Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kansas Has Three Local American Chesterton Societies!


While attending the Eighth Day Institute Symposium I was very happy to see Father Robert McElwee and his wife Ginger. Father McElwee is a retired Catholic priest of the Diocese of Wichita--he had been an Episcopalian minister but as a convert to Catholicism was able to become a (married) priest under Pope St. John Paul II's Pastoral Provision. The Pastoral Provision was kind of an antecedent to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Anglican Ordinariate.

I gave Father McElwee a review copy of my book--he later told me that he would read it during Lent (my husband said that's a perfect penance; I love my husband, but . ..). We hope to collaborate some time in the near future when Father can broadcast some "local" programming (right now he's just carrying EWTN's schedule).

Father McElwee has started a Catholic radio station in Southeast Kansas, KOOJ, which stands for Kause of Our Joy, and he and his wife host the local American Chesterton Society group in their home, according to this article:

For the past year and a half, Fr. McElwee, retired priest, and his wife, Ginger, have hosted a Chesterton discussion group on the second Sunday of the month in the living room at their home, 4084 Mt. Carmel Road, Frontenac.

“I’ll do a traditional Latin Mass at 4 p.m. for those who wish to attend it, then around 5 p.m. we have our Chesterton discussion group with food and some adult beverages,” Fr. McElwee said.

“We do designate a book, a chapter of a book, a poem or essay for discussion,” added Michael Ehling, an avid member of the group who assists the priest with it.


They are going to read The Flying Inn at their February and March meetings. Our Greater Wichita group is reading The Well and the Shallows, as I've mentioned--but I'm not sure what the Northeast Kansas group is reading (they meet in Eudora, Kansas). Perhaps we'll all meet up together at the Catholic Culture Conference in Wichita this April, at which Dale Ahlquist will speak!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Prayer for Mary Ward's Beatification

O heavenly Father, Almighty God, I offer up to Thee this day all the holy Masses said throughout the whole Catholic world, to obtain the grace that the Servant of God, Mary Ward, may be publicly acknowledged worthy of Beatification. O Jesus, deign soon to glorify Thy humble servant. Amen.

Venerable Mary Ward, foundress and recusant Catholic, died on January 30, 1645, near York during the English Civil War. Her congregation posts this information about the cycle of paintings that depict her life and journeys:

There are fifty paintings, each 142 x 105 cm, known as the ‘Painted Life of Mary Ward’ that show her spiritual journey. They are displayed in the ‘Mary Ward Hall’ in Augsburg in Germany. Very little information has come down to us as to the origins of the paintings. It is most probable that they were painted by various artists somewhere between Flanders and the Tyrol in the second half of the seventeenth century. There is written evidence that places them in Munich between 1680 and 1717, but how they came to Augsburg is unknown.

The initiative to commission the paintings must have come from Mary Ward’s first companions as the paintings tell the story of her life in considerable detail. Writing her life would have been risky as Mary Ward’s Institute had been condemned by the Church. Commissioning a series of paintings that told the story diminished the risk of ecclesiastical censure – though not entirely. At various times the local bishop ordered their removal from the walls of the Augsburg Convent. During the Second World War the paintings were removed and hidden, and therefore survived the destruction of the Augsburg convent.

The earlier paintings are better artistically than the later ones, and tell the story of Mary Ward’s early life, her vocation and the founding of her institute. Many of the later ones are artistically not remarkable but they contain a series of deep spiritual experiences that are not known from the written sources.

The inscriptions on the paintings are written in German and were most likely added at the end of the seventeenth century after the completion of the pictures.


Then Cardinal Ratzinger referred to one of these paintings in his homily for a Mass celebrating the 400th anniversary of Mary Ward's birth on January 23:

On the page of the booklet for this Mass we see a very lovely picture of the first stage of Mary Ward’s life. The little child has left her bed and taken the first steps towards the open space of life. From her mouth has come her first word, the name of Jesus. One gets the impression that little Mary is following the sound of that word, walking along the trail of that name. Her first steps coincided with her first word. The name Jesus became the path of her life. In fact the many journeys in the life of Mary Ward were made always in the ambit of that name, all her life was a response to the call expressed in the name of Jesus.

