Thursday, July 3, 2008

Persecution & Martyrdom, Part VI

Saint Edmund Campion, S.J.
January 24, 1540 – December 1, 1581
English Jesuit priest and martyr.

Committed to the Tower of London, he was questioned in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, who asked him if he acknowledged her to be the true Queen of England. He replied in the affirmative, and she offered him wealth and dignities, but on condition of rejecting his Catholic faith, which he refused to accept.
He was kept a long time in prison, twice racked (by order of the Council but certainly with Elizabeth's consent), and every effort was made to shake his defiance. Despite the effect of a false rumour of retraction and a forged confession, his adversaries summoned him to four public conferences (September 1 18, 23 and 27 1581). Although still suffering from his ill treatment, and allowed neither time nor books for preparation, he reportedly conducted himself so easily and readily that he won the admiration of most of the audience. Tortured again on October 31, he was indicted at Westminster on a charge of having conspired, along with others, in Rome and Reims to raise a sedition in the realm and dethrone the Queen.

He was sentenced to death as a traitor, which he answered with the prophetic words "In condemning us, you condemn all your ancestors, all the ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England" and with the Te Deum laudamus, and, after spending his last days in prayer, was led with two companions to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quartered on December 1, 1581, aged 41.

The ropes used in his execution are now kept in glass display tubes at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire; each year they are placed on the altar of St Peter's Church for mass to celebrate Campion's feast day.

Look at the Catholic witnesses in England and pray, for our time is approaching.
Act of Resignation
O Lord, my God, from this day I accept from your hand willingly and with submission, the kind of death that it may please you to send me, with all its sorrows, pains, and anguish. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Do with me what You will. Amen+