Historical Parallels

I’m reading Faith Of Our Fathers: A History of True England by Joseph Pearce. He first mentioned the IDEA for this book on YouTube. The content is surprisingly topical given the total marginalization of people of faith by secular fundamentalists and their trampling jackboots. The book is also full of hope since Catholicism has survived (and thrived) in the UK whilst most other churches have been razed or converted into museums and cafes.

Quotes from Faith Of Our Fathers: A History of True England:

“The king’s usurpation of the religious rights of the Church, and therefore the religious liberties of his subjects, set in motion a process of secular nationalism that would lead to the rise of the sort of secularism which ripens into secular fundamentalism. When the state gets too big for its boots, trampling on religious liberty, it is not long before the boots become jackboots, trampling on the defenseless and the weak, and piling up the bodies of its countless victims.”

“In terms of realpolitik, Henry would not have been able to get his hands on the wealth of the Church without bribing the nobles with a promise of a share of the plunder. Had the aristocracy not been bought in this way, they would no doubt have rebelled in defiance of the king and in defense of the Church. It was, therefore, in appealing to the baser appetites of the ignoble nobility that Henry succeeded in sacking the Church and removing her power from his realm.”

“Three days after the martyrdom of John Fisher, Henry ordered preachers to denounce the treasons of Sir Thomas More from their pulpits. Since More’s trial for treason wasn’t due to start until a week later, on July 1, the king’s orders signified, if such signification were necessary, that the trial was already a foregone conclusion and that only one verdict would be tolerated. The parallels with the justice system in other secular tyrannies, such as the show trials in the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin are clear enough.

“The plunder, which, Cobbett called an ‘act of monstrous tyranny’, was made possible by the passage of an Act of Parliament in March 1536 for the suppression of the monasteries and the passing of all property and wealth owned by these religious communities into the hands of the king and his heirs.”

“‘Almost overnight,’ wrote Simon Jenkins, ‘the City and its surrounding land saw a transfer of ownership and wealth on a scale not witnessed even during the Norman Conquest.’ The vast bulk of this property ‘passed to aristocrats, merchants and cronies of the monarch.'”

Related
A walk through Walsingham with Joseph Pearce (YouTube)
New Decorative Scheme for St George’s Chapel

Henry VI, Part 2

Henry was more martyr than king and developed a cult after he was slain.

Quotes from The Brothers York by Thomas Penn:

“As a shuffling Harry was led the short distance to the west door of St Paul’s – Westminster, apparently, was too much of a stretch – his physical frailty and mental instability were palpable. In the intervening decade he had become, if anything, more detached, more unearthly. One Londoner followed the standard Lancastrian line, explaining away Henry’s ‘ghostliness’ as ‘saintliness’; another delicately summed up the problem, observing that he was ‘no earthly Caesar’. The Burgundian chronicler Georges Chastellain put it more bluntly. The king was ‘ordered like a crowned calf’, his uncomprehending gaze taken by his handlers as assent. ‘And’, Chastellain added, the real ‘governor and dictator of the realm’ was Warwick, who ‘did everything’.”

“In a last-ditch attempt to boost Londoners’ morale, George Neville ordered Henry VI to be put on a horse and led through the city’s streets. Where, ten years previously, Edward’s hastily constructed inauguration ceremonies had convinced most Londoners, this limp procession backfired spectacularly. His hand held all the way by Neville – perhaps in reassurance, perhaps to stop him falling out of his saddle – Henry was dressed in a shabby long blue gown, ‘as if’, remarked one observer, ‘he had no more clothes to change with’, adding that the whole thing was more ‘like a play than the showing of a prince to win men’s hearts.'”

“At St Paul’s, to the singing of the Easter hymn Salve festa dies, celebrating God’s victory over hell, Edward offered up his battle standards, ripped and shredded by gun- and arrowfire. He then had Henry VI paraded through London, to the Tower. In a spitefully effective touch, the Lancastrian king was dressed in the same blue gown that he had been wearing since his ineffectual display of regality the previous Thursday.”

