Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Saint Francis Borgia, SJ

Phyllis McGinley wrote a book titled Saint-Watching in 1969; one of my History professors gave me a copy after I'd taken a class on Eighteenth Century English History--an independent study class--and I remember her comments about how unlikely "we" think a Borgia saint would be. The Borgias, so notorious for intrigue, poisoning, nepotism, a bad pope (Alexander VI), Cesare and Lucretia--and yet Francis Borgia, the former 4th Duke of Gandia, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was canonized a saint in 1620.

He lived two vocations in one lifetime: first as a husband and father of eight and then, after the death of his wife Eleanor, as a Jesuit priest and the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus as this Loyola Press Ignatian Spirituality post explains (quoting Bert Ghezzi's Voices of the Saints):

St. Francis Borgia, a relative of Pope Alexander VI, King Ferdinand of Aragon, and Emperor Charles V, joined Spain’s imperial court at age eighteen. The next year he married Eleanor de Castro, who bore him eight children. In 1539, shortly after experiencing a religious conversion, Francis left the court but continued in public life as viceroy of Catalonia. At this time under the influence of Peter of Alcántara and Peter Favre, he progressed in prayer and the spiritual life.

In 1543, Francis succeeded his father as duke of Gandia, but when his wife died three years later he decided to become a Jesuit. He provided for his children and joined the society in 1550. While he preferred a quiet life of solitude, the Jesuits felt differently and promoted him so that he could use his great administrative talents for the church. In 1554, St. Ignatius appointed Francis commissary for Spain, where he founded twelve colleges and a novitiate. The Jesuits chose Francis as their general in 1565. His consolidation of the society and expansion of its ministry has caused him to be recognized as the second founder of the order. He established disciplined novitiates in every Jesuit province, writing regulations and books of spiritual instruction for them.

So he was Superior General during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, before the great Jesuit missions were founded for England. In reading his entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia, England is never even mentioned. Saint Francis Borgia was focused on Missions to the East and West Indies and establishing colleges and foundations in Europe. As the Jesuit historian Thomas McCoog explains, that situation had an impact in England:

Even within Jesuit Britain, Borgia is overlooked. With the exception of the Jesuit residential district in East Anglia, named in honour of Blessed Francis Borgia in 1625 after his beatification in 1624 – a name abandoned when the residence was re-branded as the College of the Holy Apostles after William, Lord Petre’s endowment in 1632 – the English and later British Province has dedicated nothing to him.

There is one intriguing comment in the Catholic Encyclopedia article, however, and that was Borgia's interest in liturgical music while serving Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor:

The newly-created Marquess of Lombay enjoyed a privileged station. Whenever the emperor was travelling or conducting a campaign, he confided to the young equerry the care of the empress, and on his return to Spain treated him as a confidant and friend. In 1535, Charles V led the expedition against Tunis unaccompanied by Borgia, but in the following year the favourite followed his sovereign on the unfortunate campaign in Provence. Besides the virtues which made him the model of the court and the personal attractions which made him its ornament, the Marquess of Lombay possessed a cultivated musical taste. He delighted above all in ecclesiastical compositions, and these display a remarkable contrapuntal style and bear witness to the skill of the composer, justifying indeed the assertion that, in the sixteenth century and prior to Palestrina, Borgia was one of the chief restorers of sacred music.

Also, as the University of Dayton website notes, Borgia, like Pope Francis today, was most devoted to the image of the Mother of God as the Salus Populi Romani. And this website, from Macau, highlights Saint Francis Borgia's influence on the diffusion of the image throughout the world:

It was only in the middle of the 16th century when Francis Borgia proposed the image to be installed permanently at the Pauline Chapel [of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome] in 1569. Until this time, copies of this image were never made. In this regard, [St.] Francis Borgia (1510-1572), then the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was the central figure. Likewise, the founder St Ignatius of Loyola as well as St Stanislaus Kostka were devoted to this image.

In June 1569, Pius V (1504-1572) granted the permission to reproduce the image. The order’s particular devotion to this image played a significant role in obtaining a mobility to elsewhere in the world. It was a revolutionary event, breaking with custom. The significance of this event is evidenced by the 17th century engraving of St Francis Borgia with the Salus Populi Romani Madonna in his hand, at the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.

Saint Francis Borgia died on September 30, 1572. His feast was celebrated on the the Roman Calendar on October 10 until the revision in 1970. The Society of Jesus celebrate his feast on October 3.

Saint Francis Borgia, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Saint Michael the Archangel: An Antiphon and A Hymn

According to the Ordo of the Roman Missal of 1962, today we celebrate The Dedication of the Archangel Michael, referring to a basilica in Rome dedicated by Pope Saint Boniface IV in 610. In the current calendar for the Roman Rite we celebrate the three Archangels, Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, named in scripture as God's special messengers. 

Michaelmas, September 29, is one of the quarter days, an important date for paying debts, hiring servants, etc. More about the feast here.

The Antiphon for the Lauds (Morning Prayer) of Michaelmas describes the "war in heaven" recounted in the Book of Revelation ("Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it." Revelation 12:7–9):

Factum est silentium in caelo,
Dum committeret bellum draco cum Michaele Archangelo.

Audita est vox millia millium dicentium:
Salus, honor et virtus omnipotenti Deo.
Millia millium minestrabant ei et decies centena millia assistebant ei.

There was silence in heaven
When the dragon fought with the Archangel Michael.

The voice of a thousand thousand was heard saying:
Salvation, honour and power be to almighty God.
A thousand thousand ministered to him and ten hundreds of thousands stood before him.

Richard Dering, a Catholic convert and exile from England, offers this setting of the antiphon, sung by the Choir of Clare College. As another record label, Hyperion, describes Dering and this work, which is the Antiphon for the Benedictus canticle during the Lauds of Michaelmas:

Dering was, like Philips, an English Catholic musician who went into exile in the Spanish Netherlands (or, according to another account, converted to Catholicism while visiting Rome in 1612). By 1617 he was organist to the convent of English nuns in Brussels, and in the same year published his first collection of Cantiones Sacrae; the publisher was the noted Phalèse of Antwerp who also published music by Philips. Factum est silentium comes from a second collection which appeared in 1618; its declamatory, dramatic style shows clearly the influence of the new Italian Baroque style which Dering’s compatriots in England were perhaps slower to embrace.

