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Thursday 20 June 2013

More on the religion of peace in Tunisia

Check this out and sign it, please

Yes, We Scan in Berlin


From The Atlantic

Because of a reference to the GOONS,

...I recalled that I was the first Catholic ever to live in Baptist College. Hope that counts for something on the ecumenical tick list when I get see St. Peter at the Gate...

A Pathetic Arrogance

I have been watching leaders of the Western World, and a few from the East and have come up with a phrase for their strange messianic complexes-a pathetic arrogance.

Now, the word pathetic means, in one definition, arousing pity, and in another, miserably inadequate.

Both of these definitions may be used to describe most of the leaders of Europe and some in the East.

No names are necessary, are they?

My pity is aroused because so many of these neo-communists and socialists of the West are mere puppets.

Someone else is pulling their strings. These men are so locked in the materialistic dialectic that they cannot spot the spiritual dimension of their own lives, their own leadership. That arouses my pity.

For those who have a spiritual view of the universe, the perspective follows a different angle. When the ultimate goal of a person is Eternal Life, the parameters of judgement change drastically. That so many of these men and even some women lack this perspective draws out pity from my heart.

However, the second definition causes me to see the death of the West in their very miserable inadequacies.

The ending of classical education over a hundred years ago, and the violent removing of the soul from secular politics in the Protestant Revolt, making most political movements purely utilitarian, has left us all with a leadership crisis. We in the West are ruled by the second or third or fourth best.

The cream of the crop either were killed in the two Great World Wars, going over the trenches first, or they were marginalized by the secular humanist now atheist cabals of academia.

Pity and mediocrity?

I have no answer except to develop personal holiness, and make your own way through discernment and purification, begging for honesty in your own life.

Do not become one of those whose pity overcomes rational discourse. The victimization syndrome of our leaders is growing-we have allowed them to remain weak, while excluding the strong from public office. And, the weak are in control of all the parties, for the most part.

Without the spiritual, the material takes over. Once the soul has left the body, the body begins to rot.

So, too, with Western Civilization.

Good review on the far less than perfect upcoming Hobbit movie

I was unhappy with The Return of the King, because the director,  Peter Jackson, does not understand the Tolkien view of the monarchy and the entire importance of the restoration of the rule of men. The battle scenes, of course, are Jackson's forte, but battles in Tolkien are NOT the most important theme.

The virtues of the characters have been overlooked at well, for an over modern interpretation and not the Catholic view of frailty, sin and redemption, which Jackson also does not get.

Redemption is a huge theme in Tolkien's books as is the growth in virtue through suffering. Men, women, hobbits change not merely by courageous deeds, but by the awareness of where they stand in the BIG picture, the spirituality of Middle Earth and the Undying Lands. The Afterlife is an important theme in Tolkien, and, as a Catholic who is aware of the ultimate goal of men, the author constantly points to the Afterlife, and the symbolism of the unity and harmony the monarchy brings, as a symbol of that order. Aragorn is one of the Christ figures, but no one would get that from Jackson's interpretation.  The reluctant king interpretation is also seen in the odd caricature of Bilbo, no matter how well acted. Jackson is not thinking like Tolkien.

He just does not get it.

Here is a less than positive view of the upcoming Hobbit movie. I shall see it, but without the spiritual dimension, will it be just another adventure flim?

Sometimes, the West just doesn't get it

How many links does one need?


Walsingham: A Drama in Three Acts

Walsingham: A Drama in Three Acts copyright 2013

A Play on the History of Walsingham Pilgrimage Site for the Contemporary Audience

Characters in order of appearance:

Act One: One Scene with Moving Tableaus (not still)

William Shakespeare
King Louis from Lear
Richeldis and Sir  Geoffry (son) de Faverche or Favarches
Carmelite Anchorites Giles and Nicodemus
Augustinian Friars
Richard II

Act Two: Three Scenes with Moving Tableaus

Scene One
Shoemakers of Walsingham
Bircham, Copping, Wehh, Castleton, Clark, Hall, Johnson, Powell, Ringstead, Woodcock

Scene Two
St. Philip Howard
Henry VII
Henry VIII
Katherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn

Scene Three
Mob of 1537
Thomas Sydney
Pub and Innkeepers, the Bull, the Black Lion, the Crown, the King’s Head, the White Lion, Exchange Inn,

Act Three: Two Scenes with a few Moving Tableaus

Scene One:
Anne Dacre
Lady Throckmorton (1651)
Dooks, a little white dog
Rev Edward Worseley
Martyrs of Walsingham Laity and Augustinian Friars
St. Philip Howard
Martyrs of Walsingham Laity and Augustinian Friars
2013 members of the town; unidentified, shop-keepers, pub owners, clergy, a few pilgrims, etc.

