UK: Masses for Card. Reginald Pole

A friend in England wrote with news:

A week Monday, 17th November, there are a number of Requiem Masses in the usus antiquior in England for the repose of the soul of the last Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Cardinal Pole, who died on 17th November 1558 (several hours after Queen Mary I).  

I shall be in choro at that to offered in the Chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, where Pole had studied.

 

I wish I could be there! 

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36 Responses to UK: Masses for Card. Reginald Pole

  1. Jacob says:

    …the soul of the last Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Cardinal Pole, who died on 17th November 1558 (several hours after Queen Mary I).

    The bolded word is definitely something we should try to remember in this day and age when courtesy titles are not the same as the real thing…

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’ve always thought it a bit fatalistic to refer to him as “the last Archbishop of Canterbury.” Perhaps, “the most recent Archbishop of Canterbury” ?

  3. Aelric says:

    The novel by Lucy Becket, The Time Before You Die , features Reginald Cardinal Pole as a significant character. Ignatius Press is the publisher.

  4. shadrach says:

    I sort of feel the same about Pole as Paul IV did.

  5. Gladiatrix says:

    I think it would be more accurate, and certainly more polite, to refer to Reginald Pole as the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

    It is also worth remembering that Pole’s conduct as ABC is very far from being above reproach. See the Wikipedia entry:

    In 1555, Mary began burning Protestants for heresy, executing 220 men and 60 women before her death in 1558. Pole shares responsibility for these persecutions which – contrary to his intention – contributed to the ultimate victory of the English Reformation. As the reign wore on, an increasing number of people turned against Mary and her government, and some people who had been indifferent to the English Reformation began turning against Catholicism. Writings such as John Foxe’s 1568 Book of Martyrs, which emphasized the sufferings of the reformers under Mary, helped shape popular opinion against Roman Catholicism in England for generations. Roman Catholicism would remain outlawed in England (and then the United Kingdom) until the 19th century.

    One has only to visit the church of St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London, and read the memorial RIGHT OUTSIDE ITS DOORS

  6. Gladiatrix says:

    I think it would be more accurate, and certainly more polite, to refer to Reginald Pole as the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

    It is also worth remembering that Pole’s conduct as ABC is very far from being above reproach. See the Wikipedia entry:

    In 1555, Mary began burning Protestants for heresy, executing 220 men and 60 women before her death in 1558. Pole shares responsibility for these persecutions which – contrary to his intention – contributed to the ultimate victory of the English Reformation. As the reign wore on, an increasing number of people turned against Mary and her government, and some people who had been indifferent to the English Reformation began turning against Catholicism. Writings such as John Foxe’s 1568 Book of Martyrs, which emphasized the sufferings of the reformers under Mary, helped shape popular opinion against Roman Catholicism in England for generations. Roman Catholicism would remain outlawed in England (and then the United Kingdom) until the 19th century.

    One has only to visit the church of St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London, and read the memorial RIGHT OUTSIDE ITS DOORS to realise just how appalling his behaviour was; not least because he failed utterly (if he even tried) to stop Mary’s murders of people who simply did not agree with her. In fact, it seems that the only person who did try to stop her was her husband, Philip II, and it is arguable that he failed because Pole would not back him up.

  7. Jacob says:

    I’ve always thought it a bit fatalistic to refer to him as “the last Archbishop of Canterbury.” Perhaps, “the most recent Archbishop of Canterbury” ?
    Comment by Tim Ferguson — 9 November 2008 @ 1:55 pm

    It is a bit fatalistic. But even in the event of a mass return of the Church of England to the Catholic fold, I don’t foresee them pulling apart the established hierarchy, do you? It would be cool if the see of Canterbury was renewed though.

