Friday, February 28, 2020

Preview: "The Duty of Self-Denial" on the Son Rise Morning Show

When we prepare for Lent, we think of what to give up and what to do to fulfill the Lenten mandates of fasting, praying, and almsgiving. Different voices suggest various strategies: give up sin; take on something else and don't focus on giving up; or a facetious idea like giving up brussel sprouts. Ascension Press lists 25 "weird" things to give up for Lent. We're told to make a link between what we give up and what we give in alms: if you stop buying a soft drink or carbonated beverage (pop, cola, soda, soda pop, or whatever you call it in your region of the USA), save the money you would have spent and donate it to the poor, etc.

But in his sermon "The Duty of Self-Denial", St. John Henry Newman offers a deeper reason for and a deeper meaning of self-denial: Some form of Self-Denial is just part of being a Christian:

SELF-DENIAL of some kind or other is involved, as is evident, in the very notion of renewal and holy obedience. To change our hearts is to learn to love things which we do not naturally love—to unlearn the love of this world; but this involves, of course, a thwarting of our natural wishes and tastes. To be righteous and obedient implies self-command; but to possess power we must have gained it; nor can we gain it without a vigorous struggle, a persevering warfare against ourselves. The very notion of being religious implies self-denial, because by nature we do not love religion.

Self-denial, then, is a subject never out of place in Christian teaching; still more appropriate is it at a time like this, when we have entered upon the forty days of Lent, the season of the year set apart for fasting and humiliation.

In a couple of paragraphs that are not included in the excerpt, Newman comments that this an obligation many Christians do not observe. Either their Christian profession is very weak and they are consumed by the trials and pleasures of the world, or even when they do "profess much love for religion" they don't think they need to work at their faith:

Such persons at best seem to say, that religious obedience is to follow as a matter of course, an easy work, or rather a necessary consequence, from having some strong urgent motive, or from some bright vision of the Truth acting on the mind; and thus they dismiss from their religion the notion of self-denial, or the effort and warfare of faith against our corrupt natural will, whether they actually own that they dismiss it or not. I say that they do this at best; for it often happens, as I just now intimated, that they actually avow their belief that faith is all-sufficient, and do not let their minds dwell at all on the necessity of works of righteousness. All this being considered, surely I am not wrong in saying that the notion of self-denial as a distinct religious duty, and, much more (as it may well be called), the essence of religious obedience, is not admitted into the minds of the generality of men.

Newman contends that this view of religion is wrong; it is wrong because Jesus tells us in the Gospels that being His disciple means that we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him:

Fasting is clearly a Christian duty, as our Saviour implies in His Sermon on the Mount. Now what is fasting but a refraining from what is lawful; not merely from what is sinful, but what is innocent?—from that bread which we might lawfully take and eat with thanksgiving, but which at certain times we do not take, in order to deny ourselves. Such is Christian self-denial,—not merely a mortification of what is sinful, but an abstinence even from God's blessings.

Again: consider the following declaration of our Saviour: He first tells us, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." And again: "Strive to enter in, for many, I say unto you, will seek (only seek) to enter in, and shall not be able." Then He explains to us what this peculiar difficulty of a Christian's life consists in: "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." [Matt. vii. 14. Luke xiii. 24; xiv. 26] Now whatever is precisely meant by this (which I will not here stop to inquire), so far is evident, that our Lord enjoins a certain refraining, not merely from sin, but from innocent comforts and enjoyments of this life, or a self-denial in things lawful.

As Newman says, in our self-denial, we imitate Christ by giving up things that are good in themselves for the sake of something better:

Again, He says, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." [Luke ix. 23.] Here He shows us from His own example what Christian self-denial is. It is taking on us a cross after His pattern, not a mere refraining from sin, for He had no sin, but a giving up what we might lawfully use. This was the peculiar character in which Christ came on earth. It was this spontaneous and exuberant self-denial which brought Him down. He who was one with God, took upon Him our nature, and suffered death—and why? to save us whom He needed not save. Thus He denied Himself, and took up His cross. This is the very aspect, in which God, as revealed in Scripture, is distinguished from that exhibition of His glory, which nature gives us: power, wisdom, love, mercy, long-suffering—these attributes, though far more fully and clearly displayed in Scripture than in nature, still are in their degree seen on the face of the visible creation; but self-denial, if it may be said, this incomprehensible attribute of Divine Providence, is disclosed to us only in Scripture. "God so loved the world that He gave His Son." [John iii. 16.] Here is self-denial. And the Son of God so loved us, that "though He was rich yet for our sakes He became poor." [2 Cor. viii. 9.] Here is our Saviour's self-denial. "He pleased not Himself." [Romans 15:3]

Newman cites the example of St. Paul's self-denial in imitation of Christ:

This is St. Paul's rule, as has already been referred to: accordingly, in another place, he bears witness of himself that he "died daily." Day by day he got more and more dead to this world; he had fewer ties to earth, a larger treasure in heaven. Nor let us think that it is over-difficult to imitate him, though we be not Apostles, nor are called to any extraordinary work, nor are enriched with any miraculous gifts: he would have all men like himself, and all may be like him, according to their place and measure of grace. If we would be followers of the great Apostle, first let us with him fix our eyes upon Christ our Saviour; consider the splendour and glory of His holiness, and try to love it.

We'll discuss this sermon as the first in our Lenten series on the Son Rise Morning Show Monday, March 2 at about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern. Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here.

I'll continue the excerpts and analysis on Monday as Newman offers practical advice about self-denial and fasting beyond skipping treats between meals and abstaining from flesh meat.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Today on the Son Rise Morning Show

Just a reminder that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern to preview a Lenten series with Anna Mitchell. We'll talk about Newman's Anglican and Catholic sermons and describe the Augustine Institute selection of Lenten meditations drawn mostly from his Parochial and Plain Sermons (PPS) with a smattering of Catholic sermons.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here.

The Tears of Christ starts out with passages from Newman's PPS for the Sixth Sunday of Lent, "The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World" (Volume 6, Sermon 7) for the meditations on both Ash Wednesday and today:

. . . It is the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world. His Cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings, of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. It is the tone into which all the strains of this world's music are ultimately to be resolved.

Look around, and see what the world presents of high and low. Go to the court of princes. See the treasure and skill of all nations brought together to honour a child of man. Observe the prostration of the many before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the pomp, the state, the circumstance; and the vainglory. Do you wish to know the worth of it all? look at the Cross of Christ.

