FROM ALAN McELWAIN IN VATICAN CITY
AT eleven minutes past ten last Sunday, the Forty Martyrs of England
and Wales became saints. Pope Paul. in St. Peter's Basilica, 'decreed and defined' them as such. The immense congregation applauded mightily. The bells pealed out and the work of years for the Postulators of the Martyrs' Cause and of all who had helped them, in practice and in prayer, came to a climax.
Pope Paul, solemnly pronouncing the words of the canonisation. recited the names of all forty, their Christian navies in Latin. Thus, Cuthebertum Mayne. Raelulphum Sherwin. Joannem Southworth, Gulielmum lostmern Plessington and the others. entered the goodly company who testify "to the glory of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. the honour of the I tniversal Faith. and the advancement of the Christian life."
They joined. too, their countrymen, saints John Fisher and Thomas More, canonised in 1935 in, as an announcer said, "this very place." On this "happy occasion" all became one.
Cardinal Heenan said afterwards: "R sounds trite to say that there has never been an occasion like this in St. Peter's in all its long history. But it is the simple truth."
The Pope, the Cardinal added. was with his English family. Pope Paul himself stressed this. Speaking in English at the opening of his homily, he said;
"Wc extend our greetings first of all to our venerable brother, Cardinal John Carmel Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster. who is present here today. Together with him we greet our brother bishops of England and Wales and of all the other countries. who have come here for this great ceremony. We extend our greeting also to the English priests, religious, students and faithful.
"We are filled with joy and happiness to have them near
us today; for us they represent all the English Catholics scattered throughout the world. Thanks to them we are celebrating Christ's glory made manifest in the Holy Martyrs whom we have just canonised. with such keen and brotherly feelings that we are able to experience in a very special ' spiritual way the mystery of the oneness and love of the Church.
"We offer you our greetings. brothers, sons and daughters. We thank you and we bless you."
He then put into his own words the spirit of brotherhood and Christian unity stressed from start to finish of the ceremony.
"We also extend our respectful and affectionate greetings to the members of the Anglican Church who have likewise conic to take part in this sere mony,-he said. "We are particularly pleased to note the presence of the official representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury. the Rev. Doctor Harry Smythe. We indeed feel very close to them. We would like them to read in our heart the humility, the gratitude and the hope with which we wel come them.
"We wish also to greet the authorities and those personages who have come here to represent Great Britain. and together with them all the other representatives of other countries and other religions. With all our heart we welcome them. as we celebrate the freedom and the fortitude of men who had. at the same time, spiritual faith and loyal respect for the sovereignty of civil life."
Dr. Smythe, Director of Rome's Anglican Centre, who earlier had spoken of Anglicans' "loving respect" for the courage and sacrifice of the Forty Martyrs, and also of the "telling proof of moral heroism" shown by many Anglican martyrs. sat. robed. in the front row of a tribune reserved for distinguished guests. Next to him sat Canon William Purdy. the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity specialist in Anglicanism. Nearby was the British Minister to the Holy See, Mr. Desmond Crawley, and Mrs. Crawley. and the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.
Pope Paul, on the theme of Greater Love Hath No Man
. . said the martyrdom of Christians was the most sublime expression and sign of the capacity to love which typified man. Martyrs remained faithful to this love at the cost of their lives. and their very sac rifice was performed out of love for God.
"The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales are worthy emulators of earlier great martyrs," he added. "Their qualities included humility, simplicity, serenity in accepting death. spiritual joy, and an admirable and radiant charity. These common qualities united men and women of different walks of life and of differing natural and supernatural dispositions. In a unanimous response of love they were all faithful to the call of God which sought from them the
sacrifice of their lives.
"The martyrs died for the love of Christ. They wanted to be—and were until the end—
faithful to their country. which they loved with all their heart. They were faithful subjects of the Crown and recognised the civil and political power as legitimate in those things which pertain to it. "Placed before the choice of remaining faithful to the re
vealed truths of their faith. or of denying them and saving their lives, they chose martyrdom without hesitation.
