Priest of the Lusitania

Monday, June 3, AD 2013

It was a great victory of the human mind which annihilated space and time, and circled the globe with telegraph wires.  But greater still is the victory which gives a man strength and courage to receive with equanimity over those wires a message telling him that all he valued in life has been taken from him.

Father Basil W. Maturin

Torpedoed by German U-Boat U-20 on May 7, 1915, the sinking of RMS Lusitania moved the United States closer to eventual war with Germany, 128 Americans being among the 1,195 passengers and crew lost.  Shrouded in controversy as to the amount of war munitions that the Lusitania was carrying, the sinking outraged American public opinion against Germany.

In our time of the Anglican Ordinariate, one of the passengers lost at sea commands our attention:  Father Basil W. Maturin.

Born in Ireland on February 15, 1847, he was a second cousin of Oscar Wilde.  His father was William Basil Maturin, an Anglican priest who was associated with the Oxford Movement.  Educated at Trinity College in Dublin, he followed in his father’s footsteps and was ordained an Anglican priest.  In 1876 he was sent across the Atlantic to be the rector of Saint Clement’s in Philadelphia.  A popular preacher at Saint Clement’s he was nonetheless sent back to England in 1888 when it became clear that he was beginning to lean towards Catholicism.  In England he was treated quite civilly by the Society of Saint John, Anglican mission priests to which he belonged, and was sent by that Society on various missionary activities including one to Rome, where it was hoped he could determine if he wished to remain Anglican or swim the Tiber.  After years of reflection and study, he converted in 1897 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1898.

Along with his priestly duties, Father Maturin wrote several books including Laws of the Spiritual Life (1908),  Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline (1909), Christian Self-Mastery (1912) and  The Price of Unity (1912).   He was appointed the Catholic chaplain of Oxford University in 1913.  In 1914, very few students being left at the University after the outbreak of World War I, Father Maturin went to America to preach a series of Lenten sermons, something he had also done in 1913.  He returned to England on the Lusitania, and ate lunch with another Catholic priest shortly before the ship was torpedoed on May 7, 1915.

As the Lusitania sank, Father Maturin reacted with courage.  Described as pale but calm he was seen giving absolution to all who requested it.  He did not seek to board the life boats himself, instead handing a child into the last lifeboat with the request that the child’s mother be found.  When his body was washed ashore it was found to be without a life jacket, Father Maturin doubtless having given his to some other passenger.  England and Ireland were united in mourning his loss.

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Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support

Sunday, April 28, AD 2013




Christopher Johnson, the non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, demonstrates in the following post at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Episcopal Church is dying and the Catholic Church is living:

Long-time readers of this site know that there are two Episcopalians that I don’t mention around here if I can possibly avoid it.   One, of course, is former Newark Bishop John Shelby “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!! Spong.

MCJ veterans have long since given up sending me e-mails with “Did you see what Spong just said?!!” in the subject line.  Because I already know that whatever the megalomaniacal old fraud just said had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity and was sneeringly contemptuous of anybody who holds anything close to a traditional view of the Christian faith, in whatever Christian church they find themselves.

The other is homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, formerly of the Diocese of Nobody Ever Gave A Crap, Bitches, Shut Up.  As most people figured out a long time ago, if you ever stand between Robbie and a camera, you run a considerable risk of a concussion when Robbie knocks you down and runs over you.  Publicity is Robbie’s crack and I don’t want to feed his habit.

But every now and then, Robbie writes something so titanically and magisterially stupid that I’m forced to break my own embargo.  In the Washington Post’s “On No Particular Faith Of Any Truly Meaningful Kind” section, Bishop Stompy Foot is increasingly frustrated by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church refuses to be instructed by him:

Polling shows that ex-Catholics are the third largest religious group in the United States. Many Catholic laity are experiencing a painful disconnect between the official teachings and pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy and what they believe in their hearts. It’s no wonder they are voting with their feet.

The Detroit Free Press recently reported on comments made by Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to advise the top judicial authority in the Catholic Church.

Peters stated that Catholic teaching makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. He goes on to write, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to ‘Catholic law’ and should not approach for holy Communion…They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them…being rebuked and/or being sanctioned.”

Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, offered this clarification: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

Which is bad and stuff.

I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.

Two responses immediately suggest themselves.  The first, of course, is, “Who the hell asked you, hot shot?”  And the second is that before you suggest that bishops of another church than your own need to “revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist,” you might want to learn “their church’s theology of the Eucharist” yourself.

