Tuesday, 22 June 2010

SS. John Fisher and Thomas More

St John Fisher was Cardinal, Bishop of Rochester, and one of our most glorious martyrs.

He was born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, 1459 and died 22 June, 1535.

Here, indeed, was a most doughty Yorkshireman.

John was educated at Michaelhouse, Cambridge. He took the degree of BA in 1487, and MA in 1491, in which year he was elected a fellow of his college, and was made Vicar of Northallerton, Yorkshire.

In 1494 he resigned his benefice to become proctor of his university, and three years later was appointed Master of Michaelhouse, about which date he became chaplain and confessor to Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of King Henry VII. In 1501 he received the degree of DD, and was elected Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University.

Under Fisher's guidance, Lady Margaret founded St John's and Christ's Colleges at Cambridge, and also the two "Lady Margaret" professorships of divinity at Oxford and Cambridge respectively, Fisher himself being the first occupant of the Cambridge chair.

By Bull dated 14 October, 1504, Fisher was advanced to the Bishopric of Rochester, and in the same year was elected Chancellor of Cambridge University, to which post he was re-elected annually for ten years and then appointed for life.

At this date also he is said to have acted as tutor to Prince Henry, afterwards King Henry VIII. As a preacher his reputation was so great that in 1509, when King Henry VII and the Lady Margaret died, Fisher was appointed to preach the funeral oration on both occasions; these sermons are still extant.

In 1542 Fisher was nominated as one of the English representatives at the Fifth Council of Lateran, then sitting, but his journey to Rome was postponed, and finally abandoned.

Besides his share in the Lady Margaret's foundations, Fisher gave further proof of his genuine zeal for learning by inducing Erasmus to visit Cambridge. The latter indeed (Epist., 6:2) attributes it to Fisher's protection that the study of Greek was allowed to proceed at Cambridge without the active molestation that it encountered at Oxford.

Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and mother of King Henry VII

He has also been named, though without any real proof, as the true author of the royal treatise against Luther entitled Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, published in 1521, which won the title Fidei Defensor for Henry VIII.

Before this date Fisher had denounced various abuses in the Church, urging the need of disciplinary reforms, and in this year he preached at St Paul's Cross on the occasion when Luther's books were publicly burned.

When the question of Henry's divorce from Queen Catherine arose, Fisher became the Queen's chief supporter and most trusted counsellor.

In this capacity he appeared on the Queen's behalf in the legates' court, where he startled his hearers by the directness of his language and most of all by declaring that, like St John the Baptist, he was ready to die on behalf of the indissolubility of marriage.

This statement was reported to Henry VIII, who was so enraged by it that he himself composed a long Latin address to the legates in answer to the bishop's speech. Fisher's copy of this still exists, with his manuscript annotations in the margin which show how little he feared the royal anger.

Catherine of Aragon, the true Queen of England and wife of King Henry VIII, championed by St John Fisher

The removal of the cause to Rome brought Fisher's personal share therein to an end, but the king never forgave him for what he had done. In November, 1529, the "Long Parliament" of Henry's reign began its series of encroachments on the Church.

Fisher, as a member of the upper house, at once warned Parliament that such acts could only end in the utter destruction of the Church in England. On this the Commons, through their speaker, complained to the king that the bishop had disparaged Parliament. Dr Gairdner (Lollardy and the Reformation, I, 442) says of this incident "it can hardly be a matter of doubt that this strange remonstrance was prompted by the king himself, and partly for personal uses of his own".

The opportunity was not lost. Henry summoned Fisher before him, demanding an explanation. This being given, Henry declared himself satisfied, leaving it to the Commons to declare that the explanation was inadequate, so that he appeared as a magnanimous sovereign, instead of Fisher's enemy.

A year later (1530) the continued encroachments on the Church moved the Bishops of Rochester, Bath, and Ely to appeal to the Apostolic see. This gave the king his opportunity. An edict forbidding such appeals was immediately issued, and the three bishops were arrested.

Their imprisonment, however, can have lasted a few months only, for in February, 1531, Convocation met, and Fisher was present. This was the occasion when the clergy were forced, at a cost of 100,000 pounds, to purchase the king's pardon for having recognized Cardinal Wolsey's authority as legate of the pope; and at the same time to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church in England, to which phrase, however, the addition "so far as God's law permits" was made, through Fisher's efforts.

