Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Newman and the Blessed Sacrament

Catholics use different terms for our responses to what the great Dietrich von Hildebrand would refer to as the hierarchy of values, especially in response to Almighty God in the Holy Trinity, and his angels and saints. Most properly: we worship and adore God; we venerate the saints and offer greater devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. When we participate in the Holy Mass, our response is worship through the sacrifice taking place on the Altar: we offer our sacrifices in union with Jesus Christ's. When we "make a visit" to the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, or pray before the Host exposed in a monstrance, we adore His Real Presence and demonstrate our devotion. In The Catholic Herald, Father Ian Ker, the great Newman biographer writes about how Blessed John Henry Newman's devotion to Jesus as an Anglican led him to love His Real Presence in Catholic churches:

It is remarkable how it was the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic churches that more than anything else impressed and moved Newman, even more than the Mass itself. And it tells us something very important not only about Newman but also about a central aspect of the impact of Catholicism on the imagination of the 19th-century English Protestant convert. Thus Newman is not only making a devotional and spiritual point when he writes to an Anglican friend:
I am writing next room to the Chapel – It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ in bodily presence in one’s house, within one’s walls, as swallows up all other privileges … To know that He is close by – to be able again and again through the day to go in to Him …
Newman is saying something very significant about objectivity and reality. For it was that concrete presence of Jesus in a material tabernacle which, for Newman, above all produced that “deep impression of religion as an objective fact” and which so impressed him about Catholicism. He admired “every where the signs of an awful and real system”. . . .

His almost obsessive preoccupation with this “Real Presence” was more than simply devotional: “It is really most wonderful to see this Divine Presence looking out almost into the open streets from the various Churches … I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church.” . . . 

Newman’s fascination with the reservation of the Sacrament reflects his celebrated philosophical distinction between the notional and real, notions being intellectual abstractions and the real what we personally and concretely experience. Catholics, he insisted, worshipped not dogmatic definitions but “Christ Himself”, believing in the “[Real] Presence in the sacred Tabernacle not as a form of words”, or “as a notion, but as an Object as real as we are real”.

In his Meditations and Devotions, Newman offers this prayer for a visit to the Blessed Sacrament:

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before I place myself there.

I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.

I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary's womb, and lay in Mary's bosom; which grew up to man's estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.

I praise, and bless, and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy.

Newman mentions a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as part of "the round of the day" in his "A Short Road to Perfection":

If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Two By Two to Smithfield

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. At about the same time as St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, Fetherston was offered the Oath of Succession and refused to swear it. He and Abell were in prison from 1534 to 1540.

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. As the Catholic Encyclopedia describes Powell's anti-Lutheran efforts:

A court preacher in high favour with Henry VIII, he was ordered to publish a reply to Luther ("Propugnaculum summi Sacerdotii Evangelici, ac septem Sacramentorum, aeditum per virum eruditum, sacrarum literarum professorem Edoardum Poelum adversus Maratinum Lutherum fratrem famosum et Wiclifistan insignem", London, 1523, three books in the form of a dialogue between Powell and Luther). The University of Oxford commended this work, and styled Powell "the glory of the university" in a letter to the king.

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.

As this website explains, Barnes and his companions had become involved with various disputes, including Henry VIII's discontent with Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife:

Henry VIII was angry with Thomas Cromwell for arranging the marriage with Anne of Cleves. The conservatives, led by Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, saw this as an opportunity to remove him from power. Gardiner considered Cromwell a heretic for introducing the Bible in the native tongue. He also opposed the way Cromwell had attacked the monasteries and the religious shrines. Gardiner pointed out to the King that it was Cromwell who had allowed radical preachers such as Robert Barnes to return to England.

Bishop Stephen Gardiner, the leading religious conservative in England, made an attack on Lutheran opinions on 15th February, 1540. (18) In the following weeks Robert Barnes, Thomas Garrard, and William Jerome attacked Gardiner's views. On 3rd April, Henry VIII gave orders for the three men to be sent to the Tower of London. Two days later Barnes was summoned to appear before Henry VIII and Gardiner. Barnes begged forgiveness but continued to preach against the religious conservatives. (19)

Thomas Cromwell retaliated by arresting Richard Sampson, Bishop of Chichester and Nicholas Wotton, staunch conservatives in religious matters. He then began negotiating the release of Barnes. However, this was unsuccessful and it was now clear that Cromwell was in serious danger. (20) The French ambassador reported on 10th April, 1540, that Cromwell was "tottering" and began speculating about who would succeed to his offices. 

Thomas Cromwell, recently named the Earl of Essex, was arrested at Privy Council meeting on June 10, 1540 and attainted a traitor. He was beheaded on July 28 that year, and therefore:

With Thomas Cromwell unable to protect them, Barnes, Thomas Garrard, and William Jerome were once again taken into custody. On 22nd July, 1540, Garrard, Barnes and Jerome, were attainted as heretics, a procedure which denied them the chance to defend themselves in court, and sentenced to death; their heresies were not specified. At the stake, on 30th July, Garrard and his fellows maintained that they did not know why they were being burnt, and that they died guiltless. Richard Hilles, who observed the executions, commented that the men "remained in the fire without crying out, but were as quiet and patient as though they felt no pain"

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 personal rule over both State and Church; 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.

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

Image credits: Book about Blessed Thomas Abell; "Barnes and his Fellow-Prisoners Seeking Forgiveness", from an 1887 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, illustrated by Kronheim.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Henry VIII: Matching and Dispatching on July 28, 1540

Henry VIII married for the fifth time on July 28, 1540, the same day that the erstwhile Earl of Essex, Thomas Cromwell, was executed. Henry had negotiated an annulment with Anne of Cleves which netted his fourth wife property and security in England and thus was free to marry Catherine Howard, a cousin of his second wife Anne Boleyn.

The Queen Anne Boleyn website will post evaluations of Thomas Cromwell's contributions to English History and I contributed some comments.

Another man was beheaded on Tower Hill that day and author Nancy Bilyeau offered some background on Sir Walter Hungerford, condemned for treason, heresy, and buggery:

A great many soldiers appeared on Tower Hill the day of the execution, in case of some last-minute defense of Cromwell. The chronicler Edward Hall said he was greatly mourned by the "common people." But there was no outcry on his behalf that day. Sir William Kingston, who listened to Anne Boleyn's terrified rambling while she was imprisoned, was still the constable. Perhaps it was Kingston who led Hungerford and Cromwell out to the hill and formally handed them over to the jurisdiction of the city of London for execution.

