Sunday, October 22, 2017

Compare and Contrast: Newman and the Little Flower


The Communion of Saints is a remarkable aspect of the Church in Heaven: each saint in Heaven--proclaimed by the Church formally or not--is holy (meaning that there are definite features of holiness) and unique (holy in his or her own way). This means that we can look at their lives on earth for not only a general encouragement to become more Christlike but also to seek guidance and inspiration in surprising ways.

In the most recent issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Doctor John C. Caiazza compares and contrasts Saint Therese of Lisieux and Blessed John Henry Newman. His focus on is how they prepared the Church for the crucial development at the Second Vatican Council of the universal call to holiness:

It is common these days to read of certain figures whose contribution to the Church in some way prefigured the reforms of Vatican II—e.g., de Lubac, Congar—but among them also are the figures of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and Cardinal John Henry Newman. (They will be referred to as “Thérèse” and “Newman” in this article.) Their contributions are the subject of this essay, not in terms of exact and specific contributions to the fully developed doctrine of current Church teaching on the laity, but in terms of the development of spiritual aspirations of lay people—namely that it is not necessary to be a priest or a professed religious to seek the higher altitudes of Jesus’ holy mountain. Both insisted that the highest degrees of holiness, and lively participation in spiritual life, are not restricted to cloistered nuns, or ascetic monks, but are available to lay people, as well. Both figures then, the cloistered nun and the Oxford Scholar, wrote and inspired lay spirituality that was prophetically aimed at the full enunciation of the teaching by the Catholic Church in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catholic Catechism. . . .

What do Thérèse and Newman have in common in regards to their doctrines of lay spirituality? First, that they have such a doctrine that extends the option of spiritual advancement, in a positive and direct sense, to lay people. This is new enough in its way to require notice. Thérèse and Newman readily give an answer to the question: “What is the general means by which lay people may acquire holiness?” Thérèse’s and Newman’s answer is “all you need is love,” that is love expressed in doing one’s daily duties in life. In Thérèse’s case, we have photographs of her doing laundry, and on knees, washing the floor, while in her autobiography, she details her attention she paid to an elderly nun whose irascibility she had to learn to overcome, and ignore; that is, nothing heroic, but doing each day what daily living required. Doing such duties without seeing praise or notice, suppressing resentment, not overlooking details because no one would notice, doing these things for the love of Jesus, was the essence of her “little way” to holiness, a way that is available to all.

Please read the rest there.

I'm sorry for some interruptions in blogging. My mother, Rita, died on Monday, October 16 and my husband was in hospital this week too. Please pray for his complete recovery and please pray for the repose of my mother's soul. Her funeral is on Tuesday, October 24. Thank you.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

St. Philip Howard and His Dog

Please check this link today for my post at the National Catholic Register blog site on St. Philip Howard, who died a martyr in chains on October 19, 1595. In it, I explain some of background to the engraving of Howard in the Tower with his greyhound by his side. Hint: the Society of Jesus, conversion, dogs and other animals, and family connections are involved:

In a nineteenth century engraving, Sir Philip Howard, the Twentieth Earl of Arundel, leans against the wall above a fireplace. He has just inscribed the words “Quanto plus afflictionis pro Christo in saeculo, tanto plus gloriae cum Christo in futuro.” (“The more affliction we endure for Christ in this world, the more glory we shall obtain with Christ in the next.”) He is young, handsome, well-dressed: he is in the Tower of London, looking toward the source of sunlight in his cell. On the floor behind him, a dog looks up at him, perhaps awakened by his master’s sigh. Someone who loves dogs—and is devoted to St. Philip Howard for his conversion, his fortitude, and his example—sees the bond between owner and pet clearly in this drawing. Howard is often depicted with his dog in statues and stained glass portraits, and the group painting of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, commissioned when Howard and the others were canonized in 1970.

The engraving is attributed to William Barraud, a famous painter and illustrator, with his brother Henry, of animals: horses, cattle and dogs from sporting hounds and lap dogs. . . .


Please read the rest on the National Catholic Register blog page.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Henry VIII: The Lion Who Knew His Strength


Remember that this morning I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show to discuss Hilaire Belloc's view of Henry VIII. Listen live here about 6:49 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern.

After Catherine of Aragon, perhaps Thomas More treated Henry VIII with the most respect when trying to influence him. He also had great insight into his monarch's personality. As he told Thomas Cromwell: "Master Cromwell, you are entered into the service of a most noble, wise, and liberal prince. If you follow my poor advice, you shall, in your counsel-giving unto his grace, ever tell him what he ought to do, but never what he is able to do. . . . For if a lion knew his own strength, hard it were for any man to rule him."

Cardinal Wolsey also warned that once Henry VIII got an idea in his head, he would not forget it, so once he thought that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was cursed and that the Pope should release him from those false marriage vows, he would get what he wanted--no matter what.

More, unlike those who tried to control Henry through flattery and making themselves (they thought) indispensable, knew exactly what power his monarch had over him. When William Roper congratulated his father-in-law for his close relationship to the king, he commented, "I thank our Lord, son," quoth he, "I find his Grace my very good lord indeed, and I do believe he doth as singularly favour me as any subject within this Realm. Howbeit (son Roper) I may tell thee, I have no cause to be proud thereof. For if my head would win him a castle in France (for then there was wars between us) it should not fail to go."

For our next discussion, we'll look at Catherine of Aragon AND Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's first two consorts. On All Saints Day, November 1.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Belloc on Henry VIII--On the Son Rise Morning Show Tomorrow!

Annie Mitchell and I will continue our discussion of Hilaire Belloc's Characters of the Reformation, starting with the "author of  that great disaster the English Reformation" as Belloc calls him. Listen live here tomorrow morning, October 18, about 7:48 a.m. Eastern/6:48 a.m.  Central.

On the cover of the new Ignatius Press edition of Belloc's Characters of the Reformation, Henry VIII is in the center. The portrait chosen is from 1537. By that year, Henry VIII's first two wives were dead and his third wife was pregnant with his long desired son who would be born on October 12--and she would be dead by October 24. He was half-way through his six wives: Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour, and he took a three year break from matrimony. He had been Supreme Head and Governor, the Caesar-Pope of England since the Act of Supremacy in 1534. Henry VIII had survived the Pilgrimage of Grace, but Sir Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher, the Carthusians, the Observant Franciscans, and a few others had not survived the proclamation of his Supremacy and the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries--the beginning of the end for the monks, nuns, and friars and the religious vocations of England was about to begin.

Belloc, however, starts his discussion of Henry VIII's character with the young man, succeeding to his father's throne and marrying his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon, in 1509:

Young Henry being thus left sole heir to the throne, his father died in the spring of 1509 some months before the boy would reach his eighteenth birthday. He duly succeeded under the title of Henry VIII, was crowned, and proceeded to marry at once this sister-in-law of his, Catherine, older than himself by nearly six years. They were at first very happy together, the young King was popular, his wife had an excellent influence over him, and everything went well.[His grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, was briefly his regent, and that provided stability in the transition.]

Now let me describe the character of this young fellow, upon whom so much was to depend. His leading characteristic was an inability to withstand impulse; he was passionate for having his own way — which is almost the opposite of having strength of will. He was easily dominated, always being managed by one person or another in succession, from this beginning of his life to the end of it, but being managed — not bullied or directly controlled.