Quotes from The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy:

“Henry VI had been an unassuming man in his own lifetime, dressing in farmer’s boots, wearing the gown and rolled hood of a slightly run-down urban worthy; up to the Reformation his shabby hat could be tried on by Windsor pilgrims suffering from headache. He liked to appear to his clients in just such unassuming garb, dressed like a pilgrim, unshaven, and walking up and down with a friendly face, ‘giving…no little ground of hope and amazement.'”

“The victims of political struggles might become martyrs, and popular devotion to such ‘saints’ might be the vehicle for criticism of or resistance to the political status quo. A number of the fifteenth-century English cults had a strong political dimension, like the anti-Lancastrian cult of Archbishop Scrope of York, executed for treason by Henry IV, or the anti-Yorkist cult of Henry VI…Henry VII attempted to mobilize the cult of Henry VI in support of his own dynasty, building a magnificent chapel at Westminster Abbey to house Henry VI’s relics, and promoting his cause at Rome. The process foundered in the late 1520s, but ‘good King Harry’ would almost certainly have been canonized had not bad King Harry’s matrimonial affairs strained and eventually broken ties with Rome.”

“What was true of the Virgin applied, to a lesser degree, to all the saints. They too could be appealed to as loving friends, who would not be too hard on poor weak flesh and blood. In the cases of saints like Archbishop Scrope or Henry VI, this emphasis was related to their own histories: the victims of persecution or judicial murder could be expected to have a special tenderness for those who suffered similar injustice. The fact that Henry VI had been wrongfully imprisoned and treated, as his biographer Blacman commented, ‘like a thief or an outlaw’, together with his well-known readiness during his lifetime to forgive malefactors, meant that he could be called on to rescue those whose human law had judged beyond the pale.”

Weekend 528.0 (Barnet)

A quote from the The Brothers York by Thomas Penn:

“The fog lent the fighting a more desperate edge than usual. Hand-gunners and archers fired at the invisible enemy at point-blank range. Barely able to see in front of them, the combatants’ fear and disorientation were total: the fighting, as one participant put it, was ‘the more cruel and mortal’. Intensifying the chaos was the armies’ skewed alignment. On the Yorkist left, where Hastings’ men faced the earl of Oxford’s much bigger force, the imbalance was driven home. Oxford’s advancing troops swung round and piled into Hastings’ exposed lines, which, after a fierce fight, buckled and broke. Their blood up, Oxford’s men chased Hastings’ fleeing troops back down the road towards London.”

I was in Barnet on Saturday for a football match between Barnet and Woking but the memorial commemorating the battle is a bit of a haul.

Henry VI

“A man who could, on occasion, assert his royal will and make decisions, but whose interests were not those of most medieval kings, being far more focused on his afterlife than his actual life, whose faith, piety and spirituality were far more important to him than the administration, warfare and politics that comprised the essence of late medieval kingship.” — James Ross

I have several quotes to post about Henry VI from The Brothers York: An English Tragedy by Thomas Penn and The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy.

Weekend 526.0 (palaces made of lime and stone)

“People simply refused to believe what was happening…”

Finished The Brothers York by Thomas Penn. Some more quotes, substitutions, archeological curiosities, and final thoughts (and what comes next).

Quotes
“Late that summer, Sir George Brown wrote a brief message to his nephew John Paston the younger. Brown was a Yorkist loyalist; his stepfather was the late king’s recently executed chamber treasurer Sir Thomas Vaughan. One of Edward IV’s close chamber servants, Brown had been knighted on the battlefield of Tewkesbury back in 1471; following the king’s death that April, he had carried the banner of St George at his funeral and was among the household men keeping watch over his body the night before its burial. Now, Brown’s message to Paston read, simply, ‘Loyalté Aymé’. It shall never come out for me.’ Scrawling a variation on Richard III’s new royal motto, Brown dismissed it out of hand. There was no way that Richard’s idea of loyalty would work for Brown: he didn’t trust the new king an inch.”

