Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Could we rustle up 40 martyrs for England and Wales today?

I mean, could we? Are there forty men and women out there who would step up to the mark and say in ringing tones:

"I am a Catholic true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and I oppose all that the secular world is trying to force on me.
I oppose Mass in its vernacular, freestyle version as displayed by so many priests, I oppose the killing of infants in the womb and the sick and elderly in their beds, I oppose all sins of the flesh which society is fixated with today, namely, gluttony, homosexuality, adultery, paedophilia and so on; I oppose experiments on the human body and all moves to detract from the Christian family and its values.
I abhor the blasphemies and sacrileges which the world commits upon all that is sacred and holy and I maintain that the Catholic Faith is the one true faith and the Mystical Body of Christ.
I hold true to belief in the sacred species and to the promise of the cross, that is, redemption and eternal life for those who die in God's grace".

Are there forty brave souls who would state this or similar?
In the full knowledge that the next step would be a severe racking in Wormwood Scrubs or Belmarsh in an effort to get you to recant.
Then would come a public trial with all its lies and deceits.

And, finally, you would be placed on a hurdle, strapped down and positioned so that your head was beneath the tail of the horse and, therefore, liable to receive all the ordure that an hour long journey would bring.

Could you really face the humiliation of being dragged along Oxford Street, through the crowds of shoppers, past John Lewis's, past Selfridges until, at last you come to Marble Arch and Tyburn's Tree?

Now comes the final pain and indignity, you have a noose placed about your head and you know that you are about to be hanged until semi conscious and then your body will be violated by the knife and the saw and your heart plucked out before your very eyes.

Are there forty men and women out there that would face up to what our blessed martyrs faced?

I know a few priests who have the courage but I think we would struggle to make forty.

Today is the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales - remember them and have recourse to them, we need their support today!

Thirty four came from England and six from Wales


Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, Pray for us.
Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us.
St John Houghton, Pray for us.
St Richard Reynolds, Pray for us.
St Augustine Webster, Pray for us.
St Robert Lawrence, Pray for us.
St John Stone, Pray for us.
St Cuthbert Mayne, Pray for us.
St Edmund Campion, Pray for us.
St Ralph Sherwin, Pray for us.
St Alexander Briant, Pray for us.
St John Payne, Pray for us.
St Luke Kirby, Pray for us.
St Richard Gwyn, Pray for us.
St Margaret Clitherow, Pray for us.

St Margaret Ward, Pray for us.
St Edmund Gennings, Pray for us.
St Swithun Wells, Pray for us.
St Polydore Plasden, Pray for us.
St Eustace White, Pray for us.
St John Boste, Pray for us.
St Robert Southwell, Pray for us.
St Henry Walpole, Pray for us.
St Philip Howard, Pray for us.
St John Jones, Pray for us.
St John Rigby, Pray for us.
St Anne Line, Pray for us.
St Nicholas Owen, Pray for us.
St Thomas Garnet, Pray for us.
St John Roberts, Pray for us.
St John Almond, Pray for us.
St Edmund Arrowsmith, Pray for us.
St Ambrose Barlow, Pray for us.
St Alban Roe, Pray for us.
St Henry Morse, Pray for us.
St John Southworth, Pray for us.
St John Plessington, Pray for us.
St Philip Evans, Pray for us.
St John Lloyd, Pray for us.
St John Wall, Pray for us.
St John Kemble, Pray for us.
St David Lewis, Pray for us.
Let us pray. Oh God, in whom there is no change or shadow of alteration, you gave courage to the Holy Martyrs. Grant unto us, we beseech you, through their intercession, the grace to always value the Holy Mass. May we be strengthened to serve you in imitation of the courage of these Holy Martyrs. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.

Prayer from The Last Welsh Martyr blog


  1. Wonderful post Richard, so powerful.
    Thank you for the reminder and the names of those brave heroic priests.

    We have a few "Good Relics" in Downside Abby, nr Bath. Many people do not know they have relics of St Peter and Paul, St Andrew, Oliver Plunkett quite a few others including the True Cross. Fr. Bede Rowe is the man to get in contact with about a viewing.
    I heard him say, this is the second Reformation. I think that he is a candidate for a F.M.