I’ll give you a head start.  Two words.  The first one’s “real” and the second one is “presence.”  If you teach that Christ is really there in the Eucharist, then indiscriminately giving the real Lord Jesus Christ to everyone who calls himself or herself a Catholic but who takes it upon himself or herself alone to decide what that means is, at the very least, hypocrisy and, at the very most, blasphemy.

After all, Judas didn’t get the very first Communion, did he, Robbie?  And then, blissfully unaware of the trap he is walking into, Robbie plays this card.

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7 Responses to Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support

  • Same here in NZ with the Anglicans. Acceptance of woman priests and bishops, gay marriage, actively homosexual clergy. I have said for years that in 50 years, the Anglican church will not exist as at present – the serious ones will become Catholic, and the others will join/become some accepting liberal evangelical group.

  • “two gay men or lesbians (not to mention their supporters) who want to vow a lifetime of commitment, monogamy and love should be denied Communion, but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome”

    Johnson makes a great call: those who have sinned may partake in Communion; those who deny sin may not.

  • “To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest. A drunkard and notorious womanizer, he had fathered several children. Suspended from his duties he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum. This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history. Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers.

    The 19 were tortured and subject to every type of humiliation and mockery, especially Wouters who was constantly reminded by his captors of what a disgrace he was. William the Silent, leader of the Dutch rebels, sent a letter to the commander of the Sea Beggars, William de la Marck, ordering that the priests and brothers were not to be molested in any way. Ignoring his instructions, de la Marck ordered them to be slain if they did not renounce their belief in the Real Presence and Papal Supremacy. All stoutly refused.

    On July 9, de la Marck had the 19 hanged in a turfshed. As the noose was being fastened around his neck, his captors kept mocking Father Wouters. His last words before he entered eternity were: “Fornicator I always was; heretic I never was.”

    The Martyrs of Gorkum were canonized by Pope Pius IX on June 29, 1865, the feast day of the two greatest martyrs of the Church, Saints Peter and Paul.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I enjoyed reading it very much. The truth is from God. Why would Catholics change our beliefs to become more to Satan’s liking? These people do not believe the Bible. But Jesus did.
    One thing that drives me bonkers is people who say they believe in Jesus, but they don’t believe Jesus. They don’t believe what He said.

  • But Judas did get the First Communion–otherwise all the Apostles would have known it was he who would betray Christ and tried to stop him. Denying communion is to avoid scandal, not sacrilege: a priest cannot licitly deny communion unless the mortal sinner’s sin is publicly known, just as he cannot say what is confessed to him in confession.

  • Gene Robinson is a fool. What else he is I will not say here.

Fools to Judge his Papacy

Monday, February 11, AD 2013

Pope Benedict

I have always shuddered when a Pope dies because I am filled with dread of what comes next:   Endless reams of bad commentary by people who pretend to know something about the Vatican but who usually succeed only in revealing their bone ignorance of the subject.  The resignation of Pope Benedict I expect to inspire more of the same.

First up is John Moody, Executive Vice President, Fox News, and a former Vatican correspondent, who takes Pope Benedict to task for what he perceives to be a failed papacy.  Pope Benedict’s main crime appears to be that he was not Pope John Paul II:

By contrast, Benedict’s meek initial outings were public relations meltdowns.  His smile, though genuine, looked somehow sinister, as if he were about to bite  his audience. Determined to restore the Church’s luster in Europe, where it is  often treated like a dotty old aunt, Benedict gave a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006  that appeared to denigrate Islam. The non-Catholic world howled; the Vatican  cringed and apologized.

On his first visit to the U.S. as pope, Benedict offered contrite apologies  for the Church’s ham-handed treatment of the U.S. church’s sex scandal involving  its priests. Even the pope’s humble mien did not satisfy some, who pronounced  him cold and unfeeling toward the plight of victims of clergy abuse. He joined  the Twitterati, but his first attempt was a sterile: “I am pleased to get in  touch with you through Twitter. I bless all of you from my heart.” At least he  stayed under 140 characters.

In nearly eight years, Benedict issued three encyclicals – direct messages to  the faithful that often reveal a pope’s enthusiasms and interests. Benedict’s  first – entitled “God is Love” — is a caressing, simply worded, logic-based  reassurance that our Lord loves us. Yet even his writing about love suffers in  comparison with John Paul’s towering, intellectual yet intimate canon of  work.

