Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales
Today used to be the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. I believe it's another of the feasts the English bishops have played around with, and now they are all lumped together with the Beatified Martyrs in May. Why can't we have two feasts for the Martyrs? I remember as a young man going on the pilgrimage to Aylesford for this feast - presumably that doesn't happen any more? As the Holy Father once said, "heedlessness leads to forgetfulness." It was a felony, punishable by death, simply to be a Catholic priest; it was a felony, punishable by death to aid or hide a Catholic priest. All the persecution was introduced, not by a tyrant or demagogue, but by carefully crafted legislation - the force of the law. Let us not imagine that it cannot happen again - it is already starting in Britain - and it is not far away over here. These great martyrs, priests, religious and wonderful laypeople - should be widely known - and greatly venerated - we will need their prayers!