More about the Benedictine convent in Brussels Dering served here. He returned to England in 1625 to serve Queen Henrietta Maria as organist in her private Catholic chapel and also served at Court as a musician among the king's Lutes and Voices. He was buried in the Savoy Chapel, a Royal Chapel, on March 22, 1630.

Father Edward Caswall translated the hymn, Te splendor et virtus patris for use at the Birmingham Oratory during Matins and Vespers for this feast:

O Jesu! Life-spring of the soul!
The Father's power and glory bright!
Thee with the Angels we extol;
From Thee they draw their life and light.

Thy thousand thousand hosts are spread
Embattled o'er the azure sky;
But Michael bears Thy standard dread,
And lifts the mighty Cross on high.

He in that Sign the rebel powers
Did with their Dragon Prince expel;
And hurled them from the heavens’ high towers,
Down like a thunderbolt to hell.

Grant us, with Michael, still, O Lord,
Against the prince of pride to fight;
So may a crown be our reward,
Before the Lamb's pure throne of light.

To God the Father, with the Son
And Holy Paraclete, with Thee,
As evermore hath been before,
Be glory through eternity.

The Latin text is attributed to Rabanus Maurus, the ninth century Frankish Benedictine monk and theologian.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us!
Saint Gabriel, the Archangel, pray for us!
Saint Raphael, the Archangel, pray for us!

Monday, September 28, 2020

This Morning on the Son Rise Morning Show: Saints Roberts and Almond

Just a reminder that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central to continue our series on the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Matt Swaim and I will discuss Saint John Roberts, OSB and Saint John Almond.

Please listen live here on the Sacred Heart Radio website; the podcast will be archived here; the segment will be repeated on Friday next week during the EWTN hour of the Son Rise Morning Show (from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. Eastern/5:00 to 6:00 a.m. Central).

If you read my preview post thoroughly, you may have noticed that during one of his longer exiles from England, Saint John Roberts, OSB, founded a Benedictine Monastery at Douai, the home of many English Catholics in exile at the time. Douai, in Flanders, was invaded by the forces of the French Revolution; the monks at the abbey returned to England in 1795, eventually founding the Abbey of Saint Gregory the Great in 1876 and opening a school for boys. The abbey church was designated a minor basilica and the scholarly monks of Downside, including Dom David Knowles and Dom Hubert van Zeller made the abbey a center of Catholic revival and Benedictine learning in England.

Sadly, because of verified accusations of sexual abuse of boys, the monks have stopped managing and teaching at the school and are leaving Downside. They announced their decision in late August this year:

The separation of Downside Abbey and Downside School in September 2019 has enabled the Monastic Community to concentrate on discerning their future. They have now unanimously decided to make a new start and to seek a new place to live. To lead them in the renewal of their monastic vocation and in their search for a new home, they have elected Dom Nicholas Wetz as their Abbot.

The last six years have given the Downside Community time to reflect with sorrow on failures in the care for children entrusted to them and to discern the Community’s future. With smaller numbers and changing circumstances, the current monastery buildings are no longer suitable.

One of the great issues at the trials of both Roberts and Almond was the contested authorities of the king and the pope in religious but also secular matters, particularly whether or not the pope had the authority--not necessarily the power--to depose a monarch if the pope judged the monarch's rule a danger to the practice of the Catholic faith in a country. St. Robert Bellarmine thought the pope had such authority, upholding the pope's indirect power in secular affairs. George Abbott in 1610 and John King in 1612, both the Bishop of London at the time, took the lead in questioning Saints John Roberts and Saint John Almond, respectively, on this issue. Both priests were urged to take King James I's Oath of Allegiance, but refused to do so.

Saint John Roberts, pray for us!
Saint John Almond, pray for us!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Preview: Saints Roberts and Almond

On Monday, September 28, Matt Swaim and I will profile the next two of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales in our Son Rise Morning Show series: another of the six martyrs from Wales, Saint John Roberts, OSB, and Saint John Almond. Saint John Roberts was hanged, drawn, and quartered on December 10, 1610; Saint John Almond on December 5, 1612, both during the reign of King James I and both at Tyburn Tree.

Saint John Roberts was born in 1577 and raised in a Protestant family in Trawsfynydd, Snowdonia, Wales; he attended St. John's College in Oxford and then studied law at Furnivall's Inn, one of the Inns of Chancery in London. Then he went to Europe and, after visiting the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and meeting English Catholics in exile, became a Catholic and as John Hungerford Pollen reports in his 1891 Acts of the English Martyrs, Roberts studied for the priesthood at the English College at Valladolid and 

thence joined the Spanish congregation of the Venerable Order of St. Benedict, was professed in the Abbey of St. Martin of Compostella, and after his ordination in 1600, was sent to England. There the ancient Order still lived on at least in the person of Dom Sigebert Buckley, and there, too, others, such as the Venerable [Blessed] Mark Barkworth, had obtained admission to its privileges; but Father Roberts is said to have been the first, who left a Benedictine monastery, to labour on that dangerous mission. In England he displayed a devotion and constancy worthy of his Order. With the examples of the great Benedictine missionaries who first converted this nation ever before his eyes, he strove heroically to emulate their virtues. Four times was he arrested, imprisoned, and banished, and he returned as often to post of danger ; nor was he more chary of exposing his life to danger when a severe out break of the "plague" devastated London. His success was commensurate with his labours and sufferings, which were becomingly closed by his apprehension in the act of celebrating Mass, when a trial on the charge of priesthood and a death bravely faced, were turned, as only a skilful missioner could turn them, into a notable occasion of bearing witness to the Faith.

As the Catholic Encyclopedia describes his time in England, however, he endured capture, imprisonment, release, and exile more than once, twice, or thrice after returning to England as a missionary, including an arrest and examination in connection with the Gunpowder Plot:

Although observed by a Government spy, Roberts and his companions succeeded in entering the country in April, 1603; but, his arrival being known, he was arrested and banished on 13 May following. He reached Douai on 24 May and soon managed to return to England where he laboured zealously among the plague-stricken people in London. In 1604, while embarking for Spain with four postulants, he was again arrested, but not being recognized as a priest was soon released and banished, but returned again at once. On 5 November, 1605, while Justice Grange was searching the house of Mrs. Percy, first wife of Thomas Percy, who was involved in the Gunpowder Plot, he found Roberts there and arrested him. Though acquitted of any complicity in the plot itself, Roberts was imprisoned in the Gatehouse at Westminster for seven months and then exiled anew in July, 1606.

