Cuthbert Tunstall

Cuthbert Tunstall was the Bishop of Durham in most tumultuous times.

Under Henry VIII he buckled and capitulated to that king's break with Rome.

He was a friend of Sir Thomas More and Desiderius Erasmus

Under the more radical reformers in the days of Edward VI, he rediscovered his backbone and was imprisoned for his defense of the Catholic Faith.

Under Mary he was restored to favor.

He refused to join Elizabeth I in breaking with Rome once more.

She remanded him into the custody of Matthew Parker who kept him at Lambeth Palace for the rest of his life. Elizabeth and Bp. Tunstall were both in the tower for a time and became friends, so while she deprived him of his office, she also assured that he was treated gently and with grace for the remaining days of his life - a rare act of mercy in those times.

The above is a short Biography sent to me by Fr Donald Lowery. He wrote me a letter to tell me he had recieved from an English bookseller a collection of prayers written by Bishop Tunstall.

Here I present a redirect to the Catholic Encyclopedae of 1914 entry on Bp Tunstall...

"...Bishop of London, later of Durham, b. at Hackforth, Yorkshire, in 1474; d. at Lambeth Palace, 18 Nov., 1559. He studied both at Oxford and Cambridge, finally graduating LL.D. at Padua. Being an accomplished scholar both in theology and law, as well as in Greek and Hebrew, he soon won the friendship of Archbishop Warham, who on 25 Aug., 1511, made him his chancellor, and shortly after rector of Harrow-on-the-Hill. He became successively a canon of Lincoln (1514) and archdeacon of Chester (1515). He began his diplomatic career as ambassador at Brussels, in conjunction with Sir Thomas More, and there he lodged with Erasmus, becoming the intimate friend of both of them. Further preferments and embassies fell to his lot, till in 1522 he was appointed Bishop of London by papal provision. On 25 May, 1523, he became keeper of the privy seal; but neither the work this entailed nor fresh embassies prevented him from making a visitation of his diocese. A visit to Worms (1520-1) had opened his eyes to the dangers of the Lutheran movement and the evils arising from heretical literature. In the divorce question Tunstall acted as one of Queen Katherine's counsel, but he endeavoured to dissuade her from appealing to Rome. On 21 Feb., 1529-30, he was translated by the pope from the Diocese of London to the more important See of Durham, a step which involved the assumption of quasi-regal power and authority within the bishopric. During the troubled years that followed, Tunstall was far from imitating the constancy of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, yet he ever held to Catholic doctrine and practices. He adopted a policy of passive obedience and acquiescence in many matters with which he could have had no sympathy. With regard to the suppression of the monasteries, the king's ministers so feared his influence that they prevented his attendance at Parliament... " more...


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