A few days later, several of the bishop's servants were taken ill after eating some porridge served to the household, and two actually died. Popular opinion at the time regarded this as an attempt on the bishop's life, although he himself chanced not to have taken any of the poisoned food.

King Henry VIII, wife-murdering, saint-massacring, monastery-plundering and poor-oppressing destroyer of both Church and State for his own personal gain, his poisoned legacy endures even to this day

To disarm suspicion, the king not only expressed strong indignation at the crime, but caused a special Act of Parliament to be passed, whereby poisoning was to be accounted high treason, and the person guilty of it boiled to death. This sentence was actually carried out on the culprit, but it did not prevent what seems to have been a second attempt on Fisher's life soon afterwards.

Matters now moved rapidly. In May, 1532, Sir Thomas More resigned the chancellorship, and in June, Fisher preached publicly against the divorce.

In August, Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, died, and Cranmer was at once nominated to the pope as his successor. In January, 1533, Henry secretly went through the form of marriage with Anne Boleyn; Cranmer's consecration took place in March of the same year, and, a week later, Fisher was arrested.

It seems fairly clear that the purpose of this arrest was to prevent his opposing the sentence of divorce which Cranmer pronounced in May, or the coronation of Anne Boleyn which followed on 1 June; for Fisher was set at liberty again within a fortnight of the latter event, no charge being made against him.

In the autumn of this year (1533), various arrests were made in connexion with the so-called revelations of the Holy Maid of Kent, but as Fisher was taken seriously ill in December, proceedings against him were postponed for a time.

In March, 1534, however, a special bill of attainder against the Bishop of Rochester and others for complicity in the matter of the Nun of Kent was introduced and passed. By this Fisher was condemned to forfeiture of all his personal estate and to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. Subsequently a pardon was granted him on payment of a fine of 300 pounds.

In the same session of Parliament was passed the Act of Succession, by which all who should be called upon to do so were compelled to take an oath of succession, acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, under pain of being guilty of misprision of treason.

Anne Boleyn, the King's scheming mistress, was later Queen and thereafter beheaded, when Henry tired of her

Fisher refused the oath and was sent to the Tower of London, 26 April, 1534. Several efforts were made to induce him to submit, but without effect, and in November he was a second time attained of misprision of treason, his goods being forfeited as from 1 March preceding, and the See of Rochester being declared vacant as from 2 June following. A long letter exists, written from the Tower by the bishop to Thomas Cromwell, which records the severity of his confinement and the sufferings he endured.

In May, 1535, the new pope, Paul III, created Fisher Cardinal Priest of St Vitalis, his motive being apparently to induce Henry by this mark of esteem to treat the bishop less severely. The effect was precisely the reverse. Henry forbade the cardinal's hat to be brought into England, declaring that he would send the head to Rome instead.

St Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, later martyred for the Catholic faith

In June a special commission for Fisher's trial was issued, and on 17 June he was arraigned in Westminster Hall on a charge of treason, in that he denied the king to be supreme head of the Church. Since he had been deprived of his bishopric by the Act of Attainder, he was treated as a commoner, and tried by jury. He was declared guilty, and condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, but the mode of execution was changed, and instead he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

The martyr's last moments were thoroughly in keeping with his previous life. He met death with a calm dignified courage which profoundly impressed all present.

His headless body was stripped and left on the scaffold till evening, when it was thrown naked into a grave in the churchyard of All Hallows, Barking. Thence it was removed a fortnight later and laid beside that of Sir Thomas More in the church of St Peter ad Vincula by the Tower. His head was stuck upon a pole on London Bridge, but its ruddy and lifelike appearance excited so much attention that, after a fortnight, it was thrown into the Thames, its place being taken by that of Sir Thomas More, whose martyrdom occurred on 6 July next following.

Amen, amen, I say: this truly was a great bishop, martyr and man, and one most worthy to be called a priest of the Holy Catholic Church.

St John Fisher, Cardinal of Rochester, pray for us!


Parachuting in a soutane...

In Afghanistan, they call him padre!

Have soutane, will travel.

The Catholic clergy get everywhere - even into the French Foreign Legion.

Here their chaplain jumps out with a parachute - in his soutane! - and does forward rolls in mid-air, too!

Take a look:

With thanks to the blog of Rev Tim Finigan here:



Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Feast of the Sacred Heart

We are in the Octave of the great Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Some - particularly Jansenists and particular types of Protestants - claim that this devotion is a novelty.