Eyewitnesses agree that Hungerford panicked before the crowd. Some modern historians refer to Sir Walter as well known for insanity. But the pragmatic letters he wrote to Cromwell just a couple of years earlier attest to Hungerford's being well able to function in society. It is likely that, during his weeks of interrogation and with the knowledge he would soon die on the block, Hungerford had a nervous breakdown, like Jane Boleyn would in late 1541.

Hungerford "seemed so unquiet that many judged him rather in a frenzy than otherwise," said one observer. Cromwell, who was about to make his final remarks to the crowd, took aside Sir Walter and said to him:

"There is no cause for you to fear. If you repent and be heartily sorry for what you have done, there is for you mercy enough for the Lord, who for Christ's sake will forgive you. Therefore be not dismayed, and though the breakfast we are going to be sharp, yet, trusting in the mercy of the Lord, we shall have a joyous dinner."

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."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Blessed William Davies of Wales

According to Dom Bede Camm in the Catholic Encyclopedia, William Davis, declared Blessed by Pope St. John Paul II, was

. . . one of the most illustrious of the priests who suffered under Queen Elizabeth, b. in North Wales, probably and Crois in Yris, Denbighshire, date uncertain; d. At Beaumaris, 27 July, 1593. He studied at Reims, where he arrived 6 April 1582 just in time to assist a the first Mass of the venerable martyr Nicholas Garlick. He received tonsure and minor orders 23 Sept., 1583, together with seventy-three other English students. Ordained priest in April, 1585, he laboured with wonderful zeal and success in Wales till March, 1591-2, when he was arrested at Holyhead with four students whom he was sending via Ireland to the English College at Valladolid. He was thrown into a loathsome dungeon in Beaumaris Castle and separated from his companions, having frankly confessed that he was a priest. 

After a month his sanctity and patience gained him some relaxation of his close confinement and he was able to join the students for and hour in the day, and even to celebrate Mass. By degrees the jailor became so indulgent that they might have escaped had they so willed. The fame of the priest's sanctity and wisdom brought Catholics from all parts to consult him and Protestant ministers came to dispute with him. At the assizes he and his companions were condemned to death, on which the martyr intoned the "Te Deum", which the others took up. The injustice of the sentence was so apparent that to still the people's murmurs the judge reprieved the condemned till the queen's pleasure be known. Sent to Ludlow, to be examined by the Council of the Marches, Father Davies had to submit to fresh assaults by the ministers. Here too he foiled the artifices of his enemies who took him to the church under pretext of a disputation, and then began the Protestant service. He at once began to recite the Latin Vespers in a louder voice than the ministers', and afterwards publicly exposed the trick of which he had been a victim. From Ludlow he was sent to Bewdley, where he had to share a foul dungeon with felons, and from thence to other prisons until at last he was sent back to Beaumaris, where, to their mutual consolation, he rejoined his young companions. For some six moths he lived with them the life of a religious community, dividing the time between prayer and study, "with so much comfort to themselves that they seemed to be rather in heaven than in prison". 

At the summer assizes it was decided that the priest must die as a traitor, though he was offered his life if he would go but once to church. In spite of the then open opposition of the people, who honoured him as a saint, the cruel sentence was carried out and he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Beaumaris. As he put the rope round his neck, the martyr said: " Thy yoke, O Lord is sweet and Thy burden is light." His cassock stained with his blood was brought by his companions and preserved as a relic. They, though condemned to imprisonment for life, managed in time to escape, and the youngest found his way at last to Valladolid, where he recounted the whole story to Bishop Yepes, who wrote it in his "Historia particular de la Persecucion en Inglaterra". There is now a chapel in Anglesey built as a memorial to the martyr.

This parish in Wales provides more information on Father Davies' works and projects in the area he served:

He had many friends in this area, people who had known him since boyhood, but, of course, the very secrecy of his movements means that few records are available of the families he served. However, it is known that he was a friend of Robert Pugh of Penrhyn and that they were linked together in an interesting and important event on the Little Orme.

From May 1586 life became even more difficult for Catholics. The Queen was incensed to learn that laws against ‘recusants and obstinate persons in religion’ had not been enforced.

The local Magistrates were accused of negligence and ordered to condemn forthwith the unlawful assembly of Catholics. This was an order that could not be ignored, even by Magistrates sympathetic to Catholics, but a friendly warning was given to Robert Pugh and William Davies and they were able to escape, taking refuge, along with several others, in a cave on the Little Orme. They remained there in comparative safety for about nine months and even managed to produce a small book on a printing press they had hidden there.

The book was ‘Y Drych Gristianogawl’ – ‘The Christian Mirror’ and its importance lies in the fact that it was possibly the first book ever printed in Wales. In April 1587, the cave was discovered and the local Magistrate, Sir Thomas Mostyn, informed. He went to the cave with a large band of people but did not enter – preferring (so it was said) to wait until the following day. He left several of his own men on guard, but when morning came – it was found that all the cave dwellers had managed to escape!

Nothing more was known of Robert Pugh and William Davies until five years later, in March 1592, when they were arrested in Holyhead, Angelsey. They had gone there to assist four student Priests on their journey to Valladolid in Spain, but all six persons were arrested – Robert Pugh being the only one to escape. The others were thrown into Beaumaris Castle dungeons where Father Davies regularly said Mass. Beaumaris rapidly became a centre for all the Catholics of Angelsey.

This booklet provides more detail with pictures! Pope Benedict XVI received a facsimile of ‘Y Drych Gristianogawl’ when he visited the UK (He did not go to Wales, however).

Image credit: Beaumaris Castle (Licensed)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Last Cardinal Protector of England, RIP

On July 25, 1539 Lorenzo Cardinal Campeggio, former bishop of Salisbury, former Cardinal Protector of England, and former Papal Legate in the matter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon's marriage, died in Rome.

