25/10: Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England & Wales… So what? 

After King Henry VIII proclaimed himself supreme head of the Church in England and Wales, a violent wave of anti-Catholic persecution began – and lasted over a century. It started with the executions of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, but didn’t end there. Hundreds were killed between 1535 and 1679; the Church recognized the heroism of 40 martyrs from England and Wales in a canonization ceremony on October 25, 1970. (Later, a separate feast on May 4 was created to recognize the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation.)

The group of 40 martyrs celebrated on October 25 contains a variety of Catholics. The group is composed of “13 priests of the secular clergy, three Benedictines, three Carthusians, one Brigittine, two Franciscans, one Augustinian, 10 Jesuits and seven members of the laity, including three mothers.”

The martyrs were gruesomely tortured before being hanged or killed, but remained steadfast in their faith, refusing to renounce their Catholicism.

Many of the saints were jovial at the prospect of death.

Cuthbert Mayne, a secular priest, replied to a gaoler who came to tell him he would be executed three days later: “I wish I had something valuable to give you, for the good news you bring me…”  Edmund Campion, a Jesuit, was so pleased when taken to the place of execution that the people said about him and his companions: “But they’re laughing! He doesn’t care at all about dying…”

One striking story of heroism under extreme torture comes from the martyrdom of a laywoman, Margaret Clitherow.

She was accused “of having sheltered the Jesuits and priests of the secular clergy, traitors to Her Majesty the Queen”; but she retorted: “I have only helped the Queen’s friends” … On Friday March 25th, 1588, at eight o’clock in the morning, Margaret, just thirty-three years old, left Ouse Bridge prison, barefooted, bound for Toll Booth … Her arms were stretched out in the shape of a cross, and her hands tightly bound to two stakes in the ground. The executioners put a sharp stone the size of a fist under her back and placed on her body a large slab onto which weights were gradually loaded up to over 800 pounds. Margaret whispered: “Jesus, have mercy on me.” Her death agony lasted for fifteen minutes, then the moaning ceased, and all was quiet.

Their resolve in the face of certain death is inspiring. They show us that our life on earth is indeed very short and what truly matters is our faithfulness to God. As St. Thomas More famously said: “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”

Here is a list of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, whom we can invoke for their intercession in whatever persecution we may be enduring.

St. John Almond
St. Edmund Arrowsmith
St. Ambrose Barlow
St. John Boste
St. Alexander Briant
St. Edmund Campion
St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Philip Evans
St. Thomas Garnet
St. Edmund Gennings
St. Richard Gwyn
St. John Houghton
St. Philip Howard
St. John Jones
St. John Kemble
St. Luke Kirby
St. Robert Lawrence
St. David Lewis
St. Anne Line
St. John Lloyd
St. Cuthbert Mayne
St. Henry Morse
St. Nicholas Owen
St. John Payne
St. Polydore Plasden
St. John Plessington
St. Richard Reynolds
St. John Rigby
St. John Roberts
St. Alban Roe
St. Ralph Sherwin
St. Robert Southwell
St. John Southworth
St. John Stone
St. John Wall
St. Henry Walpole
St. Margaret Ward
St. Augustine Webster
St. Swithun Wells
St. Eustace White         Source 

Comment: 

So?  Our nearest cousins will be celebrating the Feast of the 40 martyrs of England & Wales on Thursday next, 25 October. So?  They suffered and died for the Faith during the Reformation – centuries ago.  What – if anything – do they have to teach us, today?  We’ve moved on from those days, when people were tortured and killed for their beliefs. We’re ecumenical now, we’re tolerant, we embrace equality and diversity… What on earth do medieval martyrs have to teach us enlightened folk today…  Shouldn’t the Feast days of martyrs be removed form the calendar, as a goodwill gesture, in the name of ecumenical progress?  Seriously?  Or, should that be “satirically”…  😀

The question for discussion really has to be: what is the most important thing the martyrs have to teach us all – north and south of the English border in this modern age? And if you have a particular favourite saint among the 40 martyrs, share that with us…

Is The Christian Institute Anti-Catholic?

From the website of The Christian Institute…

In 1523 London could number its citizens by the thousands, its crimes by the hundreds and its places of worship by the scores.

Men and women wandered past the religious institutions which held them in superstition and fear. They had no knowledge of the word of God which was withheld from them in Latin by the Church.

