That will also be the memorial of St. Oliver Plunkett, martyr/victim of the Popish Plot, so I look forward to a post about that Archbishop of Armagh, who was the last priest executed at Tyburn Tree.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I cannot help but think of the juxtaposition of these dates in June, separated by momentous years and events. In June of 1509, Catherine and Henry were wed and crowned; 20 years later Catherine appeared in a court to try the validity of her marriage; six years after that dramatic trial, one of her strongest defenders was executed when Bishop John Fisher opposed the king's supremacy.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
I offer a few quotations from his 1922 book, What I Saw in America:
- "America is the only country ever founded on a creed."
- "The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man."
- "The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed."
On a very personal note, we are celebrating my father's passage into eternal life today with a Rosary and Funeral Mass at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita, Kansas. His name is James Monroe Boyer and he died on Thursday, June 10; he was a World War II veteran, serving in Europe as a gunner in B-17s in the Army Air Corps. He and my mother have been married 65 years last November. Rest in Peace, Daddy!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
These points of the marriage treaty were very unpopular with the Protestants of England--both Anglicans and Puritans. Henrietta Maria was not crowned queen of England because she could not participate in the Anglican service. At first, Charles and Henrietta Maria did not get along well, but they did develop a very loving relationship. During the period of his personal rule, Charles and Henrietta protected Catholic priests from execution, but when Parliament was in session, they were unable to influence the courts.
As I have discussed before on this blog and in Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation, the loving relationship between the two gave many in England pause--they thought Charles might become Roman Catholic for love of his wife and that he allowed her too much freedom to practice her religion and even bring members of Court to conversion.
Friday, June 11, 2010
She lived in a kind of marital limbo for five years, but when the first Tudor king died, his son took the action of marrying Catherine on his own as soon as he was of age. She was 24 years old; he 18.
As a young woman, Catherine was very beautiful: fair complexion, blue-eyed, with reddish-blonde or auburn hair. It is interesting that she is often depicted in movies and tv series on the Tudors as dark haired and with olive-tone skin (like Irene Papas in Anne of A Thousand Days).
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Throughout the history of the Tudor and Stuart dynasties, who had a baby, what gender the baby was, and how long the baby lived had tremendous consequences for not just the succession, but the religious settlements: for instance, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn both conceived sons for Henry VIII, but they either did not survive to be born or their infancy. We know how drastic Henry's actions were in response to both of these failures--and how crucially they affected the history of religion in England.
In this case, the birth of a healthy son led, not to the security and strengthening of the Stuart dynasty, but to its fall, as the ruling classes and leaders of the Church of England could not accept the succession of another Catholic King of England. They invited a foreign prince, William of Orange to invade England and then to reign with his English wife, James II's older daughter, Mary. William and Mary had no children who survived pregnancy.
Queen Anne, who reigned after both Mary and William died, was pregnant 18 times during her marriage to Prince George of Denmark, but none of her children survived beyond the age of 11 (William, the Duke of Gloucester died in 1700 at that age). Anne realized that James Francis Edward was indeed her father and stepmother's son, but was too devoted to the Church of England to accept his succession. Parliament determined that by no means (even though his claim to the throne was secure) would the Roman Catholic "Old Pretender" be allowed to succeed--and therefore, the crown was offered to the House of Hanover.
In the meantime, the Catholic House of Stuart lived on in exile on Continent, planning and leading invasions, hoping to regain the throne. James Francis Edward grew up in France, living at St. Germain-en-Laye west of Paris. He married and had two sons, but even though the gender was right the religion was wrong and the Jacobite movement failed when Bonnie Prince Charlie died (since his brother Henry was a Catholic Cardinal).
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This Friday, June 11 is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sacred Heart Radio is hosting a radiothon fundraiser on the Son Rise Morning Show. I will be on the air around 7:45 Eastern/6:45 Central that morning to talk about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the years before the English Reformation, particularly manifested in the Five Wounds of Christ banners carried by the Pilgrimage of Grace. If you're up and about that early in the morning this Friday, you can click on the link and listen live!
Monday, June 7, 2010
The Catholic Herald has an editorial today about the history of anti-catholicism and anti-papalism in England, which bears out Owen Chadwick's comment in the Penguin history of the Reformation, "Suspicion of Rome became almost a part of the national character, a part of patriotism, a part of the Englishness of a man":
At the very centre of the national psyche there seems to be a basic suspicion of Catholicism which can be difficult to pinpoint: but it has certainly reared its head recently. The front cover of Private Eye with Pope Benedict on the balcony and the crowd in St Peter’s Square supplying the crude – but hardly unforeseeable – punchline may have shocked some and offended others, but it certainly should not have surprised anyone, as it belongs to a great tradition of English anti-Catholic satire: a tradition which has its roots in the dark days of the penal laws, and its high-water mark in the decades which followed emancipation.
During the penal era, anti-Catholicism was, of course, government policy. It has been argued that the excommunication of Elizabeth in 1570 provided the ideal opportunity for the Cecil administration to implement its abiding achievement: the propagation of the idea it was impossible to be a Catholic and a good Englishman. Against the historical backdrop of Armada, Gunpowder Plot, Civil War, the flight of James II, Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745, and almost constant war with France, it is easy to see how anti-Catholic feeling was easily sustained in the nation's consciousness.
Rome’s disassociation from the Jacobite cause in 1766 paved the way for the Catholic Relief legislation of the late 1770s, which in 1780 set off rioting in London: and while it is unlikely that more than a handful of the mob cared one way or the other for the Pope, they still rallied to the cry of “no Popery!”
In that context, vehement anti-Catholicism was found in both the mainstream press and satirical journals. Rome was Babylon, and the Pope its Whore: he was the Scarlet Lady, the Antichrist, whose followers were enslaved in his service, and who would cheerfully murder all good Protestants in their beds, given the chance.
The author, Serenhedd James, goes on to discuss the violent reaction of the English press to the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850 and the slight abatement of anti-catholicism in the last century or so. The editorial cartoons he describes sound just like some of those printed during the Know Nothing period in the United States by Thomas Nast (above).
James concludes by noting that the common Englishman does not believe that when Pope Benedict XVI visits Scotland and England this September he will dissolve Parliament, force Queen Elizabeth II to submit to his authority and establish the Inquisition throughout the British Isles, but he still distrusts Catholicism and the pope.
Of course, people can disagree with the Church because of our teachings: for Anglican or Protestant believers that can be a source of dislike and contempt. People can also distrust the Church because of the scandal our sins can cause; but anti-catholicism is also a prejudice that goes beyond reason or contempt to hatred and bigotry.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Dom David Knowles died before final editing on this version of the third volume in his series on monaticism in England. The original volume was highly praised by historians of the time like R. W. Southern and G. R. Elton. While it is slightly abridged, it serves as a great chronicle of the monastic movement in England just before and during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, masterminded and coordinated by Thomas Cromwell, Vice Regent and Chancellor of Henry VIII.
Throughout the book Knowles, himself a Benedictine, is even-handed and fair about the condition of the monasteries. In the epilogue he notes that some were in definite need of drastic reform, some had diminished in numbers such that individual foundations should have been combined; on the other hand, some of the best houses were destroyed (The Observant Franciscans, the Carthusians, Syon) because of their zeal to defend the Church against Henry's Supremacy, and the majority were harmless: perhaps not pure and zealous, but not deserving of destruction.
This abridged version, and the complete third volume, The Religious Orders in England III: The Tudor Age are highly recommended.