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Posts Tagged ‘Torture’

Edmund Campion 1540-1581

In 13 History on 2016/06/10 at 12:00 AM
Edmund Campion was the son of a Catholic bookseller although raised a Protestant.  It was his brilliance that secured him a Protestant education guaranteed by the City of London.  He was chosen to give the welcome in Latin to Queen Mary Tudor upon her arrival in London as ruler.

Having later been accepted at Oxford, Campion met Queen Elizabeth and her lover, Chancellor Dudley, when they visited Oxford.  They were both so enchanted by Campion’s appearance, poise and wit that the Queen invited him to be part of her court.  Consequently, he took the Oath of Supremacy and deacon’s orders according to the new rite.  Immediately, he began to regret that decision and left Oxford, the Court and went to Ireland to await the re-opening of the ancient papal Dublin University.

Very quickly he became suspect as too Catholic-minded an Anglican, and for a while he hid in friendly houses. Having recognized a vocation to the Catholic priesthood, he made a pilgrimage to Rome on his way to Douai.  He subsequently entered the Jesuit Order and was ordained in 1578.

King Philip II of Spain financed the building of a seminary in Douai, Flanders, for English Catholic exiles.  Placed under the leadership of Dr. Allen, who later became Cardinal Allen, the seminary had 120 seminarians by 1576.

The first martyr from that seminary was St. Cuthbert who was hanged, drawn and quartered.  He was charged with denying Queen Elizabeth’s headship of the church in England.  When asked to swear that she was head of the church, Cuthbert “took the Bible in his hands, made the sign of the cross on it, kissed it and said: ‘The Queen never was, or is, nor ever shall be the head of the Church’.”

In Elizabethan England, priests were first tortured on the rack and then hanged.  (See Category: Book Corner for Benson, COME RACK, COME ROPE, which relates the life of one of the two greatest lights ever to shine at Oxford University: Campion, its subject; and the other, Blessed John Henry Newman).

While Campion was abroad, Queen Elizabeth had ordered that all Englishmen with sons studying overseas recall them.

Penalties on Catholics refusing to attend Church of England services were sharply increased; castles became prisons for those who could not or would not pay the fines.  It is estimated that in one year some twenty thousand Englishmen were converted to the Catholic faith of their forefathers.  Now, any convert was deemed guilt of treason.  Recusants (refusal to attend the Church of England service) brought increased fines to a prohibitive level.

In 1580, two years after ordination, Campion arrived secretly in England with a commitment to win over Protestants with his preaching.  Campion’s saintly and soldierly personality was profoundly impressive.  During a period when he had to flee northward, Campion wrote his famous tract, “TEN REASONS.”  During prayer, he had a vision of Our Lady who foretold his martyrdom.

Shuttling between Norfolk and London, he was eventually captured in 1581. Campion was dragged through the streets of his native city, bound hand and foot, made to ride backwards with a paper stuck in his hat labeling him a “seditious Jesuit.”  Elizabeth herself offered him liberty and power, wealth and honors if he would reject Catholicism, but Campion asked her only for permission for a public disputation.

Denied the opportunity to prepare his debate, having been severely racked and all his fingernails torn off, he stood through four long conferences, without chair, table or notes.  He stood undefeated.  Shortly thereafter, weakened from more torture, he conducted a brilliant public debate with the Calvinist deans of St. Paul and Windsor.  A month later, he debated two scholars from Cambridge, the hotbed of Protestantism.  Two more debates followed.  There were still Englishmen who believed in fairness and justice.  Campion won over Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel.

Racked again, Campion was indicted for treason.  The Privy Council found hirelings as accusers.  During the ridiculous trial , Campion made a magnificent defense, ending at the close of the trial with:

“In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors…all  the ancient priest, bishops and kings….all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.  For what have we taught, how every you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach?  To be condemned with these old lights….not England only, but of the world….by their degenerate descendants, is both gladness and glory to us.  God lives; posterity will live, their judgments is no so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death.”

Sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering, he and the other martyrs on the way to execution shouted:  “This is the day the Lord has made” and sang the Te Deum.  They died praying for the Queen.  The people loudly lamented his fate and the martyrs’ witness produced many conversions.  Henry Walpole, a wild young man, was splattered with a drop of Campion’s blood.  He later become not only a Jesuit, but a martyr.

