To Evensong at the Oratory this evening: so superior to the College Chapels with their 'performance' style of worship. At S Alyoggers, no musical extravaganzas but just 6 or12 young clergymen singing their Office simply together; followed by Benediction. As I walked down S Giles afterwards with a friendly seminarian, the conversation turned, I'm nor quite sure how, to the practice of burning heretics. It was particularly in my mind anyway, because a couple of days ago Pam and I senior-citizen-bus-passed our way to Thame, where the Church contains the monument of one 'Lord Williams'; son of one of the Welshmen-on-the-make who accompanied Henry Tudor in the Welsh invasion of 1485. Williams himself, who made a packet out of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, has the countenance of an unreflective bruiser. In the reign of Good Queen Mary, he presided at the burning of Latimer and Ridley. (Quaeritur: should he be in the Guiness Book of Records? Is there anybody else in history who got to preside at the burning of two bishops?) Ridley's last cry was along the lines of 'Lord, I commend my cause to you'. Williams, affecting to consider the cry as addressed to himself, replied 'Master Ridley, I will consider your plea'. Now that really does count as Kicking A Man When He Is Down. Compared with it, the humour of the pre-War Anglo-Catholic Society of S Peter and S Paul ('For Sale: Latimer and Ridley Pricket Stands') seems almost kindly.
Somehow, I have never got round to reading the Vatican II decree on Religious Liberty, although I know it must be sound because the blogosphere has recently revealed to us a picture of the official copy of the decree with Archbishop Lefebvre's signature on it. Can somebody better read than me let us know whether it contains anything on the ecumenism of burning heretics?