Saturday 17 January 2009


Further to my tetchy display on Fr Z's blog, (Mm, no defence.) I would like to take issue with the point that Henry VIII was not a doctrinaire reformer. So, he believed in the Catholic Faith, but disobeyed it and allowed the people who were doctrinaire reformers to take hold and warp this country ever since.

I wonder how much difference that makes to the people he martyred?

I may be being dragged on a hurdle to Tyburn, but phew the King is not a doctrinaire reformer. That would cheer me up as I put my head on the block, or in the case of the Carthusians head in a noose, before unspeakable things are done to me. Actually, I would have more pressing things to consider of an eternal nature, just then and it's quite a long way from Tower Hill to Tyburn.

The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham may have been taken, burnt and the ashes put in Thames at Chelsea, but the King still believes in Purgatory. (Hope I've got the right monarch there.)

The shrine of St Thomas a Beckett sacked, but phew the King isn't one of those nasty continental reformers.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries was a catastrophe on a spiritual, cultural, social, agricultural...and anything else you can think of level. Smash something so important to the fabric of the nation, but it's OK, because HVIII is doing it for the money, not because he hates all those people praying all the time.

I once visited Tintern Abbey with a screwed up atheist (don't ask) and he said, 'Why didn't people look after it and preserve it?' Well aside from the fact that the jolly National Trust wasn't around in the Tudor Period and the fashion for follies hadn't started, I had to point out that ruined buildings is the physical manifestation of smashing your religious culture. That and those whitewashed walls that Protestants glory in along with those quaint statues with no heads or limbs.

Dartford had the only Dominican Convent in England in 1535 and one of the nuns there was St John Fisher's half-sister. It now has the Priory Shopping Centre. When a Capuchin Missionary Priest came in the 19thC, he celebrated Mass in the upstairs room of what is now my hairdressers. He was often freezing cold and ill. People were horrible to him and the Baptismal Register shows how his hand-writing deteriorated over time.

That said, the Anglocentric world view was alive and well way back. St Cuthbert said on his deathbed that his folks were to keep away from people who would not celebrate Easter on the say day as the Pope. That sentiment still exists, the ' everything was lovely in the dreamy Celtic Church, 'til the nasty legalistic bossy Roman Church started to interfere....' Yeh, right.


On the subject of The Telegraph, which I quite like incidentally, I once asked my Mother why they (my parents) didn't buy it and she said, 'because it's anti-Irish, anti-Catholic and anti-teachers.' Almost a full house. Bingo! (You have to insult, women, musicians and the Welsh to get that. Lots of people get quite close.)

That's quite enough.

Leutgeb; it's not all music and cakes.