Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: The Trials of Margaret Clitherow

Subtitle: Persecution, Martyrdom and the Politics of Sanctity in Elizabethan England
by Peter Lake and Michael Questier
New York: Continuum, 2011

Book Description from Continuum:

The story of Margaret Clitherow represents one of the most important yet troubling events in post-Reformation history. Her trial, execution and subsequent legend have provoked controversy ever since she became a cause celebre in the time of Elizabeth I. Through extensive new research into the contemporary accounts of her arrest and trial the authors have pieced together a new reading of the surrounding events. The result is a work which considers the question of religious sainthood and martyrdom as well as the relationship between society, the state and the Church in Britain during the sixteenth century. They establish the full ideological significance of the trial and demonstrate that the politics of post-Reformation British society cannot be understood without the wider local, national and international contexts in which they occurred. This is a major contribution to our understanding of both English Catholicism and the Protestant regime of the Elizabethan period.


Acknowledgements \ Preface \ Abbreviations \ Part I \ 1. The Controversial Mrs Clitherow \ 2. The Radicalisation of the mid-Elizabethan Catholics \ 3. Mrs Clitherow, her Catholic household and her (both Protestant and Catholic) enemies \ 4. The Quarrels of the Catholic Community \ Recusancy and its Discontents \ Thomas Bell and his Enemies \ Christianity sans Eglise: the Religion of the Heart among Catholics and Puritans \ Fainthearted Catholics and Real Catholics: Mrs Clitherow and the Local Politics of Conformity \ 5. The Reckoning: Arrest, Trial and Execution \ Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know? \ Arrest \ Trial \ Awaiting Death in the Prison \ Appealing to the Court of Public Opinion \ Endgame: from Life to Death \ Part II \ 6. Mrs Clitherow and the Catholic Community after 1586 \ After the Execution \ The Tyrant and the Quisling \ Between Resistance and Compromise? \ 7. Thomas Bell’s Revenge and the 1591 Proclamation \ Thomas Bell changes Sides \ Acting on Information received \ Reading against the Grain; or what Thomas Bell had really been doing in Lancashire \ 8. Mrs. Clitherow Vindicated? \ The Church under the Cross and the Resort to the Public \ Thomas Bell and the Politics of Failure \ Mrs Clitherow entirely vindicated as the Epitome of Catholic Order \ 9. Aftermath: The English Catholic Community Tears Itself Apart in the Archpriest Controversy \ Epilogue: Margaret Clitherow and the English Reformation \Notes \ Index

About the Authors:

Peter Lake, Peter Lake is University Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of the History of Christianity, Divinity School at Vanderbilt University, USA. From 1993-2009 he was Professor of History at Princeton University, USA. He is the author of many books including The Boxmaker’s Revenge and a forthcoming volume on Shakespeare’s history plays.

Michael Questier, Michael Questier is Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. He is the author of Catholicism and Community in Early Modern England (CUP), Conversion, Politics and Religion in England 1580-1625 (CUP), and co-authored with Peter Lake The Antichrist’s Lewd Hat: Protestants, Papists and Players in Post-Reformation England (Yale).

My review:

I began with some misgivings as I wondered if the authors were to engage in a major deconstruction of the martyrdom of St. Margaret Clitherow, the position of Catholics in England, and the entire idea of martyrdom in England after the Reformation--and they do come close, although they recognize her independence, devotion and fortitude. This is not a work of hagiography. Instead Lake and Questier have presented the great complexity of the position of Catholics in England after the Reformation as they either negotiated some measure of conformity with their Protestant society and their rulers or maintained an absolute stance of Catholic separatism, risking imprisonment, torture and death. The whole notion of the Church Papist who offered a veneer of conformity to the established church was anathema to the group stressing absolute recusancy. Mostly represented by the Jesuits, the recusants believed that any compromise with the Church of England was a betrayal of the Catholic Church. The Church Papists argued that if they did not demonstrate some conformity with their neighbors and their rulers Catholics' loyalty as friends and subjects would always be suspect. If they did not attend their parish services they would not able to participate in community life and they would have no Christian fellowship at all. This debate divided Catholics and some Anglicans emphasized this division and used it as a weakness in the already suppressed Catholic community.

The plural form of "trial" in the title is important: Margaret Clitherow endured more than one trial and more than one type of trial. Once she became a Catholic just a few years after marrying John Clitherow, she wanted to practice her faith almost as a cloistered religious with devotions at certain hours, regular reception of the Sacraments, spiritual reading and formation, and contact with priests for spiritual counsel. Yet she was married to a Protestant tradesman, with a household and business to support, and she was adamantly opposed to any conformity with the Church of England. Clitherow organized her household and her daily activities around her devotions and her ascetism, but this brought her into conflict with her husband. In her zeal for recusancy and contact with priests, she added conflict with her neighbors, her family and her fellow Catholics in York.

In addition to those trials, her recusancy brought her legal troubles, questioning, and imprisonment. Her husband paid her fines and endured her sojourns in gaol, but he was out of the household and urged to be out of York when she was arrested the last time, tried, and executed for refusing to plead either guilty or not guilty. Although she was crushed to death on Good Friday, March 25, 1586, Margaret Clitherow's martyrdom did not put to death these debates about recusancy or conformity or questions about her behavior and reputation. The division between the Recusants and the Appellants over separatism and compromise only intensified into the conflict between the Jesuits and the secular priests in the Archpriest crisis from 1598 to 1602. Doubts about St. Margaret Clitherow's contacts with priests, which were often cast as scandalous and salacious, and whether her martyrdom was a suicide also continued--although the authors do pull back from the latter issue by acknowledging her stated rationale that because her children and neighbors would be called upon to testify and judge her case she chose not to plead at all. Clitherow is also accused of being a bad and disobedient wife and therefore Catholicism is implicated in encouraging her disobedience.

Throughout the retelling of St. Margaret Clitherow's story and its aftermath, Lake and Questier trace the career of Father Thomas Bell, a priest who had argued for a certain level of conformity. He eventually abandoned the Catholic faith and his priesthood, becoming an informer for the state to help them discover Catholic households and capture Jesuits in Lancashire and writing anti-Catholic pamphlets. Bell's betrayal demonstrated what Father Robert Persons, SJ and others had warned: any step toward conformity will lead to further steps toward betrayal.

I regret the absence of a full bibliography: Questier and Lake reference several contemporary documents including Father John Mush's "True Report of the Life and Martyrdom of Mrs. Margaret Clitherow", Father Henry Garnet's "An Apology against the Defense of Schism", Father Robert Person's "A Brief Discourse containing certain reasons why Catholics refuse to go to [Anglican] church" and "A Christian Directory", Edmund Bunny's Protestant version of the latter, "A Book of Christian Exercise", and Father Robert Southwell's "An Humble Supplication" written in response to Elizabeth I's proclamation of October 18, 1591 denouncing the treason of her Catholic subjects. Secondary studies include Alexandra Walsham's Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England, Anne Dillon's The Construction of Martyrdom in the English Catholic Community, and K. J. Kesserling's work on the Northern Rebellion, previously reviewed here. The volume is well designed and very well illustrated.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Restoration and Rioting

On June 29, 1852, Anti-Catholic riots disturbed the peace of the new diocese of Shrewsbury, created by Pope Pius IX in September, 1850. The diocese extended past the border of Wales, including Shropshire and Cheshire in England, and Carnarvon, Flint, Denbigh, Merioneth, Montgomery, and Anglesey in Wales. There were no more than 20,000 Catholics in the diocese during the reign of its first Bishop, James Brown.

News of the restoration of the hierarchy by Pope Pius XI had not been well received in 1850 and the anger had evidently not been entirely placated by the first Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman's attempts to assure the English people that the bishops were coming to England only to minister to the Catholics of England, not to invade and establish temporal power.

In Stockport, on June 29 a large mob attacked the Church of Sts. Philip and James; the parish priest managed to escape after hiding the Blessed Sacrament. The mobs piled up vestments, service books, and furniture in the street to burn. At another church, St. Michael's, the Host was desecrated.

