Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thomas Arne (RIP) and His Sister, Mrs. Cibber

For those who love irony (and who doesn't?) consider that Thomas Arne, composer of the ultimate John Bull, "sun doesn't set on the British empire", patriotic tune, "Rule, Britannia!" AND the British national anthem, "God Save the King/Queen" was a "Roman" Catholic in eighteenth century England. He was born on March 12, 1710 and died on March 5, 1778 (he is buried in St. Paul's Church at Covent Garden, the so-called "Actors' Church"where he was also baptized.) This baptism and burial reflects the restrictions on Catholics dating from the penal laws passed during the reign of James Ist. In 1778, George III signed the first Catholic Relief Act, which removed some restrictions and required a new oath of loyalty.

Because he was a Catholic, Arne could not obtain any royal posts or of course write for the Church of England. Arne was also a Freemason, when Pope Clement XII had forbidden Catholics to be Freemasons in 1738, so that's a conundrum. He became a great contributor to English stage music:

Arne went on to compose such operas as "Rosamund" (1733), "Tom Thumb" (1733), "Comus" (1738), "Judith" (1761), "Artaxerxes the Great" (1763), "The Fairy Queen" (1771), and "Caractacus" (1775), as well as the oratorio "The Death of Abel" (1744), and "Four Symphonies" (1767). Working for the Drury Lane Theatre in the 1740's, he also wrote incidental music for several Shakespeare plays, including "As You Like It", "Twelfth Night", "The Merchant of Venice", "The Tempest", "Love's Labour's Lost", and "Romeo and Juliet". "The Masque of Althred" (1740), featuring "Rule, Brittania!", was first performed at Frederick, the Prince of Wales's summer home, Cliveden. The lyrics for "Rule, Britannia!" are by James Thomson:

When Britain first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."


It always closes the annual Proms with quite enthusiastic audience participation. In Music and Monarchy, David Starkey noted that Arne wrote both "Rule, Britannia" and "God Save the King" in the midst of conflict between George II and his estranged son, Frederick the Prince of Wales (who was the father of King George III). Arne wrote "Rule, Britannia" for Frederick as part of a masque honoring King Alfred the Great and supporting the expansion of the British Navy, and then wrote "God Save the King" to support George II.

While noting the anniversary of his death, it's also important to remember that his sister was a very popular singer and actress (and his son would also compose for the theater--seemed to run in the family). Susannah Maria (Arne) Cibber was also involved in some scandal with her husband and a gentleman boarder they had taken in to supplement their income. She continued to perform and was the contralto soloist for the 1742 premiere of Handel's Messiah. The legend is that when the chancellor of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin heard her sing "He was despised" he proclaimed, "Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!" Here is Kathleen Ferrier singing the same aria:


When Susannah Cibber died in 1766, the Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres closed their doors for the day--just as Broadway in New York dims its lights when a great stage star dies. 

On a less exalted note, Thomas Arne also wrote the music for "A-Hunting we will go":

A-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go
(Heigh-ho, the derry-o, a-hunting we will go
A-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go)
We'll catch a fox and put him in a box
And then we'll let him go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Butterfield's Whig Interpretation of History

This is the book I'd ordered at Eighth Day Books--Butterfield's famous analysis of The Whig Interpretation of History.

It seems that many of the books I've been reading lately--from Chesterton's The Well and the Shallows, to a novel my husband just got me started on (Michael O'Brien's Father Elijah) and even Newman's "The Second Spring" sermon I quoted from on Monday--are talking about progress. What is progress? When or how do we know that we have progressed? What if we doubt that we have progressed at all?

The whig method of writing history, as Butterfield describes it, is all about the historian accepting our current state as progress and then interpreting the past as the prelude to the progress we've achieved. It's reading the past through the lens of the present and using the present to find signs of the progress we've achieved in the past.

This kind of history always assumes that we have achieved greater moral clarity, more civilized forms of government and legislation, a freer society, etc--and therefore we can look back on the past to point out moral failures and crimes. It does not try to understand the past but identify those people or events that aided the progress that has created our morally superior world and also those that tried to hold back progress.