None of which lessens Benedict’s place in the line of Vicars of Christ. His  decision to resign was a brave one, based on personal humility, in keeping with  his message to the faithful that the things of Earth are transient, but the  promise of heaven lasting and infinite.  For that he should be  remembered.

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20 Responses to Fools to Judge his Papacy

  • Of course he’s gotten the typical clueless disparagement from a lot of media folks, but I’ve actually been surprised by how many pretty orthodox Catholics have been relatively lukewarm, if not downright disappointed, with Benedict’s papacy.

    I had no complaints with his reign., but I guess I’ll at least hear out people who did.

  • Yet even his writing about love suffers in comparison with John Paul’s towering, intellectual yet intimate canon of work.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve long felt that Pope Benedict was a much more concise and clear writer than Pope John Paul II. Both were/are tremendous intellects, but Pope Benedict was always able to take complex theological ideas and present them in a way that was somewhat more comprehensible.

  • “but I’ve actually been surprised by how many pretty orthodox Catholics have been relatively lukewarm, if not downright disappointed, with Benedict’s papacy.”

    Too many Catholics, and I often include myself in that group, expect a Pope to come in and fix all the problems within the Church yesterday. The Church has never operated that way. Even in fairly revolutionary times the Church has almost always adopted a go slow incremental approach. Vatican II is a modern exception to that rule, and living in the aftermath of that Council I can appreciate the usual wisdom of the go slow incremental approach. We also live in a time which treasures that mysterious quality called charisma. John Paul II, at least until his final dying years, had that quality more in abundance than any other Pope I can think of, certainly of the modern era. A hard act to follow in that regard.

  • The media are already making fools of themselves. They pass off opinion instead of reporting, and distort the facts.

    Pope Benedict took the job at 79 years old. He never wanted it. He wanted to go home to Germany. He is a nearly 88 year old man and I can think of no 88 year old who wants to work every day all day.

    The Anglican Ordinariate is a massive positive achievement. it is a shame that the Society of St. Pius X would not take the Pope’s offer, but so many of them are too full of themselves to see the world as it is.

    God Bless the Pope. He has earned a retirement.

    God bloess Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Like Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI are inseparable

  • For what it is worth, I think Pope Benedict XVI was one of the best ever. Comparing him to Pope John Paul II is unfair. Each one has his own unique strengths and weaknesses, and the Holy Spirit gave us each one at the right time for God’s often inscrutable purposes. I have heard it described that Pope Paul VI was more prophetic, Pope John Paul II more priestly and Pope Benedict XVI more kingly. That’s certainly an interesting allusion to the oft heard phrase, “Prophet, Priest and King.” I don’t pretend to be so informed that I can critique that assertion, but in modern times, while they all had their faults, we really have had a rash of good Popes since at least Leo XIII in the 19th century. God has been very good to us and we should be grateful.

  • I read the Weigel book “God’s Choice…” a few years back and (rightly or wrongly) became convinced that Ratzinger was really God’s choice. And… that is all we can ask.
    I have prayed for him. I will pray for his successor.

  • I had a friend who was a German WW2 vet. (Suffered on the Russian front, but survived.) German boys were drafted into the army at age 16, then were provisional soldiers performing non-combat duty until age 18 when they received full rank and privilege of a soldier.

    I read an interview with a similar German vet about the time they were still under 18, in training. I try to reproduce it here from my memory…

    Our squad sargeant asked us all what job we hoped to hold someday, and I specifically recall my answer: “Pilot”. In fact, I think most of the boys wanted to be pilots….or tanker, or engineer, or some other manly profession. But when the sargeant came to our radio operator, he clearly and surely said “I hope to become a parish priest” We all laughed at him. Sarge said “Private Ratzinger, I doubt you’ll get very far in life as a parish priest.”

    I’d say he made it pretty far.

  • As a country we are rapidly following the rest of the world into abject secularism. Moral values are forgotten. “Gay marriage”as “equality” will open the door to polygamy and Lord knows what else. We need leadership and moral direction, or else soceity is in big trouble.

    Understand he’s a long shot, but I think Timothy Cardinal Dolan is the man. Charismatic, pastoral and one the world would admire and listen to.