Go to the political world: see nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community, its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil? the grave. What is the measure? the Cross.

Go, again, to the world of intellect and science: consider the wonderful discoveries which the human mind is making, the variety of arts to which its discoveries give rise, the all but miracles by which it shows its power; and next, the pride and confidence of reason, and the absorbing devotion of thought to transitory objects, which is the consequence. Would you form a right judgment of all this? look at the Cross.

Again: look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity; go where food is scanty, and lodging unhealthy. Consider pain and suffering, diseases long or violent, all that is frightful and revolting. Would you know how to rate all these? gaze upon the Cross.

Thus in the Cross, and Him who hung upon it, all things meet; all things subserve it, all things need it. It is their centre and their interpretation. For He was lifted up upon it, that He might draw all men and all things unto Him. . . .

As the Carthusian motto states: Stat crux dum volvitur orbis (The cross stands while the world turns).

Saint Anne Line and Companions, OSB and SJ

Anne Heigham Line was a convert to Catholicism; she and her brother William Heigham were disinherited and disowned by their Calvinist father. In 1586 she married Roger Line, another disinherited convert. Not long after Anne and Roger married, he and her brother William were arrested for attending Mass and were exiled from England. Roger lived in Flanders and died in 1594.

Father John Gerard SJ, author of the famous book Autobiography of an Elizabethan Priest, asked Anne to manage two different safe houses for Jesuits, in spite of her illness (not specifically described) because she was destitute, surviving on teaching and sewing. She was arrested on the Feast of the Presentation, February 2, 1601, when Father Francis Page, SJ was celebrating Mass; he escaped with her help. She was tried on February 26, carried to court in a chair, where she admitted joyfully that she had helped Father Page escape and only regretted that she had not been able to help even more priests escape! After her execution by hanging, Father Filcock kissed her dead hand and the hem of her dress as she still hung from the gibbet and proclaimed, “You have gotten the start of us, sister, but we will follow you as quickly as we may.” Barkworth was first to be hung, disemboweled and quartered. Filcock had to watch his companion suffer, knowing that he would immediately follow. 

Blessed Mark Barkworth OSB was born about 1572 at Searby in Lincolnshire. He studied for a time at Oxford, though no record remains of his stay there. He was received into the Catholic Church at Douai in 1593, by Father George, a Flemish Jesuit and entered the College there with a view to the priesthood. He matriculated at Douai University on 5 October 1594.

On account of an outbreak of the plague, in 1596 Barkworth was sent to Rome and thence to Valladolid in Spain, where he entered the English College on 28 December 1596. On his way to Spain he is said to have had a vision of St Benedict, who told him he would die a martyr, in the Benedictine habit. While at Valladolid he make firmer contact with to the Benedictine Order. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that there are accounts that his interest in the Benedictines resulted in suffering at the hands of the College superiors, but the Encyclopedia expresses skepticism, suggesting anti-Jesuit bias.

Barkworth was ordained priest at the English College some time before July 1599, when he set out for the English Mission together with Father Thomas Garnet. On his way he stayed at the Benedictine Monastery of Hyrache in Navarre, where his wish to join the order was granted by his being made an Oblate with the privilege of making profession at the hour of death.

After having escaped from the hands of the Huguenots of La Rochelle, he was arrested on reaching England and thrown into Newgate, where he was imprisoned for six months, and was then transferred to Bridewell. There he wrote an appeal to Robert Cecil, signed "George Barkworth". At his examinations he was reported to behave with fearlessness and frank gaiety. Having been condemned with a formal jury verdict, he was thrown into "Limbo", the horrible underground dungeon at Newgate, where he is said to have remained "very cheerful" till his death.

Father Barkworth sang, on the way to Tyburn, the Paschal Anthem/Gradual for Easter: "Hæc dies quam, fecit Dominus exultemus et lætemur in ea", and Father Filcock joined him in the chant:

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus; [This is the day which the Lord has made:]
exsultemus, et lætemur in ea. [let us be glad and rejoice in it.]

At Tyburn he told the people: "I am come here to die, being a Catholic, a priest, and a religious man, belonging to the Order of St Benedict; it was by this same order that England was converted." (Referring to St. Augustine of Canterbury!)

He was said to be "a man of stature tall and well proportioned showing strength, the hair of his head brown, his beard yellow, somewhat heavy eyed". He was of a cheerful disposition. He suffered in the Benedictine habit, under which he wore a hair-shirt. It was noticed that his knees were, like St. James', hardened by constant kneeling, and an apprentice in the crowd picking up his legs, after the quartering, called out: "Which of you Gospellers can show such a knee?" Contrary to usual practice, the quarters of the priests were not exposed but buried near the scaffold. They were later retrieved by Catholics.

Blessed Roger Filcock (1570-1601) was arrested in England while he was fulfilling a probationary period prior to entering the Jesuits. He had studied at the English College in Rheims, France and then in Valladolid, Spain, but when he asked to join the Society he was encouraged to apply again after ministering for awhile in England.

His journey into England was difficult enough. The ship he was traveling on from Bilbao, Spain to Calais, France, was becalmed just outside the port and fell pray to a Dutch ship blockading the harbor. Filcock was captured, but managed to escape and land surreptitiously on the shore in Kent in 1598. Soon after he began his ministry, he contacted Father Henry Garnet, the Jesuit superior, asking to become a Jesuit. He was accepted into the Society in 1600, but then was betrayed by someone he had studied with in Spain. He was arrested and committed to Newgate Prison in London. His trial did not last long, despite the fact that there was no evidence against him and that the names in the indictment were not names he had used. Before he suffered, he paid tribute to Father Barkworth, saying, "Pray for me to our Lord, whose presence you now enjoy, that I too may faithfully run my course."

St. Anne Line was among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. She, St. Margaret Clitherow and St. Margaret Ward share a separate Feast on August 30 (the date of St. Margaret Ward's martyrdom in 1588) in the dioceses of England. Blessed Mark Barkworth was beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929. Pope John Paul II beatified Blessed Roger Filcock on the 22nd of November 1987.

Father Francis Page, whom St. Anne Line had protected at the Mass of the Presentation of Our Lord was later arrested and executed for his priesthood, suffering a little more than a year later, on April 20, 1602. He was beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Preview: "The Tears of Christ" on the Son Rise Morning Show

Tomorrow, February 27--the Thursday after Ash Wednesday--Anna Mitchell and I will preview our Lenten series on the Son Rise Morning Show. Each Monday morning during Lent, starting with the first Monday on Lent, March 2, and ending on the Monday of Holy Week, April 6, we'll discuss one of the sermons for the week from The Tears of Christ: Meditations for Lent, edited and complied by Christopher O. Blum of the Augustine Institute.

