Martyrs Mementoes - Week 2
Last year, Fr Nicholas Schofield kindly presented to the Guild about the inspiring martyrs of England and Wales. (See the replay at https://www.catholicpoliceguild.co.uk/single-post/cpg-talk-the-martyrs-of-england-wales.)
A super little book long out of copyright, Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales, tells many stories. [Nibil obstat and Imprimatur, 10 March 1910] It was written by Rev Fr. Henry Sebastien Bowden of the London Oratory, a priest who had a role in the long and eventual death-bed conversion of Oscar Wilde.
These mementoes will be published so far as practicality permits for the benefit of Guild members each week through 2022. They will appear in the London Region's Newsletter which you can sign-up for by contacting Stewart Lawrence. We hope they provide interest and devotion.
Previous instances: Week 1
WEEK 2: 9-15 JANUARY
In this second week, mementoes from the very beginning and the very end of the Protestant Reformation period with resolute witness to the unchanging Faith throughout. God alone, not Man, is the source of Truth and Faith – a principle worth dying for.
January 9 CONVERSION BY KNIGHTHOOD THOMAS POUNDE, SJ. BORN at Belmont, near Winchester, and educated at that College, in gifts of body and mind he far surpassed his fellows. Inheriting a large fortune of his father's, he soon won the favour of Elizabeth by his handsome presence, physical agility, lavish expenditure, and ready wit. A complimentary poem of his, which he delivered to the Queen at Winchester College, still further secured her partiality. He basked in her smiles, and, though a Catholic at heart, professed her new religion. On Christmas Day, 1569, at a great Court festivity, Pounde surpassed all competitors in the execution of a dance in which he spun with marvellous rapidity. At the Queen's invitation he consented to repeat the performance, but, turning giddy, fell prostrate, amidst the jeers of the spectators. The Queen's laughter mingled with the rest, and, giving him a kick in derision, bade him, "Rise, Sir Ox !" "Sic transit gloria mundi," he was heard to say as he rose a changed man. He retired to Belmont, was reconciled to the Church, entered on a life of prayer and severe penance, and for his open profession and skilled defence of his faith spent his days in prison for thirty years. He was liberated by James I in 1603, was admitted into the Society of Jesus and died 1615. "O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity and seek after lying?" Ps. iv. 3.
January 10 THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE (i) Sir ROBERT ASKE HE was of an old Yorkshire family, and was the chief leader in the Pilgrimage of Grace, as he had been in the Lincolnshire rising. The following is his proclamation, October 1536: "Simple and evil-disposed persons being of the King's Council have incensed his Grace with many inductions contrary to the faith of God, the honour of the King, and the weal of the Realm. They intend to destroy the Church in England and her ministers; they have robbed and spoiled, and further they intend to rob and spoil, the whole body of this realm. We have now taken this Pilgrimage for the preservation of Christ's Church, of the Realm, of the King: to the intent of making petition to the King for the reformation of that which is amiss, and for the punishment of heretics and subverters of the laws; and neither for money, malice, nor displeasure of any person, but such as be unworthy to remain about the King. Come with us, Lords, Knights, Masters, Kinsmen, and friends! If ye fight against us and defeat, ye will but put both us and you into bondage for ever; if we overcome you, ye shall be at your will. We will fight and die against all who shall be about to stop us in this pilgrimage, and God shall judge between us." "What wouldest thou ask of us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of God received from our fathers." 2 MACH. vii. 2.
January 11 THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE (2) Sir THOMAS PERCY, 1536 IN October 1536, from the Scottish Borders to the Humber, the good staunch Catholics of the North flocked to the banners of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Second in command under Aske, leading the vanguard of six thousand men under the banner of St. Cuthbert, rode Sir Thomas Percy, brother of the Earl of Northumberland. They marched, some forty thousand strong, into Yorkshire, and Henry quailed before the pilgrims, though his forces were large. By deceitfully promising the redress of their grievances he cajoled them into dispersing and returning home. But in the next spring, on their re-assembling, he despatched more numerous troops to the Duke of Norfolk, his lieutenant, who succeeded in securing their leaders. Sir Thomas, though he surrendered, was taken to Westminster, tried, and hanged with, amongst other supposed leaders, the Abbot of Jervaulx and the Dominican Friar John Pickering. They suffered "because, as false traitors, they conspired to deprive the King of his royal dignity, viz. of being on earth the Supreme Head of the Church in England." Thus, though not among the Beatified, they died for the faith. "For whom do you stay ? I will not obey the commandment of the King, but the commandment of God which was given by Moses." 2 MACH. vii. 30.
