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.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chidiock Tichborne to His Wife


Margaret Bowen collected Some Famous Love Letters, published in 1937 and included Chidiock Tichborne's to his wife, written the night before his execution on September 20, 1586. She describes him as:

A Roman Catholic gentleman who joined the Babington Conspirators in their desperate attempt to free Mary Queen of Scots and set her on the English Throne; these men were mostly high-minded fanatics, and though Tichborne and five others undertook to assassinate Elizabeth, they were influenced by the Papal Ban on a woman considered by the Catholics as a heretic usurper and believed that they were acting under Heavenly guidance. It would be difficult to believe evil of the writer of the following letter penned in prison shortly before facing a barbarously cruel death.

The letter:

To the most loving wife alive, I commend me unto her, and desire God to bless her with all happiness, pray for her dead husband, and be of good comfort, for I hope in Jesus Christ this morning to see the face of my Maker and Redeemer in the most joyful throne of His glorious kingdom. Commend me to all my friends, and desire them to pray for me, and in all charity to pardon me, if I have offended them. Commend me to my six sisters, poor desolate souls, advise them to serve God, for without Him no goodness is to be expected. Were it possible, my little sister Bab, the darling of my race, might be bred by her, God would reward her; but I do her wrong I confess, that hath by my desolate negligence too little for herself, to add a further charge unto her. Dear wife forgive me, that have by these means so much impoverished her fortunes; patience and pardon, good wife I crave—make of these our necessities a virtue, and lay no further burthen on my neck than hath already been. There be certain debts that I owe, and because I know not the order of the law, piteous it hath taken from me all, forfeited by my course of offence to Her Majesty, I cannot advise thee to benefit me herein, but if there fall out wherewithal, let them be discharged for God's sake. I will not that you trouble yourself with the performance of these matters, my own heart, but make it known to my uncles, and desire them, for the honour of God and ease of their soul, to take care of them as they may, and especially care of my sisters' bringing up the burthen is now laid on them. Now, Sweet-cheek, what is left to bestow on thee? A small jointure, a small recompense for thy deserving, these legacies following to be thine own. God of His infinite goodness give thee grace always to remain His true and faithful servant, that through the merits of His bitter and blessed passion thou mayst become in good time of His kingdom with the blessed women in heaven. May the Holy Ghost comfort thee with all necessaries for the wealth of thy soul in the world to come, where until it shall please Almighty God I meet thee, farewell loving wife, farewell the dearest to me on all the earth, farewell!

By the hand from the heart of thy most faithful loving husband.

This Elegy was enclosed with the letter:

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent and yet I am not old,
I saw the world and yet I was not seen;
My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

More about the poem here.

The Tichborne family was solidly, adamantly, recusantly Catholic: Chidiock's cousins Father Thomas Tichborne and his brother Nicholas were executed (because Thomas was a Catholic priest and his brother helped him to escape, in 1602 and 1601, respectively). They have both been declared Venerable but have not been included among those beatified. More about the Chidiock family here and more about the Babington family, including the family's chantry chapel, here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Third Annual Inklings Festival: OOM-PAH OctoberFest!

The Eighth Day Institute has announced the dates, speaker, and location for the Inklings Festival. Registration is open:

Our first two Inklings Festivals were a great success. But Kansas summers are scorchers and we all experienced that crazy heat both years (101 degrees in 2015, 106 degrees in 2016!).

So this year we've decided to make it an Octoberfest. And as a bonus, we've scheduled it in conjunction with the annual anniversary party for Eighth Day Books, which falls on the third weekend of October. So we'll be celebrating the Inklings and the 29th anniversary of Eighth Day Books!

Similar to the first two years, the emphasis is threefold: Inklings, Craftsmanship & Local.

World on Fire: How the Inklings Responded with Hope & Creativity
Plenary Lectures by Joseph Pearce
FRIDAY
7:00 pm    Lecture One at Journey the Way Church: "Tolkien & Lewis among the War Poets"
Tolkien & Lewis both fought in World War One, experiencing what Tolkien called the "animal horror" of trench warfare. The first lecture will place the two writers in the wider context of other writers who fought in the war, comparing their response to the war with that of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen in particular.
8:30 pm    Anniversary reception at Eighth Day Books
SATURDAY
8:00 am    Doors open at Journey the Way Church for arrival and registration
9:00 am    Convocation and Introduction
9:30 am    Lecture Two - Beyond the Waste Land: Hope and War in the Work of Lewis
In the wake of World War One a spirit of cynicism prevailed in what became known as the Waste Land Generation. Lewis responded with a hope that transcended the despair of nihilism. The second lecture will focus on the transcendent hope in Lewis' work.
10:30 am  Break
11:00 am  Lecture Three - War & Mordor: Hope and War in the Work of Tolkien
Following on from lecture two, the third lecture will examine Tolkien's response to the experience of war, his horror at the advent of weapons of mass destruction, and his defence of the idea of a just war to defend civilization from the forces of evil.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Book Review: Sons of Saint Patrick

The Faith and Reason Institute sent me a review copy of Sons of Saint Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York, from Dagger John to Timmytown by George Marlin and Brad Miner, published by Ignatius Press:

Sons of Saint Patrick tells the story of America's premiere Catholic see, the archdiocese of New York—from the coming of French Jesuit priests in the seventeenth century to the early years of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It includes many intriguing facets of the history of Catholicism in New York, including:
~the early persecution of and legal discrimination against Catholics
~the waves of catholic (sic) immigrants, most notably from Ireland
~the Church's rise to power under New York's first archbishop, "Dagger" John Hughes
~the emerging awareness in the Vatican of New York's preeminence
~the clashes between America and Rome over the "Americanist" heresy
~the role New York's archbishops have played in the life of America's greatest city—and in the world

The book focuses on the ten archbishops of New York and shows how they became the indispensable partners of governors and presidents, especially during the war-torn twentieth century. Also discussed are the struggles of the most recent archbishops in the face of demographic changes, financial crises, and clerical sex-abuse cases.


