Sunday, September 29, 2019

Michealmas and St. Michael the Archangel

Image Credit: Saint Michael defeats the Dragon, from a 12th-century manuscript, published under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

According to the Ordo of the Roman Missal of 1962, today we celebrate The Dedication of the Archangel Michael, with the commemoration of the 16th Sunday after Pentecost. According to Volume IX (September) of Father Alban Butler's The Lives of the Saints:

THIS festival has been kept with great solemnity on the 29th of September ever since the fifth age, and was certainly celebrated in Apulia in 493. The dedication of the famous church of St. Michael on Mount Gargano, in Italy, 1 gave occasion to the institution of this feast in the West, which is hence called in the Martyrologies of St. Jerome, Bede, and others, The dedication of St. Michael. The dedication of St. Michael’s church in Rome, upon Adrian’s Mole, which was performed by Pope Boniface IV. in 610, and that of several other churches in the West, in honour of this arch-angel, were performed on this same day. 2 Churches were likewise erected in the East, in honour of St. Michael and other holy angels, from the time when the Christian worship was publicly established by the conversion of Constantine, doubtless upon the model of little oratories and churches, which had been formerly raised in the intervals of the general persecutions, in which storms they were again thrown down. Sozomen informs us, that Constantine the Great built a famous church in honour of this glorious archangel, called Michaelion, and that in it the sick were often cured, and other wonders wrought through the intercession of St. Michael. This historian assures us, that he had often experienced such relief here himself; and he mentions the miraculous cures of Aquilin, an eminent lawyer, and of Probian, a celebrated physician, wrought in the same place. This church stood about four miles from Constantinople; a monastery was afterwards built contiguous to it. Four churches in honour of St. Michael stood in the city of Constantinople itself; their number was afterwards increased to fifteen, which were built by several emperors. 3 

Though only St. Michael be mentioned in the title of this festival, it appears from the prayers of the church that all the good angels are its object, together with this glorious prince and tutelar angel of the church. On it we are called upon, in a particular manner, to give thanks to God for the glory which the angels enjoy, and to rejoice in their happiness. Secondly, to thank him for his mercy to us in constituting such glorious beings to minister to our salvation, by aiding and assisting us. Thirdly, to join them in adoring and praising God with all possible ardour, desiring and praying that we may do his will on earth with the utmost fidelity, fervour, and purity of affection, as it is done by these blessed spirits in heaven; and that we may study to sanctify our souls in imitation of the spotless angels to whom we are associated. Lastly, we are invited to honour, and implore the intercession and succour of the holy angels.

The shrine church of St. Michael the Archangel on Mount Gargano still draws pilgrims, according to this website (which is certainly tinged with post-Vatican II obsession!):

San Michele developed into a fairly important medieval shrine, visited by kings and saints and commoners. But the cult of San Michele hardly seems like one that a person might expect to thrive 50 years after Vatican II. With its medieval buildings, including the shrine, one might expect that Monte Sant’Angelo, the town that grew up there, would be a good tourist attraction whose religious appeal had faded. Yet this hardly seems to be the case. Carloads and busloads of tourists continue to come to town. But interestingly, they all bypass the castle museum at the top of the hill and a number of other high quality (mostly free) medieval sites, heading past religious souvenir shops and restaurants, straight down the stairs to the cave, like good pilgrims. Many are on pilgrimages that have taken them to the nearby shrine of Padre Pio. The shrine in itself could be a great teaching site for an art history class, but seems instead to be very much a devotional site. Pilgrims typically spent considerable time praying in pews, at various statues and altars in the grotto, and at Mass there. Interestingly, a statue of the Immaculate Conception is placed at the front of the Archangel Michael in the sanctuary. It is an unusual image for Italy, since she is not a Madonna with child. Despite her presence, pilgrims said they come to honor the Archangel. Interestingly, Immaculate Conception statues are not in evidence in the souvenir stores in town, where the Archangel Michael is ubiquitous, followed by Padre Pio. A small museum of ex votos on site gives witness to a long history of favors received through the intercession of St. Michael.

In England, Michaelmas was an important date as it was used as one of the quarters of the year, a date for reckoning debts, holding elections, etc:

As it falls near the equinox, the day is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days; in England, it is one of the “quarter days”.

There are traditionally four “quarter days” in a year (Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September) and Christmas (25th December)). They are spaced three months apart, on religious festivals, usually close to the solstices or equinoxes. They were the four dates on which servants were hired, rents due or leases begun. It used to be said that harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, almost like the marking of the end of the productive season and the beginning of the new cycle of farming. It was the time at which new servants were hired or land was exchanged and debts were paid. This is how it came to be for Michaelmas to be the time for electing magistrates and also the beginning of legal and university terms.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Dangerous to Be an Heir: Margaret Stanley, RIP

Margaret Stanley, Countess of Derby, who died on September 28, 1596, is another example of an heir to Elizabeth I who found out how dangerous that position was. Like the Grey sisters, Catherine and Mary (and Jane before them), she was an heir because her grandmother (on her mother's side) was Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, wife of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and Henry VIII's younger sister. Her father was Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland and her mother Lady Eleanor Brandon, the Brandon's second daughter.

Because she was a possible successor, whom she would marry was an important decision. John Dudley, the 1st Duke of Northumberland suggested in 1552 that she should marry his son Guildford, but Edward VI was opposed to that alliance (thus Dudley had that son available to marry Lady Jane Grey); then Dudley's brother Andrew was mentioned. Finally, when Mary I came to the throne, Margaret Clifford married Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby. As this blog explains her situation:

She was the great granddaughter of Henry VII and according to Henry VIII’s will if anything happened to Elizabeth she would become queen of England. She therefore became Elizabeth’s heir presumptive. It was not a good place to be.

Before then she’d managed to avoid becoming a pawn in the game of crowns through her father’s forethought and then through her own lack of popularity. In 1553 the Duke of Northumberland had proposed to marry her to either his son, Guildford, or his brother, Sir Andrew Dudley, but Cumberland refused the match on his daughter’s behalf and took no part in the attempt to make Lady Jane Grey queen (sensible man).