    Thanks again.

  2. Yes I think we could get 40 but, I'm not sure how many more beyond this number (but, in all fairness it might be a lot more). I think that we tend to have an impression that every Catholic is weak and badly catechised. However, I think the truth is that there are probably more solid Catholics out there than we imagine.

    The 40 martyrs are known for never rejecting the one true faith. However, just to put something else in to the mix for a minute, I think that the sad truth is there may be more Christians willing to give their lives in the hard line protestant evangelical/pentecostal churches these days.

    I think that (and I am perfectly willing to be called wrong) they would not stick up for their churches but they would die for Christ. I think that in the Catholic Church there is too much naval gazing about the church itself and the emphasis is taken off of God. However, these more recent hard line evangelical/pentecostal churches put all the emphasis on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. They have incorrect catechises (as Catholics know it) but, their teaching is hard and to the point. They are clearly told that they can loose their eternity. Something that Catholics have lost. This is why I believe that you might find more protestant 'martyrs' these days. They will not die for their Church but they will die for Christ (sorry to bring it up again but, the Columbine massacre shows good examples of what I am talking about).

    Before, I finish I just want to state that despite it appearing that I am supporting these other churches - I am not a Catholic who is wavering and looking over the wall at other denominations. However, for various reasons I have had some contact through friends at what is going on in these other denominations. Not for the first time I am warning fellow Catholics that there is literally a massive chasm between the teaching/catechises of the two different churches. I fully understand that they have incorrect teaching and do not have access to the sacraments but, when I see people actively being trained up in in 'how to keep your eyes on Christ', 'how not to stray from Christ' and 'how not to lose your eternity' it does send a loud warning alarm to Catholics who are receiving a soft, watered down message.

    If you think I have gone off message at the end then all I can say is I do not think I have. How are we supposed to build up our body of potential martyrs if we are not receiving true catechises. I know I have been going on about the 'penny catechism' but when our priests are too scared to cause offence among their congregations - how else are Catholics going to get back to proper teaching. Any suggestions are welcome.

  3. OPN - you are absolutely right. You only have to look at the advances made by Protestant evangelists in S America and the shrinkage of Catholics.
    No real suggestions other than prayer, sorry.

  4. Been scared of martyrdom since childhood, visiting houses with priestholes and that. Constant moan: killed for their catholicism ,more like 100,00 martyrs, 40-odd simonpure enough for canonization. Out of say four millions. Catholics by birth today are more than that..

    We'd be really pushed!

  5. Ooooops I gave the wrong name for the Downside priest responsible for the Relics, it is Fr. Boniface. But the first one, who prays outside a Marie Stopes Abortion Clinic with us when able, is a F.M. candidate. (another one! they are mounting up.)

  6. For myself, I can only echo Flannery O'Connor when she said "she didn't think she could be a saint, but she could be a martyr if they killed her quick"
    But if they killed me slow?
    I fear I'd be likely to recant, God help me.

  7. Clare - I never realised that FOC was the originator of that great quote, thank you.
    Momangelica - Fr Bede Rowe now blogs as 'A Chaplain Abroad'. He is chaplain (an ordained one)to Chavagnes International College.
    Thanks Mike.

  8. I think the more relevant question is, would *I* be willing to go to martyrdom for the faith today? Instead of looking around at others to fulfill that call, we need to examine ourselves to see if we would have such fidelity and courage...

  9. Christine - I did that before I posted.

  10. Is it me...or do some Christians seem to positively relish the prospect of martyrdom?

  11. Scout - yes of course we do (in some respects).It is surely a good and wonderful thing to do for the love of God. The physical aspects are less attractive.

  12. Fortunately, I don't think many people in the UK are into making "martyrs" at Tyburn etc. :)