According to his Dictionary of National Biography entry, written by James Gairdner:

He was born in 1472 of a noble Bolognese family, and at nineteen years of age devoted himself to the study of imperial law at Pavia and Bologna, along with his own father, Giovanni Campeggio, whose works upon that subject were long held in considerable repute. Early in life he married, and had a son born in 1504, who was made a cardinal by Julius III in 1551. But after his wife's death he took holy orders, and became bishop of Feltri and auditor of the rota at Rome. He was sent by Leo X on a mission to the Emperor Maximilian, and while so engaged was created a cardinal, in his absence, in 1517. Next year he was sent to England as legate to incite Henry VIII to unite with other princes in a crusade against the Turks. He was detained some time at Calais before being allowed to cross, Henry VIII having insisted with the pope that his favourite, Cardinal Wolsey, should be invested with equal legatine functions before he landed. He was, however, very well received, and a few years later (1524) Henry VIII gave him, or allowed him to obtain by papal bull, the bishopric of Salisbury. About the same time he was made archbishop of Bologna. He held also at various times several other Italian bishoprics. He was also sent to Germany in 1524, and presided at the diet at Ratisbon, where a vain attempt was made to check the Lutheran movement. In 1527 he was besieged with Pope Clement VII at Rome, in the castle of St. Angelo. Next year he was sent into England on his most celebrated mission, in which Wolsey was again joined with him as legate, to hear the divorce suit of Henry VIII against Catherine of Arragon (sic). On this occasion he suffered much, both physically and mentally. He was severely afflicted with gout, and had to be carried about in a litter; and while he was pledged to the pope in private not to deliver judgment without referring the matter to Rome, he was pressed by Wolsey to proceed without delay. Some of his ciphered despatches from London at this time have been deciphered within the last few years, and show a very creditable determination on his part not to be made the instrument of injustice, whatever might be the cost to himself. The cause, as is well known, was revoked to Rome, and so his mission terminated. On leaving the kingdom he was treated with singular discourtesy by the officers of customs, who insisted on searching his baggage, and on his complaining to the king, it was clear that the insult was premeditated, and was really a petty-minded indication of the royal displeasure. Five years later, in 1534, he was deprived of the bishopric of Salisbury by act of parliament, on the ground that he was an alien and non-resident, though the king had certainly never expected him to keep residence when he gave him the bishopric. 

Gairdner, who contributed many of the entries for the Tudor era in the DNB, clearly favors Campeggio's sincere and principled efforts in Henry VIII's marital issues. He believed that Henry and Katherine were validly married and thus he would not "be made the instrument of injustice, whatever might be the cost to himself". Gairdner seems to think poorly of Henry VIII's depriving Campeggio of the Salisbury bishopric and his orders for "the officers of customs" treating the Cardinal Legate with "singular discourtesy". God bless Cardinal Campeggio; may he rest in peace!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One of 85; One of 40: Lambton and 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, also in extraordinary circumstances:

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. Boste is included in the group portrait commissioned at the time of the canonization of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970, standing on the left side of the Tyburn Tree altar, behind and right of a live tree, wearing a hat.

Blessed George Swalwell, Blessed Christopher Robinson, and Blessed Edward Waterson are also among those beatified in 1987.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Maurice Chauncey: A Carthusian Who Took the Oath

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Maurice Chauncey was:

Prior of the English Carthusians at Bruges, date of birth unknown; died at Bruges, 2 July, 1581. He was the eldest son of John Chauncey, Esq. Wood thinks he studied at Oxford, and afterwards went to Gray's Inn for a course of law. Finally he entered the London Charterhouse. In 1535 the majority of the Carthusians refused to take the oath of supremacy, but Chauncy, on his own confession, consented to take it. After the surrender of the monastery in 1537, Chauncy with a few others joined the Carthusians of Sheen who had settled in Bruges. On the accession of Mary they returned to Sheen, and in 1556 Chauncy was elected prior. In 1558 they retired again to Bruges, living with their Flemish brethren until 1569, when they obtained a house on their own in St. Clare Street. The hostility of the Calvinists compelled them to leave Bruges in 1578. Failing to settle at Douai, they retired to Louvain (May, 1578). Chauncy died at the old house in Bruges. In his history of the Carthusians he frequently laments his weakness in taking the oath of supremacy. He wrote: "Historia aliquot nostri saeculi Martyrun in Angliâ", etc. (Mainz, 1550, and Bruges, 1583); "Commentariolus de vitae ratione et martyrio octodecim Cartusianorum qui in Anglia sub rege trucidati sunt" (Ghent, 1608), a portion of which was reprinted; "Vitae Martyrun Cartusianorum aliquot, qui Londini pro Unitate Ecclesiae adversus haereticos", etc. (Milan, 1606). "The Divine Cloud of Unknowing", in manuscript, is ascribed to him by Anthony a Wood.

He died in Bruges on July 23, 1581. According to Philip Hughes in his Rome and the Counter Reformation in England, Chauncey wrote to Father William Allen in 1577 complaining about how the missionary priests wore secular clothing when they returned to England. Allen had to instruct Chauncey about the dangers the priests were already facing--before Parliament had made it a treasonous offense for a priest to be present in England. Alison Plowden provides some quotations from Allen's reply to Chauncey in her Danger to Elizabeth.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

St. Mary Magdalene and the English Reformation

Today is one of my name days honoring one of my three patron saints (St. Stephen, St. Anne, and St. Mary Magdalene)--it would be celebrated today as Feast but that today is Sunday and the Mass of every Sunday has precedence over Feasts. Parish churches named for St. Mary Magdalene or Magdalen may celebrate her Feast today, however. Pope Francis raised her feast day from a Memorial to a Feast in 2016, as she is "the Apostle to the Apostles" bringing the good news of the Resurrection of Jesus to them.

I've found some interesting research on devotion to St. Mary Magdalene among recusant Catholics: with the title “They have taken away my Lord”: Mary Magdalene, Christ’s Missing Body, and the Mass in Reformation England, Lisa McClain of Boise State University published an article in The Sixteenth Century Journal (Spring 2007):

In early modern Protestant England, traditional Catholic worship and sacraments, particularly the Mass, declined, and many Catholics feared for their salvation. At the same time, an increased veneration of Mary Magdalene focused no longer on penance and redemption, but on Mary’s discovery of Christ’s empty tomb. Magdalene’s distress at losing the corporeal body of Christ mirrored English Catholic anxiety over losing the body of Christ as contained in the Eucharist in the absence of regular Mass. English Catholics chose to revive and adapt this form of Magdalene symbolism to best meet their spiritual needs, thus emphasizing the many uses and flexibility of such a familiar symbol as Mary Magdalene and suggesting types and nuances of Magdalene worship that have yet to be fully investigated by scholars.

Other works, including a doctoral dissertation, focus on different views of St. Mary Magdalene during the Reformation era, Protestant and Catholic.