It is certainly not novel.

Indeed, the Fathers of the Church already had a devotion to the wounded heart of Jesus as can readily be seen from their writings.

However, by the time of the eleventh and twelfth centuries a special devotion to the Sacred Heart was being developed and cultivated. It was taken up particularly by St Bruno and the Carthusians.

The Cistercians also were much devoted to the heart of Jesus, particularly St Bernard himself.

St Gertrude the Great and St Mechtilde were also great promoters of the devotion as also the learned the author of the "Vitis mystica", thought to be St Bonaventure.

From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the devotion was everywhere practised by individuals and by different religious congregations, such as the Franciscans and the Dominicans.

It was established as a devotion with prayers already formulated and special exercises, found in the writings of Lanspergius (d. 1539) of the Carthusians of Cologne, Louis of Blois (Blosius, 1566), a Benedictine and Abbot of Liessies in Hainaut, John of Avila (d. 1569) and St Francis de Sales, the latter belonging to the seventeenth century.

St Gertrude the Great, Visionary-Apostle of the Sacred Heart

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was everywhere in evidence, largely due to the Franciscan devotion to the Five Wounds and to the habit formed by the Jesuits of placing the image on their title-page of their books and the walls of their churches.

The Jesuits subsequently became the great defenders of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and were opposed by the mean-minded, narrow, puritanical but revolutionary Jansenists who mockingly called the devotees of the Sacred Heart by the name of Cordicoles or heart-worshippers.

Jansenists, like Bishop Scipione de' Ricci of Pistoia-Prato in Tuscany, later openly embraced the principles of the French Revolution whilst those Catholics who fought against the Revolution frequently adopted the Sacred Heart as their symbol.

The heresiarch Jansenist, Bishop Scipione de' Ricci, the Bishop of Pistoia-Prato

Ricci worked in conjunction with Prince Kaunitz, the Freemasonic Chancellor of State (Prime Minister) of the Holy Roman Empire, who had consolidated himself in the government of the Empire under Empress Maria Theresa, and later under the liberal Modernist heterodox Catholic, Emperor Joseph II.

Joseph's younger brother, Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Tuscany, later himself Emperor for 2 years, was also a willing aider and abetter of Ricci's schemes.

Consider the disaster that it was for the Catholic Church, for European civilisation and for the whole world that the Christian Roman Emperor, he who had the most solemn duty to defend the Church and the Papacy and to defend and extend the bounds of Christendom, should have become, himself, a hypocrite, a liar, an heterodox deceiver and destroyer of the Church of Jesus Christ which he was pledged, upon a solemn oath, to defend and who derived all his power and privileges from that same duty.

It was the beginning of modern politics - power without responsibility, privilege without duty, desiring the the goods of this world whilst depriving others of them.

In short, the very Emperor himself had become the servant of Satan and had paved the ideological way for the devilish totalitarianism that was to come 2 centuries later.

Ricci held a famous Synod at Pistoia in which, with the support of the Grand Duke, he tried to impose, experimentally, an early form of liberal Modernist Catholicism upon people and clergy in his diocese.

But - the people rose up, locked his Synod members in the Seminary and would not let them out until they had rescinded all the Modernist decrees, even taking off roof-tiles to get them to hurry the rescissions!

Few foresaw that the foolish experiments of the Jansenists and liberal Modernists would lead to them, the Empire and the Grand Duchy being altogether swept away by the tide of revolutionary hatred and violence.

Some Jansenists, after the Terror, returned to the Faith but by then the damage was done.

Ricci did not return until 1805, after he had seen the arrest of Pope Pius VII by Napoleon Bonaparte who compelled him to come to Paris and there to preside at the coronation of the destroyer of Christendom. It finally dawned on Ricci that his experiments had not had a good result.

Heterodox Habsburg: HI&RH Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Tuscany was that rare thing, an heterodox Habsburg. He supported Ricci's ill-fated schemes and so prepared the way for his own family's later fall.

The faithless disloyalty of these Jansenists, Febronianists, Gallicanists and other liberal Catholics who had lapsed from the Faith, wrought appalling damage to Christendom and eventually led to the complete overthrow of Christendom.

Conversely, the Sacred Heart symbol became one of the great symbols of the defence of the Faith during the French revolutionary period and was used by the many Catholics who rose up against the usurping secularists and revolutionaries, not least in the Vendée region of Western France.