He stayed on Continent more than a year:

This time he was absent for some fourteen months, nearly all of which he spent at Douai where he founded a house for the English Benedictine monks who had entered various Spanish monasteries. This was the beginning of the monastery of St. Gregory at Douai which still exists as Downside Abbey, near Bath, England. In October, 1607, Roberts returned to England, was again arrested in December and placed in the Gatehouse, from which he contrived to escape after some months. He now lived for about a year in London and was again taken some time before May, 1609, in which month he was taken to Newgate and would have been executed but for the intercession of de la Broderie, the French ambassador, whose petition reduced the sentence to banishment. Roberts again visited Spain and Douai, but returned to England within a year, knowing that his death was certain if he were again captured.

Roberts was indeed captured again, on December 2, 1610; he was tried and convicted on December 5, sentenced on December 8, and executed at Tyburn with Blessed Thomas Somers.

Saint John Almond was born circa 1577 and raised a Catholic and lived in Ireland before he left England to study for the priesthood. As the Catholic Encyclopedia briefly describes his life:

He passed his childhood at Allerton near Liverpool, where he was born, and at Much-Woolton. His boyhood and early manhood were spent in Ireland, until he went to the English College, Rome, at the age of twenty. He concluded his term there brilliantly by giving the "Grand Act" — a public defence of theses which cover the whole course of philosophy and theology — and was warmly congratulated by Cardinals Baronius and Tarugi, who presided. The account of his death describes him as "a reprover of sin, a good example to follow, of an ingenious and acute understanding, sharp and apprehensive in his conceits and answers, yet complete with modesty, full of courage and ready to suffer for Christ, that suffered for him." He was arrested in the year 1608, and again in 1612. In November of this year seven priests escaped from prison, and this may have sharpened the zeal of the persecutors, Dr. King, Protestant Bishop of London, being especially irritated against Almond. He displayed to the last great acuteness in argument, and died with the Holy Name upon his lips.

Pollen adds the detail that Saint John Almond said "Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi, Jesus" before he suffered hanging, drawing, and quartering.

Saint John Roberts, pray for us!
Saint John Almond, pray for us!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Conception of St. John the Baptist, the Forerunner

The Catholic Church, East and West, celebrates three birthdays on the liturgical calendar: The Nativity of Jesus (December 25); the Nativity of Mary, Mother of God (September 8); and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24). We also celebrate the Conception of Jesus (the Annunciation on March 25) and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8), each exactly nine months before their birthdays. We in Roman Rite do not, however, celebrate the Conception of St. John the Baptist nine months before the feast of his Nativity--but the Orthodox Church does, on September 23. As far as I can tell, the Byzantine Catholic Church (Eastern Rite Catholic) does not celebrate the Forerunner's Conception either. UPDATE: Evidently, they do, although when I searched I could not find a calendar. See the Facebook page for Saint Irene's Byzantine Catholic Church's celebration of the feast.

The story of his miraculous conception of aged parents is told in the Gospel according to St. Luke (1:5-25). According to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) website, they also honor the Forerunner's parents as the Holy Prophet Zachariah and the Righteous Elizabeth on September 5. Zachariah is sometimes identified as the son of Barachias, who was slain "between the temple and the altar" (Matthew 23:35) mentioned when Jesus is accusing the Scribes and Pharisees of ignoring the prophets. According to the OCA website:

When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.

Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.

In these tragic days Saint Zachariah was taking his turn at the services in the Temple. Soldiers sent by Herod tried in vain to learn from him the whereabouts of his son. Then, by command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him between the temple and the altar (MT 23: 35). Elizabeth died forty days after her husband, and Saint John, preserved by the Lord, dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to the nation of Israel.

Some sources online (including the Catholic News Agency) have indicated that the Roman Martyrology lists Saints Zachariah and Elizabeth on the calendar on November 5th but I do not find that feast/memorial on the USCCB Liturgical Calendar for 2020 (it's a feria). It seems strange that we do not honor them on the sanctoral calendar, especially since Elizabeth's greeting to Mary at the Visitation is such a great event in the Nativity stories--and the moment of St. John's being filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting (Luke 1:42-45)--and such a part of Catholic devotion (the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary). And Zechariah's Benedictus has long been part of the Liturgy of the Hours, as Mary's Magnificat, in response to Elizabeth's praise, has also been.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!
Saint Zechariah, pray for us!
Saint Elizabeth, pray for us!

Image Credit (Public Domain): Annunciation of the Angel to Zechariah by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1490, fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence)

Monday, September 21, 2020

This Morning: Sts. Owen and Garnet, SJ on the Son Rise Morning Show

Just a reminder that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central to continue our series on the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Anna Mitchell and I will discuss Saint Nicholas Owen, SJ and Saint Thomas Garnet, SJ.

Please listen live here on the Sacred Heart Radio website; the podcast will be archived here; the segment will be repeated on Friday next week during the EWTN hour of the Son Rise Morning Show (from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. Eastern/5:00 to 6:00 a.m. Central).

As I commented Friday, Nicholas Owen was the master-engineer and builder of priest-holes or priest-hides (and other hiding places) in recusant Catholic's homes. He worked alone and secretly to construct these hiding places. Many of them have been found, but probably not all: Britain Magazine lists the Top Five.

Father Henry Garnet, SJ, Saint Thomas Garnet's uncle, was also captured on January 23, 1606. He has not been beatified or canonized 
I presume because of questions about his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot. According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia (1909): 

It is a matter of regret that we have as yet nothing like an authoritative pronouncement from Rome on the subject of Garnet's martyrdom. His name was indeed proposed with that of the other English Martyrs and Confessors in 1874, and his cause was then based upon the testimonies of Bellarmine and the older Catholic writers, which was the correct plea for the proof of Fama Martyrii, then to be demonstrated. But these ancient authorities are not acquainted with Garnet's actual confessions which were not known or published in their time. The consequence was that, as the discussion proceeded, their evidence was found to be inconclusive, and an open verdict was returned; thus his martyrdom was held to be neither proved nor disproved. This of course led to his cause being "put off" (dilatus) for further inquiry, which involves in Rome a delay of many years. 