Just 15 years later, the Bible was being distributed in English to churches across the land. God’s word would be freely accessible to every man, woman and child who could read or be read to.

This revolutionary change was the focus of our third Autumn Lecture last night, brought to us by Brian Edwards, author and former president of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC).

Edwards explained that the English Bible we read today can largely be credited to the work of one man, used by God – William Tyndale.

Reformation minded

Tyndale was probably born in Gloucestershire in 1491. By 1506, he was studying at Magdalen College, Oxford, before being ordained into the priesthood of the Church of England.

Concerned with the theology of his Oxford colleagues, he is thought to have transferred to Cambridge around 1519. Here he was among a score of upcoming reformers who were discussing the ideas of the Reformation and the work of a certain German monk by the name of Martin Luther.

In 1521, he crossed swords with a local friar who, following a heated debate, exclaimed: ‘we’d be better off without God’s law than the law of the Pope’.

Tyndale replied: “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you!”
Thus began Tyndale’s life’s work – translating the Bible into the language of the common people.

Exile

This at a time when it was forbidden for a person to read the Bible in English without a priest’s permission and people were burned at the stake for teaching others the Lord’s Prayer in English.

Tyndale fled England. In 1524 he travelled to Hamburg and then to Cologne, and by 1525 he was starting to print the New Testament in English, before copies were smuggled back to England on German merchant ships.

Amidst barrels of grain were thousands of English New Testaments, available for the price of a load of hay.

Lasting influence

Skilled in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and several other languages, the accuracy of Tyndale’s rendering has been commended by experts.

But he aimed to communicate the Gospel, not just translate, and in the foreword to his New Testament, he urged readers to repent and trust in Christ for themselves.

Medieval historian Ian Mortimer describes Tyndale as, “the only writer in the English language more influential than Shakespeare”. Many of his phrases remain in language today and he introduced new terms including “scapegoat” and “Exodus”.

By 1530, his translation of the Pentateuch had arrived in England. But King Henry declared that Tyndale’s books should be burned and punishment doled out to owners. Tyndale was a hunted man, constantly on the lookout for King Henry’s agents.

Martyred

Early in the summer of 1535, Tyndale was betrayed by his friend Henry Phillips who invited him to lunch and then ambushed him. He was imprisoned outside Brussels for a year, accused of heresy.

In September 1536, William Tyndale, England’s greatest Bible translator was chained to a stake, partially strangled and then burned.

His final words are said to have been: ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes’.

God’s word for all

Tyndale’s prayer was answered in that a short time later the Great Bible – based on the work of Tyndale – was presented to Henry VIII and approved for distribution to churches across England.

Brian Edwards concluded: “Tyndale’s legacy is in the pages of every English Bible you ever pick up”.   Source – Christian Institute

Comment:

The above article from the Christian Institute website is classic Protestant Propaganda.  Click here to read an academic rebuttal of the Protestant view of the Bible, which was butchered, literally, by the Protestant revolutionaries in the Middle Ages. Far from upholding the Scriptures as the Word of God, the “reformers” removed those books which, a cynic might say, were too Catholic for them – notably, books which contain the roots of Catholic doctrines (e.g. Purgatory – Maccabees).   See short (2 minutes) video clip below..

Share your thoughts on the blatant propaganda published by the Christian Institute, which is an organisation respected for its work in addressing political correctness in the moral sphere. It has led the fight against the Named Person Scheme in Scotland. Thus,  Catholics, myself included, have supported its work – but this might prove to be  a game-changer.  Or perhaps you disagree?  Speak your mind! 

If Luther’s Revolution were “a work of the Holy Spirit”, surely he must be canonised?

On October 13, 2016 the Pope received a group of 1,000 Lutherans and Catholics from Germany in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall and addressed them from the stage where a statue of Luther was erected. 


M
edias-Presse.Info
reports the scandal of an Italian bishop praising Luther’s Reformation as “a work of the Holy Spirit”.  Unfortunately, there is no  official English translation available, so our French blogger, Lionel, offers the following summary, with commentary: 

Bishop Nunzio Galantino is not just any Italian bishop: he is the General Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, a position of high responsibility.

His latest statement has a flavour of public apostasy and denial of Catholic doctrine: for this prince of the Catholic Church, the reform of Luther is simply “a work of the Holy Spirit”!

These scandalous words, because one must never stop being scandalized by such heterodox remarks, resonated within the Pontifical Lateran University during a conference on the theme “Passion for God, spirituality and theology of the Reformation in 500 years of his birth “, organized by this Vatican University.