Instead, Margaret was married with Queen Mary’s blessing in Westminster Abbey in February 1555 to Henry Stanley, Lord Strange. He was descended from the Woodvilles, Howards, Nevilles and a certain Thomas Stanley who happened to be married to Margaret Beaufort and who sat around on hillsides during key battles of the Wars of the Roses waiting to see how it would all pan out – landing the title Earl of Derby for his pains.

By 1557 Margaret was recorded as saying that Lady Jane Grey’s treason had excluded her sisters, Catherine and Mary Grey, from the succession, thus making Margaret, Queen Mary’s heiress presumptive…yes I know there was Elizabeth to take into consideration but Mary’s relationship with her sister was fraught by 1557. Mary was fond of stating that Elizabeth had the look of lute player Mark Smeaton. There was also the fact that Elizabeth was notably not Catholic whereas Margaret was. . . .

But Mary I was more obedient to the wishes of her father and the decisions of Parliament to interfere with the line of succession. Her great hope was to have a son to displace Elizabeth, not contravene the settled succession. Nevertheless, Margaret's troubles continued apace as she speculated on her opportunity to succeed Elizabeth I during her reign:

Lady Strange developed a dangerous interest in alchemy, to which she had been introduced by her father. An interest in the occult, although widespread among Elizabethans, could be a dangerous hobby; an interest in fortune-telling especially so for one in Margaret's position on the periphery of the succession dispute. From 1572, Margaret was countess of Derby. She consulted with wizards "with a vain credulity, and out of I know not what ambitious hope”, according to William Camden, and lost the Queen’s favor. In 1578 she was accused of employing a "magician", actually a well-known physician named Dr. Randall, to cast spells to discover how long Queen Elizabeth would live. According to one source, Randall was hanged and Margaret was banished from court and spent the rest of her life, eighteen years, in the custody of her kinsman, Thomas Seckford (d.1587), Master of Requests, to whom she was related through his mother, Margaret (d. 1557), the daughter of Sir John Wingfield (d. 1509) of Letheringham, and aunt of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Later she had a series of keepers, although she was allowed to live in her own house at Isleworth.

According to a book on the Stanley family, her debts continued to mount. In 1579, the Privy Council ordered the Lord Mayor of London to pressure her creditors to stop hounding her. In May 1580, Margaret's husband petitioned to be allowed to sell lands to pay debts. In Jun 1581, the Privy Council appointed a commission to find ways to reduce the Derbys' debts. In Dec 1581, the Privy Council was after the Earl to pay Margaret her pension. In 1582, Queen Elizabeth finally approved the sale of Derby lands. Margaret proceeded to sell off land in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Staffordshire valued at £88 8s.4d/year. With a twenty year purchase, that meant she probably received £1,768 6s.10d. In 1584-93, her husband and sons borrowed at least £8,732 13s.4d. against Derby holdings and sold other land for £3800. Not only had Margaret's debts mounted, but the Earl had incurred other debts in the course of undertaking diplomatic missions for the Crown. Before their separation, Margaret gave Lord Strange four sons, Edward and Francis, who died young, Ferdinando, 5th Earl of Derby, and William, 6th Earl of Derby.

In spite of chronic rheumatism and toothache, her husband's infidelities and their acrimonious financial disputes, the Countess of Derby lived on into the mid-1590s. The historian William Camden said of her that "through an idle mixture of curiosity and ambition, supported by sanguine hopes and a credulous fancy, she much used the conversations of necromancers and figure flingers". She seems to have been rather a frivolous and silly woman.

Her husband preceded her in death by three years and three days, dying on September 25, 1593.

It can't have helped her relationship with Elizabeth I that her father, Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, had some involvement in the Howard-Dacre plots against Elizabeth and may have sheltered Catholic priests:

After his retirement in 1547 he is said to have visited the court only thrice: at Queen Mary's coronation, on his daughter's marriage, and again soon after Queen Elizabeth's accession (Whitaker, 338). In July 1561 he and Lord Dacre, his father-in-law [through Clifford's second marriage to Anne Dacre], were accused of protecting the popish priests in the north. A similar charge was advanced in February 1562. He was in 1569 strongly opposed to the contemplated marriage of Mary Queen of Scots and the Duke of Norfolk, and readily promised support to the great rebellion of that year. In May 1569 he was in London. As the year wore on he gave in his adherence to the scheme for proclaiming Mary queen of England; but when the critical moment arrived he did not act with vigour, but as a 'crazed man, leaving his tenants to the leadership of Leonard Dacres' (Froude, vii. 469, ix. 412, 446, 449, 511). According to Dugdale, he even assisted Lord Scrope in fortifying Carlisle against the rebels (i. 345). 

As to Margaret Clifford's dangerous interest in the occult (which I agree is dangerous), we should recall that science in that era was mixed with alchemy and astrology. Dr. Randall may have suffered for the spells or charts he cast, but Elizabeth I's favorite scientist and astronomer, Dr. John Dee, survived casting charts to predict Mary I and Philip of Spain's fates, held in house arrest by Bishop Bonner during Mary I's reign. Evidently Elizabeth I consulted Dr. Dee for both magic and scientific insights.

Image credit: Portrait by Hans Eworth thought to be either Lady Margaret or her mother, Lady Eleanor Brandon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, RIP

Lancelot Andrewes, the Anglican minister and bishop, died on September 25, 1626 as the incumbent Bishop of Winchester. He's commonly thought of as a High Church Anglican. This blogger describes his career with an emphasis on his Eucharistic Theology:

Lancelot Andrewes, Laudian divine, early High Churchman, and one of the great preachers of his age, left a sizable impression on Anglican Eucharistic theology despite the paucity of his written works on the topic. Andrewes was a great advocate of frequent reception of the Eucharist and his sermons, including those before the courts of Elizabeth I and James I & VI, frequently expounded upon the great value of Communion. His Eucharistic theology, communicated principally in his published sermons and private devotions, emphasised the immense grace of the gift of the sacrament of Communion and the great benefits for unworthy humanity to be found in receiving it. Andrewes lived his life during a period of relative calm in the life of the Kingdom and Church of England. Born after the Elizabethan Religious Settlement and preaching for much of his career before her tolerant and theologically-learned Presbyterian successor, James, Andrewes enjoyed the luxury of an ecclesial environment where the most heated debates were generally academic in character, even when they were polemical. The great issues facing the Church of England in Andrewes’ day were the rise of Puritanism and the problems of recusancy and religious toleration. Of these Andrewes engaged mostly with the former, including in an early, oft overstatedly labelled ‘Puritan’ phase, the evidence for which is entirely in sets of unreliable notes taken by hearers of some of his earlier sermons. By the time Andrewes reached the greater heights of his career his Puritanism, if ever that had been an accurate label, had passed, and he faced the problem of working his Roman Catholic leanings into his written work and preaching in an age when ‘popery’ was a serious, career-ending accusation. Andrewes navigated this minefield of conscience and politik deftly and his sermons reflect far more of Calvinistic orthodoxy than do his private prayer and devotions.[1] However, all differences in emphases aside, the sources of Eucharistic theology which Andrewes has left to present a coherent picture of a clear theology with strong spiritual and ascetic leanings.

