Selwood begins the article with a vision of what first truly Renaissance court" would have been like if Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon's son had become Henry IX. [bolding is mine]
Thursday 30 April 2015
The cause for the beatification of the former Anglican priest, Fr. Paul Wattson, has been endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops.
From a report in CRUX (bolding is mine):
From a report in CRUX (bolding is mine):
At 11:15 this morning, April 30, 2015 Pope Francis received in audience the members of the International Anglican-Catholic Commission.
He gave the following address in English:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. It is a pleasure to be with you, the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. In these days you are gathered for a new session of your dialogue, which is now studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church, with particular reference to processes for discussions and decision making regarding moral and ethical questions. I cordially welcome you and wish you a successful meeting.
Your dialogue is the result of the historic meeting in 1966 between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey, which gave rise to the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. On that occasion, they both prayed with hope for "a serious dialogue which, founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, [would] lead to that unity in truth for which Christ prayed" (The Common Declaration by Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey, Rome, 24 March 1966).
We have not yet reached that goal, but we are convinced that the Holy Spirit continues to move us in that direction, notwithstanding new difficulties and challenges. Your presence here today is an indication of how the shared tradition of faith and history between Anglicans and Catholics can inspire and sustain our efforts to overcome the obstacles to full communion. Though we are fully aware of the seriousness of the challenges ahead, we can still realistically trust that together great progress will be made.
2. Shortly you will publish five jointly agreed statements of the second phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, with commentaries and responses. I offer my congratulations for this work. This reminds us that ecumenical relations and dialogue are not secondary elements of the life of the Churches. The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable. Some wish that, after fifty years, greater progress towards unity would have been achieved. Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible.
3. There is a strong bond that already unites us which goes beyond all divisions: it is the testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence simply because of the faith they profess. The blood of these martyrs will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment, a fervent desire to fulfill the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one (cf. Jn 17:21). The witness by these our brothers and sisters demands that we live in harmony with the Gospel and that we strive with determination to fulfill the Lord's will for his Church. Today the world urgently needs the common, joyful witness of Christians, from the defence of life and human dignity to the promotion of justice and peace.
Together let us invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to respond courageously to "the signs of the times" which are calling all Christians to unity and common witness. May the Holy Spirit abundantly inspire your work.
Tuesday 28 April 2015
"WOLF HALL", the BBC TV series that has brought slander and the Oliver Stone style of history to new depths in its portrayal of St. Thomas More, is being called out by none other than Dr. Eamon Duffy, the celebrated historian and best-selling author of "THE STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS."
His book has done more to dismiss "The Black Legend" than almost any other work of the past half century.
Before reading excerpts from Duffy's recent article though, have a look at the Holbein portraits below with a view to the fact that the artist had an intimate look at both men, their families and their work.
I believe that Hans Holbein's powerful eye for conveying character in his portraits makes a compelling case in art for whom we could trust. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Which of these men would you like to stand before in the dock?
|St. Thomas More|
In a balanced, historically accurate and articulate article in THE TABLET, Duffy says:
" . . . it is perfectly true that as a Crown agent, and then as Lord Chancellor, More did pursue heretics. He never presided at a heresy trial (no layman could) and he never condemned anyone to death for their religious beliefs. In his autobiographical Apology, he refuted the charges of torture and maltreatment of suspects that Wolf Hall reports, accusations that, through John Foxe’s hostile elaboration in his Elizabethan propaganda work, Actes and Monuments, nevertheless persisted down the centuries.
|John Foxe, author of the notoriously and hysterically anti-Catholic "Book of Martyrs"|
. . . when all but one of the bishops had perjured themselves by signing up to the Royal Supremacy, More died rather than swear an oath he did not believe. We can therefore trust his solemn insistence that no one in his custody for heresy had ever suffered “so much as a flip on the forehead," much less been tortured. Yet in the 1520s, he was undoubtedly the most active agent in Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey’s campaign against heresy. In collaboration with the gentle humanist Bishop of London, Cuthbert Tunstall, More led a series of nocturnal raids on London houses and warehouses in search of forbidden Lutheran books and, as was routine in that age, he imprisoned and interrogated suspects in his house in Chelsea.
. . . In the age of Islamic State and al-Qaeda, we are deeply suspicious of anyone who thinks God wants us to kill other people, whatever the motive. But More’s world was not our world. By the standards of his age, he was a compassionate and just man. But he never questioned a legal system that imposed the death penalty not only for heresy or murder, but even for quite minor thefts. And like most of his contemporaries, he believed that heresy was a kind of spiritual murder.
He viewed the preaching of heresy as we do the peddling of hard drugs, a moral cancer that ruined lives, corrupted the young, dissolved the bonds of truth and morality, and undermined the fabric of Christian society. He was horrified by the religious wars tearing Europe apart in the 1520s, shattering the vision of Christian harmony that he and Erasmus had promoted in their writings.
Like Erasmus, More blamed those wars on Luther and his followers, and he feared that the spread of Protestantism would wreak the same havoc in England [havoc which was unleashed in the English Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell - Can we never be rid of these Cromwells ? !]
[Thomas More] believed he had a duty to persuade, coax and, if necessary, coerce heretics to abandon their beliefs – or at least to stay silent about them. A man must indeed follow his conscience. But if a misguided conscience led him to propagate evil opinions, he must either repudiate those errors when they were pointed out to him, or take the consequences.
Several recent biographers have found the apparent contradiction between the genial humanist and saint of tradition, and the implacable opponent of heresy, impossible to resolve. So they have cut the Gordian knot, rejecting as pious fiction the testimony of Erasmus and of More’s sixteenth-century biographers that he was as attractive as he was brilliant, and substituting instead the portrait of an unreconstructed bigot and sadist, in the words of Thomas Cromwell [as written by the source for the B.B.C. Series] “a blood-soaked hypocrite”.
But the portrait that emerges is too dark. It is impossible to imagine the sour-faced More played by Anton Lesser stepping in among the Christmas players at Cardinal Morton’s court – as the young More did – to improvise his own hilarious role; or writing the 100 “merry tales” that light up even the most serious of his English works; or cracking the last great joke of all, as he climbed the rickety scaffold to his death: “I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safely up, and as for my coming down, you may leave me to shift for myself.”
More was neither blood-soaked nor a hypocrite, but he was a man of his times, not of ours. In the spring of 1535, while he languished in the Tower, William Tyndale was arrested in Brussels. A year later, Tyndale was strangled and burned as a heretic.
More and Tyndale were old and bitter enemies. But like More, Tyndale was a man consumed by passion for the truth, and a scholar and translator of transcendent genius. Most of what we admire in the magnificent language of the King James Bible goes back to him. More too believed the Bible should be available in English. But Tyndale taught that the Pope was Antichrist and the Catholic Church a Satanic conspiracy against God’s work. More thought Tyndale’s Bible would poison the wells and corrupt the hearts and minds of innocent Christians.
Yet the two men, so deeply divided in religion, were united in the conviction that truth was worth dying for. Both believed that society must be rooted in truth, and that God’s truth had to be defended against brute power and political expediency – even if it cost the defender their liberty and their lives.
Tyndale’s vitriolic hatred of the papacy now seems unbalanced, just as More’s rejection of Tyndale’s sublime biblical work seems blinkered. They died for opposing understandings of the Gospel. But both died as witnesses that truth mattered, that in a truly human society both law and liberty must be rooted in something deeper, more objective and more enduring than personal preference, political expediency or naked power. Neither would have looked to Cromwell for a soul-mate."
Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Cambridge and the author of "The Stripping of the Altars".