the answer of St. Thomas, when he lifted at last his head and spoke with, and for, that almost blasphemous audacity which is one with the humility of his religion; "I will have Thyself." Or, to add the crowning and crushing irony to this story, so uniquely Christian for those who can really understand it, there are some who feel that the audacity is softened by insisting that he said, "Only Thyself."

Because G.K. Chesterton was a poet himself he appreciated St. Thomas's poetry in the hymns and sequence for the Feast of Corpus Christi:

The one exception permitted to him was the rare but remarkable output of his poetry. All sanctity is secrecy; and his sacred poetry was really a secretion; like the pearl in a very tightly closed oyster. He may have written more of it than we know; but part of it came into public use through the particular circumstance of his being asked to compose the office for the Feast of Corpus Christi: a festival first established after the controversy to which he had contributed, in the scroll that he laid on the altar. It does certainly reveal an entirely different side of his genius; and it certainly was genius. As a rule, he was an eminently practical prose writer; some would say a very prosaic prose writer. He maintained controversy with an eye on only two qualities; clarity and courtesy. And he maintained these because they were entirely practical qualities; affecting the probabilities of conversion. But the composer of the Corpus Christi service was not merely what even the wild and woolly would call a poet; he was what the most fastidious would call an artist. His double function rather recalls the double activity of some great Renaissance craftsman, like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, who would work on the outer wall, planning and building the fortifications of the city; and then retire into the inner chamber to carve or model some cup or casket for a reliquary. The Corpus Christi Office is like some old musical instrument, quaintly and carefully inlaid with many coloured stones and metals; the author has gathered remote texts about pasture and fruition like rare herbs; there is a notable lack of the loud and obvious in the harmony; and the whole is strung with two strong Latin lyrics. Father John O'Connor has translated them with an almost miraculous aptitude; but a good translator will be the first to agree that no translation is good; or, at any rate, good enough. How are we to find eight short English words which actually stand for "Sumit unus, sumunt mille; quantum isti, tantum ille"? How is anybody really to render the sound of the "Pange Lingua", when the very first syllable has a clang like the clash of cymbals?

Several years ago I highlighted those hymns for Catholic Exchange. St. Thomas Aquinas also wrote great prayers for before and after receiving Holy Communion.

The painting above is by Peter Paul Rubens, depicting St. Thomas among the other "Defenders of the Eucharist." More about the painting here.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles"

St. Paul exhorted the Ephesians in chapter 5, verses 18-19 to be "filled with the Holy Spirit", and to share "psalms, and hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord" (Douai-Rheims). Suddenly, hymns are a common topic among Catholic book publishers, with EWTN re-marketing a book by Father George Rutler, TAN publishing Anthony Esolen's Real Music, and Emmaus Road Mike Aquilina's How the Choir Converted the World: Through Hymns, With Hymns, and In Hymns. I am reading Real Music now.

We watched Father Rutler's series on hymns years ago and purchased the VHS tapes (!); he gives the historical and biographical background to a hymn and its composer or lyricist, and then plays the melody on a piano on the set, speak-singing the hymn. The book and the DVD are separate items, however. The book was originally published by Ignatius Press with the title, Brightest and Best: Stories of Hymns. You can see a sample of the hymns Father Rutler discusses in the TV series here.

Anthony Esolen's book Real Music has an advantage over Father Rutler's book because the musical selections are included on a CD with it, as the publisher notes:

Real Music by Anthony Esolen – and the accompanying CD of 18 hymns recorded by the St. Cecilia Choir of St. John Cantius Church in Chicago - is a comprehensive and fascinating guide, in print and song, to the great hymns of the Church. It shows that, unlike much of what is sung in too many Catholic churches today, good music, “Real Music”, combines great poetry with doctrinally sound lyrics and beautiful melody.

With noted Catholic author Anthony Esolen as your guide and the St. Cecilia Choir as your muse, join the Catholic Musical Renaissance which is truly a recovery of the best that has been sung and prayed down through the ages. You’ll be glad you did.

Real Music is arranged by events in the life of our Lord and the seasons and Sacraments of the Church. This book/CD set will teach you much about poetry, music, and the Catholic Faith itself. What better way to learn your Faith than through beautiful music!

Whether at home in your favorite easy chair, or among friends in an informal class at your parish,
Real Music will bring you deep into the lyrics and melodies of the great hymns that so magnificently offer praise and honor to God.

Real Music is meant to be savored; first by reading Esolen’s masterful explication of the poetic, melodic, and doctrinal elements of a hymn and then listening to the hymn itself on the accompanying CD.

Finally, there's Mike Aquilina's book, which Emmaus Road Publishing describes briefly:

Music is the most effective delivery system for feelings—love, joy, sadness, glory. The early Church Fathers knew that music also has power over minds, and they used that power to maximum effect, writing hymns through which the early Christians would learn, retain, and spread the Gospel message. In How the Choir Converted the World, best-selling author Mike Aquilina demonstrates how the earliest Christians used music to transform a world that desperately needed transforming. As Aquilina suggests, “If we did it once, we can do it again.”

As Mike Aquilina has focused so much on the Fathers of the Church throughout his publishing career it makes sense that this book, with an introduction by John Michael Talbot, is about the early Church and how the Fathers, like St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, and others, emphasized the role of singing the psalms of the Old Testament, and the hymns of the Church, in forming their congregations in the faith.

When I've finished reading, and listening to, Real Music, I'll review it here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

To Give Glory to God: Beautiful Catholic Churches

Patti Armstrong writes for The National Catholic Register about beautiful churches built in North and South Dakota built in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by German immigrants:

Many of the Catholic churches in North Dakota and South Dakota bespeak the legacy of Catholic German immigrants who worked hard and worshipped even harder.

Four of them in particular are notable because they tower above small prairie towns, too large for their shrinking communities, but too magnificent not to maintain.

The early settlers in the Dakota Territory erected beautiful churches similar to the ones they had left behind in Europe. They wanted places of worship to glorify God and to last for generations.

In the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, are: St. Mary’s in Richardton, Sts. Peter and Paul in Strasburg and St. Mary’s in Hague. Their total populations are 548; 392; and 67 respectively, according to the 2014 census poll. Hoven, South Dakota, home to St. Anthony of Padua, has 407 residents.

The churches are relics of the pre-Vatican II era, where people worshipped alongside a multitude of angels and saints captured in stained-glass windows, statues and paintings. Although they still function as active parishes, the churches have also become tourist destinations. Motorists detour off highways, and busloads of pilgrims come to see this Old World beauty surviving in the New World.