Sons of Saint Patrick is an objective but colorful portrait of ten extraordinary men—men who were saints and sinners, politicians and pastors, and movers and shakers who as much as any other citizens have made New York one of the greatest cities in the world. All ten archbishops have been Irish, either by birth or heritage, but given New York's changing ethnic profile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan may be the last son of Saint Patrick to serve as its archbishop.

In about 500 pages, the authors cover the history of the Catholic Church in New York through its ten archbishops. The history of the area before the establishment of the diocese, citing the presence of St. Isaac Jogues--who was hard to kill--and the transition from Dutch to English control, demonstrates the dangers and hostility Catholics would face in New York City. Each archbishop is given a nickname:

The Gardener: John Joseph Hughes
The First: John Joseph McCloskey
The Roman: Michael Augustine Corrigan
The Builder: John Murphy Farley
The Bureaucrat: Patrick Joseph Hayes
The Power Broker: Francis Joseph Spellman
The Equalizer: Terence James Cooke
The Admiral: John Joseph O'Connor
The Realist: Edward Michael Egan
The Evangelist: Timothy Michael Dolan

For each archbishop, the authors provide background on his family and education, his ordination and priestly career before being named archbishop, and then a description of his achievements and failures. They include details about the archbishop's relationships with the priests of the diocese and the politicians in power. Each chapter also describes the personality of the archbishop and his administrative style, hands-off, detail-oriented, and in-between. The archbishops from first to last wrestle with government for the sake of the Catholics in New York so that they are treated fairly. Cardinal Spellman confronted Eleanor Roosevelt and others over legislation for public and private schools distributed by the Federal government in 1949, for example, and her fearful anti-Catholicism shows. The Barden Amendment, sponsored by a congressman from North Carolina, was defeated when it was discovered that the congressman had supported funding for Protestant schools in his home state. As time passes in the story, the archbishops face greater challenges to their efforts to uphold Church teaching and religious freedom as artificial birth control, abortion, and so-called same-sex marriage are not only legalized but imposed on the Church in her work in education, family services, healthcare, etc.

There are some unpleasant revelations: Archbishop Hayes not only disregarded and neglected the major seminary for the archdiocese, St. Joseph's/Dunwoodie, but he created unhealthy and unsafe conditions for the seminarians and faculty studying there. Archbishop Spellman went along too easily, the authors seem to indicate, with the eminent domain arguments of architect Robert Moses in the building of Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side, displacing "seven thousand mostly Catholic families" and destroying St. Matthew's church of West Sixty-Eighth St. 

Archbishop O'Connor, one of my heroes, hated the rich so much that he insulted donors; he thought every rich person had grown up with a silver spoon in his or her mouth and "led leisurely, superfluous lives." Many rich donors--some of whom had grown up in blue-collar, working-class families just like his and had worked hard to become successful-- and who wanted to make substantial donations when visiting O'Connor "walked out with the check still in their breast pockets" because of his stated prejudice against them. (The same issue comes up in the last chapter about Archbishop Dolan because of comments Pope Francis made about wealthy people in 2014).

I know that the book is focused on the archbishops of New York City, but I do wish there could have been some more supporting material about the archdiocese--a map of the changing territory, a table of the census of Catholics through the years--just to add context. Was there something particularly special about St. Matthew's on West Sixty-Eighth Street?

This is a remarkable, well-researched, sometimes chatty, well-written book. It's more than just a series of biographies because the authors describe the links and the transitions between archbishop and archbishop. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of Walsingham


The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham has published a novena to start today in preparation for the feast on September 24 (which this year is a Sunday) and invites us to visit a special Facebook page each day:

This Novena in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham is the beginning of a National Novena of Prayer for our country which will help us prepare spiritually for the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary in 2020 on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

It may be prayed at any time, but especially in preparation for and celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on the 24th September, before a pilgrimage to Walsingham, and to prepare for the Feast of the Annunciation.

Our Lady of Walsingham – pray for us!

According to the Independent Catholic News, the novena has been revised to prepare for that re-dedication:

“It is hoped that through this Novena every part of the Church in England and Wales will deeply embrace Our Lady of Walsingham as the powerful intercessor for these lands,” said Mgr Armitage. “The Novena will also prepare the way for the great moment for us in England to re-own with true zeal, love and awe, the great spiritual heritage which is ours of being the Dowry of Mary.”

“This Novena in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham is the beginning of a National Novena of Prayer for our country which will help us prepare spiritually for the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary in 2020 on the Solemnity of the Annunciation,” said Mgr Armitage.


"When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England."--Pope Leo XIII

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Catholic Continental Ambitions


This book is on my wish list. Stefan McDaniel reviews it for First Things (access may be limited, unless you are a subscriber):

In his final book, Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America; The Colonial Experience, the late Kevin Starr set out to dispel this perception. Continental Ambitions tells the story of Catholic conquest, exploration, and settlement in North America (involving Norse, Spanish, French, and British Catholics), emphasizing the relevance of this story to understanding the present-day continental United States. “The history of Catholicism in America,” says Starr in his preface, “is not simply Catholic history. It is American history . . . part of the warp and woof, the very fabric and meaning, of American life.” . . .

Starr also brings out general issues in Catholic history, providing much matter for meditation. He is keenly aware, for instance, that as the Church works the hard clay of cultural, political, and economic reality, the resistance always generates contradictions and anomalies. How are Spanish Franciscans in the Southwest to create their Indian-Catholic utopia without the protection of the very Spanish soldiers whose criminality alienates and scandalizes the Indians? How to sustain the apostolate of Ville-Marie, meant to make the Indians sons of God, without selling them the guns and brandy that enthrall them to the devil? How can there be any Catholic freedom in Maryland without wealth from black slavery?