Remember that the Gordon Riots occurred two years after the Catholic Relief Act of 1778--the threat of what the English people considered Papal Aggression continued to provoke fear and hatred two years after the minority group of Catholics in western England and eastern Wales opened chapels and practiced their faith. Anger at Irish Catholic immigrants in England fleeing the potato famine contributed to this violence, too.

Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland

Thanks to Peter Freeman, I'll put this in the file labelled "You Learn Something New Everyday"! From the new on-line crisismagazine, the story of Lady Elizabeth Falkland, playwright and Catholic convert. She was born in 1585, married Henry Cary, 1st Viscount Falkland in 1600 and died in 1639. According to the article, Lady Falkland is

the first known woman to publish an original play in English with the Tragedy of Miriam the Fair Queen of Jewry in 1613. Raised a Protestant, she was something of a celebrity convert in her day.

Despite the intervening four hundred years of history, aspects of Cary’s life after her conversion will seem familiar to modern Catholics. Reportedly, she gave up sugar for Lent; her Protestant husband had to remind her not to eat fish on Fridays, and she was perpetually worried about her children’s faith while raising them in a country that was openly hostile to her religious beliefs.

Yet much of her life also seems quite alien. Perhaps a few of us have been estranged from our families on account of our faith; fewer have kidnapped our own children to prevent them from falling under the influence of Protestant wards. Fewer still have had the king of England place them under house arrest for converting to papism.

That we can say so much about her personal life gives Cary a distinct advantage over Shakespeare in these religious debates. Whereas Shakespeare’s biography is largely lost to time and confined to a few legal documents, Cary’s biography has been preserved for us in a manuscript — The Lady Falkland: Her Life — purportedly composed by her own daughter, another Catholic convert and a Benedictine nun.

The manuscript not only recounts Cary’s conversion to Catholicism, it also offers a kind of how-to guide for inspiring faith in a new generation of Catholics through “indirect evangelization.”

Her method of evangelization, with the aim of bringing her children to the Catholic faith, was to invite both Protestant and Catholic guests to dinner whose conversation would naturally turn to religion and whose conversation stayed measured, rational, and fair. She believed that hearing both sides, her children would choose the right church! Four of her daughters became Benedictine nuns (one wrote her biography) and one of her sons became a Catholic priest, so it worked.

Her husband was honored by both James I and Charles I with important offices--including Lord Deputy of Ireland--but according to the wikipedia article, it does not seem he was a very effective adminstrator at all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Westminster Cathedral's Martyr

Yesterday was the memorial of St. John Southworth, executed on June 28, 1654. The sergeant wept at his trial, regretting his condemnation. Before he died (being hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn Tree), he told the people, “Good people, I was born in Lancashire. My faith is my crime; hither was I sent to preach Christ’s faith.”

Born in Samlesbury Hall, Lancashire in 1592, Southworth was raised in a Catholic family who paid the recusancy fines rather than attend Church of England services. He attended the Catholic college at Douai and was ordained a priest and returned in England in 1619. From 1627 to 1640 he was in and out of prisons in Lancashire and in London. In 1630, however, he was exiled through the efforts of Queen Henrietta Maria, who arranged his custody with the Ambassador of France--but he returned to England with St. Henry Morse, SJ, serving the 1636 plague victims.

Arrested again in 1640 he was held in prison for 14 years until his execution was ordered during the Commonwealth Interregnum. At his execution he was hung until dead--then quartered and beheaded. The Spanish ambassador smuggled his (re-assembled) body out of England. After exile on the Continent until the French Revolution attacked the Church and monasteries his body was brought back to England to Westminster parish and eventually placed in Westminster Cathedral in the Chapel of St. George and the English Martyrs. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. According to this story, his relics have been on display in the nave of the cathedral since last Monday in anticipation of the commemoration of his execution--on June 27 since St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr already has dibs on the June 28! More from The Catholic Herald here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pange Lingua Gloriosi

Edward Caswall (July 15, 1814 to January 2, 1878) followed Blessed John Henry Newman from the Church of England to the Catholic Church and the Oratory in Birmingham.

He translated St. Thomas Aquinas's Corpus Christi hymn Pange Lingua:

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex intacta Virgine,
et in mundo conversatus,
sparso verbi semine,
sui moras incolatus
miro clausit ordine.
In supremae nocte coenae
recumbens cum fratribus
observata lege plene
cibis in legalibus,
cibum turbae duodenae
se dat suis manibus.
Verbum caro, panem verum
verbo carnem efficit:
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et si sensus deficit,
ad firmandum cor sincerum
sola fides sufficit.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
veneremur cernui:
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
sensuum defectui.
Genitori, Genitoque
laus et jubilatio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio.
Amen. Alleluja.

Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.
On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.
Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling,
This great Sacrament we hail,
Over ancient forms of worship
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
When our human senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who made us free
And the Spirit, God proceeding
From them Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

More about Edward Caswall from the old Catholic Encyclopedia.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Corpus Christi in Pre-Reformation England

The Feast of Corpus Christi which used to be celebrated the Thursday after Trinity Sunday but has been moved to Sunday, is the feast of the Eucharistic Body of Christ. This is the source and summit, the center of our Sacramental life.

Before the Reformation in England, it was a day of great ritual, with processions comparable to Holy Thursday and the performance of the Mystery Plays, which enacted salvation history from Creation to the Second Coming. This Feast was introduced in England during the early 14th century (1318) with the Office by St. Thomas Aquinas, but it gained almost immediate popularity among the English, according to Eamon Duffy and Miri Rubin. The English expressed their devotion to the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist with the formation of Corpus Christi Guilds to prepare for the annual celebrations. The cycle of Mystery plays also required months of preparation and fundraising for the decorations, so in York and other cities, the Catholic community worked together. Anthony Esolen interprets the Wakefield cycle of plays here.

Adoration and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was essential to pre-Reformation Catholic spirituality in England. The Corpus Christi was the center of the entire Paschal Mystery of Incarnation, Redemption and Resurrection. For the individual Christian, Christ's Real Presence in Mass and in adoration outside of Mass, symbolized their participation in that Mystery--even though they in the normal course of the liturgical year received Holy Communion rarely.

That devotion is also expressed in the allegorical Corpus Christi Carol:

Lulley, lully, lulley, lully,
The faucon hath born my mak away.
He bare hym up, he bare hym down,
He bare hym into an orchard brown.
In that orchard ther was an hall,
That was hanged with purpill and pall.
And in that hall ther was a bede,
Hit was hangid with gold so rede.
And yn that bede ther lythe a knyght,
His wowndes bledyng day and nyght.
By that bedes side ther kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both nyght and day.
And by that bedes side ther stondith a ston,
"Corpus Christi" wretyn theron.

The Feast and the festivities associated with it were suppressed, of course, by order of the government, although revived briefly during Mary I's reign. Celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi was forbidden early in the reign of Edward VI in 1548. The last record of any performance of the plays dates to 1569, although they had been adapted to suit the new religious order.

Corpus Christi processions after Mass have been revived in the Catholic Church in the USA. For a period after the Second Vatican Council, devotions to the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass were suppressed in a misinterpretation of the "spirit of Vatican II". (But that's a subject better suited to other blogs.) Nonetheless, the public display of our belief in and devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is definitely an unusual sign today. When the English processed in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it was in the midst of a community of belief. Although the 39 Articles of the Church of England deny any sacramental reality of the real presence in holy communion, the Feast of Corpus Christi is on the Kalendar--on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update on Ordinariate News

At the recent meeting of the Catholic bishops in the United States, Cardinal Wuerl made an announcement about the status of an Anglican Ordinariate here:

His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, delivered an historic address - summarizing the current state of the Anglican Ordinariate in American - to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, June 15 at their spring General Assembly in Bellevue, Washington.

Cardinal Wuerl's remarks underscored the fact that clergy and parishes from Episcopal and Anglican jurisdictions in America have, indeed, accepted the invitation from the Holy Father in an apostolic constitution issued in November 2009, "Anglicanorum coetibus."

They will be joining those clergy and parishes from England and Wales who have already been established through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The Cardinal outlined a process that would include evaluation, screening and formation of former Anglican bishops and priests as well as ways in which U.S. Bishops can aid in the process of bringing in clergy and parishes.