It is exceedingly important to understand this chief point about him because a misjudgment of it has warped much the greater part of historical appreciation upon him. Because he was a big man who blustered and had fits of rage and was exaggeratedly eager to follow appetite and whim he had been given the false appearance of a powerful figure. Power he had, but it was only the political power which the mood of the time gave to whoever might be monarch. He had no personal power of character. He did not control others by their respect for his tenacity, still less by any feeling that he was wise and just and still less by any feeling that he was of strong fibre. 

On the contrary, all those who managed him, one after the other — except his wife — despised him, and soon came to carry on as though they could do what they liked on condition that they flattered him. They managed public affairs while he followed his appetites or private interests. That was true of the whole series of those who "ran" him: Wolsey, Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, and, at the end, his brother-in-law Seymour. The only exception was that admirable wife of his who, through the simplicity of her character and her strong affection as well as from her sense of duty, treated him with respect. But her influence over him was, perhaps on that very account, soon lost. 

As might be expected with a nature of this kind, he revolted against each manager one after the other. He felt he was being "run" by each in turn, grew peevish about it, had explosions of anger and would in a fit of passion get rid of them. Getting rid of them often meant, under the despotic conditions of that day, putting them to death. That is how he suddenly broke with Wolsey, that is how he broke with Anne Boleyn, that is how he broke with Thomas Cromwell — who had all three done what they willed with him, acting independently of him, showing their contempt for him in private and ultimately rousing his fury. . . .

Annie Mitchell and I will discuss this and more--including that famous comment by Thomas More about working with Henry VIII--tomorrow on the Son Rise Morning Show.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

For the Inklings Festival

The Inklings Festival is less than a week away. On Friday, October 20, Joseph Pearce will talk about two of the poets of WWI, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Here is the schedule for the lectures on Friday and Saturday:

World on Fire: How the Inklings Responded with Hope & Creativity by Joseph Pearce
"Tolkien & Lewis among the War Poets" - Friday, 7 PM

Anniversary Reception at Eighth Day Books - Friday, 8:30 PM

Beyond the Waste Land: Hope and War in the Work of Lewis - Saturday, 9:30 AM

War & Mordor: Hope and War in the Work of Tolkien - Saturday, 11:00 AM

The rest of the details are here.

I wrote a little essay for the Eighth Day Institute blog on some of the music of WWI, including the young Classical music composers who served in the trenches:

POPULAR music during World War I served to rouse the troops, comfort the grieving, and encourage patriotic spirit. Several classical composers served in the British armed forces during the war and their works reflected their experience, as did the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, subjects of this year’s Inklings Lecture Series.

Popular songs wistfully recalled home or reminded home to remember the soldiers who were away. Lewis and Tolkien must have heard these songs at home and at the front. One of the most popular songs, composed in 1914, was “Keep the Home Fires Burning” by Ivor Novello, sung here by the great Irish tenor, John McCormack, who recorded many of these songs, toured the USA during the war for the Red Cross, and also sang opera around the world . . .

George Butterworth died in action at the First Battle of Somme on August 5, 1916. Upon his death, his father found out that his son had been awarded medals for bravery, and his military commander found out that he was a promising composer. Butterworth was interested in the English folk song and traditional dancing, especially Morris dancing. He composed “A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody”, based on the poetry of A. E. Housman, and “The Banks of Green Willow.”

Frederick Septimus Kelly and William Dennis Browne were closely associated with the poet Rupert Brooke. Browne wrote the famous description of Brooke’s death and midnight burial on the Isle of Skyros among the olive groves. He died on June 15, 1915 during the Battle of Gallipoli.

Please read the rest on the Eighth Day Institute website. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The "Battle" for Evensong

BBC Four is advertising a programme to be broadcast on October 17 hosted by Lucy Worsley with the title "Elizabeth I's Battle for God's Music"!

Lucy Worsley investigates the story of the most remarkable creation from the tumultuous and violent era known as the Reformation - choral evensong.

Henry VIII loved religious music, but he loved power more - when he instigated his English Reformation he dramatically split from the ancient Catholic church that controlled much of his country. But in doing so set into motion changes that would fundamentally transform the religious music he loved.

Following Elizabeth I's personal story, Lucy recounts how she and her two siblings were shaped by the changes their father instigated. Elizabeth witnessed both her radically puritan brother Edward bring church music to the very brink of destruction and the terrifying reversals made by her sister Mary - which saw her thrown in the Tower of London forced to beg for her life.

When Elizabeth finally took power she was determined to find a religious compromise - she resurrected the Protestant religion of her brother, but kept the music of her beloved father - music that she too adored. And it was in the evocative service of choral evensong that her ideas about religious music found their ultimate expression.


I know that conflict is what drives plot and that there was lots of conflict during the English Reformation, but some of this language seems a bit over the top! 

Henry VIII never experienced Evensong so his links to Elizabeth's version of "God's Music" seem weak. In what way did the "ancient Catholic church control much" of England? As Thomas More's Poor Souls protested to Henry VIII in The Supplication of Souls, it was clear who had the authority in England--Simon Fish had stated that the Catholic Church was preventing Henry from ruling his people but More denied that completely. Henry VIII was, even before his split from the universal Church, deeply involved in naming bishops, communicating with Church hierarchy--Bishops and Archbishops served the monarchy in diplomacy and administration--the Church and State were separate powers, but they had worked together smoothly for years. Remember that Henry VIII, like his father, even had Cardinal Protectors to argue English positions on ecclesiastical issues to the Pope and the Curia in Rome

Did Edward VI really "bring church music to the very brink of destruction"? Listening to Thomas Tallis's English anthems from that reign might bring that into question. Tallis would compose music for English translations of the Psalms for Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker during Elizabeth I's reign too. Edward VI's reign, through Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer's creation of The Book of Common Prayer, made Evensong possible, combining Vespers and Compline into one prayer service.

What terrifying reversals in Church music did Mary I make? Seems like Worsley is mixing things up here a little bit, referring to the restoration of Catholic worship and unity with the Catholic Church, and the revival of the Heresy Laws by Parliament in the context of changes in religious musical styles. I don't think those reversals "saw" Elizabeth thrown into the Tower, but the Wyatt Rebellion and concerns about Elizabeth's involvement in it as the one who would replace Mary on the throne. Elizabeth I would throw many people into the Tower whenever she felt threatened too. 

Shouldn't Mary's restoration of English polyphony be the main point of this discussion? If Edward was bringing it to the brink of destruction, didn't Mary save it? 

It's a little strong to say that Elizabeth I "was determined to find a religious compromise"; I think most scholars agree that Elizabeth was pragmatic and her Parliament created the religious settlement she wanted but I doubt that she thought of it as a compromise.

Image (public domain): The Pelican Portrait by Nicholas Hilliard. The pelican was thought to wound her breast to nourish her young, and became a symbol of Passion and Eucharist, adopted by Elizabeth portraying herself as the "mother of the Church of England."

Perhaps we'll see it here in the USA on PBS someday to see how this history is really presented.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: "Holiness in a Secular Age"


National Catholic Register published my review of Father Juan Velez's new book on Blessed John Henry Newman in the October 1 print edition. NCReg then published it on-line yesterday!