Their operation and maintenance costs are not practical, but the Catholic Church is about faith, beauty, courage and sacrifice.

The comment about keeping churches open even when the costs are prohibitive reminded me of some churches in Kansas that are kept open, often by the laity, even though they aren't active parishes now. Last February I visited St. Martin of Tours in Piqua, Kansas (pictured above) and many years ago my parents and I took a tour of the German/Volga German churches around Hays, Kansas. The Cathedral of the Plains, St. Fidelis Catholic Church, in Victoria is still a parish church, but Holy Cross in Pfeifer is maintained by a charitable foundation and the church is open every day for visitors. St. Joseph Church in Liebenthal is still an active parish of the Diocese of Dodge City, as is St. Anthony's in Schoenchen, although on a limited basis.

The church of St. Francis (not of Assisi, but St. Francis de Hieronymo, a Jesuit saint) in St. Paul, Kansas is still an active parish in the Diocese of Wichita; the pastor is from Burma. It is a beautiful church and a tremendous part of the history of Catholics in Kansas. This site describes all that it had been when the Jesuits and then Passionists had organized first a mission and then a monastery and retreat house. 

These churches were built by poor people, struggling to make their homesteads prosper, who wanted to see the same beauty in the New Country as they'd known in the Old when they went to Mass or to Confession, or a new baby's baptism, or a wedding--or a funeral. They wanted to give glory to God.Some of the artwork and decoration they scrimped and saved for was costly at the time but it is priceless today. These churches are monuments and memories of the German (or Irish or Italian or Polish) immigrants' faith and devotion. It may be inevitable that the population in the parishes declines to the point that they have to be moved or consolidated and certain churches closed, but it's wonderful when the laity help to maintain the closed churches, even though they may be empty (no Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle). 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Anglo-Irish Confessor of King Louis XVI

Today, January 21, is the 224th anniversary of the execution of Louis Capet--as the National Convention called him--King Louis XVI. (In contrast, Charles I had not been deposed when he was executed after the English Civil War in 1649.)

This Eyewitness to History post describes the event. The monarch was attended the night before and the day of his execution by an Anglo-Irish priest, the Abbe Henry Essex Edgeworth, who heard the king's last Confession, celebrated Mass for him, and supported him throughout the ordeal--he is the eyewitness cited in the link above. According to 1878's A Compendium of Irish Biography found on this site, he was a:

cousin of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, was born at Edgeworthstown in 1745. His father, Essex Edgeworth, "who took the name of "de Firmont" from a neighbouring hill (Fairy Mount), became a Catholic and emigrated to France when Henry was but six years of age. The lad was educated for the priesthood at the Sorbonne, and after ordination became distinguished among the Parisian clergy for his talents and piety. In 1789 he was appointed confessor to Madame Elizabeth, and was justly esteemed the friend and adviser of the royal family. When Louis XVI. was condemned to the guillotine, he sent for the Abbe Edgeworth, then in concealment at Choisy, who immediately repaired to his master. The Abbe attended the unfortunate King to the scaffold, 21st January 1793, and has left a minute account of the execution. He makes no mention of the exclamation usually attributed to him as the knife fell — "Son of St. Louis, ascend to heaven!" After encountering many dangers, he escaped to England in 1796, where he is stated to have declined a pension offered him by Pitt. He afterwards joined Louis XVIII. at Blankenburg, and accompanied him to Mittau. He was from time to time intrusted with several important missions for the Bourbons. He fell a victim to a virulent fever, caught in his ministrations amongst French prisoners of war at Mittau, and died 22nd May 1807, aged about 62. In his last moments he was attended by the Princess, daughter of Louis XVI.; the exiled French royal family went into mourning, and Louis XVIII. composed his epitaph.

Note that Elena Maria Vidal includes the scene of Madame Royale visiting the Abbe on his deathbed in her novel about the Princess Marie-Therese, Louis and Marie Antoinette's only child to survive the French Revolution, and her incredible life. The author provided this excerpt on her blog in 2010:

The town of Mitau was bright with snow in the sunshine of a May morning, and cold winds whipped around the little palace which His Imperial Majesty the Tsar of All the Russias had generously loaned to the impoverished, exiled Bourbons. In a small, sparsely furnished room of the palace, an aged priest lay dying. In a chair beside his bed sat a young woman, not quite thirty, in a maroon, high-waisted wool dress, with a white linen apron. Under a close fitting white cap, her amber-colored hair, in a grecian knot, framed a strong, solemn face with piercing blue-gray eyes. Dipping a cloth into a basin of water, she sponged the forehead of the sick man, whose chest shuddered and heaved. At first glance, no one would guess that she was Madame Royale, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, their Mousseline la sérieuse, now the Duchesse d’Angoulême. With closer examination, no one with her dignified, albeit rather stiff bearing could be anything but a princess. She radiated a cold majesty to those who did not know her, but in her eyes burned the fires of deep emotions; her frigid manner was from sadness, not apathy or scorn.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the Edgeworth family moved to Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth I and the Abbe's father became a Catholic during the reign of King George II. Edgeworth was offered an Irish diocese after his ordination but noted that England was a distant second language to him since he was raised in France from childhood. When Le Clerc, the Archbishop of Paris, fled in 1792, he appointed Edgeworth as the Vicar General of the diocese, and the Holy See never recognized Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gobel, who had taken the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (who ended up on the guillotine just like Louis XVI--on April 13, 1794).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Abbot Richard Beere and Two Martyrs

Richard Beere or Bere, the penultimate abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, died on January 20, 1524. According to the Dictionary of National Biography, he