  8. The other David says:

    It would seem to me that from a Catholic perspective, he was indeed the last Archbishop, as we do not recognize the validity of Anglican orders. I do not know what Rome intends in regards to the possibility of the return of many to the fold, but this is a reality. It can be expressed more diplomatically perhaps, but it needs to be done so in a way that does not lead people to assume something we do not believe

  9. William Tighe says:

    Also in New York City on November 17th:

    http://www.corpus-christi-nyc.org/EventsTudor.html

    As to the statement from the Wikipedia repriduced above:

    “In 1555, Mary began burning Protestants for heresy, executing 220 men and 60 women before her death in 1558. Pole shares responsibility for these persecutions which – contrary to his intention – contributed to the ultimate victory of the English Reformation. As the reign wore on, an increasing number of people turned against Mary and her government, and some people who had been indifferent to the English Reformation began turning against Catholicism. Writings such as John Foxe’s 1568 Book of Martyrs, which emphasized the sufferings of the reformers under Mary, helped shape popular opinion against Roman Catholicism in England for generations. Roman Catholicism would remain outlawed in England (and then the United Kingdom) until the 19th century.”

    much recent historiography (e.g., Eamon Duffy [a Catholic] and Christopher Haigh ["an Anglican agnostic"]) would suggest that it is wholly false to postulate that the burnings had any “transformative” effect on English public opinion, beyond strengthening the tiny minority of committed Protestants in their beliefs. Many of those burned had brought their fate upon themselves by disrupting the celebration of Mass or by profaning the sacramental species. Foxe’s book had an effect, but it was a retrospective one. Mary’s only real mistake was dying a tthe age of 42, after only five years as queen. Had she lived to be 55 or 60, the position of Catholicism in England would have been impregnable, even has Elizabeth succeeded her on the throne.

  10. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Gladiatrix,

    Your post is replete with the intellectual bankruptcy that characterises Anglicanism (and has
    done so since its very foundation).

    Your lot killed many a catholic, too.

    The difference between Mary and Pole on the one hand and Elizabeth on the otheris that those
    they executed richly deserved it – those catholics the Anglicans executed didn’t.

  11. Will says:

    Cardinal Pole is buried in Canterbury Cathedral, but his sarcophagus is shamefully hidden. He can be found at the easternmost end of the cathedral, in the Trinity Chapel, just past and to the left of the (roped off) doorway.

  12. TJM says:

    Look, history is always written by the victors. If Catholicism had been revived in England following the reign of Elizabeth the terms describing the two ladies would have been reversed. It would have been Good Queen Mary and Bloody Queen Elizabeth. Let’s not kid ourselves, okay? Tom

  13. Susan Peterson says:

    I can hardly think of anything someone can do which would make them “deserve” to be burned alive. Even profaning the sacred species. God may burn people who do such things in hell; He is God and His decrees are just, but we don’t know for sure what they are with respect to any particular person. From a human standpoint, I think it is pretty shocking to say that those whom Mary burned, deserved it. This is likewise true of the tortures of Catholics under Elizabeth.

    I would have to defer to Mr. Tighe, who is a specialist in this era of history, about the question of whether Mary’s actions defeated the purpose for which she intended them, or not. He says not. I still say such actions are not what God wills. Mary was a person of her age, with the understanding of her age, and is not liable for this cruelty in the degree that someone would be who did something like this today. But I certainly wouldn’t want to celebrate her, or Pole, for it.

    Susan Peterson

  14. Patrick Rothwell says:

    Cardinal Pole really is one of the great “what ifs” of English – and therefore American – history. Pole is someone truly someone who has been wrongfully relegated to the dustbin of history – many of his reforms were a precursor to the kinds of reforms that were perfected by Borromeo, albeit with a view to accommodating some of the justification-related concerns that perplexed so many Protestant-leaning churchmen as well as using some successful Protestant propaganda techniques for Catholic purposes. I read somewhere that Pole probably died of influenza, along with many other elder churchmen and statesmen during an epidemic, and not simply of a broken heart. If that is true, then the absence of that epidemic might well have thwarted Elizabeth’s ecclesiastical ambitions and may well have cost her the throne within her first year. The success of the English Reformation is in large measure the result of many similar kinds of contingencies and seemingly random twists of fate.