When young John Henry Newman experienced his first conversion to an evangelical form of Anglicanism, he was inspired by two maxims of Thomas Scott. One of them — “holiness rather than peace” — became a motto for the rest of his life.

In this introduction to Blessed John Henry Newman’s example of pursuing holiness in 19th-century England as it was becoming more secularized, Father Juan Vélez guides readers through Newman’s life, projects and published works. He presents Newman as a man of faith evangelizing a world that was moving away from Christian doctrine and morality.

After a succinct survey of Newman’s life, including his leadership in the “Oxford Movement,” his conversion to Catholicism, his foundations of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England and the short-lived Catholic University of Ireland, and his struggles and eventual acceptance within the Catholic Church in England, the author addresses a number of themes in Newman’s life.

Please read the rest there. I just love the cover of the book, which is a detail of the stained glass window behind the altar of the chapel for the Newman Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Note that Father Velez has produced a study guide, which he is sharing for free on his website, www.cardinaljohnhenrynewman.com/

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Suppressed But Not Defeated: the Benedictines of England


As James Kelly writes in The Catholic Herald of the Benedictine Order in England after the Dissolution of the Monasteries:

The significance of what they represented was not lost on them: as several monks testified at their martyrdoms, they were from the same order as the first missionary to England, St Augustine of Canterbury, “from whom,” as George Gervase, executed in 1608, put it, “England acknowledged that she had received the Christian faith”.

Like the other missionary clergy who had been secretly entering England since the 1570s, these missionary monks brought with them the Catholic Reformation. Imbued with the zeal of a movement then sweeping Catholic Europe and, increasingly, far-flung parts of the globe from Asia to America, they were agents for the transfer of religious and intellectual ideas gaining ground in mainland Europe.

But nor were they solely about the new: they also tracked down the last surviving monk of Westminster Abbey. By the start of the 17th century, the infirm Sigebert Buckley lived under a form of house arrest. In 1607, he aggregated two of the new monks to him, thereby ensuring the continuity of the English Benedictines from the medieval period. As the new monastic movement grew and the monks re-founded the English Benedictine Congregation in 1619, this symbolic act took on greater significance. . . .


This is the text of that key document, aggregating the two monks to guarantee continuity from St. Augustine of Canterbury to 1607:

I, D. Sebert, otherwise Sigebert, priest and monk of the monastery of St. Peter, Westminster, of the Congregation of England of the Order of St. Benedict: lest the rights, privileges, insignia, should perish which were formerly granted by Princes and Pontiffs and which for some years, God so permitting, have been preserved in me the sole survivor of all the English monks: did at London in the year 1607, the 21st day of November, with the consent of their superiors receive and admit as brethren and monks of the said monastery D. Robert Sadler of Peterborough and D. Edward Maihew of Salisbury, English priests and monks professed of the Cassinese Congregation of St. Justina of Padua: and to them did grant, impart and assign all rights, privileges, ranks, honours, liberties and graces which in times past the monks professed and dwelling in the said monastery did enjoy. And the same by these presents I do again approve, ratify and confirm. And I do receive and admit as monks, brethren, lay-brethren, oblates of the said monastery – and to them do grant, impart and assign all rights, privileges, as above, all those whom D. Thomas Preston of Shropshire, D. Augustine [Smith] and D. Anselm [Beech] Lancastrians, and D. Maurus [Taylor] of Ely have admitted or received as monks, lay-brethren, oblates, and to whom they have granted the rights, &c, as above: since to them I did grant authority and power so to admit, &c, as appeareth more at large in my letters of the 21st November 1607: the which [letters] as to all and each of their parts I do by virtue of these presents hold ratified and confirmed, and will so hold them in perpetuum. Given at Punisholt, otherwise Ponshelt, Anno Domini 1609, the 8th day of November, in the presence of the underwritten Notary and witnesses."

As Kelly continues:

It meant that the English Benedictines of the 17th century could lay claim to the old monastic properties which the Order had once enjoyed. As such, the English Benedictines throughout the period elected priors of, for example, Durham, Canterbury and Ely cathedrals, ready for the moment when England – as they believed, inevitably – returned to the Catholic faith.

This did not stop the monks forming new houses in exile, three of which remain to this day. St Gregory’s, founded at Douai in northern France in 1606, is now better known as Downside Abbey; St Laurence’s, founded in the town of Dieulouard in Lorraine in 1608, is now Ampleforth Abbey; St Edmund’s, Paris, founded in 1616, is now settled at Woolhampton, Berkshire, as Douai Abbey.

More and More Reformation Books: Another Stark Choice

Rodney Stark, whose books I've enjoyed and learned from, has written a book about the Reformation (his most recent book before this is Bearing False Witness). His contribution to the library of Reformation books coming out this fall is Reformation Myths: Five Centuries Of Misconceptions And (Some) Misfortunes. As the publisher, SPCK (the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) describes the book:

What has the Reformation Ever done for us? That's the question asked by church historian and sociologist Rodney Stark, whose latest book (one of SPCK's August 2017 Releases) Reformation Myths . . . offers an alternative consideration of the way culture and church remembers the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation of the Church in the West.

Stark takes and skewers eight myths that, from his uniquely informed perspective, have tainted the way our culture has been shaped. Unafraid to engage with some of the 'sacred cows' of Reformed and other streams of thought, this little book challenges common views and wonders if there might be another way to think.

Bracketed by chapters on mythical Protestants (Who were they anyway?) and a conclusion of prejudice and persistence, Stark has penned a wide ranging and entertaining tone, that Martin Luther would no doubt have spluttered into his Weissbier were he alive today and regularly reviewing books. Some of those myths include:

The myths of full pews, pious kings, and limited monarchies
The misfortune of state churches, with forced piety and bigotry
The ongoing misfortune of nationalistic states
The enduring myth of the Protestant Ethic
The myth of the way that Protestantism and Reformed thought led to the scientific revolution

Written in an informed, authoritative, and iconoclastically engaging style, and published to provide a mirror to the celebrations around the world of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, this book asks the question, inviting us to consider a range of answers, and rethink what we thought we knew about Luther, Calvin, the Diet of Worms, and all that.

Remember that part of Stark's iconoclastic charm is that he is NOT a Catholic, so when you read the sample from the book that's available for free from Amazon, you may be amazed when he notes that the only way to define Protestantism is in the negative: it's Christian but not Catholic or Orthodox! And the fact that the SPCK, a publisher founded to defend the Anglican church and support Church of England missions in 1698, is just another twist in the story.

Illustration credit: a weissbier in Munich!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tudor Gothic Romance: The Miracle of St. Bruno's

While searching for an image of St. Bruno of Cologne, founder of the Carthusians, I found the cover of an historical novel, The Miracle of St. Bruno's by Philippa Carr (aka Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Eleanor Hibbert, etc). This was the first novel in Carr's series Daughters of England, 20 novels published from 1972 to 1993, with historical eras from the Tudor Era to the 20th century as the backdrop.

Carr sets up a dual narrative in this Tudor Gothic novel: all the Court action of Henry VIII's six wives, wars, executions, religious changes, etc takes place off site. It's reported, not depicted. Even the dissolution of the monastery next door to the heroine's home, the Carthusian Priory of St. Bruno's, is mentioned at arm's length.