was installed in 1493, the election of Thomas Wasyn having been quashed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells. He was a great builder. Leland tells us that he built the greater part of King Edgar's chapel at the east end of his abbey church, that he 'arched on both sides the east end that began to cast out,' and made the vault of the steeple in the transept 'and under 2 arches like S. Andres Crosse els it had fallen.' By the east end of the church Leland evidently meant the east end of the nave and aisles, and not of the chancel. Bere also built a new set of chambers, in which he entertained Henry VII on his march into the west during the rebellion of Perkin Warbeck in the autumn of 1497. Hence these rooms were called the king's lodgings. He also added new lodgings for secular priests to the various buildings of the abbey. Almshouses for ten old women built by Abbot Bere still stand at Glastonbury, and a stone in the chapel exhibits his initials, surmounted by his cognisance, a cross between two beer-jugs. His initials and cognisance may also be seen on St. Benedict's church in Glastonbury, and his initials, surmounted by a mitre, on the Lepers' Hospital at Monkton, near Taunton; for both these buildings were repaired by him. The R. B. on the tower of St. Mary's at Taunton has long been taken to witness to Bere's work. These letters, however, more probably represent the name of a more famous architect, Sir Reginald Bray [q. v.] Among his various works Bere built the manor-house at Sharpham, before his time only a poor lodge, where Fielding was born. In 1503 the king sent Bere, with two other ambassadors, to Rome to congratulate Pius III on his elevation to the papacy. Their mission was in vain; for the pope died a few weeks after his election. On his return from Italy the abbot built chapels of Our Lady of Loretto and of the Holy Sepulchre in his church. In this year also he 'supplicated' the congregation of the university of Oxford for a degree in divinity, but with what success does not appear. In 1508 he was engaged in a controversy with Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the genuineness of the pretended relics of St. Dunstan at Glastonbury. Finding that the worshippers at the splendid shrine of the saint picked off its ornaments, the abbot had caused it to be raised out of reach. The monks of Canterbury, jealous of the crowds of pilgrims who flocked to Glastonbury, saw in this change in the position of the shrine an attempt to increase popular veneration. By order of the archbishop a search for the relics was made at Canterbury on 20 April, and Warham wrote to Abbot Bere telling him of the coffin and the bones which had been found, and bidding him attend on the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and show cause why the Glastonbury monks should claim to have the genuine relics. Bere replied, upholding the claim of his convent, and asserting that if the Canterbury monks had such relics they belonged of right to Glastonbury. In this letter he describes the veneration displayed towards St. Dunstan by the Somerset folk. The archbishop replied in peremptory terms. In a few years the dispute was settled by the general pillage of the religious houses. Before that time, on 20 Jan. 1524, Abbot Bere died. A letter addressed to him ('R. Bero Glasconiensi Abbati') by Erasmus, 4 Sept. 1524, shows that he was a scholar of considerable eminence. Writing to him about his edition of S. Jerome, Erasmus expresses his entire concurrence in the abbot's opinion of his work. He speaks of his love of learning, and of the liberality he has shown to scholars, naming especially his own friend, Zacharias Frisius. This letter is of importance, both as representing Bere's attitude towards the new learning in England, and as throwing a special light on the life of his famous abbey in these its last days. Bere was buried under a plain slab of marble in the south aisle of the body of his church, near by the chapel of the Holy Sepulchre which he built.

Cardinal Wolsey appointed Richard Whiting to succeed Richard Beere and Whiting was the last abbot of Glastonbury, hanged, drawn and quartered on November 15, 1539 on Glastonbury Tor above the Abbey. While he had accepted Henry VIII's supremacy, Whiting was accused of treason when the Dissolution of the Monasteries proceeded to the larger, richer houses. As British History Online puts it: "So he was condemned, on evidence which was never made public, on a charge of treason in that he and two monks in charge of the treasury at Glastonbury had feloniously concealed from the king some of the treasures of the abbey."

Richard Bere, Beere's nephew, son of his brother Robert, had become a Carthusian monk and he died in Newgate Prison, starved to death because he would not accept Henry VIII's supremacy, on August 29, 1537.

Of course the great abbey church that Abbot Beere did so much to build up was eventually pulled down. During the reign of Mary I, a few Benedictines wanted to restart the community, according to British History Online:

On 21 November 1556 (fn. 177) four survivors of the monastery who had found a refuge at Westminster petitioned the queen for a restoration of the abbey of Glastonbury. They asked for no endowment and offered to pay rent for the lands they needed if only they might have a grant of the site and buildings. Queen Mary was certainly in favour of the project—it would be a great honour to the memory of Joseph of Arimathea who lay there—but similar applications from the monks of other monasteries created a delay and the queen died before any real step could be taken. The monks' names were John Phagan, John Nott, William Adelwold and William Kentwyne. (fn. 178) Of these all but Nott had signed the Act of Supremacy.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Time for an Apology?

During the Week or really the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18 to 25) The Church of England is evidently going to apologize on behalf of past generations for the excesses of the English Reformation.The apology will include regrets for iconoclasm, the dissolution of the monasteries, the Catholic martyrs, etc. This statement of repentance comes as Christians commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This comment struck me as starting off in the wrong direction:

“As the Church of England prepares to celebrate the Reformation, it should also repent of the violence and brutality it sometimes committed in God’s name,” commented Rev. Andrew Atherstone, a member of the Anglican synod.

Atherstone said that aspects of the Reformation are “deeply embedded in our national psyche,” and was
[sic] the historical context for the attempted invasion of the Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot, when Catholic would-be revolutionary Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament.

That seems like a strange thing to do in the midst of preparing for a statement of reconciliation--if you're apologizing or repenting for things your side has done in the past why bring up things the other side has done in the past? 

The U.K Daily Mail story quotes Anne Widdecombe, a former Anglican and former Conservative Member of Parliament: "These gestures are pointless. The Archbishop has not put anyone to death, as far as I know," she said. "Modern Christians are not responsible for what happened in the Reformation. You might as well expect the Italians to apologise for Pontius Pilate."

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a project of the World Council of Churches which developed this year's theme:

It was in the context of the Reformation Anniversary that the Council of Churches in Germany took up the work of creating the resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017. It quickly became clear that the materials for this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity would need to have two accents: on the one hand, there should be a celebration of God’s love and grace, the “justification of humanity through grace alone”, reflecting the main concern of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation. On the other hand, the materials should also recognize the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the Church, openly name the guilt, and offer an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.

Ultimately it was Pope Francis’ 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) which provided the theme for this year, when it used the quote: “The Love of Christ Compels Us” (Paragraph 9). With this scripture (2 Cor 5:14), taken in the context of the entire fifth chapter of the second letter to the Corinthians, the German committee formulated the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017.

It will be interesting to see the statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, God bless him. He is obviously trying to respond to the second part of the theme: to "name the guilt, and offer an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation."

Edward VI's Georgian Coronation

On Tuesday, Turner Classic Movies aired a series of Errol Flynn movies including Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, and The Prince and the Pauper. Based upon Mark Twain's historical comedy novel, the story in the latter movie takes place after Henry VIII's death when his son Edward trades places with a poor boy named Tom Canty. Evil Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford, played by Claude Rains, takes advantage of the confusion to use the fake Prince as his pawn while Miles Hendon, Errol Flynn, protects the real king. The boys are played by brothers, Billy and Bobby Mauch, who seem several years older than the historical Edward's nine years at the time of his coronation.

Warner Brothers intended The Prince and the Pauper to be released in time for the coronation of Edward VIII, but because Edward wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, he abdicated and the coronation--now of his younger brother George--and the release of the film were delayed until May of 1937.