  15. Thomas Wolsey says:

    \”I can hardly think of anything someone can do which would make them “deserve” to be burned alive. Even profaning the sacred species. God may burn people who do such things in hell; He is God and His decrees are just, but we don’t know for sure what they are with respect to any particular person. From a human standpoint, I think it is pretty shocking to say that those whom Mary burned, deserved it\”

    How about sodomy, or witchcraft?

    The fact that you find it hard to accept from a human standpoint does not make it wrong.

    The church\’s enemies certainly don\’t argue that, because we catholics may find some of their actions (e.g., abortion) wrong from a human standpoint, that those actions are wrong.

    Unfortunately, we have all grown up in an atmosphere poisoned by the philosophy of liberalism.

    Even our emotions are influenced by it.

    [Lose the "+" in your handle, which I edited out.]

  16. Mrs. Peterson,

    you say:

    “I still say such actions are not what God wills.”

    But Leo X condemned the following error:

    “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.”
    (Dz. 773, http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma8.php)

    Mr. Rothwell,

    You note that:

    “many of his reforms were a precursor to the kinds of reforms that were perfected by Borromeo …”

    This is very true. The Biographical Dictionary of Cardinals records that Pole

    “opened a synod of the bishops of England on November 4, 1555 at Westminster; it came to a temporary conclusion in the middle of February 1556 (8) so that the bishops could return to their dioceses for Lent; the synod’s twelve reform decrees were published on February 10, 1556, under the title Reformatio Angliæ ex decretiis Reginaldi Poli, Cardinalis, Sedis Apostolicæ Legati; the most important decree ordered for the first time ever the establishment of seminaries, seed beds as the synod called them; the idea was later adopted by the Council of Trent.”
    (my emphasis, http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1536.htm)

    Pole was an English Churchmen of the highest calibre. It is very sad to see his reputation besmirched posthumously, though it fits entirely with Prof. Amerio’s thesis of the denigration of the historical Church which he advances in Iota Unum.

    Reginaldvs Cantvar

  17. Michael UK says:

    15th. November at Glastonbury Abbey [12:00 noon]TLM for the Glastonbury Martyrs. +s Richard Whiting ( last [31st] Abbot of Glastonbury under Henry VIII), Hugh Cook Faringdon and John Beche, abbots and their Companons.

  18. William Young says:

    I seem to recall that the last Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner, was rather more to blame (if that is the case) for the perceived excesses of Mary Tudor than the last Archbishop of Canterbury.

  19. Gladiatrix says:

    I am not sure what is meant by ‘my lot’, I am legally a Protestant but not a professing Anglican. Yes Elizabeth burned more people than her sister did, but only because she was queen for much longer than her sister was.

    Elizabeth was the victim of several plots by Catholics to assassinate her, not least because of the charming proclamation by the Pope that it was perfectly alright to kill her. Not very Christian and something for which the Vatican has yet even to offer an apology. I cannot recall any plot by Protestants to assassinate Mary. It is hardly surprising that Elizabeth may have been left a little paranoid.

    As for Bonner, fanatic he may have been but Pole outranked him as ABC, was Mary’s choice as ABC and was Mary’s cousin. Therefore, Pole could and should have prevented the mass burnings by Mary – which attracted lasting attention and infamy because of the sheer numbers of people burned on each occasion – not least if he claimed to be a practising Christian.

    Neither is it true to say that Anglicanism is intellectually bankrupt, Anglicanism grew out of the fact that the Vatican would not admit that the then version of the Bible in use was riddled with inaccuracies (and yes I know that there are still errors in the modern versions), neither would the Vatican admit that many of its practices had no Biblical foundation. All of which were pointed out by scholars many of whom were ‘protestant’ in terms of their criticisms which they were willing to publish. Anglicanism has on the contrary always had a much better understanding of Biblical scholarship.