Scene Two:
Burton, Turnkey at the Bridewell 1797

(Staging is modern techniques, such as black stage backdrops for spot lighting; backdrops include only minimalist architectural designs, the largest being the ruined priory arch which stands today, the House of Nazareth, the original shrine, the sea at the Norfolk coast, a Tudoresque hall, and a modern street in Walsingham with shops. One image for each scene as indicated. All the actors in the First Act must speak in upper class, king’s English. As to the sets, there are options depending on money. Of course.

These would be more powerful if actually made of wood, but if money is an issue, can be photographs on canvas with lights in the background to show designs; muted colours, not bright, such as greys, blacks, browns, etc. until the modern scene of today, which would be in natural colours; same with costumes, which, although all of the time of the characters (historically correct) would be all in browns, blacks and greys, until the modern scene, again, with colours. One might ask some of the current inhabitants of the village if they would be willing to be in that last scene in normal attire. I am sure some would be happy to take part.)

Act I: Scene One
The Introduction by Shakespeare

(Dark Stage, with spotlight into which walks, stage right, William Shakespeare in historical dress.. He has a Peter Wimsey type voice)

William Shakespeare: Those of you who have been following the thing you call television or other sources, know by now that I am a Catholic. Of course, I hid many hints in my plays and sonnets to this effect. (Sighs)

Look here, look here. (He points with his left hand to the new spotlighted area to his left and, of course, the lines are from the end of the play).

{Second Spotlight appears on Lear, Cordelia, and King Louis of France scene)

France: Will you have her? She herself is her dowry…

Fairest Cordelia, thou are most rich, being poor,
Most choice, forsaken and most loved, despised!
Thee and they virtues here I sieze upon;
Be lawful! I take up what’s cast away.
Gods, gods, ‘tis strange that from their cold’st neglect
My love should kindle to inflamed respect.
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France.
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

(Spot light fades as King and Cordelia hold hands.)

William Shakespeare: Hmm, the new critics missed the point here, as I was referring also to the Queen of Heaven, the real Queen of England and France, Our Lady of Walsingham, now dowerless after the horrors of Henry’s playfellow’s designs. But, I am racing ahead.

The dowry of Mary is England. The Recusants knew this. I know this. Cruelly was her dowry snatched from her by thieves and murderers, assassins, one of my favourite words, which I invented, by the way. Her beautiful image taken to Chelsea and chopped up for firewood. Here. (He points again to the left and we see thugs chopping up a wooden statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in the streets of Chelsea and throwing the bits into a fire.) So many wept at the stealing of her land, England, by those who only loved themselves. Well, they have an eternity to think about their deeds.

Our Lady of Ipswich image was also chopped up for firewood, as was an image from Wales, used to burn a holy friar, named Forrest, the image brought to London for the purpose of martyring this good man. (spotlight goes to friar being burnt at the stake with image pieces).

She is her own dowry, Our Dear Lady and Mother. She, dowerless, desires that all England come back to her loving reign, as one of our later popes have said. I read Leo XIII’s words for you. (He holds up a scroll “When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.”  In 1893, the English Catholic Bishops dedicated the land to Mary, Our Mother, again. She will not return to England unless the Catholics return to Walsingham. Our bishops, our priests, you and I, the laity, we must pray for this. We must work for this.

But, perhaps you do not know of Walsingham and Mary’s Dowry. Let a little story of this great shrine begin. Ah, I do miss directing… This is fun. Shall I start at the beginning, or in media res? Hmm, let me start with the gentle Richeldis in the year 1061.

