I apologize for the hastiness of this essay. I’m getting ready to head to fascinating programs in Grand Rapids (led by the incomparable Gleaves Whitney and featuring the wise and sagacious Barbara Elliott) and Mecosta (led by the force of nature, Annette Kirk, and the man of deep convictions and imagination, Vigen Guroian). Should be an excellent weekend.
But, the news coming out of the U.K. is nothing less than heart-pounding and historically momentous. BXVI has arrived at a moment when English Catholics represent a greater percentage of the Christian population than anytime since the 1530s. Newman to be beatified, Anglicans welcomed into the Roman Church. Phew.
As Steve Smith, my brilliant colleague at Hillsdale, has so eloquently argued—the England under the young Henry VIII, Thomas More, and John Fisher was a high point of the Catholic world. How tragic—and how mischievously important—this all collapsed when it did.
As an Anglophile and a lover of the Anglican tradition, I am stunned at the current events in England. As a historian, I am stunned at the current events in England.
As a Roman Catholic, I am so proud of those in England who have persevered against such great odds and bigotry for so long: G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Scott-Moncrieff, Barbara Ward, Alec Guinness, Martin D’Arcy, Stratford Caldecott, JohnJo Shanley, Joseph Pearce. I hope each is basking in this moment.
This is not a Catholic website, and it is justly broad in its far reaching arms and intent. So, please forgive this moment of Catholic patriotism.
If, however, you are interested in this vital moment in history:
Carl Olson is keeping us all updated at Ignatius Insight Scoop
For those on twitter, join @ukcatholics (thanks very much to David Wagner for pointing me here)
May Our Lady of Walsingham, the blessed mother of our Savior (or “Saviour” in honor of our British cousins), pray for us all.