One general moral to be drawn from the history Starr relates is that intellectual clarity and practical competence are much more valuable in creating an authentic Christian society than is the mystical exuberance that is currently in fashion. This becomes clear when one compares the North American record of the Franciscans on one hand with that of the Jesuits and Dominicans on the other. Franciscans indulged extravagant theologies of Indians as the new chosen people, but it took cold Dominican pedantry to define and guard the Indians’ most basic rights as human persons. Franciscans let fly thunderous condemnations of the soldiers who abused their Indian charges, but it was the Jesuits, with their traditional insistence on (as Starr says) “polity, power, results,” who got Spanish soldiers on their payroll—that is, on a leash.

While praising many aspects of Starr's book, McDaniel also recommends another to fill some gaps he finds in Continental Ambitions--Our Land and Our Lady by Daniel Sargent:

. . . Our Land and Our Lady is an irenic and refreshing book. It reminds us that America, like many of its current residents, may have been raised Protestant, but it was baptized Catholic. Almost every region was first discovered, explored, and charted by ultra-Catholic Spaniards and Frenchmen. From the Bay of the Mother of God (the Chesapeake) to the River of the Immaculate Conception (the Mississippi) to the Bay of San Francisco, these Catholics christened the land with Catholic names. Far too often, these Catholics (especially the Spanish) went on to promptly profane the land with slaughter and slavery. But they also consecrated it with the blood of martyrdom—profusely in the Southwest, but also in Auriesville, New York, and by the Rappahannock, near Bull Run. Even British Catholics managed to play their part, discreetly devoting a Chesapeake colony to Mary, and there instituting a regime of tolerance based on Catholic humanism and prudence, not on the axioms of Locke. Even in the era of the Anglo-Protestant republic, the Church blessed our country with a true Enlightenment: heroic Catholic evangelization, such as Pierre-Jean De Smet’s work with the Indians of the Northwest, and the accessible Catholic education provided by vast armies of nuns. Finally, Catholics like the fathers of Maryknoll brought America to a sort of Catholic maturity when they harnessed its legendary wealth, energy, and goodwill for foreign missions, making it a spiritual center from which the Gospel is proclaimed to the ends of the earth.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sir Thomas Tresham, RIP

In a paper about the Catholic recusants who were held in the Bishops Palace at Ely during the reign of Elizabeth I, Francis Young comments on Sir Thomas Tresham, who died on September 11, 1605, just about three months before the Gunpowder Plot was discovered:

Sir Thomas Tresham . . . is a remarkable figure, a true 'Renaissance man' and polymath who defended himself and others against persecution and stood at the forefront of English Catholic culture. He amassed a huge personal library, bringing at least some of his books with him to Ely, and even purchased new books during his imprisonment. Tresham used his imprisonment as an opportunity to explore a personal mystical theology of his own invention, based on numerology. In 1593 Tresham had a mystical experience in the Long Gallery, where he occupied the space at the west end,while a servant was reading aloud to him from a book by the English Jesuit Robert Parsons. At the moment when the Trinity was mentioned, Tresham heard 'three loud knocks, as it were with an iron hammer' on a wainscot table close to where they were sitting. Tresham interpreted this as a sign from God to honour the Holy Trinity, and accordingly he sent instructions to his wife at Rushton in Northamptonshire to be begin work on what is surely one of England's most remarkable buildings, Rushton Triangular Lodge. [Image Credit from Wikipedia Commons, published under a CC by SA 2.0 license]

Thomas Tresham, born in 1543, was the son of John and Eleanor (Catesby), but his father died young and his grandfather, also named Thomas, helped raise him. He was knighted by Elizabeth in 1575 but became a Catholic in 1580. As this site explains, that cost him:

Over the following years he was subjected to fines that drained much of his wealth and was even imprisoned in Wisbech Castle for his beliefs. Between 1561 and 1593 he spent approximately 15 years in prison or confined to his estate. Unable to express his faith in any conventional way he decided to construct a series of buildings based on the number three and its relationship to the holy trinity as proposed by the Roman Catholics. In addition, each building would have other mystical mathematical elements worked into their design. The enigmatic Triangular Lodge at Rushton was completed in 1597 but Sir Thomas died on the 11th September 1605 shortly before his son Francis was arrested for high treason on the 12th November 1605 and before Lyveden-New-Bield could be finished.

Francis Tresham--who might have been the one who sent the warning letter to Lord Mounteagle--died in the Tower of London on December 23, 1605. Thomas's second son Lewis inherited the estates and was named a Baronet by James I in 1611 and knighted in 1612. After Lewis's son William died without an heir, the baronetcy became extinct.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

St. Ambrose Barlow, OSB and the Barlows of Barlow

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, today's martyr was

b. at Barlow Hall, 1585; d. 10 September, 1641. He was the fourth son of Sir Alexander Barlow, Knight of Barlow Hall, near Manchester, by Mary, daughter of Sir Uryan Brereton, Knight of Handforth Hall, Co. Chester, and was baptized at Didsbury Church 30 November, 1585; the entry in the register may still be seen. Educated at the Benedictine monastery of St. Gregory, Douai, he entered the English College, Valladolid, 20 September, 1610, but returned to Douai where his elder brother William Rudesind was a professed monk. He was himself professed in 1616 and ordained, 1617. Sent to England, he laboured in South Lancashire with apostolic zeal and fervour. He resided chiefly at Wardley Hall, the seat of the Downe family, near Manchester, and at Morley's Hall, a mansion of the Tyldesleys, in the parish of Leigh, some seven miles from Manchester. At the former, his skull is still preserved, in a little receptacle on the staircase. At the latter he was apprehended for the fifth and last time on Easter Sunday, 25 April, 1641. He was arrested by the Vicar of Eccles, who marched at the head of his parishoners, clad in his surplice, and was followed by some 400 men armed with clubs and swords. He was preaching at the time and could have escaped in the confusion, but yielded himself up to his enemies, and was carried off to Lancaster Castle. Here after four months' imprisonment he was tried, on 6 or 7 September, and sentenced next day, having confessed that he was a priest. On Friday, 10 September, he suffered the usual penalties at Lancaster.

