Henry VIII didn't get it all...

Upon installing himself as the head of the Church in England Henry VIII set out to steal as much church property as he could. Thus his coffers were expanded, the rents would go to him and he would be done with these meddlesome monks and Abbots. Stephanie A. Mann who writes about the English Refomation things posted this article today...

Something Cromwell and the Court of Augmentations Missed...

...Furness Abbey was the second richest monastery in 16th century England when Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's Vicar in Spiritual Matters, targeted it and the other large monasteries for dissolution. Cromwell and his official Commissioners would be very disappointed to learn that they really missed something: the grave of an earlier abbot containing great treasure... more...


*Henry VIII drawing workshop of Hans Holbein the_Younger

Joan Departs from Blois

...Once made chaste by your shining example,
the army marched toward Orleans as planned.
What a procession is must have been, with
singing priests leading the way for four thousand.
Gleaming in your armor while holding your
banner, you cheerfully exhorted your command...”
from Maid of Heaven by Ben D. Kennedy



An 18th Century French Bread Recipe

Bread, (as it remains) was central to eighteenth-century French cuisine. If you have never made bread, be not afraid, it is simple. Although there are numerous factors that can affect bread, if you use fresh ingredients and protect the dough from getting a chill while rising, you will succeed.

French bread is basic.

The ingredients for two loaves:

1 packet of yeast
2 cups of warm water
6-7 cups of flour (mixed flours if you wish)
1 Tablespoon salt

Put the water into a small bowl. The water should be on the high side of warm. Take care that the bowl does not cool the water. Sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the water and set aside.

Measure your flour into a bowl or other container and mix in the salt. Grease another bowl for the dough to rise. This bowl should be of generous proportions. Another bowl should be readied for mixing the dough. If you want sweetener put a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey in the mixing bowl. Flour your breadboard.

If you have taken about ten minutes to get all this ready the yeast has probably soften to a gray scum on top of the water or maybe has become bubbly. Transfer this to the mixing bowl. Add three cups of flour to the liquid and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add more flour, one half cup at a time, and stir until you can stir no more.

Turn the dough out on the floured breadboard. Flour your hands and start working the remaining flour into the dough. Keep this up until the dough is very stiff and when you press lightly on it with a finger tip it springs back. One technique for kneading is to chop the dough in the middle and fold the dough over. Do whatever works for you but work the dough.

Take the dough and form it into a ball by folding it. Put the dough upside down into the greased bowl so the top gets greased and then turn it over. Cover the bowl with a towel and set it in a draft-free area to rise. It should about double its size in an hour.

After the first rising, punch it down to expel the air, and set the dough on the breadboard. Now, make the decision, one loaf, two loaves, four mini loaves, eight large sandwich buns, baguettes, etc. Just about anything is historically right. Keep in mind that an unbroken crust seems to preserve the bread so plan according to how it will be used. It seems best to finish the loaf in one meal. Anyhow, cut the dough into the size and number you want.

Common bread was not baked in pans. Form your loaf round, oval, long and skinny, whatever, and place it on a greased baking sheet (you can do this on cornmeal if you wish). Allow room between loaves as they will spread. Cover all with a towel and return to the rising place. Let it rise another hour. (Remember to preheat your oven to have it ready when the second rising is complete.)

Baking is quick and hot. The oven should be at least 425 F, some recommend a higher heat, and some start at a higher heat and turn it down after ten minutes. All will work if you watch so the bread does not burn. The baking time is 25 minutes. This, of course, can vary 5 minutes either way depending on the oven. The bread is done if you get a hollow sound when you tap on the bottom with a finger tip or knuckle.

A note on crusts. Those traditional French bread crusts are achieved with moisture. A pan of boiling water in the lower part of the oven and spraying the bread with a mist of water every few minutes during the first fifteen minutes of baking should work. There are other factors in your particular environment that will affect this.

Never cut your bread break it!

Bon Appétit!

Note: This recipe was sent to me from a French and Indian War reenactment group.

As the title says this is A recipe for making French bread. There are others far better bakers than I am who may make it different. C'est le monde.


On this day in 1215,

St Louis IX was born. more here...



St Vincent DePaul

Born today in 1580

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.

Beyond an aptitude for study and a certain persistence in achieving his ends, there is nothing in Vincent's life up to this time to suggest his future fame and sanctity. He now went on a short journey which was to change his whole life. The scholarly young priest was to be captured at sea by pirates and sold as a slave in Africa! This extraordinary happening came about in the following way. Vincent, having returned home after receiving his degree, went back to Toulouse to recover by process of law a small legacy which had been left him by an old woman of that city. Homeward bound, he made the trip from Marseilles to Narbonne by water, on board a small coastwise vessel. The ship was set upon by three brigantines manned by Barbary pirates, who were at this time a menace to all Mediterranean shipping. When the Christians refused to strike their flag, the infidels attacked them with arrows. Three were killed and several, including Vincent, were wounded. Those who remained alive were put in chains, and the pirates straightway sailed to Africa with their human cargo. Landing at Tunis, the pirates led their prisoners through the streets of the city, after which they were brought back to the vessel and sold to the highest bidder, like cattle. Vincent, bought by a fisherman, was sold again to an aged Moslem, a humane man, who had spent fifty years in search of the "philosopher's stone." He grew fond of his slave, to whom he gave long lectures on alchemy and Mohammedanism; he even promised to make Vincent his heir and also to communicate to him all the secrets of his science if he adopted the religion of Islam. The young priest, terrified that his faith would be corrupted in this alien environment, prayed for divine protection, particularly for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