King St. Charles the Martyr


The Society of King Charles the Martyr (SKCM) has an elegant website including the announcement of the services in remembrance of Charles I's beheading--which they describe as a martyrdom for the Church of England--held every year at the Banqueting House, Whitehall. The description of the day of this execution begins:

On the morning of 30th January, 1649 Charles awoke early and told his attendant Thomas Herbert, “this is my second marriage day… for before night I hope to be espoused to my blessed Jesus.” The winter weather was so severe that the Thames had frozen over. The King was concerned that the cold would make him shiver giving the appearance of shaking with fear, so he asked as he was dressed to be provided with an extra shirt for warmth (one of these shirts is kept at Windsor Castle and the other at the Museum of London).
William Juxon, Bishop of London, arrived to read Morning Prayer with the King and to administer the Sacrament. The Bishop read the lesson for the day, which was the account of the Passion of Christ. Charles thought that this passage had been especially chosen by the Bishop but was told that it was the proscribed lesson in the Prayer Book for that day. The King found this very reassuring.
At ten o’clock Colonel Hacker told the King that it was time to leave for Whitehall. Charles, Juxon and Herbert were escorted on foot from S.James’s Palace. Two companies of infantry guarded the route. The party was led through the inside of several buildings to avoid the gathering crowds. They passed over the upper floor of the Holbein Gate from where Charles would have seen the scaffold below and then into the Banqueting House.

The website also includes this poem/hymn by John Keble in honor of the king:

First published in 1827 as part of The Christian Year: Thoughts in verse for The Sundays and Holydays Throughout the Year.

“This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” I S.Peter ii. 19

Praise to our Pardoning God! though silent now
The thunders of the deep prophetic sky,
Though in our sight no powers of darkness bow
Before th’ Apostles’ glorious company;

The Martyrs’ noble army is still ours,
far in the North our fallen days have seen
How in her woe the tenderest spirit, towers
For Jesus’ sake in agony serene.

Praise to our God! not cottage hearths alone,
And shades imperious to the proud world’s glare,
Such witness yield: a monarch from his throne
Springs to his Cross and finds his glory there.

Yes: wheresoe’er one trace of thee is found,
As in the sacred land, the shadows fall:
With beating hearts we roam the haunted ground,
Lone battle-field, or crumbling prison hall.

And there are aching solitary breasts,
Whose widow’d walk with thought of thee is cheer’d,
Our own, our royal Saint: thy memory rests
On many a prayer, the more for thee endear’d.

True son of our dear Mother, early taught
With her to worship and for her to die,
Nurs’d in her aisles to more than kingly thought,
Oft in her solemn hours we dream thee nigh.

For thou didst love to trace her daily lore,
And where we look for comfort or for calm,
Over the self-same lines to bend, and pour
Thy heart with hers in some victorious psalm.

And well did she thy loyal love repay:
When all foresook, her Angel still was nigh,
Chain’d and bereft, and on thy funeral way,
Straight to the Cross she turn’d thy dying eye.

And yearly now, before the Martyrs’ King,
For thee she offers her maternal tears,
Calls us, like thee, to His dear feet to cling,
And bury in His wounds our earthly fears.

And Angels hear, and there is mirth in Heaven,
Fit prelude of the joy, when spirits won
Like thee to patient Faith, shall rise forgiven,
And at thy Saviour’s knees thy bright example own.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Tea at Trianon Review: Elizabeth of York

Elena Maria Vidal reviews Alison Weir's biography of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII's queen. To quote:

I found the biography to be inspiring on a spiritual level as well. From earliest child hood, Elizabeth was carefully taught and trained in the practice of her Catholic Faith, being taken to Mass every day and learning to pray the Divine Office. As a little girl she was instilled with a great devotion to Mary which she nourished throughout her life by private devotions and by frequenting the many Marian shrines throughout the kingdom. Elizabeth saw being a queen as participating in the Queenship of the Mother of God. Her accounts show that she was constantly giving gifts to people of every estate, especially those who petitioned her. On the other hand, she was a recipient of gifts from the people, who would send her fruits and preserves (she appeared to have a fondness for cherries), game, wine, cloth, crafts, works of art, books, and anything else that they thought she could use. It seems Elizabeth made herself accessible to the people; she seriously considered their petitions and took the role of intercessor on the behalf of the multitudes. As a young woman she was referred to in a ballad as "Lady Bessy" which shows a certain fond familiarity. (p.145) Many tolerated Henry only because of Elizabeth, and loved her children because they were hers. She was Queen of Hearts, and it is claimed that the playing card is based upon Elizabeth of York.