The enemies of the Sacred Heart of Jesus had become, wittingly or not, the prime tools of Satan. That is their legacy - fittingly so, since it is Satan who is primarily opposed to the love of God which is so much a part of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

St John Eudes, Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

St John Eudes (1602-1680) publicly and enthusiastically promoted the devotion and gave it an Office and established a feast for it. St John Eudes was also the apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On 31 August 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Grand Seminary of Rennes in Brittany. Coutances followed suit on 20 October, a day with which the Eudist feast was from then on to be connected.

The feast soon spread to other dioceses, and the devotion was likewise adopted in various religious communities. It gradually came into contact with the devotion begun at Paray-le-monial resulting in a fusion of the two.

Our Lord shows His Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque

Eventually the devotion was hallowed by private revelation with the now famous revelations to St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the Visitation convent in Paray-le-monial.

Thereafter the devotion was taken by her confessor and spiritual director, St Claude de la Colombiere SJ, to England where, as chaplain to the English Queen, Mary of Modena, he was able to promote the devotion.

St Claude de la Colombiere SJ, confessor of both St Margaret Mary Alacoque and HRH Queen Mary of England, wife of King James II and VII. He was a great promoter of the Sacred Heart devotion.

In 1676 he had been sent to England as preacher to Mary of Modena, Duchess of York, afterwards Queen and wife to King James II and VII, the true Stuart monarch of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

It is fitting that Mary came from Modena which is not far north of that later centre of Jansenism, Pistoia.

St Claude lived the life of a Religious even in the Court of St. James and was as active a missionary in England as he had been in France. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Saint Margaret Mary by letter.

HRH Princess Mary of Modena-Este, Duchess of York as wife to the future King James II and VII and thus, later, Queen of England. Her confessor was St Claude de la Colombiere SJ whom she helped to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in England

Now the Feast is a great one and has an Octave. An external solemnity is also permitted to be celebrated on the Sunday during the Octave.

St Gaius Cassius Longinus,
the Roman soldier who opened the side of our Lord with a spear but later converted to Christianity

"Unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua".

"One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side and immediately there came out blood and water".

[John, 19:34. Communio, Feast of the Sacred Heart]


Friday, 11 June 2010

Alexander Forbes, fourth Lord Forbes of Pitsligo (1678–1762), Jacobite gentleman, scholar and cavalry commander

Alexander Forbes, fourth Lord Forbes of Pitsligo (1678–1762), philosopher and Jacobite army officer, only son of the third lord, Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo (c.1655–1690), and Lady Sophia Erskine (fl. 1676–1734), third daughter of John, twentieth Earl of Mar, was born on 24 May 1678.

He succeeded to the estates and title on the death of his father in 1690.

Forbes married first, in 1713, Rebecca (d. 1731), daughter of John Norton, a London merchant, with whom he had one son, John, Master of Pitsligo (c.1713–1781); and secondly, in 1731, his wife's companion, Elizabeth Allen (d. 1759), in a match which produced no children.

("Master of..." was the title given to the eldest son of a Scottish Lord of Parliament if he had no other courtesy title).

In his youth he travelled to France, where he received some education and made the acquaintance of Fénelon, and was introduced by him to Mme Guyon and other quietists. These were very influential in forming his religious ideas, which, although he remained a lifelong episcopalian, were resolutely ecumenical.

He returned to Scotland in 1700. After the deposition of George Garden from his living for Jacobitism in 1701, Forbes gave him a house at Rosehearty, where an ecumenical religious community was set up "where persons of different religious persuasions lived together in the love of God and the practice of self-abnegation" (Henderson, 18): Chevalier Andrew Ramsay was one of those who sought to join it.

In the Scottish parliament Forbes sought what was "consistent with the honour and independence of Scotland" (Forbes, Thoughts, 1829, iv), opposed steps leading to the union with England, and withdrew from the consideration of the articles to Pitsligo Castle.

In 1715 Forbes joined the Jacobite rising under his first cousin the Earl of Mar, commanding a troop of horse at Sheriffmuir. Following the collapse of the rising, he was forced to flee to France.

Subsequently he made his way via Rotterdam, Leiden, Vienna (where he may have acted as King James's agent), Venice, and Munich to the Jacobite court in Italy, where he kept a diary of events, published in 1938 as The Jacobite Court at Rome in 1719.