    Reginald Pole was also a stunningly selfish man; he publicly criticised Henry VIII knowing perfectly well the danger into which he was putting his family and he didn’t care. When his mother and brother paid the price for his arrogance did he apologise or in any way admit his responsibility for their suffering, did he hell. What happened to his mother in particular was appalling, and whilst I in no way excuse Henry’s treatment of an old woman and a woman who was his cousin, Reginald was the one who caused her death.

  20. jarhead462 says:

    Gladiatrix wrote- “neither would the Vatican admit that many of its practices had no Biblical foundation. All of which were pointed out by scholars many of whom were ‘protestant’ in terms of their criticisms which they were willing to publish. Anglicanism has on the contrary always had a much better understanding of Biblical scholarship.”

    Really?- would that be the Bible that has the N.T. cannon givin to you by the Catholic Church?
    Ouch. so much for Anglican Biblical scholarship.

  21. Thomas says:

    “Elizabeth was the victim of several plots by Catholics to assassinate her, not least because of the charming proclamation by the Pope that it was perfectly alright to kill her.”

    FALSE.

  22. William Tighe says:

    “Therefore, Pole could and should have prevented the mass burnings by Mary – which attracted lasting attention and infamy because of the sheer numbers of people burned on each occasion – not least if he claimed to be a practising Christian.”

    I see no reason whatsoever why he should have prevented the burning of cantankerous and unrepentant heretics, once they had refused to repent and recant. I do, however, find myself most in sympathy with the critique of the Marian Restoration that was made by the future martyr Bl. John Storey (1504-1571) shortly before he fled from England in 1560, who said that that the Marian bishops had “foolishly burnt the small twigs while they suffered the great rotten oak (i.e., Elizabeth) to remain.” It was Philip of Spain who probably saved Elizabeth from execution in the aftermath of Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554, just as he managed to save her from being arrested in the aftermath of the hare-brained Stafford Conspiracy of 1557, in both of which plots some of Elizabeth’s servants wer eperipherally involved.

  23. William Tighe says:

    Now, Thomas, it is in fact perfectly true that Pope Gregory XIII approved of a theological opinion that it would be meritorious to assassinate Elizabeth I if the person who did it sought no advantage for himself and was not motivated by personal hatred, but rather sought to rid England of a tyrant and to free the Church from oppression; and I find myself in some sympathy with his view, just as I do with those who tried to assassinate Hitler in 1944. I do not know whether I agree with the view, but I do not find it in any way absurd or contemptible.

    One might add, that the canonization of the assassin of William of Orange, Balthasar Gerard, was seriously canvassed some years after the event, but in the event it went nowhere.

  24. Thomas Wolsey says:

    “many of his reforms were a precursor to the kinds of reforms that were perfected by Borromeo …”

    Sadly, those reforms have helped bring the church to its present post-Conciliar plight.

    Gladiatrix,

    You really are astonishing in your mixture of ignorance and arrogance. It seems to me
    you may suspect the truth of catholicism, but are trying with all your might and main to deny it.

    Hence, in your desparation, recourse to even the most ridiculous arguments.

  25. Gordon says:

    It is absolutely appalling we have people in this day and age suggesting that folks burned at the stake “deserved it” Oh how very Christian. As for the “witches” most of those unfortunates were not remotely witches. And are we saying for example gay folks deserved to be burned too. Now what does Holy Church say about penance, etc. Now, I do know what Our Divine Lord had to say about divorce. Perhaps we should have divorced folks sent to the stake? Look those yonder days were quite primevil, to be polite about it. Also, we live in an age today where Catholicism is looked down upon even by “committed Catholics” Should ever a time recur when it is considered against the state interest to be Catholic, would it be right for us all to be carted off to the stake by our enemies who truly believe they are defending the state? Just look at Communist Russia. Spanish Civil war etc.? I thought those days were behind us, at least for a long good while (till near end of time)Also folks,even very young people got executed even ’till reletively recent times for the most petty little things. Still happens in some countries today.The martyerdoms of those bygone days of Catholics, often for trivial trumped up charges, was shocking indeed. But gives us no right to say anyone else “deserved it” Once you start that kind of talk, you could end up setting off some dreadful repercussions.

