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 Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design

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Wednesday
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PostSubject: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:50 am

Wow. Just...wow. "Nothing wrong, but little right...." and a lot of other, succinct opinions on the details of the tomb design and the planned liturgy.

Click Here for Article

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Marie2

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:50 pm

Interesting that the author of that article categorises Leicester's tomb design as brutalist - I had been thinking the exact same thing. Surely brutalism is an outworn architectural fashion anyway, so why are we being told we have to accept this "design" because that is what modern art looks like? Unfortunately, I do have suspicions that a 'brutal' design is what some at the cathedral secretly think is all Richard deserves.
Still think it looks like a big bar of soap on a vanity unit.
Leicester's attitude to acknowledging Richard's Catholicism in their plans for the reburial service is also unacceptable, in my view.
I don't know whether York Minster would have behaved with any more sensitivity, but I have to say I've been left totally unimpressed with the small-minded folk at Leicester cathedral.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:10 pm

Ironically enough, I ran across a journal article today that seems to tie in with the entire mess of Richard's piety and matters regarding his tomb and reburial. I'm not grounded enough to put my scattered thoughts into any sort of form at the moment, so I've put the article up here so anyone can download it. It contains so much to think about.

Article is HERE on this forum for download

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:04 pm

Whatever design had been chosen would have disappointed some people somewhere.  The design is not entirely in the hands of the Cathedral, but also in the hands of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission who oversee alterations and additions to all Cathedrals in England.  Whatever the general opinion of the tomb, it is unlikely to be altered in anyway except a minor one.  There is to be a discussion about adding some roses to the design, I believe.

It is interesting to see the wide variety of people and organisations who now have a 'view' on how Richard should be reintered, the service to be used, the tomb design etc.  AFAIK none of these people or organisations ever uttered a word about Richard before he was found.  Were there prayers for him in the Catholic churches over the years, I wonder?  I suspect not.  Yet now, he appears to be a bandwagon which all and sundry want to leap on.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:52 am

Perhaps roses at the junctions of the floor-tiles would be nice.  I hope the boar is in the design somewhere - children will like to come and pat him.

The block of stone is supposed to be made from Swaledale limestone, i.e. stone quarried near Middleham (Swaledale seems to be the next dale over from Wensleydale, since fun-runners from Swaledale routinely take in Middleham).  As such it will be quite "busy" in real life, because Swaledale limestone is usually full of crinoid fossils, made of calcite - that means it should be semi-translucent and full of little glittering ice-water lights and half-seen, lily-like forms.  Carving it into anything other than a very simple shape might be a bit eye-watering, setting up a visual conflict between the shapes carved onto the stone and the shapes embedded inside the stone.

Anything more elaborate in shape would probably require that it *not* be made from stone from (nearly) Middleham - and that would be a pity.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:23 am


Thibault, Plenty of the people with views on the tomb design, service, etc, have a long history of dedicated interest in Richard III, and for several decades now the Richard III Society has organised Catholic masses for Richard and Anne. There is probably nothing we can do to alter current plans, and can only hope the tomb will look better in real life than it does in the mock-up.
Swaledale is the next dale north from Wensleydale, by the by; runs parallel to it and its main centre is Richmond. This is a link to the stone:-
http://www.britannicus-stone.co.uk/britannicus-stone-stones/swaledale-fossil/
Interesting that it is said to be difficult to work - that might explain the almost total lack of tooling in the design.
Wednesday, is the article you linked to the Harrap one? it told me I wasn't authorised to download articles so I googled to find an article on the subject and found a pdf to that one. Anyway, if that's the one you meant I was very impressed by it. I'd found Jonathan Hughes' dark interpretation of Richard's devotion to St Ninian as irritatingly fanciful as most of his writing, and it's lovely to see a real scholar of religious history debunk it. Interesting, in view of some of the controversy over the tomb, that the author interprets it as evidence that Richard had become a true northerner.