More on his life in the old Dictionary of National Biography here.

John Henry Newman translated Andrewes's private devotions from Greek into English and published them in Tract 88 of the Tracts for the Times (his next contribution would be Tract 90!). One can see how Andrewes would be a model for Newman's Via Media, as summarized from the (archived) blog post above:

Andrewes’ thought reflects his walking the line between Calvinistic and Roman Catholic theologies of the Eucharist. Andrewes rejected both the Calvinist theology of ‘virtual presence’ in the Eucharist and the doctrine of transubstantiation. His own teaching does not make clear any explicit theology of the presence or absence thereof of Christ in the Eucharist, though he did accept some form of real presence.

One can also see how Newman could not stop there: is Holy Communion the Real Presence of Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity or not? what does the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church believe? what has it always believed? Newman couldn't find answers to those questions in Andrewes as he learned while studying the Fathers of the Church. 

Here is Newman's translation of Andrewes prayer before receiving Holy Communion:

I am not worthy, I am not fit,
that thou shouldest come under the roof
of my soul;
for it is all desolate and ruined;
nor hast Thou in me fitting place
to lay Thy head.
But, as Thou didst vouchsafe
to lie in the cavern and manger of brute cattle,
as Thou didst not disdain
to be entertained in the house of Simon the leper,
as Thou didst not disdain
that harlot, like me, who was a sinner,
coming to Thee and touching Thee;
as Thou abhorredst not
her polluted and loathsome mouth;
nor the thief upon the cross
confessing Thee:
So me too the ruined, wretched,
and excessive sinner,
deign to receive to the touch and partaking
of the immaculate, supernatural, lifegiving,
and saving mysteries
of Thy all-holy Body
and Thy precious Blood.
Listen, O LORD, our GOD,
from Thy holy habitation,
and from the glorious throne of Thy kingdom,
and come to sanctify us.
O Thou who sittest on high with the FATHER,
and art present with us here invisibly;
come Thou to sanctify the gifts which lie before Thee,
and those in whose behalf, and by whom,
and the things for which,
they are brought near Thee.
And grant to us communion,
unto faith without shame,
love without dissimulation,
fulfilment of Thy commandments,
alacrity for every spiritual fruit:
hindrance of all adversity,
healing of soul and body,
that we too, with all Saints,
who have been well-pleasing to Thee from the beginning,
may become partakers
of Thy incorrupt and everlasting goods,
which Thou hast prepared, O LORD, for them that love Thee;
in whom Thou art glorified
for ever and ever.
Lamb of GOD,
that takest away the sin of the world,
take away the sin of me,
the utter sinner. . . 

The hymnist and translator John Mason Neale matched Newman's translation of Andrewes' Greek devotions with his own translation of Andrewes' Latin devotions, and compiled, that results in the volume pictured above.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Poetry for Autumn from Hopkins and Keats

Spring and Fall
to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

Christopher J. Scalia offered a reflection on John Keats' poem to Autumn in The Wall Street Journal last week:

. . . Every September I read John Keats’s “To Autumn.” That tradition has special significance this season, the ode’s 200th anniversary.

I’ve loved “To Autumn” since I first read it in college. I was entranced then, as now, by the way in which the poem captures this season’s fleeting beauty. From its famous opening line (“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”) to the quiet music of its final image (“gathering swallows twitter in the skies”), it evokes the delicate abundance of these weeks. Keats’s writing affects me the way the season itself does: I wish the poem would last longer even as I know its power lies in its brevity.

He compares the poem's brevity to the brevity not only of Keats's life, but of his creative period in 1819 when he wrote "To Autumn" and other great odes:

But 1819 would be his last year of writing poetry. The following February, Keats coughed up some blood. He knew what that meant. He wrote to a friend, “That drop of blood is my death-warrant;—I must die.” Keats moved to Rome in the hope that the climate would mitigate his tuberculosis. He died there in February 1821.

Keats had asked to have his headstone inscribed, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” An epitaph full of beauty—but, as 200 years have shown, not truth. The seasons turn, yet Keats reminds me still that fleeting splendor has a captivating power of its own

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Mark and I took these pictures during our November 2015 trip to the Ozarks. He loved the beauty of fall colors. Today is the anniversary of his birth in 1956. Like John Keats, last year he knew that he must die; he said he would not live to see this birthday anniversary. He felt "the soft-dying day". 

Monday, September 23, 2019

This Morning: Blessed John Henry Newman and Miracles

As promised, Matt Swaim and I will talk about Newman's thoughts on miracles, especially those performed by those who are acclaimed and canonized as saints--of which he will soon be one--and the attention Catholics pay to saints' relics, shrines, and intercession on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central.

So having established the First Principle that, as Matthew Arnold declared, "Miracles do not happen", as the Protestant's immediate reaction to the report of a miraculous healing or other event, Newman talked to the Brothers of the Oratory about the Catholic First Principle regarding miracles:

Now, on the other hand, let me take our own side of the question, and consider how we ourselves stand relatively to the charge made against us. Catholics, then, hold the mystery of the Incarnation; and the Incarnation is the most stupendous event which ever can take place on earth; and after it and henceforth, I do not see how we can scruple at any miracle on the mere ground of its being unlikely to happen. No miracle can be so great as that which took place in the Holy House of Nazareth; it is indefinitely more difficult to believe than all the miracles of the Breviary, of the Martyrology, of Saints' lives, of legends, of local traditions, put together; and there is the grossest inconsistency on the very face of the matter, for any one so to strain out the gnat and to swallow the camel, as to profess what is inconceivable, yet to protest against what is surely within the limits of intelligible hypothesis. If, through divine grace, we once are able to accept the solemn truth that the Supreme Being was born of a mortal woman, what is there to be imagined which can offend us on the ground of its marvellousness? Thus, you see, it happens that, though First Principles are commonly assumed, not proved, ours in this case admits, if not of proof, yet of recommendation, by means of that fundamental truth which Protestants profess as well as we. When we start with assuming that miracles are not unlikely, we are putting forth a position which lies imbedded, as it were, and involved, in the great revealed fact of the Incarnation.