Vincent continued firm in his faith and lived on with the old man until his death, when he became the property of his master's nephew, who soon sold him to a renegade Christian, a native of Nice. This man, a convert to Mohammedanism, had three wives, one of whom was a Turkish woman. She often wandered into the field where the new Christian slave was at work, and out of idle curiosity would ask him to sing songs in praise of his God. With tears running down his cheeks Vincent would obediently sing certain Psalms, among which was Psalm cxxxvii, "By the waters of Babylon," in which the Jews bewailed their captivity. The Turkish woman now began to reproach her husband for abandoning his religion, and kept on until, without herself accepting the faith, she made him return to it. He repented of his apostasy, and he and Vincent made their escape from Africa together. They crossed the Mediterranean safely in a small boat, landed near Marseilles, in June, 1607, then traveled up to Avignon. There the apostate confessed, and abjured Mohammedanism before the papal vice-legate. The following year, accompanied by Vincent, he went to Rome, where he entered the order of the Brothers of St. John of God, who serve in hospitals.

Vincent now returned to France and chanced to be brought to the attention of Queen Marguerite of Valois, who appointed him her almoner. This office gave him the income from a small abbey. For a time he lodged in the same house as a lawyer, who was one day robbed of a considerable sum. He openly charged Vincent with the theft and spoke against him to all his friends. Vincent did nothing save quietly deny the charge, adding, "God knows the truth." For six years he bore the slander, making no further denial, and at last the real thief confessed. Speaking as though the victim had been someone else, Vincent once told this story at a conference with his priests, in order to show that patience, silence, and resignation are generally the best defense of innocence.

Vincent soon came to know a famous priest of Paris, Monsieur de Berulle, afterwards a cardinal. Father Berulle, who at that time was founding a branch of the Congregation of the Oratory in France, recognized Vincent's worth. He found for him a curacy at Clichy, in the outskirts of Paris, and later through his influence Vincent became tutor to the children of Philip de Gondi, Count of Joigny and general of the galleys of France. The countess, a serious-minded woman, was so impressed by Vincent that she eventually chose him as her spiritual director.

In 1617, while the family was at its country seat at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, Vincent was sent for to hear the confession of a peasant who lay dangerously ill. In the course of his questioning, Vincent learned that every one of the peasant's previous confessions had been sacrilegious. On his recovery the man declared, in the presence of the countess, that he would have been eternally lost if he had not spoken with Vincent. Unlike the majority of noble women of this period, who felt no responsibility for their dependents, this good lady was concerned about the spiritual welfare of her tenantry. She persuaded Vincent to preach in the parish church of Folleville and instruct the people. Such crowds came to confess that he called the Jesuits of Amiens to his aid. The Congregation of the Mission had its inception at this time.

Vincent left the household of the count that same year to become pastor of the parish of Chatillon-les-Dombes, which had long been neglected, its church virtually abandoned to the elements. By restoring the church, by instituting the habit of regular worship, he created a new spirit which helped to regenerate the whole district. He converted the notorious count of Rougemont and many other aristocrats from their dissolute lives. Seeing how effective Vincent's labors were, the countess now offered him a large sum of money to found a perpetual mission in whatever place and manner he thought fit. Nothing at first came of the idea, for Vincent seemed reluctant to undertake so important an enterprise. Meanwhile the countess secured her husband's help in organizing a company of zealous missionaries to work among their own vassals and the peasants of the countryside. They also discussed the plan for a perpetual mission with the count's brother, Jean Francois de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, who gave them the College des Bons Enfants as a reception house for the proposed new community.

The countess had obtained from Vincent a promise to continue as her spiritual director while she lived and to assist her at the end. She was in failing health and died in the summer of 1625, whereupon Vincent went to Paris to establish himself at the College des Bons Enfants. Now, at the age of forty-nine, he was free to assume the position of director. He drew up rules and constitutions for the house, and these were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1632. In that year they were given the priory of St. Lazare, henceforth the chief house of the congregation. The Fathers of the Mission thus came to be called Lazarists, although they are more generally known as Vincentians. The Congregation consisted then, as it still does, of priests and laymen who, after a period of probation, take four simple vows, poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. They live from a common fund and devote themselves to sanctifying their own spirits and to converting sinners. They are employed in missions, especially to country people, teaching the Catechism, preaching, reconciling differences, and performing charitable deeds. Some of them conduct seminaries. Their institutions now flourish in all parts of the world. Vincent lived to see twenty-five more communities founded in France, northern Italy, Poland, and elsewhere.

Extensive and rewarding as this work was, it did not satisfy Vincent's passion for helping suffering people. He started con fraternities to seek out and care for the sick in every parish. From these groups, under the leadership of Louise de Marillac, sprang the Sisters of Charity, "whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister the streets of the city and wards of the hospitals." Vincent persuaded a number of noble and wealthy Parisian women, who had hitherto never given a thought to the misery of others, to band together as Ladies of Charity, to collect funds and assist in many practical ways. He made plans for the founding of several hospitals to serve the needy sick, foundlings, and the aged. At Marseilles a home was opened for exhausted galley-slaves. It was the custom at this time in France to punish criminals by condemning them to service in the war galleys of the state. Under the lash and chained to their benches, they performed the cruelly hard labor of rowing these cumbersome vessels with their many-tiered banks of oars. After a few years the prisoners were broken and useless; now for the first time they had a hospital and various other forms of aid.