St. Robert Southwell, SJ, as the Poetry Foundation describes, wrote a major work on St. Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus:

The second of Southwell’s prose works to appear in print was Mary Magdalen’s Funeral Tears. It had been circulating in manuscript before Gabriel Cawood published it in late 1591 with an author’s preface to the reader, and it, too, was written for one of the recusant circle: Dorothy Arundel, the daughter of Sir John Arundel of Lanherne; she later became a Benedictine nun. The work originated in a popular homily, usually attributed to Origen, on Saint John’s account of Mary Magdalen’s encounter with Christ on Easter morning. Southwell first read this homily in Italy, presumably in Italian and Latin (an Italian version survives in manuscript at Stonyhurst, attributed to Saint Bonaventura). In the Stonyhurst holograph there are fragments of Southwell’s attempts at an English translation; they show how difficult he found English composition after speaking Latin and Italian for ten years. The homily was available in England, printed in Latin around 1504 and in English translation in 1565. There are signs that Southwell knew and used this translation. Some writers suggest that he may also have known Valvasone’s poem Le lagrime di S. Maria Maddalena, but no clear evidence of this influence has been presented.

In Southwell’s hands the little homily grows to a work three times as long. It used to be thought that the book originated as a sermon, but this theory was based on ignorance of the source.
Mary Magdalen’s Funeral Tears is a meditation on Mary’s experience, cast largely in the form of a dialogue between Mary and the other persons present, the angels in the empty tomb, Christ, and the narrator. The homily provides the outline and some of the contents, but Southwell’s tone is different from that of his source, partly owing to the intensity, detail, and accomplishment of his prose but mostly to his conception of the incident as a love story. Southwell’s Mary is less the repentant sinner than the lover of Christ; she weeps tears of loss, not remorse. For her, Christ is the sum of all value, and in finding the empty tomb she experiences utter loss. All Mary’s thoughts and actions proceed from her love, and as Southwell presents her, she is a heroic woman.

There is also an allegorical tendency in the work, which Southwell found in his source but which he develops according to his own preoccupations. Allegorically speaking, Mary is the Christian soul, separated from the living Christian truth that is her only happiness; more specifically, she is an English Catholic woman, and the violence that threatens her is that of contemporary England.

St. Robert Southwell, pray for us!
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Papal Infallibility and Florovsky Week

The fathers of the First Vatican Council voted on July 18, 1870 to approve the statement on Papal Infallibility published in Pastor Aeternus. This dogmatic constitution states that the Pope has "full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church" (chapter 3:9); and that, when he

speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals [chapter 4:9]

On the back of the program of the inaugural Florovsky Week, which I attended (parts of it) last week, the Eighth Day Institute announces the topic for next year's meeting, "returning to the sources for Christian unity": THE PATRISTIC VIEW OF CHURCH AUTHORITY: BIBLE, POPE OR PENTARCHY?

Last week I attended the Banquet Tuesday night, gave my own talk on "Reformation and Counter-Reformation: The Catholic Mission in England and Why It Failed" on Wednesday afternoon, attended one evening Plenary Lecture, another afternoon session of three papers (all held in different buildings at Newman University), and the Saturday Plenary lectures at St. George's Orthodox Cathedral (three lectures and lunch). Although Martin Luther's doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone was the title focus, matched by the image, most of the discussion I heard was about the Patristic View of Salvation, theosis or divinization or participation in the divine nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes the First Letter of St. Peter, two Fathers of the Church and St. Thomas Aquinas in paragraph 460:

"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81 

78 2 Pt 1:4.
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.

Every event I attended was excellent and I look forward to next year's Florovsky Week.

In the meantime, the organizers are researching ways to publish the papers presented: three Plenary sessions by the designated Catholic (Kenneth Howell), Orthodox (Bradley Nassif), Protestant (Hans Boersma) with responses by the other two main speakers from Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at Newman; three more Plenary presentations by those speakers on Saturday at St. George's; the opening banquet speech by Erin Doom, and 26 (twenty-six) academic papers!! I submitted my academic paper to the EDI for consideration, so we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Mystery of Mark Twain's "Joan of Arc"

Dr. Kelly Scott Franklin of Hillsdale College writes for The Catholic World Report about Mark Twain's devotion to St. Joan of Arc and the novel he wrote about her:

For Twain, part of Joan’s genius lies in her simple faith in God. Confident in His power to overcome all obstacles, Joan embraces His call. “I am enlisted,” she says, “I will not turn back, God helping me, till the English grip is loosed from the throat of France.” And obstacles there will be, for Joan faces ineptitude, opposition, and even deception from within the ranks of her own army.

But Twain also seems drawn to Joan’s miraculous gifts. Although a literary Realist and a religious skeptic, the author nonetheless treats all of Joan’s visions and prophecies with remarkable seriousness. Joan predicts that a mysterious sword will be found buried behind the altar of a church. She prophesies her victories, and even when she will be wounded in battle. . . .

Twain glories in Joan’s simple intelligence and wisdom, as she calmly faces her interrogators. Her persecutors do everything they can to discredit and condemn the Maid as a heretic or a witch. They ask her about her divine calling, her miraculous “Voices,” about her choice of male attire. They threaten her with the rack. They deny her Holy Communion. But Joan insists upon her visions and her mission. Violating the privacy of her conscience and seeking to draw her into presumption, one of her accusers asks her if she is in the state of Grace. Twain records Joan’s “immortal answer” in italics: “If I be not in a state of Grace, I pray God place me in it; if I be in it, I pray God keep me so.”

But in the end, her enemies condemn her to death. At her place of execution, she kneels to pray for the French king. And then Twain’s little Maid of Orleans is given over to the flames of the stake, until the eternal flame of God’s Love receives her forever.

Mark Twain was still alive when the Church beatified Joan of Arc in 1909. To a certain extent, his novel remains a puzzling act of devotion from a complicated man. For the great American author, there was no one like St. Joan. He marveled at her confidence in God’s Will, her courage, her simplicity. And in her he saw an example for all time. We can hear Twain’s own voice in the words of his narrator describing Joan: “It took six thousand years to produce her; her like will not be seen in the earth again in fifty thousand. Such is my opinion.”

Please read the rest there

It is a wonderful novel; somehow, she inspired him with such devotion that he wrote something completely outside himself and beyond himself.