(Spotlight leaves Shakespeare and moves on to the original shrine of the House of Nazareth and two characters, Richeldis and her son, Sir Geoffry standing by an outside altar, before the building of the shrine. The altar stands on a grassy flat plain before many trees.  Richeldis is holding a vase of Roses and speaking with her son. They are dressed in subdued colors, but the costumes of their day. Richeldis is wearing a small coronet.)

Richeldis: Since the Dearest Queen of Heaven came to me, I have desired this day, my son. Here, in this place, we have made a little Nazareth, where the Angel Gabriel told Mother Mary she was to be the God-Bearer. How wonderful that Mary has created a holy stamp, an image of that sacred place here.

Geoffry: Dear Mother, may I continue your work here and invite the Augustinians to continue your work with our monies, my heritage?

Richeldis: This is my dream, dear one. Yes, let all England come here to honour the Mother and praise the Son.  This statue will wear my coronet, given to me by your father on the day of our marriage. As we were crowned husband and wife, so she is crowned the Heavenly Bride. (Richeldis takes off her crown and puts in on the head of the wooden statue. If this statue has to be a canvas backdrop, an option, Richeldis lays it on an altar in front of the image.)

Geoffry: Mother, Our Lady of Glastonbury will be the only image which takes precedence to this, Our Queen and Prince. I shall see this shrine endowed for years to come. We shall build a small domicile, 16 yards long, 10 yars wide and a little wooden chapel inside of 7 yards by 30 feet long, just like Mary’s little house in Nazareth.

Richeldis: Ask the good Carmelite anchorites to buy more boats, with some of your inheritance, to ferry the pilgrims from the North, as I see in my mind, many coming here throughout the ages. England will be renewed if Mary is honored in this little house, this small shrine of Nazareth.

Geoffry: Ah, mother, look, pilgrims, here, now.

(Enter two Carmelite friars with a small group of mixed poor and wealthy pilgrims-maybe six or seven.)

Giles: Noble Richeldis, we have heard of your holy house called the New Work, and bring these good people from the far north. They come from York and the West Riding to see your image. We have boated them from my anchor hold in All Saint’s near Bishop’s Lynn. But, my shoes are so wet, please forgive me if I take them off on this holy ground.

Nicodemus: I shall remove my sandals as well, as here Mary has visited our people, the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons, together blessed by Our Lady. We have come from Long Sutton, by the Wash. Some have come from Norwich, via Attlebridge and Bechospital, the hostel there. Already, there is talk of a great accommodation for thirteen poor pilgrims to stay over night in that area.

First Pilgrim: Yes, I stayed at an inn free! And had a full English breakfast!

Geoffry: We shall begin to do penance for England, by walking barefoot for a mile outside this shrine. What do you think, Mother?

Richeldis: Yes, and I, too, now removes my shoes in honor of Our Lady. Welcome, Palmers, welcome, all.

(All the pilgrims bend over and take off their shoes, kneeling on the floor in front of the image and altar. Richeldis places the vase of roses on the altar.)

This scene ends with the singing of the Ambrosian Hymn  one of the oldest hymns. And they say, first, the little prayer of St. Aldhelm. Augustinian Friars join the group in song.)

Prayer of St. Aldhelm

O Virgin Mother of our God, O Star
Of life’s dark sea, we have thee from afar;
O, by they merits keep in spotless fame,
This altar sacred to they glorious name.

Aeterna Christi munera, 
Et martyrum victorias, 
Laudes ferentes debitas, 
Laetis canamus mentibus. 
Ecclesiarum principes, 
Belli triumphales duces, 
Coelestis aulae milites, 
Et vera mundi lumina. 
Terrore victo saeculi,
Spretisque poenis corporis, 
Mortis sacrae compendio, 
Vitam beatam possident. 
Traduntur igni martyres, 
Et bestiarum dentibus, 
Armata saevit ungulis 
Tortoris insani manus, 
Nudata pendent viscera, 
Sanguis sacratus funditur, 
Sed permanent immobiles 
Vitae perennis gratia.
Devota sanctorum fides, 
Invicta spes credentium; 
Perfecta Christi charitas, 

Mundi triumphat principem. 
In his Paterna gloria, 
In his voluntas Filii, 
Exsultat in his Spiritus, 
Coelum repletur gaudiis. 
Te nunc, Redemptor, quaesumus, 
Ut ipsorum consortio 
Jungas precantes servulos, 
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.