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:45 am

I should think it's also evidence that northern England and southern Scotland were one culture squabbling over a border, probably with more in common with each other than either had with their respective seats of government.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:18 am

There's an article about it here http://news.discovery.com/history/world-history/king-richard-iiis-tomb-design-unveiled-140618.htm which says that the idea behind the very deeply-incised cross is to allow light to be seen to pass through the bulk of the stone and illuminate it from within, symbolising that death is not the end. Similarly it's to be tilted slightly upwards, as if he was on the point of rising up and walking into the light.

Which is a nice thought, though I predict that at some point some visitor is going to put a cup of coffee down on that tomb, not realising that it's on a slight slope, and it's going to slide off onto somebody's foot. Maybe the slope is to *discourage* vistors from putting cups of coffe down on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:35 am

Marie2 wrote:

Thibault, Plenty of the people with views on the tomb design, service, etc, have a long history of dedicated interest in Richard III, and for several decades now the Richard III Society has organised Catholic masses for Richard and Anne.


I don't doubt that, Marie2, but I suspect the catholic prayers were as a result of an approach by the Richard III Society and not a spontaneous gesture by Catholics to pray for the last Plantagenet king.

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:44 am

Does the Catholic church pray for anybody who's been dead that long, and didn't set up a foundation specifically requiring them to do so?
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:46 am

Probably not, but I was responding to a response to my earlier post where I said that people who had not necessarily previously been interested in Richard were now becoming vociferous about his reburial ceremony.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:56 am

Yes, sure. But I think the Catholic church could be said to have a general interest in all the Catholic dead, which isn't invalidated by the fact that they haven't concentrated on a specific individual until they became an issue.

The debate I suppose is whether you see Richard as specifically a member of the Catholic church, or as a member of the country's state religion - which happened to be Catholicism at that time but which differed somewhat from Catholicism as we know it today - and whether you see the heir to Mediaeval British state Catholicism as being modern Catholicism or modern British state high church Anglicanism.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:09 am

Yes - angels dancing on heads of pins spring to mind, for some reason  Smile 
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:41 am

To the question, were people (ie people today) saying prayers and having masses said for Richard, prior to the dig - yes, they were but they weren't advertising it on websites or in newspapers. And not just via the Society either. Some of the Ricardians I've known have been saying prayers and lighting candles for Richard for decades.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:47 am

Yes, but the question was whether the Catholic church, as a body (i.e. not just individual Catholics who happen to be Ricardians), had said prayers for Richard recently, and whether this affected whether he should be buried with primarily Catholic or Anglican rites.

Thinking about it, I'm inclined to go with Catholicism in Richard's specific case, because the difference between Mediaeval Catholicism and modern Anglicanism is far greater for a king than for a subject - the difference between a religion in which you are a congregant, and one of which you are the titular head.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:26 pm

For me the chief difference is that Catholics of both Richard's day and today believe that one can hasten the passage of a deceased person's soul through Purgatory by prayer. This is, as I understand it, something that the Church of England like other Protestant churches does not endorse.
But we know that prayers for the dead were something that Richard took extremely seriously, and that he endowed chantries for prayers to be said for his own soul. I think most of us try to respect the beliefs of our deceased friends and relatives in organising their funerals, and even though he's been dead a very long time Richard probably only got a very rushed funeral first time round and so I feel it would be better, because of this particular doctrinal issue, to have a Catholic reburial service rather than C of E. Best of all would be the 15th-century reburial rite recently discovered by Dr Alexandra Buckle, but although we heard at one point that at least some of it would be sung, it seems to have been dismissed recently by the cathedral as "re-enactment" and I'm not sure where we stand on that either. I do hope that winning the judicial review hasn't caused Leicester to start acting insensitively again.
Thibault, the Catholic masses were started by the RIII Society as the result of pressure from Catholic members, and I've been interested in Richard long enough to remember when they began.
I've been agnostic since the age of 14 so this is not about me pushing for my own beliefs, but perhaps you do have to have had a Catholic upbringing, as I did, to understand how important prayers for the dead are to believers. Leicester's recent announcement that they Church of England is the direct successor of the medieval church in England because they have maintained apostolic succession is completely missing the significance of the loss of core doctrine central to medieval dealings with the dead.