  26. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Gordon,

    What a ridiculous, emotive argument.

    I bet you’re a true believer in the falsely so-called “englightenment”, aren’t you?

    You obviously have little idea of what Christianity is if you think putting capital criminals
    to death, whether by burning, or any other method, is somehow incompatible with it.

    Do you criticise the state as such – any state, Christian, Muslim, secular or whatever – for
    punishing its criminals??

    Well, unless you do (and you’d be wrong to do so), you’re guilty of a colossal double-standard.

    Indeed, the comparison between Communism – which had no rights to punish anyone for not being
    communist, and catholicism, which punished heretics justly, as being far worse than murderers,
    is intellectually bankrupt.

    Just remember, the “American Way” (and I assume you are an American), is definitely NOT God’s way.

  27. Gordon says:

    It is never a good thing to assume all those sent to death by the state or anyone else “deserve it” Other than that I will not respond to the post except to add, that The Most Holy Trinity in It’s infinite wisdom was well aware of how things would develop in England, and by extension to Scotland, which did try to keep the Faith, but alas…We will only know Our Lord’s ways some time in the distant future. It is wonderful also that a mass for the last Archbishop of Canterbury is being offered. The last Archbishop of St.Andrews,John Hamilton, by the way was executed at Stirling in 1571, more for being an aid to Mary Stuart I guess.The See was vacant till 1878. I’m not aware of anyone up here offereing masses for him like they do so publicly for the old English hierarchy. Perhaps one of the most bizare things about the situation in Scotland is that the last pre reformation Archbishop of Glasgow, James Beaton, (nephew of the murdered Cardinal Beaton) died in Paris, very much in the faith, but was supposed to have been the Scottish ambassador to Paris!!! (He died in 1603)

  28. Gordon says:

    Don’t know where that little box with cross comes from? Perhaps St Andrew put it there! (Or I’ve hit the wrong keyboard button)

  29. Gordon,

    What exactly do you mean by

    “It is absolutely appalling we have people in this day and age suggesting that folks burned at the stake “deserved it””?

    Do you mean to say that:

    1) The punishment of burning at the stake does not fit the crime of notorious public heresy?

    or that

    2) The convicted heretics were actually not guilty?

    or something else? As for 1), see my citation of Leo X, and as for 2), presumably most of the convicted heretics did not deny their dissemination of heresy.

    Reginaldvs Cantvar

    P.S. that’s a St. Patrick’s Cross at the end of your other comment.

  30. William Tighe says:

    “The last Archbishop of St.Andrews,John Hamilton, by the way was executed at Stirling in 1571, more for being an aid to Mary Stuart I guess.The See was vacant till 1878. I’m not aware of anyone up here offereing masses for him like they do so publicly for the old English hierarchy.”

    Maybe they should. On the other hand, with his mistresses and brood of bastards he was hardly an exemplary prelate; and, what’s more, between the (illegal*) outlawing of Catholic services in 1560 up to his own execution (as a supporter of the Queen of Scots) in 1571 he barely lifted a finger to promote the restorartion of Catholicism.

    * Illegal, because the acts of the Scots Parliament of August 1560 that outlawed Catholic services (although leaving Catholic prelates and Catholic clergy who refused Protestantism in possession of 2/3 of their annual revenues) never received the Royal Assent from Queen Mary — then in France, who, when she returned to Scotland a year later, declined, on the one hand, to assent to those acts (she did so only in 1567, when she was casting around desperately for support in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination) and yet refused, on the other, the pleas of the Huntley and other Catholic Lords to sweep away the fragile new “Calvinist establishment” on her return. (Far from being a “Catholic heroine” I hold the Scots Queen as the most inept and unprincipled ruler possible, who in the vain hope of inducing Elizabeth I to name her heir to the English throne allowed her own enemies to consolidate their hold over Scotland.)