So, with a Catholic First Principle based on the Incarnation, Newman notes:

So much is plain on starting; but more is plain too. Miracles are not only not unlikely, they are positively likely; and for this simple reason, because, for the most part, when God begins He goes on. We conceive that when He first did a miracle, He began a series; what He commenced, He continued: what has been, will be. Surely this is good and clear reasoning. To my own mind, certainly, it is incomparably more difficult to believe that the Divine Being should do one miracle and no more, than that He should do a thousand; that He should do one great miracle only, than that He should do a multitude of less besides. This beautiful world of nature, His own work, He broke its harmony; He broke through His own laws which He had imposed on it; He worked out His purposes, not simply through it, but in violation of it. If He did this only in the lifetime of the Apostles, if He did it but once, eighteen hundred years ago and more, that isolated infringement looks as the mere infringement of a rule: if Divine Wisdom would not leave an infringement, an anomaly, a solecism on His work, He might be expected to introduce a series of miracles, and turn the apparent exception into an additional law of His providence. If the Divine Being does a thing once, He is, judging by human reason, likely to do it again.

Then he comments on how his mind works when he hears of certain events:

When I hear of the miracle of a Saint, my first feeling would be of the same kind as if it were a report of any natural exploit or event. Supposing, for instance, I heard a report of the death of some public man; it would not startle me, even if I did not at once credit it, for all men must die. Did I read of any great feat of valour, I should believe it, if imputed to Alexander or Cœur de Lion. Did I hear of any act of baseness, I should disbelieve it, if imputed to a friend whom I knew and loved. And so, in like manner, were a miracle reported to me as wrought by a member of Parliament, or a Bishop of the Establishment, or a Wesleyan preacher, I should repudiate the notion: were it referred to a saint, or the relic of a saint, or the intercession of a saint, I should not be startled at it, though I might not at once believe it. And I certainly should be right in this conduct, supposing my First Principle be true. Miracles to the Catholic are facts of history and biography, and nothing else; and they are to be regarded and dealt with as other facts; and as natural facts, under circumstances, do not startle Protestants, so supernatural, under circumstances, do not startle the Catholic [Note 3]. They may or may not have taken place in particular cases; he may be unable to determine which; he may have no distinct evidence; he may suspend his judgment, but he will say, "It is very possible;" he never will say, "I cannot believe it." 

Then, in a passage that shocked the Victorian establishment--to think that one of theirs, an Oxford man, would say such things--Newman stated his acceptance of specific miracles and relics:

For myself, lest I appear in any way to be shrinking from a determinate judgment on the claims of some of those miracles and relics, which Protestants are so startled at, and to be hiding particular questions in what is vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of nature (that is, of the professed miracle being not miraculous), I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples . . . [I was reading this on the feast of St. Januarius amidst reports that his blood had liquefied that day--SM] I firmly believe that portions of the True Cross are at Rome and elsewhere, that the Crib of Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul also. . . I firmly believe that the relics of the saints are doing innumerable miracles and graces daily, and that it needs only for a Catholic to show devotion to any saint in order to receive special benefits from his intercession. I firmly believe that saints in their life-time have before now raised the dead to life, crossed the sea without vessels, multiplied grain and bread, cured incurable diseases, and superseded the operation of the laws of the universe in a multitude of ways.

And Newman knew exactly how many would react to this statement:

Many men, when they hear an educated man so speak, will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncrasy, or to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanaticism, or to hypocrisy.

Newman concludes with this advice to the laymen of the Oratory, counselling them to distinguish between the two kinds of reactions they would find in the world, the bigoted and the amiable, if confused:

Your lot is cast in the world; you are not gathered together, as we are, into the home and under the shadow of St. Phillip; you mix with men of all opinions. Where you see prejudice, there, indeed, it is no use to argue; prejudice thinks its first principles self-evident. It can tell falsehoods to our dishonour by the score, yet suddenly it is so jealous of truth, as to be shocked at legends in honour of the saints. With prejudiced persons then, you will make no way; they will not look the question in the face; if they condescend to listen for a moment to your arguments it is in order to pick holes in them, not to ascertain their drift or to estimate their weight. But there are others of a different stamp of whom I spoke in the opening of this Lecture, candid, amiable minds, who wish to think well of our doctrines and devotions, but stumble at them. When you meet with such, ask them whether they are not taking their own principles and opinions for granted, and whether all they have to say against us is not contained in the proposition with which they start. Entreat them to consider how they know their existing opinions to be true; whether they are innate and necessary; whether they are not local, national, or temporary; whether they have ever spread over the earth, ever held nations together; whether they have ever or often done a great thing. If they say that penances are absurd, or images superstitious, or infallibility impossible, or sacraments mere charms, or a priesthood priestcraft, get them to put their ideas into shape and to tell you their reasons for them. Trace up their philosophy for them, as you have traced up their tradition; the fault lies in the root; every step of it is easy but the first. Perhaps you will make them Catholics by this process; at least you will make them perceive what they believe and what they do not, and will teach them to be more tolerant of a Religion which unhappily they do not see their way to embrace.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Who Was Newman? and What to Read?

My Newman friend (we've never met but we've talked on the phone a few times and corresponded) Edward Short answers the first question with an article on the BBC History Magazine website:

When news of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s canonisation was first announced earlier this year, some might have recalled what the liberal UK prime minister Lord Rosebery, Gladstone’s protégé, thought of the great convert. When Rosebery met the 79-year-old cardinal in 1880, he was impressed by his “deliciously soft voice” and “courtly” address. Indeed, Newman was surprised and pleased when Rosebery told him that he always kept Newman’s autobiography by his bedside.