  • I thought his first encyclical was brilliant and perfectly addressed the issues we are facing as a church today. I haven’t been able to make the time to read his second encyclical, but I expect it to be just as awesome. I recall giving “Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club” coffee mugs to friends for Christmas presents the Christmas before he became Pope.

    I had to roll my eyes when I read that Fox editorial this morning. I expected it, though. The news media can’t be expected to praise him in today’s world, which tries to undermine everything the Church teaches. Fox has a reputation for being conservative, but they have so much immorality in their “entertainment” headlines and pictures that I can’t expect that they’ll understand where social conservatives are really coming from.

  • Benedict gave a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006 that appeared to denigrate Islam. The non-Catholic world howled; the Vatican cringed and apologized.

    True only if the non-Catholic world is restricted to Islam, the rest were not bothered at all. Some dhimmi in the Vatican may have gone into preemptive damage control, but the Pope himself did not. In fact his clarification may have infuriated the intellectuals among the Muslims even more, as the main philosophical point of the Regensberg address is that the attributes of God, require even Him not to act arbitrarily for otherwise He is merely a tyrant. The Holy Father is one those who regard Greek philosophy as a kind of fifth Gospel, this established the high intellectual level of his ratiocinations.

    Possibly for the sake of Christians living (and now fleeing for their lives) in Syria and the larger Middle East, JP11 kissed the Koran. Some Muslims tried the same trick when Pope Benedict was in Turkey later in 2006, but he deftly passed on the koran to his aides. From then it was clear that the (brief) period of kowtowing to Islam and succumbing to the blackmail of its minions was over.

  • @Alphatron

    His third encyclical, “Caritas in veritate,” is also a good one. He had some strong words to say to free-market purists.

  • “His third encyclical, “Caritas in veritate,” is also a good one. He had some strong words to say to free-market purists.”

    Actually, I didn’t take that away from it. It seems he spoke what has pretty much been said about the free market in previous encyclicals.

    What I think differed was his radical rooting of Charity in Truth. Gone should be that raw emotionalism that calls itself Charity per Benedict. Important words as we continue to order our world with bankrupt (literally as well as figuratively) ideas from the past.

  • I have a calm faith that the Holy Spirit will bring forward the man whom He knows is the right man for these evil times. I also can’t help but pray that it’s Cardinal Burke.

    And may God forgive me but I also pray it isn’t Cardinal Dolan. The times we live in call for a lion, another Pius X, not an “oh-so-friendly, easy-to-talk-to, pastoral” man such as Dolan.

  • St. Celestine V pray for us.

  • Moody forget to mention that Gisele Bundchen AND Lady Gaga didn’t like some of the stuff that Pope Benedict XVI said either. Just more proof of his failure as a pope, I guess.

  • even his writing about love suffers in comparison with John Paul’s

    Really? JP II was a great intellect and good writer, but BXVI is just as strong intellectually and a better writer. And that he was not JP II is a feature, not a bug. Each has his strengths, we did not need a JP III.

    Let us hope the Holy Spirit brings forth the pope we need, and not the one we deserve.

  • “Let us hope the Holy Spirit brings forth the pope we need, and not the one we deserve.”

    Maybe what we need is what we deserve.


  • I think we should go back to telling everybody that the Pope can do whatever the hell he wants and if you don’t like it you can take it down the road. Then smack ’em with a ruler.

  • Pray that the next Pope be not one following Political & Governmental Agendas but a Spiritual one following Jesus Christ.

Bleeding Christians

Wednesday, August 8, AD 2012

The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the Vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for supposedly incredulous and hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has undermined many a soul’s Christianity. His conduct of the services is also admirable. In order to spare the laity all “difficulties” he has deserted both the lectionary and the appointed psalms and now, without noticing it, revolves endlessly round the little treadmill of his fifteen favourite psalms and twenty favourite lessons. We are thus safe from the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should over reach them through Scripture. But perhaps bur patient is not quite silly enough for this church – or not yet?
At the other church we have Fr. Spike. The humans are often puzzled to understand the range of his opinions – why he is one day almost a Communist and the next not far from some kind of theocratic Fascism – one day a scholastic, and the next prepared to deny human reason altogether – one day immersed in politics, and, the day after, declaring that all states of the world are equally “under judgment”. We, of course, see the connecting link, which is Hatred. The man cannot bring himself to teach anything which is not calculated to mock, grieve, puzzle, or humiliate his parents and their friends. A sermon which such people would accept would be to him as insipid as a poem which they could scan. There is also a promising streak of dishonesty in him; we are teaching him to say “The teaching of the Church is” when he really means “I’m almost sure I read recently in Maritain or someone of that sort”. But I must warn you that he has one fatal defect: he really believes. And this may yet mar all.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters



Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who takes up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has a brilliant fisk at Midwest Conservative Journal detailing how upset some Episcopalians are at the Pope, because so many other Episcopalians are swimming the Tiber:

I said once before that if one of the marks of a genius was the ability to drive otherwise-sane people absolutely bat crap, then Pope Benedict XVI is Albert Einstein.  Come to find out that some Episcopalians are STILL bent about the Ordinariate.  Last weekend, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly did a story about a Maryland Episcopal parish that recently swam the Tiber:

In Bladensburg, Maryland, the Catholic service unfolds smoothly, a comfortable routine for priests and parishioners alike.

But one year ago, members of St. Luke’s parish were devout, devoted Episcopalians. This is the first Episcopal church in the country to convert to Catholicism under Vatican rules designed to attract disaffected Episcopalians.

Father Mark Lewis and his congregation preferred Roman Catholic order to the Episcopal tendency to make crap up as they go along.

We left the Episcopal Church not because we were running away from the issues of the Episcopal Church. We left the Episcopal Church because we were running to the Catholic Church. We came to the point where we realized the theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking. The theology of Rome, the authority of Rome, the unity in the Holy See and in the bishops: that was appealing to us.

As did Father Scott Hurd.

There is a real hunger amongst some Episcopalians and Anglicans for authority. It was the question of where can true Christian authority be found that was a key element in this community’s journey.

There wasn’t one particular reason, said congregant Stephen Smith.  There were a whole lot of reasons, each building on the last.

There’s not any one real incident you can point to, but it’s like the strands of a rope giving one by one, and each one weakens the rope as a whole.

Anne Marie Whittaker agrees.

All of a sudden it was do-your-own-thing mass, and there was a lot going on, for instance, a clown mass. I would come in and someone put a red nose on me! I saw children circling altars. One by one, parishes started to succumb to some of these practices in order to attract people, and it made it difficult for me to worship in that atmosphere.

Maryland Episcopal Bishop Eugene Sutton tried hard to be diplomatic.

I like to say that we are really one spiritual family. We believe about 90 percent of things in common. Where we disagree is on matters of authority and some other spiritual matters. But the important thing is that we are not fighting; we are not in competition with one another.

On the other hand, the Rev. Ian Markham, president and dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, didn’t even try to hide his anger at the papists.

There’s quite a lot of traffic currently going both ways between the two traditions, especially at the level of congregants. What’s interesting here is you’ve got entire congregations and clergy making the shift. So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.

How so?

There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.

Stealing sheep?  Unecumenical?  In what way?

It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.

I’ve been covering the Current Unpleasantness since it began nine years ago.  And while some of you might feel the need to get into a theological argument with that line, I have arrived at a point where words like those just make me smile.

I wonder if Markham realizes how pathetic he sounds; I can’t conceive of an Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christian uttering those words or ever feeling the need to.  Because those words could not possibly occur to any person who is confident about his or her Christian tradition as Markham seems to imply here.

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10 Responses to Bleeding Christians

  • “bat crap” I love it. It is interesting to see how some Episcopalians do not understand that man has a ree will and reason and a love for God that is only fulfilled in the Catholic Church.

  • Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who takes up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith

    Hehe. It reminds me of Grandpa Simpson flashing back to his time as a minesweeper in WW2 and repeatedly blowing up his own forces and after the flashback concludes with, “And that’s how I won the Iron Cross!” 🙂

  • Let me do that again, as I was late for Mass.
    “bat crap” I love it. It is interesting to see how some Episcopalians do not understand that man has a free will and reason and a love for God that is only fulfilled in the Catholic Church.”
    Scott W.: Simpson was injuring his own and good people. Christopher Johnson is redirecting the wayward into the TRUTH.

  • Interesting discussion.
    I was interviewed for about 45 minutes and much of what I expressed, unfortunately, was not included.
    At first, I merely dipped my toes into the Tiber, and retreated; I had loved the Episcopal Church’s doctrine and liturgy. It was heart-wrenching for this sheep to leave; but my shepherd abandoned me and was not attentive to the instructions from his Master. It’s wasn’t easy, but I needed to leave for my own soul’s sake. The transition is actually easier than I had imagined. However, I have subsequently learned, to my horror, that many Roman Catholic parishes have also celebrated the infamous, ‘Clown Mass’! I hope that bishops, Archbishops, and Rome put a stop to that sacriligious behavior. At least St. Paul’s Chapel in NYC had a bit of an excuse: after all, they are on Broadway.