Butterfield uses the example of Reformation History under the whig theory throughout his essay: Protestantism defeated Catholicism and so now we have a better world. If Catholicism had won, we would be stuck in the Middle Ages, because of course the Catholic Church would always have prevented progress! It would have always been against science, freedom, development of peoples, etc. One might almost think that Butterfield was a Catholic from the way he defends the Catholic Church from this view of history, but no, he was a Methodist.

What Butterfield proposes for the historian to do is find out and tell--like a travel guide for people who will never travel to the places she describes--what life was like in the past. He wants the historian to describe the past, not judge it for its influence on the present.

According to this article from First Things, Lord John Acton was Butterfield's target:

In this respect, Butterfield found particular fault in the writings of Lord Acton, a historian whom he otherwise greatly admired, but against whom much of the argumentative force of Whig Interpretation was directed. That Acton was himself a notable member of that shrinking band of believing Christian historians, and a Catholic to boot, and that Butterfield himself was a Whig by default, only adds further ironies to the mix.

The tendencies Butterfield resisted were illustrated in Acton’s 1895 inaugural address on assuming the Regius chair. In that address, Acton issued a rebuke to one of the chief characteristics of historicism: its insistence on confining the historian’s moral judgment to the specific historical contexts in which the actions under review took place. Acton embraced historicism as a method but drew a line against its tendency toward relativism. Instead, he offered a ringing defense of the historian as moral arbiter, urging his audience “never to debase the moral currency or lower the standard of rectitude, but try others by the final maxim that governs your own lives, and to suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty which history has the power to inflict on wrong.”

In other words, as we might say today, the historian should not hesitate to impose his values on the past. And Acton was in no doubt about the general direction of history’s movement: “I hope . . . this will aid you to see that the action of Christ who is risen on mankind whom he redeemed fails not, but increases; that the wisdom of divine rule appears not in the perfection but in the improvement of the world; and that achieved liberty is the one ethical result that rests on the converging and combined conditions of advancing civilization. Then you will understand what a famous philosopher said, that History is the true demonstration of Religion.”

While Butterfield was thinking of Acton when he wrote this, I was thinking of Thomas Cahill as I read it. He seems to be our time's great Whig historian. As he writes his "Hinges of History" series, he is, as one reviewer said of the latest volume, on the Renaissance and the Reformation, writing about the past to find traces of the present. The book is

essentially a search through history for characters presenting features that appear “modern” to the searcher. He then provides lively biographical vignettes that emphasize these features, and (as it were) announces—“Voila, modernity in the Renaissance (or Reformation).” . . . In the end, Heretics and Heroes is not an attempt to understand, or explain, the past from the perspective of the people of the past. It is a history of progress towards us, or, rather, towards those of us who are truly modern, in the right way. It is a peculiar kind of hagiographical enterprise—the scouring of history to find the people that are most like us. 

The First Things article points out some of the weaknesses of Butterfield's study, but with books like Heretics and Heroes still around, it's clear that we need to be reminded of its lessons.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Newman the Model of Rhetoric and Style

On the last day of February, 2015 it was snowing in Wichita. We shoveled the snow off our driveway (partially), filling the truck bed and drove off in a more roadworthy vehicle to Eighth Day Books. A book I'd ordered had arrived. The wily proprietor at EDB, our friend Warren told me about some used books recently obtained, Longmans' editions of Newman. We took our free coffee upstairs and I found the volumes Warren mentioned--I already had two of them.