The Coronation Scene, which is very detailed and gorgeously filmed in black and white, is a set piece. Although the real Edward and Miles are on their way to Westminster Abbey, the director had no interest in creating any tension--there are no cuts to Edward and Miles coming closer as the anointing and the coronation of the fake Edward is proceeding. They arrive with seconds to spare! 

 A footnote in this book, which describes how Erich Korngold composed his own version of the coronation anthem, "Zadok the Priest", includes the promotional detail that this scene would be similar to the rites in King George VI's coronation so much so that "Those of us who are not fortunate enough to be able to see the actual rites, will witness an accurate picture of what will occur in Westminster Abbey in May."

So instead of trying to achieve authenticity to the historical coronation of Edward VI, the producers opted for authenticity to the contemporary coronation of George VI! 

I also found it amusing that Edward trusted Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk most of all and that he exiled his historical Protector, Somerset (Claude Rains) at the end of the movie. The anniversary of Somerset's execution is coming up--January 22, 1552.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Final Session of the Council of Trent Opens

The third and final session of the Council of Trent opened on January 18, 1562, convened by Pope Pius IV, a good Medici. This session decided many details about priestly formation: bishops were to ordain only suitable men to holy orders and to supervise their moral life; clergy were to reside in their parishes and to perform regular duties; a seminary was to be established in every diocese; the discipline of clerical celibacy was upheld, etc.

This was the session of the Council attended by the last Catholic Bishop of St. Asaph's, Thomas Goldwell. He had been appointed by Mary I and he gave the last rites to Reginald Cardinal Pole, but had to go into exile at the beginning of Elizabeth I's reign without ever really becoming the ordinary of his diocese in Wales. As the Catholic Encyclopedia explains:

He was the only English bishop at the Council of Trent, where he was treated with marked respect. He was there engaged in the revision of the Breviary and the Missal; and also urged the council to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth. His mere presence at Trent was a cause of such excessive annoyance to Elizabeth that she wrote the following extraordinary farrago of falsehood to her German envoy Mundt: "We think it may be that one Goldwell, a very simple and fond man, having in our late sister's time been named to a small bishopric in Wales called St. Asaph, though never thereto admitted, flying out of the realm upon our sister's death, is gone to Rome as a renegade, and there using the name of a bishop, without order or title, is perhaps gone in the train of some Cardinal to Trent, and so it is likely the speech hath arisen of a bishop of England being there."

Not only did Thomas Goldwell attend the third session of the Council of Trent, but he was active in implementing its reforms:

In 1563 Goldwell was vicar-general to the Archbishop of Milan, St. Charles Borromeo. In 1567 he was made vicar of the cardinal archpriest in the Lateran, and in 1574 the Cardinal Vicar Savelli made him his vicegerent; he thus became, so to speak, the "working" bishop of Rome. . . . One of the last acts of his long and strenuous career was to serve on the Congregation for the Revision of the Roman Martyrology, in 1582. On the death of the Bishop of Lincoln, in 1584, Goldwell became the sole survivor of the ancient English hierarchy. He died the next year [on April 3], and was buried at St. Sylvester's.

He had even tried to accompany St. Edmund Campion, Father Robert Persons, et al on the mission to England in 1580 but became too ill during the journey on the Continent from Rome to the coast. He had to turn back at Reims. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pre-Order Now and Read an Excerpt

Bloomsbury has sent out a notice about the imminent release of Eamon Duffy's contribution to the Reformation's 500th anniversary. It's ready for pre-order now and an excerpt is available. I look forward to reading about Duffy's view of how and why St. Thomas More enforced England's heresy laws when he was Chancellor, and the other subjects Duffy will explore. A reminder about the purpose and contents of the book from the publisher:

Published to mark the 500th anniversary of the events of 1517, Reformation Divided explores the impact in England of the cataclysmic transformations of European Christianity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The religious revolution initiated by Martin Luther is usually referred to as 'The Reformation', a tendentious description implying that the shattering of the medieval religious foundations of Europe was a single process, in which a defective form of Christianity was replaced by one that was unequivocally benign, 'the midwife of the modern world'. The book challenges these assumptions by tracing the ways in which the project of reforming Christendom from within, initiated by Christian 'humanists' like Erasmus and Thomas More, broke apart into conflicting and often murderous energies and ideologies, dividing not only Catholic from Protestant, but creating deep internal rifts within all the churches which emerged from Europe's religious conflicts.

The book is in three parts: In 'Thomas More and Heresy', Duffy examines how and why England's greatest humanist apparently abandoned the tolerant humanism of his youthful masterpiece Utopia, and became the bitterest opponent of the early Protestant movement. 'Counter-Reformation England' explores the ways in which post-Reformation English Catholics accommodated themselves to a complex new identity as persecuted religious dissidents within their own country, but in a European context, active participants in the global renewal of the Catholic Church. The book's final section 'The Godly and the Conversion of England' considers the ideals and difficulties of radical reformers attempting to transform the conventional Protestantism of post-Reformation England into something more ardent and committed. In addressing these subjects, Duffy shines new light on the fratricidal ideological conflicts which lasted for more than a century, and whose legacy continues to shape the modern world.

While I was reading the excerpt on issuu, a platform I'd never heard of before, I noticed that there are other resources available, including entire books! One book, which I read several years ago, is Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s dissertation-cum-book, The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era:

The book is still available from Columbia University Press and I highly recommend it:

As the twentieth century opened, American intellectuals grew increasingly sympathetic to Pragmatism and empirical methods in the social sciences. The Progressive program as a whole—in the form of Pragmatism, education, modern sociology, and nationalism—seemed to be in agreement on one thing: everything was in flux. The dogma and "absolute truth" of the Church were archaisms, unsuited to modern American citizenship and at odds with the new public philosophy being forged by such intellectuals as John Dewey, William James, and the New Republic magazine. Catholics saw this new public philosophy as at least partly an attack on them.

Focusing on the Catholic intellectual critique of modernity during the period immediately before and after the turn of the twentieth century, this provocative and original book examines how the Catholic Church attempted to retain its identity in an age of pluralism. It shows a Church fundamentally united on major issues—quite unlike the present-day Catholic Church, which has been the site of a low-intensity civil war since the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Defenders of the faith opposed James, Dewey, and other representatives of Pragmatism as it played out in ethics, education, and nationalism. Their goals were to found an economic and political philosophy based on natural law, to appropriate what good they could find in Progressivism to the benefit of the Church, and to make America a Catholic country.