Pitsligo Castle was a great castle...
.....before it was burned and ruined by Whigs.

In 1720 he went to Paris, where he discussed Jacobite schemes with the financier John Law. Having not been attainted, he borrowed money from a Roman banker and returned to Scotland in the same year; living in retreat at Pitsligo Castle, he corresponded with other quietists and wrote philosophy, publishing Essays Moral and Philosophical in 1734.

Thoughts Concerning Man's Condition and Duties in this Life, and his Hope in the World to Come, also composed at this time, was not published until 1763: this work proved to be even more of a success, going through several editions and remaining in print well into the nineteenth century.

Elsewhere, he explored the question of the legitimacy of the state in his unpublished On Government and A letter on governments, composed about 1720 (which interestingly contradict some of the arguments of his published work). In them he appears to move some way towards a contractualist Whig position.

His thought combines a benign Christian ecumenism— "Every Body knows 'tis accident, for the most part, that makes us of one Religion, rather than another" (Forbes, Essays, 170)—with a kind of providential version of legitimacy and ideas of the centrality of popular consent, which can be held to hint towards the arguments of utilitarianism. He also (in his Essays) showed some sympathy with the position of women, whom he thought "more active, more foreseeing and better managers than we" (McLynn, The Jacobites, 157).

In 1745 Forbes "weighed and weighed again" the prospect of joining the rising, as he discusses at length in his complex Apologia (Memsie apologia, Aberdeen University Library, Pitsligo MS 1/16), but when he did so he entered on it with enthusiasm: "Did you ever know me absent at the second day of a wedding?" he asked his friends (Forbes, Thoughts, 1854, xvii); to his soldiers he simply said "Oh Lord, Thou knowest our cause is just. Gentlemen, march" (Tayler and Tayler, Jacobite Letters, 2).

W. Lockhart Bogle RA. Lord Forbes of Pitsligo mounts his horse. 1893.

By the end of September 1745 Forbes was in Aberdeen, whence he marched south with around 130 horse and two companies of Banffshire infantry, later incorporated in the Duke of Perth's regiment.

On arrival at Edinburgh on 8 October, he was appointed general of horse by Prince Charles (Charles Edward Stuart), with the rank of full colonel.

In England, where his cavalry were often used as scouts or forward patrols, he was in the thick of the action. Pitsligo's horse was the first body of Jacobite troops to enter Manchester, where Forbes threatened a reluctant constable with his sword; on 1 December he commanded the building of the bridge at Gatley ford and engineered the crossing of the Mersey by pontoon.

In the first stage of the fight at Clifton on 18 December, Pitsligo's horse was put to flight by government cavalry and dragoons, and retired to Penrith. At Falkirk in January 1746 the horse was stationed in the third line with the Royal Scots and the rest of the cavalry.

On the retreat north, Forbes entered Aberdeen on 7 February: on the disorder of the further retreat, all or nearly all his horses were lost. At the battle of Culloden, the men of Pitsligo's horse thus stood in the rear and took little part in the action. Their leader, however, was still at this stage (and beyond) a zealous recruiter: Adam Hay later claimed to have been held by Forbes as a pressed man in the days immediately before Culloden, while in the aftermath of the battle he was still trying to raise men, despite acknowledging over 2000 dead on the field.


Eventually accepting the inevitable, Forbes went into hiding on his own estates for the rest of his life, where his exploits became a local legend.

During the day he lay in the mosses at Craigmaud, 9 miles up-country from Fraserburgh, or hid "in a hollow place in the earth, under the arch of a small bridge" (Forbes, Thoughts, 1829, xxi).

On other occasions he called at his own castle in the guise of a beggar, ordered searching soldiers breakfast in the house in which he was hiding, or guided a search party to his own hiding place in the Cave of Cowshaven (still known as Lord Pitsligo's Cave) on the Buchan coast, 2 miles from Rosehearty.

His attainder named him as Lord Pitsligo (rather than Lord Forbes of Pitsligo), and on this technicality and the basis of similar mistakes made in attainders after the 'Fifteen, it was reversed by the court of session in 1749. This decision was, however, overturned by the House of Lords in the following year.