The heroine's name is Damask (named for a rose) and she and her father are fictional versions of Margaret More Roper and St. Thomas More, even down to the beheading of the fathers. Except for the historical action conducted in London and at Court, this is a typical Gothic novel, the kind Jane Austen mocked in Northanger Abbey. The ruined monastery, rumors of it being haunted, the secret love affairs, the hidden source of riches, the witch in the forest, who seems both to curse and to love the heroine, the mysterious spouse, etc: all Gothic elements.

Carr's Tudor history, especially the reportage of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall, is sometimes a little shaky. For example, Mary I was not called "Bloody Mary" during her reign--that came later. The religious changes of the Tudor monarchs create the atmosphere of danger in the family, but except for Damask's mother becoming convinced of the validity of the New Religion, there are few signs of religious fervor, apart from the dispersed monks who come back together in the monastery as it is being rebuilt. Even the father's heroism is muted by the fact that Catholic prayer and worship never seem to be part of the household or Damask's upbringing. The Carthusians next door are a source of fascination not devotion. The hero, Bruno, is a Byronic figure, thinking himself superior to all other men, capable of achieving his every goal, and impervious to danger. He disappears and then reappears, obtaining the Priory of St. Bruno's and rebuilding it.

One of the supporting characters undergoes a drastic, unexplained change from a manipulative rival to a concerned friend of Damask's. Everything happens to Damask, who takes a strangely modern view of religious toleration with a live and let live attitude foreign to the 16th century. At the end of the novel, the promise of the new reign of Elizabeth seems to suggest that all the conflicts of the past 20 years are over, which is risible.

For 99 cents on Kindle, it's a fast read, but there are long sections where nothing happens and Carr attempts to maintain some tension without great success: the reader knows what will be revealed at the end, and has as soon as the hero reappears in the story. The miracle is that you'll probably keep reading the book until Carr reveals the secret.

Friday, October 6, 2017

St. Bruno and the English Carthusian Martyrs


I have often posted about the Carthusian Order and its English Reformation martyrs on this blog. Today we celebrate the feast of the order's founder, St. Bruno of Cologne:

Born in Cologne around 1030, he begins studying at the school of the Cathedral of Reims at an early age. Made a "doctor", Canon of the Cathedral Chapter, he is made the Rector of the University in 1056. He was one of the most remarkable scholars and teacher of his time "a prudent man whose word was rich in meaning."

He finds himself less and less at ease in a city where scandal has little affect towards the clergy and the Bishop himself. After having fought, not without success, against this disorder, Bruno feels the desire of a life more completely given to God alone.

After an attempt at a solitary life of short duration, he enters the region of Grenoble, of which the Bishop, the future Saint Hugues, offers him a solitary site in the mountains of his diocese. In June 1084, the Bishop himself leads Bruno and six of his companions in the primitive valley of Chartreuse, where the Order eventually gets its name from. They build a hermitage, consisting of a few log cabins opening towards a gallery which allows them access to the communal areas of the community -- church, refectory, and chapter room -- without having to suffer too much from intemperate conditions.

After six years of a pleasant solitary life, Bruno is called by Pope Urban II to the service of the Holy See. Not thinking of being able to continue without him, his community first thinks of separating, but it allows itself to be convinced to follow in the life that he first formed. Advisor to the Pope, Bruno is ill at ease a the Pontifical Court. He only lives in Rome for a few short months. With the Pope's blessing, he establishes a new hermitage in the forests of Calabria, in the south of Italy, with a few new companions. There he dies 6 October 1101.

I note this on the website: "Liturgical celebration does not have any pastoral intent. This explains why those outside the Order are not admitted to participate at the offices or the Mass celebrated in the churches of our monasteries. Because of our call to solitude, visits are limited to the family members of the monk (2 days a year) and to those who feel called to our life, whom we call retreatants."--so when St. Thomas More spent any time with the Carthusians of the Charterhouse of London, it would have been as a retreatant. Note also how much Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Audley, at al, were interrupting the solitude of the Carthusians.

There is a Charterhouse in England today: St. Hugh at Parkminster (make sure you have the sound turned on your computer; the site comes with chant!) It was founded in 1873 and the house originally had two houses from the Continent to accommodate. Their site includes a gift shop, with this book about the Beauvale martyrs of the English Reformation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Belloc in the Morning on the Son Rise Morning Show


Annie Mitchell and I will start a series this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show, discussing Hilaire Belloc's Characters of the Reformation, recently reissued by Ignatius Press. We'll start today a little after 6:45 a.m. Central/7:45 a.m. Eastern with some background on Belloc and the book. Listen live here and find podcasts there later, too. We'll continue going through the book, discussing Belloc's insights every two weeks. If you want to read along, you could join our book club!

Hilaire Belloc was born on July 27, 1870 and died on July 16, 1953. Belloc (Joseph Hilaire Pierre Rene) was born in France; his father was French, his mother English. After his father's death, his mother brought him and his sister Marie to England, where he attended the Oratory School in Birmingham founded by Blessed John Henry Newman. He then served in the French military as required and returned to attend Balliol College at Oxford. He was president of the Oxford Union Debating Society and hoped for a fellowship at All Souls. All Souls selects its Fellows by offering examinations. Hilaire Belloc took the examination and failed to earn a Fellowship after earning a First in History from Balliol College in 1895. This site suggests that he might have failed because he placed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the desk before his examination. I can imagine Belloc being so demonstrative about his faith. 

Belloc married Elodie Hogan in 1896 and they had five children before her death in 1914, one of whom, Louis, died in World War I. Belloc became British citizen in 1902. When he ran for Parliament in 1906, his campaign manager begged him not to mention his Catholicism--so Belloc proclaimed during one of his speeches (when heckled for being a "Papist"): "Gentlemen, I am a Catholic. As far as possible, I go to Mass every day. This (taking a rosary out of his pocket) is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that he has spared me the indignity of being your representative." Of course, he was elected.

Frederick Wilhelmson, author of a study of Belloc titled Hilaire Belloc: No Alienated Man, A Study in Christian Integration, published by Sheed and Ward in 1953, commented on his energy and vigor in another essay:

At my last count, Hilaire Belloc wrote 153 books. The business has to do with vigor, an enormous lust for life, and a willingness to make mistakes. Belloc did not give a damn for what anybody thought of him. He wrote his life of King James II in a hotel on the edge of the Sahara in ten days: “It is full of howlers and is the fruit of liberty.” He walked to Rome as a young man, coming in upon the Appian Way on a mule drawn cart — but with his feet dragging on the road so his vow would not be broken.