The Church Confronts Modernity explores how the decidedly nonpluralistic institution of Christianity responded to an increasingly pluralistic intellectual environment. In a culture whose chief value was pluralism, they insisted on the uniqueness of the Church and the need for making value judgments based on what they considered a sound philosophy of humanity. In neither capitulating to the new creed nor retreating into a self-righteous isolation, American Catholic intellectuals thus laid the groundwork for a half-century of intellectual vitality.

What a nice surprise and reminder!

Psychoanalytic criticism: Man is Wolf to Man

First Things has made one of its February 2017 subscriber access articles available for free: Patricia Snow discusses the personal background behind Hilary Mantel's Cromwell novels:

Psychoanalytic criticism may have fallen out of favor, but it has not ceased to be useful. Even so bare an outline of Mantel’s life, drawn from her 2003 memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, makes clear the connections between Mantel’s biographical backstory and the goings-on at Henry VIII’s court. In her novels about Cromwell, all of Mantel’s formative issues are in play: the plot-driving engine of marital unhappiness; divorce and the impossibility of divorce; ambiguous sexual situations; the desirability but also the powerlessness of children. Mantel’s early experiences explain not only her richly ambivalent attitude toward her Tudor characters, but also her impressive “negative capability” as their artist—her ability, that is, out of the small circle of her original family, either to play or to cast all the parts.

For example, she herself is Mary, the king’s awkwardly placed oldest daughter who is banished from his presence together with a rejected, painfully dignified spouse (Katherine of Aragon). She is also Elizabeth, another unwanted but ultimately triumphant (if sterile) daughter who, at a stroke, lost a parent (Anne Boleyn) as a child. Mantel’s mother, of course, is Henry, the books’ capricious, death-dealing sovereign, and Jack is Anne Boleyn, the sallow Protestant parvenu. But Mantel’s mother is also Boleyn: small and catlike in her movements, unscrupulous and shape-shifting. Cross-referencing Mantel’s memoir with the novels, the reader encounters the same clusters of descriptors again and again, shared out among Mantel’s mother, Jack, and Anne Boleyn, or among Cromwell, Mantel herself as a child, and Cromwell’s small daughter, Anne. Sometimes a phrase or sentiment from the memoir is lifted virtually unchanged into the novels, as when Mantel’s mother and Jack, like Henry and Anne, are described as “[the] couple who had endured, to be together, so much adverse public opinion.”

In the novels, Mantel is reimagining the small-scale squalor of her parents’ domestic arrangements on a large scale, as consequential history. The exercise may have been exhilarating, or cathartic, as when history requires that she banish Queen Katherine and her daughter, Mary, not to a yellowing bedroom down a dimly lit hall, but to far-flung palaces. But any temptation on Mantel’s part to use the novels to romanticize or exorcise her own past is balanced in the writing by an equally strong authorial impulse to expose it.

For example, there is Mantel’s puzzling choice of a title:
Wolf Hall. Scarcely mentioned in the novel that bears its name, Wolf Hall is the family seat of Jane Seymour, the eventual third wife of the king. Halfway through Wolf Hall, in a brief digression, the reader learns that old Sir John Seymour slept with his son’s wife for two years, during which time she gave birth to two boys. Laughing when the scandal of the boys’ dubious parentage becomes known, Anne Boleyn says to Henry, “They could tell Boccaccio a tale, those sinners at Wolf Hall.” Inexplicable as a title choice apart from a familiarity with Mantel’s history, Wolf Hall is the world for Mantel personally. Or as Cromwell puts it to himself elsewhere: homo homini lupus, man is wolf to man.

Read the rest there

At the end of the article, Snow points out that The Mirror and the Light, Mantel's third novel about Thomas Cromwell, is taking longer to write (the first two books were published in 2009 and 2012). Snow suggests that killing off her father figure must be hard for Mantel. I wonder if Mantel will respond to Snow's comments: this cuts close to the quick and perhaps the article demonstrates why "Psychoanalytic criticism may have fallen out of favor". Man is wolf to man.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Another Poetic Martyr

Francis Philips writes in The Catholic Herald:

What a good idea it was for the Christmas issue of the Catholic Herald to include a free DVD about the English martyrs, produced by St Anthony Communications and narrated by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Nicholas Schofield. I watched it the other night and was reminded again of the sacrifices that some brave men and women were prepared to undergo for the love of their faith. . . .

The DVD she refers to is Faith of Our Fathers: In Search of the English Martyrs, which I reviewed in 2014. She writes about the English Martyrs of the English Reformation and the Recusant era and mentions one not highlighted in the documentary:

One of my own favourites, not mentioned in the film which is why I now bring him to readers’ attention, is Blessed Thomas Belson, 1563-1589. Belson, one of the four Oxford martyrs, came from a prosperous landowning family near Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire. (I happen to live near the parish church.) He studied at Oxford and then renounced his possessions in order to dedicate himself to the humble but vital task of assisting priests in their travels between England and the Continent. He was hanged aged 26 on July 5 1589.

All that remains of this selfless young man is a 16-line Latin poem he wrote, probably after his first imprisonment in the Tower in 1586. Translated by Michael Hodgetts, it concludes with the lines:

Why should I rail on fortune or repine?
Why should I grieve? God’s remedy is mine.
Endure then, as philosophers maintain
A brave man should, adversity and pain.

On the surface these are skilful lines, the evidence of a classical education aligned to conventional piety. Then one remembers they were written in prison, anticipating the probability of a painful public death, and that their author, the son of a wealthy family and assured of a comfortable career in the (Protestant) Tudor world, was only 23 when he penned them.

This website posts the entire poem:

I look about me, sick and faint of soul;
The dwelling of God's glory is my goal.
But, though I look about so constantly,
No answer comes, none turns to rescue me.
Yet, as I wander through the grassy dale,
Or higher, as the mountain crags I scale,
Until alone on lonely peaks I gaze,
I grieve for having left my Saviour's ways.
And when I think how gentle is his touch,
And how his justice could demand so much,
My mind is changed, my labours seem the less,
and I regret my former foolishness.
Why should I rail on fortune or repine?
Why should I grieve? God's remedy is mine.
Endure, then, as philosophers maintain
A brace
(sic) man should, adversity and pain.

Blessed Thomas Belson had studied at Blessed John Henry Newman's college, Oriel (where Newman was a Fellow)! He was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1987.

As soon as the Eighth Day Institute January Symposium is over, I'll watch and review the latest documentary from St. Anthony Communication: To Be A Pilgrim: The Canterbury Way:

An ancient trail of pilgrimage runs through south-east England; a pathway along which so much of English identity converges. It is the way of St Thomas Becket, the martyr who stood up to a King and inspired Christendom. It is a route that drew countless pilgrims in ages past, captured the imagination of Chaucer and is reviving in our own time.