For men about to take Holy Orders, Vincent devised a set of spiritual exercises, and special exercises also for those desiring to make general Confession, or to settle on a vocation. He conferred frequently with the clergy on the correction of the shocking slackness, ignorance, and abuses that were all around them. To the Biblical injunction, "Thou art thy brother's keeper," he gave new practical meaning, by laying down patterns of philanthropy that have been followed ever since. To the worldly society of seventeenth-century Paris he presented a much-needed example of selfless charity.

The great political and religious conflict known as the Thirty Years War was now raging. Vincent, on hearing of the wretchedness of the people of Lorraine, collected alms for them in Paris. He sent missionaries to other countries affected by the war. Recalling his own sorrows as a slave in Tunisia, he raised enough money to ransom some twelve hundred Christian slaves in Africa. He had influence with the powerful Cardinals Richelieu and De Retz, directors of French foreign policy; and was sent for by King Louis XIII, to minister to him as he lay dying. The king's widow, Anne of Austria, now Queen Regent, had him made a member of the Council of Conscience of the five-year-old prince, the future Louis XIV. Vincent continued to be in favor at court, and during the civil war of the Fronde, tried to persuade the Queen Regent to give up her unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin, to help pacify and unify the people.

Thus, although he had no advantages of birth, fortune, or handsome appearance, or any showy gifts at all, Vincent de Paul's later years became one long record of accomplishment. In the midst of great affairs, his soul never strayed from God; always when he heard the clock strike, he made the sign of the cross as an act of divine love. Under setbacks, calumnies, and frustrations, and there were many, he preserved his serenity of mind. He looked on all events as manifestations of the Divine will, to which he was perfectly resigned. Yet by nature, he once wrote of himself, he was "of a bilious temperament and very subject to anger." Without divine grace, he declared, he would have been "in temper hard and repellent, rough and crabbed." With grace, he became tenderhearted to the point of looking on the troubles of all mankind as his own. His tranquillity seemed to lift him above petty disturbances. Self-denial, humility, and an earnest spirit of prayer were the means by which he attained to this degree of perfection. Once when two men of exceptional learning and ability asked to be admitted to his congregation, Vincent courteously refused them, saying: "Your abilities raise you above our low state. Your talents may be of good service in some other place. As for us, our highest ambition is to instruct the ignorant, to bring sinners to a spirit of penitence, and to plant the Gospel spirit of charity, humility, and simplicity in the hearts of all Christians." One of his rules was that, so far as possible, a man ought not to speak of himself or his own concerns, since such discourse usually proceeds from and strengthens pride and self-love.

Vincent was deeply concerned at the rise and spread of the Jansenist heresy.[4] He protested hotly against a view of God that seemed to limit His mercy, and no priest teaching that error could remain in his congregation. "I have made the doctrine of grace the subject of my prayer for three months," he said, "and every day God has confirmed my faith that our Lord died for us all and that He desires to save the whole world."

As the end of his long life drew near, Vincent endured much suffering. On September 27, 1660, he received the Last Sacraments, and died calmly in his chair, being then eighty-five years old. He was buried in the church of St. Lazare, Paris. In 1729 he was beatified by Benedict XIII, and canonized by Clement XII in 1737. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all charitable societies. His emblem is, most appropriately, children.

June 6, 1659

Most Holy Father:

I know that the whole of France and many other nations are urgently beseeching Your Holiness to deign to inscribe on the calendar of Saints the name of the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva. I am also aware that Your Holiness, filled with admiration for the rare virtues that shone in him, and the books of lofty devotion which he composed, holds his memory in profound veneration, and, consequently, that Your Holiness seems inclined to carry out this design, without there being any need of petitions from others and, especially, from such a wretched and unknown individual as myself. Nevertheless, Most Holy Father, as I was on rather familiar terms with this servant of God, who often deigned to hold converse with me, either about the Institute of the Religious of the Visitation of Holy Mary, which he established and founded, or on other pious matters, I have admired so many, and so great, virtues in him, that it is hard for me now to keep silence; I cannot be the only person who says nothing.

Faith, Hope, Charity, and the other cardinal and moral Christian virtues seemed almost innate in him and, taken together, formed in him, at least to my way of thinking, such a fund of goodness that, during an illness which occurred to me shortly after a conversation with him, I turned over in my mind his sweetness and exquisite meekness, and often repeated to myself: 'Oh! how good must God be, since the Bishop of Geneva is so kind.'

If I were alone, Most Holy Father, in thus thinking about him, I might believe I was deceiving myself but, as the whole world shares these sentiments, what else is needed, Most Holy Father, but a word from Your Holiness to consummate such a holy enterprise, by resolving to inscribe his name in the catalogue of the saints, and setting him up for the veneration of the whole world! All the priests of our Congregation and myself prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, now most humbly beg you to do so. May God Almighty deign to grant you many long years for the welfare of His Church!



Mary Queen of Scots

It was on this day in 1558 that Mary was taken in marriage to ths Dauphin of France, François. Here is the story of her life.