One of them, however, was intriguing, so I bought it. It is The Second Spring by Cardinal Newman, Edited by Francis P. Donnelly, SJ, a 1921 printing of the book originally published by Longmans, Green, and Co. on Fourth Avenue & 30th Street, New York (also with offices in London, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras) in 1911. It had been a library book at the St. Joseph Convent of the Sisters of Divine Providence in Perry, Oklahoma. The Sisters of Divine Providence were founded by St. Mother Therese Guerin in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was a French Sister of Providence of Ruillé sur-Loir who came to the United States in the 19th century. There was a Catholic school in Perry, Oklahoma named St. Joseph, but it must have closed (see this facebook page). Evidently when the Perry convent closed it must have come to Wichita because there are stamps for the Mount St. Mary's Convent Library, which is the motherhouse of the Congregation of St. Joseph, fka the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Father Francis P. Donnelly, SJ wrote several books, including some meditations for the Holy Hour. From what I can determine from an online search, he taught and administered at Jesuit colleges in the U.S.A.: Gonzaga and Holy Cross College. His edition of Newman's famous "The Second Spring" sermon, is a rhetoric and composition textbook for high school students. He introduces the sermon, which Newman preached at the first diocesan synod held since the English Reformation, discusses Newman's Ciceronian style and then, after the text of the sermon, provides exercises for the students. He guides them in analyzing the structure of the sermon, each paragraph, selected sentences, and various other aspects of word choice, etc. He assigns themes so the student may treat them as Newman treats the extraordinary reversal of most human history--the Catholic Church in England had been dead; the Catholic Church in England is alive again!

Imagine being a high school student in Perry, Oklahoma--or anywhere else--and being asked to imitate this as a way to form your writing style:

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

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


More about the book I went to Eighth Day Books to purchase tomorrow. That's me outside the front door of Eighth Day Books, bag full of books in hand.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy 203rd Birthday to A.W.N. Pugin

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was born on March 1, 1812 in London. His parents were emigres from the French Revolution and his father, Augustin Pugin was an architect. He set his son to drawing Gothic buildings. His interest in Gothic architecture led him to study the Catholic faith and A.W. N. Pugin joined the Catholic Church in 1835.

On the Continent, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc's career is roughly coterminous with Pugin's and both contributed to the revival of Gothic architecture. Viollet-le-Duc was more interested in restoration of Gothic cathedrals, churches, and castles throughout France. Pugin was convinced that Gothic was THE style for Christian buildings. He wanted not only to design churches and cathedrals in the Gothic style but to furnish them and decorate them throughout--designing every aspect of the building. Unfortunately, his patrons did not always have the money necessary to complete all that work.

When the Catholic hierarchy was restored in 1850 after emancipation in 1829, of course, Catholics had to build a new infrastructure: churches, cathedrals, convents, monasteries, schools, and seminaries--there was a lot of work to do! In collaboration with John Talbot, the sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, Pugin designed and built 14 chapels, schools, etc between 1836 and 1848 in Staffordshire. He also worked in Ireland, especially in County Wexford in the late 1830s and throughout the 1840s. He travelled on the Continent, visiting France and the Netherlands, but did not go to Rome until 1847--where the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of the churches disappointed him. (I think there is only one truly Gothic church in Rome, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.)

He was only 40 years old when he died. He suffered from mental illness and tremendous stress--and perhaps syphilis, according to his major modern biographer, Rosemary Hill. His sons Edward Welby and Peter Paul continued his work in their partnership, Pugin and Pugin. E.W. Pugin also died at the age of 40, in 1875 and Peter Paul finished several of his works in progress and maintained the family style.

Gracewing publishes several books by and about Augustus Welby Northmore Putin, including THE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF Pointed or Christian Architecture and AN APOLOGY FOR The Revival of Christian Architecture. The bicentennial of his birthday was celebrated in 2012--find more background on that celebration here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Now that's ICONIC!


I have seen this icon of the 21 Coptic martyrs on many websites, so I assumed the writer of it (that's the term for the artist) wanted it seen widely. This interview on NRO confirms my assumption

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What was your purpose and intention when you painted an icon of the Egyptian Copts martyred last week by the Islamic State? 

TONY REZK: My ultimate purpose was to honor them and the sacrifice that they made. Tertullian, a Christian apologist from the third century, before he joined a non-Orthodox Christian sect, said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” We believe that their martyrdom will help the Church grow stronger. My other purpose was to take out my frustrations on something, as I find that the process of making any kind of art is a relaxing experience.   

LOPEZ: You offer the icon for anyone’s use. Would you or the Coptic Church ever make it available for purchase? Perhaps to raise funds for Copts in Egypt or other persecuted Christians? 