His vigor was legendary, and I have mentioned as well his lust for life. Belloc — and this is a key to understanding his role as a Catholic apologist — was a man totally at home in this world, but one who knew it was an illusion to be so at home. There was not a trace of Manicheanism in him, and he called puritanism, in his biography of Louis XIV, an “evil out of the pit”, meaning the pit of hell. A mountain climber, he was even more a sailor. His Hills and the Sea and The Cruise of the Nona are classics. If The Path to Rome is the work of a young genius, rollicking and rolling his way over mountain and valley toward the Eternal City, The Four Men, on the contrary, called by its author “A Farrago”, was penned in solitude mixed with melancholy. Grizzlebeard, the Poet, and the Sailor are all extensions of Myself, and Myself is Belloc. Only when life is lived close to the senses, when the intelligence is engaged immediately on what is yielded to man through the body, is the paradox of sadness in created beauty brought home in all its delicacy and inexorableness. Page after page of Belloc’s writing is troubled by a deep and troubled gravity, heightened by his profound communion with the things of his world: English inns; old oak‑burnished and sturdy; rich Burgundy and other wines” that port of theirs” at the “George” drunk by the fire with which he began this book; the sea and ships that sail — but, please, “no abomination of an engine”; the smell of the tides. These loves run through Belloc’s essays, recurring themes testifying to a vision movingly poetic in its classic simplicity. His eyes are fixed on the primal things that always nourished the human spirit, on the things at hand.

In Characters of the Reformation, Belloc provides sketches of major figures in the English Reformation and some French leaders. He does not include Martin Luther, John Calvin, or any other Continental Reform leader in this collection. He does not narrate the history of the Reformation on the Continent or in England in this book. His How the Reformation Happened provides that narration.

As Wilhelmson said of Belloc and English Reformation history:

Time prohibits my detailing Belloc’s revolution in English historical writing. Suffice it to say — and this is said formally and altogether without rhetorical emphasis — that one man, Hilaire Belloc, turned the whole writing of British history around. Since Belloc, nobody can get away with understanding the Reformation as the work of high‑minded souls bent on liberty and democracy, noble souls who brought England out of the darkness of Catholic superstition and medieval obscurantism. Others footnoted Belloc and traded on his vision. They did well in doing so, but the vision was his — as was the persecution of silence that followed on his work. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Father Weston, SJ and St. Philip Howard


On September 30, 1584, Father William Weston, SJ received Sir Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel into the Catholic Church. According to John Hungerford Pollen in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Father Weston was a:

Jesuit missionary priest, born at Maidstone, 1550 (?); died at Valladolid, Spain, 9 June, 1615. Educated at Oxford, 1564-1569 (?), and afterwards at Paris and Douai (1572-1575), he went thence on foot to Rome and entered the Society of Jesus, 5 November, 1575, leaving all he possessed to Douai College. His novitiate was made in Spain, and there he worked and taught until called to the English Mission, where there was not then a single Jesuit at liberty. He reached England, 20 September, 1584, and had the happiness of receiving into the Church Philip Howard (q.v.), Earl of Arundel. He has left us an autobiography full of the missionary adventures . . . [translated by Philip Caraman] One salient feature was the practice of exorcisms, at which a number of other priests assisted; and this movement made for a time a good impression. So far, however, as we can now discover, the subjects were not suffering from diabolic possession, but only from hysteria (then called "mother"). Yet there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the exorcists, for Catholics and Protestants alike were then credulous on this subject, and the latter, so far as England and Scotland went, were very cruel. The first to object to these witchcraft proceedings were the older priests. A recrudescence of persecution put an end to the exorcisms after a year, before any serious harm had ensued; and this we should consider as a merciful disposition of Providence ("The Month", May, 1911). Many of the exorcists were martyred for their priesthood; the rest, almost to a man, were seized and imprisoned, Weston amongst the latter (August, 1586). In 1588 the Government moved Weston and a number of other priests to the old ruinous castle of Wisbech, where for four years their confinement was very strict. Butin 1592 the prisoners were, for economy's sake, allowed to live on the alms supplied by Catholics, and for this much freedom of intercourse was permitted. A great change ensued, the faithful came, quietly indeed, but in considerable numbers, to visit the confessors, who on their part arranged to live a sort of college life. This was not accomplished without much friction.

The majority with Weston (20 out of 33) desired regular routine with a recognized authority to judge delinquencies, e.g. quarrels and possible scandals. The minority dissented, and when the majority persisted, and even dined apart (February, 1595), a cry of schism was raised, and Weston was denounced as its originator, the pugnacious Christopher Bagshaw (q.v.) taking thelead against him. In May, arbitrators (Bavant and Dolman) were called in,but without result, as one espoused one side, one the other. In October two more arbitrators, John Mush (q.v.) and Dudley, were summoned, and they arranged a compromise amid general rejoicings. The whole body agreed to live together by a definite rule (November, 1595). This result seems to show that Weston and those from whom he acted as "agent were not wrong in insisting on some measure of order. On the other hand he was clearly at fault innot appreciating better the motives and feelings of the considerable minority against him; but some of them were no doubt most difficult to treat with. In the spring of 1597 the troubles of the English College, Rome, spread to England, and led to a renewal of the "Wisbech stirs", which were soon overshadowed by the "Appellant controversy". Weston took no part in this,as he was committed, early in 1599, to the Tower, where he suffered so much that he almost lost his sight. In 1603 he was sent into exile and spent the rest of his days in the English seminaries at Seville and Valladolid. He was rector of the latter college at the time of his death. His autobiography and letters show us a man learned, scholarly, and intensely spiritual, if somewhat narrow. A zealous missionary, he strongly attracted many souls, while some found him unconciliatory. Portraits of him are preserved at Rome and Valladolid.

Philip Howard's conversion--along with his wife Anne's--was very dangerous. As this site notes, Queen Elizabeth I noticed when Philip started to change:

Queen Elizabeth I became aware of the change in Philip, particularly noting his reconciliation with Anne, so when Anne was reported to her as a recusant she seized the opportunity and had her arrested. Their first child, a daughter, was born while she was in the custody of Sir Thomas Shirley at Wiston in Sussex. Philip had her baptised in the Protestant church. But nevertheless he was very near to his great decision, which eventually he came to at Arundel Castle in 1584. He was reconciled to the Church by the Jesuit Father William Weston.

This was no token conversion. It meant a complete change of life for Philip. He had a priest in his Charterhouse home in London, so that he could have daily Mass. Prayer became a regular part of his life. He continued to attend the Lords and the Court, but avoided attending Church services on various pretexts. The great question now in his mind was; how could he best serve the Catholic cause? He wrote to Cardinal Allen at Douai asking his advice. The letter was intercepted, and the Queen’s Council, using a priest in their pay, sent a bogus reply recommending him to leave England. Although Father Weston and all his friends had been against it, Philip accepted what he thought was Allen’s advice, and secretly took ship for the Continent. But of course his movements were known to the Council, and off the coast he was boarded by a warship and brought back under arrest.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 29, 1850: Universalis Ecclesiae

"Am I the Queen of England or am I not?" So said Queen Victoria when news of the Restoration of the English Catholic hierarchy was announced in 1850. Pope Pius IX issued the Papal Bull "Universalis Ecclesiae" on September 29th that year. The first Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Nicholas Wiseman issued a pastoral letter to English Catholics, "Out of the Flaminian Gate," on October 7, 1850. His tone of exultation offended the Queen and her government, especially in its praise of the Pope.

As Cardinal Wiseman progressed on the Continent toward the British Isles he heard about the anger expressed in the British papers. Queen Victoria expressed herself in the strongest terms and the Cardinal responded by publishing a pamphlet and giving lectures that indicated the Catholic Church had no intention of opposing Her Majesty's Government in any way.