Mary is a tragic figure in History. As with most Catholic Monarchs she has been portrayed as stiff, callous and rigid in her Catholic Faith, unwilling to be tolerant of "The New Faith". Such films as Elizabeth, lionize Elizabeth as the model ruler, a strong woman, undeterred by the absence of a husband. Yet when viewing Mary, she is seen through the eyes of the 21st century. No attempt is ever made to be an observer only, and we are presented with a moral dilemma of intolerance. It is, in a word, revisionist history. In politics it seems, one discredits the man, but a woman must be dishonoured as well. Today we live in a world of political sound bites, religion is used not to set an example but to show affiliation with a certain group. It was not always so.

Mary Stuart, born at Linlithgow, 8 December, 1542; died at Fotheringay, 8 February, 1587. She was the only legitimate child of James V of Scotland. His death on 14 December 1542, immediately following her birth, and she became queen when only six days old.

The Tudors endeavoured by war to force on a match with Edward VI of England. Mary, however, was sent to France, 7 August, 1548, where she was excellently educated, as is now admitted by both friend and foe. On 24 April, 1558, she married the Dauphin Francois and, on the death of Henri II, 10 July, 1559, became Queen Consort of France.

This apparent good fortune was saddened by the loss of Scotland. Immediately after the accession of Elizabeth, her council made plans to "help the divisions" of Scotland by aiding those "inclined to true religion" (protestant). The revolution broke out in May, and with Elizabeth's aid soon gained the upper hand. There were dynastic, as well as religious, reasons for this policy. Elizabeth's birth being illegitimate, Mary, though excluded by the will of Henry VIII, might claim the English Throne as the legitimate heir. As the state of war still prevailed between the two countries, there was no chance of her being accepted, but her heralds did, later on, emblazon England in her arms, which deeply offended the English Queen. Mary's troubles were still further increased by the Huguenot rising in France, called le tumulte d'Amboise 6-17March 1560, making it impossible for the French to succour Mary's side in Scotland.
At last the starving French garrison of Leith was obliged to yield to a large English force, and Mary's representatives signed the Treaty of Edinburgh on 6 July, 1560. One clause of this treaty might have excluded from the English throne all Mary's descendants, amongst them the present reigning house, which claims through her. Mary would never confirm this treaty. Francois II died, 5 December, and Mary, prostrate for a time with grief, awoke to find all power gone and rivals installed in her place. Though the Scottish reformers had at first openly plotted her deposition, a change was making itself felt, and her return was agreed to. Elizabeth refused a passport, and ordered her fleet to watch for Mary's vessel. She sailed in apprehension of the worst, but reached Leith in safety, 19 August, 1561.

The political revolution, the vast appropriations of church property, and the frenzied hatred of Knox's followers for Catholicism made any restoration of the old order impossible. Mary contented herself with the new and, by her moderation and management, left time for a gradual return of loyalty. But though she ruled, she did not yet govern. She issued, and frequently repeated, a proclamation accepting religion as she had found it -- the first edict of toleration in Great Britain. A slow but steady amelioration of the lot of Catholics took place. At the end of her reign there were no fewer than 12,600 Easter communions at Edinburgh.
In 1562 Father Nicholas de Gouda visited her from Pope Pius IV, not without danger to his life. He reported himself sadly disappointed in the Scottish bishops, but was almost enthusiastic for the "devout young queen", who "numbers scarce twenty summers" and "is without a single protector or good counsellor". Though she still counteracts the machinations of the heretics to the best of her power . . . there is no mistaking the imminent danger of her position". That was true. Mary was a woman who leaned on her advisers with full and wife-like confidence. But, living as she did amongst false friends, she became an utterly bad judge of male advisers. All her misfortunes may be traced to her mistaking flashy attractions for solid worth. Other sovereigns have indeed made favourites of objectionable persons, but few or none have risked or sacrificed everything for them, as Mary did, again and again.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, a great-grandson of Henry VII of England, with claims to both English and Scottish crowns, had always a possible candidate for Mary's hand, and, as more powerful suitors fell out, his chances improved. He was, moreover, a Catholic, though of an accommodating sort, for he had been brought up at Elizabeth's court, and she in February, 1565, let him go to Scotland. Mary, at first cool, soon fell violently in love. The Protestant lords rose in arms, and Elizabeth backed up their rebellion, but Mary drove them victoriously from the country and married Darnley before the dispensation required to remove the impediment arising from their being first cousins had arrived from Rome. But she did leave enough time for a dispensation to be granted, and it was eventually conceded in a form that would suffice, if that were necessary, for a sanatio in radice*.
As soon as the victory had been won, Darnley was found to be changeable, quarrelsome, and, presumably, also vicious. He became violently jealous of David Rizzio, who, so far as we can see, was perfectly innocent and inoffensive, a merry fellow who helped the queen in her foreign correspondence and sometimes amused her with music. Darnley now entered into a band with the same lords who had lately risen in rebellion against him: they were to seize Rizzio in the queen's presence, put him to death, and obtain the crown matrimonial for Darnley, who would secure a pardon for them, and reward them. The plot succeeded: Rizzio, torn from Mary's table, was poignarded* outside her door on 9 March, 1566.