This film follows Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Nicholas Schofield as they journey from London to Canterbury. Along the way they discover the story of St Thomas and some fascinating traditions: the Rood of Boxley, the splendour of Rochester, the 'second Carmel' at Aylesford and many more.

By retracing the steps of the medieval pilgrims, this film draws out the rich Christian heritage of England and reflects on what it means 'To Be A Pilgrim.'

In the meantime, I'm wrapping up my presentation and looking forward to the weekend!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

At 11:30 a.m. Today

I'll be at the seventh annual Eighth Day Institute Symposium making my presentation on "Long Live the Queen: John Henry Newman and the Place of Theology in a Liberal Arts Education". My reflection is live on the EDI website and will be included in the January issue of Synaxis:

Reading Newman’s Idea and his vision of university education now, so many years later, I am struck by how timely his defense of Theology as a field of study with a body of knowledge is for us today. In the mid-nineteenth century he saw that if Theology was not accepted as an academic subject, with content and knowledge to impart, religious doctrine and practice would devolve into mere feeling. Then religious doctrine and morality will be “based, not on argument, but on taste and sentiment” and “nothing [is] objective”; in fact “everything [is] subjective”. Newman saw that if Theology is only a matter of “taste and sentiment” and Christian doctrine “the bane of true knowledge”, theologians will be rejected. Theologians—the watchmen—will face “a feeling, not merely of contempt, but of absolute hatred” if they dare state that what they say is true and based not on opinion or affection, but on knowledge and experience. Newman seems a prophet in that vision, as in many other things.

Here's the schedule in case you want to come! Of course, bad winter weather is forecast for this weekend in Wichita, so caution is advised, especially on Saturday! 

Newman on/in Heaven

Prompted by a conversation on life after death on ABC TV--what a source--I wrote my second blog piece for the National Catholic Register in 2017, discussing the Catholic view of Heaven. I cited one of Newman's Parochial and Plain Sermons, among other sources:

Blessed John Henry Newman describes this standard of holiness in his Parochial and Plain Sermon “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness”:

"To be holy is, in our Church's words, to have "the true circumcision of the Spirit;" that is, to be separate from sin, to hate the works of the world, the flesh, and the devil; to take pleasure in keeping God's commandments; to do things as He would have us do them; to live habitually as in the sight of the world to come, as if we had broken the ties of this life, and were dead already. Why cannot we be saved without possessing such a frame and temper of mind?"

And then he makes the startling statement that “even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter.” Newman comments that we can have the wrong idea about Heaven—that it will be a place of pleasure and satisfaction and then proposes a better way to think of Heaven:

"Heaven then is not like this world; I will say what it is much more like,—a church. For in a place of public worship . . . we hear solely and entirely of God. We praise Him, worship Him, sing to Him, thank Him, confess to Him, give ourselves up to Him, and ask His blessing. And therefore, a church is like heaven; viz. because both in the one and the other, there is one single sovereign subject—religion—brought before us."

So someone who has no thought of God, what Newman calls an “irreligious man”, would be miserable in Heaven: the Face of God and the worship of God “would be no object of joy to him”. On the other hand, if you are happy in church, at Mass, in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, etc, you will be happy in Heaven, as Heaven truly is.

Perhaps that last sentence should have read "you may be prepared to be happy in Heaven, as Heaven truly is"; but what I have written, I have written! Please read the rest there.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mary's Eulogizer, Bishop John White, RIP

John White, the deprived Bishop of Winchester, died on January 12, 1560. He was in and out of prison during the Tudor era, according to the Dictionary of National Biography. John White was:

the son of Robert White of Farnham, where he was born in 1510 or 1511 (his brother John became lord mayor of London in 1563: see pedigree in Manning and Bray's History of Surrey, iii. 177; but Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, vii. 212, says this is incorrect). In 1521, at the age of eleven, he was admitted scholar at Winchester, whence he proceeded as fellow to New College, Oxford (Kirby, p. 111). He was admitted full fellow in 1527, graduated B.A. on 13 Dec. 1529, M.A. on 30 Jan. 1534, B.D.(?) before 1554 (see Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 388), and D.D. 1 Oct. 1555. In 1534 he resigned his fellowship, being then master of Winchester College, of which he was made warden in February 1541 (Willis, Mitred Abbies, i. 333). Of his life at Winchester different accounts are given; favourable by Pits (De Rebus Anglicis, 1619, p. 763, partly on report of Christopher Johnson, himself master of Winchester), who describes him as ‘acutus poeta, orator eloquens, theologus solidus, concionator nervosus;’ and unfavourable by Bale (Scriptt. Britann. Illustr. p. 737), who describes him with scandalous suggestiveness, and dubs him ‘saltans asinus.’ He was appointed in March 1540–1 a prebendary of Winchester. Under Edward VI he began to attract attention as an opponent of the protestants. He was examined by the council on 25 March 1551, when he admitted receiving ‘divers books and letters from beyond sea,’ and was committed to the Tower (Hatfield MS. i. 83; Acts P. C. 1550–2, p. 242).

White served Queen Mary I, helping to re-establish the Catholic Church in England:

On the accession of Mary he came at once into prominence. He sat on several of the commissions which restored and deprived bishops. He preached at St. Paul's on 25 Nov. 1553 in favour of the restoration of religious processions (Machyn, p. 49). He was elected bishop of Lincoln on 1 March 1554 (Le Neve, Fasti; but see Rymer's Fœdera, xv. 374, for licence), was consecrated in St. Saviour's, Southwark, on 1 April by Bonner, Tunstall, and Gardiner (Stubbs, Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum, ed. 1897, p. 104), and received restitution of the temporalities of the see on 2 May 1554. He was ‘provided’ to the see by the pope in a consistory on 6 July (Raynaldus, ann. 1554, § 5). He was granted the next presentation to the archdeaconry of Taunton on 2 Nov. (Hist. MSS. Comm. Wells MSS. p. 239). On the arrival of Philip II he was one of those who received him at the west door of Winchester Cathedral (Cal. State Papers, For. 1553–8, pp. 106–7). He preached at the opening of parliament on 21 Oct. 1555 (ib. Venetian, 1555–6, p. 217). He had already become famous in the pursuit of heretics, and on 30 Sept. 1555 he presided at Ridley's trial. He then twitted the accused with his change of opinion on the doctrine of the eucharist (Parsons, Conversion of England, iii. 209 sqq.; cf. Foxe, Actes and Monuments). He was one of the executors of Gardiner's will, preached at the requiem mass for him on 18 Nov. 1555, and went with the funeral procession (23 Feb. 1556) from St. Saviour's, Southwark, to Winchester. On 22 March 1556 he was one of the consecrators of Reginald Pole. In this year he visited his large diocese by commission of the new archbishop (interesting details in Strype, vi. 389, and see Dixon's History of the Church of England, iv. 597–9). He retained the wardenship of Winchester with the bishopric of Lincoln (cf. Cal. Hatfield MSS. v. 221).