A beautiful picture of his life is given by Challoner from two manuscript relations belonging to St. Gregory's monastery, one written by his brother Dom Rudesind Barlow, President of the Anglo-Benedictine Congregation. There is another manuscript, entitled "The Apostolical Life of Ambrose Barlow", written by one of his pupils for Dom Rudesind, which is at present in the Library of Owen's College, Manchester. It is to be printed among the publications of the Chetham Society. This contains many details hitherto unpublished. Two portraits of this martyr exist and also one of his father, Sir Alexander. Many of his relics are also preserved, a hand being at Stanbrook Abbey near Worcester.

More about his brother, William Rudesind, here, also in the Catholic Encyclopedia. According to this site, the Barlows of Barlow Hall (image at right) suffered often because of their fidelity to the Catholic Church:

But Chorlton's great glory is the record, in these days of trial, of its chiefs, the ancient family of Barlow. The Barlow’s were Lords of Barlow (Boars Wood), and lived at Barlow Hall from the time of Edward 1 (1272-1307). With the Trafford’s of Trafford and the Premonstratensian Abby of Cockersand they were the owners of Chorlton. The reign of Edward VI found the head of the family, Alexander Barlow, Member of Parliament for Wigan, and no doubt a foe to innovation, since in the succeeding reign (Mary, 1553-1558) he was the great supporter of the Catholic Revival at Manchester. When this short-lived revival ended and the last Catholic Warden of Manchester, Laurence Vaux, fled before Elizabeth's Commissioners, it was to Alexander Barlow that he consigned for safety the deeds of the Collegiate Church. He met his death a Confessor for the Faith, arrested in that August night of 1584 when over fifty Catholic gentlemen of the county were carried off to goal in one great round-up. Alexander Barlow was imprisoned in the new goal improvised in the old Catholic chapel that stood midway on Salford Bridge (the Modern Victoria Bridge replaced it in 1838), was transferred hence in 1585, and died still a prisoner in the same year. He lies buried in the old Collegiate Church. 

His son, a second Alexander Barlow, succeeded him, "that most constant Catholic" the Douay Diary calls him, and to whose constancy the fines he paid over a period of thirty years, as the Recusancy Rolls record, bar
(sic) eloquent testimony. Three years bore (sic) he died he made his will and therein tersely described himself: “I die a true, perfect recusant Catholic “(1617). 

The next Barlow third Alexander, son of the second was equally staunch. He was listed in 1641 as refusing, with his wife and family, to sign the Protestation drawn up by the Parliament against the revival of Popery, and the family were noted as by this time "living in Salford in very reduced circumstances," ruined by fifty years of continued heavy fines. This Sir Alexander was the brother of two famous Benedictine monks Rudesina 
(sic) Barlow, the Provincial of the restored English Congregation and founder of the Abbey, now at Stanbrook, and Ambrose Barlow, the Martyr. . . .

A later generation saw Anthony Barlow still a recusant and paying a double land tax as such, and his two sons attainted for high treason as Jacobites.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Persuading to Popery: Blessed George Douglas

One of the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales: In his earlier years, George Douglasof Edinburgh, Scotland, worked as a schoolmaster in the English county of Rutland. He subsequently journeyed overseas to Paris, where he studied for the priesthood and was ordained. There are uncertainties in the biographical details of his life, including the specific year of his ordination. He may have been a member of a religious congregation, perhaps the Franciscan Order, but this cannot be established. Father Douglas came to England about ten years after his ordination to serve the country’s Catholics persecuted under Queen Elizabeth I. It was while laboring thus that he was arrested a first time, but was thereafter released. He was arrested a second time at Ripton in the northern county of Yorkshire. Father Douglas was sentenced to death for “persuading to popery,” that is, for winning converts to the Catholic faith. At York he was executed by drawing and quartering on September 9, 1587, manifesting great fortitude during his torments. He was beatified by Blessed John Paul II in 1987, more than 400 years after his martyrdom.

If Father Douglas was found guilty, not of being a Catholic priest in England, but of "persuading to popery" under the 1581 “Act to retain the Queen’s Majesty’s Subjects in their due Obedience”, authorities must not have been able or thought it not necessary to prove that their prisoner was a Catholic priest. If they had proved him guilty of the latter, he was would have been sentenced as a traitor under the 1585 "An act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons." Finding him guilty of bringing others to Catholicism was also to find him guilty of treason and thus he was hung, drawn, and quartered in York.

Note that he was born in Scotland but served Catholics in England!

Blessed George Douglas, pray for us!

Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Twenty years ago (August 22, 1997), Pope John Paul II beatified the layman, Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Father Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, OP called Blessed Frederic Ozanam "the greatest layman of the nineteenth century"! Pope John Paul II praised him during the beatification ceremony at Notre Dame Cathedral as an "apostle of charity" and great model for the laity:

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, apostle of charity, exemplary spouse and father, grand figure of the Catholic laity of the nineteenth century, was a university student who played an important role in the intellectual movement of his time. A student, and then an eminent professor at Lyon and later at Paris, at the Sorbonne, he aimed above all at seeking and communicating the truth in serenity and respect for the convictions of those who did not share his own. "Learn to defend your convictions without hating your adversaries, " — he wrote — "to love those who think differently than yourselves, . . . let us complain less about our times and more about ourselves" (Letters, 9 April 1851). With the courage of a believer, denouncing all selfishness, he participated actively in the renewal of the presence and action of the Church in the society of his time. His role in starting the Lenten Conferences in this Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris is well-known, with the goal of permitting young people to receive an updated religious instruction regarding the great questions confronting their faith. A man of thought and action, Frédéric Ozanam remains for today's university community, professors as well as students, a model of courageous commitment, capable of making heard a free and demanding voice in the search for the truth and the defense of the dignity of every human person. May he also be for them an invitation to holiness!