There are already Anglican Use parishes in Catholic dioceses in the USA so the structure of the ordinariate might have to account for them, but Cardinal Wuerl presented some very hopeful numbers, according to the Catholic Herald:

As many as 100 US Anglican priests and 2,000 lay people could be the first members of a US Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington has said.

Cardinal Wuerl was appointed by the Vatican last September to guide the incorporation of Anglican groups into the Catholic Church in the United States under Anglicanorum coetibus, an apostolic constitution issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009.

At a news conference, Cardinal Wuerl said he "wouldn’t be surprised" if the Vatican were to establish the US ordinariate by the end of the year. "I think it will be sooner rather than later," he said. He was speaking after he had addressed the US bishops on the subject.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

St. Etheldreda, Anglo-Saxon Princess and Abbess

June 23 is the memorial of St. Etheldreda aka St. Audrey. According to this website, she was:

Sister of Saint Jurmin. Relative of King Anna of East Anglia, England. Princess. Widowed after three years marriage; rumor had it that the marriage was never consumated as Etheldrda had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. She married again for political reasons. Her new husband knew of her vow, but grew tired of living as brother and sister, and began to make advances on her; she refused him. He tried to bribe the local bishop, St. Wilfrid of York, to release her from her vow; Wilfried refused, and instead helped Audrey escape to a promontory called Colbert’s Head. A high tide then came in – and stayed high for seven days; it kept her separated from her husband and was considered divine intervention. The young man gave up; the marriage was annulled, and Audrey took the veil. She spent a year with her neice, Saint Ebbe the Elder. Founded the great abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life.

Etheldreda died of an enormous and unsightly tumor on her neck. She gratefully accepted this as Divine retribution for all the necklaces she had worn in her early years.

In the Middle Ages, a festival called Saint Audrey’s Fair, was held at Ely on her feast day. The exceptional shodiness of the merchandise, especially the neckerchiefs, contributed to the English language the word tawdry, a corruption of Saint Audrey.

Her connection to the English Reformation is St. Etheldreda's at Ely Place in London. Along the North and South walls of the Upper Church are eight statues of the English Martyrs, featured in the church's website gallery.

The Church of England also honors St. Etheldreda, and Ely Cathedral, one of those monastic establishments transformed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, celebrates her memory, even though her shrine was destroyed in 1541.

Father Dwight Longenecker tells the story, possibly apocryphal, about Queen Elizabeth II visiting Cambridgeshire: "on a tour of the cathedral [she] met the crusty Irish priest of the little Catholic Church. She asked him if it wouldn’t be a 'nice gesture' to return the hand of St Etheldreda to the cathedral and he asked her if it wouldn't be a nice gesture for her to return the cathedral to the Catholic church." If it is apocryphal, that's too bad: it should be true!

More from The Catholic Herald.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

St. John Fisher

St. John Fisher was executed on June 22, 1535, a martyr for the Catholic faith. His holiness was remarkable at the time of his living and yet he was not canonized until 1935, on May 19 by Pope Pius XI. At the Mass at St. Peter's, Pope Pius spoke of St. John Fisher as "ardent . . . in his piety towards God, and in charity towards his neighbour" and "zealous in defending the integrity of Catholic doctrine". St. Thomas More was canonized on the same day to share the feast day. The pope also took the opportunity to pray for the conversion of England:

We desire moreover that with your ardent prayers, invoking the patronage of the new Saints, you ask of the Lord that which is so dear to Our heart, namely that England, in the words of St. Paul, "meditating the happy consummation which crowned the life" of those two martyrs, may "follow them in their faith," and return to the Father’s house "in the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God."

I think that More usually gets more attention, probably because of the man for all seasons fame, but that Fisher, with even deeper links to the Tudor family (preacher at the funerals of both Henry VIII's father and grandmother) and more consistent and open opposition to Henry's plans to take over the Church and push through his marital arrangement, is just as interesting. He was a humanist, a bishop, a serious defender of Church teaching, and an admired churchman in his lifetime. In his death he demonstrated the same dignity and holiness.

Under the heading of "Even Homer Nods" Eamon Duffy discusses C.S. Lewis' lack of understanding of St. John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester:

St John Fisher's place in the history of English spirituality, like his place in the history of English humanism, is obscured by problems of definition. So austere a figure challenges expectations derived from the identification of the cause of the new learning (and the new piety) with Erasmus. Historians have therefore been tempted to describe his relation to the movements of the early sixteenth century in terms of contrast, rather than participation. Whether the polarities employed are those of ‘medieval’ as opposed to ‘Renaissance’, or ‘unreformed’ as opposed to ‘reformed’, the temptation is to opt for a single all-purpose descriptive category. C. S. Lewis, in what remains the most helpful brief account of Fisher as a religious writer, succumbs to temptation on both scores. Fisher, he claimed, ‘is almost a purely medieval writer, though scraps of what may be classified as humanistic learning appear in his work’, but ‘he matters less as a literary figure than as a convenient representative of the religion in possession at the very beginning of the English Reformation. He was a bishop and died for his faith: in him we ought to find what men like Tyndale were attacking.’ For a mere historian to quarrel with Lewis about a matter of literature might seem as foolhardy as the attempt to anatomise the spirituality of a saint. Yet one may well feel that in Lewis's easy contrasts something has been omitted. It does not seem very useful to characterise any one figure as ‘representative’ of so complex a reality as late-medieval English religion.

This is an excerpt from the beginning of Eamon Duffy's chapter on "The Spirituality of John Fisher" in the book Humanism, Reformation and Reform: The Career of Bishop John Fisher, edited by Duffy and Brendan Bradshaw, published by Cambridge University Press. I will be on the Son Rise Morning Show from Sacred Heart Radio in Cincinnati broadcast on the EWTN radio network this morning to discuss this feast day--at 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Catherine of Aragon at the Legatine Court, 1529

On June 21, 1529, a Papal Legatine court was held to determine the issue of Henry VIII’s request to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Cardinal Campeggio (the Cardinal Protector of England and Legate) from Rome convened the court at Blackfriar’s but Catherine circumvented their plans by speaking directly to Henry, asking for his mercy, and protesting at the unfairness of the proceedings.

In Shakespeare’s play, The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight, she says:

Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;
And to bestow your pity on me: for
I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
Born out of your dominions; having here
No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
In what have I offended you? what cause
Hath my behavior given to your displeasure,
That thus you should proceed to put me off,
And take your good grace from me?
Heaven witness,I have been to you a true and humble wife,
At all times to your will conformable;
Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry
As I saw it inclined: when was the hour
I ever contradicted your desire,
Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends
Have I not strove to love, although I knew
He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
That had to him derived your anger, did I
Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind
That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
Upward of twenty years, and have been blest
With many children by you: if, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
Against your sacred person, in God's name,
Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
Shut door upon me, and so give me up
To the sharp'st kind of justice. Please you sir,
The king, your father, was reputed for
A prince most prudent, of an excellent
And unmatch'd wit and judgment: Ferdinand,
My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one
The wisest prince that there had reign'd by many
A year before: it is not to be question'd
That they had gather'd a wise council to them
Of every realm, that did debate this business,
Who deem'd our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly
Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel
I will implore: if not, i' the name of God,
Your pleasure be fulfill'd!

Henry does not answer her; instead the two Cardinals and Catherine exchange comments about the fairness of the court and Wolsey’s influence on the king.

When she leaves the room, Henry does address her—his speech must reflect Catherine’s lingering popularity and good reputation in England in 1613 or so, when we know the play was performed at the Globe Theatre (a cannon shot caused the theatre to burn down!)

KING HENRY VIII Go thy ways, Kate:
That man i' the world who shall report he has
A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,
For speaking false in that: thou art, alone,
If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,
Obeying in commanding, and thy parts
Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,
The queen of earthly queens: she's noble born;
And, like her true nobility, she has
Carried herself towards me.

He then goes on to explain his doubts about the validity of their marriage, based in part upon the fact that Catherine never bore a son who survived the womb. This is of course incorrect, as their son Henry, Prince of Wales, died 52 days after birth on the lst of January 1511. Exactly as it occurred in 1529, the scene concludes with Cardinal Campegio declaring the court cannot proceed without Catherine present.

