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A Saint for our time October 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, martyrdom, persecution, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Saint Edmund Campion was a noted English scholar, revert to the Faith, Jesuit, priest, and martyr to the atrocious Elizabethan persecution of Catholics.  Campion had been an Oxford scholar with some St Edmund Campionsympathies to the Faith when the English persecution got restarted under Queen Elizabeth.  He chose to leave the country, entered the famous seminary at Douai, and wound up becoming a Jesuit.  Some years later, he was sent by the Jesuits and the Pope to help sustain the many suffering and still faithful Catholics of England after decades of protestant repression.  He knew that his mission to England would be his last, that he would be inevitably caught, tortured, and killed, as had virtually every other priest sent or remaining in hiding in England.

When he first arrived in England, it came to Campion’s mind to record a testament to the real motives behind his efforts, knowing that the Elizabethan authorities would try to portray him as a treasonous wretch set upon destroying Elizabeth and her totalitarian Tudor state.  This document became known as “Campion’s Brag” and recorded not only his motives, but also his denunciation of some notable protestant errors.  The letter quickly became public and there was a furious response from the authorities.  More publishings from Campion, destroying more protestant errors, quickly ramped up the pressure, and Campion was inevitably betrayed and brought to incredible suffering.

Img_1082But I thought the closing portion of Campion’s Brag, as contained in Evelyn Waugh’s very readable little biography of the Saint, was most appropriate for these very trying times.  They reveal such a wonderful Catholic sense of being, an ethos, that perseveres joyfully even in the midst of unimaginable suffering and repression.   It is the endless charity of the Saints, and their upholding of constant Truth, that has sustained the Faith for these many centuries.  I found Campion’s witness very edifying and helpful as we continue to worry over the future of our beloved Church:

….Many innocent hands are lifted up to Heaven for you daily by those English students, [at the seminary at Douai] whose posterity shall never die, which beyond the seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you Heaven, or to die upon your pikes.  And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league – all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practices of England – cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, [where the executions of priests took place] or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.  The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood.  So the faith was planted; so it must be restored[We should keep this in mind within our own struggles and concerns today]

If these my offers be refused, and my endeavors can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigor, I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, Who send us His Grace, and set us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at least be friends in Heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.

———–End Quote———–

Such beautiful sentiment!  What great charity, to beg that even one’s tormentor and oppressor may happily meet with you in Heaven!  That is truly a great example for our times, when many may be tempted to campion-imageswrath, hatred, and despair.  It is so very difficult to maintain charity for those we see working, striving to destroy our glorious Faith, planted indeed by God Incarnate in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, but it is also absolutely necessary.

Our Blessed Lord told us that we shall be judged on the judgment we mete out to others.  Ouch.  I need to stick that to my monitor and look upon it every time I write!  Our Lord also commanded us to be merciful to all, especially those who treat us cruelly or harm us.  Again, so very counter to our fallen natures, but absolutely key to our sanctification!

So do not let yourself be scandalized out of the Church! It has happened to many, and cognizance of that should probably temper more of my writings.  Yes we must oppose error at every turn with great force, as the great Saint Edmund Campion did to his death, but we must also do so with love in our hearts and not the hatred of factionalism. I know I struggle with that personally, this writing, it does take a toll.  Don’t let them take your peace!

And Saint Edmund and his cohort did triumph in the end, the Faith was sustained – crippled, stunted, but remaining – in England in spite of literally centuries of the cruelest persecution, and bloomed back into full flower in the 1830s when the persecution was finally lifted.  It breathed anew for a century or more before the new dark times fell, before the worldwide heresy of modernism became so dominant.  But the experience of these English Catholics and martyrs should give us hope as Campion’s example did them.  We must remain faithful, even as the giants in our Church seem to fall to the world, the flesh, and the devil.

God bless all of you! May He sustain you to endure these terrible trials.

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Comments

1. TLM - October 22, 2014

Thank you for this. If not on guard, I tend to allow anger to consume me. This was a reminder of a conversation I had one time in the confessional a few years back with a wonderful priest. He said, ‘You must remember that the seminarians had been more or less brainwashed, they cannot see clearly, it wasn’t always their fault alone, and you must pray for them intently, as they are only partially culpable. This is the work of Satan himself and he is much smarter and much more cunning than we.’

I can’t tell you how much that helped me with my anger at them. I do find the more I pray for errant clergy the softer and more compassionate my heart becomes for them. I don’t think we can even imagine the ferocious attack the clergy is under. They DESPERATELY need our prayers. ‘But by the grace of God, there go I.’

Baseballmom - October 22, 2014

You are dead on accurate. These men, from the Pope down, need our prayers. They are under ferocious attack. We must be honest about the harm they are causing, but we must also pray much for them. Thanks for the reminder…


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