Showing posts with label England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label England. Show all posts
Sunday, November 8, 2020
All Saints of England

Continuing on with the many "All Saints" days for various regions and orders, November 8th is the Feast of All English Saints. 

While many know that King Henry VIII broke away from the Church and that he is known for murdering and replacing a series of wives, few know the full history of Catholicism in England. After King Henry VIII’s death, after a brief experiment with Protestantism under his son Edward VI who ruled at a young age mainly through regents, Catholicism returned to England under his elder daughter Mary I (1555-58). But after her reign ended, England officially adopted Anglicanism in 1559 under his younger daughter Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Except during the reign of the Catholic James II (1685-88), Catholicism remained illegal for the next 232 years until the Catholic Mass could be legally celebrated again in 1791. Yet most Catholics could not hold any public office and had few civil rights. It took the Emancipation Act of 1829 to restore most civil rights to Catholics in England. 

We can and should fervently pray for a restoration of the True Faith - that is the Catholic Faith - in England and Wales. England is blessed with thousands of canonized and beatified Saints and Martyrs - many known and many more unknown. For this reason, it used to be known as "Mary's Dowry." How sadly times have changed. 

St Arsenios of Paros prophesized: “The Church in the British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins again to venerate her own saints.”

For this intention - the return of England and Wales back to the unity of the Catholic Faith - let us pray the Litany of the Saints and Martyrs of England.

Prayer for England written by Cardinal Merry Del Val:

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down with mercy upon England thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope, was given unto the world; and he has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother! Intercede for our separated brethren that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Litany of English Saints

For Private Devotion Only.

Remember not. O Lord, our offenses, nor those of our parents: neither take thou vengeance of our sins.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Jesus, receive our prayers. Lord Jesus, receive our petitions.

God the Father, Creator of the world, Have Mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of mankind, Have Mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, Perfecter of the elect, Have Mercy on us.

Sacred Trinity, three Persons and one God, Have Mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for England. *

Holy Mary, Queen of Angels, who alone destroyest all heresies, *

Holy Mary, Virgin of virgins, whose eminent sanctity our Lord hath honoured with so many miracles, *

St. Michael, prince of the Church, *

St. Gabriel, glorious messenger of our Saviour's Incarnation, *

St. Raphael, faithful guide of those who have lost their way, *

Holy Angel, to whose pious custody this province is committed, *

All ye holy Angels and blessed Spirits of heaven, who celebrate with joy the conversion of sinners, *

St. John Baptist, precursor of the Messias, and great example of penance, *

All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets, friends of God, and advancers of His truth, *

St. Peter, prince of the Apostles, and supreme pastor of Christ's sheep, *

St. Paul, doctor of the Gentiles, who, of a persecutor, becamest a preacher, *

St. Andrew, first disciple of Christ, and constant lover of the cross, *

All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists, chief planners of the Christian faith, and zealous maintainers of Catholic unity, *

St. George, our principal patron, *

St. Alban, our first martyr, *

St. Thomas of Canterbury, who, as a faithful shepherd, laidst down thy life in defense of the Church, *

All ye holy Martyrs of this nation, who voluntarily lost your lives here to find them in a joyful eternity, *

St. Gregory, most vigilant Bishop of the Universal Church, whose pious zeal sent missioners from Rome for the conversion of our ancestors, *

St. Augustin, Apostle of this nation, by whom our forefathers were reclaimed from paganism and infidelity, *

St. Bede, most venerable Confessor, by whose religious life and learned writings the Catholic faith was eminently propagated amongst us, *

All ye holy Bishops and Confessors, by whose wisdom and sanctity this island was once a flourishing seminary of religion, *

St. Helen, most holy queen, and mother of the first Christian emperor, *

St. Ursula, most blessed martyr, who died in the a glorious defense of faith and chastity, *

St. Winefride, most admirable virgin, even in this unbelieving generation still miraculous, *

All ye holy Saints of this nation, who, amidst the innumerable joys of heaven, still retain a particular charity for the salvation of your country, *

All ye holy Saints of all places who, though divided here in several regions, were united in the same faith, and now enjoy one common felicity, *

Be merciful, Spare us, O Lord.

Be merciful, to us

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

From the dangers most justly threatening our sins, Deliver England, O Lord. **

From the spirit of pride, rebellion, and apostacy, **

From the spirit of hypocrisy, profaneness, and sacrilege, **

From the presumption of private opinion, and contempt of the authority of thy Church, **

From schism, heresy, and all blindness of heart, **

From gluttony, drunkenness, and the false liberty of an undisciplined life, **

We sinners, Beseech thee, hear us.

