Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fifth Day of Christmas: Swords and Brooms

Today the theme of martyrdom again dominates the liturgical calendar for those of us with English connections. Mind you some of those connections are traced to anecdotal stories of previous generations of faithful Catholics being driven from our Celtic lands by the religious zealots of the British monarchy.

Anyway, back to the stories of the day which are dominated by a couple of English Monarchs.. Henry 11 is the first English Monarch to have an Australian connection way back in the 12th century. His mum's name was Matilda and she waltzed around town as the Empress Matilda for a few years.

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Burton-WonderfulProdigies/pages/p112-King-henry-Whipped/
Henry 2nd other claim to fame is his establishing Canterbury as a a massive pilgrimage site after one of his tantrums resulted in the rather bloody murder  of Thomas Beckett on December 29 1170 Tom was canonised in record breaking time on 21 February 1173.

Henry and Tom  were having a bit of a barney over Church rights and as usual, property rights. Unfortunately for Henry, Thomas's death set off the Catholics in a frenzy and all of Europe was suddenly afire with devotion to the new saint. Henry was in a bit of political bother so he agreed to do a dose of penance and in the style of reality TV he had himself flogged at Thomas's tomb.As a reward for this public humiliation Henry was awarded the right to be called King of England rather than the rather pythonish King of the English.

History in England continued on its merry way with the usual family disputes, the odd war and the Magna Carta However a few centuries down the  track and another Second, Charles of England was chopping heads off  any peer he suspected of participation in the Popish Plot  the best of the 17th century conspiracy theories. Among those peers was William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford who lost his head at Tower Hill on December 29 1680. Bill was beatified in 1929 and is still in line for canonisation.

All this would make for classic celebration of the rights of the Church and the blood of the martyrs except for a report from 2011  of a broom stick fight in the Church of the Nativity over land rights when sweeping. The coverage from the ABC comes complete with video coverage and the classic police statement:

“No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God,” said Bethlehem police Lt.-Col. Khaled al-Tamimi, who also noted that order was quickly restored."

A similar incident was reported in 2007 when 7 priests were injured in a post Christmas cleaning fight. Stand by for reports from this year's anniversary cleaning action!!!
Post a Comment