The appointment to Winchester was delayed till Philip's return to England (Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1555–6, p. 281), and when White was at last nominated to the see the bulls for his translation were long delayed, and were very costly (ib. For. 1653–8, pp. 227, 228, 242, and Venetian, 1555–6, pp. 393, 477). Pole, it is said, had wished to hold the bishopric in commendam, and White, who desired it especially because of his birth and long association, could only obtain it on his promise to pay 1,000l. a year to the cardinal as long as he lived, and to his executors a year after his death (Matthew Parker, De Antiq. Brit. Eccl. p. 353). The congé d'élire to the dean and chapter was dated 16 July 1556. White had already received custody of the temporalities on 16 May 1556, and they were formally restored to him on 31 May 1557 (Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 436, 437, 441, 466; cf. Machyn, p. 103).

He preached the funeral oration of Queen Mary I on December 13, 1558 and his praise of her half-sister did not please Elizabeth I:

“She was a King’s daughter, she was a King’s sister, she was a King’s wife. She was a Queen, and by the same title a King also … What she suffered in each of these degrees and since she came to the crown I will not chronicle; only this I say, howsoever it pleased God to will her patience to be exercised in the world, she had in all estates the fear of God in her heart … she had the love, commendation and admiration of all the world. In this church she married herself to the realm, and in token of faith and fidelity, did put a ring with a diamond on her finger, which I understand she never took off after, during her life … she was never unmindful or uncareful of her promise to the realm. She used singular mercy towards offenders. She used much pity and compassion towards the poor and oppressed. She used clemency amongst her nobles … She restored more noble houses decayed than ever did prince of this realm, or I did pray God ever shall have the like occasion to do hereafter … I verily believe, the poorest creature in all this city feared not God more than she did.”

The same site reports:

The last sentence was based on two verses of Ecclesiastes which said the following: “I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive … for a living dog is better than a dead lion”. This and wishing Elizabeth “a prosperous reign” while adding “if it be God’s will” landed him once more into trouble. It was a veiled reference to Elizabeth, alluding to his point of view that Mary had been a great queen and her death left a hole in many Catholic’s hearts, while Bess was not. He was placed under house arrest the next day “for such offenses as he committed in his sermon at the funeral of the late queen”.

He continued to displease the new queen:

On 18 March he voted against the supremacy bill in the House of Lords, and on 31 March 1559 he took part in the conference in the choir of Westminster Abbey between nine Romanists and nine Anglicans (Cal. State Papers, Spanish, 1558–67, pp. 45, 46–8, Dom. 1547–1550, p. 127, and Venetian, 1558–80, pp. 65, 69; see Camden, Annals, p. 27; Parsons, A Review of Ten Public Disputations, 1604, pp. 77 sqq.; Burnet, History of the Reformation, ii. 388, 396). White declared that he was not ready to dispute, as they ‘had not their wrytynge ready to be read there,’ and the conference broke up not without disorder. It was renewed on 3 April, and at the close White, with the bishop of Lincoln [see Watson, Thomas, 1513–1584], was removed to the Tower (Acts P. C. 1558–70, p. 78). On 21 June he was deprived of his bishopric (deprivation formally completed on 26 June, Machyn, p. 201), and was sent back to the Tower after a new attempt had been made to induce him to take the oath of supremacy (Cal. State Papers, Spanish, 1558–67, p. 79, cf. Venetian, 1558–80, p. 104). Before long his health began to fail (Strype, Annals, i. 142–3), and on 7 July he was released to live with his brother, Alderman John White, ‘near Bartholomew Lane.’ He was now dependent on his friends for maintenance (5 Aug. 1559, Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1558–80, p. 117). He was shortly afterwards allowed to retire to the house of his sister, wife of Sir Thomas White, at South Warnborough, Hampshire, where he died on 12 Jan. 1560, ‘of an ague’ (Machyn, Diary). He was buried in Winchester Cathedral on 15 Jan. He had many years before written his own epitaph, but this, though in the cathedral, was not apparently placed over his grave. He ‘gave much to his servants’ (Machyn), and was a benefactor to New College, Oxford (Wood, History and Antiquities, ed. Gutch, p. 185), and to Winchester (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. i. 314).

May he rest in the peace of Christ. I will try to highlight these Recusant Bishops as their dates come up this year. It is fascinating to see their different responses to the final Tudor Religious settlement under Elizabeth I. Many who had acquiesced to Henry VIII's Supremacy finally refused to accept the monarch as the Governor of the Church.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Publisher of Catholic Books: Blessed William Carter

Today's English Catholic martyr's story reveals some of the debates and conflicts between Catholics during the Elizabethan era. The Jesuits and a group of secular or seminary priests called the Appellants disagreed about the divided loyalties of Catholics in England and what they could do about them. You might remember this was an issue brought up in the 2011 book, The Trials of Margaret Clitherow--and she was completely opposed to the Appellant view. Some thought that Catholics could attend Church of England services sometimes: to be part of the only Christian community openly available to them and to avoid the recusancy fines. They would abstain from the Anglican holy communion, ignore Anglican/Reformed preaching, and remain true to Catholic doctrine, sacraments, and devotions. They would certainly be loyal to their queen Elizabeth I in temporal matters but remain true to the Catholic Church in spiritual and religious matters--except that by attending the Church of England services, they paid manifestly public "lip service" to her governance of the Church of England! The Jesuits and others like St. Margaret Clitherow who agreed with them believed that any outward compliance would lead to inward compliance and represented betrayal and division.