Mary, though kept a prisoner, managed to escape, and again triumphed over her foes; but respect for her husband was no longer possible. Her favourite was now James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had served her with courage and fidelity, in the late crisis. Then a band for Darnley's murder was signed at Ainsley by most of the nobles who had been implicated in the previous plots. Darnley, who had been ill in Glasgow, was brought back to Edinburgh by his wife, and lay that night in her lodgings at Kirk o' Field. On 10 February, 1567 at two in the next morning the house was blown up by powder, and the boy (he had only just come of age) was killed. Inquiry into the murder was most perfunctory. Bothwell, who was charged with it, was found not guilty by his peers on 12 April, and on the 24th he carried Mary off by force to Dunbar, where she consented to marry him. Bothwell thereupon, with scandalous violence, carried a divorce from his wife through both Protestant and Catholic courts, and married Mary (15 May). Exactly a month later the same lords as before raised forces against their whilom confederate and the queen, whom they met at Carberry Hill. Bothwell was allowed to escape, but Mary who surrendered on the understanding that she should be treated as a queen, was handled with rough violence and immured in Lochleven Castle.
The original documents on which a verdict as to her guilt should be formed have perished, and a prolonged controversy has arisen over the evidence still accessible. This confusion, however, is largely due to prepossessions. Of late, with the diminution of Protestant rancour and of enthusiasm for the Stuarts, the conflict of opinions has much diminished. The tendency of modern schools is to regard Mary as a participant, though in a minor and still undetermined degree, in the above-mentioned crimes. The arguments are far too complicated to be given here, but that from authority may be indicated. There were several well-informed representative Catholics at Edinburgh during the critical period. The pope had sent Father Edmund Hay, a Jesuit; Philibert Du Croc was there for France, Rubertino Solaro Moretta represented Savoy, while Roche Mamerot, a Dominican, the queen's confessor, was also there. All these, as also the Spanish ambassador in London, represent the Bothwell match as a disgrace involving a slur on her virtue. Her confessor only defends her from participation in the murder of her husband. The most perfect documentary evidence is that of the so-called "casket letters", said to have been written by Mary to Bothwell during the fatal crisis. If, on the one hand, their authenticity still lacks final proof, no argument yet brought forward to invalidate them has stood the test of modern criticism.

The defeat at Carberry Hill and the imprisonment at Lochleven were blessings in disguise. The Protestant lords avoided a searching inquiry as much as Mary had done; and she alone suffered, while the others went free. This attracted sympathy once more to her cause. She managed to escape, raised an army, but was defeated at Langside on 13 May, 1568 and promptly fled into England, where she found herself once more a prisoner. She did not now refuse to justify herself, but made it a condition that she should appear before Elizabeth in person. But Cecil schemed to bring about such a trial as should finally embroil Mary with the king's lords, as they were now called (for they had crowned the infant James), and so keep the two parties divided, and both dependent on England. This was eventually accomplished in the conferences at York and Westminster before a commission of English peers under the Duke of Norfolk. The casket letters were then produced against Mary, and a thousand filthy charges, afterwards embodied in Buchanan's "Detectio". Mary, however, wisely refused to defend herself, unless her dignity as queen was respected. Eventually an open verdict was found. "Nothing has been sufficiently proved, whereby the Queen of England should conceive an evil opinion of her sister". Cecil's astuteness had overreached itself. Such a verdict from an enemy, was everywhere regarded as one of Not Guilty, and Mary's reputation, which had everywhere fallen after the Bothwell match, now quickly revived. Her constancy to her faith, which was clearly the chief cause of her sufferings, made a deep impression on all Catholics, and St. Pius V wrote her a letter, which may be regarded as marking her reconciliation with the papacy.

Even before this, a scheme for a declaration of nullity of the marriage with Bothwell, and for a marriage with the Duke of Norfolk, had been suggested and had been supported by what we should now call the Conservative Party among the English peers, a sign that they were not very much impressed by the charges against the Scottish queen, which they had just heard. Norfolk, however, had not the initiative to carry the scheme through.

The Catholics in the North rose in his support, but, having no organization, the rising (14 November to 21 December, 1569) at once collapsed . Mary had been hurried south by her gaolers, with orders to kill her rather than allow her to escape. So slowly did posts travel in those days that the pope, two months after the collapse of the rising, but not having yet heard of its commencement, excommunicated Elizabeth* (25 Feb., 1570) in order to pave the way for the appeal to arms. Both the rising and the excommunication were so independent of the main course of affairs that, when the surprise they caused was over, the scheme for the Norfolk marriage resumed its previous course, and an Italian banker, Ridolfi, promised to obtain papal support for it. Lord Acton's erroneous idea, that Ridolfi was employed by Pius V to obtain Elizabeth's assassination, seems to have arisen from a mistranslation of Gabutio's Latin Life of St. Pius in the Bollandists, Cecil eventually discovered the intrigue; Norfolk was beheaded, 2 June, 1572, and the Puritans clamoured for Mary's blood, but in this particular Elizabeth would not gratify them.

After this, Mary's imprisonment continued with great rigour for yet fourteen years, under the Earl of Shrewsbury and Sir Amias Paulet, at Sheffield Castle, Tutbury, Wingfield, and Chartley. But she had so many sympathizers that notes were frequently smuggled in, despite all precautions, and Mary's hopes of eventual release never quite died.