Queen Victoria's Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, introduced a bill in Parliament which passed making it illegal for the new Catholic Bishops to be physically present in their new dioceses--a law which was never enforced by the next government under Gladstone. There were still flare ups of anti-Catholic rioting and violence, but the Cardinal Archbishop had toned down his rather triumphalistic rhetoric and settled down to the restoration of simple things, like schools, chapels, seminaries, and churches. Because of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851, the hierarchy did not restore the pre-Reformation sees. 

The illustration above, from Punch, represents the anti-Papal reaction to the Restoration of the Hierarchy. Indeed, effigies of Cardinal Wiseman were added to the festivities on Guy Fawkes Night that year.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII broadcast a radio message to English Catholics, celebrating the centenary of the Restoration of the Hierarchy:

That ancient Hierarchy was first established by Our august Predecessor St. Gregory the Great, and for nearly a thousand years it was linked to this Holy See by the bonds of filial obedience: a thou-sand years, during which a glorious legion of saints honoured your country and a wholesouled devotion to the Mother of God made it worthy to be called  "the dowry of Mary". 

When those bonds were severed and by a mysterious providence of heaven the blackness of night settled down on the Church of Augustine and Thomas and Edmund, of Wilfrid of York and Hugh of Lincoln, then it was, God raised up that generation of amazing heroes, trained in the school of a crucified Leader to fear neither rack nor rope, who came to sustain the flickering light of Faith that would not die. With what veneration and hallowed memories one prays before the painting of the King of Martyrs in the Venerable English College chapel, while before the mind's eye there pass a Sherwin, a Campion, a Southwell and a host of others cleric and lay. They died, and the Faith in England lived on. 

Almost three centuries passed, and Our predecessor Pius IX of blessed memory decided the time had come for the Catholic Church in England to resume its proper place in the normal constitution of the Church, and by the Apostolic Letter "Universalis Ecclesiae" he re-established in England and Wales the Hierarchy of Bishops Ordinary, each to rule the Catholics in his own diocese.

Pope Pius XVII mentioned the progress Catholics had made in England and highlighted the achievement of Newman and Manning, while also mentioning two more martyrs:

It were too long to call the roster of all those who deserve a grateful remembrance today; but We cannot pass over in silence two names that add particular lustre to the pages of your nineteenth century history: John Henry Newman, most human, most eloquent expositor of the word of God, whose immortal sermon keeps fresh the memory of the First Synod of the restored Hierarchy; and Henry Edward Manning, champion of the working-man, herald and apostle of an age of increasing social justice and harmony. 

We know full well, Venerable Brethren, that this progress has not been achieved without difficulties and trials. Our heart goes out in sympathy especially to the bishops and priests of Wales, where Catholics are few and scattered, and where poverty and loneliness must so often be the companions of those valiant apostles who would enlarge the kingdom of Christ on earth. To them We say : look to your illustrious martyrs, Blessed Richard Gwyn and Blessed David Lewis, and go forward with courage and good cheer.

In 33 years, they'll celebrate the bicentennial!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reformation Era Biography Collections


On the cusp of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses, books and articles about the Protestant Reformation have of course been plentiful. One subset of these books are the biographical collections, represented by the examples above.

Ignatius Press has published a new edition of Hilaire Belloc's Characters of the Reformation, with prose portraits of mostly English characters of the Reformation, starting with Henry VIII, but including a few French personages, like Cardinal Richelieu. Belloc believes that the English Reformation was not only distinct from the Protestant Reformation but that the defection of the Church in England--Henry VIII's breaking away from Catholic unity--was decisive in the destruction of Christendom. From his introduction:

The early enthusiasm for change was anarchic and dispersed. It had no form. It was of a violence which was bound to burn itself out, especially as it was resisted by all the organized central authorities of Christendom: the Kings and the Emperor. All that descended directly from the ancient foundation of our culture, the Romanized, civilized core of Europe, held out — save for one province: Britain. England was captured for the Revolutionary side, not by any desire on the part of her people, but by a succession of incidents which marked each of them a step more difficult to retrace. First, on a matter in no way connected with the Faith, the King of England, the most complete autocrat of his day, happened to quarrel with the Pope. The divorce of Henry VIII from his wife Catherine of Aragon, due to his infatuation with Anne Boleyn, began the business. It was conducted by a man of far greater ability than Henry, one Thomas Cromwell, an adventurer of high talent and no scruples (the great-uncle of Oliver and founder of the vast Cromwell fortune of which Oliver was a cadet). This Thomas Cromwell advised and carried out the confiscation of the monastic lands in England; a huge loot which was to be followed by further robbery of clerical endowments of every kind, including schools and colleges as well as the wealth of Sees and Parishes and Chapters. The new fortunes arising from this flood of confiscation determined the issue. . . .

That severance of England from Europe and from Christendom was, I have said, the pivotal matter of the Protestant advance. On it the partial success of the religious revolution everywhere depended. Hence the necessity for beginning by an understanding of the English tragedy, failing which the disruption of Europe and all our modern chaos would never have appeared. 

Belloc certainly takes a "Long Reformation" approach, because he ends his collection of characters with Blaise Pascal, William of Orange, and Louis XIV.

OSV has published Joseph Pearce's Heroes of the Catholic Reformation: Saints Who Renewed the Church, which I previewed and endorsed with a blurb:

The Protestant Reformation began five hundred years ago, accompanied by an age of turmoil and secularism we can recognize even in our own time. Rather than shrinking from the crisis, the Catholic Church responded with even deeper, and more genuine, reform. We can do the same today.

This Catholic Reformation was accomplished by many defenders of the Faith whom we now know as saints. Their holiness, courageous deeds, and sacrifices during this renewal of the Catholic Faith demonstrate the true heroism of saintly action and provide models for defending the faith in the modern world.

Diverse as they are inspiring, these heroes and saints stood up to slay “the dragons of sin” while championing Church teaching. Their sacrifices left the Church — and the world — forever changed.

Bishop John Fisher, Sir Thomas More, and priests Edmund Campion and Robert Southwell refused to submit to England’s secular tyranny and chose martyrdom instead. — Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, and Charles Borromeo, the reforming Archbishop of Milan, spearheaded the Catholic Reformation.

Pope Pius V brought a spirit of asceticism to the papacy and ardor to the work of reform.
Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross, despite enduring terrible suffering, surrendered themselves completely to Christ’s great mission of reform within the Church.

The Heroes of the Catholic Reformation is a scholarly and cultured celebration of the saints who responded to the fierce oppositions of their time with courage and an authentic and lasting Catholic Reformation. Author Joseph Pearce invites us look to these heroes for inspiration as we seek to live the fullness of Faith in our fallen world.

Pearce--who is coming to Wichita in October AND November for presentations--takes the view that the Reformation as a whole is divided into three parts: the Protestant "Reformation"; the English "Reformation", and the Catholic Reformation. Only the latter is a true reformation; the others are rebellions and divisions: the latter worked to restore the Apostolic Teaching and Tradition as Jesus commanded; the others resulted in religious chaos.

The one book I have not read or seen is Phillip Campbell's Heroes and Heretics of the Reformation from TAN:

Not since the birth of Christ has an event shaken the foundations of the Western world like the Reformation. Now, 500 years after Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door at Wittenberg—the sound of which served as the thunder presaging the storm to come—Phillip Campbell, author of The Story of Civilization, casts fresh eyes on that tumultuous time and its most influential characters.