I'll be on tomorrow during my usual time, about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central on Sacred Heart Radio.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

As Blum notes in his introduction to the volume, nearly all of the sermons are from Newman's years as an Anglican minister and most are from the eight volumes of the Parochial and Plain Sermons, preached between 1825 and 1843. The first six volumes are from his Parochial, parish sermons when he was the Vicar of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin; the last two volumes are from the Plain sermons contributed by the members of the Oxford Movement to the Tracts of the Times. Therefore, these sermons are intrinsically connected to Newman's efforts to revive the Church of England in his day. They represent his liturgical and rhetorical efforts to renew belief in and devotion to Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, to remind his congregation what they ought to believe and how they should live out those beliefs every day.

As W. J. Copeland, a Tractarian and Newman's curate at St. Mary and St. Nicholas in Littlemore wrote in his 1868 edition of the eight volumes of the Parochial and Plain Sermons:

They made, in their day, partly through their publication, but yet more, probably, through their living effect upon those who heard them, a deep and lasting impression for good on the Communion for whose especial benefit they were designed; they exercised an extensive influence very far beyond it; and their republication will awaken in many minds vivid and grateful recollections of their first appearance.

They met, at that time, very real and great moral, intellectual, and spiritual needs of man,—in giving depth and precision and largeness to his belief and apprehension of the mysteries of God, and seriousness and accuracy to his study and knowledge of himself, of his own nature, with its manifold powers, capacities, and responsibilities, and of his whole relation to the supernatural and unseen. They found a response in the hearts and minds and consciences of those to whom they were addressed, in marvellous proportion to the affectionate and stirring earnestness with which their Author appealed to the conscious or dormant sense of their needs, and his zealous and energetic endeavours, under God's blessing, to show, in every variety of light, how the grand central Verities of the Christian Dispensation, entrusted as the good "Deposit," to the Church, were revealed and adapted to supply them.

Many things, indeed, contained in these volumes have become, from the very readiness of their first acceptance, and from their gradual reception into the current of religious thought, so familiar, that it requires some retrospect of the time previous to their appearance to appreciate the original freshness with which they brought out the fundamental Articles of the Christian Faith, and their bearing on the formation of the Christian character; and to understand the degree in which they have acted, like leaven, on the mind and language and literature of the Church in this Country, and have marked an era in her History.

Copeland did not follow Newman into the Catholic Church, however devoted he was as curate and friend. (A curate is like an Associate Pastor or priest assisting the Pastor in Catholic parish. In the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas we call them Parochial Vicars.)

Newman dedicated another volume of Anglican sermons to Copeland, Sermons on Subjects of the Day of which Copeland wrote in his 1869 edition:

ON the republication of the present Volume of Sermons in answer to an extensive demand for it, it is well, on behalf both of the Author and of the Editor, to remind the reader of its special characteristic, as separate and distinguished from the volumes republished under the title of "PAROCHIAL AND PLAIN SERMONS." . . .

A volume, however, entitled "SERMONS ON SUBJECTS OF THE DAY," warns the reader by its very title that these Sermons are to be read and understood mainly with reference to their direct or indirect bearing on the occasion and circumstances of their first publication. They have necessarily an historical and controversial aspect, though most of them treat of matters of deep and unfailing interest, and of vast practical importance.

This volume ends poignantly with Newman's last sermon as an Anglican, "The Parting of Friends", preached in Littlemore on September 25, 1843, which concludes with Newman's farewell to his congregation at St. Mary and St. Nicholas:
And, O my brethren, O kind and affectionate hearts, O loving friends, should you know any one whose lot it has been, by writing or by word of mouth, in some degree to help you thus to act; if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him, and feel well inclined towards him; remember such a one in time to come, though you hear him not, and pray for him, that in all things he may know God's will, and at all times he may be ready to fulfil it.
You might be surprised to find out that it was an Anglican who republished these Parochial and Plain Sermons and Sermons on Subjects of the Day. Father Ian Ker notes in his great biography of Newman that the Jesuit theologian Father Giovanni Perrone had told Newman that he did not need to revise the sermons at all, as long as he (Newman) did not publish them under his own name! (p. 629) and that "Just over a third of the pastoral sermons he wrote as an Anglican were eventually published" (p. 90). Copeland added the caveat to these editions that the author of the sermons might not agree with everything he had written and said as an Anglican. Also note that these collections of Anglican sermons were published after Newman had written the Apologia pro Vita Sua and The Dream of Gerontius: he was at a high point in his life as a Catholic: more accepted by other Catholics and more understood by High Church, Tractarian Anglicans.

As a Catholic priest, Newman changed his method of composing and delivering sermons. In his introduction to The Tears of Christ, Blum notes that Newman's sermons as an Anglican would last forty to sixty minutes; eventually, Newman would preach his Catholic sermons from notes. But there are some written Catholic sermons in this volume, from his Discourses to Mixed Congregations preached in Birmingham after he'd established the Oratory there, which he dedicated to Bishop Nicholas Wiseman in 1849 and from Faith and Prejudice, a collection of nine Catholic sermons previously unpublished, with an introduction by Charles Stephen Dessain of the Birmingham Oratory in 1956.

St. John Henry Newman's sermons are the most accessible of all his works, although they are indeed longer and more developed than the homilies we Catholics hear today, because they teach their readers about the what Copeland called "the fundamental articles of the Christian faith". As Father Louis Bouyer of the Oratory said of the Ignatius Press one-volume edition of the Parochial and Plain Sermons:

These sermons are . . . the most lasting expression of Newman's own gradual discovery of all the fullness of the appeal and the challenge addressed to all men by Catholic truth and Catholic life, inseparable as they are within genuine Christianity. There, above all, he himself will be found, with his intellectual power, his poetical vision, as well as his moral and spiritual integrity. Nothing can constitute for us, still today, and maybe today more than ever, such a powerful introduction to what Christianity may give to and expect from our surrender to its call in the midst of a world no longer pretending to be Christian.