The frequent plots of which our Protestant historians so often speak are empty rumours which will not stand historical investigation. Elizabeth's life was never in danger for a moment. Plans for Mary's liberation were indeed occasionally formed abroad, but none of them approached within any measurable distance of realization. Her eventual fall was due to her excessive confidence in Thomas Morgan, an agent, who had shown great skill and energy in contriving means of passing in letters, but who was also a vain, quarrelsome, factious man, always ready to talk treason against Elizabeth. Walsingham spies therefore frequently offered to carry letters for him, and eventually the treacherous Gilbert Gifford (a seminarian who afterwards got himself made priest in order to carry on his deceits with less suspicion) contrived a channel of correspondence, in which every letter was sent to or from Mary passed through the hands of Elizabeth's decipherer Thomas Phellips, and was copied by him. As Morgan was now in communication with Ballard, the only priest, so far as we know, who fell a victim to the temptation to plot against Elizabeth, Mary's danger was now grave.

In due course Ballard, through Anthony Babington, a young gentleman of wealth, wrote, by Gifford's means, to Mary. It seems that the confederates refused to join the plot unless they had Mary's approval, and Babington wrote to inquire whether Mary would reward them if they "dispatched the usurper", and set her free. As Walsingham had two or three agents provocateurs keeping company with the conspirators, the suspicion is vehement that Babington was persuaded to ask this perilous question, but positive proof of this has not yet been found. Against the advice of her secretaries, Mary answered this letter, promising to reward those who aided her escape, but saying nothing about the assassination (17 July, 1586).

Babington and his fellows were now arrested, tried and executed, then Mary's trial began on 14 October and ended one day later on the 15 October. A death sentence was the object desired, and it was of course obtained. Mary freely confessed that she had always sought and always would seek means of escape. As to plots against the life of Elizabeth, she protested "her innocence, and that she had not procured or encouraged any hurt against her Majesty", which was perfectly true. As to the allegation of bare knowledge of treason without having manifested it, the prosecution would not restrict itself to so moderate a charge. Mary, moreover, always contended that the Queen of Scotland did not incur responsibilities for the plotting of English subjects, even if she had known of them. Indeed, in those days of royal privilege, her rank would, in most men's minds, have excused her in any case. But Lord Burghley, seeing how much turned on this point of privilege, refused her all signs of royalty, and she was condemned as "Mary Stuart, commonly called Queen of Scotland".

During the whole process of her trial and execution, Mary acted with magnificent courage worthy of her noble character and queenly rank. There can be no question that she died with the charity and magnanimity of a martyr; as also that her execution was due, on the part of her enemies, to hatred of the Faith. Pope Benedict XIV gives it as his opinion that on these two heads no requisite seems wanting for a formal declaration of martyrdom, if only the charges connected with the names of Darnley and Bothwell could be entirely eliminated.
At first glance the portraits of Mary appear to be inconsistent with one another and with any handsome original. But modern criticism has reduced genuine portraits to a comparatively small number and shown how they may be reconciled, while their stiff appearance is probably only the result of the unskillful painter's endeavour to represent the quality of majesty. Three chalk sketches by Clouet , representing her at the ages of 9, 16, and 19, are the most reliable for outline. The third, "Le Deuil Blanc", has been several times copied in oil or miniature. For her reign in Scotland no picture seems to be known, except, perhaps, Lord Leven and Melville's, which is interesting as the only one that gives us an idea of life. During her captivity it seems she was painted in miniatures only, and that from these descend the so-called "Sheffield" type of portraits. A very valuable picture was painted after her death, showing the execution; this, now at Blairs, and its copies at Windsor, etc. are called "memorial pictures".


Note: This term comes from the Latin phrase sanatio in radice, meaning "healing in the root." According to the Code of Canon Law, "The radical sanation of an invalid marriage is its convalidation without the renewal of consent" (CIC 1161:1). This means you do not have to go through a new marriage ceremony.

Note: Poignarded, to stab with a dagger.

Elizabeth was at the time along with many of the English of the New Faith were and considered themselves as Catholic. The Catholic Church did not remove apostolic succession until the late 19th century. Many Anglicans and Episcopaians still consider themselves as Catholic.

Lady Antonia Frasers work on Mary Queen of Scots may be purchased here.

Stephanie A. Mann whose blog Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation and Elena Maria Vidal have provided me with many inspirations and knowledge about Mary Queen of Scots. Queen Mary's last letter may be found here...

An account of her death is found here...

Some insights from author Amanda Borenstadt.

Via Tea at Trianon.

When Atheists Judge You

In my experience, atheists verbally attack Christians, not for behaving as Christians, oddly enough, but for behaving as atheists. With the rise of the internet, they have a whole new arena in which to work. more...

Thanks for the Link Elena-Maria.


Nuns Gone Wild: A Trip Down Memory Lane

This disease we call liberalism, free thinking, neopaganism, and modernism has infected the faith since Martin Luther. This idea that one can dictate to the Church what it should do to make it more in keeping with American ideas of freedom and equality. Some how in America we feel it is the right of every American Catholic to choose what we will believe and what we will set aside and still be good Catholics and stewards of the faith. It will end badly for us.

I remember a time when my sisters taught the truth about the Catholic Faith.

From Father Z's Blog...
...Those of you who wonder why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the American Bishops initiated a reform of the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), should take a little trip down memory lane.

Vast sectors of women religious in the USA have for decades been infested with a radical feminism so poisonous that many of them, especially in leadership, have even come to defend the killing of babies.

The problems in many communities of some are deeply rooted and, like all weeds, are hard to extirpate.