Bishop Galantino began by reading an excerpt from Luther, historically considered offensive to the papacy: “I rose against the pope, indulgences and papists, but without tumult and without violence. I put forward the Word of God, I preached, I wrote; I did not do anything else. And while I slept, … that Word I preached overthrew popery, ”  then affirming:  “The Reformation launched by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit. ”  Rien que ça! 

He then developed his praise of  the German heresiarch in front of his audience:

“The Reformation responds to the truth expressed in the formula” ecclesia semper reformanda “. Luther himself wrote, “And while I slept, God reformed the Church” –  he did not consider himself the architect of reform.”

“Today, too,” said the Italian bishop, “the Church needs reform. And only God can realize it. “  

You do not have to be a great cleric to understand that what Bishop Galantino professes is not very Catholic: he takes Luther’s bluster for Gospel words and denies his infallibility to the Council of Trent, which anathematized the Lutheran heresy. The world upside down ! Let us remind this high ranking of the conciliar Church that Luther did not reform the Catholic Church under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, as he suggests, but that he founded a Christian sect, fierce enemy of all that is Catholic! True!

But the peroration of the Monseigneur does not stop there. He digresses to the Second Vatican Council, and there we will not contradict his statement, some truths also come out, sometimes, from the mouths of the enemies of the Truth. According to IEC number 2, Luther’s love for the Word anticipates the sacramentality of the Word affirmed at the Second Vatican Council. This is affirmed by a conciliar [Father], by the statement made by Archbishop Lefebvre after the Council, that Vatican II is an extension of the Protestant Reformation and leads to it, as this speech by Bishop Galantino allows us to glimpse: “this reform was born of liberalism, of modernism, is entirely poisoned; it comes out of heresy and ends up in heresy,…”  [Archbishop Lefebvre] declared in 1974.

Bishop Galantino concluded by recalling Pope Francis’ gesture in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500 years of the Reformation: “He signed a joint declaration to overcome the reciprocal prejudices that still divide Catholics and Protestants. And this same pope acknowledged to Luther, continues Bishop Galantino, the merit of “wanting to renovate the Church and not divide it”.  Je rêve!     END OF LIONEL’S SUMMARY

Then, today, blogger Westminster Fly posted the following comment with link on the ‘Even Newer Mass(es)’ thread. Since his short and shocking linked report represents what is, in effect, the logical conclusion of “the spirit of Vatican II”, it is also appropriate to  discuss it on this thread. Westminster Fly writes:

In a personal communication to a Professor Baumgartner in Salzburg, Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, who was the personal papal theologian to Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, revealed: “In the Third Secret (of Fatima) it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top”. And then I see this …  Note: you can read the entire First Things article by Marco Tosatti  (a Vaticanist who writes from Rome) here

Comment:

Should we be preparing for the canonisation of Martin Luther?

    

10/3: Feast of St John Ogilvie – Are Martyrs an Embarrassment in the Modern “Ecumenical Church”?

John Ogilvie suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Catholics. Nonetheless, Ogilvie did not relent; consequently, after a biased trial, he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King’s spiritual jurisdiction.

On 10th March 1615, aged 36 years, John Ogilvie was paraded through the streets of Glasgow and hanged at Glasgow Cross.

His last words were “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have”. After he was pushed from the ladder, he threw his concealed rosary beads out into the crowd. The tale is told that one of his enemies caught them and subsequently became a lifelong devout Catholic. After his execution Ogilvie’s followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none was to receive the death penalty.

As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland. Source

Comment:

As we reflect on the life and martyrdom of St John Ogilvie in preparation for his Feast on 10 March, the question for discussion is in the headline: ARE martyrs an embarrassment given the commitment of the Catholic Church to playing down differences, pretending that Catholics and Protestants believe the same thing and generally being a very politically correct “Ecumenical Church”? Some Scots Catholics argue, for example, that there should be more public events organised by the hierarchy to mark the Feast of St John Ogilvie in the city (Glasgow) where he was put to death. Some ask if the public procession (known as “the Ogilvie Walk”) to the place of execution at Glasgow Cross, once peopled by parishioners from all over Glasgow (and beyond) be restored? If not, why not? Or is it the case that martyrs like St John Ogilvie really are, now, an embarrassment and even an obstacle to ecumenical goals?