It was a tumultuous time, filled with heroes, heretics, and some who were a little bit of both. It was a time of destruction and rebuilding. Some sincerely sought reform while others sought merely to profit by it, and some—perhaps too few—used the events of the time to become saints.

In these pages meet as you’ve never met before:

• Martin Luther: the tortured Augustinian monk whose act at Wittenberg called forth the storm
• Thomas Müntzer: the radical who, inspired by the new way of thinking and his own apocalyptic views, sought to use the sword to usher in the reign of God; he would feel the sting of Luther’s words and the bite of the executioner’s blade.
• The queens: Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, who were at different times bastardized and delegitimized by their father Henry VIII, but who each reigned during this period of upheaval. One is known to history by a derogatory epithet, while the other, “bloodier” still, has an epoch named in her honor.
• The popes: Paul III and Pius V, each of whom sought to save what could be saved of Christendom, one through the calling of the Council of Trent, which codified an authentic Catholic Reform, and the other through the calling of a new crusade to fend off the ever-threatening Turks.
• St. Peter Canisius: who lived a life of sanctity as he tried to reconcile those who had drifted away back to the Church.


Through the lives of those above and others, dramatically unfolded in Campbell’s stirring narrative, learn how the heroes and heretics of the tumultuous sixteenth century shook the world, for better or for worse.


I'm sure that Protestant publishers have produced some of the same kind of collections and I'll try to find some for a future post.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham

EWTN, the late Mother Angelica's Catholic media empire, has just opened a studio in England at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Mass for the Feast will be broadcast live on EWTN this morning at 6:00 a.m. Central Time! You may watch live on-line here.

In 2015 Pope Francis designated the Shrine as a Minor Basilica. As the old Catholic Encyclopedia explains, a Basilica is

a title assigned by formal concession or immemorial custom to certain more important churches, in virtue of which they enjoy privileges of an honorific character which are not always very clearly defined. Basilicas in this sense are divided into two classes, the greater or patriarchal, and the lesser, basilicas.

The major or patriarchal basilicas are the great churches of Rome: St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, St. Major, and St. Paul outside the Walls. The popes can add to the number of minor or lesser basilicas.

England's royalty often went on pilgrimage to Walsingham, as this website notes:

In the year 1226 news of the miraculous happenings at Walsingham reached royal ears in London, Henry III visited the shrine and granted the Canons the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. This Henry visited Walsingham thirteen times, and became a patron, giving many valuable gifts over the years including a gold crown for the image of Our Lady in the Chapel. The village of Walsingham grew around the success of the shrine as hostelries, eating houses and other business establishments catering to visitors sprang up. Indeed, the population of the village was at its height during the heyday of the medieval pilgrimages. A second religious order, the Franciscans, was given permission by Pope and King to erect a friary nearby in 1347, adding to the religious atmosphere of the little town.

Several English kings were devotees of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Henry III’s son, Edward I, credited Our Lady with saving his life as a youth. He was playing chess in a vaulted room, when for no apparent reason, he felt the urge to get up from his seat. Seconds later a large stone fell from the roof and landed on the very spot where he had been sitting. Henry VII was a patron and credited Our Lady with his victory in the Battle of Stoke in 1487. We may be astounded to learn that Henry VIII made a pilgrimage to the shrine in 1511 to give thanks for the birth of a son, Prince Henry. He gave several valuable gifts and when he noticed that the windows of Our Lady’s Chapel were unglazed, he gave the money needed to complete that work. There was no hint at this happy time of the impending disaster. . . .

The next step in Henry’s evil plan was the supression of religious houses. Walsingham, being of secondary importance escaped the first round, but the time for its dissolution came in July of 1538. The shrine was closed and the beloved statue was taken away to London to suffer the fate of thousands of other statues and images in Reformation England: She was burned at Chelsea in the presence of Cromwell in September of 1538. In August of that same year, the priory was handed over to the King’s Commissioners, and after looting it of all its wealth, the Holy House of Richeldis was burned to the ground. At its dissolution, the Priory was sold to Sir Thomas Sidney.


Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!

O gracious Lady, glory of Jerusalem, Cypress of Sion and Joy of Israel, Rose of Jericho and Star of Bethlehem, O gracious Lady, our asking do not repel, in mercy all women ever thou dost excel. Therefore, Blessed Lady, grant then thy great grace, to all that thee devoutly visit in this place. Amen. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

John Jewel, RIP and His "Apologia"

John Jewel was the Anglican bishop of Salisbury; born on May 24, 1522, he died on September 23, 1571.

His most famous work is The Apology of the Church of England which was originally written in Latin with the title Apologia pro ecclesia Anglicana, as this introduction to the work, posted at Project Canterbury, reminds us:

The great interest of Jewel's "Apology" lies in the fact that it was written in Latin to be read throughout Europe as the answer of the Reformed Church of England, at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, to those who said that the Reformation set up a new Church. Its argument was that the English Church Reformers were going back to the old Church, not setting up a new; and this Jewel proposed to show by looking back to the first centuries of Christianity. Innovation was imputed; and an Apology originally meant a pleading to rebut an imputation. So, even as late as 1796, there was a book called "An Apology for the Bible," meaning its defence against those who questioned its authority. This Latin book of Jewel's, Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae--written in Latin because it was not addressed to England only--was first published in 1562, and translated into English by the mother of Francis Bacon, whose edition appeared in 1564. That is the translation given in this volume. The book has since had six or seven other translators, but Lady Ann Bacon's translation was that which presented it in Queen Elizabeth's time to English readers, and it had the advantage of revision by the Queen's Archbishop of Canterbury, her coadjutor in the establishment of the Reformed Church of England, Matthew Parker. It was published, with no name of author or translator on the title-page, as "An Apologie or answere in defence of the Churche of Englande, with a briefe and plaine declaration of the true Religion professed or used in the same." The book was prefaced by a letter, "To the right honorable learned and vertuous Ladie, A. B." [Ann Bacon] "M. C. wisheth from God grace, honoure, and felicitie," where M. C. signifies Matthew Cantuar, Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, whom Lady Ann Bacon had made her judge, and whose judgment, the letter says, her book had singularly pleased.

Lady Ann Bacon was the second daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, who was tutor to King Edward VI. Sir Anthony gave to his five daughters a most liberal education. His eldest daughter, Mildred, married Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh, while Ann became the second wife of the Lord Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon. Their father had made Mildred and Ann two of the most learned women in England.

John Jewel was forty years old when he wrote the "Apology." He was born in Devonshire in 1522, on the 24th of May, at the village of Buden, near Ilfracombe. He studied at Oxford, where he became tutor and preacher, graduated as B.D. in 1551, and was presented to the rectory of Sunningwell. At the accession of Queen Mary he bowed to the royal authority, but he was a warm friend and disciple of Peter Martyr, who had come to England in 1547, at the invitation of Edward VI., to take the chair of Divinity at Oxford. On the accession of Queen Mary, Peter Martyr (who was born at Florence in 1500, and whose family name was Vermigli) returned to Strasburg, and went thence to Zurich, where he died in 1562. Jewel, repenting of his assent to the new sovereign's authority in matters of religion, followed his friend Peter Martyr across the water, and became vice-master of a college at Strasburg. Upon the accession of Elizabeth, in 1588 (sic, should be 1558), Jewel came back, and he was one of the sixteen Protestants appointed by the Queen to dispute before her with a like number of Catholics.