That it may please thee to hasten the conversion of this our miserable country, and reunite it to the ancient faith and communion of thy Church, We beseech thee, hear us. ***

That it may please thee particularly to have mercy on our relations, friends, and benefactors, and open their eyes to see the beauty of thy truth, and embrace it, ***

That it may please thee to comfort and strengthen thy servants, who suffer for the Catholic faith, ***

That it may please thee not to permit the weakest of us by any temptation whatsoever, to fall away from thee and thy truth, ***

That it may please thee to assist with thy special grace those good pastors who venture their lives for their flock, ***

That it may please thee daily to augment in them the fire of thy love and the zeal of gaining souls, ***

That it may please thee to preserve the Catholics of this land from all sin and scandal, ***

That it may please thee so to adorn their lives with solid piety, that others, seeing their good works, may glorify thee our heavenly Father, ***

That it may please thee to enlighten the hearts of all schismatics with thy powerful grace, ***

That it may please thee to shew them the danger of their state, and the great importance of eternal salvation, ***

That it may please thee mercifully to look down from heaven on the tears of the afflicted, and the blood of so many martyrs, who have spent their lives, and suffered death, to convert us to thee, ***
Son of God, ***

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, whose judgments are righteous and counsels unsearchable; who visitest the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation, and yet at length rememberest mercy; forgive, we beseech thee, the sins of our forefathers, and turn away thy wrath from their posterity: deliver the ignorant from being seduced by false teachers, and the learned from being abused by their passions, and the whole nation from the spirit of contradiction, licentiousness, and discord; that instead of so many divisions and changes in religion, under which they labour, they may be again restored to that unity of mind, steadiness of faith, and tranquillity of conscience, which is no where to be sought but in the communion of thy Church, nor possible to be found but by the conduct of thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Book Review: This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History)

The most contentious period of British History has always been that of the Protestant Reformation, imposed by sword and gibbet upon the ancient Catholic country by the Tudors, aided by abuses of Parliament and the history books of their followers. Among the worst of the earlier histories were the notorious quasi-propaganda narratives of John Foxe, Gilbert Burnet and David Hume. Of their collective accounts of Mary Tudor, William Cobbett remarked that ‘Her reign our deceivers have taught us to call the reign of ‘Bloody Queen Mary” while they have taught us to call that of her sister “Good Queen Bess.”’

In 2008, Bella d’Abrera began a modern objective restoration of the true historical balance of that period. Her first volume, The King with a Pope in His Belly dealt with Henry VIII himself. That work was followed in 2010 with Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers, which concerned itself with the death of Henry, the brief reign of his son Edward VI, and the triumphant ascent to the throne of Mary Tudor in 1553

This third volume, This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History), continues by providing an unvarnished account of the enormously difficult task faced by Mary as she found herself obliged as the rightful Queen of England and Ireland, to restore the ancient faith and the social and governmental institutions that had slowly developed over a millennium and a half, in what was always Catholic England. It was now Mary’s turn to shine, and in this volume, the author has attempted to return to the highest standards of an objective historiographical method by striking the right balance in reporting equally both the villains and the saints of the tale. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence she cites against Cranmer et al, for example, is essential in redressing the balance of Reformation history for so long stacked in his and their favor.

I have been honored to receive an advanced copy of the book and can personally vouch for the great amount of scholarship in this work.  It is - while retaining a great degree of historical accuracy and scholarship - a wonderful and pleasant read. I'm happy to wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone wanting the true story of Queen Mary.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Prayer for the Conversion of the Anglicans

Prayer for the Conversion of England

Priest: Let us pray. O Jesus, Good Shepherd, look down benignly upon the great and noble English nation. Converted to Thee through the labors of St. Augustine and his companions, it was for many centuries rich in fruits of faith and sanctity. So devoted was this nation to Thy holy and Immaculate Mother that it was known throughout Christendom as the "Dowry of Mary." When it was separated from Thee in cruel fashion, many hundreds of its people willingly shed their blood in testimony of their loyalty to Thee and Thy Church. O Loving Shepherd of souls, recall this great nation once more to the unity of Thy Church, and grant peace of soul to all those now separated from Thy flock. 

People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. Through thee it was that Jesus our Savior and our Hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated English brethren, that they may be united with us in the One True Fold. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God together with Thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People: That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Pilgrimage of Grace

Prayer to the English Martyrs

Priest: O Glorious Martyrs of England, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher and thy companions, who, to sustain the voice of the Supreme Head of the True Church against the decrees of your rulers, didst willingly and courageously suffer death, pray now that the great nation to which thou didst belong may once more return to the bosom of the Church from which it was so cruelly wrested. 

People: Amen.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part IV


On November 28 1554, Cardinal Reginald Pole was introduced to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor Stephen Gardiner as having come ‘upon one of the weightiest causes that ever happened in this realme; and which perteineth to the glory of God, and youre universall benefit.’ As the lawful representative successor of Saint Peter, Pole had been despatched to absolve the kingdom of the grave sins of heresy and schism, and to reconcile the Church in England with Rome.