W. Lockhart Bogle RA. Pitsligo in hiding under the arch of a bridge. 1893.

Government troops continued to search sporadically for the ageing philosopher (who went under the name of Mr Brown in his correspondence with the Countess of Erroll, carried by the Laird of Udny's fool as go-between) until the later 1750s, by which time he was almost eighty years old.

His dignity and resignation under this treatment were remarkable: in 1752 he could still write that "We have nothing to depend upon but the Goodness of God every moment, we are sure he can do us no Injustice" (Aberdeen University Library, Pitsligo MS 1/6).

He died at Auchiries on 21 December 1762.

By all accounts Lord Forbes was a man of extraordinary moral qualities: the personification of "Virtue and Justice" to William Hamilton (Forbes, Thoughts, 1829, lvii); "the best father … best friend and the best subject in Britain" to John Murray of Broughton (Forbes, Jacobite Court, 33). His character forms the basis for that of the Baron of Bradwardine in Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverley. In the judgement of William King, Forbes was the "one person" known to him who spoke no evil "of any man living" and found good to say of all (King, 143–5).

[From Murray G. H. Pittock in the Dictonary of National Biography]

Charles Pettie. Bonnie Prince Charlie. 1898.
With Bonnie Prince Charlie, Forbes of Pitsligo is on the right (or it could possibly be MacDonald of Clanranald) and Cameron of Locheil is on the left.


Where ha' ye been a' the day'
Bonnie laddie, Hielan' laddie
Saw ye him that' far awa'
Bonnie laddie, Hielan' laddie
On his head a bonnet blue
Bonnie laddie, Hielan' laddie
Tartan plaid and Hielan' trews
Bonnie laddie, Hielan' laddie

When he drew his gude braid-sword
Then he gave his royal word.
Frae the field he ne'er wad flee
Wi' his friends wad live or dee.

Geordie sits in Charlie's chair
But I think he'll no bide there.
Charlie yet shall mount the throne
Weel ye ken it is his own.

[From Minstrelsy of Scotland, Moffatt. Published in Jacobite Relics, 1810. A version of the tune appeared in Playford, 11th edition, 1701.]

The current Chief of the Name is Sir William Stuart Stuart-Forbes of Pitsligo, 13th Baronet, who lives in Churchill Street, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

WHITE ROSE DAY - 10 June 2010

King James III and VIII


10 June 2010



King James III and VIII

de jure

King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland

illegally prevented

by the rich, corrupt, Protestant English Whigs

from occupying his throne

for no other reason than that he was

a faithful and loyal Roman Catholic.

Unlike the Whigs, Jacobites were Crown Unionists, against parliamentary union, in favour of home rule and subsidiarity and the union of the Crowns.

Agostino Masucci. The solemnization of the marriage of Prince James Francis Edward Stewart and Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska at Montefiascone, Italy, 1 September 1719. 1735.

The symbol of legitimate Roman Catholic monarchy


the White Rose.

There'll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame

by Robert Burns

By yon castle wa' at the close of the day,
I heard a man sing, tho' his head it was grey,
And as he was singing, the tears doon came -
'There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!'

'The Church is in ruins, the State is in jars,
Delusion, oppressions, and murderous wars,
We dare na weel say't but we ken wha's to blame
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!

'My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword,
But now I greet round their green beds in the yerd;
It brak the sweet heart o' my faithfu' auld dame -
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!

'Now life is a burden that bows me down,
Sin I tint my bairns, and he tint his crown;
But till my last moments my words are the same -
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame!'


Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Feast of Corpus Christi

PANGE lingua gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex inacta Virgine,
et in mundo conversatus,
sparso verbi semine,
sui moras incolatus
miro clausit ordine.

In suprema nocte coenae
recumbus cum fratribus
observata lege plene
cibis in legalibus,
cibum turbae duodenae
se dat suis manibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum
verbo carnem efficit:
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et si sensus deficit,
ad firmandum cor sincerum
sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
veneremur cernui:
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
laus et jubilatio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedictio:
procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio.
Amen. Alleluia.

SING, my tongue, the Saviour's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;-
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble sense fail.

To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honour, blessing,
might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

Pange Lingua is a hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

It is also sung on Holy Thursday, during the procession from the church to the altar of repose where the Blessed Sacrament is kept until Good Friday.

The last two stanzas, called separately Tantum Ergo, are sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The hymn expresses the doctrine of transubstantiation, the Thomist expression for the transformation of the elements of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The other great Eucharistic hymn of St Thomas is Adoro Te also often sung at Benediction.