Today is the feast of the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne! St. Joan of Arc, pray for us! Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne, pray for us!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Newman on Justification

Father Benjamin Sawyer presented a wonderful paper Friday afternoon at the Florovsky Week:

IN HIS Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification (1838), John Henry Newman seeks to discover the essence of the gift of justification. While the Protestant perspective focuses on God’s external declaration of justice and describes faith as the essence of man’s righteousness, the Roman position, in the years subsequent to the Council of Trent, focuses on the inherent gift of righteousness that inwardly renews him. The genius of Newman lies in recognizing the limits of each of these positions for not having gone to the heart of the matter. God’s counting man as righteous is not a mere declaration, but a declaration that effects what it signifies, thus making him righteous by the reception of an inward gift of the Holy Spirit. Newman places a clear priority on the gift of uncreated grace, the inward gift of the Holy Spirit through which man participates in the sonship of Christ. This uncreated, divine indwelling is the source of both faith and charity and realizes man’s spiritual renewal.

This paper will attempt to demonstrate that John Henry Newman’s biblical-patristic theological method allowed him to rediscover and articulate the doctrine of divine indwelling, previously overlooked in the years after Trent in Catholic-Protestant debate. Newman’s method of doing theology is rooted in a return to the inexhaustible source of divine revelation itself, to the Scriptures as the soul of theology, and to the patristic sources. Newman sought to contemplate the Scriptures in the heart of the Church with the same Spirit possessed by the ancient Fathers, the same Spirit who continually animates and guides the Church in all ages and places. It was in drinking from the source of Scripture and the Fathers that Newman came to discover the mysterious truth of God, who thirsts to make his dwelling in man.

Father Sawyer's paper reminded me why Newman is so wonderful: he always finds the third way. Not just to be creative or original, but to make distinctions that neither extreme makes. In this example, it's not either justification by faith (the Protestant view) or justification by renewal (the classic Catholic view based upon the Council of Trent) but the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Thus, it's not "Either/Or" or "Neither/Or": it's both. The Holy Trinity, dwelling within the soul of the Christian, is the source of both the faith and the renewal, of the justification and the sanctification of the believer. Since Newman loved the Fathers of the Church so much, especially the Alexandrian Fathers, and most especially St. Athanasius of Alexandria, he is an important figure for the Eighth Day Institute with its emphasis on seeing in the Fathers a cloud of witnesses that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants may rely upon in an ongoing ressourcement of ecumenical dialogue.

Friday, July 13, 2018

166 Years Ago Today at St. Mary's

Just a reminder that Anna Mitchell will replay our interview discussing Newman's "Second Spring" sermon during the EWTN hour of the Son Rise Morning Show this morning. That's sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. Central (6:00 and 7:00 a.m. Eastern). The podcast will also be available on the show website.

Also, please check my blog site on the National Catholic Register, which will be updated with an article I submitted that tells the story of that sermon and the context, as Anna and I discussed:

Father John Henry Newman of the Congregation of the Oratory gave his sermon at the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated on July 13—166 years ago today. It moved some, especially Cardinal Wiseman, to tears, as Newman described the death and rebirth of Catholicism in England.

The Winter is Now Past; The Coming of a Second Spring

Newman’s sermon exemplifies what G.K. Chesterton noted in The Everlasting Man: “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” In 1829, Catholics had at last been accorded their full rights as citizens and loyal subjects, able to worship freely, pursue their vocations and their careers, vote and hold office—everything but attend the great centers of learning, Oxford and Cambridge. In 1850, Pope Pius IX had restored the hierarchy in England with the Papal Bull Universalis Ecclesiae.

As Newman hardly needed to remind Cardinal Wiseman and the other bishops, this restoration had shocked Protestant England. It was one thing for individual Catholics to be free to practice their faith; it was another thing for an organized, structured Catholic hierarchy to start building, educating, and growing the Catholic Church in England. 

Queen Victoria’s government reacted by calling the restoration an act of “papal aggression”; there were anti-Catholic riots; Parliament passed a law called the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851 which declared it illegal for the new Catholic bishops to use the name "of any city, town or place, or of any territory or district (under any designation or description whatsoever), in the United Kingdom" in their titles. This act was never enforced and was repealed twenty years later. It was the last gasp of anti-Catholicism in Parliament. It would not be the last gasp of anti-Catholicism in England, as Newman had just experienced.

Newman on Trial 

The month before he gave this famous sermon, Father John Henry Newman had been in a London courtroom. He had been charged with libel against a former Dominican priest turned anti-Catholic agitator Giovanni Giacinto Achilli. . . . 

Father John Henry Newman, formerly a Fellow of Oriel College at Oxford and an Anglican vicar, found out what being a Catholic in nineteenth century England meant. His integrity was attacked and his guilt assumed because he was a Catholic. He had spoken about English prejudice against Catholics before; now he had experienced it.

He was found guilty, fined, and ordered to pay court costs in the amount of £12,000. The judge lectured him on his fall from grace since he had left the Anglican communion. Newman could have been sent to prison.

Even the Times of London perceived the injustice of this trial: “a great blow has been given to the administration of justice in this country, and Roman Catholics will have henceforth only too good reason for asserting that there is no justice for them in matters tending to rouse the Protestant feelings of judges and juries.”

Please read the rest there.

Blessed Thomas Tunstall, OSB

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Blessed Thomas Tunstall, OSB, who was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929, was:

Martyred at Norwich, 13 July, 1616. He was descended from the Tunstalls of Thurland, an ancient Lancashire family who afterwards settled in Yorkshire. In the Douay Diaries he is called by the alias of Helmes and is described as Carleolensis, that is, born within the ancient Diocese of Carlisle. He took the College oath at Douay on 24 May, 1607; received minor orders at Arras, 13 June, 1609, and the subdiaconate at Douay on 24 June following. The diary does not record his ordination to the diaconate or priesthood, but he left the college as a priest on 17 August, 1610. On reaching England he was almost immediately apprehended and spent four or five years in various prisons till he succeeded in escaping from Wisbech Castle. He made his way to a friend's house near Lynn, where is was recaptured and committed to Norwich Gaol. At the next assizes he was tried and condemned (12 July, 1616). The saintliness of his demeanor on the scaffold produced a profound impression on the people. There is a contemporary portrait of the martyr at Stonyhurst, showing him as a man still young with abundant black hair and dark moustache.

Two years ago, the Catholic diocese of East Anglia celebrated the 400th anniversary of his execution, and provides this detail (with a variation in the date of his execution):

He made his way to a safe house in King's Lynn but had injured his hand during his escape and, when he looked for medical help, was re-captured and taken to Norwich Castle.