(Light fades and Shakespeare returns in a spotlight to the stage right, as in the beginning)

William Shakespeare: Sweet. And, as I am an actor, I shall read the first mention of England as Mary’s Dowry as we wrap up this part of the story, which would make a great play, doncha’think?.

But, first, let me remind you that Glastonbury, as noted by Sir Gregory, was the primary shrine of Our Lady, and William of Malmsbury, in the 12th century, noted this great place of water and peace. But, I shall let someone else tell you of that. Even before Glastonbury, St. Augustine, England’s Apostle, built a church in honor of Our Ever-Virgin, at Ely, not too far from here, as the crow flies. One of my favourite ladies, St. Etheldreda, rebuilt the church, after it was destroyed by Penda, one of the first kings to hate Our Blessed One. Such a precedent…the destruction of places dedicated to Mother Mary, began so early. But, again, I race ahead with the advantage of an eternal view. William, Bishop of Norwich, between 11-46 and 1174, invited the Augustianians into Parva Walsingham to set up the great priory. Geoffry de Favarches granted to Edwy, his clerk the chapel which his mother had built and the palmers came in the hundreds.

Here is dowry reference, which we all knew and loved until Henry, who, by the way, destroyed all the records of this shrine and others. How he came to hate Mary and her Son. (He shakes his head and holds up the scroll.)

The Solemn Consecration of England to Our Lady.

(King Richard II comes in and snatches the scroll from Shakespeare).

King Richard II: I beg your pardon, actor, but I can read my own decree. And, I hate your play about me.

William Shakespeare: Sorry, I was being a bit too politically correct.

King Richard II. A bit? You ruined my reputation for centuries, cad.

William Shakespeare: Well, I was being paid by the Tudors and Boleyns.

King Richard II: I shall speak with you later. These good people want to move on to the gory stuff. There all used to computer games and you are so long-winded, Will. But first, the pledge…one of the best things I ever did was make this consecration. Well, if Mary Our Queen of Heaven can forgive you, I suppose I can. But the play is awful. Poor Anne, how she suffered…

William Shakespeare: Stop it, my Liege Lord and read.

Richard II: Alright.

O Blessed Virgin here
Behold this is thy Dowerie.
Defend it now, preserve it still
In all prosperities.

William Shakespeare: Is that it?

Richard II: Well, there is a bit more about making the shrine a national site and stuff. But Henry…destroyed all the documents and this is a historical guess. It is in the Bodelian, I think.

I was here, you know, in 1315. The pub was great-lovely lamb and good French wine. Anne especially loved getting new shoes made after the mile walk. She chose white lamb’s skin with embroidered roses. Of course, some kings came before me.

William Shakespeare: Really?

Richard II: Yes, Henry III came in 1241 and Edward I came two times, 1280 and 1296. (He can be thinking on his fingers, as it were.) David Bruce came three years after me, in 1364, but I do not know if he left anything. We all left many gold things, like jewelry, swords and scabbards, even small trinkets, like medals made of gold and silver, and our own rings. Of course, Henry Creep stole them all for you-know-who.

William Shakespeare: That is all in the next act.

Richard II: You don’t say. I think I shall join these curs, and watch the rest of the play.

William Shakespeare: Ah, there is a chair just for you, my Lord. ‘Til Act II, adieu. King sits on a chair at the edge of the audience.)  By the way, do you know that there is a window in the now Anglican church, which has you in it, as well as Henry Creep?

Richard II: What? Me in a window with a Tudor! I have to see this, Will. I am sure the Wilton Diptych is better. Where is this thing?

William Shakespeare: I shall take you there. Do not be too upset, my Lord. The widow is modern.

Richard II: Let us go, then.

(They leave and the First Act ends).

Act II

(The act begins with many men at shoe working benches with tools making shoes. The stage is brightly lit at first. There are shoes everywhere. These actors must use broad Norfolk accents, as a break from the above and the typical Shakespearean technique of alternating upper and lower class scenes.)

Copping: How much did you make last year, Bircham?