After the sudden death of her eldest son Prince Arthur, Elizabeth's health began to fail. In spite of her poor health and her last pregnancy, Elizabeth spent the final months of her life traveling around England, praying at various shrines, as well as visiting her Plantagenet sisters and cousins. Weir thinks it might have been because she had finally had a falling out with Henry. (p. 389) It might also be supposed that she was unsettled by the recent confession of James Tyrell, under torture, that he had murdered her brothers at Richard III's command. (p.389) Even though an astrologer had prophesied that she would live to be ninety, it could be that she had a premonition of her own imminent passing. Elizabeth died on her 37th birthday, February 11, 1503, from complications due to childbirth. Her baby Katherine followed her in death. Henry VII had a complete collapse and became a near recluse, so in a way her surviving children, Henry, Margaret and Mary, lost both parents. The future Henry VIII never recovered from losing his beloved mother. Upon the hearing of the death of Elizabeth, Queen Isabel of Castile, who had corresponded with her, wrote to the the Spanish ambassador in England that he was to offer consolation to King Henry, who was "suffering the loss of the Queen his wife, who is in glory." (p.417)

The most tragic and bitter theme that occurs repeatedly throughout the book are in the descriptions of the beautiful shrines and chapels so loved by Elizabeth and endowed by either herself or her husband. Within the next fifty years they were to be destroyed by her son Henry VIII. One can almost be relieved that Elizabeth did not live to be ninety so she did not have to see the destruction of the symbols of her Faith, a Faith which carried her through a tumultuous era and which she valued more than life itself.

Read the rest there. Based on Vidal's strong recommendation, I purchased the book.

The Fossilized Church of England

From Father Dwight Longenecker, with my comments:

Since the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century members of the Church of England have tried to claim that the Church of England was “Catholic”. As a sideline it is interesting to note that for about 350 years before the Oxford Movement the Church of England was quite clear that it was NOT Catholic. They were a Protestant church. They resisted all signs of papacy, Catholic worship or Catholic theology. There were riots if a priest wore a surplice–much less Eucharistic vestments. If a priest put candles on the alter (sic) he could be ousted for being papistical.

Then in the mid nineteenth century John Henry Newman and his chums started to read the church fathers and lurched toward Rome. Newman–who was the brainiest among them followed the logic and became Catholic. Many others remained in the Anglican Church and pretended to be Catholic. Note that during the Ritualist movement that followed the Oxford movement, the response was the same: "There were riots if a priest wore a surplice–much less Eucharistic vestments. If a priest put candles on the alter (sic) he could be ousted for being papistical." Remember Arthur Tooth's arrest and Bishop Edward King's troubles.

When I say they pretended to be Catholic, they did a damned good job of it. They promoted Catholic spirituality. They were expert liturgists. They revived the ancient choral tradition. They built beautiful churches. Or maintained the beautiful Romanesque and Gothic churches and cathedrals built by Catholics before the Reformation that had survived different periods of iconoclasm. They started religious orders, did missionary work, started seminaries and for a hundred years really did seem to be bringing the Church of England around to being Catholic once again.

This passage reminded me of one of the articles we discussed at our Chesterton reading group meeting last Friday, "My Six Conversions: The Religion of Fossils" in The Well and the Shallows. Chesterton writes about six times he could have become Catholic--except that he already had. This first time was when he realized that the Protestant churches were fossils:

The whole point of a fossil is that it is the form of an animal or organism, from which all its own animal or organic substance has entirely disappeared; but which has kept its shape, because it has been filled up by some totally different substance by some process of distillation or secretion, so that we might almost say, as in the medieval metaphysics, that its substance has vanished and only its accidents remain. And that is perhaps the very nearest figure of speech we can find for the truth about the New Religions, which were started only three or four hundred years ago. They are Fossils.

It is easy to see the sense in which they are now dying. But in a much deeper sense, they have long been dead. The extraordinary thing about them was that they really died almost as soon as they were born. And this was due to a fact not always emphasised, but which always strikes me as the most outstanding fact of the mysterious business; the incredible clumsiness of the Reformers. The real Protestant theologians were such very bad theologians. They had an amazing opportunity; the old Church had been swept out of their way, along with many things that were really unpopular, and some things that were deservedly unpopular. One would suppose it was easy enough to set up something that would at least look a little more popular. When they tried to do it, they made every mistake that they could make. They waged an insane war against everything in the old faith that is most normal and sympathetic to human nature; such as prayers for the dead or the gracious image of a Mother of Men. [This reminded me of Sir Kenneth Clark's comments about the Reformation in
Civilisation.] They hardened and fixed themselves upon fads which anybody could see would pass like fashions. Luther lashed himself into a sort of general fury, which obviously could not last; Calvin was logical, but used his logic for a scheme which humanity manifestly would not long find endurable. Perhaps the most successful were those who really had no ideas to offer at all; like the founders of the Anglican Church. They at least did not exasperate human nature; but even they showed the same blindness, in binding themselves instantly to the Divine Right of Kings, which was almost immediately to break down.