“The idea of putting the earl at the head of royal networks in the north seemed exceptionally unwise. Like their detested rivals the Nevilles, the Percies had historically proved themselves dangerously independent-minded: a challenge, rather than a support to royal authority.”

“Meanwhile, in an act of political penance and reconciliation, Richard ordered the remains of the Lancastrian king Henry VI to be disinterred from their sequestered location at Chertsey Abbey, and royally reburied in the choir of the near-completed chapel of St George at Windsor, close to the body of the man who had destroyed him and his family, Edward IV. Edward, of course, had designed the chapel specifically as the last resting place of the Yorkist kings. The symbolism of Richard’s gesture was lost on no one: in death, at least, the houses of Lancaster and York were to be unified. Perhaps, Richard hoped, some of the Lancastrian king’s saintliness would rub off on him by association. And, as a flood of pilgrims descended on Windsor to venerate the bones of the saintly Lancastrian king, Richard redoubled his efforts to get hold of this rather more troublesome living descendent, Henry Tudor.”

Substitutions
“There was an increasingly prevailing view that, far from governing for the common weal, Richard [Biden] was ruling for a privileged clique.”

“This pension was paid, not in recognition of a lifetime of service on Forest’s part — rewards for ‘good service’ tended to be recognized explicitly as such — but ‘for diverse causes and considerations us moving’, a formula kings habitually used when referring to confidential business carried out on their behalf. It was impossible to say for sure what ‘diverse causes and considerations’ might have moved Richard. But whatever Forest had done for him, it merited an exceptional royal response.”

Here are some names to substitute- Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Alexander Vindman, Michael Byrd, James Comey, Christine Blasey Ford, and Anthony Fauci.

Archeological Curiosities
“At the festivities, the king [Richard III] presented the mayor with a fine gold cup encrusted with pearls and lapis.”

“Around this time, Richard acquired a book of hours. Designed for personal, everyday use, this prayer book was small, its illuminations – initials, sprays of foliage, the occasional illustration picked out in pink, blue and warm orange, with gold leaf – simple and practical, designed to guide the reader around the text in the course of their devotions.”

Richard III’s Book of Hours (Medievalists.net)
Lambeth Palace Library: The National Library & Archive of the Church of England

Final Thoughts
It was difficult to find any redeeming figures in this historical recount. I would add Miles Forest, John Dighton, and James Tyrell to my list of historical footnotes whose lives, after their heinous crimes, deserve immortalization in poems and literature if only as parables to the emptiness of worldly ambitions. Just like the knights who killed Thomas Becket, these three altered history for probably thirty pieces of silver.

Related
Inward and Outward by Fr. Paul D. Scalia (The Catholic Thing)

“Such superficiality keeps us from knowing our real longings and desires. We limit them to the here-and-now, to the worldly, and even the carnal. The Psalmist shows us the true path: O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. (Ps 63:1) When we allow these words to shape our minds (as Saint Benedict counsels), then we break through the surface, into a deeper awareness of the real longing that we typically anesthetize. Then, as legitimate as our temporal needs may be, we realize the deeper need within us.”

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.”

Adolf Hitler or Justin Trudeau?

“The small, fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing, do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other, who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values as a country.” — Justin Trudeau

(1) Justin Trudeau RESPONDS to Trucker Convoy (YouTube)

Weekend 521.3

“It’s been remarked many times that Walt was Mickey, Mickey was Walt—and nowhere is that more evident than in the iconic scenes of Mickey eagerly improvising an airplane and taking to the skies; scaling a beanstalk and challenging a giant; donning a Sorcerer’s hat and “conducting” the courses of the stars and planets. That joyous, wholehearted celebration of life was at the core of Walt’s spirit—and the same spirit was, and still is, embodied in his most personal creation: Mickey Mouse. As long as Mickey lives, that carefree spirit will continue to venture forward, with boundless enthusiasm and great good humor, toward distant horizons we cannot even yet imagine.”

Taschen was highlighted in “The Art of _______________________” in Weekend 461.0. They publish beautiful books and the recently released Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History is no exception. It’s a must for any Walt Disney / Mickey Mouse fan.