Bircham: Not bad, but I am not going to tell you. Too many shoes in the tithe barns, though. And, if I have to be honest, I would have to pay more taxes, and more tithing. Plus, the misses has another bun in the oven.

Clark: My oldest one in Betherton, a long way away, says the tithe barn there is enormous. He is making shoes with very odd designs.  He said that there is more tax on the pointed ones—the longer the point, the higher the tax.

Copping: I remember the old days when all the shoe taxes were the same. Blast it. The next thing you know, they’ll be taxing the slits in the sides where the silk stockings show through. Can they tax a hole, I wonder?

Bircham: Hey, Ringstead and Wehh, you’re awfully quiet today.

Ringstead. I am not in the mood to talk.

Wehh: He knows somethun’

(All stop working and look at Ringstead)

Clark: What do you know? Are we going to have a special group of Palmer’s from London? They always want new shoes.

Wehh: He ain’t gonna tell. Are you, Ringstead?

Ringstead: I am not talking.

Bircham: Woodcock, Smith, get over here. What’s with Ringstead?

Woodcock: It’s the Second Visitation.


Hall: Those goons aren’t commin’ agin, are they?

Wehh: Ringstead has a brother-in-law in Norfolk who said that they were shoeing horses three days ago and visitin’ monasteries and priories across the plains, up from London. Some of the Palmer’s left early from Attlebridge and went back home, rather than coming here.

Ringstead: Shut up, Wehh. This is my business.

Bircham (getting up in a threatening way and going over to Ringstead) This is all of our business. If they are going to shut down the shrine, our businesses will go. Cannot you see that, Ringstead?

Ringstead: I only know what my sister’s kin said.

Clark (getting up as well). I heard that in Glastonbury, some of the tailors moved out, even as far as Wells, to save business. I also heard that up in Fountains, some of the sheep shearers were making to create guilds separate from the Abbey. 

Bircham: One has to think of one’s family first. A revolution is not a dinner party.

Castleton: One has to think of God first.

Wehh: You will be the first to go with that fairy attitude.

Clark: If the shrine is closed, we all lose our jobs. There will be no need of shoes, as the pilgrims won’t be comin’, won’t be leaving their shoes at the Slipper Chapel.

Castleton: We need to stand up to this. No one has a right to destroy religion. No one.

Hall: I heard rumors of places, like even…what’s that noise?

Castleton: Horses, horses. (He gets up and looks out stage left)

Visitators. Right here, in the street, in front of the Priory.

Copping: I can’t believe this is happening in Walsingham. Henry was just here in my dad’s day.

Hall: Yeah, dancing with the royal whore.

Bircham: I wonder if they need shoes?

Clark: This is war on the Church in 1535.

Woodcock: Who took the Oath here? Which one of you have taken the Oath?
(Some hold there heads down)

Castleton: I will never take the Oath. (He leaves).

Wehh: You can be holier than me, but I took it and all my kin. I do not understand all this anyway. Besides, what has the Church done for me?

Castleton: Provided you and your family with work for generations…that’s all. Given you the Holy Bread and shriven you once a year so you don’t go to hell.

Bircham: I no longer believe in hell, or the Church, but only in Bircham and my family.

Clark: You cannot say that. You cannot turn your back on Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham.

Ringstead: I can and I will.

Wehh, and several others. No, we will fight, we won’t let them take the friars. One is George Aysborrow, the subprior. I can see his face. He has been beaten. There ae about sixteen friars in ropes and chains.

(Castleton had gone out and runs back in.): They have gotten Nicholas Mileham and Tom Guisborough. They’ve got them by the hair.

Ringstead: Those men were in prison all night. Thomas Cromwell said that it was never merry in England since the litany was brought into the service. I agree with him. Get rid of this popery.

Clark: And you knew this, you?

Wehh: Let’s go help them.

(He is stopped by Ringstead.)

Ringstead: It’s the times, Wehh, think of your Cecily and your Thomas. Think of us. Painted timber is not God. God is not in that image.

(Castleton leaves quickly. Bircham is at the door)

Bircham: They are taking them out and I betcha I know where they are going. Now, they got six more friars, but I cannot see their faces.