In the Lenten season of conversion, they are perfect material for reading and meditation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

February 25, 1570: Pope Pius V's Papal Bull

We included the famous or infamous Papal Bull of Pope St. Pius V excommunicating Elizabeth I in our series of anniversaries on the Son Rise Morning Show. Jack Scarisbrick, aka J.J. (John Joseph) Scarisbrick, biographer of Henry VIII--writes about it for The Catholic Herald because today, February 25, is the 450th anniversary of its issue/publication. Pope Pius V wanted some assurance that it was possible for an excommunication of Elizabeth I to have impact on her rule in England: that she would be deposed and replaced.

Thus the timing--the unfortunate mistiming--of Regnans in Excelsis:

Accordingly one Nicholas Morton, sometime canon of York who had fled his homeland and was now a protégé of Goldwell in Rome, was sent secretly to England to consult the likes of Thomas Percy to discover how the proposed excommunication would be received; that is, whether it would be accompanied by an uprising.

Morton reported that it would be widely welcomed. Indeed, he had been begged to get immediate papal support for a revolt that was already being planned.

Exactly what happened next is, once again, unclear.

Pius did not act promptly (perhaps because he was engrossed in so many other urgent issues). So the two earls (Northumberland and Westmorland) who were to lead the 1569 rising wrote to him on its very eve, begging for his blessing. Pius replied with astonishing speed, promising to provide financial and spiritual aid and to declare Elizabeth a heretic. . . .

The rebellion was soon under way. It swept across northern England. Mass was said once again in Durham Cathedral. Thousands were joining in. Had not Elizabeth’s chief captain held York – and, more importantly, had the promised papal excommunication arrived – the rebellion could have surged southwards and probably toppled Elizabeth.

But inexplicably Pius had not yet delivered his bull. Why? We do not know. Not until February 10, 1570 – to observe due process (and no doubt believing that the rebellion was still alive) – did he take final evidence from 10 English residents in Rome to confirm Elizabeth’s guilt. At last, on February 25, the bull was released. And to enable it to be circulated faster, the bull itself authorised production of notarially attested copies anywhere.

Scarisbrick adds some commentary about Mary, Queen of Scots, who had come under Elizabeth I's protection (control) in 1568. I think he makes an error: Mary was married three times: to Francis of France, Lord Darnley of England, and James Bothwell of Scotland. Scarisbrick comments, giving Mary a fourth husband:

But this most fatal of femmes fatales was also an embarrassment. Twice briefly married to a king (of France and then Scotland), she was implicated in an explosion of gunpowder which carried off her third husband, and she had subsequently “mislaid” a fourth.

Nevertheless, he does bring up an interesting question: did Pope Pius V not want Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne of England in place of Elizabeth I?

Please read the rest there.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Saints Joan of Arc and Pope John Paul II on the Son Rise Morning Show

Just a reminder that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show today at about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern to talk with Matt Swaim about two more anniversaries celebrated this year: the 100th anniversary of the Canonization of St. Joan of Arc in Rome, Italy and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II in Wadowice, Poland--both in May!

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here.

On Friday I noted that they had in common their status as national heroes: St. Joan for defending France against the English; St. John Paul for defending Poland against the Communists. One thing they do not have in common is how long it took for them to be canonized.

Joan of Arc was burned alive at the stake in 1431; she was rehabilitated in 1456; declared Venerable in 1904; beatified in 1909; canonized in 1920: 489 years after her death.

John Paul II died on April 2, 2005; at his funeral on April 6, there were cries of "Santo Subito"! [Make him a] saint soon! After his election, Pope Benedict XVI waived the five year waiting period before starting John Paul's cause in the diocese of Rome (not in Poland!). He was declared Venerable on December 19, 2007; beatified in Rome on May 1, 2011, and canonized on April 27, 2014: Nine (9) years after his death.

There's really no simple way to explain why it took more than 400 years for Joan of Arc to be declared a Saint by the Catholic Church: the path to canonization depends on the local diocese, the presence of a cult--Catholics asking for her to intercede for them, expressing devotion to her--and other factors (including money for research, travel, salaries, and experts). Joan gained a great champion in the mid nineteenth century, Félix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans from 1849 to 1878, who organized her cause, researched purported miracles, etc. Her spiritual popularity during World War I certainly hastened her cause in the early twentieth century.

Although the English had such a hand in trying her and bringing her to the stake, Joan of Arc (visionary) is on the Church of England Calendar of Saints on May 30. Please note that Joan was not canonized by the Catholic Church as a martyr, but as a confessor, as was Pope John Paul II.

John Paul II had an admirable record as pope, cardinal-bishop, and priest, with a reputation for personal holiness, devotion to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger even ended his homily at John Paul's funeral with a statement of certainty that he was in heaven, while still praying for his soul:

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing “urbi et orbi.” We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Those cries of "Santo Subito" in St. Peter's Square certainly hastened his cause!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Lenten Posting and A New Series on the Son Rise Morning Show

Today is Quinquagesima Sunday and I've made some of my plans for Lent.

I'm going to cut back on posting here and on my Facebook pages (personal and book) to exclusively Lenten and English Reformation martyr posts. There are at least 30 (thirty) English Reformation martyrs to remember this Lent (from February 26 to April 8, the Wednesday of Holy Week).

On Monday, March 2, I'll start a new series on the Son Rise Morning Show, offering reflections on sermons and meditations for Lent by St. John Henry Newman in The Tears of Christ: Meditations for Lent.

The book is available from the Augustine Institute and was edited by Christopher O. Blum.

The Tears of Christ is a companion volume to Waiting for Christ: Meditations for Advent and Christmas from the same publisher and editor, which I reviewed for the National Catholic Register in 2018.

To introduce the series, I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show this week on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, February 27, at my usual time: about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

Anna Mitchell and I will select a sermon for each Monday's broadcast, and I'll preview it the Friday before. The sermons are all available on-line at the Newman Reader and I'll link the complete sermon from which Blum has excerpted paragraphs in the preview.

I'll be using this volume as part of my Lenten devotions along with listening to a CD I purchased from Aid to the Church in Need (UK): Catholic Meditations with Music for the Season of Lent from the Oxford Oratory:

In this thought-provoking CD, recorded at the Oxford Oratory, Father Jerome Bertram offers reflections for the season of Lent highlighting the importance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and the spiritual rewards of the Lenten journey. The meditations are accompanied by responsories taken from the Matins of Lent.