The following is a review of some key figures in this history of dissent and defiance. Some of these nuns have faded from view and others are still quite visible.

These are, as it were, the “church Mothers” on which their alternative Magisterium of Nuns was founded.

They all have a lot to answer for...

In the paraphrased words of Louis Farrakhan, "Who do you think you are?"



Complaint filed with IRS against Peoria Diocese

"Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama — with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda — now seems intent on following a similar path." Bishop Jenky, Bishop of Peoria.

The IRS has cowed many in the Catholic Hierarchy.

Group contends bishop's homily that criticized Obama's policy crossed the line

By Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune reporter April 20, 2012

A prominent advocate of church-state separation filed a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday, accusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria of violating federal law by intervening in a political campaign.

The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, alleges that a fiery homily delivered by Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky last Sunday effectively urged Catholics to vote against President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

Jenky's homily criticized policies proposed by the Obama administration that would require all employers, including religious groups, to provide free birth control coverage in their health care plans. The bishop included Obama's policies in a litany of government challenges the Catholic Church has overcome in previous centuries, including Hitler and Stalin's campaigns.

"Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care," Jenky said. "In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama — with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda — now seems intent on following a similar path."

Lynn has said church-affiliated agencies that operate on taxpayer dollars should follow public policy guidelines or only collect money from parishioners. But remarks delivered later in the homily prompted Lynn's complaint to the IRS.

"This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings — could easily be shut down," Jenky said.

In a letter to the IRS, Lynn wrote that Jenky violated the rules that prohibit issue advocacy and called on Catholics to vote as a bloc at the polls.

"To be sure, Jenky never utters the words 'Do not vote for Obama,'" Lynn wrote. "But the Internal Revenue Code makes it clear that statements need not be this explicit to run afoul of the law."

On Wednesday, Lonnie Nasatir, the regional director of Chicago's Anti-Defamation League, demanded an apology from Jenky, calling his remarks "outrageous, offensive and completely over the top."

A spokeswoman for the diocese didn't return calls Thursday about the IRS complaint, but said in a statement that the comments that ADL found offensive were taken out of context and misunderstood.

"Based upon the current government's threatened infringement upon the church's religious exercise of its ministry, Bishop Jenky offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions," said Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Peoria Diocese.

"Bishop Jenky gave several examples of times in history in which religious groups were persecuted because of what they believed," Gibson said. "We certainly have not reached the same level of persecution. However, history teaches us to be cautious once we start down the path of limiting religious liberty."

The attacks on the Church from without and from with in have become a frequent article here on this blog. Perhaps the complacency the church has shown in the last 70 years is returning in full measure. Can it be that a bishop is standing up? Has he remembered the reason why his clothes are piped in red? God bless and keep you Bishop Jenky.

I am struck by the conicidental date of this article by the Chicago Tribune, 20 April, the anniversary of the the birth of Hitler.


Saint Charbel Makhlouf 1828-1898 A Light in the East

On 8 May, 1828, in the mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon, Youssef Makhlouf was born to a poor Maronite family. He was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, had died when Youssef was only two years old.

At the age of 23, he entered the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq (north of Byblos). After two-years as novice, he was sent to St. Maron monastery where he took the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience taking the name 'Charbel' in honor of a second-century martyr.

He was taught by Father Nimatullah (who later became Saint Hardini) in the Seminary of Kfifan between 1853 and 1856, where he studied philosophy and theology.

He was ordained a priest in Bkerky, the Maronite Patriarchate, on July 23rd, 1859.

For 16 years he lived in the St Maron's monastery – Annaya. Entering on February 15th, 1875, the Sts Peter & Paul hermitage, which belongs to that monastery. As a hermit, he spent his time in prayer and worship. He rarely had he left the hermitage where he followed the way of the saintly hermits in prayer, life and practice.

On December 16th, 1898 he was struck with an illness while performing the Sacrafice of the Holy Mass. He died on Christmas' eve, December 24th, 1898, and was buried in the St Maron monastery cemetery in Annaya. He had lived as a hermit for 23 years.

We may never have heard of this Holy Hermit had it not been for dazzling lights were seen around the grave. His mortal body which had been secreting sweat and blood, was transferred into a special coffin. Hordes of pilgrims started swarming the place to get his intercession, and through his intercession, God has blessed many people with recovery and especially spiritual graces.

In 1925, Carbel's beatification and canonization were proposed by Pope Pius XI himself.

1950, Carbel's image reportedly appeared in a photograph taken by Father George Webby (above), a Maronite Priest of Scranton PA, United States, during a visit to the monastery where Saint Charbel had lived. Because of this appearance Charbel's grave was opened in the presence of an official committee which included doctors, who verified the soundness of the body. After the grave had been opened and inspected, it was reputed that the variety of healing incidents multiplied. Several post-mortem miracles are attributed to him, including periods in 1927 and 1950 when a bloody "sweat" flowed from his corpse, soaking his vestments.

Chaplet of St Charbel

In 1954, Pope Pius XII signed a decree accepting a proposal for the beatification. On December 5, 1965, Pope Paul VI officiated at the ceremony of the beatification of Father Charbel during the closing of the Second Vatican Council. In 1976, Pope Paul VI signed the decree of canonization. The canonization took place in the Vatican on October 9, 1977.[3]

Among the many miracles related to Saint Charbel the Church chose two of them to declare the beatification, and a third for his canonization. These miracles are:

...The healing of Sister Mary Abel Kamari of the Two Sacred Hearts
...The healing of Iskandar Naim Obeid from Baabdat
...The healing of Mariam Awad from Hammana.