(Sound of horses neighing and loud voices yelling, Traitors, devils)

Clark: God have mercy on us.

Bircham: One has the image. One has the Lady on his horse.

(They all look out the door and windows)

Wehh: Look, Castleton is fighting one of the king’s men. They’ve got him down.

Ringstead: Religion makes no difference. It’s all the same. Men get what they want. You get what you want and I get what you want.

Bircham: Clark, look after Mary. I am going with Castleton. Look, one visitator is Richard Southwell. Hypocrites all. Blood, blood on the saffron plants across the road.

Clark: You? You cynic? You are going…?

Bircham: Taking the Lady is too much. Look after my Mary, as I look after Jesu’s Mary.

Hall: The friars are singing. Listen:

O blessed Virgin, praise to thee;
England thy Dowrie
Was lost, is turned by thee againe
From schisms and heresies.

(Lights out and the scene changes)

Scene Two: (Dark night in the main street of Walsingham. A man in aristocratic dress is standing in the middle of the street. He is St. Philip Howard. There is a large barn owl hooting, The spotlight is on Howard. He has a scroll. He is standing on stage left.)

Philip Howard: I have my poem here. It is not too long. I want to read it to you. It is about how “brazen faced heresy” stole my Lovely Lady of Walsingham.

I call it Lament of Walsingham. But, before I read it. I want to share a story of a king’s life, or at least, his love of Walsingham.

Henry VIII first came here—no wait—let me start with his father, Henry VII.
After Henry VI came in 1455 and Edward IV in 1469, leaving wondrous gifts, Henry VII came in thanksgiving in favour of a battle of Lambert Simnel in 1487. After the Battle of Stoke, he sent a banner and willed a gold statue of himself to Our Lady. Young Henry came with his fiancée, Katherine. That was the first visit of the corrupt king.

In 1510, Henry VIII walked barefoot in the last stage and gave a fantastic necklace to the Holy Queen, which, typical, he took back 28 years later.  His saintly wife, his real wife, Katherine, came with him in that year of 1510 and she came again in 1513 to give thanks for the victory of the battle of Flodden. Happier days of gratitude and love for Our Lady…

(As he is referring to these incidents, spotlights at stage right highlighted these royal pilgrims walking and kneeling before the image of Our Lady. They leave gold jewelry and especially the large, valuable necklace from Henry VIII.)

(A spotlight moves to a Tudor dancing hall where Henry sees Anne Boleyn and asks her to dance, interrupting another man who is with her).

But, Henry’s third visit to the area was the beginning of the end of Catholic England.
Just up the road apiece (Howard gestures), Henry saw Anne Boleyn for the first time and danced with her. What a dance they made, in the ruins of the One, Holy Catholic Church, a dance which continues today in the ruins of Walsingham.

I cannot remember the date, maybe 1523. She was always engaged to someone or another.  However, that meeting has led to this lonely owl hooting in the ruins of the priory. (Priory arch comes up in the back of the mostly grey stage.)

I must confess that I ignored my own dear Anne for years, caught up in the court. But I repented and her love for me never failed.

Here is my poem, which I wrote in prison before my own death by starvation and illness in 1595. And, by the way, if you caught the name of one of the visitators, Richard Southwell, his grandson is also one of the great martyrs, Robert Southwell. Such was the chaos and choices of families in those days. (An owl hoots) Ah, my poem.

A Lament for Walsingham

In the wrecks of Walsingham
Whom should I choose
But the Queen of Walsingham
To be guide to my muse?

Then, thou Prince of Walsingham,
Grant me to frame
Bitter plaints to rue thy wrong,
Bitter woe for thy name.

Bitter was it, O, to see
The sily sheep
Murder’d by the ravening wolves
While the shepherd did sleep.

Bitter was it, O, to view
The sacred vine,
Whilst the gardeners play’d all close,
Rooted up by swine.

Bitter, bitter, O, to behold
The grass to grow
Where the walls of Walsingham
So stately did show.

Such were the worth of Walsingham
While she did stand;
Such are the wrecks as now do show
Of that so holy land.

Level, level with the ground
The towers do lie,
Which with their golden glittering tops
Pierced out to the sky.