Historians agree that the charges against Campion were bogus.  They praise his superlative intelligence, his charm, his joy, his fiery energy, his impeccable manners and his gentleness.  Campion’s  written words reveal him as a man of genius, one of the great Elizabethans, but holy as none other.

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From Slave to Saint

In 14 Book Corner on 2015/01/30 at 12:00 AM

iuWhen she was about nine years old, Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped near Darfur, Sudan, by Arab slave traders. For several years she was subjected to brutal and humiliating treatment until she was ransomed and taken to Venice, Italy, where she became a Catholic and a nun.

Joyfully and serenely Bakhita served in a convent, school and infirmary run by Canossian sisters in a small, obscure town in northern Italy until her death in 1947. Then something even more remarkable than her redemption happened.

Hundreds of ordinary people came to see Bakhita lying in state, and along with these visits came stories about how the simple nun had given comfort, advice and encouragement as she went about her tasks as cook, doorkeeper, nurse, etc. Almost immediately graces and miracles attributed to Bakhita’s intercession began to be reported.

Ever since, the place where Bakhita died and the wonders began has been a shrine visited by people from all over the world. They come to seek the intercession of one who was no stranger to loss and suffering and yet had given herself with complete confidence to the Lord. It is here, in this sparsely furnished room, where Italian journalist Roberto Italo Zanini begins his story of Bakhita and her journey from slavery to sainthood.

Based on Bakhita’s autobiography, which she dictated to a Canossian sister in obedience to her superior, the canonization files and many other sources, Zanini records the life, virtues and miracles of this daughter of Africa who has become a sister to the whole world. Illustrated with 16 pages of photos.

Roberto Italo Zanini is an editor and writer for Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops. His articles have appeared in many Italian publications, both Catholic and nonreligious.

Praise for Bakhita:

“Every story of sanctity is that of a person who takes her life whole – the gifts and the sorrows, wounds and wonders all – and opens to the grace of God. Such is the story of St. Josephine Bakhita told beautifully and with careful scholarship by Roberto Italo Zanini. By choosing Christ and choosing forgiveness, Bakhita illuminates the darkest shadows of the human condition with the transforming light of faith in the one true Master.”
–Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., Prioress, Regina Laudis Abbey

Bakhita…a Sudanese saint who was a slave

In 14 Book Corner on 2014/11/21 at 1:02 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.13.03 AMWhen she was about nine years old, Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped near Darfur, Sudan, by Arab slave traders. For several years she was subjected to brutal and humiliating treatment until she was ransomed and taken to Venice, Italy, where she became a Catholic and a nun.

Joyfully and serenely Bakhita served in a convent, school and infirmary run by Canossian sisters in a small, obscure town in northern Italy until her death in 1947. Then something even more remarkable than her redemption happened.

Hundreds of ordinary people came to see Bakhita lying in state, and along with these visits came stories about how the simple nun had given comfort, advice and encouragement as she went about her tasks as cook, doorkeeper, nurse, etc. Almost immediately graces and miracles attributed to Bakhita’s intercession began to be reported.

Ever since, the place where Bakhita died and the wonders began has been a shrine visited by people from all over the world. They come to seek the intercession of one who was no stranger to loss and suffering and yet had given herself with complete confidence to the Lord. It is here, in this sparsely furnished room, where Italian journalist Roberto Italo Zanini begins his story of Bakhita and her journey from slavery to sainthood.

Based on Bakhita’s autobiography, which she dictated to a Canossian sister in obedience to her superior, the canonization files and many other sources, Zanini records the life, virtues and miracles of this daughter of Africa who has become a sister to the whole world. Illustrated with 16 pages of photos.

Roberto Italo Zanini is an editor and writer for Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops. His articles have appeared in many Italian publications, both Catholic and nonreligious.

Praise for Bakhita:

“Every story of sanctity is that of a person who takes her life whole – the gifts and the sorrows, wounds and wonders all – and opens to the grace of God. Such is the story of St. Josephine Bakhita told beautifully and with careful scholarship by Roberto Italo Zanini. By choosing Christ and choosing forgiveness, Bakhita illuminates the darkest shadows of the human condition with the transforming light of faith in the one true Master.”
–Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., Prioress, Regina Laudis Abbey