Priests: “We are Here to Die.”

As the noose continues to tighten on priests seeking to be faithful to the Church’s tradition (whether in the grip of secular or ecclesiastical authorities), we could use a bit more of the martyrs’ zeal.

Not the kind of zeal that simply submits to the machinations of the unjust and perverse in Church or State—as though compliance itself were a virtue, the Christian’s truest imitatio Christi; rather, a zeal that strongly resists the work of the enemy, in weapons both spiritual and temporal. One that risks publicity yet evades capture, until it cannot be otherwise. In sum: a zeal that creatively meets the challenge of a world gone mad, without risking a prophet’s integrity—the integrity of witness.

The English martyrs offer inspiring lessons in this regard.

The author has been re-reading Fr. Bowden’s classic Mementoes, now in excellent reprint.

The accounts contained are remarkably pertinent to our own time of government ascendancy—newly comporting itself as a global, faceless, formless health technocracy.

A few moving excerpts from the dauntless martyrs’ speeches are included below:

“I am come hither to die for my religion, for that religion which is professed by the Catholic Roman Church, founded by Christ, established by the Apostles, propagated through all ages. … I was committed to prison for refusing to take the oath of supremacy, and banished. After seven years I returned to England as a priest. … I pray that my death may atone for the sins of this nation, for which end and in testimony of the one true Catholic faith confirmed by miracles now as ever, I willing die.”

–Fr. Henry Morse, 1645

“If it be the glory of the soldier to be like his Lord, far be it from me to glory in aught save in the Cross of the Crucified! Let the executioners come, let them tear my body to pieces, let them gnaw my flesh with their teeth, let them pierce me through and through and grind me to the dust. This momentary suffering will work a weight of glory in Heaven.”

-Fr. Henry Heath, 1643

“Know you not that we are born once to die; and that always in this life we may not live? Know you not how vain, how wicked, how inconstant, how miserable this life of ours is? … I die, not for treason but for religion; I die, not for any ill demeanour or offence committed, but only for my faith, for my conscience, for my priesthood, for my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ: and to tell you truth if I had ten thousand lives I am bound to lose them all rather than to break my faith and offend my God. We are not made to eat, drink, sleep, but to serve God, and to the cost of our lives.”

-Fr. William Hart, 1583

When the testing hour arrives, how many will beg off, likely citing “duties of state”?

This life is passing, and its comforts fleeting. Let us not lose sight of our true homeland, and those goods which endure.

Please God, make us worthy of the grace of our high calling in Christ Jesus. May the English martyrs and confessors intercede for us, that we may know our duties with clarity – and engage them with courage.

For, we know the end of the story.

Bravo the Restoration!

One comment

  1. Brilliant examples of the Martyrs of England and Wales during persecution.Just like the one we are going through now from the Bergoglian church in Rome.


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