"That which stands out for all time as the example of their lives is the fact that they took their Faith seriously. For them it was a norm of life, and from it they received serenity and spiritual joy.
"May God be praised for having raised them up. and may the institutions in which they received training find equals in the world today. May their example and intercession strengthen us in faith and love."
HEAL THE WOUND Pope Paul went on: "May the blood of these martyrs be able to heal the great wound inflicted upon God's Church by reason of the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church. Is it not one —these martyrs say to us— the Church founded by Christ? Is not this their witness?
"Their devotion to their nation gives us the assurance that on the day when — God willing — the unity of the Faith and of Christian life is restored. -no offence will he inflicted on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the legiOrnate prestige and the worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Church. when the Roman Catholic Church—this servant of the servants of God—is able to embrace her ever-beloved sister in the one authentic com
munion of the family of Christ. A communion of origin and of faith, a communion priest. hood and of rule, a communion of the saints in the freedom and love of the spirit of Jesus.
BLESSED DAY "Perhaps we shall have to go ore waiting and watching in prayer, in order to deserve that blessed day. But already we are strengthened in this hope by the heavenly friendship of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who are canonised today."
Cardinal Heenan echoed this when he told me his chief thought as he came away from St. Peter's was that ecumenism had been vindicated.
"We all saw and felt that the victory of the Martyrs proved that passionate love of the Old Faith need have no ingredient of hatred or hostility towards those outside the fold," he said. "The Forty Martyrs will give a muchneeded impetus to the work for Christian Unity."
The cardinal said there had, of course, been even more splendid English occasions in St. Peter's—notably the canonisation of saints John Fisher and Thomas More. "But this." he said. "surpassed even that superb ceremony."
SIMPLICITY The tone was one of simplicity. The function itself was stripped of elaborate ceremony. The scripture readings and even the Pope's sermon were in English and, so that the Welsh would not feel neglected. Bishop Mullins from Cardiff addressed the thanks of all to the Holy Father in both Welsh and English.
"The pride and deep gratitude we all felt were as far removed from what has come to be called triumphalism as it is possible to imagine."
The ceremony was indeed simple, but it was exciting, too.
First, there was the thoroughly 'English' atmosphere that pervaded the vast basilica, due not only to the cause of the occasion, but the English hymns, the English choir, the English organist, the predominantly English---or at any rate Commonwealth — congregation, the English explanations of the ritual made over loudspeakers. and the presence of practically all the bishops of England and Wales. together with the Apostolic Delegate to Britain, Archbishop Domenico Enrici, and his predecessor, Archbishop Igino Cardinale, now Nuncio to Belgium.
The Scots were represented. too, officially by Archbishop Scanlan. but also by Cardinal Theodore Heard and Mgr. Gerard Rogers. a Judge of the Rota. As cross-bearer, he led the Papal procession in and out of the basilica and also read one of the lessons.
Ireland's representative was Cardinal William Conway. its primate, and Bishop Donal Herlihy was among other Irishmen in the congregation. Many Rome-based Italian cardinals sat in rows nearest the Pope's place in front of the papal altar.
Also among representative prelates were Cardinal Valerias Gracias, Archbishop of Bornbay, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Polish primate, Archbishop John J. McEleney, S.J., formerly of Kingston, Jamaica, and Bishop Arthur Fox, of Sale, Australia.
THE PROCESSIONS Before Pope Paul entered, just after 9.30 a.m., the congregation, led by Mgr. Wilfrid Purney, Precentor of Westminster Cathedral Chapter. sang the hymn. 'God Bless Our Pope.' Then, as the Pope. accompanied by the bishops of England and Wales, walked in procession down the enormous nave, "-Westminster Cathedral choir, conducted by Mr. Colin Mawby and with Mr. John Rush, head of St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Music Department, at the organ, led us in 'All People That on Earth do Dwell.' The Pope, in crimson chasuble and carrying his crozier, blessed all, to right and left, then went to his seat at the altar of confession. He said the Confiteor, the "Kyrie" was sung and the rite of canonisation began immediately.