Where were gate no gates are now,--
The ways unknown
Where the press of friars did pass
While her fame far was blown.

Owls do shriek where the sweetest hymns
Lately were sung;
Toads and serpents hold their dens
Where the palmers did throng.

Weep, weep, O Walsingham
Whose days are nights—
Blessings turn’s to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.

Sin is where our lady sate;
Heaven turn’d is to hell;
Satan sits where our Lord did sway—
Walsingham, O, Farewell.

(Philip puts down the scroll and just stares sadly at the audience for a moment. Lights out.)

Scene III (The famous wall painting in the local shop is main design. Thomas Sydney, the hounds and the hare).

Thomas Sydney: Ah, come on, people. You will have jobs with me. Look, I can put you back to work in some small shoe shops. I have bought the saffron fields. I need servants for the new hall I am going to build. Get over this hatred of the king and you will be thanking your lucky stars.

Mob of 1537 speaking one after the other, as unidentified groupies: Why should we go along with you. Henry ruined all our business. We have no customers. No palmers. No royalty…this is a disaster. You got what you want for 90 shillings. What do we get? Nuthin’ Latimer took the Lady and chopped her up. How do we know you won’t do the same to us?

Thomas Sydney: Fine, than you can take your wives, your sons and daughters and move elsewhere. I have friends who have men who want jobs. I can bring them here in a minute. Are you going to the king’s church? Let me read this from the Convocation of June, 1536. “..that our Lady, the blessed Virgin, was no better than another woman, and that she can prevail with our Saviour no more than another sinful person of her sex.”

Mob of 1537: Well, we are not theologians. We are just workers. How do we know what Mary is.  We cannot depend on religion to feed us. Sure, we get fined otherwise and only those rich nobles can afford to be recusants. What choices do we have? Hey, where is Lady Elizabeth Andrew’s ring and where is the golden cloth vestments of Lord Scales?  Where is the Countess of Warwick’s image? Who got these things? What happened to all the goods the Franciscans had from Elizabeth de Burgh, the Countess of Clare, in the Great Guest House. Where is all the wealth?

Thomas Sydney: Well, some made good choices and were rewarded with the offerings to idols, and some made bad choices and they are dead. Their quartered bodies lie in the ditch of the field beyond the walls. Their heads have been eaten by crows.

Mob of 1537: We don’t like what you did to the Eucharist. Dumped the Holy Bread on the ground. Stomped on it. Spit on it. Peed on it.

Thomas Sydney: Now, now, that was not me. Those were the soldiers of Thomas Cromwell, as you well know. They just got carried away a bit. Haven’t we all sinned?

Mob of 1537: Blasphemy will haunt this place for centuries. Sacrilege stalks the village. We feel it.

Thomas Sydney: Stop being superstitious fools. I think you better realize your own here and now. Take my offers or you and your families will starve. The tiger will eat you whether you are kind to it or not.

(Mob of 1537 individuals talk among themselves.)

Mob of 1537: We are not martyrs like Aysburrow or the others. Do we really have choices?

Thomas Sydney: Stop pretending there is a heaven or a hell. We only have the now.

Mob of 1537:  We shall take the jobs. We choose the now. Life is hell enough.

(Black out of scene.)


(Two young and beautiful women come to the fore, center stage, in the spotlight but they move to stage right when the second spot comes up. Their dresses are of a different time, as Anne died in 1630 and this Lady Throckmorton is from 1651-so change the costumes a little. They are sitting on a garden bench with the arch of the ruin behind them. Lady Throckmorton has a little white dog, like a Westie.)

Anne Dacre: Many of us went into hiding and then to France. Many more cooperated with the Parliament and saved their lands, but not their souls. Some benefitted by buying land cheaply to the cash-strapped king.

Lady Throckmorton of 1651:  My dear Jesuit priest wrote to me about the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I shall share with you, Dear Countess of Arundel, what he wrote to me.

Anne Dacre: And I shall share with you my vow.

Lady Throckmorton: Good, we Catholics must support each other in these terrible days.
Father Edward Worseley writes: (and a Moving Tableau appears with the Jesuit, Fr. Worseley reading this note out of a book he is writing with a quill pen.

