23 January 2011


Sunday in the Chair of Unity Octave ... a Commemoration at Mass for S Nicolas Owen, the recusant carpenter who made so many of the 'priests' holes' in which Elizabethan Romanist clergy hid? An Oxford man born and bred, racked until he ruptured, and a great saint. It set me wondering whether, in this age of Apologies (I've lost count of how many groups the almost Blessed John Paul II was induced ... I hope non-infallibly ... to apologise to), our General Synod has yet apologised to English Roman Catholics for our long and bloody persecution of them, or to the Unitarians for so cheerfully burning them. Next ... has our House of Bishops yet apologised to the Catholic Movement for the persecution of the Ritualists by Victorian bishops? Have the successors of Archbishop Fisher apologised for his treatment of Catholic Anglicans in London during his episcopate there? Or has his successor updated Fisher's anti-Catholic bigotry by taking the lead in ferociously declining to consider church-sharing with the Ordinariate?

For, of course, the great favourite to be sneered at now is the Ordinariate. Witness that disgraceful 'Sunday' programme by Ed Stourton, about which I posted. How long shall we have to wait for Apologies ...

Then I hit upon a brilliant idea. Why can't the persecuting classes scythe through this important historical process by apologising at precisely the same time as they perpetrate their aggression? Thus, every time an Establishment bishop or archdeacon gets nasty with priests or people heading for the Ordinariate, or the Bishop of Barchester and his RC opposite number the Bishop of Silverbridge cosy up together and issue a joint declaration on the undesirability of the Ordinariate having any churches of its own, or "Spirit of Vatican II" papists and Grauniad journalists wax eloquently and Oh-so-amusingly about the dodgy characters entering the Ordinariate and the colour of their wives' hats: the computers of all these significant people could be programmed to issue simultaneously a sincere, 'historic', heart-felt, movingly-expressed, manly, open-and-honest, covering-all-the-details, gives-us-the-moral-high-ground, apology (copy to all the Press Agencies) for doing so.

You know it makes sense.


nodjam said...

Once again you are being much too practical.

Last Knight said...

It puts me in mind of the sometime head of a certain Oxford house of piety and learning who had some apology cards printed up. (i.e. Dear Father X, I am terribly sorry for being so rude on ...) Whenever an SCR colleague was rude to him, the said clergyman would send out a blank apology card, which would invariably be returned, with the date and signature filled in.

AndrewWS said...

There's some bloody awful woman called Beattie (no, dear, not the one played by Maureen Lipman in the BT commercials) who writes similar drivel:


But she isn't a bishop, as far as I can gather. Well, not yet.

Sadie Vacantist said...

AndreWS, you must admit that Tina is delicious to look at. I saw a photo of a similarly ravishing Cambridge priestess. These women could do so much for the Christian Faith if only they were themselves. Presumably though, they are feminists in the same way people from Timbuktu are Manchester United supporters. Such are the incongruities of modern life.

Dale said...

Have the Romans apologized for the bull Regnans in Excelsis? Which not only condemned the Queen as "Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime" but also offered a plenary indulgence for her murder? Perhaps if such a bull had not been issued, Romans in England could have continued to worship in private, but when the Pope made them all traitors, what was the government to do?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Is Dale quite sure that the Bull encourages murder and even offers a plenary indulgence for it? That seems to me highly unlikely.

If S Pius encouraged Elizabeth's subjects to disregard her authority, that puts him into the same category as William of Orange in 1688.

William Tighe said...

Dale seems ignorant of some elementary facts. "Romans" -- are we speaking about votaries of Jupiter? -- could not "worship in private" even before 1570s, as witness the rounding up of Lord Hastings of Loughborough and some of his friends in 1563 for doing just that.

As to Elizabeth the Bastard, I share the sentiments of the Blessed John Story (for which his execution was made as barbaric as possible) that the mistake of the Marian Regime was to "burn small twigs" while "the rotten oak" was left untouched.

"Regnans in excelsis" does not offer any reward (or "plenary indulgence") for her assassination (desirable as that would have been); that is sometimes ascribed to Gregory XIII, although on uncertain authority.

And I agree with Fr. Hunwicke about Dutch William, and have always thought it a great pity that the cannonball the removed the head of his adjutant while the latter was beside the Dutchman on his horse was not better aimed.

Dale said...

It seems that William is once again simply doing personal attacks upon anyone who might question his expertise.

In 1584, William Perry, an Englishman, was granted a plenary indulgence by the Pope to murder Queen Elizabeth. He was not successful, but it certainly, and perhaps quite rightly, did make life difficult for Romans in England.

Of course perhaps England should have adopted the religious egalitarianism that reigned in Spain of the time.

Dale said...

Before William has another fit...it is Parry, not Perry...sorry about the typo.

Dale said...

It was stated:

"If S Pius encouraged Elizabeth's subjects to disregard her authority, that puts him into the same category as William of Orange in 1688."

Actually, no. It is much closer to William the Silent of Orange who was murdered by Balthasar Gerard, a French Catholic, but also with a promise of a plenary indulgence for the deed.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dale: I do not really quite like the personal nature of your response to Professor Tighe. My preference is ...

I'm not an expert in these matters, but how can anybody give somebody an "indulgence to do" something? I suppose you could tell him that if he committed a certain sin, you would then subsequently remit the temporal pains due to the commission of that sin ... but that doesn't quite sound to me like the authentic style of the Roman curia.