Also, returning to Whitehound's earlier post about the tomb - my understanding is that there are to be no boars or roses, or any kind of iconography other than Richard's coat of arms and that incised cross. Richard's badges were incorporated into Wendy Johnson's original design but that has been completely rejected by the cathedral authorities. Whether the Society can make any headway on the roses as a result of this scheduled meeting I don't know, but I'm not holding my breath - the white rose was also a symbol of the Virgin Mary, but maybe even that is too 'medieval' - i.e. properly Catholic - for Leicester. Certainly lots of roses are not going to be tolerated, but perhaps either one large rose incised at the intersection of the cross, or a little one at each corner of the plinth - they do assure us that when the black Kilkenny stone is cut into it appears white, and that this is how the lettering is to show up.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:36 pm

whitehound wrote:
Yes, sure.  But I think the Catholic church could be said to have a general interest in all the Catholic dead, which isn't invalidated by the fact that they haven't concentrated on a specific individual until they became an issue.

The debate I suppose is whether you see Richard as specifically a member of the Catholic church, or as a member of the country's state religion - which happened to be Catholicism at that time but which differed somewhat from Catholicism as we know it today - and whether you see the heir to Mediaeval British state Catholicism as being modern Catholicism or modern British state high church Anglicanism.


The Catholic church's modern view is that Henry VIII created the Anglican church specifically to accommodate his desire to commit adultery.

So the question to me would be how Richard would see himself, and I can't see him aligning himself with a church created by a Tudor.

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:41 pm

Marie2 wrote:

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Wednesday, is the article you linked to the Harrap one? it told me I wasn't authorised to download articles so I googled to find an article on the subject and found a pdf to that one. Anyway, if that's the one you meant I was very impressed by it. I'd found Jonathan Hughes' dark interpretation of Richard's devotion to St Ninian as irritatingly fanciful as most of his writing, and it's lovely to see a real scholar of religious history debunk it. Interesting, in view of some of the controversy over the tomb, that the author interprets it as evidence that Richard had become a true northerner.


That's the article I meant. I've set that particular entry to allow any member to download the PDF now...and have a question in to tech support asking if I can set the entire forum to allow members to download attachments. Otherwise, I have to go topic by topic and set them manually.

I'm glad you found the article on your own, despite my error.


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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:44 pm

I think they've actually got boars, in those little rondels either side of his name. It's hard to see. but if you look here:

http://news.discovery.com/history/world-history/king-richard-iiis-tomb-design-unveiled-140618.htm

I can't see what else they could be, because that certainly looks like a side view of a four-legged creature. Imo they should put roses into the tiles, at the intersections, instead of the plain diamonds shown on the cgi - it would look nice and be *extremely* easy and cheap to do.

Whether a Mediaeval service would be mere re-enactment or not I think would depend on whether the theology was still patent. If the priest or vicar carrying out the service didn't actually belieive what they were intoning, then it would be play-acting.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:58 pm

Wednesday wrote:
So the question to me would be how Richard would see himself, and I can't see him aligning himself with a church created by a Tudor.

Eeee-yesss, but I'm not sure he'd be all that thrilled about aligning himself with a religion which most non-Catholics in Britain currently associate with child-abuse, stolen babies and the ill-treatment of single mothers, bordering on outright torture.  Although it's not entirely fair to put all the blame on the Catholic church, since there was a lot of abuse by Protestant and secular organisations in Ireland as well, the recent discovery of a disused cesspit in Ireland containing the heaped-up skeletons of nearly 800 babies and small children who died at a Catholic home for unmarried mothers in the mid 20th C, because they were overcrowded and malnourished and when they succumbed to a succession of mass outbreaks of infection the nuns didn't call a doctor for them, or even bury them properly, hasn't made the church very popular - even with Catholics.

This is on top of the revalation a few months ago that Cardinal O'Brien, the local bishop in Glasgow and the church's most outspoken opponent of gay marriage, was a predatory homosexual who groped students at a seminary, and so many reports of sexual abuse at Catholic schools that it's hardly even news any more.  I don't think being a priest makes you more likely to be a paedophile, it just makes it easier to get away with it if you are, because until recently people were reluctant to believe any ill of a priest, and the new pope seems to be a delightful old boy who is doing his best to sort it out, but I can't see Richard being all that comfortable with a church which has become notorious for opressing children and poor women.