Anne Boleyn appears only briefly in the play and speaks in only one scene, also in very respectful tones about Catherine of Aragon. Anne Bullen, as she is billed, denies that she really wants to be queen herself, although her attendant (“Old Lady”) is cynical about that.

Book Review: Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church

Subtitle: Reflections on Recent Developments. Edited by Stephen E. Cavanaugh. Book description from Ignatius Press:

The beginning of a specifically Anglican liturgy and culture within the Roman Catholic Church was established in the United States by Pope John Paul II. Since then, Anglican Use parishes have been worshipping in a distinctively Anglican style within several American dioceses. Thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, these communities are now able to form into personal ordinariates led by bishops [sic] who were previously Anglican clergy. As a result, even more Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome can find a home within the Catholic Church.

The twelve essays in this book discuss the reasons Anglicans have sought reconciliation with the Holy See, while retaining elements of their own liturgy and traditions. They explore the history and scope of Pope John Paul II's Pastoral Provision and Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Constitution and examine the needs of the new ordinariates if they are to flourish. Also considered are the changes to the Roman liturgy since the Second Vatican Council and the specific patrimony that Anglicans bring to Catholic worship.

Many of these essays have been written by erstwhile Anglican clergymen who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood (and one into the episcopate). A few are by Catholic experts on this topic. There is also a contribution from a woman who had been an ordained Episcopal priest before becoming a Catholic.

Here is a wealth of information for anyone interested in the Anglican communities within the Catholic Church, the "reform of the reform" of the Roman liturgy or the testimonies of Anglicans who have become Roman Catholics.

A keen interest in traditional chant and hymnody led editor Stephen Cavanaugh to Boston's Anglican Use congregation of St. Athanasius, where he has happily remained as a worshipper. He has been the editor of Anglican Embers, journal of the Anglican Use Society, since 2007.

There were a few real gems in this collection, and as a whole the collection was multi-faceted, but I was also disappointed in the setting of those gems. The essays are gathered from articles that originally appeared in Anglican Embers, the journal Mr. Cavanaugh edits or at conferences of the Anglican Use Society. He needed to edit those articles, many of which were published in 2004 and later, to clarify what has changed with the announcement and the implementation of the Anglican Ordinariate structure. I was often confused reading many of the essays, trying to figure out what was descriptive and what was prescriptive--is this the way the Ordinariate is going to work, is supposed to work, that the writer wanted it to work?

Ignatius Insights provides the Introduction by Fr. Allan Hawkins on-line. The other authors are: Fr. Jack Barker, Fr. Christopher Phillips, Bishop Peter Elliott, Professor Hans Jürgen Feulner, Mr. C. David Burt, Mrs. Linda Poindexter, Rev. John Hunwicke, Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P., Fr. Peter Geldard and Brother John-Bede Pauley.

Mrs. Linda Poindexter's essay on her experience being an Episcopalian "priest" was excellent: she comments that she always felt out of place while at the altar and was much more comfortable teaching and counseling. Poindexter highlights the functional role of ministers in the Church of England/Episcopal: it's what they DO that's important, not what they ARE. Father Aidan Nichols, like Bishop Peter Elliott, never disappoints of course. Brother John-Bede Pauley's essay on how monasticism influenced Anglican liturgy is ironic when you remember that Henry VIII destroyed the monastic order in England in the sixteenth century and the Church of England was very reluctant to restore it in the nineteenth! Mr. Cavanaugh himself provides a very enlightening essay on the experience of Polish Catholics in 19th century America, a history I did not know much about.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Franciscan Reformation Martyrs in Ireland

Throughout Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation, I refer to events in Ireland, even though my focus is on England itself. Ireland fits into the story I'm telling often--and certainly deserves study on its own--but I never focus on the Irish martyrs the Church has beatified and canonized. There are many, and they represent many, many more. These four martyrs are honored on this day among the Franciscans of Ireland:

Friars Minor and Irish Martyrs

Patrick O’Healy (about 1543-1579) was probably born in Co. Sligo or Co. Leitrim. He was a Franciscan novice in 1561. He was trained and educated for the priesthood in Spain. Sent to Rome in 1575, he impressed the Minister General and the Pope and the following year was appointed Bishop of Mayo. Some years later he reached Ireland. In the persecutions there, he was betrayed and captured and found guilty of lèse-majesté. He was hanged at Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

Conrad (Con) O’Rourke (about 1549-1579) probably joined the Franciscans at Creevelea friary, Dromahaire, Co Leitrim. He was probably ordained on the continent and returned to Ireland with Bishop O’Healy in 1579. He was captured and hanged with the bishop at Kilmallock.

Conor O’Devany (about 1532-1612) was born in Raphoe, Co Donegal and became a Franciscan in the friary of Donegal about 1550. He studied on the continent and after ordination was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor in 1582, being consecrated in the Church of S. Maria dell’Anima in Rome. Shortly afterwards he returned to Ireland. He was arrested in 1588 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. He was soon released and continued his pastoral work in his diocese under the patronage and protection of the O’Neills. He was arrested in 1611, found guilty of treason and hanged in Dublin.

John Kearney (1619-1653) was born in Cashel, Co Tipperary. He joined the Franciscans at their friary in Kilkenny. After his novitiate, he went to Leuven in Belgium and was ordained in Brussels in 1642. He returned to Ireland and taught in Cashel and Waterford. He was much admired for his preaching. In 1650 he became guardian of Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. In the Cromwellian persecutions, he was arrested for exercising his priesthood and was hanged in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. He was buried in the chapter hall of the suppressed friary of Cashel. These four Irish Franciscan martyrs together with 13 other Irish martyrs were beatified by John Paul II in 1992.

On September 27, 1992, Blessed John Paul II praised the Irish martyrs beatified that day at St. Peter's:

“My soul, give praise to the Lord”.

And how can we fail to sing the praises of the seventeen Irish Martyrs being beatified today? Dermot O’Hurley, Margaret Bermingham Ball, Francis Taylor and their fourteen companions were faithful witnesses who remained steadfast in their allegiance to Christ and his Church to the point of extreme hardship and the final sacrifice of their lives.

All sectors of God’s people are represented among these seventeen Servants of God: Bishops, priests both secular and religious, a religious brother and six lay people, including Margaret Bermingham Ball, a woman of extraordinary integrity who, together with the physical trials she had to endure, underwent the agony of being betrayed through the complicity of her own son.

We admire them for their personal courage. We thank them for the example of their fidelity in difficult circumstances, a fidelity which is more than an example: it is a heritage of the Irish people and a responsibility to be lived up to in every age.

In a decisive hour, a whole people chose to stand firmly by its covenant with God: “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do”. Along with Saint Oliver Plunkett, the new Beati constitute but a small part of the host of Irish Martyrs of Penal Times. The religious and political turmoil through which these witnesses lived was marked by grave intolerance on every side. Their victory lay precisely in going to death with no hatred in their hearts. They lived and died for Love. Many of them publicly forgave all those who had contributed in any way to their martyrdom.

The Martyrs’ significance for today lies in the fact that their testimony shatters the vain claim to live one’s life or to build a model of society without an integral vision of our human destiny, without reference to our eternal calling, without transcendence. The Martyrs exhort succeeding generations of Irish men and women: “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . . keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

To the Martyrs’ intercession I commend the whole people of Ireland: their hopes and joys, their needs and difficulties. May everyone rejoice in the honour paid to these witnesses to the faith. God sustained them in their trials. He comforted them and granted them the crown of victory. May he also sustain those who work for reconciliation and peace in Ireland today!

Blessed Irish Martyrs, intercede for the beloved Irish people!

The complete list of martyrs and more about them here:

1.Bishop Patrick O' Healy
2.Fr. Conn O'Rourke
3.Margaret Bermingham
4.Dr. Dermot O'Hurley
5.Fr. Maurice MacKenraghty
6.Dominic Collins
7.Bishop Cornelius O'Devany
8.Fr.Patrick O'Loughran
9.Francis Taylor
10.Fr. Peter Higgins
11.Bishop Terence Albert O'Brien
12.Fr. John Kearney
13.Fr. William Tirry
14.Matthew Lambert
15.Robert Myler
16.Edward Cheevers
17.Patrick Cavanagh.