On July 12, 1616, Thomas was tried and condemned as a Catholic priest and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered just outside of the city's Magdalen Gate where, today, Magpie Road meets Bull Close Road. A later record of the execution says that this young man, with his abundant black hair and moustache, showed more than natural courage as he prayed for his accuser and thanked him for being instrumental in his death.

Image credit: A mid-19th-century engraving of Norwich Castle (where Blessed Thomas Tunstall was imprisoned) from Charles Knight's Old England: A Pictorial Museum (1845).

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Newman's Second Spring on the Son Rise Morning Show

Father John Henry Newman of the Oratory gave his famous "Second Spring" sermon at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the close of the first Westminster Synod held after the restoration of the hierarchy in England on July 13, 1852. In anticipation of the 166th anniversary of this event, Anna Mitchell will discuss it this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show around 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central. During the EWTN hour on Friday, the interview will repeat.

Please listen live here.

In this eloquent sermon, Newman celebrated the revival and renewal of the Catholic Church in England:

But what is it, my Fathers, my Brothers, what is it that has happened in England just at this time? Something strange is passing over this land, by the very surprise, by the very commotion, which it excites. Were we not near enough the scene of action to be able to say what is going on,—were we the inhabitants of some sister planet possessed of a more perfect mechanism than this earth has discovered for surveying the transactions of another globe,—and did we turn our eyes thence towards England just at this season, we should be arrested by a political phenomenon as wonderful as any which the astronomer notes down from his physical field of view. It would be the occurrence of a national commotion, almost without parallel, more violent than has happened here for centuries,—at least in the judgments and intentions of men, if not in act and deed. We should note it down, that soon after St. Michael's day, 1850, a storm arose in the moral world, so furious as to demand some great explanation, and to rouse in us an intense desire to gain it. We should observe it increasing from day to day, and spreading from place to place, without remission, almost without lull, up to this very hour, when perhaps it threatens worse still, or at least gives no sure prospect of alleviation. Every party in the body politic undergoes its influence,—from the Queen upon her throne, down to the little ones in the infant or day school. The ten thousands of the constituency, the sum-total of Protestant sects, the aggregate of religious societies and associations, the great body of established clergy in town and country, the bar, even the medical profession, nay, even literary and scientific circles, every class, every interest, every fireside, gives tokens of this ubiquitous storm. This would be our report of it, seeing it from the distance, and we should speculate on the cause. What is it all about? against what is it directed? what wonder has happened upon earth? what prodigious, what preternatural event is adequate to the burden of so vast an effect?

We should judge rightly in our curiosity about a phenomenon like this; it must be a portentous event, and it is. It is an innovation, a miracle, I may say, in the course of human events. The physical world revolves year by year, and begins again; but the political order of things does not renew itself, does not return; it continues, but it proceeds; there is no retrogression. This is so well understood by men of the day, that with them progress is idolized as another name for good. The past never returns—it is never good;—if we are to escape existing ills, it must be by going forward. The past is out of date; the past is dead. As well may the dead live to us, well may the dead profit us, as the past return. This, then, is the cause of this national transport, this national cry, which encompasses us. The past has returned, the dead lives. Thrones are overturned, and are never restored; States live and die, and then are matter only for history. Babylon was great, and Tyre, and Egypt, and Nineve, and shall never be great again. The English Church was, and the English Church was not, and the English Church is once again. This is the portent, worthy of a cry. It is the coming in of a Second Spring; it is a restoration in the moral world, such as that which yearly takes place in the physical.

Anna and I will talk about how this sermon came just a month after Newman had been tried and convicted of libel--and had experienced the animosity of anti-Catholicism personally in the courtroom and from the judge.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Day One of Nine: Queen Jane

Here's History Today's take on Lady Jane Grey Dudley becoming the Queen of England on July 10, 1553:

Edward died on July 6th. Mary, on her way to Greenwich, was warned of the trap and rode pell mell for Norfolk. Elizabeth stayed in bed. The King’s death was kept quiet and on July 9th Jane was taken to Northumberland’s mansion outside London, Syon House at Isleworth, where the Duke, her husband and her parents were waiting with members of the council, who to her surprise treated her with immense deference. Northumberland announced that she was queen and she fainted before, with the utmost reluctance, accepting the throne ‘if what has been given to me is lawfully mine’. The following day she was proclaimed by heralds with flourishes of trumpets at various places in London, to the stony disapproval of the citizens. One man who incautiously said the Lady Mary had the better right had his ears cut off.

In the afternoon Jane arrived by barge at the Tower, tried on the royal crown, which made her feel faint again, and had a blazing row with her husband and his mother when she said she would not make him king. The banquet that evening was spoiled by the arrival of a letter from Mary to the council firmly asserting her right to the throne and demanding immediate support.

Jane continued going through the motions as queen in the Tower, but Northumberland had miscalculated badly. The Lady Mary was well liked (she had not burned anyone yet) and he was not. Mary’s support grew and she gathered a sizeable army, while Northumberland’s men deserted. So did the council in London. By July 18th only three of them – including Jane’s father – remained loyal to Northumberland. The others left the Tower on the improbable excuse of urgently needing to talk to the French ambassador and had the lord mayor of London proclaim Mary next day. Her father told Jane she was no longer queen and she said she was delighted to hear it and could she go home, please?

Please read the rest there.

Image credit: The Crown Offered to Lady Jane Grey, as imagined in the 1820s: Guildford and Jane are in the centre

Friday, July 6, 2018

Tomorrow: Mary, Queen of Scots on the Radio

Yesterday, I recorded a discussion with Deal Hudson for his Church and Culture program on Ave Maria Radio:

Times: Saturday, 3:00-5:00 pm EST; Sunday, 7:00-9:00 am EST (my segment will air at 4:00 pm Saturday and 8:00 a.m. Sunday--EST)!

Church and Culture engages all aspects of our culture with the aim of discussing “cultural apologetics.” Culture is discussed from a Catholic perspective in order to provide opportunities for Catholics to introduce the faith to others through a book, a movie, a TV show, a piece of music, a political issue, or an artist, among other things. The Church speaks through culture, and while there is much in our culture to be avoided, there is much that can witness to the Catholic faith. On each program, Dr. Hudson interviews noted experts in their fields, providing insight and guidance in our evangelical engagement with the culture.