Ten years later, when Newman was laid out on the high altar of the Oratory Church in Birmingham, Rosebery wrote in his journal: “This was the end of the young Calvinist, the Oxford don, the austere vicar of St Mary’s. It seemed as if a whole cycle of human thought and life were concentrated in that august repose. That was my overwhelming thought. Kindly light had led and guided Newman to this strange, brilliant end.”

Of course, Rosebery was referring not only to Newman’s lovely poem The Pillar of the Cloud (now a beloved hymn titled Lead Kindly Light), but to the fact that in 1845 he walked away from everything he had known and loved as an Anglican don at Oriel to embrace the Church of Rome. Gladstone, if anything, was even more laudatory about the man with whom he had crossed swords over the First Vatican Council (1869­–70), especially its adoption of papal infallibility:

“When the history of Oxford during that time comes to be written, the historian will have to record the extraordinary, the unexampled career of [Newman]… He will have to tell, as I believe, that Dr. Newman exercised for a period of about ten years after 1833 an amount of influence, of absorbing influence, over the highest intellects — over nearly the whole intellect, but certainly over the highest intellect of this University, for which perhaps, there is no parallel in the academical history of Europe, unless you go back to the twelfth century or to the University of Paris.”

What, then, was it about Newman that made him so extraordinary?

Notice how Short pays his readers such a high compliment to their knowledge of Lord Rosebery! Please read the rest there.

I offered my answer to the question what should a beginner read to learn more and more about Newman for The Catholic Herald magazine:

So, which among his many works would help someone who has never read anything written by Newman understand why so many have been devoted to this saint?

Here are my suggestions.

Start with the Meditations and Devotions, a collection of prayers and reflections for students at the Oratory School in Birmingham. It was compiled and published by Fr William Neville in 1893, three years after Newman’s death. The saint’s simple, confident and humble faith is evident on the pages of this work, including his devotion to Our Lady, to his patron saint Philip Neri and to the Stations of the Cross, meditation before the Blessed Sacrament and the holy rosary.

In the “Meditations on Christian Doctrine” the reader will find one of his most famous quotations:
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his – if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me – still He knows what He is about.
Other meditation highlights include his “Short Road to Perfection” and the “Prayer for the Light of Truth”.

The neophyte should continue on the road to understanding Newman as a pastor of souls – that quality of his life that Benedict XVI highlighted at the beatification Mass in September 2010 – with a sampling of his Parochial and Plain Sermons. Newman was preaching in the 19th century to many nominal Christians in the Church of England: they hardly knew what they believed and barely acted on what they thought they believed.

In sermons such as “The Religion of the Day”, “Unreal Words”, “Doing Glory to God in Pursuits of the World” and “Christ’s Privations a Meditation for Christians”, he asked his congregation at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford why they did not – for example, in that last sermon – “have some little gratitude, some little sympathy, some little love, some little awe, some little self-reproach, some little self-abasement, some little repentance, some little desire of amendment” when hearing week after week what God has done for them. He told them exactly why:
But why is this? why do you so little understand the Gospel of your salvation? why are your eyes so dim, and your ears so hard of hearing? why have you so little faith? so little of heaven in your hearts? For this one reason, my brethren, if I must express my meaning in one word, because you so little meditate. You do not meditate, and therefore you are not impressed.
Then the offers the solution:
What is meditating on Christ? it is simply this, thinking habitually and constantly of Him and of His deeds and sufferings. It is to have Him before our minds as One whom we may contemplate, worship, and address when we rise up, when we lie down, when we eat and drink, when we are at home and abroad, when we are working, or walking, or at rest, when we are alone, and again when we are in company; this is meditating. And by this, and nothing short of this, will our hearts come to feel as they ought.
After the reader has sampled some of Newman’s works, an introductory biography would be helpful, such as Joyce Sugg’s John Henry Newman: Snapdragon in the Wall (Gracewing) or Fr Juan Velez’s Holiness in a Secular Age: The Witness of Cardinal Newman (Scepter Publishers).

Please read the rest there.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Preview: Blessed John Henry Newman on Miracles

On Monday, September 23, Matt Swaim and I will talk about Blessed John Henry Newman and Miracles in our Santo Subito series on the Son Rise Morning Show. The anticipation of Newman's canonization is building up: this week I received the schedule of events to be broadcast on EWTN in October; the English oratories and many Newmanian organizations are presenting programs and publishing articles, posting podcasts, etc., etc. Since two miracles, one for his beatification, one for canonization, have been investigated and accepted by the Church, it seems appropriate to look at Newman's thoughts on miracles.

He lived in a country and a time that did not believe in miracles. Anglicans and dissenting Protestants thought that miracles did not occur; there was even doubt about the miracles of Jesus and His Apostles recounted in the New Testament. Certainly the Catholic belief in saints and miracles after the New Testament era was detestable to the rational minds of Victorian England, indicating the foolish superstition of Catholics, and demonstrating the "priestcraft" that held the Catholic laity in ignorance and obedience.

As an Anglican, Newman himself at first doubted that miracles had occurred in the Early Church after the Apostolic era--but through his study of the Fathers of the Church, he began to change his mind, as demonstrated in the two essays he wrote about miracles, as described by the University of Notre Dame Press:

The essays in this volume were written when John Henry Newman was a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. He wrote the first, on biblical miracles "The Miracles of Scripture," in 1825-26, as a relatively young man; the other, "The Miracles of Early Ecclesiastical History," was written in 1842-43. A comparison of the two essays displays a shift in Newman's theological stances. In the earlier essay, Newman argues in accordance with the theology of evidence of his time, maintaining that the age of miracles was limited to those recorded in the Old Testament scriptures and in the Gospels and Acts. He asserts that biblical miracles served to demonstrate the divine inspiration of biblical revelation and to attest to the divinity of Christ. However, with the end of the apostolic age, the age of miracles came to an end; miracles reported from the early ages of the Church Newman dismissed as suspicious and possibly fraudulent. With this view, Newman entered into an ongoing debate between the skepticism of Hume and Paine and its continuation in the utilitarianism of Bentham, on the one hand, and the views of Christian apologists rebutting Hume's arguments, on the other. In "The Miracles of Early Ecclesiastical History," Newman can be seen as coming closer to accepting the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He rejects the stance he took in "The Miracles of Scripture," now arguing for a continuity of sacred history between the biblical and ecclesiastical periods. He had clearly abandoned the position of "evidence theologians" that miracles ended after the time of the Apostles. Newman's movement between the writing of the two essays is essentially a growing into a deeper awareness of the Church as a divine society in whose life miracles and supernatural gifts were to be expected.

