6 November 2008


We had a lovely fortnight in west Cornwall; and I was intrigued to see a monument on the outside wall of the RC church in St Ives commemorating those from the town who died in the genocidal massacres of the Tudor dictatorship after the rebellion of 1549; provoked by the parliamentary attempt to impose Protestant worship.

I applaud such commemoration. Since History tends to be written by the Whiggish victors, events like 1549 are denied a place in the official memory. But the implication that these were RC martyrs seems to me to need explanation, at least on the part of those RCs who believe that you have to be in full canonical union with the See of Peter in order to count as a 'Catholic'. For those who died in the aftermath of the 1549 were not in full communion. Indeed, in the Articles they produced they did not demand restitution of links with Rome; the rebels tended to emphasise - one can see why - that the status quo bequeathed by Henry VIII upon his death should not be varied during the minority of his son. What they rebelled for and what they died for was the traditional worship of their Parish Churches.

I think it would help our relationships with Traditionalist RCs, particularly those of them who have an animus against Catholic Anglicans, if they had a bit of a think about the status of those who died for the Catholic Faith in England between 1533 and 1553. And I seem to recall that on the list of chief pastors of the Catholic Church in England on the South Wall of Westminster Cathedral, Dr Cranmer is listed as occupying that role until his execution under Philip and Mary. Er ...

1 comment:

Paul from Plymouth said...

I have just read Philip Caraman's "The Western Rising 1549 - The Prayer Book Rebellion".
Although written with a slight bias (Caraman was a Jesuit after all) it is a gripping read of the events of that time and, although the outcome is known from the beginning, the tension is sustained all through.