Cardinal Paolo Bertoli, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Saints. and the Postulator for the Forty Martyrs, Fr. Paul Molinari, S.J., • on behalf of "Holy Mother Church-, beseeched the Pope to inscribe the Forty Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales in the Catalogue of Saints, • "so that all Christ's faithful may proclaim them as saints".
The Litany of the Saints was recited, the Pope made the solemn pronouncement of canonisation — and it was done. The Holy Father was thanked, the "Gloria" fervently sung.
THE ENGLISH COLLEGE
The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah ("He was despised and rejected by men") was read by James Joyce, from Portsmouth diocese, a student at the English College, which is deeply associated with the martyrs, ten of them having either studied or worked there. The college choir, like that of the pontifical Bede College, augmented the Westminster Choir in St. Peter's, and its staff. under the rector, Mgr. Joseph Alston, and students. had much to do with the preparations for, and the actual carrying out of the ceremonies.
Mgr. Rogers having read the second reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews ("Theirs was the faith which subdued kingdoms. which served the cause of right, which made promises come true"), Cardinal John Willebrands. Prefect of the Secretariat for Christian Unity. sang the Gospel, not in English, in which language the lessons were read, but in Latin.
It was from St. John — -1 do not pray for these only. but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one". Choice of Cardinal Willebrands also to assist Pope Paul in the Mass,
further emphasised the occasion's unity element.
The gospel was also sung in Greek by a deacon from the Greek College, and the Pope blessed the congregation with the Book of the Gospels.
At the beginning of the Mass came the traditional presentation by the Postulators of gifts to Pope Paul — two loaves of bread. small barrels of water and wine, candles. flowers (carried by two women) and two cages of doves and smaller birds. While this colourful episode was in progress, the congregation sang "Praise to the Holiest in the Height".
At Holy Communion, when the Crimond setting of the psalm "The Lord's my Shepherd," was sung, a number of selected people, some of them descendants of martyrs, received It from Pope Paul himself. They included 10-year-old Teresa Hynes, of Hornchurch, Essex, whose miraculous cure from a fatal illness of the pancreas was accepted as one of
the miracles performed through intercession to the Forty Martyrs.
Also Keith Matthewman, of Blackburn, Lanes., son of Joan Matthewman, whose miraculous cure from cancer was also accepted, and her brother, Mr. W. Keenan,
The ceremony lasted about 21 hours.
At the end, the hymn, "Sour of My Saviour" was sung. Pope Paul was carried through the congregation on his portable throne. He was smiling happily as he blessed and waved to the cheering crowds, many of whom had come in groups from England and elsewhere, including one of 60 from France. It was estimated that at least 20,000 people attended the ceremony, Soon after it, Pope Paul made his usual Sunday noontime appearance at his study window, when he again spoke of the example the Forty Martyrs had set for all.
Besides the Duke of Norfolk and the Hon. Michael FitzalanHoward, whose martyr-kinsman. St. Philip Howard, was Earl of Arundel, other distinguished visitors for the canonisation included Lord and Lady Walpole, Viscount and Viscountess South wel I. Mr. Douglas and the Hon. Mrs. Woodruff and Fr. Martin d'Arcy, S.J. The Anglican assistant Bishop of Exeter, Dr, John Armstrong, and members of the Campion and HoughtonBrown families were also present. James Walsh and Clement Tigar.
The music for the canonisation ceremony, including that of William Byrd, the Catholic composer to whom some of the martyrs were known, was chosen "for its capacity to express our feelings on this unique occasion". Thanks to the splendid performance of the Westminster Cathedral Choir and all associated with it, that aim came off perfectly.
Sunday, October 25. 1970, was a great day for the martyrs, a great day for the Church, a great day for the English and Welsh, and a great day for Christianity.