According to Chesterton, the founders of Church of England, as a whole, did not make some of the same mistakes the 16th century reformers did: they maintained order and ritual, beauty and devotion--but these are accidents, according to Chesterton's metaphysical analogy. As Father Longenecker notes, the Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England from the 19th century until today have tried to build upon those accidents to claim that their Church was Catholic, somehow a branch of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, and that reunion was somehow possible between the Church of England and the Catholic Church or between the Church of England and the Orthodox Church. With the ordination of female priests and now a female bishop, however, even the accidents are gone--the fossil that remains never really was what they thought it was. Fortunately, for those who seek the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is there to welcome them home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Bodleian Library's Founder Dies

Sir Thomas Bodley died on January 28, 1613. His greatest accomplishment was the restoration of the University of Oxford's library, which had been purged during the reign of Edward VI of all its "papist" volumes, according to the library's website:

Duke Humfrey’s library survived in its original form for just over sixty years; in 1550 it was denuded of its books after a visitation by Richard Cox, Dean of the newly-founded Christ Church. He was acting under legislation passed by King Edward VI designed to purge the English church of all traces of Roman Catholicism, including ‘superstitious books and images’. In the words of the historian Anthony Wood, ‘some of those books so taken out by the Reformers were burnt, some sold away for Robin Hood’s pennyworths, either to Booksellers, or to Glovers to press their gloves, or Taylors to make measures, or to Bookbinders to cover books bound by them, and some also kept by the Reformers for their own use’.

Oxford University was not a wealthy institution and did not have the resources to build up a collection of new printed books to replace those dispersed. In 1556, therefore, the desks were sold, and the room was taken over by the Faculty of Medicine.

The library was rescued by Sir Thomas Bodley (1545–1613), a Fellow of Merton College who had travelled extensively in Europe and had between 1585 and 1596 carried out several diplomatic missions for Queen Elizabeth I. He married a rich widow whose husband had made a fortune from trading in pilchards and, in his retirement from public life, decided, in his own words, to ‘set up my staff at the library door in Oxon; being thoroughly persuaded, that in my solitude, and surcease from the Commonwealth affairs, I could not busy myself to better purpose, than by reducing that place (which then in every part lay ruined and waste) to the public use of students’.


His money was accepted in 1598, and the old library was refurnished to house a new collection of some 2,500 books, some of them given by Bodley himself, some by other donors. A librarian, Thomas James, was appointed, and the library finally opened on 8 November 1602. The first printed catalogue followed in 1605; a new edition of 1620 ran to 675 pages.

In 1610 Bodley entered into an agreement with the Stationers’ Company of London under which a copy of every book published in England and registered at Stationers’ Hall would be deposited in the new library. Although at first the agreement was honoured more in the breach than in the observance, it nevertheless pointed to the future of the library as a comprehensive and ever-expanding collection, different in both size and purpose from the libraries of the colleges. More immediately it imposed an extra strain on space within the building, which was already housing many more books than originally foreseen; new gifts of books made the lack of space ever more acute. So in 1610–12 Bodley planned and financed the first extension to the medieval building, known as Arts End.


The website also includes a link to an illustrated brochure of the library's history and Bodley's crucial role in funding and planning its renewal. One of the library's latest acquisitions is the travelling library of Prince Charles, later King Charles I:

This latest addition to the Bodleian Libraries collection is like a 17th century version of a Kindle. Two red leather cases, designed in the 1970s by Sangorski and Sutcliffe to look like two large books, open up to reveal 59 small volumes covering just about everything that a wealthy educated gentleman would want to read on his travels.

Charles I's travelling library arrived at the Bodleian last week and was acquired through a bequest. The collection of tiny books have gold-tooled bindings and some are believed to have been signed by the Prince himself. Titles include classical texts by the poet Ovid and the philosopher Cicero as well as bibles and religious books such as De Imitatione Christi by Thomas A Kempis.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chesterton is EVERYWHERE!!