REZK: It is actually in the hands of the Coptic Church in Egypt now. His Grace Bishop Macarius has the high-resolution picture and was given permission to do what he wanted with it. His Grace is the bishop of the El Minya province in Upper Egypt where most of the martyrs were from. I’m still trying to figure out a way to get it out there for all to use.

At the same time I have seen this beautiful icon, representing the martyrs as icons of Jesus, I have read the term "iconic" applied to everything from Wellington boots to Frank Sinatra. Iconic has been called one of the most overused words in many publications, but people just keep on (over)using it. This website discusses the problem and offers some solutions:

Originally, iconic meant “characteristic of an icon” — an image or representation, often of a saint or other sacred personage. The adjective, perhaps aided by marketers and publicists, evolved into an all-purpose term for making people or things seem more important or desirable.

These days, iconic is used to describe just about anything, even commonplace objects. (Prell is an “iconic shampoo,” according to news reports earlier this year.) As the examples above demonstrate, the word has become a tool for exaggeration and is now a cliche. In fact, iconic is often nominated for annual lists of “words that should be banned.”

If something truly merits an accolade, consider such synonyms as celebrated, distinctive, famous, inimitable, legendary, original, peerless, and singular.

These true icons of Jesus have already been honored as saints and martyrs in the Coptic Church and their feast day is February 15. Coptic Martyrs, pray for us! As windows to Jesus, show us the way this Lent!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Filcock, and Barkworth, and Line: Three Martyrs at Tyburn

St. Anne Line was hung and then Blessed Mark Barkworth, OSB and Blessed Roger Filcock were hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on February 27, 1601.

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 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, otherwise 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 hung 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.”

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 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 scepticism, 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.

Barkworth sang, on the way to Tyburn, the Paschal Anthem: "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."

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. 

Barkworth was beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929.

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. Together with Father Mark Barkworth, a Benedictine, he was tied to a hurdle and dragged through the streets to Tyburn. Barkworth was first to be hung, disembowelled and quartered. Filcock had to watch his companion suffer, knowing that he would immediately follow. 


Pope John Paul II beatified him, on the 22nd of November 1987, one among the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

William of Ockham and Henry VIII

The influence of William Tyndale's The Obedience of a Christian Man on Henry VIII's decision to claim England was an Empire and he ruled as supreme in materials spiritual and secular is well known, but an article The Guardian highlights another book Henry and his supporters used to make that claim, by William of Ockham or Occam:

A book which helped changed the course of English history, part of the evidence Henry VIII and his lawyers gathered in the 1530s to help win an annulment from Catherine of Aragon and ultimately to break with Rome, has turned up on the shelves of the magnificent library at Lanhydrock, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall.

The book, a summary of the theories of the medieval philosopher and theologian William of Ockham, has been newly identified by a US scholar and expert on the history of Henry’s library. The book was damaged but escaped destruction in a disastrous fire at the house in 1881, and crucially the fly-leaf survived. It still carries the number 282, written in black ink in the top right-hand corner, which Prof James Carley identified as corresponding with an inventory taken in 1542 of the most important of Henry’s books, five years before the king’s death.


William of Ockham's works bolstered Henry's view that the monarch in his own country, not the Pope in Rome, should have control of ecclesiastical matters. Ockham was a Franciscan friar looking to the protection of The Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV of Bavaria against Pope John XXII, who wanted to change the rule of St. Francis:

Henry’s agents were gathering evidence that could support the move, which may be how the collection of the views of the 14th century priest and philosopher, published in 1495, came to the royal library. Ockham wrote in Latin of the limits of the power of the pope, and the independence of the authority of monarchs. Several pages in the book have key passages marked by secretaries for Henry’s attention, including one crucial section with a heading which translates as: “When it is permitted to withdraw from obedience to the pope”.

In 1532 Henry would begin exactly that process of withdrawal from Rome. In 1533, despite its refusal to annul his first marriage, he married the almost certainly pregnant Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement VII declared that Catherine was still the rightful queen of England, and Henry responded with the Act of Supremacy, establishing himself as the head of the Church of England. The breach with Rome was complete.


I wonder if William of Ockham would have been pleased with this result, since it soon meant the eradication of the Franciscan order, and every other religious order, in England. 