Track listing:

1. Hymn: Ex more docti
2. The Season of Lent: Spring-Cleaning for the Soul, Part One
3. Responsory: Emendemus in melius, quae ignoranter peccavimus
4. The Season of Lent: Spring-Cleaning for the Soul, Part Two
5. Responsory: Pater, peccavi in cælum, et coram te
6. Prayer: Opening our Hearts to God. Part One
7. Responsory: Tribularer, si nescirem misericordias tuas, Domine
8. Prayer: Opening our Hearts to God, Part Two
9. Responsory: Derelinquat impius viam suam
10. Fasting, making space in our life, Part One
11 Responsory: Moyses, famulus Dei, jejunauit quadraginta diebus
12. Fasting, making space in our life, Part Two
13. Responsory: Frange esurienti panem tuum
14. Almsgiving: Showing Christ¹s love to the World, Part One
15. Responsory: Abscondite eleemosynam in sinu pauperum
16. Almsgiving: Showing Christ¹s love to the World, Part Two
17. Responsory: Angelis suis mandavit de te
18. The Rewards of Lent
19. Antiphon: Ave, Regina Caelorum

Father Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory died on October 19, 2019. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Three Poems by St. Robert Southwell

Today is the 425th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Robert Southwell at Tyburn in London. featured three poems by St. Robert Southwell on a recent podcast:

In this special, post-Valentine’s Day episode, we’ve compiled a selection of three poems by St. Robert Southwell.

Like St. Valentine, St. Robert Southwell was a martyr: an English Jesuit who served as a clandestine missionary in post-Reformation England. There he ministered in secret for six years before he was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. After three years of imprisonment and torture, he was convicted of high treason and executed by being hanged, drawn, and quartered.

During his time in England, Southwell witnessed the executions of many other Catholics, including those of people he knew personally. It’s in this light, and in light of his own eventual martyrdom, that his poetry carries with it an especial gravity. At once horrified and inspired by the martyrdoms he witnessed, Southwell wrote this paradox into his poetry, as reflected in the poems selected for this episode.

The three poems are "The Burning Babe", "A Child My Choice", and "I Die Alive". These three poems are included in a new anthology from Cluny Media, Lyra Martyrum: The Poetry of the English Martyrs, 1503-1681, edited by Benedict Whalen of Hillsdale College.

Saint Robert Southwell, pray for us!

Preview: 100th Anniversaries for Sts. John of Arc and John Paul II

On Monday, February 24, I'll talk with either Matt Swaim (it might be his turn!) or Anna Mitchell about another set of anniversaries to be remembered in 2020: the 100th anniversary of the Canonization of St. Joan of Arc and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, now Pope St. John Paul II.

Both saints are national heroes: St. Joan of Arc in France; St. John Paul II in Poland.

The City of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was tried, convicted, condemned, and burned to death on May 30, 1431 is celebrating the 100th anniversary of her canonization with many events in this Year of Joan of Arc. Orleans, France, which she liberated on May 8, 1429, celebrates her every year with a festival from April 28 to May 8, but is also commemorating the anniversary, as is New Orleans, Louisiana, including a new production of Tchaikovsky's opera! In typical secular fashion, New Orleans celebrates its patron saint on her birthday, not her feast day.

Joan of Arc had been condemned as a heretic by a pro-English ecclesiastical court in 1431; a rehabilitation trial was held in Paris and she was declared innocent of all the charges on July 7, 1456. Her trial in Rouen had violated Canon Law in many ways: Joan's appeals to the Pope had been ignored; she'd not been held in the custody of cloistered nuns as she should have been, etc. Her mother was still alive and saw her daughter vindicated.

She was beatified in Rome on April 18, 1909 by Pope Saint Pius X; Pope Benedict XV issued his Papal Bull Divina Disponente and she was canonized in Rome on May 16, 1920. In the document, the pope refers to the evils of the First World War from which France was still recovering in 1920. The Treaty of Versailles had just come into effect; images of Joan of Arc had been carried into the trenches; the churches throughout France, the names of the dead from that war are inscribed in chapels, often with a statue of St. Joan of Arc near them. Her canonization was a great event for the French people, even after the official separation of Church and State in 1905.

The centenary of Pope St. John Paul II's birth as Karol Wojtyla on May 18, 1920 is being celebrated in Poland with great rejoicing and prayer: a nine month national novena was begun in 2019:

On the occasion of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the birth of Pope-Pole the national novena started in the newly built Shrine of John Paul II in Radzymin. Each month, on the 18th day, in the Shrine the prayers in the intention of families and our Homeland will be sent to God. The Shrine received over 3, 5 thousand intentions.

The national Novena through the intercession of the Saint John Paul II will end on May 18, 2020, exactly on the 100th anniversary of Karol Wojtyła’s birth.

According to the Catholic News Service, Pope Francis has contributed comments and analysis to a book (in Italian) about Pope St. John Paul II that declares him "The Great" (unofficially):

St. John Paul II taught the world that truly great faith and holiness dwell in "the normality of a person who lives in profound communion with Christ," Pope Francis said in a new book.

Precisely because he allowed people to see he was a human being -- whether skiing or praying, hiking or suffering -- "every gesture of his, every word, every choice he made always had a much deeper value and left a mark," Pope Francis told Father Luigi Maria Epicoco, author of the Italian book "San Giovanni Paolo Magno" ("St. John Paul the Great").

The book, published by Edizioni San Paolo and set for release Feb. 11, was written to mark the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul's birth May 18, 1920.

Much of the book is biographical information about the late pope, but each chapter includes Pope Francis' response to questions from Father Epicoco about his relationship with the late pope and observations about St. John Paul's spirituality, personality, events in his life and his teaching. 

I don't find any information about an English translation at the US website of Pauline Books & Media.

Pope Francis will also celebrate a Mass on May 17, 2020 at St. Peter's Basilica in celebration of Karol Wojtyla's birth and there's a national pilgrimage from Poland to Rome to attend. It's being celebrated on Sunday, May 17, the day before his birthday, so that more will attend. And it can't be just a coincidence that the Polish Bishops asked Pope Francis last year to declare Pope St. John Paul II a Doctor of the Church and a Patron of Europe.

More on these two saints and their anniversaries on Monday!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

My Lenten Thursday Nights

Every Thursday evening during Lent, I plan to attend the 5:30 p.m. Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and then go study Dante's Divine Comedy at the Spiritual Life Center (SLC). The series, An Introduction to the Divine Comedy, begins on February 27, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday (next Thursday):

Join us as we travel with Dante on this Lenten journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven as we seek to gain spiritual insights from the sinners and saints encountered along the way.