Five Popish Plot Martyrs

I am working on a new project and am deep in the history of The Popish Plot. I've mentioned before that I think the Catholic Martyrs of the English Reformation can be divided into three groups: first are the Supremacy Martyrs, who would not swear Henry VIII's Oath of Supremacy that set him up as the Supreme Head and Governor of the Church in England. Then come the Recusant Martyrs, a varied group of witnesses during the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I, including the Interregnum period. Finally, the Popish Plot Martyrs, who died as a result of the false, perjurous claims there was a vast, Jesuit, Catholic-wing conspiracy to assassinate Charles II and bring the Catholic Duke of York, James, his brother to the throne.

Titus Oates convinced the Whigs in Parliament that he knew who was in on this plot and he was given the authority to round up the suspects. At the trials for his accused, any witnesses they brought forward would be discounted by the Prosecution and the Judge, because, of course, they were also Catholics and if not in on the plot were probably in favor of the plot! After one of these manifestly unfair trials, five Jesuits were martyred on June 20, 1679 at Tyburn Tree in London:

John Gavan
William Harcourt
Anthony Turner
Thomas Whitebread
John Fenwick

The circumstances of their execution were quite dramatic. All five were standing in a cart under the scaffold, with their hands bound and the nooses around their necks. They had each spoken, each prepared themselves for death, when suddenly, a rider galloped up, crying "A Pardon, A Pardon!"

Charles II issued them a conditional pardon to spare their lives--all they had to was admit their guilt and tell him all they knew about the plot. Trouble was that they weren't guilty of any plot and they couldn't tell him what they knew because there wasn't any plot in the first place! They declined the pardon, protesting that they could not lie to save their lives--they could not risk their immortal souls to save their physical bodies.

Therefore, they prepared themselves again for death--the rider returned to Charles II with the news--the cart pulled away and they were hung until dead before their bodies were quartered and their heads cut off.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

William Cobbett, RIP and his book on the English Reformation

William Cobbett died on June 18, 1835. He was an English pamphleteer and supporter of Emancipation for Catholics, writing a history of the Protestant reformation in England. He very much believed that Henry VIII's takeover of the Church in England was a matter of political power and disastrous for England economically and socially.

Cobbett took controversial stands on the need for reforms in England, especially of Parliament and the military. He also wrote against the French Revolution, democracy in America, the Industrial Revolution, and Malthus' theories of population.

G.K. Chesterton published a biography of Cobbett in 1925, in which he wrote:

It is the paradox of his life that he loved the past, and he alone lived in the future. . . . he seemed like a survival and a relic of times gone by. And he alone was in living touch with the times that were to come.

Chesterton also compares Cobbett and Lingard, noting that Father Lingard and Cobbett made the same case about the English Reformation, but that Lingard was careful about being impartial while Cobbett "flung away all such airs of impartiality to prove how completely he had been convinced" that the common view of the English Reformation was wrong.

I am reading Cobbett's History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland had find it just as Chesterton described. Sometimes Cobbett has to restrain himself and sometimes he just can't! He stops one time to comment that if he keeps writing such exclamatory sentences, he will never make progress in telling the story! He rakes Hume over the coals for special pleading and manipulation or interpretation of facts so that Catholics always sound bad. Cobbett consistently argues that the poor were hurt by the actions of the English "reformers"--destroying sources of charity in dissolving the monasteries, wrecking sights of beauty in remodeling the churches, etc. Cardinal Gasquet provided footnotes, including some corrections in the edition I have from St. Benedict's/TAN.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update on Ushaw College

The Catholic Herald provides an update on the fate of Ushaw College--including the photo of the beautiful Chapel of St. Cuthbert--with some very good news, hailed by Eamon Duffy:

The historic estate at Ushaw College may be turned into a centre for Catholic scholarship run by Durham University, it emerged this week.

The move would allow a vast collection of medieval manuscripts and other treasures to stay in one place and be opened up to the public through exhibitions.

It will be considered as part of a feasibility study that was agreed by the college trustees – the bishops of the north of England – last week.

Their decision, which has been hailed as a “breakthrough” by historians and conservationists, comes as the 200-year-old seminary at the college prepares to close.

If the offer by Durham University is accepted, Ushaw’s library, chapel and Georgian frontage would become part of the university’s rapidly expanding Centre for Catholic Studies, a unit of its theology department. Uses are still being sought for the rest of the site, however.

Dr Eamon Duffy, a Catholic historian, praised the bishops’ decision as “enlightened” and said it was “an enormous relief to all of us who care about the Church and its past”.

He said: “The Catholic Church asserts the indispensibility of tradition, yet in this country Catholics have not always been good stewards of our own traditions.”

The college’s magnificent 19th-century buildings and Pugin chapel “embody the resurgence of Catholicism” following the penal laws, Dr Duffy said. Its library, which specialises in medieval manuscripts, has “few rivals” in Britain, he added.

Very good news, indeed--better outcome than I thought likely earlier this year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Views of Bishop Stephen Gardiner

From Once I Was a Clever Boy, referring to In Defence of the Church Catholic: The Life of Stephen Gardiner by Dr. Glyn Redworth:

Gardiner emerges first of all as the humanist scholar he undoubtedly was, but not as the steriotypical reactionary of usual versions, but rather the very reluctant man who felt compelled through the 1530s and 1540s under King Henry VIII to go along with changes he did not really agree with. by 1548 he realised he could go no further and making his position clear ended up in the Tower of London and was deprived of his bishopric. Restored by Queen Mary I he accepted reunion with the Holy See as the only guarentee of the Catholic faith, and said so in his great sermon preached at Paul's Cross in the days after the reconciliation on St Andrew's day in 1554.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Evelyn Underhill, Anglo-Catholic Mystic, RIP

Evelyn Underhill died on June 15, 1941. She was an Anglo-Catholic author and mystic. From her biography you might note that she wanted to become a Catholic but her husband objected and therefore she remained an Anglican. Underhill was much influenced by Baron Friedrich von Hugel. This year is the centennial anniversary of the publication of her great work, Mysticism. More on her life and works at the Evelyn Underhill Association.

High Church Hero, RIP

Henry Sacheverell died on June 15, 1724; he is best known for losing a case that really made him the winner! In 1709 he preached a fiery sermon on the Fifth of November, commemorating not only the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot but the beginning of the Glorious Revolution with William of Orange's invited invasion. But Sacheverell did not condemn the Catholic plotters or the evil King James II--he railed against the Whigs, the policy of toleration of dissenters, and those in the Church of England who allowed that policy to be practiced. When the sermon was published, Parliament impeached him and found him guilty. His sermons were to be burned and he was banished from the pulpit for three years.

The public, however, turned this Whig victory against one of their critics against them. The Tories won the next election and the Whigs were swept out of power. Henry Sachaverell ended up with a very comfortable living, St. Andrew's Holburn. More about the story here.

Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton, RIP

The second son of Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey and the younger brother of Thomas Howard, the fourth Duke of Norfolk, Henry Howard, the first Earl of Northampton died on June 15, 1614. His father had been executed by Henry VIII's orders just before the old king died and his brother was executed by Elizabeth I's orders because of his plans to marry the former Queen of Scotland.

Northampton was a crypto-Catholic during his time at Court during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, but he died in the Catholic Church, according to his will. Edward de Vere denounced him once as a Catholic and a traitor, but he convinced Elizabeth of his loyalty, even though he did admit attending the Catholic Mass.