In 1559 John Jewel was appointed a commissioner for securing, in the West of England, conformity with the newly-arranged Church service, and he had to see that the Queen's orders were obeyed in the churches of his native county. Before the end of the same year he was consecrated Bishop of Salisbury. He was most zealous in performance of all duties of his charge. To his good offices young Richard Hooker owed his opportunity of training for the service of the Church. Among Jewel's writings, this Apology or Defence of the Church of England was the most important; but he worked incessantly, and shortened his life by limiting himself to four hours of sleep, taken between midnight and four in the morning. Bishop Jewel died on the 21st of September, 1571 (sic, other sources concur on September 23), before he had reached the age of fifty.

His Apologia did not go without a response: Thomas Harding, who had been the treasury of Salisbury, debated with Jewel on Anglican doctrines and its sources. The Catholic Encyclopedia has this entry:

Controversialist; b. at Combe Martin, Devon, 1516 d. at Louvain, Sept., 1572. The registers of Winchester school show that after attending Barnstaple school he obtained a scholarship there in 1528, being then twelve years old. If this information be correct, he was three years younger than is commonly stated. He went to New College, Oxford, in 1534, was admitted a Fellow in 1536, and took his Master's degree in 1542, in which year he was appointed Hebrew professor by Henry VIII. Having been ordained priest he became chaplain to Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorchester and afterwards Duke of Suffolk. He at first embraced the Reformed opinions, but on the accession of Mary he declared himself a Catholic, despite the upbraidings of his friend Lady Jane Frey, and the events of his later life proved his sincerity. In 1554 he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity and was appointed prebendary of Winchester, becoming treasurer of Salisbury in the following year. He also acted as chaplain and confessor to Bishop Gardiner. When Elizabeth became queen he was deprived of his preferments and imprisoned (Sander, "Report to Cardinal Moroni"). Subsequently he retired to Louvain to escape persecution. There he served St. Gertrude's church and devoted himself to study and to his long controversy with Jewel, the Bishop of Salisbury and champion of Protestantism.

In 1564 he published "An answere to Maister Juelles Challenge", Jewel having undertaken to conform to the Catholic Church if any Catholic writer could prove that any of the Fathers of six centuries taught any of twenty-seven articles he selected. Jewel replied first in a sermon (which Harding answered in a broadsheet "To Maister John Jeuell", printed at Antwerp in 1565) and then in a book. Against the latter Harding wrote "A Rejoindre to M. Jewel's Replie" (Antwerp, 1566) and "A Rejoindre to M. Jewel's Replie against the Sacrifice of the Mass" (Louvain, 1567). Meanwhile he had become engaged in a second controversy with the same author, and, in his confutation of a book entitled an "Apologie of the Church of England" (Antwerp, 1565), he attacked an anonymous work, the authorship of which Jewel admitted in his "Defence of the Apologie of the Churche of Englande". Harding retorted with "A Detection of Sundrie Foule Errours, Lies, Sclaunders, corruptions, and other false Dealinges, touching Doctrine and other matters uttered and practized by M. Jewel" (Louvain, 1568). In 1566 Pius V appointed Harding and Dr. Sander Apostolic delegates to England, with special powers of giving faculties to priests and of forbidding Catholics to frequent Protestant services. Harding was of great assistance to his exiled fellow-countrymen and to Dr. Allen in founding the English College at Douai. He was buried (16 Sept., 1572) in the Church of St. Gertrude, Louvain.

Image Credit of Salisbury Cathedral photograph from Wikipedia Commons.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

England's Bloody Reformation

Peter Marshall writes for the BBC History Magazine (May 2017 issue):

. . . Recent scholarship on the changes taking place after Henry VIII’s break with the papacy tends to assert their relatively peaceful character, and points to continuities across the Reformation divide. Certainly, some important things didn’t change – most folk carried on worshipping in the same church, for example. It’s also true that England witnessed no slaughter on the 
scale of the German Peasants’ Rebellion of 1524–25 (when as many as 100,000 people were butchered), or the Wars of Religion breaking out in France after 1562 (in which as many as 4 million may have lost their lives).

But only by such selective comparisons does England’s experience of the Reformation look ‘peaceful’. Thousands died in the convulsions of 1549, and blood was spilled in encounters between armies fighting for religious causes in every decade between the 1530s and 1570s: after the Pilgrimage of Grace (a rising in the north of England against Henry VIII’s break with Rome in 1536–37); during Wyatt’s Rebellion (against Mary I in 1554); and in the Rising of the Northern Earls (a Catholic attempt to overthrow Elizabeth I in 1569–70). Over the same period and beyond, hundreds more were put to death for opposing the state’s religious policies. People were willing to die, and to kill, because they rightly believed that momentous, unprecedented, and perhaps irreversible transformations were taking place. For good or ill, England’s first exit from a European union, anchored on the church, rather than the Treaty of Rome, was a hard, 
not a soft one.


He analyses the divisions between Catholics and "Protestant" Evangelicals throughout the reigns of Henry VIII and his children. Marshall discusses the central positions of both the Catholic Mass--for which the BBC insists on using the lowercase ("mass") and the Evangelical Bible and describes various instances of violence and bloodshed. He concludes:

The Reformation in England ‘succeeded’, 
in the sense that people born after Elizabeth’s accession, and coming to adulthood before the turn of the 17th century, usually identified as Protestants. Their cultural outlook was shaped by the Prayer Book, the English Bible and a sense – long to endure in the English 
psyche – that Catholic foreigners were 
not to be trusted.
[nor native-born Catholics!]

Yet to see the story of the English Reformation solely as the transformation of a Catholic country into a Protestant one minimises the extent to which its most vital result was an entrenched religious and cultural pluralism. [a pluralism the government constantly wanted to suppress] It is also to misconstrue the significance of the process itself. Through decades of incessant public debate, punctuated by episodes of intense suffering and violence, the very meaning of ‘religion’ changed. Before the Reformation, the word meant an attitude of mind, devoted service of God. Afterwards, it came to signify a programme, party or identity: ‘my religion’, ‘the true religion’.

The realisation, by significant numbers of English people, that their monarch was not 
on the side of ‘true religion’ had momentous, long-lasting effects for political authority. That kinsfolk or neighbours might also be wrong-believers was equally novel and troubling. Five centuries on, the challenge 
of how to live non-violently with difference remains a very real one.

Those sentences, "Through decades of incessant public debate, punctuated by episodes of intense suffering and violence, the very meaning of ‘religion’ changed. Before the Reformation, the word meant an attitude of mind, devoted service of God. Afterwards, it came to signify a programme, party or identity: ‘my religion’, ‘the true religion’." demonstrate the influence of John Bossy's view of religion before and after the Protestant Reformation. Eamon Duffy cited that thesis often in his book, Reformation Divided. Marshall's article was written to promote his book, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation. As he notes in the preface to that book--and in this artcle--whatever victory Protestants achieved in England over Catholics, it was Pyrrhic: it weakened the Monarchy, destroyed the bonds of community, and drastically changed religion from focusing on God to focusing on the self. That was not what Henry, Cromwell, or Cranmer wanted to accomplish.