Written in the fourteenth century by Italian poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy is arguably the greatest epic poem of all time—presenting Dante’s brilliant vision of the three realms of Christian afterlife: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.

We will be using Professor Anthony Esolen’s translation of the Comedy, and will have copies available for sale.

I'll take my copies Dorothy L. Sayers' translation and see how it goes. 

After a break for Holy Week, Easter and its Octave, I'll be back--Lord willing--at the SLC to attend the Catholic Culture Conference, with another program on Dante:

The Catholic Culture Conference is an opportunity for faithful Christians to come together for formation and fellowship. The program intends to promote Catholic values in personal and family life, as well as in society at large. 
The theme for the 2020 Catholic Culture Conference is “Dante and the End of Men”. The title plays off the title of a 2010 article which appeared in The Atlantic magazine. In her article “The End of Men” author Hanna Rosin tells the story of a culture which once gave respect, and even deference, to the role of men. According to Rosin, though, times have changed, and modern culture no longer needs men. Women can now do everything that men used to do, which makes them “equal” to men in most every way, and even preferential to men in most things.

One reason for this shift has been a denigration of all things authentically masculine, and a lowering of expectations for men. A culture which fosters true masculinity will hold men accountable for their behavior, look to them for leadership in faith and morals, and be able to count on them as trustworthy providers and protectors.

Dr. Jason Baxter of Wyoming Catholic College will give three talks on the theme of “Dante and the End of Men”; one focusing on men in each of the three stages of Dante’s pilgrimage: Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. For additional insights on Catholic masculinity, Bo Bonner of Mercy College will present talks on St. Joseph.

The Culture Conference is open to all. Join us for a weekend of study, discussion, and culture-building.

Professor Baxter was here in December of 2017 and made a presentation at Eighth Day Books before his book was published.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EDI's Seminar on Holiness

Before the Eighth Day Institute Symposium on Holiness in January, EDI held a two day Seminar on "Holiness in the Bible, the Fathers, the Liturgy, and Literature" at The Ladder, the institute's headquarters. Next Friday and Saturday, February 28 and 29, they are repeating the event and a friend and I are attending:

This four-session Seminar will be conducted in a Shared Inquiry format, the method of approaching texts used in the classrooms of St. John's College, Thomas Aquinas College, and other "great books" curriculum schools.

A good friend once said, "shared-inquiry is a way to read a book with more than one brain." This is an apt description, because one often discovers that a passage which proves difficult is illumined by someone else, and vice versa. Shared-inquiry facilitates a communal engagement with a given text so that we are informed and transformed together.

Seating is limited to first 12 registrants.

Readings include The Song of Songs from the Old Testament, selections from St. Maximus the Confessor (who was the patron saint of the Symposium in January), the Orthodox liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation".

If you are in the Wichita area, please check it out here.

Monday, February 17, 2020

This Morning: 100th Anniversaries of Prohibition and Women's Suffrage

As I mentioned to Anna Mitchell when I sent her the link to the preview of the anniversaries of the 18th and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, we'll probably focus more on Prohibition than on Women's Suffrage this morning during our segment on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern. Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

I noted Friday in my preview that the Women's Suffrage movement was part of an overall Protestant reform agenda, which for a time included anti-slavery efforts, temperance and prohibition causes. While the Catholic Church--specifically the hierarchy in the United States--did not proclaim an official response to women's suffrage, some were opposed because of the anti-Catholic, eugenicist position of many in this pro-Protestant, pro-Anglo movement. Therefore, one on-line history of the long-term efforts to gain the vote for women states:

New England suffragists used the argument of “social housekeeping”—that women would clean up urban politics and social ills—to make a case for allowing women to vote in municipal elections. Frequently these campaigns for municipal suffrage drew on anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic bigotry. In Massachusetts, for example, anti-immigrant Republican men believed that native-born Protestant women would be more likely to vote than Catholic women, who would be discouraged from voting by their husbands. Thus, woman suffrage would save the state from “rum and Romanism” by diluting the Catholic vote and promoting the cause of temperance. Despite these appeals, the Republican Party as a whole did not support municipal suffrage for women. The Democratic Party, especially its Irish Catholic wing, which linked woman suffrage to nativism, temperance, and anti-family radicalism, also opposed enfranchising women.[13] (emphasis added)

So there's that linkage between women's suffrage, temperance, and anti-Catholicism.

The article that I cited on Friday, "Some Kind of Religious Freedom: National Prohibition and the Volstead Act' s exemption for the Religious Use of Wine" by Michael deHaven Newsom in Volume 70, Issue Three of the Brooklyn Law Review, notes that anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant (especially ant-Irish immigrant) view held sway throughout the history of the temperance and prohibition movements, and often in the history of the women's suffrage movement. Catholics were un-American and the only hope for American democracy and Protestant survival was for Catholics to assimilate and become Protestants. Lyman Beecher, the Presbyterian abolitionist and temperance promoter, whose son Henry Ward Beecher would also be a supporter of women's suffrage, was confident that Protestantism would triumph in this effort of assimilation:
Let the Catholics mingle with us as Americans and come with their children under the full action of our common schools and republican institutions, and the various powers of assimilation, and we are prepared cheerfully to abide the consequences. If in these circumstances the Protestant religion cannot stand before the Catholic, let it go down, and we will sound no alarm, and ask no aid, and make no complaint. It is no ecclesiastical quarrel to which we would call the attention of the American nation.
Lest anyone think that Beecher had somehow abandoned the cause of the Protestant Empire or had lost his faith in its anointed historical role, Beecher entertained no doubt but that if American Protestant political and religious leadership maintained a watchful eye by checking and regulating immigration, by instructing American Protestants as to the truth of Catholicism, by ensuring that the education of Protestant children never fell into the hands of Catholics, and by kindness and perseverance, that leadership would extend the light of evangelical Protestantism to Catholics, Protestantism would not "go down," but Catholicism would. (Newsom, p. 778)

As Newsom points out, Catholics did not want to assimilate and established the parochial school system and other programs and structures parallel to the (at that time) Protestant public school systems, etc. Newsom's article is detailed and long but well worth reading. He notes that the height of political anti-Catholicism came in the 1928 Presidential election, when Al Smith, the Catholic, Irish-American, Governor of New York ran as the Democrat Party candidate. Herbert Hoover was supported by the Prohibition movement and attacks against "rum and Romanism" focused on Smith's Catholicism. 