I made choice to compare this work in honour of the most Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, whos Dowry our own now distracted country was sometimes not undeservedly stiled. Both in respect of the peculiar devotion our religious predecessors, above other nations of the Christian world, ore towards her, and her reciprocal procuring, by her powerful intercession, innumerable select favours for them.

Anne Dacre: And I have made a long vow, dedicating my life and belief to the Immaculate Conception. Here is part of my written note.

Lady Throckmorton: Yes, dear, let me hear it.

Anne Dacre: It is very long. I keep it at the castle. I shall read part of it.

…I, Anne, following the steps and examples of many most learned, virtuous and holy person, in this sacred place, and on this cheerful and happy day of the festivity of thy Conception, do confess thee, O Mother of God, to have been preserved from original sin in the first instant of thy Conception, through the merits of Christ, the Son of God and thee, foreseen from all eternity. And I take God thy Son and thy self to witness that I will constantly, by His grace, retain even to the last moment of my life this judgment of they preservation from original sin. This I promise, this I vow, this I swear, so help me God and His holy saints, --always understood with due submission to the determination of Holy Church and the chief pastor thereof, His Holiness of Rome

There is much more. I love the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Walsingham. I pray at the end of this piece for purity of mind and hatred of all sin.

Lady Throckmorton: That is lovely and profound. And, in a letter of St. Omer’s to the English Poor Clares at Graveling, in 1665, is this sad, sad note:

That land, once bearing title of the Dowry of the Virgin Mother, heretofore holy and fruitful in this land, but now, alas, overrun with heresy and sin.”

But, Anne, where are the saints now? We need holy men and women again, dear Anne. Dooks, come here. We are the Church Militant in this evil age. We need more purity of mind, purity of heart and soul.

(Behind them in a spotlight are the Walsingham martyrs, both lay and friars, as well as Philip Howard.)

Anne Dacre: But, gone before us, are the great martyrs of Walsingham and those of Tyburn, and those of the Tower, like my dear husband. They intercede for us daily, I am sure. Tyburn to Walsingham, they stand in a long chain from there to heaven, asking God to strengthen us in these times.

Lady Throckmorton: But, what will the generations after us believe? Will they know Our Lady of Walsingham? Will they love her? Will the one, true, holy and Catholic Church return to Walsingham? I fear for the long years to come, dear Countess. Those good martyrs, like Christ, were taken outside the town walls, at Tyburn, in Walsingham, like anathemata. Will the outcasts be remembered, like Christ on our burnt altars?

Anne Dacre: Let us pray, dear one.

(They bow their heads and all the 2013 people of Walsingham appear, old and young, going to the arch of the priory and praying all together the Hail Mary. Lights down after coming up very bright).

Scene Two (Spotlight on one man, who has keys in his right hand. He has a strong Norfolk accent. Make sure this is said slowly and deliberating, not rushed.)

Burton, Turnkey at the Bridewell 1797: Well, did you think that was the very end? It is not the end
I, Turnkey Burton of the Bridewell, can tell you that the history of Walsingham is not over yet. No, it is not. But, who knows where this story will end or how, I don’t know. Look around you, look at yourselves. Will there be a Walsingham when you are old and grey? Will there be Catholicism in this land? Maybe not. There was a long time without Catholics here, I can tell you, a long time. Now, myself, I was not a Catholic, at least not one that anyone knew about, anyway. I kept an Agnus Dei under my pillow, like many good Anglicans. But, I can tell you that when Mary, Our Mother, was loved and honoured here, things were different.

I cannot put my finger on it. I cannot say what the difference was, exactly. Maybe the roses bloomed the same and the owls hooted just as loudly all night, keeping us locals awake, maybe people were kinder, gentler, more loving, more true…
Something was different. A life, a spirit of motherliness, of care wafted in the air like the chant of the friars. We were the dowry of Mary, and maybe, maybe we still are….maybe we still are…The story has not ended, yet.

(He walks off jingling his keys, out of the spotlight. One hears the hoot of the barn owl in the distance and the arch of the Priory remains lit for a few minutes.)

The End.

Quote of the Day

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 
― Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey

Nice List on Aquinas

Play coming up--watch this space!

Thanks to Wikimedia

Babies learn in the womb,3