  • Anne Marie I am glad you came over! I hope there are no clown masses or other liturgical messes anymore! That seems a lot less likely now with the new translation of the Mass.
    In the parish here the tabernacle was just moved to the center back of the sanctuary from a side place– progress is steady I think. Now if we can just move away from that Dan Schutte music!

  • The problem for the Anglican Church is that, once having rejected authority at the Reformation, it can never succeed in imposing its own. History bears this out: if Canterbury could reject the authority of popes and councils, why should the Puritans submit to the authority of the Convocation of Canterbury?

    Bishop Eugene Sutton really goes to the heart of the matter, when he claims, “we are really one spiritual family.” This only works, if “we” has a definite meaning in extension. Now, for the Catholic, this is simple. As Mgr Ronald Knox put it, “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”

    This is a real test, for it avoids the question-begging approach of defining the Church by its teaching, or the faithful by their tenets, which, inevitable leads to a vicious circle: “The true church is the one that teaches the true faith” and “The true faith is what the true church teaches.” It is also remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

    It is worth noting that the Edict of Thessalonica (Cunctos Populos) of 380, which established Christianity as the religion of the Roman empire and which stands in pride of place at the beginning of the Codex of Justinian contains no mention of doctrine, but speaks of ““that religion which from then to now declares itself to have been delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness.”

  • “It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.”

    About what “traditions” is Spanky speaking?

    Is it the “clown masses”, or the sanctification of sodomy?

    Liberals are stupid.

  • Anzlyne “Now if we can just move away from that Dan Schutte music!”

    Dan Schutte’s music is irreverent and ought to be removed from the church. I agree with you, Anzlyne.

  • I had forgotten that phrase of Lewis, “bat crap crazy”. Or perhaps I was young enough in my journey of life that I could not relate to the full measure of what that could mean. Now I can place a perfect example of what has happened to me and my thought processes in perspective! For in my study of the leadership and direction of my beloved Faith, and the forked road that has been taken what else could it possibly be? We are ALL being driven “bat crap crazy”! “Skrewtape, Skrewptape, Skrewtape!! Ye are alive and well.

  • *blink*
    I’m not sure if it’s an insult to Mr Lewis or a HUGE complement to TAC (or a comment on my sleep deprived self) when I read a long quote from CSL and interpret it as an opening comment from one of our good writers, rather than a classic quote…..

    It’s sad that I can see Priests that would be both, with great ease– as folks might guess from my talk of Father Hippy, Father Vietnam, etc.

40 Martyrs of England and Wales and Cardinal Newman

Tuesday, October 25, AD 2011

In so many ways we moderns are pygmies who stand on the shoulders of giants.  One group of giants for all English-speaking Catholics is the 40 martyrs of England and Wales who were canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 25, 1970.   They deserve to be remembered for their heroic deaths for Christ, and here are their names:

3 Carthusians:

  • Augustine Webster  d.1535
  • John Houghton  1486-1535
  • Robert Lawrence   d.1535

1 Augustinian friar:

  • John Stone  d. 1538

1 Brigittine:

  • Richard Reynolds  d. 1535

2 Franciscans:

  • John Jones   d. 1598 (Friar Observant – also known as John Buckley, John Griffith, or Godfrey Maurice)
  • John Wall   d. 1679 (Franciscan  – known at Douai and Rome as John Marsh, and by other aliases while on the mission in England)

3 Benedictines:

  • John Roberts   d. 1610
  • Ambrose Barlow  d. 1641
  • Alban Roe   d. 1642

10 Jesuits:

  • Alexander Briant   1556-81
  • Edmund Campion   1540-81
  • Robert Southwell   1561-95
  • Henry Walpole    1558-95
  • Nicholas Owen   1540-1606
  • Thomas Garnet    1575-1608
  • Edmund Arrowsmith  1585–1628
  • Henry Morse   1595-1644
  • Philip Evans   1645-79
  • David Lewis   1616-79