The Cardinal presented his case to the assembled politicians and clergy as would a physician to his colleagues. The root cause of the once happily Catholic kingdom’s problems, he stated, had been King Henry VIII’s concupiscence. The King’s personal rejection of Papal authority and subsequent breach with Rome had plunged England into a state of schism, which had led to heresy and disobedience to the Church which had resulted in scandals, troubles and misfortunes. Pole reassured his audience however, that as the pope and the Apostolic See loved the kingdom, he had come to ameliorate and to palliate. As the kingdom’s ills could only be cured if it once again acknowledged the pope as Supreme Teacher and Pastor of the Church, it was imperative that the lawmakers who had defied the pope and denied him his primacy, repeal each and every anti-Papal statute forthwith.

The following day, a delegation comprising both Houses and led by Bishop Gardiner, presented Philip and Mary with a humble petition in which its members declared their sorrow, repenting at the schism, and their disobedience. They begged they could once again be, be received into the unity of the Church. Finally, they not only promised to repeal the anti-Catholic Acts passed during the previous reign, but they also expressed the fervent hope that their King and Queen would intercede on their behalf to absolve them of their collective sin. Thus, on November 30, the feast day of Saint Andrew, Cardinal Pole formally absolved the two Houses of Parliament from the guilt of schism and heresy.

Silence descended upon the great hall as all three hundred men sank to their knees and listened as the cardinal pronounced the solemn words of the formal absolution in Latin. And then, slowly making the sign of the cross over the assembly, Pole finally restored those present ‘to the communion of the holy church in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’ Upon being given absolution, the entire hall spontaneously erupted with a resounding Amen! The entire assembly then accompanied the King and Queen to the chapel where they sang the Te Deum, whilst the kingdom’s swiftest horses and strongest riders were despatched to Rome whereupon Pope Julius ordered that public processions be held to rejoice at England’s return to the fold.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part III


On October 13 1536, Robert Aske, a partially blind barrister from Yorkshire, gathered nine thousand men and marched to York under the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ in response to attacks both upon England’s monasteries and the ancient Faith. In 1534, Thomas Cromwell had already begun to plan the dissolution of England’s monasteries by assessing the total value of all the Church property, [which involved] handpicking a small group of suitably anti-Catholic individuals and sending them out to investigate the spiritual and temporal conditions of every monastery in the realm. They had just six weeks, and managed to visit only one third of the religious houses on their lists. Still, Cromwell’s spies cobbled together a report of supposed tales of monkish evilness and presented it to Parliament in 1536. In response, the politicians passed Bill for the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries . Was this document published by a name that is still available for academics to see?

Over the next few months, the people watched with growing dismay as the King Henry VIII’s agents traveled from monastery to monastery, summoning the monks to appear before them, informing them of their impending doom, expelling them from their homes, and then taking anything that could be put into the back of a cart. After they had left, they sent in workmen to demolish the buildings. Many of the abbots were easily bought, cooperating with the King in their own demise.

In the meantime, Cromwell had appointed the most radical, anti-Catholic preachers he could find and sent them out to openly preach against Catholic doctrine. In August 1536, he issued a set of anti-Catholic Injunctions in which the clergy, under pain of imprisonment, were compelled to obey the legislation which abolished the Pope’s jurisdiction. They were also required to preach the Ten Articles as well as dissuade the faithful from undertaking pilgrimages. The veneration of the Saints and the invocation of their intercession, rejected by the Reformers as unbiblical, was deemed superstitious and prohibited.

By October, the people had had enough. Upon arriving in York, the first thing that Aske did was to expel the King’s squatters from the religious houses and recall the monks and nun to their homes. He then moved to Doncaster with approximately forty thousand men, each man wearing a pilgrim’s badge. Such was the strength and organisation of this army that the King was compelled to negotiate with the rebels, promising that a general pardon be granted and Parliament held at York within the year.

Unfortunately, Aske foolishly believed the King, and told his followers to disarm and disband. It was soon manifestly evident however, that Henry had never had the slightest intention of keeping his disingenuous promises. In 1537, he and several other leaders, as well as four Abbots were rounded up, arrested, convicted of treason and brutally executed. Henry declared martial law, taking revenge upon his own subjects by ordering a routine series of massacres and the north of the country became littered with corpses dangling in chains from gibbets. Henry had killed the opposition. The pilgrimage had failed. By the autumn of 1539, some one-hundred and fifty monasteries had signed their own death warrants and handed over their property to their tyrannical monarch.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part II


Image: The Execution of Monks by Decree of Henry VIII

On November 3 1534, Parliament re-assembled to finish off what it had begun earlier that year, which, as the Imperial Ambassador at the time had reported, was ‘to complete the ruin of churches and churchmen.’ Since 1531, Thomas Cromwell had been laying the statutory foundations for the breach with Rome, which in turn prepared the way for the radical religious changes which were implemented during the reign of Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI. During these years, a number of bills authored by Cromwell and designed to weaken the power of the Church and strengthen that of State were passed in Parliament to the detriment of the kingdom.