There I was, eating lunch and reading a book review in The Wall Street Journal, when I looked up the page and saw:

"Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again." -- G.K. Chesterton

But The WSJ editors did not complete this quotation from The Everlasting Man:

". . . for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

"Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” 

This quotation is from Part 2, Chapter Six, "The Five Deaths of the Faith". The context:

IT is not the purpose of this book to trace the subsequent history of Christianity, especially the later history of Christianity; which involves controversies of which I hope to write more fully elsewhere. It is devoted only to the suggestion that Christianity, appearing amid heathen humanity, had all the character of a unique thing and even of a supernatural thing. It was not like any of the other things; and the more we study it the less it looks like any of them. But there is a certain rather peculiar character which marked it henceforward even down to the present moment, with a note on which this book may well conclude.

I have said that Asia and the ancient world had an air of being too old to die. Christendom has had the very opposite fate. Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a god who knew the way out of the grave. But the first extraordinary fact which marks this history is this: that Europe has been turned upside down over and over again; and that at the end of each of these revolutions the same religion has again been found on top. The Faith is always converting the age, not as an old religion but as a new religion. This truth is hidden from many by a convention that is too little noticed. Curiously enough, it is a convention of the sort which those who ignore it claim especially to detect and denounce. They are always telling us that priests and ceremonies are not religion and that religious organisation can be a hollow sham; but they hardly realise how true it is. It is so true that three or four times at least in the history of Christendom the whole soul seemed to have gone out of Christianity; and almost every man in his heart expected its end. This fact is only masked in medieval and other times by that very official religion which such critics pride themselves on seeing through. Christianity remained the official religion of a Renaissance prince or the official religion of an eighteenthcentury bishop, just as an ancient mythology remained the official religion of Julius Caesar or the Arian creed long remained the official religion of Julian the Apostate. But there was a difference between the cases of Julius and of Julian; because the Church had begun its strange career. There was no reason why men like Julius should not worship gods like Jupiter forever in public and laugh at them forever in private. But when Julian treated Christianity as dead, he found it had come to life again. He also found, incidentally, that there was not the faintest sign of Jupiter ever coming to life again. This case of Julian and the episode of Arianism is but the first of a series of examples that can only be roughly indicated here. Arianism, as has been said, had every human appearance of being the natural way in which that particular superstition of Constantine might be expected to peter out. All the ordinary stages had been passed through; the creed had become a respectable thing, had become a ritual thing, had then been modified into a rational thing; and the rationalists were ready to dissipate the last remains of it, just as they do to-day. When Christianity rose again suddenly and threw them, it was almost as unexpected as Christ rising from the dead. But there are many other examples of the same thing, even about the same time. The rush of missionaries from Ireland, for instance, has all the air of an unexpected onslaught of young men on an old world, and even on a Church that showed signs of growing old. Some of them were martyred on the coast of Cornwall; and the chief authority on Cornish antiquities told me that he did not believe for a moment that they were martyred by heathens but (as he expressed it with some humour) `by rather slack Christians.'

Mark Greengrass' new study of the Reformation era is the latest volume in the Penguin History of Europe series:

Christendom Destroyed describes Europe at a time of overwhelming crisis. At the beginning of the period most of Europe is united under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, by the end of it Europe is burned out, devastated and permanently split by religious dissent - the structure that had provided the framework under which the continent had organized itself for centuries was finished.This extraordinary book is as much about the fate of ordinary people as about the rulers who had to navigate through an exceptionally treacherous time, with all Europeans having to deal with violent, sometimes overwhelming novelty, whether social, spiritual, geographical or political.

Monday, January 26, 2015

TODAY on the Son Rise Morning Show


As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning after the 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central news break to discuss the latest news on the re-burial of Richard III. Listen live here.

As I promised, here are a couple of previous posts:

On the announcement of the plans for Vincent Cardinal Nichols' participation in the ceremonies for Richard III's re-internment in Leicester Cathedral.

William Oddie's thoughts on the announcement of the plans for Vincent Cardinal Nichols' participation in the ceremonies for Richard III's re-internment in Leicester Cathedral--he thinks the Archbishop of Westminster should have required a Catholic burial service for a Catholic king, not an Anglican, ecumenical service with Catholic Mass and prayers held elsewhere:

The point is that he was the last of the Plantagenets and therefore a Catholic King, almost the last (only his usurper remained nominally faithful before the great apostasy): so he ought to be being reinterred in a Catholic cathedral. What is there about that proposition which is even slightly controversial? It may not have been politically doable for our bishops to insist on it: but it is quite clear that the way in which the whole thing is to unfold, with the tacit agreement of the Bishops’ conference, has to be seen as a defeat for the English Catholic Church: it is, in microcosm, a narrative demonstration of our current position within English culture. And I am writing this because someone needs to say that the gruesome ecumenical subservience this indicates ought now to be challenged and repudiated by all English Catholics.

