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Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Evil of National Identity and Religion-Nuns in Persecution Part Four

Thomas More's House
Recently, I wrote an article on this point regarding the over-emphasis of some Protestant sects with nationalism. For example, too many Lutherans have identified their religion with either the Scandinavian countries or Germany.

Likewise, there is a deep connection with Anglicanism and Great Britain, which still causes an anti-Catholic prejudice both here in America and in England. In other words, the WASP ideal, the White-Anglo-Catholic-Protestant believes still that a Catholic cannot be truly English or truly American.

This is true, as the Catholic Church is universal and not confined to a nation or national boundaries.

One could not be a follower of Oliver Cromwell and a Catholic, obviously. Or, one could not follow the current monarchy in England without great reservations, as she is supposedly the Defender of the Faith, but not the Catholic Faith. Having said that, she broke her coronation oath by signing the ssm bill. Such is the lack of faith in the royal family.

When Catholics fled to Brussels, Paris, Louvain, Ghent and other Catholic cities during the Tudor Revolt, they were following the universal Church abroad and breaking rank with the highly politicized and nationalized Anglican identity.

That such great families as the Mores, Garnets, Clitherows, Vauxs, Herberts and others fled to the continent and that the daughters and granddaughters became nuns forms a pattern of connected to the universal Church.

The danger of too many American and English Catholics today is that they do not firstly identify as Catholics, but either as Americans or English.
Roper House Gate

This lack of Catholic identity has already weakened the Church in these countries to a point of no-return in some physical localities.

Lisebeth Corens writes at length about both anti-Catholicism and the convents on the continent. Her study is a warning for us today. One may read her ideas in "Catholic Nuns and English Identities. English Protestant Travellers on the English Convents in the Low Countries, 1660-1730."

She reiterates the idea which many historians have noted of the danger of national religions and the insistence that patriotism demands all people worshiping in the same manner.

Those of us whose ancestors came as immigrants to America and whose ancestors received persecution for the Catholic Faith understand the problem

But, to extrapolate, too many Catholics have sold out to the American dream, seeing themselves as Americans first and Catholics second.

This idea shows a corruption of one's conscience.

Nuns from the great families of the Vauxs and Herberts as well as those already mentioned, had to choose between maintaining a high status in English society and keeping the Faith in a foreign land.

Henry Vaux, who seemed to have dedicated his life to celibacy and contemplation, had two sisters. One, Elizabeth, became a nun on the continent in a Franciscan convent in Rouen. Here is another example of a nun having to go to another country in order to live out her vows.

Harrowden Hall, Home of the Vaux Family
Again, this family was connected by friendship to the Garnets, and by marriage to the Throckmortons as well as the Ropers, who were connected to the Mores by marriage.

Again, one sees the pattern of relationships among the recusant families, which did not necessarily live in proximity to one another but which made a point of networking, as we would say today.

May I add this from the Tudor Place page, that Anne Vaux, Elizabeth's sister was a formidable woman.

Born: Jul 1562
Baptized: 19 Jul 1562, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire
Died: ABT 1637
Notes: a dedicated recusant, Anne used the alias “Mrs. Perkins” to hire houses for use as meeting places for missionary priests. She also occasionally impersonated her sister Eleanor Brooksby, to confront the authorities. Anne was arrested when the Gunpowder Plot was uncovered but released soon after. At one point it was thought that she was the one who sent a letter to Lord Monteagle, warning him of the plot, but this is unlikely. She was arrested again the following March and this time confined in the Tower of London. She was released in Aug 1606. She and her sister, Eleanor lived quietly at Shoby, Leicestershire for some years but were arrested for recusancy in 1625. After her sister’s death, Anne moved to Stanley Grange, Derbyshire, which became a center of Jesuit activities in England and the site of a school for the sons of the Catholic gentry. Never married.
Father: William VAUX (3° B. Vaux of Harrowden)
Mother: Elizabeth BEAUMONT (B. Vaux of Harrowden)

Personally, I think that few modern Catholics would be willing to sacrifice kith and kin for the Catholic cause these days.

And, that is why the Church is weak. Too many people either put nationalism or family before being a Catholic. Imagine, Anne working as she did and not seeing her sister Elizabeth ever again.

Are we willing to make these types of sacrifices for the cause of Catholicism?

There are several factors which weakened the resolve of Catholics.

One are mixed marriages, which use to be spoken of from the pulpit as dangerous. The non-Catholic partner most likely nowadays does not help with the Catholic domestic church, and in England, causes a couple to contracept. This compromising forms a great weakening of Catholicism in a family.