The Jesuits in Britain offer this biography:

Henry Garnet was born in 1555 in Derbyshire. He travelled to Rome to become a Jesuit in 1575 and after studying and teaching for 11 years, returned as a missionary to England in 1586,a period of extreme danger for Catholics.  Garnet’s brethren were regularly betrayed and arrested, tortured and executed.  Victims included Robert Southwell, with whom Garnet had travelled to England, and William Weston, the only other Jesuit in England at the time of his return.  Garnet thus became superior of the English mission.   He ministered secretly to recusant Catholics, moving from safe house to safe house at great risk, to celebrate the sacraments and the principal liturgical events.  When he became aware of plots against the Crown, he consistently advised against them.  In 1604 he told the authorities of what became known as the Bye Plot, foiled mainly through his intervention.  A year later he became aware of the much more serious Gunpowder Plot through information given under the seal of confession.  Once all the main conspirators had been tried and condemned and therefore unable to given evidence, Garnet, with four companions, was finally captured at Hindlip Hall, Worcestershire.  He was tried and executed in May 1606, despite lack of any evidence that he was a conspirator. 

Father Henry Garnet, SJ was executed by hanging, drawing, and quartering on May 3, 1606. Catholic spectators at his execution regarded him as a martyr. There was a famous relic--lost during the French Revolution--of a bloodstained husk of straw on which some saw Garnet's image. It's depicted on his portrait above.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Preview: Saints Nicholas Owen and Thomas Garnet, SJ

On Monday, September 21, we'll move on in our Son Rise Morning Show series highlighting the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales to the reign of James I of England who succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603. Anna Mitchell and I will discuss Saint Nicholas Owen, the Jesuit lay brother and Saint Thomas Garnet, SJ, two Jesuits who suffered martyrdom in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.

Catholics in England had hoped for some tolerance and leniency from King James VI of Scotland as he travelled south to take his new throne and crown, uniting the kingdoms of Scotland and England in his personal rule. They were disappointed, however, when he continued to impose the same fines and restrictions on them and some Catholics plotted against the King, his family, and Parliament to murder them, lead an uprising, and place one of James I's daughter on the throne as a figurehead--the Gunpowder Plot, discovered on November 5, 1605. The plotters were either killed as they tried to escape or arrested, tried, and executed for treason, most famous among them, Guy Fawkes, the gunpowder expert.

As a result of this discovered Plot, stricter laws were passed against Catholics and a nation-wide search for Jesuits and other priests began, since the Jesuits were supposed to have contrived in the Plot. Father Henry Garnet, SJ, the uncle of Saint Thomas Garnet, SJ was among those who were executed with the plotters.

Saints Owen and Garnet are among those who were arrested, questioned, and tortured in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot. Saint Nicholas Owen died under torture in the Tower of London on March 22, 1606; Saint Thomas Garnet was hanged, drawn, and quartered on June 23, 1608.

Owen had been captured on January 23, 1606 along with Blessed Edward Oldcorne, Blessed Ralph Ashley, and Father Henry Garnet when they had all finally emerged from their hiding places at Hindlip Hall. The pursuivants who had searched the house for days didn't find them, but the four Jesuits were suffering hunger and thirst. The Jesuits in Britain website notes this about him:

Many of the martyrs of England died very public deaths on the scaffold of Tyburn, but Nicholas died as he had lived; in secret. We have no memorable saying of his to meditate on – his priest holes, which are his wordless prayers, are all that remain. Nicholas in his agonised, furtive death had finished with all concealment and disguises and was welcomed by Campion and all the martyrs into a fellowship where there is no use for human language.

We do, however, have the record of what he said under torture in 1606:

He confesses that he has known and sometimes attended Henry Garnett, the Provincial of the Jesuits for around four years.

He confesses that he was at the house of Thomas Throgmorton called Coughton at the beginning of November last year, when the Lady Digby was there and by the watch that was in town they knew that Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, and the rest of the gun powder plotters were up in arms.

That on All Saints Day last year, Garnett said Mass at Coughton House, and that at that Mass there were around half a dozen people.

That Henry Garnett was at Henlipp, the house of Thomas Abington some six weeks before he was apprehended and Hall the Jesuit was there about three days before the house of Mr Abington was searched.

That while he was staying with Garnett, he made his fire and served him and that both he and Garnett hid in a secret room below the dining room.

As the Jesuit website notes:

There was no new information in these confessions and the authorities lost patience. The tortures became more violent and on the next day, despite a plate they had fitted around Nicholas to prevent the torture further damaging his pre-existing injuries, Nicholas died, quite literally broken apart by the torture.

The authorities were now in an awkward position. Not only had they been torturing illegally an already injured man, but they had murdered him before extracting a confession. A cover up was swiftly arranged with an inquest returning a verdict of suicide.

The cover up was as bad as the crime and Catholics did not believe that Owen would have committed suicide.

Saint Thomas Garnet was not executed as a direct result of the Gunpowder Plot aftermath, but he was arrested, questioned, and tortured in 1605 by the authorities because he was Father Henry Garnet's nephew. They wanted to know more about Henry Garnet's involvement in the Plot. Thomas Garnet was eventually released and exiled in 1606. The Jesuits in Singapore tell Saint Thomas Garnet's early life story on their website:

St. Thomas Garnet was born in 1574 at Southwark, England as the son of an Oxford don. Because Catholic colleges had been turned over to aggressive Protestants, young Thomas went to the continent in 1593 to attend the newly opened Jesuit college at Saint Omer.

Garnet's father Richard Garnet was at Balliol College at Oxford when restrictions were being placed on any students who seemed to be leaning toward Catholicism. The Catholic Encyclopedia praises him: "and by his constancy gave great edification to the generation of Oxford men which was to produce Campion, Persons and so many other champions of Catholicism." Garnet studied at Saint Omer and returned to England in 1595 only because his ship on the way to Valladolid was diverted to the shores of England by a storm. He and his companions were held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, and encouraged to conform to the Church of England. He eventually escaped and returned to the Continent.

Thomas studied for the priesthood at the College at Valladolid in Spain and was ordained in 1599; he returned to England and, as noted above, was caught up in the Gunpowder Plot investigation. When he was exiled in 1606, he and the other priests onboard a ship set for Flanders (Belgium) were warned that they would be executed if they returned to England.

