In 1886, Pope Leo XIII beatified 54 martyrs, including Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, later canonized in 1935, and 11 others who were canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI; he also declared 29 English Catholic martyrs to be Venerable (several of these martyrs had died in chains, that is, is prison or because of their treatment in prison). These Venerable Martyrs were not included among those beatified in 1895, 1929, or 1987.
The stages of a Cause for Canonization in the Catholic Church are indicated by the title granted the proposed saint along the way: 1) Servant of God; 2) Venerable; 3) Blessed; and 4) Saint. For example, Archbishop Sheen is still at the Venerable, although the miracle needed for his Beatification was approved a couple of years ago; Chaplain Emil Kapaun of my home diocese is a Servant of God.
On Monday, July 19, I'll tell the story of one of these martyrs, the Observant Franciscan, Venerable Anthony Brookby, on the Son Rise Morning Show--at my usual time, 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern. Please listen live here on EWTN Radio's website or on your local EWTN radio affiliate.
Venerable Anthony Brookby was strangled to death, secretly in prison, 484 years ago on July 19, 1537 after enduring horrible torture in Newgate Prison. He had been Professor of Divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford, teaching theology and well-versed in Latin, Greek and Hebrew (signs that he was a Christian humanist in the mold of Bishop John Fisher, Erasmus, More and others). So how did he end up a martyr? Because he, like others in his house, opposed Henry VIII's actions in the King's Great Matter--and he remonstrated with Henry publicly in his sermons.The Observant Franciscans had one of their friaries next door to the Tudor palace on the Thames, the Palace of Placentia, also known as Greenwich Palace (pictured above), now the location of the Royal Navy College and the Greenwich Observatory (up the hill!) Their chapel served almost as the Royal parish although there was a chapel in the palace, some ruins of which were discovered in 2005:
Henry VIII, in 1513, wrote from his palace of Greenwich to Leo X that he could not sufficiently commend the Observant Friars' strict adherence to poverty, their sincerity, charity and devotion. No Order battled more assiduously against vice, and none were more active in keeping Christ's fold.