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Englandís Saints Have Been Written Out of History
Catholic Herald (UK) ^ | 6/23/11 | Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Posted on 06/23/2011 11:51:56 AM PDT by marshmallow

Our isle was once a land of saints, but now there is a trend to consign all religious people to the dustbin of history

Today, under the old dispensation, which may yet return, would have been Corpus Christi, and at least in the Cathedral town of Arundel, it still is, and thousands of people will be rushing down to West Sussex to see the magnificent carpet of flowers and to take part in the solemn Mass and procession at 5.30pm. I, sadly, cannot be with them, and for those in that position, I offer some consolation in a reflection of today’s very English saint, St Etheldreda.

Etheldreda (630-679), sometimes called Audrey, was a royal princess, daughter of a king, twice married, second time around to the King of Northumbria; nevertheless she remained a virgin, took religious vows, and founded the Abbey of Ely. The Viking invaders later destroyed her abbey, but it was restored in more peaceful days, only to be suppressed once more in the 16th century by Henry VIII.

The period in which she lived is often called the Dark Ages. We ourselves live in a period of self-proclaimed Enlightenment. But these are broad brush terms, and as Catholics we believe in a hermeneutic of continuity: the past is not to be swept away, but rather should inspire us and provide us with a firm foundation for future progress. So we can learn, even from the Dark Ages. Sadly, St Etheldreda is now an almost forgotten historical figure, remembered in few places. The heroes of our history are those who destroyed her abbey, and who did so much damage to the fabric of our nation.

England was once a land of saints, but the saints of our isle have been written out of the script by Whiggish historians, which is part of a larger trend still much to the fore today to consign all religious people to the dustbin of history, branding them as part of the forces of reaction and enemies of progress. This is a deeply held but irrational belief: the idea that religion is the source of all our ills, and as such to be excluded from the public sphere, and corralled into the realm of the purely private.

This is clearly the view of Mary Honeyball. Just think, everyone is free to speak in the public sphere except the religious!

But what exactly is meant by the private sphere, to which religion is to be relegated? Was St Etheldreda’s abbey a purely private space, her retirement into religious life a purely private action? The personal is political, as many feminists will tell us, and how right they are. “There is no private life which has not been determined by a wider public life,” as George Eliot observed. She would have appreciated the choice of Etheldreda, queen turned nun. The private and the public necessarily overlap and the two cannot be separated.

This is not the only mistake that secularism of the modern type assumes. Its other error is to deny the importance of our historical roots; but if we do that we lose contact with reality, for we are historical beings. Catholicism, the religion of the Pope, is the historical faith of these islands, something that Professor Dawkins should take note of; Oxford, where Dawkins teaches, is a historically Catholic university; New College, of which he is a fellow, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Secularity, however, properly understood, is a respectable, necessary, and indeed Christian idea, about the God-given autonomy of the world. It is admirably expressed in Gaudium et Spes, 17:

Only in freedom can man direct himself toward goodness. Our contemporaries make much of this freedom and pursue it eagerly; and rightly to be sure. Often however they foster it perversely as a license for doing whatever pleases them, even if it is evil. For its part, authentic freedom is an exceptional sign of the divine image within man. For God has willed that man remain “under the control of his own decisions,” so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man’s dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, not under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when, emancipating himself from all captivity to passion, he pursues his goal in a spontaneous choice of what is good, and procures for himself through effective and skilful action, apt helps to that end. Since man’s freedom has been damaged by sin, only by the aid of God’s grace can he bring such a relationship with God into full flower. Before the judgement seat of God each man must render an account of his own life, whether he has done good or evil.

The above statement strikes me as more deeply humanist than anything coming from our contemporaries who claim to be humanists. But modern pseudo-secularism is, as has often been observed, merely the irrational hatred of religion.

Why do they hate us so much? That is a question we cannot answer, only they can. But this does not mean we have no responsibility in this department. We need to adopt an evangelical attitude so that we alert everyone we meet to the attractive side of religion. We need to be dulcet, not strident, patient, not aggressive, kind, not sarcastic, charitable, not odious, in all our conversations. We need to smile not scowl; and smile sincerely, not falsely. We need in short to do what Jesus commands us to do – love our enemies, and do good to those who hate us. St Etheldreda, a wise ruler of her abbey, who must have dealt with lots of difficult people in her time, and who was even married to two of them, did no less I am sure.

Sancta Etheldreda, ora pro nobis!