13 Priests of the Secular Clergy:

  • Cuthbert Mayne   1543–77
  • Ralph Sherwin    1558-81
  • Luke Kirby    1549-82
  • John Paine    d. 1582
  • John Almond    d. 1585
  • Polydore Plasden    d. 1591
  • Eustace White   1560-91
  • Edmund G(J)ennings   1567-91
  • John Boste    1544-94
  • John Southworth   1592-1654
  • John Kemble    1599-1679
  • John Lloyd     d. 1679
  • John Plessington   d. 1679

7 members of the laity

4 lay men:

  • Richard Gwyn  1537-84
  • Swithun Wells  1536-91
  • Philip Howard  1557-95
  • John Rigby  1570-1600   and

3 lay women, all of them mothers:

  • Margaret Clitherow  1586
  • Margaret Ward  1588
  • Anne Line  1601

They were torches that God sent to us to light our way in a frequently dark world.  They were representatives of hundreds of martyrs who died for the Faith in England and Wales in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.  With the Anglican Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict perhaps what Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman said in the Nineteenth Century will come true in the Twenty-First:

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5 Responses to 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and Cardinal Newman

  • Donald,

    I do not know much about history, but both sides – Protestant and Catholic – had shed more than its fair share of blood. Didn’t Mary I of England (a Catholic) burn at the stake 280 religious dissenters in what are called “The Marian Persecutions?”

    Every time I read little about this time in history, I shudder to think of the atrocities that both sides – Catholic and Protestant – committed against each other.


  • 284. An excellent recent study of the Marian Persecution was written by Eamon Duffy:

    The Tudors were all persecutors. Under Bad Queen Bess some 312 Irish and Catholic martyrs died, although, strangely enough, she has a reputation in history for tolerance, which would have been regarded as a bad joke by almost all of her Catholic subjects, probably the majority of her subjects until well into her reign.

    Saint Peter Canisius, who helped reverse the Reformation in Austria and southern Germany in the Sixteenth Century, regarded the persecutions of his day as against the example of Christ:

    “It is plainly wrong to meet non-Catholics with bitterness or to treat them with discourtesy. For this is nothing else than the reverse of Christ’s example because it breaks the bruised reed and quenches the smoking flax. We ought to instruct with meekness those whom heresy has made bitter and suspicious, and has estranged from orthodox Catholics, especially from our fellow Jesuits. Thus, by whole-hearted charity and good will we may win them over to us in the Lord.

    Again, it is a mistaken policy to behave in a contentious fashion and to start disputes about matters of belief with argumentative people who are disposed by their very natures to wrangling. Indeed, the fact of their being so constituted is a reason the more why such people should be attracted and won to the simplicity of the faith as much by example as by argument.”

    It was an intolerant age, although what strikes me is how quickly it ended, when viewed through the prism of 2000 years of Christian history. By 1700 the bloodiest of religious persecutions were largely ended, only to be reawakend by the birth of totalitarianism with the French Revolution and the persecution of both Catholics and Protestants by worshipers of the power of the State. Fascism and Communism, when viewed by future historians, may be regarded as variants of the Emperor worship that confronted the earliest Christians.

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  • As an American of partial English descent (and last name Bryant, although no relation to the martyr Briant that I am aware of) I would like to know why this feast day doesn’t seem to be a priority on the U.S. calendar. We take a lot of our culture and obviously language from Britain, plus we are still living here the effects of the Reformation there. Obviously had Henry VIII not acted as he had the U.S. would be a predominantly Cathlic nation. Are we afraid of offending Protestants (or Latinos) ?

  • I doubt if it is concern for offending anyone since we sing Faith of Our Fathers regularly at Mass and that song, although doubtless most singers are unaware of it, directly refers to the persecution of Catholics by the English government. Additionally Irish Catholics, which make up a large proportion of the Church in America, are always ready to point out English persecutions. In England the feast day has been moved to May 4 and now includes an additional 85 martyrs:

U.S. Anglican Ordinariate Update: Father Scott Hurd at Houston’s Our Lady of Walsingham

Sunday, March 6, AD 2011

Father Scott Hurd serves as the liaison with the USCCB for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Cœtibus here in America.  He has been looking at the options available to all Anglican groups in establishing a U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created an ad hoc committee led by Donald Cardinal Wuerl last September that was charged with assisting the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in implementing the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Cœtibus.

