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.