As I noted yesterday, one question is: Should his re-burial be according to his faith and time or England's current religious environment? I think the former.

A Sad Anniversary: The Desecration of Oliver Cromwell's Tomb

From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) comes this review of Lord Charles Spencer's latest book:

On Jan. 26, 1661, in Westminster Abbey, the tomb of Oliver Cromwell was broken open and his corrupted corpse was removed. Four days later, it was ritually hanged and beheaded at Tyburn before thousands of jeering onlookers. Cromwell’s severed head, encased in an iron cage, was then skewered on a pike and erected before the House of Lords. There it remained for a quarter century—an emblem of the wages of treason.

Nearly three years earlier, Cromwell had been interred with stately pomp. During the English Civil War he had commanded the victorious armies of Parliament against King Charles I. He had engineered the king’s public trial for treason and then his execution in 1649, eventually ruling all of Britain as Lord Protector. But this revolution did not survive his death, and in 1660 the monarchy was restored by the king’s eldest son, Charles II. Oliver Cromwell, once lionized by John Milton himself as “our chief of men,” was now the hated ringleader of the regicides.


There has been a great deal written about Charles I; somewhat less about the men who executed him. These regicides are the subject of Charles Spencer’s “Killers of the King.” The ninth earl Spencer, brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, knows a thing or two about monarchy. The sympathies of his book incline against the institution. Perhaps familiarity does breed contempt.

Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I is published by Bloomsbury. It's one thing to charge the living with a crime, another thing entirely to desecrate the dead! Of course, the royalists thought of the king's body as a sacred thing that had been violated, so they responded in kind when they had the power. The reviewer, Jeffrey Collins, professor of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, offers some corrections and context to Lord Spencer's views:

But this narrative of suffering valor is overdrawn. Mr. Spencer portrays Charles II as a “man of vengeance,” goaded on by royalists “baying for blood.” In truth, prudence and insecurity moved the king to moderate his reprisals. As “Killers of the King” itself demonstrates, the regicides’ worst enemies were their old parliamentary allies. Those who had fought Charles I but had avoided his trial were eager to isolate the regicides and sacrifice them as “scapegoats for half the kingdom.” Many of the regicides were captured by former allies who turned in their captives to prove their own conveniently rediscovered royalism.

This cycle of betrayal was ugly but predictable. The regicides had not represented the popular will. They had purged Parliament of their enemies and summarily dissolved the House of Lords; they were the architects of a military coup. Like most revolutionaries, they postured as a vanguard and sacrificed constitutional order to their own sense of heavenly justice. Charles Spencer captures the sincerity and the conviction of the regicides, but he cannot vindicate the justice of their actions. The regicides killed the king, but they could not kill the monarchy. Our capacity, centuries later, to be fascinated by their story is a measure of their failure.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tomorrow on the Son Rise Morning Show


Just so you know ahead of time, I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show tomorrow (Monday) in my usual end of the EWTN show time slot (after the 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central news headline break with Annie Mitchell) to discuss the petition for Richard III's reburial to be with a Catholic Mass! The Catholic Herald posted this on-line story:

Three thousand people have signed a petition calling for Richard III to be given a Catholic burial.

The petition, addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, is being organised by the historians whose efforts led to the king’s remains being found under a car park in Leicester.

Under present plans Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before the Reformation, will be buried at the Anglican cathedral in Leicester on March 26.

But Philippa Langley, leader of the Looking for Richard project, said the burial should take into account Richard III’s Catholic faith.

She said: “It seems this former king and head of state is to be treated as a scientific specimen right up to and including the point at which he is laid in his coffin.”

Dr John Ashdown-Hill, a historian who worked to identify the bones, has also called for a Catholic burial, saying: “There is a lot of evidence that Richard III had a very serious personal faith. If Richard III had not have died, maybe the Anglican church would never have existed.”

You may listen live on your local affiliate of course, but here's on-line link to the EWTN radio network. I'll post a digest of past posts on the topic tomorrow morning.

What do you think? Should Richard III be re-buried with a Catholic Mass and/or interment-site prayers or with an ecumenical service as planned (with the Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and senior clergy from both dioceses, and other Christian denominations alongside representatives of the World Faiths)? Should his re-burial be according to his times or ours?