As the College of Saint Alban's in Valladolid describes his last visit to England and his martyrdom:

The following year, however, he returned surreptitiously to England, where he was betrayed for being a priest. In November 1607, he was intensively interrogated for the Protestant Bishop of London by Sir Thomas Wade, the superintendent of the keep and a renowned torturer of priests. However, having refused to answer Wade’s questions nor make the new anti-Catholic oath of loyalty, Father Thomas was moved to the Old Bailey prison.

He refused an opportunity given to him by Catholics to escape, choosing to obey an inner voice that said to him “Noli fuguere”(“Don’t flee”). Condemned for his priesthood, he was stripped, hung, drawn and quartered at the gallows in Tyburn, London on June 23 1608.

Saint Nicholas Owen, pray for us!
Saint Thomas Garnet, pray for us!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Saint Robert Bellarmine and Constitution Day

In the life of a Christian, trusting in God, there are no coincidences. I don't think it's a coincidence that today is the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America  in 1787 (and thus, Constitution Day) and the feast day of Saint Robert Bellarmine, the great scholar and Cardinal, patron saint of Catechists. Bellarmine entered Eternal Life on September 17, 1621. As Franciscan Media describes his life:

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. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, “The walls won’t catch cold.”

Among many activities, Bellarmine became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church.

I've posted on Bellarmine's political writings before and as I as post this I'm still reading a discussion of his contributions to the theory of the pope's indirect power in temporal affairs by John Courtney Murray, SJ, published in 1948 in Theological Studies 9 (December), pages 491–535. 

Although Karl Maurer is commenting in this article on Thomas Jefferson's knowledge of Bellarmine's denial of the divine right of kings by reading a book contesting with the Cardinal, it is still appropriate to cite on Constitution Day, since that document providing for the structure of governance in the United States of America was developed to protect liberty and freedom, properly understood and provide for an ordered but not repressive federalist government, with its power derived from the people. 

As the article notes, we know that Jefferson read Robert Filmer's defense of the divine right of kings, Patriarcha: The Naturall Power of Kinges Defended Against the Unnatural Liberty of the People, By Arguments, Theological, Rational, Historical and Legall because he wrote comments in the margins of his copy of the book, now in the Library of Congress:

In Patriarcha, Filmer quotes Bellarmine directly as follows: "Secular or Civil authority (saith he) 'is instituted by men; it is in the people unless they bestow it on a Prince. This Power is immediately in the Multitude, as in the subject of it; for this Power is in the Divine Law, but the Divine Law hath given this power to no particular man. If the Positive Law be taken away, there is left no Reason amongst the Multitude (who are Equal) one rather than another should bear the Rule over the Rest. Power is given to the multitude to one man, or to more, by the same Law of Nature; for the Commonwealth cannot exercise this Power, therefore it is bound to bestow it upon some One man or some Few. It depends upon the Consent of the multitude to ordain over themselves a King or other Magistrates, and if there be a lawful cause, the multitude may change the Kingdom into an Aristocracy or Democracy' (St. Robert Bellarmine, Book 3 De Laicis, Chapter 4). Thus far Bellarmine; in which passages are comprised the strength of all that I have read or heard produced for the Natural Liberty of the Subject." (Patriarcha, page 5.)

Imagine what Jefferson must have been thinking as he read the opening paragraphs of
Patriarcha, a direct assault on the Roman Catholic scholarship of Bellarmine:

"Since the time that school divinity (i.e. Catholic Universities) began to flourish, there hath been a common opinion maintained as well by the divines as by the divers of learned men which affirms: 'Mankind is naturally endowed and born with freedom from all subjection, and at liberty to choose what form of government it please, and that the power which any one man hath over others was at the first by human right bestowed according to the discretion of the multitude.' This tenet was first hatched in the (Medieval Roman Catholic Universities), and hath been fostered by all succeeding papists for good divinity. The divines also of the reformed churches have entertained it, and the common people everywhere tenderly embrace it as being most plausible to flesh and blood, for that it prodigally distributes a portion of liberty to the meanest of the multitude, who magnify liberty as if the height of human felicity were only to be found in it — never remembering that the desire of liberty was the cause of the fall of Adam."

There is no doubt that Jefferson, after reading Filmer, must have been struck by Bellarmine's definition of individual freedom and popular sovereignty.
. . .

Please read the rest there.

Happy Constitution Day!
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Francis Parkman, Jr. on the Jesuits and Freedom

The American historian Francis Parkman, Jr. was born on September 16, 1823 and died on November 8, 1893. He is best known for his work The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life (1849) and his seven-volume work France and England in North America (1865–1892). He's also known for his opposition to Women's Suffrage and indeed the extension of suffrage to anyone other than white males.

His interpretation of the colonial era as both England and France settled in North America has been challenged for its anti-Catholicism, as in this biography by W.J. Eccles in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography:

Parkman brought to his study of the French and British empires in North America certain preconceived beliefs and a priori assumptions that gave his work cohesion but resulted in a depiction of colonial society and events that bears little relation to fact. His work perhaps compares best to that of his contemporary, George Alfred Henty, the British writer of jingoistic historical novels for a juvenile audience. The British have long since shrugged off Henty, but the Americans, and many Anglo-Canadians, cling to Parkman’s version of their history. The past he judged by the values of a mid-19th-century Boston Brahmin, which, of course, he was. He believed, fervently, in the concept of progress, in American manifest destiny, and in the inevitability of the British conquest of New France since that last had been essential to ensure the subsequent independence of the United States. Thus he committed the mortal sin for a historian: because it happened, it therefore had to happen.

Britain’s struggle with France in the colonial wars was, to him, a Manichæan conflict between the forces of light and of darkness: between the fledgling American nation, representing progress and Anglo-Saxon Protestant liberty, and New France, embodying Roman Catholic absolutism. As Parkman put it in Montcalm and Wolfe (1884): “It was the strife, too, of the past against the future . . . of barren absolutism against a liberty, crude, incoherent, and chaotic, yet full of prolific vitality.” Thus the New Englanders were possessed of an “uncommon vigor, joined to the hardy virtues of a masculine race.” The Canadians, on the other hand, exhibited serf-like subordination to their feudal lords: brave soldiers and explorers, certainly, but foreordained to give way before the disciples of progress. This basic concept gave his works the dramatic force of a Greek tragedy.

