Weekend 554.1

Settling, unpacking, and re-playing KH3. I’m a completionist and there’s one very (very) difficult trophy left. The Limestone Library is about 1/3 restored. I’ve pulled a couple of books from the shelves that I want to revisit. The first is The Art of Makoto Shinkai. This was gift from my Mum. The others are little booklets re-telling the history of Southampton.

(1) Urban Dictionary: Completionist

(2) Why Honda Shifters Are So Good, An Anthropological and Technical Exploration (Road and Track)

(3) 1 for 730+ (Transport for London)

(4) How did Elizabeth I die? (RMG)

(4A) This is from the Limestone Roof Photo Archives

Makoto Shinkai

Catholicism in England

“This is your dowry, O Holy Virgin, wherefore, O Mary, may you rule over it.”

One of my first daytrips in London was to Tyburn Convent. This was still at the height of lockdown when travel was restricted. As is the case with many daytrips, the visit spurred my interest in the history of the convent and its link to the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre (in Paris) and the Tyburn Tree.

The visit also led me to the Gordon Riots and Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens. Although I didn’t find that book, serendipity lead me to The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 by Eamon Duffy. This was a scholarly work and for months my posts were wholesale quotes from this tome.

I also bought Book in the Cathedral via book-store roulette and this wonderful little gem was the impetus behind my first trip to Canterbury in search of Thomas Becket. Although COVID restrictions made touring impossible, I did manage to pray in the nave. I also visited St Augustine’s Abbey. St Augustine was instrumental in introducing Catholicism to England in the 6th century.

I eventually made it back to Canterbury for a proper tour and to visit the place where Thomas Becket was murdered. I also read Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot on the train to Canterbury.

The Thomas Becket exhibit at the British Musuem was another moment of serendipity. The exhibit included stained-glass from Canterbury and the supposed book from the aforementioned Book in the Cathedral. It was the fountainhead for a planned pilgrimage to France across the English Channel to retrace the steps of Becket’s exile. My attempt at pilgrimage to France failed twice but was greatly supplanted by one to Walsingham.

Before the Reformation, Walsingham was visited by kings. The Wilton Tryptic, on display at the British Musuem, portrays a young King Richard II. His father was the Black Prince, buried in Canterbury Cathedral, and his grandfather was Edward III. Richard II was deposed during some internecine fighting, and some attribute that event to the troubles that what would befall the nation and monarchy in WAR OF THR ROSES. The Wilton Tryptic features Edward the Confessor¹ (holding the ring he gave John the Evangelist), Edmund the Martyr, and St John the Baptist. The significance of The Wilton Tryptic cannot be understated since it symbolizes Richard II “giving his kingdom into the hands of the Holy Virgin, thereby continuing a long tradition by which England was known as ‘Our Lady’s Dowry'”.

My pilgrimage to Walsingham was momentous NOT because it was the ONLY time I rented and drove a car in England, but because it is arguably the place of Catholic birth and rebirth in England. A pilgrimage to Walsingham includes prayers to reconsecrate England to Our Lady.

The bookend to my time in England was reading the Faith of our Fathers by Joseph Pearce. I was introduced to Pearce whilst doing some research on the history of Walsingham. He mentioned the idea for this book in a video on Walsingham. The book helped me understand the skittishness of English Catholics given the grisly history of martyrs and the still recency of emancipation via the Catholic Relief Act of 1829.

There were three other pilgrimage related trips. The first was to Plymouth where pilgrims often left for Camino de Santiago. The second was touring the northern cathedrals and the shrines of Hugh of Lincoln, Saint William of York, and St Cuthbert. The third was a daytrip to Ely in search of St Edmund who was felled by the Danes in defense of the faith.

In London I visited The Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs at Westminster Cathedral which commemorates so many of those martyrs. I was also starting to understand WHY so many Catholics in England appeared to worship so awkwardly, apologetically, and accidentally. There was more than one occasion when I thought clergy and parishioners had one eye over their shoulder half expecting the monarch (or a Lollard) to strip the altar.

What I witnessed was the bravery of Catholics in almost every generation. The Church of England cathedrals are just museums now and many parish churches are shuttered or are coffee / community centers. There is a coldness and desperation in those once holy places now devoid of consecrated altars. What has been left is man trying to fill that vacuum with his own holy objects (usually hideous art that tries in vain to lift man to God-like status) or substitutes like earth worship. The faith though is very much alive in those Catholic parishes I visited every Sunday on those weekend trips.