The reason for this background is the title of the book Blessed William Carter printed and for which he was arrested, tortured, and executed: Dr. Gregory Martin's "A Treatise of Schisme: Shewing, that Al Catholikes Ought in Any Wise to Abstaine Altogether From Heretical Conunenticles, to Witt, Their Prayers, Sermons, &c". According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Dr. Gregory Martin (c. 1542 to 28 October 1582) was the 

Translator of the Douai Version of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate; b. in Maxfield, parish of Guestling, near Winchelsea, in Sussex; d. at Reims, 28 October, 1582. In preparing the translation he was assisted by several of the other great scholars then living in the English College at Douai, but Gregory Martin made the whole translation in the first instance and bore the brunt of the work throughout. He was well qualified for the undertaking. During his thirteen years' residence at Oxford, he bore the reputation of a brilliant scholar and linguist, whose abilities were only equalled by his industry. He entered as one of the original scholars of St. John's College, in 1557. Among those who entered at the beginning was Edmund Campion, the renowned Jesuit martyr. At this period of his life, however, he was possessed with the ambitions of youth, and although at heart a Catholic, he conformed to the Established Church, and even accepted ordination as a deacon. Gregory Martin was his close friend throughout his Oxford days, and himself remained a devout Catholic. When he found it necessary to quit the university, he took refuge as tutor in the family of the Duke of Norfolk, where he had among his pupils Philip, Earl of Arundel, also subsequently martyred. During his residence with the Duke, Martin wrote to Campion, warning him that he was being led away into danger by his ambition, and begging him to leave Oxford. It is said that it was in great measure due to this advice that Campion migrated to Dublin in 1570, and accepted a post in the university there. He continued to conform to the established religion outwardly; but his Catholic sentiments were no secret.

In the meantime, Gregory Martin left the house of the Duke of Norfolk, and crossing the seas, presented himself at Dr. Allen's College at Douai as a candidate for the priesthood, in 1570. During his early days there, he wrote once more to Campion, who yielded to his entreaties, and the following year saw the two friends once more united within the venerable walls of the English College at Douai. Campion was now a professed Catholic, and he received minor orders and the subdiaconate, after which he proceeded to Rome and eventually entered the Society of Jesus. Having finished his theology, Gregory Martin was ordained priest in March, 1573. Three years later he went to Rome to assist Allen in the foundation of the English College there, known by the title of the "Venerabile". Campion, however, was at that time absent from Rome. Martin remained two years, during which time he organized the course of studies at the new college; when he was recalled by Allen to Reims, whither the college had been removed from Douai in consequence of political troubles. Martin and Campion met once more in this world, when the latter made a short stay at Reims in the summer of 1580, on his way to the English Mission, and-as it turned out-to early martyrdom. . . .

The following is a list of Martin's works: "Treatise of Schisme" (Douai, 1578); "Discovery of the Manifold Corruptions of the Holy Scriptures by the Heretikes of our Daies" (Reims, 1582); Reims Testament and Douay Bible; "Treatise of Christian Peregrination" (Reims, 1583); "Of the Love of the Soul" (St. Omer, 1603); "Gregorius Martinus ad Adolphum Mekerchum pro veteri et vera Græcarum Literarum Pronunciatione" (Oxford, 1712); several other works in MS. mentioned by Pitts.

Today's martyr, 
Blessed William Carter was born in London, 1548; suffered for treason at Tyburn on 11 January 1584. Son of John Carter, a draper, and Agnes, his wife, he was apprenticed to John Cawood, queen's printer, on Candlemas Day, 1563, for ten years, and afterwards acted as secretary to Nicholas Harpsfield, last Catholic archdeacon of Canterbury, then a prisoner. Note that Harpsfield wrote an early biography of Thomas More, left England during the reign of Edward VI for Louvain, returned during the reign of Mary I and participated in heresy trials, and finally, opposed the ordination of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury, for which he was imprisoned in the Fleet with his brother John. Therefore, William Carter was very brave, associating with an imprisoned cleric who had refused the Oath of Supremacy!

When Harpsfield died (after release from prison on grounds of ill health) Carter married and set up a press on Tower Hill. Among other Catholic books he printed a new edition (1000 copies) of Dr. Gregory Martin's "A Treatise of Schisme", in 1580, for which he was at once arrested and imprisoned in the Gatehouse. Before this he had been in the Poultry Compter--a small prison run by a Sheriff in the City of London--from 23 September to 28 October 1578. He was transferred to the Tower, 1582, and paid for his own diet there down to midsummer, 1583. Having been tortured on the rack, he was indicted at the Old Bailey--the central criminal court in England—on 10 January 1584, for having printed Dr. Martin's book, in which was a paragraph where confidence was expressed that the Catholic Hope would triumph, and a pious Judith would slay Holofernes. This was interpreted as an incitement to slay the queen. His wife died while he was in prison.

He was beatified in 1987 by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Printing 1000 copies of Martin's book?--that seems a considerable press run. Evidently he knew there were customers for that book, Catholics concerned about the conflict between the Appellants and the Jesuits and what they should do. Carter was a well-to-do man, as he was able to pay for his room and board in prison for perhaps a year. The government tortured him to discover names of any "Judiths" out there ready to behead "Holofernes"--if they had found any evidence of a conspiracy they would have used better evidence than the interpretation of a certain line in a book! But that was the atmosphere of fear and suspicion at that time.

Image at the Top: Judith slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, 1614–18

Image at the Bottom: Caravaggio, Judith Beheading Holofernes (c. 1598-1599)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Plough Monday

Since this is the Monday after Epiphany (traditionally celebrated on January 6 but moved to a Sunday celebration here in the U.S.A. for most Catholic parishes and chapels), today is Plough Monday. The Twelve Days of Christmas are over, Twelfth Night has been celebrated, and things are getting back to normal, even though the Christmas/Epiphany season lasts until Candlemas, keeping the 40 days and 40 nights biblical tradition intact.

The Tudor Society blog describes the festivities of the day:

Plough Monday was the first Monday after 6th January and was the day on which things would return to normal after the Twelve Days of Christmas and people would return to work. It was also the first day of the new agricultural year and 16th century poet and farmer Thomas Tusser wrote:

Plough Monday, next after that Twelfth tide is past
Bids out with the plough, the worst husband is last.

Ronald Hutton, in his book
Stations of the Sun [:A History of the Ritual Year in Britain], writes of how there are records from the 15th century of ploughs being dragged around the streets "while money was collected behind it for parish funds" and that this money might be spent on the “"pkeep" of plough lights, which were candles that were kept burning in church at this time to bring the Lord's blessing on those working in the fields. Steve Roud, in The English Year writes of how there was often a 'common' or 'town' plough that was loaned out to locals who could not afford to buy their own and that this would be kept at the parish church. Roud notes: "its presence presumably gave the opportunity for services based on blessing the plough and praying for success in the coming year".

The Reformation put an end to the practice of plough lights, because the lighting of these candles to bring a blessing was seen as superstitious, but the practice of processing around towns and villages with the plough continued.

More about Plough Monday here.