Yet Parkman was no believer in democracy and he spoke out vigorously against it. He regarded the granting of the suffrage to the lower classes, white or black, as “the most dangerous enemy of liberal government.” He was also bitterly opposed to women’s suffrage and the temperance movement. With the anti-slavery movement he had no sympathy. He was an ardent proponent of what came to be known as Social Darwinism. Nothing succeeds like success, and success is justification enough of the means used to achieve it.

If one believed in the "cancel culture" of our era, one could say that the Society for American Historians should stop awarding the Francis Parkman Prize for the best work of American History each year because of these ideas. He was a man of his era, obviously--the real problem that Eccles cites is that Parkman may misused primary sources, especially in French, because of his lack of facility in that language--and his works may be more suitably admired for their style, but not for their substance.

Just a dip into his second volume of France and England in North America, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century, displays the common animus of Protestant America against Catholic authority and those who represent it, including the French of the colonial era:

From the Preface

Few passages of history are more striking than those which record the efforts of the earlier French Jesuits to convert the Indians. Full as they are of dramatic and philosophic interest, bearing strongly on the political destinies of America, and closely involved with the history of its native population, it is wonderful that they have been left so long in obscurity. While the infant colonies of England still clung feebly to the shores of the Atlantic, events deeply ominous to their future were in progress, unknown to them, in the very heart of the continent. It will be seen, in the sequel of this volume, that civil and religious liberty found strange allies in this Western World.

And from the last chapter, "The End":

With the fall of the Hurons, fell the best hope of the Canadian mission. They, and the stable and populous communities around them, had been the rude material from which the Jesuit would have formed his Christian empire in the wilderness; but, one by one, these kindred peoples were uprooted and swept away, while the neighboring Algonquins, to whom they had been a bulwark, were involved with them in a common ruin. The land of promise was turned to a solitude and a desolation. There was still work in hand, it is true,—vast regions to explore, and countless heathens to snatch from perdition; but these, for the most part, were remote and scattered hordes, from whose conversion it was vain to look for the same solid and decisive results. . . .

The cause of the failure of the Jesuits is obvious. The guns and tomahawks of the Iroquois were the ruin of their hopes. Could they have curbed or converted those ferocious bands, it is little less than certain that their dream would have become a reality. Savages tamed—not civilized, for that was scarcely possible—would have been distributed in communities through the valleys of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, ruled by priests in the interest of Catholicity and of France. Their habits of agriculture would have been developed, and their instincts of mutual slaughter repressed. The swift decline of the Indian population would have been arrested; and it would have been made, through the fur-trade, a source of prosperity to New France. Unmolested by Indian enemies, and fed by a rich commerce, she would have put forth a vigorous growth. True to her far-reaching and adventurous genius, she would have occupied the West with traders, settlers, and garrisons, and cut up the virgin wilderness into fiefs, while as yet the colonies of England were but a weak and broken line along the shore of the Atlantic; and when at last the great conflict came, England and Liberty would have been confronted, not by a depleted antagonist, still feeble from the exhaustion of a starved and persecuted infancy, but by an athletic champion of the principles of Richelieu and of Loyola.

Liberty may thank the Iroquois, that, by their insensate fury, the plans of her adversary were brought to nought, and a peril and a woe averted from her future. They ruined the trade which was the life-blood of New France; they stopped the current of her arteries, and made all her early years a misery and a terror. Not that they changed her destinies. The contest on this continent between Liberty and Absolutism was never doubtful; but the triumph of the one would have been dearly bought, and the downfall of the other incomplete. Populations formed in the ideas and habits of a feudal monarchy, and controlled by a hierarchy profoundly hostile to freedom of thought, would have remained a hindrance and a stumbling-block in the way of that majestic experiment of which America is the field.

The Jesuits saw their hopes struck down; and their faith, though not shaken, was sorely tried. The Providence of God seemed in their eyes dark and inexplicable; but, from the stand-point of Liberty, that Providence is clear as the sun at noon. Meanwhile let those who have prevailed yield due honor to the defeated. Their virtues shine amidst the rubbish of error, like diamonds and gold in the gravel of the torrent.

But now new scenes succeed, and other actors enter on the stage, a hardy and valiant band, moulded to endure and dare,—the Discoverers of the Great West.

Those passages also exemplify the power of Parkman's style, which Eccles acknowledges while warning the reader against falling under its spell. This is exactly the view of American Freedom against Catholic Authority described in Maura Jane Farrelly's Anti-Catholicism in America! Parkman had obviously grown up with this view and was never challenged.

More on Francis Parkman's The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century here and here from The Dawson Newsletter, via EWTN.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Vespers Hymn for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

I admit that when I read the first line of this hymn for the Vespers (Evening Prayer) for today's feast, I had to read it again: "Iam toto subitus vesper eat polo"--"eat polo"?!?!?

Iam toto subitus vesper eat polo,
Et sol attonitum præcipitet diem,
Dum sævæ recolo ludibrium necis,
Divinamque catastrophen.

Spectatrix aderas supplicio parens,
Malis uda, gerens cor adamantinum:
Natus funerea pendulus in cruce
Altos dum gemitus dabat.

Pendens ante oculos Natus, atrocibus
Sectus verberibus, Natus hiantibus
Fossus vulneribus, quot penetrantibus
Te confixit aculeis!

Heu! sputa, alapæ, verbera, vulnera,
Clavi, fel, alœ, spongia, lancea,
Sitis, spina, cruor, quam varia pium
Cor pressere tyrannide!

Cunctis interea stas generosior
Virgo martyribus: prodigio novo,
In tantis moriens non moreris parens,
Diris fixa doloribus.

Sit summæ Triadi gloria, laus, honor,
A qua suppliciter, sollicita prece,
Posco virginei roboris æmulas
Vires rebus in asperis. Amen.

According to this website, this hymn dates to the eighteenth century:

Office hymn that was historically sung, first at Matins, subsequently at Vespers, on the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Its composition is ascribed to Callisto Palumbella, a bishop of the 18th century, who was a member of the Servites, and to whom the feast had been granted in 1688. The meter is minor asclepiadic in the first three lines of each strophe and glyconic in the fourth line. Within the space of its six stanzas the hymn details the sufferings of Christ upon the cross and stresses their effect on His Mother.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that Father Edward Caswall of the Oratory translated this hymn into English:

Come, darkness, spread o’er Heav’n thy pall,
And hide, O sun, thy face;
While we that bitter death recall,
With all its dire disgrace.