Compromise Failed: An "Appellant" Martyr

Blessed Robert Drury was born in Buckinghamshire in about 1567. He studied at the English College, Rheims, France in 1588, and the English College, Valladolid, Spain in 1590. Ordained at Valladolid in 1593. Returned to England in 1593 to minister to covert Catholics around London, England. He was one of the signers of the loyal address of 31 January 1603 which acknowledged the queen as lawful sovereign on earth, but maintained their loyalty in religious matters to the Pope. When James I came to the throne, the king required them to sign a new oath which acknowledged his authority over spiritual matters. Robert refused, and was arrested in 1606 for the crime of being a priest. He was offered his freedom if he would sign the oath; he declined. Martyred by being hanged, drawn, and quartered on 26 February 1607 at Tyburn, London England. He is one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Blessed Robert Drury attempted to appease Queen Elizabeth and her government as one of the Appellants. Two of the 13 who signed the Protestation of Allegiance would be executed during the reign of James I of England: today's martyr and Blessed Roger Cadwallador (in 1610 on August 27). The Appellants opposed the Jesuit methods of leading the Catholic mission to England and attempted to compromise, pleading a divided but honest loyalty--secular loyalty to Elizabeth's authority as the Queen of England; religious loyalty to Papal authority as the successor to St. Peter. The Appellants also opposed the authority and methods of the Archpriest George Blackwell, whom they thought favored the Jesuit approach. The Jesuit approach, articulated by Father Robert Parsons, was uncompromising: total loyalty to the Roman Pontiff and absolute refusal to adopt public acceptance of the Church of England while remaining privately opposed. The Jesuits would not tolerate Church Papists who attended Anglican services to avoid the fines and imprisonments, for example. The Elizabethan regime took advantage of these disagreements to encourage division among Catholics in England.

Even if Elizabeth I had accepted their appeal for relief to her Catholic subjects, the succession of James VI of Scotland ended this attempt--because he would not compromise, either. He demanded that the Appellants accept his authority over both religious and secular matters with the Oath of Allegiance. Members of the Appellant party were divided over whether they could take James I's new oath. Drury and Cadwallador were arrested and refused to take the oath.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Blessed (then Venerable) Robert Drury:

The results of the address were disappointing; Elizabeth died within three months of its signature, and James I soon proved that he would not be satisfied with any purely civil allegiance. He thirsted for spiritual authority, and, with the assistance of an apostate Jesuit, a new oath of allegiance was drawn up, which in its subtlety was designed to trouble the conscience of Catholics and divide them on the lawfulness of taking it. It was imposed 5 July, 1606, and about this time Drury was arrested. He was condemned for his priesthood, but was offered his life if he would take the new oath. A letter from Father Persons, S.J., against its lawfulness was found on him. The oath declared that the "damnable doctrine" of the deposing power was "impious and heretical", and it was condemned by Pope Paul V, 22 September, 1606, "as containing many things contrary to the Faith and Salvation". This brief, however, was suppressed by the archpriest, and Drury probably did not know of it. But he felt that his conscience would not permit him to take the oath, and he died a martyr at Tyburn, 26 February, 1606-7. A curious contemporary account of his martyrdom, entitled "A true Report of the Arraignment . . . of a Popish Priest named Robert Drewrie" (London, 1607), which has been reprinted in the "Harleian Miscellany", calls him a Benedictine, and says he wore his monastic habitat the execution. But this "habit" as described proves to be the cassock and cap work by the secular clergy. The writer adds, "There were certain papers shown at Tyburn which had been found about him, of a very dangerous and traitorous nature, and among them also was his Benedictine faculty under seal, expressing what power and authority he had from the pope to make men, women, and children here of his order; what indulgence and pardons he could grant them", etc. He may have been a confrater or oblate of the order.

