05 May 2008

'I am bound in conscience . . . to suffer every kind of torture rather than deny a doctrine of the Church'

Father Tim Finigan in a post in his blog yesterday, 4 May, wrote about a visit to Tyburn Convent in London. He has a photo of an inscription with the last words of John Houghton, one of the Carthusian Martyrs hanged drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 4 May 1536. This was a particularly painful form of execution when the prisoner was disembowelled while still alive and his body then cut up. The 'crime' of John Houghton was that he wouldn't take an oath recognising King Henry VIII as head of the Church in England.

The feast of the Forty Holy Martyrs of England and Wales is observed in those two countries on 4 May.

John Houghton's last words as he stood on the cart with the rope around his neck were: I am bound in conscience and am ready and willing to suffer every kind of torture rather than deny a doctrine of the Church.

One can't help contrasting John Houghton's conscience with those of prominent 'Catholic' politicians who oppose the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, who vote to allow unborn children to be killed in their mothers' wombs because this is a 'woman's right' and who announce to the press that they are going to receive Holy Communion at Mass celebrated by the Holy Father, as some did on his recent visit to the USA.

Father Finigan reminds us that Father Houghton, 'said these words with the rope around his neck - proving as definitively as could be that he could not only "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk"!'

1 comment:

Simon Platt said...

Dear Father,

the English martyrs are a great inspiration. I sometimes serve mass at Lancaster cathedral and, when I do, I look across at an image of St. John Houghton, flanked by Sts. Thos. More, John Fisher and Cuthbert Mayne.