Today the Church confirms the kind of Christian life which Ozanam chose, as well as the path which he undertook. She tells him: Frédéric, your path has truly been the path of holiness. More than one hundred years have passed and this is the opportune moment to rediscover that path. It is necessary that all these young people, nearly your own age, who have gathered together in such numbers here in Paris from all the countries of Europe and the world, should recognize that this path is also theirs. They must understand that, if they want to be authentic Christians, they must take the same road. May they open wider the eyes of the spirit to the needs of so many people today. May they see these needs as challenges. May Christ call them, each one by name, so that each one may say: this is my path! In the choices that they will make, your holiness, Frédéric, will be particularly confirmed. And your joy will be great. You who already see with your eyes the One who is love, be a guide for all these young people on the paths that they will choose, in following your example today!

But he is also interesting as an intellectual, the author of books on thirteenth century Italy (Dante and the Franciscans), the fifteenth century history of Europe, and on Thomas a Becket and Francis Bacon as Chancellors of England! (Deux chanceliers d'Angleterre, Bacon de Verulam et Saint Thomas de Cantorbéry; Paris, 1836). I would like to find a copy of that book, translated and abridged by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Australia in 1967 (translated by John Findlay; edited by John Dawes)!

His cause for canonization is ongoing, promoted by the Society he founded.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Blessed Thomas Palasor and Companions

Blessed Thomas Palasor, OFM is a Durham martyr and Valladolid alumnus, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

English martyr, born at Ellerton-upon-Swale, parish of Catterick, North Riding of Yorkshire; died at Durham 9 August, 1600. He arrived at Reims 24 July, 1592, whence he set out for Valladolid 24 August, 1592. There he was ordained priest in 1596. He was arrested in the house of John Norton, of Ravenswroth, nearly Lamesley, County Durham, who seems to have been the second son of Richard Norton, of Norton Conyers, attainted for his share in the Rebellion in 1569. Norton and his wife (if the above identification be correct, she was his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Christopher Redshaw of Owston) were arrested at the same time, and with them John Talbot, one of the Talbots of Thorton-le-Street, North Ridding of Yorkshire. All four were tried at Durham and condemned to death, Palasor for being a priest, and the others for assisting him. Another gentleman was condemned at the same time but saved his life by conforming, as they might have done. Mrs. Norton, being supposed to be with child, was reprieved. The others suffered together. Bishop Challoner tells how an attempt to poison Palasor and his companions made by the gaoler's wife resulted in the conversion of her maid-servant Mary Day.

Palasor, Norton, and Talbot were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II, on the 22nd of November 1987.

Of Blessed John Norton's father, Richard, the Dictionary of National Biography states:

(1488?–1588), rebel, known in the time of the northern rebellion of 1569 as ‘Old Norton,’ is said to have been born in 1488. He was eldest son of John Norton of Norton Conyers, by his wife Anne, daughter of William or Miles Radclyffe of Rylleston. His grandfather, Sir John Norton of Norton Conyers, was grandson of Sir Richard Norton [q. v.], chief justice of the common pleas. Richard Norton took part in the pilgrimage of grace, but was pardoned (cf. Memorials of the Rebellion, pp. 284–5). In 1545 and in 1556 he was one of the council of the north. In 1555 and 1557 he was governor of Norham Castle, but apparently lost these offices on the accession of Elizabeth. He was, however, sheriff of Yorkshire, 1568–9. On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1569 he joined the insurgents, and is described as ‘an old gentleman with a reverend grey beard.’ His estates were confiscated, and he was attainted. When all was over he fled across the border, and was seen at Cavers by the traitor Constable, but resisted his suggestions of coming to England and asking for mercy. He soon went to Flanders, and, with others of his family, was pensioned by Philip of Spain, his own allowance being eighteen crowns a month. John Story was said to have conversed with him in Flanders in 1571 (‘Life,’ in Harl. Misc. vol. iii.) He afterwards seems to have lived in France, and Edmund Neville [q. v.] was accused of being in his house at Rouen. He died abroad, probably in Flanders, on 9 April 1588. In the ‘Estate of the English Fugitives,’ ‘old Norton’ is mentioned as one of those who are ‘onely for want of things necessarie, and of pure povertie, consumed and dead’ (Sadler State Papers, ii. 242).

So the Norton family resolutely remained Catholic and suffered for it. William Wordsworth wrote about the family's misfortunes in his narrative poem, The White Doe of Rylstone; or, The Fate of the Nortons. The painting above is by John William Inchbold. The doe in Wordsworth's poem visits one of the graves near the ruins of Bolton Abbey and the poem tells why.

The Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Mother

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Catholic Church we celebrate three births: the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Savior Jesus Christ, his mother's, and St. John the Baptist's. We celebrate Mary's nativity nine months after we celebrated her Immaculate Conception.

According to the Protoevangelicum of St. James, the names of Mary's parents were Joachim and Anne. St. Anne is one of my patron saints.

