In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

Monday, September 20, AD 2010

It seemed unfathomable, even a few short years ago; an aging German pope arriving in Britain to the cheers and rapt attention of many, all this while his detractors were dismissed as everything that is wrong with Britain and the modern world. Saint Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and the rest of the English martyrs must be smiling in heaven. The English martyrs, like the well known (like Sir Thomas) and the unsung Saint Margaret Clitherow found their views more often than not supported by the rank and file. However, the same rank and file didn’t have the courage to make the stand as did these courageous men and women who were martyred. Though Catholicism was widely practiced, the fear of blood thirsty king, left many too weak to fight the good fight. (If you don’t believe this, read Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars.)

Yet, the truth will either set you free or convict you of false witness. It was the brutal King Henry VIII, who left Catholicism because Pope Innocent III wouldn’t give him a divorce. The king later had two of his wives beheaded, a rather odd sort of person to start a church, but start a church he did. Starting in 1534 Catholics would be killed and a legal Catholic Mass wasn’t allowed to be celebrated in Britain, or conquered Ireland, for nearly 300 years. The creation of King Henry the Anglican Church would reach the far flung corners of the mighty British Empire. As recent as fifty years ago, the Anglican Church in Britain had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world. Her teachings were mirrored by the life of those CS Lewis. Fifty years later, her teachings are mirrored by the likes of Elton John. However, to be fair to Sir Elton, even he is to the right of the Anglican Church on matters like welcoming Islamic Sharia Law to Britain as the spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams recently did.

The Catholic Church has been derided and mocked by the mainstream media for some time. One might think that with all of this and the horrible Abuse Scandal within the Church; it would be the Catholic Church that would be withering and not the liberal Anglican Church, who is modeling the whims of the modern world. Yet, the Catholic Church continues to grow and even rapidly so in Africa and Asia (Christ told us this would be so Matthew 16:15-20.)  The faithful aren’t as ignorant as the militant secularists would like to believe. The religious faithful of all stripes are beginning to clearly understand what Pope Benedict XVI is saying about the dangers of the Dictatorship of Relativism. It cannot work, as Jesus reminded us; we cannot serve two masters. Sadly that is what modern Anglicanism and liberal Christianity has tried to do. The results have been disastrous.

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14 Responses to In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

  • I wonder how More would view the current state of affairs with divorce, annulments and those of us who have sought Roman intervention as our adulterous spouses are welcomed, unrepentant, in the Catholic Church?

    We are ignored, as we remain faithful to our vows.

    Our children are abused as well, taken from innocent abandoned, faithful, parents and the new lovers are listened to, by the Church in our place as we
    are allowed no place in our childrens lives but what is allowed by the state and our violators.

    I had NO SAY AT in our children’s sacraments! What good is a refused annulment, when it means nothing, except postponing a Church wedding
    until our deaths are hastened, with the full cooperation of the Church, and then the unrepentant lovers can have their cake andeat it too.

    No, Benedict does not impress me.

    He knows what is going on and he does nothing to come to our aid.

  • Karl I am sorry for your pain. I think it would be wise for all readers to pray for people in your situation. However, I don’t believe any of this is Pope Benedict’s fault. The fault lies with a society that condones immorality and believes there is no black and white, only gray.

  • The Popes visit seems to have gone not according to the secularist vision of things. We are fortunate to have this man as our Pope.

  • Doug, you are absolutely right. I think the Holy Father has caused the militant secularistss fits since the day the Holy Spirit helped inspire his election. Pope Benedict goes against everything the secularists believe and lacks the charisma of his predecessor Pope John Paul II. Yet, he draws bigger crowds than anyone expected, both in Vatican City and his international trips. May God keep him safe and healthy for many more years.

  • I live in the UK and in my eyes the most striking event was the fact that the protesters were utterly and completely ignored.
    Ignored by both the people – who gathered at the roadside and at the official celebrations in huge numbers – and the media – who kept largely silent about them in view of their utterly obvious irrelevance -.

    For months in this country, liberal media have tried to identify the Church with the (homosexual) pardophile priest scandal; many a tv station and particularly the BBC would mention the Church **exclusively** in connection with the (homosexual) paedophile priest scandal.

    This visit was a brilliant reminder that the media cannot shape public opinion to more than a very limited extent. People continue to think with their own heads and whilst they are often weak or indifferent (as in the largely secularised United Kingdom) they are most certainly not anywhere near as stupid as our smug journalist class thinks they are.