Notable amongst Cromwell’s bills were the Act of Restraint of Appeals (1533), the First Act of Succession (1534) and the Treason Act (1534). In the former, all appeals to Rome were abolished and henceforward, the king, rather than the pope, would be the final court of appeal in both ecclesiastical matters and matters of conscience. In the Act of Succession, the yet to be born Princess Elizabeth who was the daughter of Anne Boleyn was made successor to the Crown, whilst Princess Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, was declared a bastard and therefore deprived of the right of succession.

Cromwell wrote an oath to accompany the Act of Succession and in April 1534 he sent out commissioners to extricate signatures from members of both Houses of Parliament. Under the Treason Act, anyone who refused to take the oath was subject to a charge of treason which was punishable by the particular gruesome death of hanging, drawing and quartering. It is no surprise that with the exceptions of Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, all the members of Parliament readily agreed to sign. Later, the king’s commissioners travelled out to administer the oath to the general populace, and even those who were unable to write were required to make some kind of mark on the document.

The Act of Supremacy passed in the middle of November 1534 and it finally effected the breach with Rome and placed the entire English church into schism. Henry’s declaration that he was ‘the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, called Anglicans Ecclesia’ was an illicit assumption of the headship of the Church was at complete variance with Catholic tradition and without precedent. As a result, England floundered in a state of schism for nearly two decades until November 1554, when Cardinal Reginald Pole finally landed upon the shores of the kingdom to reconcile her to the Church.

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Catholic Perspective on the English Reformation: Part I

Contrary to popular opinion, Martin Luther was not a pious reformer who embarked upon a crusade to rid the Church of corruption and return Her to a fondly imagined pristine state. Whilst he might have commenced his public career under the guise of a reformer, he ended up a rebel who set into motion a social and religious revolution which rent the Catholic world permanently asunder.

Luther began his revolution in October 1517 by defiantly nailing 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg, one of his main grievances being the practice of selling Indulgences. The Church already knew that the unfettered commerce in Indulgences was sacrilegious, and as such She had never once given her assent to the unfortunate practice. Remarkably, Luther later feigned complete ignorance, saying ‘As truly as Our Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed me I did not know what an Indulgence was.’ (O’Hare, Patrick, The Facts About Luther, p. 77)

Instead of suggesting any practical solutions on how to reform the Church, Luther offered a collection of fantastical ideas which he attempted to pass off as being theologically sound. For example, in No. 24 he writes that ‘Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than fear them’ whilst in No. 25, he states that ‘the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.’ Luther proposes in theses 31 and 32 that ‘in every good work the just mans sins’ and ‘a good work done very well is a venial sin’. Finally, he proposes in No. 38 that ‘the souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all…’ These theses were sent to a board of distinguished professors, who Luther called ‘buffoons and earthworms. In short, 41 of the 95 were condemned as heretical by Pope Leo X in the Bull ‘Exsurge Domine’ on the June 15th 1520.

This was however, too little too late. Luther appeared at time when the Church was in desperate need of genuine reform. Many of the higher clergy were more interested in holding onto political power and things of this world than exercising their pastoral duties. The souls of the Faithful were being neglected. Bishops and Abbots were comporting themselves more like princes than priests. The Faithful had become superstitious, immoral or indifferent. The Papacy had lost its authority, and Rome had become infected by the spirit of paganism. Princes and governments had set themselves up against the Church.

This was a revolution waiting to happen. Indeed, Luther’s doctrines spread with greater rapidity than Christ’s own. When the last of the Apostles died, Christians were still hiding in the catacombs in fear of their lives. When Luther died, Protestantism in its many forms had spread like wildfire from Germany to Switzerland, up to Norway and Denmark and Sweden, down to France, Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands, and finally to England. God, it appears, in His Infinite Wisdom, had allowed this revolution to happen. The question is this: Would we have had the true and Catholic reformation, long desired but delayed by so many difficulties, taken up and accomplished by the Council of Trent between 1545 and 1563 if Luther had been motivated by a genuine desire to see the Church reformed?

Author's Biography: This is a guest post written by Dr. Bella d'Abrera.  Bella Wyborn d’Abrera, who is based in London, is a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne. She completed her Masters degree at the University of St. Andrews, and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Cambridge in 2003. She is also the author of  ‘A King with a Pope in His Belly’ and ‘Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers.’

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