Rubricarius said...

I agree with Dale on this one.

Consulting my copy of Keenan's Catechism:

'Q. Can the Pope absolve subjects from their allegiance on account of the heresy or schism of their King?
A. No; such dispensation or absolution is null; Catholics are still at liberty to defend their King and country at the hazard of their lives, even against the Pope himself.

Q. Can Catholics lawfully kill their prince or King if he be excommunicated for heresy and schism?
A. Such an act is declared, by the Catholic General Council of Constance, damnable and heretical, as well as contrary to the known laws of God and nature.'

Thankfully, most of Her Majesty's subjects were of the same view in the sixteenth century.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Yes, what Rubricarius says about Keenan is completely accurate. And what Dale says ... about Regnans in excelsis offering indulgences for sins which had not yet been committed ... is just as totally inaccurate.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

The text of Regnans in Excelsis can be found here:

I note the complete absence of any instruction to assassinate Elizabeth and that there is no mention of any indulgence (plenary or otherwise).

Dale said...

The plenary indulgence to murder the Queen was given earlier, later there was still hope on the part, mostly of Philip of Spain, that Elizabeth would submit...she did not. The regnans was in response to her refusal to become a Roman (I am sorry that I tied the two together, but both are interdependent). But indulgences were offered not only for her murder but for the execution of other Protestant princes of the time. I fail to see why this is an issue. Please remember that those Roman priests who were executed in England were not killed for religious reasons, but as traitors. What was the Queen, or the government, to do after regnans?

It has been insinuated that the Pope cannot give a indulgence before a sin is committed, but the Pope did not consider the killing of the Queen, the act itself, to be a sin; the indulgence was offered for any sin that had been committed by the murderer.

I find it hard to believe that this is the first time that readers of this blog have heard of this.

William Tighe said...

"The plenary indulgence to murder the Queen was given earlier ..."

When, exactly, "earlier?" ("Never" is the correct response.)

I give not a fig for Keenan's Catechism or its claims. It does not have, and never had, any official standing in the Catholic Church, and it may well be likened to the kind of catechisms which Catholics seeking to curry favour with the former Communist regimes might have produced. As I recall, it explicitly rejects the notion of papal infallibility, and so it may be termed "heretical" as well as collaborationist.

William the Silent? He was a rebel against his sovereign lord, the King of Spain, and a man who changed his religion as often as it suited his political convenience to do so -- a Catholic infant, he was a Lutheran youth and adolescent who became a Catholic to further his standing with Charles V, and then became a rather lukewarm and Erastian Calvinist as a means of retaining his leadership role of the Dutch Revolt. He also, contrary to his previous promises, did nothing to halt the seizure and theft of Catholic churches by the Calvinists in the rebel-held parts of the Netherlands. I think of him as an evil man and a hypocrite. I have long admired Balthesar Gerard for his heroic deed in ridding the world of such a pest, if rather belatedly:


Dale said...

I do believe that Professor Tighe has said it all...leave the Roman Church...and you deserve to be murdered. There is nothing more I can add.

Dale said...

I do know that we are all getting tired of this, but since my credibility has been called into question (I readily admit to confusion of dates between 1570 and the indulgence being offered before the Armada), please see the following, in which the Pope declares that Queen Elizabeth has no right to live and offering of a plenary indulgence to anyone who will more or less "deal" with her (one suspects we can agree to disagree with what this means, but since other protestant rulers were murdered by Catholics in the period, one can see where it was headed): Pope Sixtus V - A Declaration of the Sentence and Deposition of Elizabeth - 1588

to be found here: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0227b.htm

Rubricarius said...

Mr. Tighe,

Who gives a fig what you think either.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

The text of the document that Dale links to reads:

"To prevent also the shedding of Christian blood, and spoil of the country, which might ensue by the resistance of some principal offenders: Be it known by these presents, that it shall not only be lawful for any person public or private (over and besides those which have undertaken the enterprise) to arrest, put in hold, and deliver up unto the Catholic part, the said usurper, or any of her complices, but also holden for very good service and most high rewarded, according to the quality and condition of the parties so delivered." My emphasis.

There is no euphemistic reference to "dealing with".

The plenary indulgence attaches to all those that assist in the arrest of those responsible for the destruction wrought on the English church and for assisting in the reconversion of England.

Dale said...

The document also states:

"Wherefore, these things being of such nature and quality, that some of them make her unable to reign, others declare her unworthy to live."

And ends with:

"Our said Holy Father, of his benignity, and favour to this enterprise, out of the spiritual treasures of the Church committed to his custody and dispensation, grants most liberally, to all such as assist, concur, or help in any wise, to the disposition and punishment of the above named persons, and to the reformation of these two countries, Plenary Indulgence and pardon of all their sins, being duly penitent, contrite and confessed, according to the law of God, and usual custom of Christian people."

Sorry to use a modern term to "deal with," but it seems pretty clear.

William Tighe said...


Whoever you are (hiding under the veil of anonymity), the feeling is mutual, I'm sure.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

Context, Dale.

The first sentence you quote is telling us what "…some say…": it is recounting opinions expressed, not giving an opinion or judgment.

The second paragraph needs to be read in conjunction with the section that I quoted earlier: it's an instruction to assist in the arrest and bringing to justice of the usurper, not an invitation to assassination.