    Mundabor

  • Mundabor, good to see someone from the UK weigh in on this, your personal observations are very heartening. I do believe even in the UK the tide is beginning to turn!

  • After this truly triumphant visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain, not only are the British martyrs smiling in Heaven but, also, I can just hear Queen Mary saying “Hah!” to both her father and her sister!

  • Apollo,

    Hopefully, she doesn’t have to shout that a long way down, as it were.

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  • If you seek the true faith of the ancient church, see orthodoxinfo.com, monachos.net, ancientfaith.com, “The Orthodox Study Bible.”

  • Thank you for posting Eastern Orthodox. Due to the onslaught from militant scularism and radical Islam, our churches are closer than they have been since the 11th Century. However, I do think it is fair to remind the readers that it was to Rome that the Early Church always looked. From those in Corinth who wrote to Pope Clement in 96 AD, to those in the East who pleaded for the Pope’s intervention during the Iconoclast Movement. One must also remember that the Orthodox Patriach pleaded to Pope Urban for help during the Islamic Invasion (which lead to the First Crusade.) I hope and pray the division can cease and we can become One as Christ commanded (John 10:16.) Judging from the cordial visits Pope Benedict XVI has had with various Patriarch, this may soon be a reality. God Bless & take care!

  • And to think of how deflated are those who thought they had the pope right where they wanted him.

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Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, Have Mercy on Me

Sunday, October 25, AD 2009

Today is the feast day of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 25, 1970.  These very brave men and women were martyred for the True Faith in England and Wales between 1535 and 1679, and they are representative of hundreds of Catholics in these countries who went to their death rather than to renounce their Catholicism.

John Pridmore, a reformed gangster from England, talks elquently about Saint Margaret Clitherow in the above video, and her life is typical of these brave champions of Christ.

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2 Responses to Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, Have Mercy on Me

  • Thanks for this post.
    Interesting that you should post this about St.Margaret Clitherow, Don.
    An ancestor of mine through my mother’s family line, by name William Nicholson (1816 – 1888) wrote a book about her. Some of our Nicholson relatives, who live I think in Portland, Oregon, researched and wrote a Nicholson Family Anthology back in the 1960’s and 70’s.

    I quote sections from this anthology.

    “William Nicholson studied the law, probably at his father’s office, and for a time followed the profession of solicitor in Warrington. The main direction of his contemplations, however, seem to have centred about religious thought. Like other menbers of his family, he was a communicant of the Church of England until about 1848…….
    William Nicholson participated in the Tractarian or Oxford Movement in England, and in 1848 or 1849 converted to Roman Catholicism. Dedicating his well-directed energy to his new faith, he rapidly rose to prominence among English Catholics…….most of his descendants became communicants of the Roman Catholic Church.
    For a now unknown reason, William Nicholson became interested in the story of Margaret Clitherow, often referred to as “The Pearl of York”.In the twentieth century she was canonised a saint. Born about 1556, Margaret (Middleton) Clitherow converted to Catholicism after her marriage to John Clitherow, who was a protestant, but from a Catholic family. She soon became an outspoken Catholic in York, providing for Catholic educators for her children and giving shelter to priests. Disturbed by the persistence of Catholicism in Yorkshire, the English government attempted to eradicate the faith by taking strong measures against English Catholics. On 25th March 1586 Margaret Clitherow was martyred in this purge.
    Her confessor John Mush wrote a contemporary memoir. The York Bar Convent obtained a copy of a manuscript made by Robert Setgrave in 1654 of John Mush’s work. Using this manuscript William Nicholson edited the work and published for the first time from a manuscript “The Life and Death of Margaret Clitherow, the Martyr of York.” The 215 page work was printed by Richardson & Son in London in 1849. The work was dedicated to the Earl of Shrewsbury, a leading Catholic layman of the time, with a letter of approbation from Bishop William Bewrnard Ullathorne, who worked indefatigably to restor Roman Catholicism as a prominent Church in England.”

    Thus endeth the lesson 🙂

    My mother has had a devotion to St.Margaret Clitherow for as long as I can remember, and it is from this family line that we are Catholic.

    Thanks.

  • It is truly a small world Don! Saint Margaret Clitherow is an example of Catholic courage and fortitude for us all.