And thou, with tearful cheek, wast there;
But with a heart of steel,
Mary, thou didst his moanings hear,
And all his torments feel.

He hung before thee crucified;
His flesh with scourgings rent;
His bloody gashes gaping wide;
His strength and spirit spent.

Thou his dishonour’d countenance,
And racking thirst, didst see;
By turns the gall, the sponge, the lance,
Were agony to thee.

Yet still erect in majesty,
Thou didst the sight sustain ;—
Oh, more than Martyr! not to die
Amid such cruel pain!

Praise to the blessed Three in One;
Oh, may that strength be mine,
Which, sorrowing o’er her only Son,
Did in the Virgin shine!

And if you would like a beautiful image of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I recommend this one from Cedars & Stars!

More about this feast here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

This Morning: Saint John Rigby and Saint Anne Line

Just a reminder that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central to continue our series on the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Matt Swaim and I will discuss Saint John Rigby and Saint Anne Line.

Please listen live here on the Sacred Heart Radio website; the podcast will be archived here; the segment will be repeated on Friday next week during the EWTN hour of the Son Rise Morning Show (from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. Eastern/5:00 to 6:00 a.m. Central).

Saints Rigby and Line are the last two martyrs from the reign of Elizabeth I among the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Her reign ended in 1603.

Saint John Rigby was martyred, not at Tyburn, but at St. Thomas Waterings or St. Thomas-a-Watering on the Old Kent Road. The St. Thomas in the name is St. Thomas a Becket, and the Old Kent Road was on the way to Canterbury and St. Thomas a Becket's shrine. Chaucer's pilgrims stop at the spring. As this website explains:

Set on a former route for pilgrims visiting Canterbury, St Thomas-a-Watering on Old Kent Road gets its name from a spring that emerges at this spot dedicated to St Thomas a Becket.

St Thomas-a-Watering became a well-known site for the execution of Catholics and dissenters during the reformation.

In 1539, Griffith Clerke, Vicar of Wandsworth, along with three others, thought to be Catholic friars, were hanged and quartered on this site. Wales’s most famous Protestant martyr, John Penry was also executed at St Thomas-a-Watering in 1593, for doing little more than ‘issuing strong words of warning’ against the then Queen Elizabeth and her bishops.

Many more executions of common criminals took place right up until 1740, when a father and son were hanged for murder.

Note that the website leaves out St. John Jones, Rigby's confessor, Rigby, and Blessed John Pibush, also martyred at St. Thomas-a Waterings. Because of the site's location on the old route to the former shrine of a great Catholic saint, it must have seemed an appropriate place for executing Catholics.

Here's the mention of St. Thomas-a-Watering at the end of the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales:

Amorwe, whan that day gan for to sprynge,
Up roos oure Hoost and was oure aller cok,
And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok;
And forth we riden, a litel moore than paas,
Unto the wateryng of Seint Thomas;
And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste,
And seyde, "Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste:
Ye woot youre foreward and I it yow recorde. . . .

Saint Anne Line is also thought to have a literary connection: to William Shakespeare's poem "The Phoenix and the Turtle"(dove). Several critics have thought that Saint Anne Line and her husband Roger are being commemorated in the funeral for the lovers in that poem:

Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they lov'd, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.

Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen;
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight:
Either was the other's mine.

If Shakespeare remembered a Catholic martyr and her exiled Catholic husband in a poem, it lends credence to those who suggest that the Bard of Avon was, if not a practicing Recusant Catholic, at least a Church Papist, outwardly conforming while secretly remaining a Catholic.

Saint John Rigby, pray for us!
Saint Anne Line, pray for us!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Preview: Saints John Rigby and Anne Line

After our Labor Day holiday hiatus, I'll be back on the Son Rise Morning Show on Monday, September 14 (the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross) to talk about two more of the 40 Martyrs of England Wales, Saint John Rigby (1600) and Saint Anne Line (1601). Both of these lay martyrs had returned to the Catholic Church: Rigby was born and raised a Catholic and had attended Church of England services for a time but then stopped and went back to the practice of his Catholic faith--he would be called a revert. Line was a convert (along with her husband and brother) and had been denounced and renounced by her family.

St. John Rigby was martyred on June 21, 1600, was found guilty of being a convert to Catholicism. He denied that he was a convert, however, maintaining that he had been born and raised a Catholic. For a time he went to Church of England services to avoid paying the recusancy fines. He had been admonished by the Franciscan missionary priest, John Jones, had confessed, and been reconciled, so that was enough for the authorities:

Rigby was born circa 1570 at Harrock Hall, Eccleston, near Chorley, Lancashire, the fifth or sixth son of Nicholas Rigby, by his wife Mary (née Breres). In 1600 Rigby was working for Sir Edmund Huddleston, whose daughter Mrs. Fortescue was summoned to the Old Bailey for recusancy. Because she was ill, Rigby appeared for her, was compelled to confess his Catholicism, and sent to Newgate. The next day, the feast day of St Valentine, he signed a confession saying that since he had been reconciled to the Roman Catholic faith by Saint John Jones, a Franciscan priest, he had not attended Anglican services. He was sent back to Newgate and later transferred to the White Lion. Twice he was given the chance to recant, but twice refused. His sentence was carried out. He gave the executioner who helped him up to the cart a piece of gold, saying, "Take this in token that I freely forgive thee and others that have been accessory to my death." Rigby was executed by hanging [drawing and quartering] at St Thomas Waterings on June 21, 1600.

Saint John Jones, the priest who had reconciled Rigby, had suffered execution at the same place Rigby had died, St Thomas Waterings, two years earlier, on July 12, 1598.

As the Diocese of Shrewsbury reports his execution, it was brutal:

He kissed the rope as it was put around his neck and turned to address the crowd a final time. He was interrupted by the Sheriff’s deputy who asked him: “What traitors does thou know in England?”

“God is my witness, I know none,” was the saint’s reply.

The cart was sharply drawn away and the deputy ordered the hangman to cut down St John just moments later.

A young and healthy man, St John stood upright on his feet, startled but fully conscious. He was then thrown to the floor by his executioners, and was heard to say aloud: “God forgive you. Jesus receive my soul.”