TOPICS: Catholic; History
KEYWORDS: formerlygreatbritain; godsgravesglyphs; magnusmaximus; oncegreatbritain
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1 posted on 06/23/2011 11:51:59 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
And ironically enough they keep the flag.



Likely because the lefties haven't caught onto what it means.
2 posted on 06/23/2011 11:57:33 AM PDT by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
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To: marshmallow
Tomorrow's headlines today:

Saints Ain't!


3 posted on 06/23/2011 11:58:45 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: VanDeKoik

The hostility of the so-called intellectuals is not toward all religions, but more primarily toward Christianity (excluding Rowan the Fuzzy) and Judaism. The same intellectuals kowtow to the Islamists, and maybe go do their bowing to Gaia.


4 posted on 06/23/2011 12:53:03 PM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO, the No Talent Pop Star pResident.)
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To: marshmallow
Catholicism, the religion of the Pope, is the historical faith of these islands

Hmmm, I thought that was Celtic paganism until the Roman conquest brought Christianity.

5 posted on 06/23/2011 1:03:11 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: marshmallow

Include our USA’s very own New England has been subject heavily to the LIEberals censoring resulting in revisionist history devoid of many truthful facts that don’t fit their twisted agenda.


6 posted on 06/23/2011 1:03:20 PM PDT by tflabo
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To: marshmallow

Much of the fault here can be laid at the feet of Catholics themselves, for their acts of omission in regard to such saints.

That is, where are the paintings in recent years, or sculpture, or even books and movies that *teach* others about the saints? Are people expected to remember those never taught to them by anyone?

The few such works ever mentioned are dusty relics, which though prized art in their day, are no longer seen except by the occasional antiquarian.

This is not to say that there are no histories of Britain or England out there. There are some fine ones. But they are secular. Why not religious?


7 posted on 06/23/2011 1:08:31 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Fred Hayek

Oh and they love Buddhism. Oddly it’s always the religions that have no real meaning to a westerner or the ones that are used to eradicate Christians and Jews that they like.


8 posted on 06/23/2011 1:21:21 PM PDT by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
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To: antiRepublicrat

And the Celtic pagans left so much to posterity—where would western civilization be without stone circles?


9 posted on 06/23/2011 1:51:48 PM PDT by Mach9
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To: Mach9
where would western civilization be without stone circles?

Who knows what they could have done had they not been conquered and forced to convert.

10 posted on 06/23/2011 2:38:11 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: marshmallow

I read from some quacky sites that Pope St. Linus was a Brit. Any chance that’s true?


11 posted on 06/23/2011 3:21:33 PM PDT by dangus
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To: antiRepublicrat

>> Hmmm, I thought that was Celtic paganism until the Roman conquest brought Christianity. <<

Hmmm, I think someone doesn’t know the difference between history and prehistory.


12 posted on 06/23/2011 3:26:28 PM PDT by dangus
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To: antiRepublicrat

>> Who knows what they could have done had they not been conquered and forced to convert. <<

No-one actually forced them to convert. Christianity had quite an influence on England before the Roman Empire became Christian.

But to answer your question: Um, build larger stone circles?


13 posted on 06/23/2011 3:32:37 PM PDT by dangus
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To: VanDeKoik

I think they would say they just haven’t gotten around to that yet.


14 posted on 06/23/2011 3:38:51 PM PDT by ichabod1 (Nuts; A house divided against itself cannot stand.)
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To: dangus

I always liked Saint Swizen.


15 posted on 06/23/2011 3:43:20 PM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

The reference eludes me and Wikipedia.


16 posted on 06/23/2011 3:46:39 PM PDT by dangus
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To: antiRepublicrat

The Roman conquest did not Christianity. The Romans were not Christians then.


17 posted on 06/23/2011 5:11:17 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't win they simply violate the rules of the forum)
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To: dangus; Forward the Light Brigade

St. Swithin (or Swithun) http://www.stswithuns.t83.net/#/st-swithun/4534964280


18 posted on 06/23/2011 5:14:38 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't win they simply violate the rules of the forum)
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To: Mach9

Celts didn’t set up Stonehenge, however.


19 posted on 06/23/2011 5:15:33 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't win they simply violate the rules of the forum)
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To: antiRepublicrat
St. John Fisher, a bishop and St. Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor, both Catholics, had their heads cut off because they would not swear an oath to the King of England but instead put God first.

Are they on your historical radar?

20 posted on 06/23/2011 5:20:39 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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