The University of North Carolina Press offers Catholic Loyalism in Elizabethan England by Arnold Pritchard, pictured above in a print-on-demand paperback edition. Pritchard covers the Archpriest Controversy and the divisions between Catholics at the end of Elizabeth I's reign--and the beginning of James I's. (The original hardcover edition from 1979 is still pretty easily available.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Sequence of Music for Lent, St. Joseph, and the Annunciation


I haven't figured out what music on this CD is for St. Joseph, but listening to Miserere on the vigil of the First Sunday of Lent, I appreciated the mixture of plainhant, Renaissance polyphony, and contemporary liturgical music composed at and performed in Westminster Cathedral. Unlike Harry Christopher's The Sixteen, the Westminster Choir has boys singing the soprano parts, and realizing that this choir sings this music in the context of the Mass and not in a concert hall added to the devotional impact for me. Then when we went to Mass on Sunday the choir sang an English translation of the first chant on the CD, "Attende Domine" and everything just fit. The liner notes describe the chant melody thus:

Plainsong exists to solemnify the text that it adorns. Attende, Domine has its origins in the Mozarabic Rite of the tenth century and is one of the more emotionally complex melodies in the literature. It is classified by Solesmes dogma as a Lydian tune, although it is authentically Ionian. On the one hand the chant drives the physical momentum of litaneic procession, while on the other it colours the plangency of Lenten supplication. The aural hook of this hymn of exhortation comprises two consecutively occurring perfect fourths (heard at the beginning of the second phrase of the refrain). This descending medieval solecism occurs to great effect no fewer than eleven times, and since the nineteenth century this chant has beguiled the willing ears of Anglicans as well as those of Roman Catholics, as witnessed by the melody’s prominent inclusion in the English Hymnal of 1906 under the title ‘A Lent Prose’.

It "beguiled [my] willing ears" too!

A Village and The Man in the Wing Chair

From the U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster:

In this #1 international bestseller, a young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way.

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbors, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.

Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn't suspect that she might find love—nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky or would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery, and fireside debate. Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, and lovely company,
The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy, and the search for happiness.

It was cold and snowy on the First Sunday of Lent in Wichita, Kansas. We went to Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and then stopped for lunch. Once back in the house we were in for the day and I read The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. I read it right through the WSU basketball game, two loads of laundry, and letting the dogs out (and in). At least two friends had recommended the book, one lent us his copy, and my husband had already read it.

Although the novel has many delights for any reader, I think that a reader who accepts the worldview of Benedictine monasticism, Thomist philosophy, and Chestertonian paradoxes will fit right in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois and appreciate the awakening that Miss Prudencia Prim needs. While it seems like a love story, The Awakening of Miss Prim is really a conversion story (which would really be the same thing, right?) All of the people living and working in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois have converted, turned away from the modern world of acquisition and pressure to live in a community where leisure and education for children is the center of their activity. Miss Prim discovers that everyone plans their days and their work around the children and their well-being. Each shop is open only about six hours a day during the week and the proprietors, many of them women, manage their businesses to supply the needs of others the village, which is built next door to the Benedictine monastery.

In this interview, the author describes the inspiration for the village:

Many people ask me about the whereabouts of San Ireneo. The village doesn’t exist, it’s an imaginary place, but it’s inspired by the European tradition. Europe was built on small communities near abbeys like the one in the book, with an economy based on craftsmanship, solid families, ancient traditions and a very ordered life, in which each thing was done in its own time. That was the model I drew inspiration from to write the book. And that’s how San Ireneo was born, a place where people’s lives have a human scale and where tradition and culture are understood as treasures. In a world that’s so fast and so noisy, I think that’s what makes many readers ask me whether such a place exists, and wonder where it is.

Catholicism and tradition are in the background throughout the story, but Fenollera does not catechize the reader. Miss Prim receives the catechesis slowly and organically, but the surprise of the novel is that she has to leave the village to understand what she's learn and how to live with it--and at the end she's ready to return and . . . --the author leaves it to us to imagine what Miss Prim does when she goes back to San Ireneo de Arnois to teach school.

I do think she should have named "the Man in the Wing Chair" but then other authors have played games with a main character's identity--Daphne Du Maurier never tells us the second Mrs. DeWinter's first name in Rebecca, and Rose Macaulay famously teases the reader all through The Towers of Trebizond whether the protagonist/narrator is a woman or a man. Perhaps that's not such a flaw, after all.