As England, through Duns Scotus, heralded the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception (freedom from original sin through the free gift and grace of God), England also developed devotion to St. Anne early on, as this study demonstrates:

the cult of St. Anne was so closely connected with that of the Virgin Mary, especially at the beginning, that it is not easy to tell where the one leaves off and the other begins. In the Eastern church the cult of Anne herself may go back as far as c. 550, when Justinian built a church in Constantinople in her honor. The earliest sign of her veneration in the West is an eighth-century fresco in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome, which shows her with a halo, holding the infant Mary. But not until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is there unmistakable evidence that the Western church was honoring St. Anne in her own right, rather than just an adjunct to Mary. During those centuries returning crusaders and pilgrims from the East brought relics of Anne to a number of churches, including most famously those at Apt, in Provence, Ghent, and Chartres. By 1300 at least five important English monastic foundations were also claiming to have relics of Anne, and dozens of additional shrines, altars, and chapels had been dedicated to her, both in England and on the Continent.

Liturgical commemorations of Anne in the West seem to have followed a similar course of development, except that monastic houses in England played a more central role. The story of Joachim and Anne received at least passing mention in the liturgy for one of the oldest annual feasts of Mary, the Nativity of the Virgin (September 8 in Western calendars), which was included in the Sacramentary of Gelasius (c. 700) and firmly established in Anglo-Saxon England by the ninth or tenth century. Anne's role tended to take on more importance when an annual feast was added to celebrate the Conception of the Virgin (observed exactly nine months earlier - i.e., December 8). There is good evidence that the Conception was being commemorated at Winchester, Exeter, and Canterbury before the Norman Conquest, and this feast day was revived in the twelfth century through the efforts of Benedictine writers like Eadmer of Canterbury and Anselm of Bury, although it became generally established in England only after 1328 (when it was made obligatory for the whole Province of Canterbury) and was not clearly mandated for the Church as a whole until 1476 (when Pope Sixtus IV confirmed the Council of Basel's ruling on the matter). England also preceded most of the Continent in instituting a separate feast day for Anne herself (July 26). The date traditionally associated with the adoption of this feast is 1382, the year in which Pope Urban VI authorized its celebration throughout England, but it was already being celebrated in the twelfth century in some of the great English monastic churches, most notably those at Worcester and Evesham.

The great flowering of Anne's cult among the laity occurred between about 1300 and the Council of Trent in the mid sixteenth century. By 1540 there were at least 40 medieval churches and chapels under her patronage in England, the majority of which had been dedicated or rededicated to her during the previous two centuries. She also had major shrines at Buxton (Derbyshire) and Wood-Plumpton (Lancashire), and was frequently chosen by prosperous laymen and women as patron saint of their guilds and recipient of special bequests and offerings. As Gail Gibson has shown, such devotion to her seems to have been unusually strong in East Anglia. Many churches had cycles of paintings or tapestries illustrating key scenes from her legend, or portraits of the Holy Kinship that showed Anne surrounded by her daughters and grandsons. . . .

Please read the rest there.

The painting above is by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Compare and Contrast: More and Newman


The Catholic World Report has published my feature article on St. Thomas More and Blessed John Henry Newman on Conscience. I based this article on two of the talks I gave at the Spiritual Life Center's Summer Symposium on Conscience and Conversion:

St. Thomas More and Blessed John Henry Newman may not on first glance seem to be a good pairing: the twice-happily married lawyer and public servant and the celibate Oxford Fellow and Oratorian priest. The sixteenth century Catholic martyr and the nineteenth century convert and confessor; the witty teller of merry tales and the seemingly sensitive controversialist.

With a second glance, the viewer sees what they share: Both of them were born in London (actually in the City of London); both attended the University of Oxford; if More was “made for friendship” in Erasmus’s famous line, Newman selected “Cor ad cor loquitor” (Heart speaks to heart) for his motto as Cardinal, emphasizing the bonds of friendship and personal influence. They shared a desire for holiness and seeking out truth; they are both Catholic (More by birth and nurture in a Catholic family; Newman by adult conversion); More and Newman defended the truth with their pens, taking on the subjects of their day (heresy’s attack on Catholic teaching in More’s era; liberalism’s attack on religious truth in Newman’s).

Most importantly, for both of them, the true Catholic understanding of conscience was crucial in their lives. For More, following his conscience led him to martyrdom; for Newman, following his conscience led him to become a Catholic. More and Newman revealed their understanding of conscience’s purpose, authority, and source in defense of the authority of the Church’s magisterium and the role of the papacy in the Catholic Church. While they are often cited as defenders of individual conscience, they also stressed the source of conscience’s authority in each individual: God’s law, natural and revealed—and the Church’s role in teaching and defending that law.


Please read the rest there. I appreciate Father Juan Velez's recommendation that I submit the article to CWR!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

West Gallery Music and The Oxford Movement

The Church Times (access may be limited) posts an article about "West Gallery Music" and its decline. West Gallery Music was common in English country churches from 1740 to 1860 and including a style of congregational singing called "lining" in which the song leader sings a line or a part of a line and the congregation responds. This style was also common in Southern Baptist and other churches in the USA into the twentieth century. If you've read To Kill a Mockingbird you might remember when Jim and Scout attend Sunday services at their maid Calpurnia's church--they use "lining" because they can't afford hymnals.

The article cites how the Oxford Movement led to its demise in the middle of the nineteenth century:

The end, or rather, the deliberate destruction, of WG music is usually credited to the Oxford Movement, the coup de grâce being delivered by Hymns Ancient & Modern. This simplifies a complex progress, and does not explain the simultaneous change in the Free Churches.

From the late-18th century, the Church of England had begun to put its own house in order. The Pluralities Act (1838) stopped well-connected clergymen acquiring a number of benefices. Clerical salar­ies were improved, and those of bishops and higher clergy made more equal. There was renewed church building: more than £500,000 from public funds and £5.6 million from private sources were spent on new Anglican churches between 1831 and 1851 alone. . . .


The Church of England has never issued its own official hymn-book, but for the general public, Hymns Ancient & Modern takes that place. The first edition, in 1861, was published as a private venture, and the proprietors were embarrassed to find their sales running into millions.