Related
The Catholic Heart of England
Some of My Best Friends Are Paintings (The Imaginative Conservative)
2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14

¹Edward the Confessor will have his own post.

Weekend 539.0

(1) A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (The Catholic Thing)

(2) UK rail union aims to shut network in 3 days of strikes (Reuters)

“The Rail Delivery Group, which represents companies operating train services, urged the RMT to call off the strikes, saying the industry was suffering with passenger numbers at around only 75% of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

(2a) The Proud City: A Plan for London (YouTube)

(3) Hawley and Grassley Receive Evidence from Whistleblower Showing DHS Intent to Weaponize Social Media to Control Information (The Last Refuge)

(4) April 11, 1963 – General Edwin Walker (YouTube)

Weekend 535.0 (Waiting for the gift of sound and vision)

(1) TfL Launches Limited Edition Elizabeth Line Oyster Cards (Londonist)

I tried to find one this AM ten days before the line opening. I tried Green Park on the Piccadilly, Bond Street on the Jubilee, and Paddington on the Bakerloo.

Update: The Oyster Cards were being dispensed from Charing Cross.

https://twitter.com/geofftech/status/1525217688989097984

(1a) Update 2: Success! I was at Charing Cross this morning (very early).

Elizabeth Line Oyster Card

(2) London Tube Colors: Hex, RGB, CMYK & Pantone (London On My Mind)

(3) RideLondon FreeCycle

(4) A-HA The Movie (YouTube)

Twilight and evening bell…

Saturday was my last football match of the season / campaign. I also revisited Westminster Abbey and the Guildhall Art Gallery. I also toured the Tower of London. The highlights of the tour included the Chapel of St John (William the Conqueror), the Chapel Over The Water (Edward I), and the King’s Private Chapel (Henry VI). I’m still organizing my full notes on the latter but pre-occupied with arranging some final cathedral tours (St. Albans and Salisbury). I also have one more BIG pilgrimage planned before summer related to St Thomas Becket. I’m not sure there’s a plan for all this accrued historical capital but there’s definitely some emergent themes.

Weekend 533.0

I was in Portsmouth on Saturday for Pompey versus Gills. Portsmouth is owned by former Walt Disney chief executive Michael Eisner¹. Gillingham is in a League One relegation battle that also involves the Morcambe Shrimps. It was a quick trip and I will still groggy from Paris in mid-week.

On that subject…

Travelling across the channel via the Eurostar was not easy (ticket gates, security and passport control). The service is fine once you depart BUT Gare du Nord was utter chaos and the departure lounge at St Pancras International is claustrophobic inducing.

Related
Long Lines at Gare du Nord as Eurostar Hit by IT Issues (Yahoo News)
2021/2022 Football Campaign
St John’s Cathedral
Paris Windows (Sasha Ward)

(1) Video Game Lofi: Kingdom Hearts album now streaming, physical pre-orders open (Game Freaks 365)

Listened to it on Spotify this AM and it’s good.

¹No politics this weekend.

Weekend 523.1

“Judica me, Deus, discerne causam meum de gente non sancta.” Psalm 42

Quotes from The Brothers York: An English Tragedy by Thomas Penn:

“Meanwhile, shortly before sunset on Thursday 18 July, a rider had arrived in Canterbury from the north with urgent news for Edward, there with Elizabeth on pilgrimage to the tomb of St Thomas Becket.”

“The English, he wrote, were great observers of protocol, always ready to genuflect to power and authority. But ‘no matter how they bend the knee’, he concluded, ‘they are not to be trusted.'”

“There were pressing reasons why he needed to do so, chief among them the fact that the Medici relied heavily on exports of English wool to fill the convoy of galleys that docked each year at Southampton.”

“Progressing through Kent, taking in the elegance of Canterbury Cathedral and the richness of Thomas Becket’s gold, gem-encrusted shrine, the saint’s hair shirt hanging above it, Rozmital and his party started to acquaint themselves with English customs, including a beverage drunk by the common people, which, one of the party noted, was called ‘Al’selpir’ (though he didn’t apparently realize that he was being offered a choice: ‘ale’ or ‘beer’).

“Noting Edward’s freshly minted currency, ‘nobles and other good coins’ changing hands, they quickly formed the conclusion that London – a ‘powerful’ city, they appraised, with its face turned outward towards the world and ‘rich in gold and silver’ – was England.”