And as Newman further demonstrated to the Lay Brothers of the Oratory in Birmingham in 1851, he understood the First Principle by which Anglicans and other Protestants rejected--and indeed, were repulsed by--the Catholic belief in miracles, including Catholics praying for miracles. In the seventh chapter of The Present Position of Catholics in England, he sums it up:

The Protestant, I say, laughs at the very idea of miracles or supernatural acts as occurring at this day; his First Principle is rooted in him; he repels from him the idea of miracles; he laughs at the notion of evidence for them; one is just as likely as another; they are all false. Why? Because of his First Principle: there are no miracles since the Apostles. Here, indeed, is a short and easy way of getting rid of the whole subject, not by reason, but by a First Principle which he calls reason. Yes, it is reason, granting his First Principle is true; it is not reason, supposing his First Principle is false. It is reason, if the private judgment of an individual, or of a sect, or of a philosophy, or of a nation, be synonymous with reason; it is not reason, if reason is something not local, nor temporal, but universal. Before he advances a step in his argument, he ought to prove his First Principle true; he does not attempt to do so, he takes it for granted; and he proceeds to apply it, gratuitous, personal, peculiar as it is, to all our accounts of miracles taken together, and thereupon and thereby triumphantly rejects them all. This, forsooth, is his spontaneous judgment, his instinctive feeling, his common sense,—a mere private opinion of his own, a Protestant opinion; a lecture-room opinion; not a world-wide opinion, not an instinct ranging through time and space, but an assumption and presumption, which, by education and habit, he has got to think as certain, as much of an axiom, as that two and two make four; and he looks down upon us, and bids us consider ourselves beaten, all because the savour of our statements and narratives and reports and legends is inconsistent with his delicate Protestant sense,—all because our conclusions are different, not from our principles and premisses, but from his.

And now for the structure he proceeds to raise on this foundation of sand. If, he argues, in matter of fact, there be a host of stories about relics and miracles circulated in the Catholic Church, which, as a matter of First Principle, cannot be true; to what must we attribute them? indubitably to enormous stupidity on the one hand, and enormous roguery on the other. This, observe, is an immediate and close inference:—clever men must see through the superstition; those who do not see through it must be dolts. Further, since religion is the subject-matter of the alleged fictions, they must be what are called pious frauds, for the sake of gain and power. Observe, my Brothers, there is in the Church a vast tradition and testimony about miracles: how is it to be accounted for? If miracles can take place, then the truth of the miracle will be a natural explanation of the report, just as the fact of a man dying satisfactorily accounts for the news that he is dead; but the Protestant cannot so explain it, because he thinks miracles cannot take place; so he is necessarily driven, by way of accounting for the report of them, to impute that report to fraud. He cannot help himself. I repeat it; the whole mass of accusations which Protestants bring against us under this head, Catholic credulity, imposture, pious frauds, hypocrisy, priestcraft, this vast and varied superstructure of imputation, you see, all rests on an assumption, on an opinion of theirs, for which they offer no kind of proof. What then, in fact, do they say more than this, If Protestantism be true, you Catholics are a most awful set of knaves?—Here, at least, is a most intelligible and undeniable position.

Newman tells the Brothers of the Oratory that this is a great divide between Catholics and Protestants in England because Catholics and Protestants begin with very different First Principles, and it is something that they will have to deal with as laity living in a Protestant country and defending Catholic First Principles:

Observe then, we affirm that the Supreme Being has wrought miracles on earth ever since the time of the Apostles: Protestants deny it. Why do we affirm, why do they deny? we affirm it on a First Principle, they deny it on a First Principle; and on either side the First Principle is made to be decisive of the question. Our First Principle is contradictory of theirs; if theirs be true, we are mistaken; if ours be true, they are mistaken. They take for granted that their First Principle is true; we take for granted that our First Principle is true. Till ours is disproved, we have as much right to consider it true as they to consider theirs true; till theirs is proved, they have as little ground for saying that we go against reason, as for boasting that they go according to it. For our First Principle is our reason, in the same sense in which theirs is their reason, and it is quite as good a reason. Both they and we start with the miracles of the Apostles [Note 2]; and then their First Principle or presumption, against our miracles, is this, "What God did once, He is not likely to do again;" while our First Principle or presumption, for our miracles, is this, "What God did once, He is likely to do again." They say, It cannot be supposed He will work many miracles; we, It cannot be supposed He will work few.

I am not aiming at any mere sharp or clever stroke against them; I wish to be serious and to investigate the real state of the case, and I feel what I am saying very strongly. Protestants say, miracles are not likely to occur often; we say they are likely to occur often. The two parties, you see, start with contradictory principles, and they determine the particular miracles, which are the subject of dispute, by their respective principles, without looking to such testimony as may be brought in their favour. They do not say, "St. Francis, or St. Antony, or St. Philip Neri did no miracles, for the evidence for them is worth nothing," or "because what looked like a miracle was not a miracle;" no, but they say, "It is impossible they should have wrought miracles." Bring before the Protestant the largest mass of evidence and testimony in proof of the miraculous liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood at Naples, let him be urged by witnesses of the highest character, chemists of the first fame, circumstances the most favourable for the detection of imposture, coincidences, and confirmations the most close and minute and indirect, he will not believe it; his First Principle blocks belief. On the other hand, diminish the evidence ever so much, provided you leave some, and reduce the number of witnesses and circumstantial proof; yet you would not altogether wean the Catholic's mind from belief in it; for his First Principle encourages such belief. Would any amount of evidence convince the Protestant of the miraculous motion of a Madonna's eyes? is it not to him in itself, prior to proof, simply incredible? would he even listen to the proof? His First Principle settles the matter; no wonder then that the whole history of Catholicism finds so little response in his intellect or sympathy in his heart. It is as impossible that the notion of the miracle should gain admittance into his imagination, as for a lighted candle to remain burning, when dipped into a vessel of water. The water puts it out.