He was very successful during the reign of James I, leading peace treaty discussions with Spain and participating in the trials of Guy Fawkes and Father Garnet after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. Toward the end of his life he was involved in a sordid story of unfaithfulness and murder! According to the website:

Despite his lack of principle, Northampton displayed a many-sided culture, and was reputed the most learned nobleman of his time. His taste in architecture is proved by his enlargement of Greenwich Castle, by the magnificence of his London residence, afterwards Northumberland House, which was built at his cost from the designs of Moses Glover, and by his supervision of Thorpe's designs for Audley End, the residence of his nephew Suffolk. He planned and endowed three hospitals, one at Clun, Shropshire; a second at Castle Rising, Norfolk, for twelve poorwomen,27 and a third at Greenwich, called Norfolk College, for twelve poor natives of Greenwich, and for eight natives of Shottesham, Northampton's birthplace. He laid the foundation-stone of the college at Greenwich, 25 Feb. 1613-14, and placed its management under the Mercers' Company.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to Dorothy Leigh Sayers

Dorothy Leigh Sayers, novelist, translator, and Anglo-Catholic Christian apologist, was born on June 13, 1893; she died on December 17, 1957. She was born at the Christ Church Cathedral headmaster's house in Oxford because her father was chaplain. She attended Somerville College, the women's college in Oxford and received an MA degree in 1920. Sayers worked in the advertising field as a copywriter for several years, working on Guinness and Colman's Mustard accounts.

The Dorothy L. Sayers Society provides more detail about her life and works.

Although she is better known for her Lord Peter Wimsey series of mystery novels, I have always appreciated her more for the translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (particularly her introductions to Hell and Purgatory) and her Christian apologetics and other works. Like C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot, she stands high in my short-list of 20th century Anglo Catholics.

I am very sorry that Penguin diverted her from completing the translation of Paradise to translate The Song of Roland! I know that her translation of the Divine Comedy, left incomplete at her death, is not considered the best--but I thought her introductions displayed an excellent understanding of Catholic doctrine and medieval culture.

Creed or Chaos, The Mind of the Maker, and The Whimsical Christian all offer good orthodox Christian doctrine and a valid theological viewpoint. Her emphasis -- her insistence -- on the importance of doctrine called Blessed John Henry Newman's Oxford Sermons to mind.

As she notes, the "Dogma is the Drama"; it is in the Truth of Christianity that she found the dramatic tension that informs my favorite work of hers, the series of BBC radio plays called The Man Born to be King. Because she acknowledges the doctrine of the Incarnation and acknowledges the theological implications of that doctrine she has drama on her hands. How can God be Man?--"From the purely dramatic point of view the theology is enormously advantageous, because it locks the whole structure into a massive intellectual coherence. . . . A loose and sentimental theology begets loose and sentimental art-forms; an illogical theology lands one in illogical situations; an ill-balanced theology issues in false emphasis and absurdity." I take the latter to mean that a dramatic presentation of Jesus Christ according to any of the Christological heresies of the early church--for instance, Docetism or Arianism--would be false and absurd. (Think of The Last Temptation of Christ!)

In the same introduction to the published version of the BBC plays, Sayer notes: "Dogma is the grammar and the vocabulary of [the writer's] art." The drama comes when depicting the reality of the Creed--the tension between the phrases in the Nicene Creed "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God" and "He suffered under Pontius Pilate." (What Sayers does with the latter phrase is brilliant, when Pilate's wife reports her dream before the Crucifixion.) I highly recommend the plays and just wish a recorded version was available.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Worst Briton of the 16th Century Died on June 12, 1567

Richard Rich, lst Baron of Leez (does it rhyme with sleeze?) was given that title by BBC History magazine in 2005. He seems to have been able to change allegiance on a dime; a chameleon on plaid.

He betrayed both Bishop John Fisher and Thomas More, perjuring himself in the latter case. Rich took full advantage of the Dissolution of Monasteries as Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations to acquire great wealth, even though he was a Catholic. The Pilgrimage of Grace linked his name with Thomas Cromwell's in their umbrage against the suppression of the monasteries.

He also betrayed his master, Thomas Cromwell when his fall was near and he assisted in the torture of Anne Askew in the Tower of London. Rich consulted with Bishop Gardiner, whom he would later prosecute, in efforts to discover and punish heresy according to Henry VIII's desires.

Baron Rich served as an executor of Henry VIII's will and then as Chancellor for Edward VI. He aided Lord Somerset in the prosecution of the Protector's brother, Thomas Seymour and then switched sides to aid John Dudley, later Duke of Northumberland, in the trial and prosecution of Protector Somerset. Rich prosecuted the conservative (Catholic) bishops Gardiner and Bonner, and joined in the harassment of Mary to give up the Catholic Mass and conform to the new Book of Common Prayer.

Again, he switched sides when Northumberland's plot to place his daughter-in-law Jane Dudley (nee Grey) on the throne in 1553 appeared doomed to failure, and then he prosecuted Protestants and heretics during Mary I's reign. He died on June 12, 1567, having again accommodated himself to the religious settlement under Elizabeth I. He did found a school in Felsted, Essex where he is buried most elegantly.

I can find no apologist for Richard Rich; his changes of loyalty are so easy and self-serving, I wonder that anyone trusted him! He at least must have been a competent statesman and administrator, but someone should have figured him out--having him on your side meant nothing, for he would abandon you as soon as he could when trouble appeared.

Christopher Derrick

Christopher Derrick was born on June 12, 1921 and died on October 3, 2007:

Christopher Derrick was born in England in 1921 and educated by the Benedictine monks of Douai Abbey in Berkshire, then at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the tutorship of C.S. Lewis. Mr. Derrick served as an R.A.F. pilot during World War II. He was on the administrative staff of the University of London from 1953 to 1965 and has served as literary advisor to major British publishing houses. His is the author of countless articles and books.

His books included: Church Authority and Intellectual Freedom (1981), C.S. Lewis and the Church of Rome: A study in proto-ecumenism (1981), Sex and Sacredness: A Catholic Homage to Venus (1982), That Strange Divine Sea: Reflections on Being a Catholic (1983), Too Many People: A Problem in Values (1985), Words and the Word: Notes on Our Catholic Vocabulary (1987), and Escape from Scepticism: Liberal Education as if Truth Mattered (2001) all published by Ignatius Press.

Here is a review of That Strange Divine Sea from This Rock magazine. His Escape from Scepticism reflected on the Great Books program at Thomas Aquinas College in California.

One of my favorites of his books, however, is The Rule of Peace: St. Benedict and the European Future, about which Eighth Day Books said:

This is a little book whose time has come-again. Published the same year Alisdair McIntyre called for a new Benedict at the end of After Virtue, Derrick's book applies St. Benedict's virtues not just to Europe as a whole, but to the West, and not just to the West in the abstract, but to our families and our homes. The Benedictine virtue he is most after is Peace, by which neither Derrick nor St. Benedict mean merely the absence of war or violence. Under the rubric of peace, Derrick discusses language, courtesy, simplicity, leisure, stability, community, and the goodness of nature. St. Benedict and the Rule of Peace always have a solution to the problem modern Western culture has with attaining these ideals. Readers of George Weigel's The Cube and the Cathedral will certainly note Derrick's urgency twenty-five years ago, and hope even more earnestly that a second Benedict is on the way.

That last line might have been a little prophetic!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

From Calvinist Puritans to Unitarian Universalists?

Shameless Popery asks: How Did the Puritans Become Unitarians?

One of the strangest religious transitions in American history is that the Puritan congregations in New England became Unitarian Universalists. It would be hard to find a religious group who cared more about getting doctrine exactly right than the Puritans, yet within the span of only a few generations, they'd devolved into something unrecognizable as either Puritan or even Christian.

Read the rest of the post to understand how anti-Catholicism, Calvinism, and sola-scriptura-ism leads to not believing in the Trinity or in Hell.

(Remember, even Scarlett O'Hara believed in Hell--she told Rhett Butler she was raised on it! [book or movie? I can't remember].) A Unitarian Universalist church in Wichita exhorts passers-by -- via a sign on their property -- to look inside themselves if they want to find God.

(Image: Cotton Mather.)

Ben Jonson, Sometime Catholic

Ben Jonson was perhaps born on June 11, 1572.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, opined recently that William Shakespeare was most likely a Catholic (but for Anglicans that's a good thing really because Shakespeare was NOT a nice person, buying property and hoarding grain in Stratford!).