There are numerous good translations of this famous hymn but I think that of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet, is one of the more unusual. Here it is:

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at Thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth Himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.

On the cross Thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here Thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what Thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with Thy glory's sight. Amen.

For those who (still) think that the idea of bread turning into Christ's Body is un-Scriptural, here is the proof that it is entirely Scriptural: John 6:47-72.

Below it is reproduced in both English and Greek. Note carefully the words highlighted in bold.

“47 Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. 52 If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. 53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 57 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. 58 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. 59 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. 60 These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum. 61 Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? 62 But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? 63 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 64 It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. 65 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him. 66 And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. 67 After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. 68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? 69 And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 70 And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God. 71 Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? 72 Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve.”

Now for the Greek - transliterated into Roman script so that the connections are more obvious. Again note the words in bold.

"47 amhn amhn legw umin, o pisteuwn ecei zwhn aiwnion. 48 egw eimi o artoV thV zwhV. 49 oi patereV umwn efagon en th erhmw to manna kai apeqanon: 50 outoV estin o artoV o ek tou ouranou katabainwn ina tiV ex autou fagh kai mh apoqanh. 51 egw eimi o artoV o zwn o ek tou ouranou katabaV: ean tiV fagh ek toutou tou artou zhsei eiV ton aiwna: kai o artoV de on egw dwsw h sarx mou estin uper thV tou kosmou zwhV. 52 emaconto oun proV allhlouV oi ioudaioi legonteV, pwV dunatai outoV hmin dounai thn sarka [autou] fagein; 53 eipen oun autoiV o ihsouV, amhn amhn legw umin, ean mh faghte thn sarka tou uiou tou anqrwpou kai pihte autou to aima, ouk ecete zwhn en eautoiV. 54 o trwgwn mou thn sarka kai pinwn mou to aima ecei zwhn aiwnion, kagw anasthsw auton th escath hmera: 55 h gar sarx mou alhqhV estin brwsiV, kai to aima mou alhqhV estin posiV. 56 o trwgwn mou thn sarka kai pinwn mou to aima en emoi menei kagw en autw. 57 kaqwV apesteilen me o zwn pathr kagw zw dia ton patera, kai o trwgwn me kakeinoV zhsei di eme. 58 outoV estin o artoV o ex ouranou katabaV, ou kaqwV efagon oi patereV kai apeqanon: o trwgwn touton ton arton zhsei eiV ton aiwna. 59 tauta eipen en sunagwgh didaskwn en kafarnaoum. 60 polloi oun akousanteV ek twn maqhtwn autou eipan, sklhroV estin o logoV outoV: tiV dunatai autou akouein; 61 eidwV de o ihsouV en eautw oti gogguzousin peri toutou oi maqhtai autou eipen autoiV, touto umaV skandalizei; 62 ean oun qewrhte ton uion tou anqrwpou anabainonta opou hn to proteron; 63 to pneuma estin to zwopoioun, h sarx ouk wfelei ouden: ta rhmata a egw lelalhka umin pneuma estin kai zwh estin. 64 all eisin ex umwn tineV oi ou pisteuousin. hdei gar ex archV o ihsouV tineV eisin oi mh pisteuonteV kai tiV estin o paradwswn auton. 65 kai elegen, dia touto eirhka umin oti oudeiV dunatai elqein proV me ean mh h dedomenon autw ek tou patroV. 66 ek toutou polloi [ek] twn maqhtwn autou aphlqon eiV ta opisw kai ouketi met autou periepatoun. 67 eipen oun o ihsouV toiV dwdeka, mh kai umeiV qelete upagein; 68 apekriqh autw simwn petroV, kurie, proV tina apeleusomeqa; rhmata zwhV aiwniou eceiV, 69 kai hmeiV pepisteukamen kai egnwkamen oti su ei o agioV tou qeou. 70 apekriqh autoiV o ihsouV, ouk egw umaV touV dwdeka exelexamhn, kai ex umwn eiV diaboloV estin; 71 elegen de ton ioudan simwnoV iskariwtou: outoV gar emellen paradidonai auton, eiV ek twn dwdeka."

The numbering is slightly out of sync in the translation but the words are there. Note this: the word for "eat" changes halfway through the discourse.