More on Monday on how Newman prepared the Brothers of the Oratory to face this divide in nineteenth century England.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

St. Robert Bellarmine, Pray for Us!

Saint Robert Bellarmine is one of my favorite saints. I read The Art of Dying Well and The Mind's Ascent to God years ago; I've studied his involvement in the Galileo crisis; and recently I've noticed his efforts to explain the power of both popes and monarchs. As Franciscan Media describes his life's work:

When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain.

His most famous work is his three-volume Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. Bellarmine incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V.

Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that “he had not his equal for learning.” While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. . . .

John M. Vella reviewed two books by theologian Stefania Tutino in a 2012 post for Homiletic & Pastoral Review. One book, Empire of Souls: Robert Bellarmine and the Christian Commonwealth published by Oxford University Press, explores Bellarmine's theories of papal power and the Divine Right of Kings:

Robert Bellarmine was one of the pillars of post-Reformation Catholicism: he was a celebrated theologian and a highly ranked member of the Congregations of the Inquisition and of the Index, the censor in charge of the Galileo affair. Bellarmine was also one of the most original political theorists of his time, and he participated directly in many of the political conflicts that agitated Europe between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Stefania Tutino offers the first full-length study of the impact of Bellarmine's theory of the potestas indirecta in early modern Europe. Following the reactions to Bellarmine's theory across national and confessional boundaries, this book explores some of the most crucial political and theological knots in the history of post-Reformation Europe, from the controversy over the Oath of Allegiance to the battle over the Interdetto in Venice. The book sets those political and religious controversies against the background of the theological and institutional developments of the post-Tridentine Catholic Church. By examining the violent and at times surprising controversies originated by Bellarmine's theory, this book challenges some of the traditional assumptions regarding the theological shape of post-Tridentine Catholicism; it offers a fresh perspective on the centrality of the links between confessional affiliation and political allegiance in the development of the modern nation-states; and it contributes to our understanding of the development of 'modern' notions of power and authority.

The other book, which Professor Tutino translated, edited, and annotated, is a collection of St. Robert Bellarmine's works on power and authority: On Temporal and Spiritual Authority: On Laymen or Secular People; On the Temporal Power of the Pope Against William Barclay; On the Primary Duty of the Supreme Pontiff, is published by Liberty Fund.

Vella commented on Bellarmine's influence at the end of his reivew:

Despite his rehabilitation in the last quarter of the 19th century, Bellarmine’s intellectual legacy remains mixed. In one respect, at least, he was a product of his time because his vision of a res publica Christiana depended on a united Christendom that could never be restored. Yet, what is easy to see, in hindsight, was not so clear in the early 17th century. On the other hand, his defiance of royal absolutism, in defense of rule of law and religious truth, is far from outdated. Indeed, the very modern assertion of state power only justified further the papal need to secure its political independence by maintaining its temporal possessions. Yet, the Papal States could not secure this independence because the pope depended on other nations for their defense. This dilemma was resolved satisfactorily when the Italian state formally recognized the Vatican as a sovereign entity in 1929. The concordat, negotiated by Pius XI, secured for the papacy, the freedom to exercise its spiritual duties. Furthermore, Bellarmine’s effort to limit spiritual and political power to their proper jurisdiction, was a continuation of, rather than a departure from, the long Scholastic tradition that formed the basis of Jesuit political ideas. As Harro Höpfl observed in Jesuit Political Thought, “In Jesuit political theory…legitimate government was limited government.” Given the modern state’s insatiable hunger for power, Bellarmine’s political philosophy has not lost its relevance.

St. Robert Bellarmine, Pray for Us!

Monday, September 16, 2019

King James II and VII, RIP

On September 16, 1701, the deposed King of England, Ireland and Scotland died in exile. John Callow, writing for the BBC History Magazine webpage History Extra, describes the last years of James in France, at St. Germain-en-Laye:

As it was, James II had more and more time on his hands. Stripped of his military and diplomatic duties, and progressively less able to hunt as his sixth decade wore on, his need for rewarding activity and a set routine found a fresh expression in religious devotions, pilgrimages, and patronage. Yet this often took him away from the mainstream of Louis XIV’s increasingly intolerant vision of French Catholicism. He was enraptured by the starkly brutal form of monasticism practised by Trappist monks, who rejected the world – in all its forms – and actively desired death as a release from sin.

James also, probably unwittingly, came close to condoning heresy through his contacts among the Jansenists. Jansenism was a new movement within Catholicism that laid a greater stress upon original sin, as a cause of damnation, and the role of God’s grace and predestination in securing salvation. As such, it appeared to bring together what James had learned of Protestantism as a youth in England, and his experience of Catholicism on the Continent, as a soldier in the armies of France and Spain.

James knew, respected and sought to assist Antoine Arnauld, the intellectual powerhouse of the movement, whose unorthodox religious ideals and polemics aimed against William III as the “new Absalom, new Herod, new Nero” and the “new Cromwell”, had managed to render him a fugitive from both the French and Dutch authorities. To the horror of Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV’s wife and an increasing power behind the throne, King James read books by Jansenist authors that were otherwise banned by the bishop of Paris. His protection and patronage of disgraced Jansenists stood in stark opposition to the policies of both the Gallican church under Louis XIV, and his wife’s court at St Germain after his death in 1701. . . .

James also wrote his memoirs, which Callow appreciates for their detail and vividness when describing military action:

Through these memoirs, we see the young James riding to war on a borrowed horse, buckling on his armour before a surprise attack, and meeting with fortune-tellers and wandering priests on clay-churned roads and in tattered army camps. When he writes about soldiers, they are real people, rather than faceless masses; they grumble about their lack of rations, long to return home to their families and fight over looted goods as readily as they do for the sake of honour or ideology.

Viewed from this angle, the final exile actually provided James with an unprecedented freedom for an early modern head of state, to reflect upon the trajectory and the wider meaning of his political career. It was not by chance that, in a court dominated by middle-aged and elderly adherents, the supreme form of expression chosen by the king should be the memoir. In this manner, James refashioned himself as a new ‘King David’, to be remembered “in all his afflictions”, while his image-makers displayed him, after the collapse of his military hopes at the sea battle of La Hogue, as a disinterested and wronged man of letters. Lost in his thoughts, one engraver pictured him poring over his books, oblivious to the pet dog jumping up at his arm chair, desperate to gain his attention. The crown of England is set aside on the table beside him and a new crown of thorns fastened by his ungrateful subjects to his care-worn brow.