A second reason could be the lack of real conviction that the domestic church must be a priority. In other words, too many Catholics rely on their priests and parishes instead of creating an independent, home-based Catholic center.

If you are not facing these problems, many souls will be lost in the times to come. Some of the recusant family names are known to us, as seen in the list in the last posting.  How many names have been lost because of the families who gave in to the prevailing society and "conformed" to Anglicanism?

That they lost their souls is most likely as the fact that we no longer know their names.

Fathers and mothers do not do enough to insure that their children marry Catholics. They also do not look towards a future without the established Church.

It has happened before and it will all happen again.

To be continued....

and here is an old blog post just to bring the points home yet again.

One of the Throckmorton Houses

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Time-Machine Back to 1581: the Death of an Enlightenment Democratic Monarchy

In this day and age of relativism, camps of opinion arise like midges on a hike in Alaska. One brushes 
away one set of  "arguments", only to find dozens flying into one's face. The media frenzy over the events 
of the past three weeks is not going to subside. On the contrary, we Catholics are entering into a new era 
of Church-bashing which will not go away.

The days of toleration for differing religious opinions, or at least, Catholic teaching, is over.

I watched two days of the Parliament hearings of witnesses regarding the civil union or rather 
same-sex-marriage act. I usually do not watch television, but I was visiting a friend who wanted to 
watch this swarm of opinions based on sola fide, sola scriptura; each man and woman on the panel proved to 
be his or her own pope.

The Church of England witnesses, as they were called, had eloquent and keen questions and answers. 
So did Archbishop Peter Smith and his legal team. I was impressed by the firm and clear positions given by 
these two groups.

Not so other groups, like the Church of Wales representatives, who waffled.

What did astound me was the out and out rudeness of some of the questioners, all of them MPs, not to be 
named here. One can look at my blog for names. I merely want to point out the lack of respect towards 
those representatives of organized religion. At several places in the presentation of answers by Archbishop 
Peter Smith, some members laughed out loud in derision for the Catholic position on marriage, pre-marital sex, 
and our anti-contraception, anti-abortion positions.

What came to my mind was that I could have been in a time-machine, taken back to the interrogations of 
Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin, or Robert Southwell et al.

The entire meeting of this Parliament panel on both days was a sham. The smug hypocritical statements of the 
members of Parliament shone out like words of old transcripts in a history of Recusant trials.

Parliament determines moral and religious policy in Britain, not the churches.

Parliament in 2013 mirrors Parliament in 1581, or 1585 or 1681, this last the year of the martyrdom of 
St. Oliver Plunkett. I have seen his head in St. Peter's Church, Drogheda. His face is peaceful, but reveals pain.

We honour martyrs in the Catholic Church almost daily. We of this Guild honour Titus Brandsma, who was 
martyred and is a Blessed. But, do we really want martyrs in 2013? Do we feel uncomfortable watching 
Peter Smith being derided? Do we want our leaders to stand firm on the ancient teachings of the One, Holy, 
Catholic and Apostolic Church?

I hope we feel proud and strengthened by the witness of Truth.

I hope we stand with our leaders.

I hope we can see clearly that the actions of Parliament will lead to the type of society created under Henry VIII 
and Elizabeth I, where those who kept the Faith were fined, suffered financial loss, ruin, disgrace, if not 
martyrdom. Catholics will not be able to be registrars or superintendents of registrars. Catholics may not be 
able to be teachers in some schools. The Catholic priests may be in a position of disobedience to certain laws
after judicial decisions.

Parliament acts just as it has since the Protestant Revolt. Parliament was given powers over the private 
consciences of the people of Britain and it will take those powers and use those again and again and again. 
Five hundred years of practice makes this pattern of oppression all too easy. There are precedences.

We are witnessing the death of the modern Enlightenment democracy as a philosophy of governance. We are 
witnessing the sliding back to a time when religions were not allowed to stand in the marketplace and speak 
The powers that be have not changed their philosophies. They have renewed an older pattern of intolerance 
which is wedded to the very power of Parliament.

The Catholic Church has not changed Her Truths, Revelation and Tradition.

We are, again, Non-Conformists, and as in the past, consequences will follow strongly held beliefs.

I hope those who belong to the Guild of the martyr Titus Brandsma know how to stand firm in the storms that 
will blow across Great Britain. We have an excellent example. Brandsma upheld the bishops' decisions and the 
clarity of teaching that Catholicism and Nazism clashed. Catholicism will always clash with falsehood.

As Catholic journalists, we of this Guild can follow our patron to whatever consequences may follow.

I, for one, will write as long as I can for Christ and His Church.