Ben Jonson definitely was a Catholic, at least for some time--from 1598 to 1610--before relapsing into Anglicanism. This conversion meant that Jonson was very open to attack, for recusancy and even for treason. In this article, Robert S. Miola analyses what Jonson's Catholicism meant for his career and his works. Miola notes that Jonson had previously been interviewed by Richard Topcliffe, the man with the home (torture) office and that becoming a Catholic could have led to other, less comfortable interviews with Elizabeth I's "savage priest hunter".

Friday, June 10, 2011

James Francis Edward Stuart and the Settlement Act of 1701

Usually, the birth of a royal child is an occasion of great joy! When the royal child is a boy, the joy is usually even greater! The succession is assured--even though early modern rates of infant mortality might not guarantee that assurance--and the dynasty's future is secure.

In the case of the birth of James Francis Edward Stuart, son of King James II and VII of England, Ireland and Scotland and his second wife Mary Beatrice of Modena on this date in 1688--the response was muted to say the least. His half-sister Anne, James's youngest daughter by his first wife, Anne Hyde, helped spread the rumor that the baby boy was an imposter, smuggled in to the chamber in a warming pan while his mother pretended to give birth. Instead of receiving congratulations, his father had to testify to the fact that he was the father and his wife and queen the mother.

The problem for this baby boy was that he was a Catholic born heir to the throne of a Protestant country and the stability of a Catholic succession in England was not welcome news. It was received first by the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and then by the Act of Settlement in 1701, deposing his father and denying his right to succeed, respectively.

Recently I reported that the current UK government attempted to introduce reforms to the 1701 Act of Settlement, removing the restriction from any heir to the throne or occupant of the throne to be Catholic or married to a Catholic. That Act of Settlement is part of the British Constitution and Queen Elizabeth II herself may have prevented any changes to it, especially in view of the vows she took on her Coronation Day. (King George III prevented Catholic relief legislation during his reign from going any farther than it did because of those vows to protect the Church of England and the Protestant religion). Anglicans feared that James II and his son would not fulfill those vows, especially as the king was trying to prepare a Parliament that would pass his Declaration of Indulgence.

So remembering the birth of a baby boy on June 10, 1688 has current implications. That baby prince would live in exile from England from the age of about four months. His half-sister would repent of her lie about the circumstances of his birth--for his resemblance to her father and stepmother would advertise the truth--but not enough to even attempt to preserve his right to succeed their father, crowned and anointed king, in 1701. Upon Anne's death the Hanoverian dynasty would come to the throne of England.

I will be on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning at 6:45 Central, 7:45 Eastern to discuss this birthday and its current impact on the relationship between church and state in the United Kingdom.

William Oddie on Evensong and Benediction

Having just quoted Newman's prayer from Evensong on the post about Sister Mary Christopher Luddens, I was happy to see William Oddie cite it in his Catholic Herald column:

O LORD, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A brief quote about that prayer:

You may retort, of course, that that’s not an Anglican prayer at all, it’s by Cardinal Newman, and that therefore I can’t claim that as part of the Anglican patrimony the ordinariate is bringing over the Tiber! Well, sorry, but it is an Anglican prayer: just like some of Newman’s greatest hymns (to this day sung just as much by Anglicans as by us) it was written not only when Newman was an Anglican, but also at a time when he was still quite clear in his mind that he could never become a Catholic. Its origins are in the splendidly oratorical final paragraph of a sermon he preached as vicar of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford (they don’t preach sermons like this any more):

But for us, let us glory in what they disown; let us beg of our Divine Lord to take to Him His great power, and manifest Himself more and more, and reign both in our hearts and in the world. Let us beg of Him to stand by us in trouble, and guide us on our dangerous way. May He, as of old, choose “the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”. May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last!

Earlier in the article he reminds us of the sources Thomas Cranmer used to compile the Book of Common Prayer:

What the Pope, God bless him, has actually done is to re-appropriate a liturgy whose origins were in the first place entirely Catholic. As the Anglo-Catholic liturgist and divine Percy Dearmer (a friend of G K Chesterton) pointed out, the first Anglican Prayer Book “was not created in a vacuum, but derives from several sources. First and foremost was the Sarum Rite, or the Latin liturgy developed in Salisbury in the 13th century, and widely used in England. Two other influences were a reformed Roman Breviary of the Spanish Cardinal Quiñones, and a book on doctrine and liturgy by Hermann von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne.”

The Eucharistic liturgy which emerged was, of course, entirely defective from a Catholic point of view, simply invalid, and deliberately so: it was made brutally clear that this was not the sacrifice of the Mass. But Cardinal Quiñones’s attempt at streamlining the Breviary was adopted virtually in its totality. The Morning Office – a conflation of Lauds and Matins, and the Evening Office, and Evensong – a conflation of Vespers and Compline (thus containing both the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, both of course in wonderful Tudor English) – were thus irreproachably Catholic in their origins and content.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Report on the Oriel Newman Lecture in Oxford

From John Whitehead's blog Once I Was a Clever Boy comes this report on a lecture about the reception of Newman in Germany from the 19th to 20th centuries:

The lecture was a masterly exposition of its subject, and indicated how from the time of his reception into the Church Newman was and has continued to be of interest to, and influenrtial of, German Catholic opinion.

Prof. Arnold identified four phases or groups who appropriated parts at least of Newman's thought and how it transmuted according to the circumstances of the time. These correspond to the circumstances facing Catholics, and other Christians, in Germany rather than the English context of Newman's life and legacy.

1840-1870: The Ultramontane Model Convert.

1870-1918: The Model for a Culturally Acceptable 'Reform Catholicism'

1918-1945: Newman for and against the "Zeitgeist"

1945-1962: The Model for a Re-Christianisation of Germany in an Ecumenical and European spirit.

Thanks to John for such a great summary!

Theology on Tap

I've been tapped--thanks to a friend's recommendation--to give a presentation next Tuesday night, June 14, at Theology on Tap a program for young adults in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. The meeting is held in Loft 150 of River City Brewery in Old Town at 8:00 p.m.

My presentation will focus on Blessed John Henry Newman and two current events: Pope Benedict XVI's visit to England in September of last year (including the beatification of John Henry Newman) and the progress of the first Personal Ordinariate in England, Our Lady of Walsingham this year (placed under the spiritual direction of Blessed John Henry Newman).

After my talk, I might enjoy an Emerald City Stout--carefully, while signing copies of Supremacy and Survival!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Told You So: Our Lady of Walsingham

I said that the title Our Lady of Walsingham would be coming up often this year! When I posted the story about Blessed John Storey/Story, a reader posted a comment including a link to Our Lady of Walsingham & St John the Evangelist Ordinariate Group-Calgary, mentored by Father Michael Storey!

The Ordinariate Group of Our Lady and St John is made up of those who are currently Anglicans, as well as Catholics who were formerly Anglican, and a number of Catholics who are married to Anglicans. With the loving care of our appointed Priest Mentor, the Catholic parish priest of Brooks, Alberta, Fr Michael Storey, we are together praying for, and looking forward to, the establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in Canada.

The majority of us belong to the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary, a parish founded in 1905 as part of what was then the Church of England in Canada (since 1955, the Anglican Church of Canada). Our Group meets at different locations on a monthly basis for fellowship, prayer and study, but we also gather on Sundays and throughout the week as part of the regular worshipping life of St John’s, under the pastoral care and leadership of its Priest-in-Charge, Fr Lee Kenyon, who was a priest of the Church of England until he came to St John’s in April 2009.

Also, here is the news about the dedication of a shrine to Our Lady of Walshingham in Houston Texas--"It was hot, it was humid, and it was wonderful." Our Lady of Walshingham is an Anglican Use parish there.

St. William of York, June 8th

According to this website:

St. William of York, Bishop (Feast day is June 8th). William of York was the son of Count Herbert, treasurer to Henry I. His mother Emma, was the half-sister of King William. Young William became treasurer of the church of York at an early age and was elected archbishop of York in 1140.

William's election was challenged on the grounds of simony and unchastity. He was cleared by Rome, but later, a new Pope, the Cistercian Eugene III, suspended William, and in 1147, he was deposed as archbishop of York.