The brutality with which he was butchered shocked many in a crowd inured to spectacles of cruelty. St John was held down by his arms and legs and a man, described as a porter, stood on his throat while he was disembowelled in full consciousness. As one of the executioners reached for his heart, he thrust off the others with his arms. They cut off his head and quartered him, disposing of the parts of his body throughout Southwark.

“The people, going away, complained very much of the barbarity of the execution,” wrote Bishop Challoner, in
Memoirs of Missionary Priests, “and generally all sorts bewailed his death.”

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, even though she was ill, but 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 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!

She was hanged to death at Tyburn in London on February 27 and repeated her statement from court before her execution: "I am sentenced to die for harboring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand." Two priests, Father Roger Filcock and Father Mark Barkworth, paid tribute to her before their own executions, drawn, hung, and quartered. 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.”

Saint John Rigby, pray for us!
Saint Anne Line, pray for us!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Book Review: "Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860"

This book, published by Cambridge University Press in 2017, is an episodic history of aspects of Anti-Catholicism in the British American Colonies and the United States of America from the year after The New York Times says our history begins until the year before the Civil War begins. According to the publisher:

Using fears of Catholicism as a mechanism through which to explore the contours of Anglo-American understandings of freedom, Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620–1860 reveals the ironic role that anti-Catholicism played in defining and sustaining some of the core values of American identity, values that continue to animate our religious and political discussions today. Farrelly explains how that bias helped to shape colonial and antebellum cultural understandings of God, the individual, salvation, society, government, law, national identity, and freedom. In so doing, Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620–1860 provides contemporary observers with a framework for understanding what is at stake in the debate over the place of Muslims and other non-Christian groups in American society.
  • Uses anti-Catholicism as an opportunity to explore the various Protestant groups - Puritans and Pilgrims - that were dominant on the colonial and early-American landscape
  • Shows how anti-Catholicism was both an expression of, and an abandonment of, the dominant values of the colonial and early-American period
  • Provides a useful distillation of the narrative on anti-Catholicism in early America, while citations point them to the pertinent historiography
Please note that I purchased my copy of this book.

Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860 received excellent advance praise and this review provides an effective precis of the book. The book is very neatly designed with each chapter titled with a contemporary quotation for the topic addressed, a vignette or example of the issues involved in each chapter, and a chapter overview and a chapter conclusion and notes following:

Table of Contents


1. "It Hath Been Found Inconsistent with the Safety and Welfare of this Protestant Kingdom": Anti-Catholicism in Old England and New

  • Chapter Overview,
  • The Reformation Briefly Considered
  • Protestantism, Briefly Considered
  • English Protestantism, Briefly Considered
  • [NOTE: NO "Catholicism, Briefly Considered"]
  • Calvinism and Liberty
  • The Dominion of New England and the Protestant Interest
  • The Power of Print and the Protestant Interest
  • Chapter Conclusion
  • Notes
2. "This Province is God be Thanked very Peaceable and Quiet": Anti-Catholicism and Colonial Catholics in the Seventeenth Century
  • Chapter Overview
  • The English Origins of Colonial America's Catholics
  • The Catholic Calverts and the Puzzle of Anti-Catholicism
  • Calvert's Early (and Unsuccessful) Strategy for Peace
  • The Anti-Catholic Origins of Religious Toleration
  • The Demise of the Catholic Calverts and the Rise of Contractarian Government
  • Chapter Conclusion 
  • Notes
3. "The Common Word Then Was: 'No King, No Popery'": Anti-Catholicism and the American Revolution
  • Chapter Overview
  • The Rhetorical Power of Popery
  • Maryland's Revolutionary Reluctance
  • Curbing the Growth of Popery
  • Catholic Constitutionalism in Eighteenth Century Maryland
  • Catholic Discourse in a Secular Context
  • Chapter Conclusion
  • Notes
4. "The Catholic Religion is Modified by the Spirit of the Time in America": Anti-Catholicism and the New Republic
  • Chapter Overview
  • Liberty, Not Toleration
  • Religious Liberty in the States
  • American Gets a Catholic Bishop
  • Catholic Republicanism
  • Lay Trusteeism in Philadelphia
  • Chapter Conclusion
  • Notes
5. "Those Now Pouring in Upon us . . . are Wholly of Another Kind in Morals and Intellect": Anti-Catholicism in the Age of Immigration
  • Chapter Overview
  • Unitarians React to the Convent Burning (Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1834)
  • The Bible(s) and the Schools
  • The Philadelphia Bible Riots
  • The Impact of the Publishing Industry
  • Chapter Conclusion
  • Notes
6. "The Benumbing and Paralyzing Influence of Romanism is such, as to Disqualifying a Person for the Relish and Enjoyment of Liberty": Anti-Catholicism and American Politics
  • Chapter Overview
  • Catholics, Abolitionists, and Slavery
  • The Regional Nature of Anti-Catholicism: The South
  • The Regional Nature of Anti-Catholicism: The West
  • Nativism and Politics
  • Chapter Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Notes

As I noted above, this is an episodic discussion and analysis of anti-Catholicism in the Colonial, early Republic, and pre-Civil War eras--and I'm not sure that the disparate parts of this analysis add up to a comprehensive or comprehensible whole. Farrelly never analyses Catholic political thought: she quotes Robert Cardinal Bellarmine once and never mentions his disagreements with King James I on the Divine Right of Kings, with his support of the sovereignty of the people and their right to consent to be governed and other Catholic ideas about freedom, the "two swords" of secular and religious governance, etc. She grants the ideas of the defenders of the "Protestant Interest" complete sway and never presents an opposing view from any Catholic defender. 

On a scale of one to five, I'd give it a three and a half. Some interesting analysis, good notes--I wish there was a bibliography or list of works for further reading--and a good organization structure, if episodic. I did find a book in the notes to order because I do not know that much about the "Dominion of New England" efforts of Charles I and James II to maintain control of the colonies: The Glorious Revolution in America by David S. Lovejoy (The Wesleyan University Press edition of 1987).

I wonder if Farrelly will continue the history of anti-Catholicism through to the twentieth century. I rather hope not. You might recall that I read and reviewed her book Papist Patriots: The Making of American Catholic Identity (Oxford University Press, 2012) here and here. I appreciate Farrelly's historical narrative more than her sociological/political theorizing.