While the 19th Amendment is still part of the U.S. Constitution, the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment:

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The 21st Amendment took effect December 5, 1933 after state convention approval and passage of the Blaine Act in Congress.

Image Credit: Official program of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Preview: 100th Anniversaries of Prohibition and Women's Suffrage

On Presidents Day, Monday, February 17, we'll continue our discussion of major anniversaries celebrated in 2020 on the Son Rise Morning Show. I'll be talking to either Anna Mitchell or Matt Swaim about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

One hundred years ago, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes" came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 17, 1920. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which established that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex", having been approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and 36 states, was officially adopted--in time for that year's Presidential election (Harding vs. Cox, Republican vs. Democrat; both from Ohio!) Harding won.

The causes of temperance and women's suffrage--and the abolition of slavery--were intertwined in various ways as part of a "women's rights movement" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The women's rights movement was also a general social reform movement with other causes as this brief article on the website for Ken Burns' PBS documentary about the suffrage movement describes:

The enormous success of the temperance movement among native-born American women between 1874 and 1900 entwined the destiny of the suffrage movement with the temperance movement during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Founded in 1874, in the midst of one of the deepest economic depressions in American history, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States during the nineteenth century.

The WCTU drew on social traditions of Protestant women’s activism that had emerged in the decades between 1830 and 1860, when the separation between church and state transformed Protestant denominations into a set of competing voluntarist organizations. Serving as a pan-Protestant umbrella organization that acted independently of male ministerial authority, the WCTU became a “woman’s church” to many of its members, complete with ritual processions, symbolic regalia, and hierarchical lines of authority.

Both the temperance and the women's suffrage movements were led by Protestants and there were some divisions between Protestants and the Catholics on these issues. The WCTU definitely espoused nativist sentiments toward immigrants from Ireland and Europe, outraged that some non-Anglo, non-Protestant immigrant men could become citizens and vote when Anglo, Protestant, native-born women could not.

There was no official teaching or direction from the hierarchy on either issue, so Catholics could choose whether or not to support the movements, and to what degree to support them. In the matter of temperance and prohibition, however, the Church was definitely concerned to protect the production, purchase, and transportation of sacramental wine to be used at Mass. The 18th Amendment did not address this freedom of religion aspect of Prohibition, although it does include the words "for beverage purposes" (a possible distinction between drinking alcohol and using wine in religious services), so the Volstead Act had to carve out an exception to the rule. This article from the Brooklyn Law Review explains how this exemption extended to Jewish, Episcopalian, and Eastern Orthodox congregations, and the producers of this wine, who were licensed and regulated. The author also explains, in great detail, the theological reasons Evangelical Protestants developed such a fear of both alcoholic beverages and Catholicism. The Volstead Act exemption may have saved California's wine industry, as this article (not entirely accurate in its depiction of the Catholic Mass, however) notes.

There was Catholic concern about the abuse of alcohol but it was focused on temperance, not legal prohibition, as this brief history of the Catholic temperance movement describes:

Curiously, however, (perhaps in a nascent spirit of subsidiarity) the resulting Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America was a wholly moral movement, emphasizing personal reform and not wishing to be part of any legal schemes for prohibiting alcohol production:
Our motto is moral suasion. With prohibitory laws, restrictive license systems, and special legislation we have nothing whatever to do. [Emphasis added.] There is blended with our proposed plan of organization the attractive feature of mutual relief. Thus Temperance and Benevolence go hand in hand.
On the other hand, the Union flatly stated it would not oppose laws that shut down some gin mills.

The Union received many words of encouragement over the years from popes (Leo XIII and Pius X among them), but what’s clear from those words of greeting and from the Union’s own pronouncements is that Catholic temperance was aimed at minimizing consumption of spirits and not at banning either beer or wine. As St. Pius X stated it, the enemy was “the abuse of strong drink.” It’s worth noting that both Leo and Pius were happy consumers of Vin Mariani – basically Bordeaux wine infused with coca leaves (10 percent alcohol and 8.5 percent cocaine extract by volume), which promised to “tone and strengthen body and brain.” Leo allowed it to be promoted with his name and image.

More about Catholics and women's suffrage on Monday.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Death Comes for the Archbishop: Jean-Baptiste Lamy, RIP

Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the first Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, died on February 13, 1888. The New Mexico History website describes how he became the bishop of Santa Fe in 1853:

After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave sovereignty of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States. New Mexico, as a territory of Spain and then of Mexico, had been since colonial times under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Durango, but after the treaty ecclesiastical authority was transferred to the Catholic Church of the United States. In May 1849 the Provincial Council of the Catholic Church in Baltimore petitioned to Rome for the establishment of a provisional diocese (Vicariate Apostolic) in New Mexico to be headed by Lamy. In July 1850 the Vatican responded and established the Vicariate of New Mexico, naming Lamy as Vicar. In November Lamy was consecrated in Cincinnati, and he appointed Father Machebeuf to be his Vicar-General.

Lamy left immediately for his new post, going by way of New Orleans with his sister and niece whom he left at the Ursuline convent in that city. Lamy continued by ship to Galveston where he met with Bishop Jean Marie Odin who assigned him jurisdiction of three more towns near El Paso: Isleta, Socorro, and San Elizario. Bishop Odin advised Lamy not to proceed to New Mexico but rather to go to France first and bring some young French priests back with him to replace the Hispanic clergy in New Mexico whose moral and pastoral qualities he questioned. While Lamy did not follow the bishop’s advice to go to France, it was the first evidence of a cultural divide between European and native-born clergy that was to arise many times in his career in New Mexico.

Machebeuf caught up with Lamy in San Antonio and they traveled together to El Paso and then to New Mexico. Upon his arrival in New Mexico in June 1851 Lamy appeared at first to receive a warm welcome with a large and enthusiastic turnout of the populace as he made his way north from El Paso to Santa Fe. Reaching Santa Fe in August, he was again warmly greeted, but then the Vicario Foraneo (Rural Dean, in charge of the Santa Fe pastorate), Juan Felipe Ortiz informed Lamy that he (Ortiz) and the New Mexican priests under him did not recognize Lamy as the Bishop of Santa Fe. . . .

Please read the rest there.

Paul Horgan wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Archbishop Lamy (he was named Archbishop on February 12, 1875), but Willa Cather's fictionalized biography of Lamy as Jean Marie Latour and Machebeuf as Joseph Vaillant is even more famous. At the end of the novel, Cather's narrator describes the Archbishop's death:

The Mother Superior and Magdalena and Bernard attended the sick man. There was little to do but to watch and pray, so peaceful and painless was his repose. Sometimes it was sleep, they knew from his relaxed features; then his face would assume personality, consciousness, even though his eyes did not open.

