Feb 17, 2009

Cornwall's Prayer Book Rising of 1549

Here is a history interlude. In 1549 the English Protestant monarchy ordered that Protestant "Archbishop" Thomas Cranmer's First Prayer Book, which was in English, be the only text used for Mass and that the Catholic Latin Mass never be said again.

The English Protestants at this time were also busy stopping Catholic churches from "looking Catholic" -- by forcibly invading them and destroying their holy relics, as well as their beautiful holy images and statues, so that only Protestantized sanctuaries and bare walls remained.

In Dublin, the Protestant "archbishop" there had even burned the holy staff of St. Patrick, which was already 1,100 years old.

The English Protestant monarchy had also initiated devastating social upheaval by destroying the Catholic monasteries of England, Ireland, and, I believe, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, and by kicking out their happy tenants and leaving them to fend for themselves by seeking work in the cities. The English crown took over all of the monasteries' land and cultural treasures.

Back to the Cranmer "prayer" book. The Catholics of Cornwall and nearby Devon were loyal to the Catholic Latin Mass and began banding together to reject the English authorities' attempted imposition of the English Protestant version in their churches.

I should point out here that the Catholics of Cornwall at that time understood and loved the Cornish language AND the Latin of the Mass, but knew no, or little, English.

Soon a Cornish Catholic rising was underway, and for a while it had a fair chance of succeeding. But the English authorities brought in German and Italian mercenaries and eventually crushed the lovers of the Catholic Latin Mass. To impose the Protestantized English-language "prayer" book, the English forces killed some 5,000 in Cornwall, including 900 captives whose throats they slit and not excepting the civilians whom they went around slaughtering after the battles.

The English refused a request by some of the Cornish to have Mass said in the Cornish tongue.

The Cornish "rebels" were not perfect. No uprising ever is. But the English were in the wrong.

To read a brief summary about a modern Jesuit scholar's history of the Prayer Book Rising, click on this post's title.

The situation in the Church today is not analogous to any of the above, of course.

Today we have two Catholic forms of the Mass, the vernacular and the Latin (to put it simply). May we pray that all the bishops and clergy who oppose the Latin Mass or put roadblocks in its way will reconcile themselves to the wishes and instructions of Pope Benedict XVI and to the desires of the faithful who are slowly discovering what they have missed in the last 40 years.


Blogger Rita said...

I pray for that all the time. We no longer have to drive 45 minutes for the TLM, so that is a blessing.

10:00 AM  

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