This is not an unthinking or heavy-handed choice of imagery, and the king’s memoirs and works of religious devotion are not the products of an untutored, dull or unimaginative mind. . . .

John Callow's biography of James II in exile was published by The History Press in 2017. Callow also wrote a biography of James, the Duke of York before his exile, The Making of King James II: The Formative Years of a Fallen King.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Father John Floyd, SJ, RIP--and his Brother Henry

According to Edwin Hubert Burton in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Father John Floyd, SJ, was a Catholic missionary in Recusant era England and a controversialist of that era, writing many works under several pseudonyms:

English missionary, wrote under the names Flud, Daniel à Jesu, Hermannus Loemelius, George White, Annosus Fidelis Verimentanus, and under the initials J. R. Some of his works have been erroneously attributed to Robert Jennison, S. J. He was b. in Cambridgeshire in 1572; d. at St.-Omer, 15 Sept. 1649. he was educated at the Jesuit College at Eu, then at the English College at Reims (17 March, 1588) and finally the English College in Rome (1590), where he entered the Society of Jesus, 1 Nov., 1592. Nothing is known about his ordination, but in 1606 he was a missionary priest in England. On 6 April in that year he was arrested at Worcester while attempting to visit Ven. Edward Oldcorne (sic) who was to suffer martyrdom next day. Having been imprisoned for twelve months he, with forty-six other priests, was banished for life. He then spent four years teaching at St.-Omer, though Foley (Records, IV, 238), is mistaken in supposing he published any controversial works at that time. 

Then (1913) Venerable Edward Oldcorne, SJ was beatified in 1929.

On 31 July, 1609, he was professed of the four vows, and soon after returned to England, where he laboured on the mission for many years, being often captured, but effecting his escape by buying off the pursuivants. In 1612 he published his first work, "The Overthrow of the Protestant Pulpit Babels", in which he replied to Crawshaw's "Jesuit Gospel". He was in return answered by Sir Edward Hoby in his "A Counter-Snarl for Ishmael Rabshakeh a Cycropedian Lycaonite, being an answer to a Roman Catholic who writes himself J. R." Father Floyd countered in 1614 with "Purgatorie's Triumph over Hell, maugre the barking of Cerberus in Syr Edward Hobyes Counter Snarle". This controversy closed with Hoby's rejoinder, "A Curry-comb for a Cox-combe", published in 1615. Father Floyd next turned his attention to Marc' Antonio de Dominis, formerly Archbishop of Spilatro, who had apostacized and become Protestant dean of Windsor. Against him Father Floyd wrote four works: "Synopsis Apostasiæ Marci Antonii de Dominis, olim Archepiscopi Spalatensis, nunc Apostatæ, ex ipsiusmet libro delineata" (Antwerp 1617). It was translated into English by Father Henry Hawkins, S.J., in 1617, and again by Dr. John Fletcher in 1828. "Hypocrisis Marci Antonii de Dominis detecta sui censura in ejus libros de Republicâ Ecclesiasticâ" (Antwerp, 1620); "Censura ex Librorum X de Republicâ Ecclesiasticâ Marci Antonii de Dominis" (Antwerp 1620, Cologne, 1621); "Monarchiæ Ecclesiasticæ ex scriptus M. Antonii de Dominis Archepiscopi Spalatensis Demonstratio, duobus libri comprehensa" (Cologne, 1622). All four works appeared under the signature Fidelis Annosus Verimentanus.

His brother Henry was also a Jesuit missionary in England, who died of natural causes in London about nine years before John, according to the Dictionary of National Biography:

FLOYD, HENRY (1563–1641), Jesuit, elder brother of Father John Floyd [q. v.], born in Cambridgeshire in 1563, received his education in the English College of Douay during its temporary removal to Rheims. On 8 May 1589, being then a deacon, he was sent with other students by Dr. Richard Barret, president of the college, to assist in commencing the new English College founded by Father Parsons at Valladolid (Records of the English Catholics, i. 220, 224). For a time he was stationed at the ‘residence’ or seminary established by Parsons at Lisbon. He was probably ordained priest in 1592, and he defended universal theology with great applause at Seville on 20 Feb. 1592–3. From Lisbon he crossed over to England about 1597, and for nineteen years he was chaplain to Sir John Southcote. In 1599 he entered the Society of Jesus, and in 1618 was professed of the four vows. He underwent many vicissitudes owing to his great zeal, and at various times was incarcerated in Newgate, the Clink, and the Fleet prisons in London, and in Framlingham and Winchester gaols. On James I's accession, being sent into banishment with many other priests, he returned to Lisbon, but soon revisited England, and again fell into the hands of the pursuivants. After serving the mission in the London district for many years, he died in London on 7 March 1640–1.

The Sir John Southcote mentioned as the patron of Father Henry Floyd, SJ, must be Sir John Southcote, the son of an MP and Judge, also named John:

Southcote was probably the John Southcote of Bodmin who in 1544 helped Tregonwell to buy and sell land in the south-west: in 1549 he was to be of similar assistance to Henry Chiverton. He bought land himself near London and late in life settled in Essex. Mary promoted him serjeant and Elizabeth made him a judge, in which capacity he revised the bill settling the form of consecration for bishops before its enactment in 1566 (8 Eliz. c.1) and took part in the conference in 1577 on how to deal with recusancy. According to his descendants he shared their Catholicism and resigned his office rather than condemn a priest, retiring to his house at Merstham in Surrey ‘where for three years he led a penitential life and happily ended his days’, this, however, conflicts with evidence of his continuing to serve as a judge until a year before his death at Witham. His son John was reported as having attended mass in 1584 and his daughters married into Catholic families, but his own conformity is borne out by his retention as a justice of the peace in all the home counties after 1564.4

The Southcote Family is included in Volume One of The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers Related by Themselves edited by--you guessed it--a Jesuit, Father John Morris, SJ (1826-1893).