Toward the close of day, in the short twilight after the candles were lighted, the old Bishop seemed to become restless, moved a little, and began to murmur; it was in the French tongue, but Bernard, though he caught some words, could make nothing of them. He knelt beside the bed: “What is it, Father? I am here.”

He continued to murmur, to move his hands a little, and Magdalena thought he was trying to ask for something, or to tell them something. But in reality the Bishop was not there at all: he was standing in a tip-tilted green field among his native mountains, and he was trying to give consolation to a young man who was being torn in two before his eyes by the desire to go and the necessity to stay. He was trying to forge a new Will in that devout and exhausted priest; and the time was short, for the diligence for Paris was already rumbling down the mountain gorge.

When the Cathedral bell tolled just after dark, the Mexican population of Santa Fé fell upon their knees, and all American Catholics as well. Many others who did not kneel prayed in their hearts. Eusabio and the Tesuque boys went quietly away to tell their people; and the next morning the old Archbishop lay before the high altar in the church he had built.

My late husband Mark and I went to Santa Fe twice. Once in 1989, before we were married--separate hotel rooms, if you please--and again in 1993. We flew to Albuquerque and rented a car in 1989 but drove a rented van from Wichita to Taos (where we stayed) and Santa Fe with our first Westie Ruffis accompanying us in 1993. During both trips we visited Archbishop Lamy's great Romanesque Cathedral of St. Francis. Cather depicts Archbishop Latour's last sight of that cathedral:

Wrapped in his Indian blankets, the old Archbishop sat for a long while looking at the open, golden face of his Cathedral. How exactly young Molny, his French architect, had done what he wanted! Nothing sensational, simply honest building and good stone-cutting—good Midi-Romanesque of the plainest. And even now, in winter, when the acacia trees before the door were bare, how it was of the South, that church, how it sounded the note of the South!

No one but Molny and the Bishop had ever seemed to enjoy the beautiful site of that building—perhaps no one ever would. But these two had spent many an hour admiring it. The steep carnelian hills drew up so close behind the church that the individual pine trees thinly wooding their slopes were clearly visible. From the end of the street where the Bishop’s buggy stood, the tawny church seemed to start directly out of those rose-colored hills—with a purpose so strong that it was like action. Seen from this distance, the Cathedral lay against the pine-splashed slopes as against a curtain. When Bernard drove slowly nearer, the backbone of the hills sank gradually, and the towers rose clear into the blue air, while the body of the church still lay against the mountain.

We attended performances at the Santa Fe Opera during both vacations: Massenet's Cherubin in 1989; Handel's Xerxes in 1993--both starring Frederica von Stade. Mark and I often talked about going back to Santa Fe, but never did. We thought about staying at the Bishop's Lodge outside of Santa Fe, which includes a chapel built by Archbishop Lamy on its grounds. Sadly, the Lodge is closed now, undergoing some delayed renovations, and the chapel is becoming dilapidated (as of May 2019):

The historic chapel was established by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy in the 19th century. The rest of the expansive facility has been around since the 1920s, according to a bulletin published by the Santa Fe Historical Society in 1987. Lamy built the chapel on a property north of the city that he bought for $80 as a personal retreat in 1869, the same time period that the Catholic bishop oversaw the construction of what became the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

SFR showed pictures of the chapel as it stands today to Mac Watson, chair of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation and a frequent visitor of the chapel before the site was closed for renovation.

"The roof shingles are in terrible shape, and given the amount of rain and snow we've had this year, it is hard to think that a great deal of water has not gone through the roof and inflicted damage to the interior," Watson tells SFR. . . .

I don't find any other updates on-line but I hope the chapel is taken care of soon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Empress Eugenie and Lourdes

This morning on the Son Rise Morning Show, Anna Mitchell and I will talk about a fascinating aspect of the history of the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. (7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central: Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!) Very appropriate for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

The Empress Eugenie, the devout Catholic wife of Napoleon III, the last emperor of France, intervened at an important juncture in 1858. Their son, Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, was ill and the Empress Eugenie sent his governess to Lourdes to bring back some water from the spring at the shrine.

Local authorities had barricaded the shrine and forbidden access, enforced by fines or imprisonment. When Madame Bruat, the Prince Imperial's governess, was arrested at the shrine, she paid the fines of all those threatened with prison terms because they couldn't pay the fines. She took the water back to Biarritz, the Emperor's vacation home, and Louis Napoleon recovered.

Fans of The Song of Bernadette, the 1943 movie based on Franz Werfel's 1941 novel, will remember how the Empress Eugenie, portrayed by Patricia Morison, persuades the Emperor Napoleon III to intervene and order the grotto opened to the faithful. He did so on October 5, 1858. More about that story here.

After the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870, the Napoleons left France for exile in Chislehurst, England. The former Emperor died in 1873, and their son died in 1879. Still a devout Catholic, Eugenie built a monastery with a crypt for the family tomb, St. Michael's Abbey, in Farnborough, Hampshire with definite French Connections:

In 1880, the Empress Eugénie bought a house in Farnborough. Crushed by the loss of her husband Napoleon III in 1873 and the death in 1879 of her 23 year old son in the Zulu War, she built St Michael’s Abbey as a monastery and the Imperial Mausoleum.

Dom Fernand Cabrol, the prior of the French Abbey of Saint Pierre de Solesmes, had dreamed of a monastic foundation dedicated to liturgical studies. No suitable property or funding had been found, though the vicissitudes of the anti-clerical France of the 1890s made the thought of a house abroad increasingly attractive. Finally, in 1895, the Empress Eugénie invited these French Benedictines to England, and thus the daily round of work, prayer and study began.

Monsignor Ronald Knox was received into the Catholic Church here. In his memoirs he described the Abbey as "a little corner of England which is forever France, irreclaimably French."

The last French monk died in 1956, so it's more England now, but maintains its ties to the Abbey of Saint Pierre de Solesmes with its Gregorian Chant, liturgical studies, and Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite.

The former Empress died in Spain on July 11, 1920--so 2020 is the centenary of her death--and was interred in the family crypt at St. Michael's Abbey.

More about the Empress Eugenie--she had also influenced her husband to send the French troops to Rome in defense of Pope Pius IX and had even offered him refuge in Avignon!--here.