Read the rest there.

The author doesn't completely explain what the Oxford Movement had to do with the publication of Hymns Ancient & Modern. Part of the Oxford Movement's purpose was to revive and restore the treasures of ancient hymns in East and West, Byzantine and Latin. Therefore, the new hymnal contained translations of hymns by the Greek Fathers of the Church by John Mason Neale, of hymns by the Latin Fathers by Edward Caswall, and even of Lutheran hymns by Catherine Winkworth and Jane Laurie Borthwick--and from John Keble's The Christian Year, among others. It was edited by William Henry Monk and the first edition contained 273 hymns; it was, as noted above, a tremendous best seller and there several other editions.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Gunpowder Plot Blows Up Again


BBC One will broadcast a miniseries about the Gunpowder Plot this fall. The cast announced so far is Kit Harington as Robert Catesby, Liv Tyler as Anne Vaux, and Tom Collin as Guy Fawkes. No word yet on who will play Fathers Henry Garnett and John Gerard.

The actor Kit Harington says that he is related on his mother's side to Robert Catesby, according to this article:

In 2016, Harington revealed that he was a direct descendant of Robert Catesby on his mother's side — and that the Catesby and Harington families had previously had a humorous interaction years (sic) before Kit's parents were ever even born.

"When (Catesby's) head was marched past the houses of Parliament on a pike, John Harington on my father's side, who was in the houses of Parliament at the time, looked at him and is quoted as saying, 'He's an ugly fellow, isn't he?" Harington said on The Andrew Marr Show in 2016. "Isn't that brilliant?"

Instead of "years", perhaps the word "centuries" would be more appropriate.

Harington is referring to his ancestor Sir John Harington, who was a courtier in both Elizabeth I's and James I's reigns. According to History Today he was:

A witty and erudite figure at the court of Elizabeth I, John Harington is now remembered mainly for two things. One is his cynical epigram on treason: ‘Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.’ The other is his invention of the flush water closet. He installed one at his country house at Kelston, near Bath in Somerset, and described it in a Rabelaisian manner in his A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, called the Metamorphosis of Ajax of 1596. Ajax was a pun on ‘jakes’, which was slang for a privy, where people could simply use a bucket. Wealthy households might have a close-stool, which had a padded seat with a metal or porcelain container beneath it that still had to be emptied.

Harington’s device emptied itself. It had a pan with a seat and water was pumped up into a cistern above. When a handle on the seat was turned, the water swept the pan’s contents into a cesspool underneath. There was a picture of it in his book and he proclaimed that it ‘would make unsavoury Places sweet, noisome Places wholesome and filthy Places cleanly’. He installed one for Elizabeth I at Richmond Palace. She does not seem to have been impressed, but then like other rich people she did not have to empty her own close-stool.

More about Robert Catesby here; more about John Harington here (also from History Today).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Another Recusant Scholar


From  I News:

They were monks who disavowed worldly possessions and are best known for their monastic scholarship and abstinence. 

But far from living a cloistered existence, sixteenth and seventeenth century Benedictines refused abstinence, died in duels and went off to war, a study has found. 

The Monks in Motion project led by Dr James Kelly of Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion has also found that they spread illegal Catholic doctrine. 

It has brought together records of English and Welsh Benedictine monks exiled in Europe in a first-of-its-kind searchable database to uncover some of their remarkable histories.

Read the rest there.

Dr. James Kelly of Durham University:

I am St Cuthbert's Society Research Fellow in Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism and have been a member of Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion and its Centre for Catholic Studies since 2012. I am also Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded 'Monks in Motion' project, which is investigating the experience of the English and Welsh Benedictines in exile, c.1553-1800.

After completing my PhD at King's College, London, I was a member of the AHRC-funded ‘Who Were the Nuns?’ project and Project Manager of its AHRC-funded follow-on initiative, both at Queen Mary, University of London.

My interests are in post-Reformation Catholic history in Europe, with a particular focus on Britain and Ireland. The experience of the British and Irish Catholic communities at home and in exile is the main focus of my research.

I lead the History of Catholicism research strand within the University's Centre for Catholic Studies. I am also an associate and member of the steering committee of the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English, as well as serving as secretary of the Catholic Record Society.


Here's more on that "Who Were the Nuns?" project. It's clear that the recusant Catholic community, clerical, religious, and lay, offers many avenues for research. A review of the table of contents for Dr. Kelly's co-edited book, Early Modern English Catholicism, demonstrates that:

Part I: Identity

1. Situating Early Modern English Catholicism by Brad S. Gregory

2. Creating an English Catholic Identity: Relics, Martyrs and English Women Religious in Counter-Reformation Europe by James E. Kelly

3. A British Catholic Community? Ethnicity, Identity and Recusant Politics, 1660–1750 by Gabriel Glickman

4. ‘Libera nos Domine?’ The Vicars Apostolic and the Suppressed/Restored English Province of the Society of Jesus by Thomas M. McCoog, SJ

Part II: Memory

5. ‘Attend to Me’: Julian of Norwich, Margaret Gascoigne and Textual Circulation among the Cambrai Benedictines by Jaime Goodrich

6. English Catholics and English Heretics: The Lollards and Anti-Heresy Writing in Early Modern England by Susan Royal

7. Joseph Reeve, SJ, the Park at Ugbrooke and the Cliffords of Chudleigh by Matthew J. Martin

Part III: Counter-Reformation

8. Underground Networks, Prisons and the Circulation of Counter-Reformation Books in Elizabethan England by Earle Havens and Elizabeth Patton