It changes from phagein, meaning "to eat", to trogon, meaning literally "to munch" (the "w" is a transliteration of the Greek letter Omega which is a long "o"). The verbs are, moreover, inflected according to the context (e.g phage etc) but it is clear that a different verb is being used by our Lord to emphasize what He means.


Our Lord is emphasizing that we are literally to "eat His flesh" albeit His flesh is in the form of bread and His blood in the form of wine.

Note also that when He refers to the Fathers eating manna in the desert He reverts to phagein to show that such "eating" was different from eating His flesh, albeit a foretaste of what was to come. He then changes back to trogon when referring to eating His own flesh.

Then the Jews say that His words are a "hard saying" and "how can this man give us his flesh to eat" and even many of His disciples "walked with him no more". They clearly understood that He was talking about them literally eating His flesh and they could not accept what He was saying, just as Protestants and others cannot accept it today.

Did our Lord change His teaching then to make it more "acceptable" and "relevant" to the Jews? Not one jot did He change! Instead He asked the Twelve "will you also go away?".

The Twelve, however, stayed and confessed their faith, Simon saying “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life".

Marvellous confession of faith!

What could be clearer? The Catholic belief in the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is the truly Scriptural one - not any other!

Hence St Paul says (1 Cor 11:23-17):

"Brethren, for I myself have received from the Lord (what I also delivered unto you) that the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said 'Take ye and eat, for this is my Body which shall be given up for you; do this in remembrance of me. For as oft as you shall eat this Bread and drink this Cup you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this Bread of drinks this Cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord".

There can simply be no doubt whatever that it is the Catholic doctrine which is the Scriptural doctrine. To believe otherwise is to deceive oneself.

“He gave them the Bread of heaven, Alleluia!"

The Feast of the Holy and Undivided Trinity




"My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father.

I and the Father are one."

[John 10:26-30]


Whitsunday 2010 - Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy Faithful...



and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Church

"And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…"
[Acts 2:1-4]

Pentecost (from the Greek Pentecoste meaning the 50th day i.e. after Easter) was also called White Sunday (or Whitsunday) because the neophytes again put on their Easter baptismal robes of white and - until the great destroyer, Archbishop Bugnini, abolished the ceremonies in 1955 - a second but slightly smaller version of the Easter Vigil occurred on Whitsun Eve. In Christendom it was for this reason that Pentecost was often called Pascha Rosatum or, in Italian, Pasqua Rossa, meaning Rose-Easter for the flames that descended like roses, for the red vestments and for the recalling of the mystery of Easter.

It is a highly Biblical feast and the Jews themselves had their own pre-figuring Pentecost which occurred 50 days after the Feast of the Passover. They still celebrate it with solemnity to this day.

This was the importance given by our ancestors to the Feast of Pentecost. But modern Catholics have had that privilege curtailed by the destructive work of Archbishop Bugnini, a prelate who was dismissed for Freemasonry by Pope Paul VI, as Bugnini himself admits in his own autobiography.

With a most shameful disregard for hallowed tradition which cannot escape the charge of impiety, Bugnini destroyed these centuries-old traditions and ceremonies.

Pentecost represents the fullness of God’s gift to men. He gave us His only-begotten Son at Christmas; in Holy Week, by the Passion of Christ, He atoned for us purifying and sanctifying us in His own Precious Blood. At Easter, at His Resurrection, and after, at His Ascension, God gloriifes us in His own Son and makes a place for us in Heaven.

Then, having ascended into heaven, God sends us the Holy Ghost to be our Advocate and Comforter in our earthly sojourn. Descending upon the Apostles as tongues of fire, the Spirit of love comes to us to inform our lives with charity, to create the Church as a bark of salvation and to lead us into all truth and holiness.

During Whit week every day at Mass is sung that most beautiful of hymns, the Veni Sancte Spiritus. But how often do you hear it sung?

VENI, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Come Holy Ghost send down those beams
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

At Vespers is sung also the better-known Veni Creátor Spíritus:

Veni Creátor Spíritus,
Mentes tuórum vísita:
Imple supérna grátia,
Quæ tu creásti pécora.

Come, O Creator, Spirit blest,
And in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Veni Sancte is particularly beautiful and it is a great sadness that so few now know it.

Here is a recording of each by French monks so that the difference can readily be seen. Veni Creator is followed by the sublime Veni Sancte:

Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Send forth thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

[Adapted from Psalm 103:30]