William then retired to Winchester where he led the austere life of a monk, practicing much prayer and mortification. Upon the death of his accusers and Eugene III, Pope Anastastius IV restored William his See and made him archbishop. However, after one month back in York, the saintly prelate died in the year 1154. Some claim he was poisoned by the archdeacon of York, but no record of any resolution in the case remains extant. Pope Honorius III canonized William in 1227.

York Minster is one of the top tourist attractions in England because of its architecture and beautiful stained glass; built between 1230 and 1472, it displays the range of Gothic styles dveloped over those 242 years (Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular). In addition to William Fitzherbert, other famous archbishops were Thomas Wolsey and Tobias Matthew. Remember that earlier this year, another saint of York--St. Margaret Clitherow--was honored with a Catholic Mass at York Minster.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sister Mary Christopher Luddens, RIP

Sister Mary Christopher Luddens died on May 15, 2011. Catholic New York carried this obituary. The Sisters of Charity, New York posted this notice of her death. A friend of hers wrote me a nice note telling me of Sister's death.

Sister Mary Christopher read my book and liked it--she watched my interviews on EWTN and was thrilled to see John Henry Newman beatified in September 2010 by Pope Benedict. She was very kind to me, sending notes and enclosing mementos--she promoted me to Doctor Stephanie Mann.

She suffered a heart attack last year but recovered to celebrate her 90th birthday on May 9, 2011.

When she translated Archbishop of Tours Jean Honore's book about Newman spirituality, she relied on her high school French and the aid of John Henry Newman. The friend who wrote me of Sister Mary Christopher's death was also one who aided her in the translation and preparation of the text.

Prayer for a Happy Death, by Blessed John Henry Newman:
O my Lord and Saviour, support me in my last hour by the strong arms of Thy sacraments, and the fragrance of Thy consolations. Let Thy absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me; and let Thine own body be my food, and Thy blood my sprinkling; and let Thy Mother Mary come to me, and my angel whisper peace to me, and Thy glorious saints and my own dear patrons smile on me, that in and through them all I may die as I desire to live, in Thy Church, in Thy faith, and in Thy love. Amen.
My Jesus, mercy.

May He support us all the day long,
till the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then in His mercy,
may He give us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest, and peace at last.

May she rest in the peace of Christ. Amen.

A Gathering of Recusant Houses

The Berkshire Family Historian Society provides this survey of Catholic recusant households in that area:
During the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, those who refused to attend Anglican church services were known as recusants. Most were Roman Catholics. Despite draconian legislation, Roman Catholicism survived in England because of a deliberate strategy. In July 1586, a secret conference at Harleyford Manor, across the river from Hurley, determined that priests would be based in the homes of the recusant gentry. Harbouring a priest could incur the death penalty and merely being a priest constituted high treason. Nonetheless, the Harleyford strategy worked well in many parts of Berkshire. Various factors contributed to this:

~~Recusancy among the gentry was relatively strong in neighbouring Hampshire and south Oxfordshire.
~~Most conforming gentry did not invoke anti-Catholic legislation against their recusant neighbours.
~~The Thames provided an efficient link with London, with recusant manor houses every few miles along the Oxfordshire bank of the river.
~~Catholic priests returning via the Hampshire coast from the Continent often passed through Berkshire.
~~Berkshire was far away enough from London to make casual raids unlikely.
~~Until the reign of Charles I, there was a steady supply of local martyrs to provide spiritual inspiration.

Hence, after two centuries of repression, there were still nearly 600 Roman Catholics in Berkshire. The Catholic Relief Act of 1778 put a formal end to the prosecution of priests by informers and allowed Roman Catholics legally to purchase and inherit land. Thirteen years later, a second act re-opened the professions to Roman Catholics and permitted the legalisation of Catholic chapels.

One of the houses listed is Milton Manor in Abingdon near Oxford which was designed by Inigo Jones. Among the others are Englefield House near Reading and Hyde or Purley Hall.

Monday, June 6, 2011

St. Norbert and the Premonstratensian Order in England

June 6 is the memorial of St. Norbert of Xanten, founder of the Premonstratiensian Order also called--what a relief--the Norbertines. The Norbertines were Augustinian Canons and established monastic communities in England starting in the 12th century. Eventually, there were 48 Norbertine houses in Britain. Newhouse was the first monastery, founded in 1183. This book by Joseph A. Gribbon, recounts the history of the order in England during the late medieval era up to the suppression of the monasteries.

Since 1872, the Norbertines have re-established houses in England and this page provides a list of all the houses that Henry VIII had suppressed, with links to details.

According to this site:

Only 22 years after the foundation of the Order in 1121, the White Canons came to England to establish the first Premonstratensian Ab­bey at Newhouse, in Lincolnshire. The founder was Peter of Goxhill. Between 1143 and the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, our Order in England firmly established itself as part of English monastic and parochial life. Some 33 Abbeys and Priories are recorded during this period and then, as now, the main occupation of the Norbertine Canons was prayer and Apostolate in the parishes which depended on the Canons for their pastors.

Many other functions were fulfilled by our pre-Reformation Fathers. In 1200, the Abbot of Torre (Devon) was appointed King John's representative at the Papal Curia. In 1207 the Abbot of St. Radegmund (Kent) was sent as royal ambassador to Count William of Holland. Henry IV used the services of the Abbot of Alnwick (Northumberland) to negotiate with the Scottish Earl of March in 1400. The Abbot of Tichfield (Hampshire) had responsibilities for the building of Porchester Castle. England's Treasurer in 1264 was a Norbertine Prior, while a Brother Thomas was a trusted advisor to Henry III.

Many of the early Norbertines attained distinction in intellectual and ecclesiastical fields. Many of the fifteenth and sixteenth century abbots held law degrees from either Oxford or Cambridge. Abbot Makerell, took degrees at both Cambridge and Frieburg and was appointed suffragan bishop in the dioceses of York and Lincoln. Fr. Thomas Wygenhall, of the Abbey of West Dereham wrote treatises on law and moral theology. "Richard the Premonstratensian" wrote a number of theological works; while Adam the Scot, born some time in the 12th century and known to have been a member of the community at Dryburgh was ren­owned both as a preacher and a writer not only in England but also in France.

But by far the most important work of the Order before the Reformation was to be found in the parishes. In the fourteenth century the Norbertine Canons had some 150 parishes in England. The Order's contribution to the life of the Church in England is witnessed to by the number of priests who were sent to work in diocesan parishes without, however, losing contact with the Abbey or Priory to which the belonged. These close links with the parochial apostolate would be a characteristic of the Order when it returned to England in 1872 after the centuries of Post-Reformation exile. . . .

The return of the White Canons to England is the responsibility of two of the great abbeys of our Order; the abbey of Tongerlo in Belgium and the abbey of Frigolet in France.

At the request of local Catholics the abbot of Tongerlo dispatched Fr. Martin Geudens to Crowle in Lincolnshire in 1872. This mission soon grew and attracted the first English vocations to the Norbertine Order since the Reformation. The Tongerlo canons established parishes at Spalding (1875), Stainforth (1931), Moorends (1937) and Holbeach (1956). During the Chapter of Reform more emphasis was put on community rather than parochial life and so these parishes are today administered by the secular clergy. In 1889 Norbertines first came to Manchester where they lived and worked at Corpus Christi in Miles Platting. It was there that our present canonry became an independent priory in 2004. Corpus Christi Basilica was closed in 2007 and the Canons moved to St. Chad’s Church in the Cheetham area of Manchester. The community transferred to Chelmsford in 2008.

The Canons of Frigolet had first arrived on the shores of England on February 1st 1882 and were given a home in Storrington, Sussex through the benefaction of the Duke of Norfolk. In 1952 the priory of Storrington was transferred to the control of the Abbey of Tongerlo and became an independent priory of the Order in 1962. These same exiled canons of Frigolet established houses and parishes at Farnborough (now a Benedictine abbey) in 1887, Weston 1888-92, Ambleside (now the diocesan church Mater Amabilis) in 1890 and Bedworth in 1892. Storrington happily remains an active Norbertine house to this day.

The order does honor English martyrs from the era of the Dissolution, including Matthew Thomas Mackerel who was executed on March 29, 1537.