Today Father Hurd concelebrated Mass at Our Lady of Walsingham (OLW) Anglican Use Church as part of his visit to Houston.  After Mass there was a tiny reception outside the church which was followed by a short talk with a question and answer period for the parishioners of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Left to Right: Deacon James Barnett, Father Bruce Noble, Father James Moore, Father Scott Hurd, and Father James Ramsey before concelebrating Mass today.

Some major points that were learned today concerning the process as to where we are in possibly establishing a U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.  Please note that none of this official.:

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17 Responses to U.S. Anglican Ordinariate Update: Father Scott Hurd at Houston’s Our Lady of Walsingham

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  • Yeah, the Anglo-Lutheran thing sounded a bit too silly to be true…

  • I’ve been reading materials from Anglo-Lutheran bishops that say otherwise. Who do I trust, the people themselves, or the people writing about them?

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  • Hidden One,

    Because Father Scott Hurd is a representative for Cardinal Wuerl in the ad hoc committee seeking to establish an Anglican Ordinariate in the U.S.

    This ad hoc committee was established in coordination with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    All of this is official.

    What the Anglo-Lutheran bishops are saying are private matters that hold no official status within the church. They just got excited thinking one thing when in actuality it is nothing more than informal talks at best.

  • I don’t know much about the Anglo-Lutherans; however, I have seen the correspondence they have had with the CDF, and they did receive a letter from the Congregation, signed by the Secretary, Archbishop Ladaria, inviting them to contact Cardinal Wuerl. Whether the Anglo-Lutherans will have a place in the Ordinariate is, at this point, unknown; however, they did make a formal approach, and they received a formal answer with instructions about what they should do.

  • Father Phillips,

    That are the “informal” talks I was referencing to.

    What was speculated in the blogosphere was that they were officially accepted into talks of joining the Ordinariate, which is farthest from the truth.

    So says Father Scott Hurd who represents Cardinal Wuerl in the ad hoc committee created by the USCCB in implementing the apostolic constitution.

  • You’re absolutely correct, Tito. They are not part of the general conversations, nor will they have a part in the shaping of the Ordinariate. My only point was that they have been invited to make application through the Ordinariate.

    My reason for posting was that I didn’t want people to have the impression that this was something only in their imaginations. An approach was made, and a response came from the CDF, so in that sense it is “formal.”

  • Please people, let’s not get all nitpicky. Formal or informal, they seem to want to come home to Mother Church from their Lutheran tradition. Open arms should be extended. As was pointed out by their Archbishop I believe Lutherans have no distant liturgical tradition as the Anglicans do so perhaps special accommodation will be made for them through the Ordinariate or a separate way for Lutherans will be established. That’s up to the Holy Father and Rome.
    Being critical will only make them think they made an incorrect decision and drive them away.
    As has been noted, the Lutheran Churches like the Anglicans did a ‘liturgical revolution” following the Catholics and so the 3 liturgical uses became very similar for good or ill. The thing I noticed was that the Lutherans did it so much more beautifully than either the Episcopalians/Anglicans but especially the Catholics. They bring a gift of singing and chanting in English that cannot be matched by the Catholics at this time. For that reason alone they should be embraced.

  • Father Phillips,

    Sometimes when I’m blocking for Father Hurd, I bumped into you.

    I apologize if I came away a bit strong.

    Yes, there are talks.

    Just as there were talks in the past when Anglican groups approached the Holy See seeking some sort of corporate union.

    What the Anglo-Lutherans are doing is correct.

    We should pray for them so they too will find comfort in the See of Peter.

  • I scarcely felt the bump, Tito! 🙂

    I have no way of know who amongst the Anglo-Lutherans will be finding a place in the Ordinariate, but I’m happy to have them make their petition and then we’ll let the Holy Spirit make the decisions that need to made.

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  • I’ve visited O.L. of Walsingham in Houston before and found it to be wonderful. Beautiful church and chapel, lovely and welcoming people.

  • How can a Mass be concelebrated with and held in an unconsecrated chapel that until the Ordinarite is official are not in full communion with Rome?

  • @Charles. Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston *is* in full communion with Rome. It’s an Anglican Use parish of the Roman Catholic Church. (Anglican Use parishes have been in existence for over a quarter century; however, there are only a few of them.)

  • And for whatever reason, Texas seems to be their (Anglican Use-Catholics) center. I never thought of Texas as especially Episcopalian (nearly everyone you meet is Baptist/evangelical, Methodist, or Catholic), but I suppose what Episc. population we do have is relatively orthodox/conservative.