Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Holy Ghost comes today to Spanish Place!

Today, at 11.30am at St James' Spanish Place, Bishop George Stack will confirm candidates in the old rite of Confirmation as arranged by the Latin Mass Society. I pray for all the candidates on their journey to become Soldiers of Jesus Christ, we desperately need them.

Roy Campbell

Almost 75 years ago, another confirmation took place in Spain; that of the great Catholic poet and writer, Roy Campbell and his wife. The Spanish Civil War was at its height and priests and Catholics were being routinely persecuted and martyred:


"Our confessors, the discalced Carmelites, the holy martyr, Father Eusebio, and Father Evaristo, came to see us, saying that Cardinal Goma had heard of the risks we had taken to shelter monks, and that, as we were constantly risking our lives in the new catacombs, he was anxious that we should be confirmed - 'just in case'. He was ready to overlook the fact that our instruction was still imperfect, because we were in mortal danger, and he had offered us the great honour of being personally confirmed by a Prince of the Church. 
It was no longer safe to be seen in religious habit, though the diehard, Evaristo, a great roaring lion of a man whose laugh could shake the rafters, deliberately flaunted his habit in broad daylight, and it used to make me feel six inches taller to stride beside him as his body-guard down the streets.
At three a.m., while it was still pitch dark, we picked up the two Fathers of the Carmelites' in their 'full-regimentals' as Carmelites, and walked through the dark, empty streets to the Cardinal's palace. We were thrilled and exhilarated, like children robbing an orchard, for we were committing an entirely innocent but extremely dangerous crime in the eyes of our masters. On that day, before dawn, began an entirely new chapter in our lives, which had hitherto been somewhat drab and dull compared with the new splendours of experience for which we were lucky enough to be preserved."

Roy Campbell (Light on a Dark Horse)

Roy Campbell was a South African by birth but lived a great deal of his life in England and his adopted Spain. He even lived. for a while, in a remote cottage in North Wales. He was a larger than life character who lived life to the full and most dangerously. He converted to Catholicism togerther with his wife, Mary and two daughters, in 1935.
The seventeen Carmelite monks who were in attendance at his Confirmation were, some days later, taken out and shot by the Communist forces.
During the Spanish Civil War 12 Bishops, 4,184 Priests, 2,365 Monks and some 300 Nuns were martyred by the Reds. Accounts of numbers do vary but these figures seem to be the most accepted ones.
After the war, Campbell lived in Portugal where he died, tragically in a car crash in 1957. Apart from producing great literary works (losing acclaim because of his politically incorrect support of General Franco) he also translated some of the great Catholic mystical works, notably, St John of the Cross.

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