He and I discussed Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, the Scottish Reformation and the English Reformation--all in an hour!!

We will follow up with a general overview on the English Reformation in a few weeks.

Listen live here.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Next Week: The First Annual Florovsky Week

Eighth Day Institute will host its first annual Florovsky Week:

Please join us for the inaugural Florovsky Week
Honoring Fr. Georges Florovsky with a week of prayer, papers, iconography workshop, fellowship, 
a festal banquet with inaugural Florovsky Lecture & plenary dialogues on
​Justification by Faith Alone?

Fr. Georges Florovsky, a 20th century Russian Orthodox priest, tirelessly insisted on a return to the common heritage of all Christians in the first 1000 years of the Church's history as a path to recovering a common language for progress toward overcoming the divisions of Christendom. In his honor, this week is organized to promote such a return to the sources for Christian unity.

The three main speakers, each representing a different branch of Christianity, are:

HANS BOERSMA - Protestant
J. I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College
Author of many books, including Violence, Hospitality and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition 

Academic Director of the Eucharist Project
President of the Pontifical Studies Foundation

Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University
"Leading academic expert on Evangelical-Orthodox dialogue."
~New York Times

The schedule is here. From Tuesday evening through Friday, the event will be held at Newman University. On Saturday, the presentations will be held at St. George's Orthodox Cathedral.

I'll be making a presentation the first afternoon:

3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Group 1-Eck 124 (on the campus of Newman University)
~Malcolm Harris- Good Pope John’s (Not So) Secret Agenda to Reunite Christianity
~Stephanie Mann-Reformation and Counter-Reformation: The Catholic Mission in England and Why it Failed
~Angie Gumm-Unwitting Ecumenicalism: Annum Sacrum and Pope Leo XIII's Consecration of the World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Reformation and Counter-Reformation: The Catholic Mission in England and Why it Failed

After the theological ideas of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Protestant Reformers spread on the Continent and in the British Isles, the Latin Rite Catholic Church mounted a Counter-Reformation campaign. Religious orders like the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Capuchins (a Franciscan order) succeeded—as even James R. Payton, Jr, recognized in Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings (IVP Academic: 2010)—in taking back some territory and bringing back some Protestant converts to the Catholic Church. In one country, however, all the efforts and sacrifices of clerical and lay martyrs seemed to have failed. I propose to discuss why Catholics, in spite of (and sometimes because of) tremendous plans, sacrifices and heroism, failed in their mission even to obtain freedom of worship in their native land throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The presentation will include stories of those martyred saints who died in that failed mission and analysis of the tangle of religion and politics during the long Reformation era.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Month of Devotion to the Precious Blood

Although the Solemnity of the Precious Blood on July 1 was removed from the Church's calendar in 1969, the month of July is still traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, by which we are saved. Devotion to the Precious Blood is obviously Eucharistic, because Catholics believe that we receive Jesus sacramentally in Holy Communion, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It also has connections to our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, since His heart was pierced by the soldier's lance on Calvary, and blood and water poured out. This devotion is rich and it's not just for Catholics: being washed in the Blood of Jesus is a common theme in traditional Protestant hymns.

Some of the Catholic hymns for the feast are ancient, like this one for Vespers:

Festivis resonent Compita vocibus:
Cives laetitiam frontibus explicent:
Tædis flammiferis ordine prodeant
Instructi pueri, et senes.
Quem dura moriens Christus in arbore
Fudit multiplici vulnere Sanguinem,
Nos facti memores, dum colimus, decet
Saltem fundere lacrimas.
Humano generi pernicies gravis
Adami veteris crimine contigit:
Adami integritas, et pietas novi
Vitam reddidit omnibus.
Clamorem validum Summus ab Æthero
Languentis Geniti si Pater audiit,
Placari potius Sanguine debuit,
Et nobis veniam dare.
Hoc quicumque stolam Sanguine proluit,
Abstergit maculas, et roseum decus,
Quo fiat similis protinus Angelis,
Et Regi placeat capit.
A recto instabilis tramite postmodum
Se nullus retrahat, meta sed ultima
Tangatur; tribuet nobile præmium,
Qui cursum Deus adiuvat.
Nobis propitius sis Genitor potens,
Ut quos Unigenæ Sanguine Filii
Emisti, et placido Flamine recreas,
Cæli ad culmina transferas. Amen.
The Catholic Encyclopedia describes this hymn for Vespers on the Solemnity of the Precious Blood of Jesus (1962 Calendar) thus:

The Vesper hymn of the feast, "Festivis resonent compita vocibus", comprising seven Asclepiadic stanzas, and the Matins hymn, "Ira justa conditoris imbre aquarum vindice", comprising six stanzas, have been translated by Caswall (Lyra Catholica, pp. 83, 85), Bagshawe (loc. cit., Nos. 95-6), Donahoe (loc. cit., pp. 249-52). The Vesper hymn was also translated by Potter (Annus Sanctus, Part I, p. 85), and the Matins hymn by O'Connor (Arundel Hymns, etc., 1902, No. 80), and by Henry (Sursum Corda, 1907, p. 5).

Father Edward Caswall's translation:

Forth let the long procession stream,
And through the streets in order wend;
Let the bright waving line of torches gleam,
The solemn chant ascend.
While we, with tears and sighs profound,
That memorable Blood record,
Which, stretch’d on his hard Cross, from many a wound
The dying Jesus pour’d.
By the first Adam’s fatal sin
Came death upon the human race;
In this new Adam doth new life begin,
And everlasting grace.
For scarce the Father heard from Heaven
The cry of his expiring Son,
When in that cry our sins were all forgiven,
And boundless pardon won.
Henceforth, whoso in that dear Blood
Washeth, shall lose his every stain;
And in immortal roseate beauty rob’d,
An angel’s likeness gain.
Only, run thou with courage on
Straight to the goal set in the skies;
He, who assists thy course, will give thee soon
The everlasting prize.
Father supreme! vouchsafe that we,
For whom thine only Son was slain,
And whom thy Holy Ghost doth sanctify,
May heavenly joys attain.
So what is an Asclepiadic stanza? It's a stanza in a Greek poetic meter:

An Asclepiad (Latin: Asclepiadeus) is a line of poetry following a particular metrical pattern. The form is attributed to Asclepiades of Samos and is one of the Aeolic metres.