A great number of miracles have been attributed to Saint Charbel since his death. The most famous one is that of Nohad El Shami, a 55-year old woman at the time of the miracle who was healed from a partial paralysis. She tells that on the night of January 22, 1993, she saw in her dream two Maronite monks standing next to her bed. One of them put his hands on her neck and operated on her, relieving her from her pain while the other held a pillow behind her back.

When she woke up, Nohad discovered two wounds in her neck, one on each side. She was completely healed and recovered her ability to walk. She believed that it was Saint Charbel who healed her but did not recognize the other monk. Next night, she again saw Saint Charbel in her dream. He said to her: "I did the surgery to let people see and return to faith. I ask you to visit the hermitage on the 22nd of every month, and attend Mass regularly for the rest of your life”. People now gather on the 22nd of each month to pray and celebrate the Mass in the hermitage of Saint Charbel in Annaya.

Prayer for Intersession.

Lord, infinitely Holy and Glorified in Your Saints, You have inspired Charbel, the saint monk, to lead the perfect life of a hermit. We thank You for granting him the blessing and the strength to detach himself from the world so that the heroism of the monastic virtues of poverty, obedience, and chastity, could triumph in his hermitage.

We beseech You to grant us the grace of loving and serving You, following his example. Almighty God, Who has manifested the power of St. Charbel’s intercession through his countless miracles and favours, grant...  my friend Sarah, peace, happiness, and to walk always in the holiness of your sight beside you forever. Through his intercession I pray.


Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…


François Hollande vows to tax the rich

François Hollande vows to tax the rich to pay off French deficitLeftwing frontrunner in presidential race launches manifesto on how Socialist party would deal with financial crisis

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris guardian.co.uk,

The Socialist rural MP, who recently declared "my real adversary in this campaign is the world of finance", launched his manifesto on Thursday, a road map of how the left would deal with the financial crisis. Hollande said he would raise taxes for banks and big companies as well as France's richest people, and use the money to help wipe out the nation's crippling public deficit.

By scrapping some €29bn (£24bn) worth of tax breaks for wealthier people introduced under Nicolas Sarkozy, he said he could find €20bn to deal with the corrosion of French society: record unemployment, soaring youth jobless figures and an education system that has been shamed as one of the most unequal in Europe, where one in six children leave with no qualifications.

Hollande increased his lead in the polls after his first big rally on Sunday used Barack Obama-inspired slogans of "hope and "change". But he was under pressure to counter the charges by Sarkozy that the French left is high-spending, with its head in the clouds of idealism and little credibility on managing the world's financial crisis.

For the first time since the second world war, the election campaign is dominated by an unpredictable economic crisis. Unemployment is at a 12-year high with 2.8m jobless, and youth unemployment is over 20%. Last year, the new unemployed were equal to the entire population of the city of Grenoble (about 157,000).

With France losing its AAA credit rating, and a gaping hole in state welfare coffers, the French left cannot make its traditional high-spending promises on public services, and has little room for manouevre.

If Hollande's Sunday rally was aimed at injecting some dazzle into what critics have called an unexciting campaign, the manifesto launch marked Hollande's return to the careful, number-crunching technocrat who ran the Socialist party for 11 years. The Nouvel Observateur likened him to an anaesthetist sitting in a white coat by the bed reassuring France about its major surgery. Le Monde called it a "Churchillian" manifesto; France isn't at war, but "things are bad", the paper said.

If there is to be blood, sweat and tears in France, Hollande suggested they would come from the richest 5%: "If there are sacrifices to be made, and there will be, then it will be for the wealthiest to make them".

The plank of his manifesto was making the tax system fairer — raising the tax bracket for the highest earners favoured under Sarkozy. He focused on education and youth, promising 60,000 new jobs in schools and 150,000 state-aided jobs for youth, as well as help for small start-up companies. The banking industry will be forced to draw a line between its speculative financial market operations and the more traditional role of using savers' deposits to finance industry and the economy — a policy also being considered in Britain. Hollande said he could bring France's bloated deficit back on target by 2017.

The electoral battleground will now be fought over France's middle class, such as teachers, nurses and social workers, who have low salaries but earn too much for French social benefits and too little for tax breaks. They are disillusioned and angry that France's social mobility has ground to a halt.

Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party said Hollande's manifesto would lead to a "middle class tax bloodbath". The party leader, Jean-Francois Copé, likened Hollande to Venezeula's Hugo Chávez.

Sarkozy is to announce a last-ditch reform package this weekend, including a likely rise on sales tax to help meet social welfare costs. The Socialists claim this will hit the middle class the hardest.

Meanwhile, Hollande, who aims to be the first leftwing president since François Mitterrand, sparked amusement in London when it emerged that a Shakespeare quote he used in his Sunday rally — "They failed because they did not start with a dream" – actually came not from the playwright William but from the novelist and Daily Telegraph book reviewer Nicholas.

French Socialist presidential candidate outlines how he intends to increase taxes for the rich, cut tax on profit for small businesses, and cancel billions of euros of tax breaks.

Why are all politicians livng in a bubble. Taxing the rich does nothing to: Alleviate the debt, create business, decrease unemployment, raise the revenue. You will see...