January 12 THE SIN OF OZIAS Bishop WHITE OF WINCHESTER, 1560 (i) HE was Warden of Winchester School in 1551, when the second master perverted to Calvinism; the head boy, Joliffe, and many of the scholars were infected by the heresy. It was the year of the sweating sickness. Joliffe and his followers were seized with the malady and died. Then the Warden, by his powerful exhortations, brought the school to penance, and renewed the faith of the boys some two hundred strong. For his resistance to Edward VI's innovations he was committed to the Tower. Promoted by Mary to the See of Winchester, at her funeral sermon he said, "She found the realm poisoned with heresy and purged it, and remembering herself to be a member of Christ's Church she refused to write herself head thereof, which title no prince a thousand and five hundred years after Christ usurped, and was herself by her learning able to render the cause why. She could say that after Zacharias was dead, Ozias the prince took on him the priest's office, which prospered not with him because it was not his vocation, but God struck him therefore with leprosy on his forehead. She would say, How can I, being a woman, be head of the Church, who by the Scriptures am forbidden to speak in the Church." "And Ozias the king was a leper to the day of his death, for which he had been cast out of the house of the Lord." 2 PARAL. xxvi. 21.
January 13 A HERALD OF THE TRUTH Bishop WHITE OF WINCHESTER, 1560 (2) "I AM come into this world," he said in his sermon, "to this end, to serve God and to be saved. I come into this world to witness unto the truth, as Christ my Master came before me, but I impugn the truth and advance falsehood. I was regenerate, and by solemn vow became a member of Christ's Catholic Church, and have since divided myself from the unity thereof, and I am become a member of the new Church of Geneva; and did after lapse to actual and deadly sin; reformed by Heaven, I am now again relapsed to sin, and dwell stubbornly therein. Mark my end right honourable, and what shall become of me! I shall in the end be damned everlastingly." Of Bishops he says: "They are placed by God, as Ezechias says, to keep watch and ward upon the walls and give warning when the enemy cometh; if, then, they see the wolf toward the flock, as at the present he be coming from Geneva and Germany with their pestilential doctrines to infect the people, and from fear or flattery they give no warning, and let the wolves devour their flock, the blood of the people will be required at their hand." He died of Tower ague, contracted in prison, July 12, 1560. "I am come into the world that I should give testimony of the truth." JOHN xviii. 37.
January 14 THE OLDEST FAITH Ven. WILLIAM LLOYD, Pr., 1679 BORN in Carmarthenshire, he became a convert, was ordained at Lisbon, and returned to the English Mission. In spite of continuous illness, he toiled for souls till his arrest for the Oates Plot, for which he was condemned, but died in prison at Brecknock six days before the date appointed for his execution in 1679. He left a speech for his execution, of which a portion is here summarised: "The faith in which I leave this world is that in which the Apostles lived and died after having received the Holy Ghost, and I do renounce all errors against that faith. Without faith no one can please God, and without pleasing God no one can be saved, and seeing there is no faith save that which Christ taught to His Apostles, it behoveth every man to find out that faith and to live and die in it, though they lose the world thereby, for it means being saved or dammed for ever. Now that Apostolic faith must be the oldest, for it was planted by our Saviour Himself, which He promised should last for ever, and against which the gates of Hell should never prevail. For this reason I made choice of the Holy Catholic Apostolic faith and Roman religion to live and die in." "Built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone." EPH. ii. 20.
January 15 DEVOTION TO THE SACRAMENTS B. FISHER and HENRY VII, 1509 IN his funeral sermon on Henry VII, Fisher said: "The cause of his hope was true belief that he had in God, in His Church, and in the Sacraments thereof, which he received all with marvellous devotion; namely, in the Sacrament of Penance, the Sacrament of the Altar, and the Sacrament of Aneling––the Sacrament of Penance with a marvellous compassion and flow of tears; the Sacrament of the Altar he received at Mid-Lent and again upon Easter Day with great reverence. At his first entry into the closet, where the Sacrament was, he took off his bonnet and kneeled down upon his knees, and so crept forth devoutly till he came unto the place itself where he received the Sacrament. The Sacrament of Aneling, when he well perceived that he began utterly to fail, he desirously asked therefore, and heartily prayed that it might be administered unto him; wherein he made ready and offered every part of his body by order, and as he might for weakness turned himself at every time and answered in the suffrages thereof. That same day of his departing, he heard Mass of the Glorious Virgin, the Mother of Christ, to whom always in his life he had singular and special devotion." "If thou didst know the gift of God." JOHN iv. 10.