As with other Aeolic metrical lines, the asclepiad is built around a choriamb. The Asclepiad may be described as a glyconic that has been expanded with one (Lesser Asclepiad) or two (Greater Asclepiad) further choriambs. . . .

Asclepiads were used in Latin by Horace in thirty-four of his odes, as well as by Catullus in Poem 30, and Seneca. Examples in English verse include parts of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia ("Here wrong's name is unheard, slander a monster is; / Keep thy sprite from abuse, here no abuse doth haunt. / What man grafts in a tree dissimulation?") and W. H. Auden's "In Due Season" ("Springtime, Summer and Fall: days to behold a world").

Monday, July 2, 2018

Newman and Gregorian Chant

Susan Treacy, professor of music at Ave Maria University, and a member of the board of directors of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) writes in the online edition of the Adoremus Bulletin about Blessed John Henry Newman and liturgical music, commenting on Newman's interest in Gregorian Chant, his preference for orchestral Masses, and his efforts to use popular hymns for their catechetical value:

Newman and his friends spent Holy Week in Rome. Here he met with the Abbé Fortunato Santini, the Vatican’s music librarian, in an effort to learn what he could about Gregorian chant. Back in England, a revival of Gregorian chant was under way, both in Anglican and in Catholic circles, and the young minister sought to become better informed about this ancient sacred art. Newman’s taste in church music, despite his interest in Gregorian chant, was eclectic, and often as not reflected the contemporary penchant for the orchestrally accompanied Mass settings of Haydn, Mozart, and others. He also believed in the utility of popular hymns in evangelizing and catechizing people of many walks of life. In his autobiographical novel, Loss and Gain, three young men —Bateman, Campbell, and Reding — vigorously discuss the merits of Gregorian chant versus “modern” music, along with Gothic versus Classical architecture. After a while, Bateman admits to preferring instrumentally accompanied chant, “the glorious old chants, and just a little modern richness”.8 Bellasis comments that:

The foregoing would probably open out … a wide field for further discussion, but so much may be fairly gathered, viz., that the Cardinal’s musical views were sensible ones, even if open, theoretically, to some differences of opinion. Omnia probate, he seems to say, quod bonum est tenete. [“Test everything, hold fast to what is good”, from Thessalonians 5:21. – Ed.] He had, of course, no sympathy with extravagances. His was a cultured, at any rate a refined taste, sui similis [“like himself”], and when it was said in April, 1886, that Niedermeyer’s B minor Mass was “elaborate”, he observed: “Well, I like a medium in music, although I may be wrong in that.” All was well, we suppose, provided the best gifts of Catholic masters in their art were in good faith proffered to Almighty God.… All was well, too, if singers and players were animated with the Catholic spirit that breathed in a Haydn and a Mozart, to say nothing of later giants. Under such conditions, and with due observance of the unaccompanied chant in Advent and Lent, the male choirs of both Oratories in England have probably done a good work, and if so, one worthy of Saint Philip’s blessing.9

Newman, despite his love for the full sound of an orchestral Mass, was cognizant of the dangers of this kind of church music, as he revealed in
The Idea of a University.

Doubtless, here, too, the highest genius may be made subservient to religion … but it is certain that religion must be alive and on the defensive, for if its servant sleep a potent enchantment will steal over it…. If, then, a great master in this mysterious science … throws himself on his own gifts, trusts its inspirations and absorbs himself in those thoughts which, though they come to him in the way of nature belong to things above nature, it is obvious he will neglect everything else. Rising in his strength he will break through the trammels of words; he will scatter human voices, even the sweetest, to the winds; he will be borne upon nothing else than the fullest flood of sounds which art has enabled him to draw from mechanical contrivances; he will go forth as a giant, as far as ever his instruments can reach, starting from their secret depths fresh and fresh elements of beauty and grandeur as he goes, and pouring them together into still more marvellous and rapturous combinations —and well indeed, and lawfully, while he keeps to that line which is his own; but should he happen to be attracted, as he well may, by the sublimity, so congenial to him, of the Catholic doctrine and ritual, should he engage in sacred themes, should he resolve by means of his art to do honor to the Mass, or the Divine Office — he cannot have a more pious, a better purpose, and religion will gracefully accept what he gracefully offers; but — is it not certain from the circumstances of the case, that he will be carried on rather to use religion than to minister to it, unless religion is strong on its own ground, and reminds him that if he would do honor to the highest of subjects, he must make himself its scholar, must humbly follow the thoughts given him, and must aim at the glory, not of his own gift, but of the Great Giver?10

Her discussion of Newman and liturgical music matches well the article I cited several years ago by Revd. Guy Nicholls M.A. S.T.L. C.O. Priest of the Birmingham Oratory (from 1999).

She references a book by Edward Bellasis, published in 1892, Cardinal Newman as a Musician. It is available online here. Bellasis was the son of Edward Bellasis, a convert to Catholicism. Bellasis attended Mass at Newman's Birmingham Oratory and so reflected on the experience in his book, for example:

Altogether we have ever felt that there is an indescribable brightness, a radiant cheerfulness, which might have pleased St. Philip, about the Birmingham selection of hymns and tunes, with Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Pleyell, Crookall, Webbe, Moorat, and others laid under contribution. In the Saint's time, we know, "there were sung at the Oratory many Laudi, motets, madrigals, and sacred songs in the vulgar tongue, and these gave scope for composers to essay a simpler, and more popular and stirring style of music."[53] Take up then the Father's book, hear the people at the May devotions sing such winning songs as the "Pilgrim Queen" (No. 38, Regina Apostolorum), and the "Month of Mary" (No. 32, Rosa Mystica), or listen during St. Philip's Novena, to "St. Philip in his School" (No. 49), "in his Mission" (No. 50), "in Himself" (No. 51, "Regulars and St. Philip"), and "in his Disciples" (No. 54, "Philip and the Poor"), and we conclude that, as with the Saint, so with his distinguished son, it has been his "aim to make sacred music popular;"[54] and may we not further say that the Cardinal, without any parade whatever, but in the simplest fashion, has somehow succeeded at Birmingham in his aim?

The Webbe that Bellasis refers to is Samuel Webbe. Ignaz Pleyel wrote sacred works for the Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, but he also wrote music during the French Revolution celebrating the Temple of Reason, the Supreme Being, and victories of the Revolutionary armies thus keeping his job and his head. Dr. Monsignor John Crookall was choir-master at St. Edmund's College and composed Masses and hymns. Moorat? I haven't been able to find that composer (Mouret?)