A day that shook the foundations of Britain’s Protestant myth


How odd that it should be the Guardian that grasped the magnitude of what happened yesterday. Andrew Brown, religion editor of Comment is Free, and the possessor of an intellect as mighty and muddled as that of Rowan Williams, writes:

This was the end of the British Empire. In all the four centuries from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, England has been defined as a Protestant nation. The Catholics were the Other; sometimes violent terrorists and rebels, sometimes merely dirty immigrants. The sense that this was a nation specially blessed by God arose from a deeply anti-Catholic reading of the Bible. Yet it was central to English self-understanding when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952 [sic], and swore to uphold the Protestant religion by law established.

For all of those 400 or so years it would have been unthinkable that a pope should stand in Westminster Hall and praise Sir Thomas More, who died to defend the pope’s sovereignty against the king’s. Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power. And now the power is gone, and perhaps the rebellion has gone, too.

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Comments from Father Z’s site

Papal Visit 2010: full itinerary

Thursday, September 16

08:10 Departure from Ciampino Airport, Rome
10:30 Arrival at Edinburgh International
Airport
11:00 State Welcome and Audience with HM Queen Elizabeth II, Palace of Holyrood House
11:40 State Reception in the grounds of the Palace of Holyrood House
13:00 Private Lunch with the Archbishop of
St Andrews and Edinburgh
17:15 Pope Benedict XVI presides at the
celebration of Mass, Bellahouston Park
20:00 Departure from Glasgow Airport
21:25 Arrival at Heathrow Airport

Friday, September 17

08:00 Private Celebration of Mass in the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature
10:00 Celebration of Catholic Education,
St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.
n Prayer with Representatives of Religious Congregations in St Mary’s Chapel
n Gathering with schoolchildren and students, Sports Arena, including the inauguration of the John Paul II Institute for Sport
11:30 Meeting with Religious Leaders and
People of Faith, Waldegrave Drawing Room, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.
16:00 Fraternal Visit to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Lambeth Palace
17:10 Address to Civil Society, Westminster Hall, Palace of Westminster
18:15 Celebration of Evening Prayer,
Westminster Abbey

Saturday, September 18

09:00 Courtesy call from the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Archbishop’s House, Westminster
09:20 Courtesy call from the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP
09:30 Courtesy call from the Acting Leader of HM Opposition, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman
10:00 Mass in the Cathedral of the Most
Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Westminster
Pope Benedict will greet 2,500 young
people gathered in the Piazza to welcome him
Pope Benedict will greet the people of Wales
17:00 Visit to St Peter’s Residence for Older People, Vauxhall
18:15 Prayer Vigil on the Eve of the
Beatification of Cardinal Newman, Hyde Park

Sunday, September 19

08:00 Farewell to the Apostolic Nunciature, Wimbledon
08:45 Departure by helicopter for Birmingham, Wimbledon Park
09:30 Arrival by helicopter in Birmingham
10:00 Celebration of Mass with the Beatification of Cardinal Newman, Cofton Park
13:10 Private Visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Edgbaston, Birmingham
13:45 Lunch with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales and the Papal Entourage, Oscott College
16:45 Meeting with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, Seminary Chapel, Oscott College
18:15 Departure Ceremony, Birmingham
International Airport

Watch LIVE Webcast of Benedict XVI’s Visit to the UK

Click here to visit the site

Submitted by Doria2

Catholics in England suffered official repression for some 300 years (along with today’s widespread anti-Catholic bigotry)

STONOR, England (AP) — For nearly three centuries after the Reformation, Catholics in England were outlaws.

But in the turmoil and persecution that followed the break between King Henry VIII and Rome, noble families such as the Stonors clung to their faith, “in spite of dungeon, fire and sword,” as the Victorian hymn “Faith of our Fathers” put it.

“We’re just stubborn, really,” says Ralph Thomas Campion Stonor, the seventh Lord Camoys, a title bestowed on an ancestor for valor in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Pope Benedict XVI will recall the years of persecution during his upcoming tour of Britain Sept. 16-19. He will visit Westminster Hall, the medieval chamber within the Houses of Parliament where the Catholic Thomas More was tried and convicted of treason in 1535. More refused to swear an oath accepting the annulment of King Henry’s marriage, thus becoming one of the first of the legion of English Catholic martyrs.

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“Britain, and in particular London, has been and is the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death.”

Senior Catholic Edmund Adamus blames UK’s ‘moral wasteland’ on equal rights.

A leading adviser to the Archbishop of Westminster has blamed abortion and gay rights for turning Britain into a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland” which has become “the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”.

Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs at the diocese of Westminster and an adviser to Archbishop Vincent Nichols, said Parliament had turned Britain into a country which is more culturally anti-Catholic than nations where Christians are violently persecuted such as Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan.

His comments, made with only weeks to go before Pope Benedict XVI’s historic state visit to Britain, will cause embarrassment between organisers of the visit and government officials, because they reveal how some members of the Church’s hierarchy believe that the pontiff is travelling to a hostile and anti-Catholic country.

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Anti-Catholicism lies at the heart of Englishness

At the very centre of the national psyche there seems to be a basic suspicion of Catholicism which can be difficult to pinpoint: but it has certainly reared its head recently.

The front cover of Private Eye with Pope Benedict on the balcony and the crowd in St Peter’s Square supplying the crude – but hardly unforeseeable – punchline may have shocked some and offended others, but it certainly should not have surprised anyone, as it belongs to a great tradition of English anti-Catholic satire: a tradition which has its roots in the dark days of the penal laws, and its high-water mark in the decades which followed emancipation.

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Some liberal Catholics are thinking: It’s payback time, Ratzinger!

If I was Benedict XVI, I’d be asking myself if I even wanted to visit Britain this autumn. For, when he does, he will meet English bishops, Catholic journalists and self-appointed spokesmen for the Catholic community who did not dare offend liberal opinion by defending him properly, or whose judgment was clouded by personal dislike of the Pope and his agenda.

Some Catholics – not many, but they are prominent – are actually thinking: it’s payback time, Ratzinger. If we can make this mud stick, then we can continue to sabotage your liturgical reforms. In other words, they are using the victims of clerical child abuse to fight internal political battles. Why am I not surprised?

Read more By Damian Thompson