  31. Gordon says:

    Archbisop Hamilton had a Catholic catechism printed, also he was in prison in a castle for quite some time post 1560. It’s not as if he had much power to do anything useful about the situation. He never had “several Mistrisses” He did have one mistress But it must be borne in mind that clergy did have common law wives in those times, before the Council of Trent came down definatively agaisnt it. Scottish bishops very often held senior political and executive office up till the protestant reformation. It was in fact very counter productive to the well being of the Church, it must be admitted. However to to be so uncharitable, both to the bishops, most of them kept the faith, and especially to Mary, Queen of Scots is really a repetition of protestant propaganda. The country was pretty much ungovernable, to be honest, at that time. Not helped by constant English interference, both in matters political and to further the “reform” It is all very well to say what could have been and should have been from a distance of so many centuries, but as I say, it was a chaotic period. It is simply not true, however to say the bishops or the Queen did not try to keep the faith. Good luck with the Mass in Oxford. Hope it all goes well

  32. Thomas Wolsey says:

    “He never had “several Mistrisses” He did have one mistress But it must be borne in mind that clergy did have common law wives in those times, before the Council of Trent came down definatively agaisnt it.”

    Those women were the lawful wives of the clergy in the eyes of God.

    Unitl the council of Trent, it was possible to marry without witnesses, and without mass.

    This is one reason the requirement of Trent for witnesses as a pre-condition for sacramental
    validity was brought in. It is also a reason that seminaries were established – to stop
    clerics contracting valid marriages while still only in minor orders, and then proceeding to
    the priesthood as married men.

    These particular reforms of Trent were disastrous, and continue to make their deleterious effects
    felt even today.

    Regarding the question of compulsory celibacy generally, see “Celibacy: Gift or Lsw?” by H-J Vogels.

  33. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Actually,

    It’s arguable that the liturgical reforms of Trent – leading to the marginalisation to
    many local variants of the Roman Missal – not that good either.

  34. William Tighe says:

    “Those women were the lawful wives of the clergy in the eyes of God.”

    So you claim; but the popes from St. Gregory VII onwards both declared and legislated to the contrary.

  35. Thomas Wolsey says:

    “So you claim; but the popes from St. Gregory VII onwards both declared and legislated
    to the contrary.”

    Unfortunately, that legislation was ultra vires.

    This is not the place to go into that.

    When the purported law is repealed, it will not be the first time something generally held to
    be legal will be found not to have been. In regard to the liturgy, Pope Paul VI’s attempt
    to proscribe the older form of the Roman liturgy springs to mind.

  36. Gladiatrix says:

    I am sorry but I find it astonishing that anyone could seriously suggest that it is or ever was acceptable to burn people to death, there is no justification whatsoever for inflicting such an agonising and slow death on someone whatever your religious beliefs may be. Neither am I ignorant or arrogant, it is a matter of recorded fact that a Pope effectively gave permission for Catholics to kill Elizabeth. Any reputable English historian can cite chapter and verse on the damage that Mary I’s activities inflicted on the Catholic Church in England. Why do you think Charles II had such difficulty in trying to persuade Parliament to introduce greater toleration of Catholic worship? It was because of the lingering reputation for savagery that was indelibly associated with Catholicism in the public mind. The great tragedy of Philip II’s life is that he was the victim of a vicious and long-lasting smear campaign, ‘the Black Legend’, which was almost certainly triggered by his wife’s conduct. Philip after all wrote to the Pope criticising his pronouncement about Elizabeth, and sent a personal letter of apology to Elizabeth. A copy of that letter can be found in the National Archives.

    I have no wish to become a Catholic, I cannot reconcile the Catholic church’s attitude to women – no I don’t think women should be priests – and neither can I forgive the way several members of my family who are Catholic were treated by their Church. The personal abuse to which I have been subjected on this page merely for expressing an opinion based on my own country’s history is another reason. I stand by my belief that Protestants in terms of Biblical scholarship are better scholars than their Catholic counterparts, and they are certainly better behaved.

    I also stand by my statement that the behaviour of the Pope and of Reginald Pole and of Mary I was not the behaviour that should be expected or accepted of Christians. Which part of ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ did they not understand?