9. The Gospel, Liturgy and Controversy in the 1590s: Thomas Stapleton’s
Promptuaria by William J. Sheils

10. Praying the Counter-Reformation by  Eamon Duffy

11. John Austin’s Devotions: Voicing Lyric, Voicing Prayer by Susannah B. Monta

Afterword by John Bossy

English recusant historians are discovering a world and people that were ignored for centuries. They are finding out how Catholics survived and endured through oppression and persecution, in exile and in their underground communities.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Recusant Studies's Rising Scholars

History Today asked Jessie Childs 20 questions and one of them was:

Q. What’s the most exciting field in history today?

A. Recusant history. So many brilliant scholars coming up - Emilie Murphy, Liesbeth Corens, Katie McKeogh …

Here's what those three "brilliant scholars" are working on, according to their online presence:


Music and Catholic culture in post-Reformation Lancashire: piety, protest, and conversion in the October 2015 issue of British Catholic History from Cambridge University Press:

This essay adds to our existing understanding of what it meant to be a member of the English Catholic community during the late Elizabeth and early Stuart period by exploring Catholic musical culture in Lancashire. This was a uniquely Catholic village, which, like the majority of villages, towns and cities in early modern England, was filled with the singing of ballads. Ballads have almost exclusively been treated in scholarship as a ‘Protestant’ phenomenon and the ‘godly ballad’ associated with the very fabric of a distinctively Protestant Elizabethan and Stuart entertainment culture. By investigating the songs and ballads in two manuscript collections from the Catholic network surrounding the Blundell family this essay will show how Catholics both composed and ‘converted’ existing ballads to voice social, devotional, and political concerns. The ballads performed in Little Crosby highlight a vibrant Catholic community, where musical expression was fundamental. Performance widened the parochial religious divide, whilst enhancing Catholic integration. This essay uncovers the way Catholics used music to voice religious and exhort protest as much as prayer. Finally, by investigating the tunes and melodies preserved in the manuscripts, I demonstrate how priests serving this network used ballads as part of their missionary strategy.

Dr Liesbeth Corens:

I am an early modern historian studying the intersection between religious, cultural and social history in a cross-border perspective. My work has focused on English Catholicism as an insightful case study to analyse the Counter-Reformation. 

My first book assesses the lay English Catholic expatriate experience in terms of a broad concept of ‘confessional mobility’. I bring to light a diverse spectrum of mobility, which nuances the traditional focus on exile and its implications of stasis, isolation, and victimhood. By recognising the role of transient contact and ephemeral networks integrating mobile and stay-at-home Catholics, the significance of expatriates in shaping religious and political life in England becomes clear. 

My current project is on the ‘counter-archives’ which English Catholics started to create in the later seventeenth century. They accumulated disparate sources of their recent past in an attempt to save theirs and their ancestors’ stories from oblivion. Historians have used the individual records in these collections as direct sources for the sixteenth century, but thereby lose the context of the commemorative culture of the seventeenth. I am mainly fascinated by the practices of compiling the collections: how these were part of a vibrant devotional life, how the collections helped them to make sense of their situation as a dispersed community (uniting through their collecting activities English Catholics scattered all over England and across the Channel), and how they deliberately talked to posterity.

Here's more information about her first book which is based on her dissertation, under contract with Oxford University Press.

I can see why Jessie Childs is lauding Katie McKeogh, a D.Phil. candidate at the University of Oxford:

Thesis: Early Modern Catholic Identity and Culture in the Circle of Sir Thomas Tresham, 1580-1611

Supervisors: Susan Brigden and Alexandra Gajda

My doctoral research centres around Sir Thomas Tresham (1543-1605) and his circle between 1580-1611. My work examines his world through personal relationships, reading, book-collecting, and patronage alongside the more traditional subjects of resistance and loyalism. Through recourse to extensive family correspondence, access to his library and use of hitherto understudied manuscript sources intimately connected to Tresham and his circle, my thesis will provide a significant contribution to our understanding of gentry Catholic culture and identity in this period, as well as illuminating these immensely rich sources in their own right. It draws on scholarship by historians of the book and historians of libraries to enrich traditional historiographical methods. I have worked extensively on Tresham's personal library and a large donation of books to St. John's College, Oxford, and have also undertaken an in-depth study of Bodleian MSS Eng. Th. b. 1-2, a two folio-volume manuscript work by the layman Thomas Jollet, which has resulted in new arguments about its authorship, compilation, content, and broader significance. Through an original synthesis of these strands of Tresham's world, my thesis offers a reappraisal of this important figure and in particular his role as a leader of the loyalist cause.

More broadly, I am interested in the religious and cultural history of early modern England, and in incorporating musicology, literary criticism, biography and the history of the book into traditional historical research.

Katie McKeogh reviewed Jessie Childs' book on the Gunpowder Plot, God's Traitors for the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland: you may find a link here. And here's more of her publications and lectures.

Choral Evensong


From the Religion News Service, a story about how Choral Evensong is catching on in England, attracting people who otherwise don't attend Church of England services:

Evensong is a creation of the English Reformation, derived from monastic prayer traditions. Its liturgy is drawn from the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer, created by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549. It usually lasts about 45 minutes and includes Scripture readings, psalms and the Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) and Magnificat, both taken from the Gospel of Luke.

Some of the greatest choral music sung at evensong was written at the time of Queen Elizabeth I, soon after its liturgy was first designed, by composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. The works of other English composers, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Richard Ayleward, Hubert Parry and Herbert Howells, are also frequently featured.

Of course, the BBC has been broadcasting Choral Evensong--or Catholic Vespers more recently--for years.

The Anglican Ordinariate prominently presents Choral Evensong as one of its primary examples of Anglican Patrimony brought with them to their unity with the Catholic Church.

The Religious News Service story concludes, however, with this sad note (get it?):

Then there’s the more practical reason to come to evensong. Cathedrals in England often charge high admission fees — about $25 in some cases — so some tourists opt instead for evensong, which is free.