There's also the fact that he was a Wycliffite, and would have been considered a heretic if he hadn't been too powerful to cross.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:38 pm

Actually, you know, the fact that Richard owned a Bible (part of one, anyway) and prayers in English at a time when that was still seen as somewhat heretical suggests that hearing holy writ in his own language was important to him (or maybe that he wasn't very good at Latin!), which in turn means that he might actually prefer a modern English service, so long as it's properly dignified, over the authentic Mediaeval Latin.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:28 pm

Richard owned a Wycliffe NT and a volume containing a very few short OT books. Theoretically you needed clerical permission to own an English translation of the Bible, but this wasn't the big heresy issue it became in the 1500s, and his book of hours was all in Latin, including that personal prayer which is so often quoted in its English translation. Richard was into saints, masses, and masses for the dead, and approved of people joining religious orders (there's an item in Harley 433 where he sponsored a girl to enter a convent, saying how pleased he was to see vocations flourishing). There are little clues that suggest, as youngest son, he may have been destined for the priesthood when very young - for instance, he led the prayers in the Minster at his son's investiture, and he got really enthused about a day spent listening to theological disputations at Oxford University. He was not a secret Wycliffite simply because he owned an English New Testament.
Would he have stopped believing in Catholicism if he found out what modern Catholic priests and nuns have been guilty of in modern times? I doubt it. That story about the babies in the septic tank is spurious in any case, and it doesn't help simply to repeat vicious propaganda:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/06/09/that-story-about-irish-babies-in-a-septic-tank-is-a-media-hoax/
But you hit the nail on the head when you said the root of the problem is that priests and nuns could simply get away with it. That was particularly true in Ireland, which had become for understandable historical reasons over-protective about its Catholicism. You get abuse whenever and wherever you have an elite that is above criticism and not subject to scrutiny, and that is one reason perhaps to avoid organised religion of any complexion. In England, certainly, the scandals over the doings of Catholic priests were preceded in the 1970s & 1980s by a series of scandals about Church of England priests. There have also been recent scandals involving Hindu schools.
In Richard's own day priests and nuns also fell a long way short of excellence. Priests had concubines or simply took their pleasure where they felt like it, nuns had a reputation for having secret offspring and even for doing away with their babies, monks had a reputation for sodomy and interfering with boys, which is according to Nicholas Orme one of the reasons why parents stopped donating their male offspring to monasteries. And that's not to mention the predilection of the higher clergy for human bonfires. What did Richard do? Break away from Rome? No, he wrote an open letter to the English clergy exhorting them to improve their lives - i.e. he criticised the clergy from within. Criticisms of the behaviour of priests and attempts at reform were not unusual from within the ranks of the clergy themselves, but Richard's interference as a layman probably was.
My feeling about Richard - although we really don't know - is that he was a devout Catholic but not an intolerant one by the standards of his day. It's hard to judge because his reign was so short, but I've never come across any docs in which he rails against lollardy as his brother Edward often did, nor was anyone burned at the stake on his brief watch; and he owned that Wycliffe New Testament. But to get his books in context, you need to remember that they came into Henry VII's hands and were kept safe and not used in evidence against him; in other words, as I've said, they were unremarkable.
Had Richard been born today rather than in 1452 he would have grown up with a much broader range of influences (including modern scientific understanding) and very likely would not have died as a devout Catholic, although he may have done, you never know, depending to some extent on where exactly he grew up. I dropped it, as I said above, at age 14, unable to believe it all any more and frustrated by the straitjacket that literal belief in such an old construct of reality imposes on the mind of a modern person. I saw a lot of people, particularly women, screwed up by it, but I've also seen many truly wonderful, kind people for whom their Catholic faith has been lifelong inspiration.
I personally believe that, if Richard had not been king and had lived to see England break with Rome, dissolve the monasteries (of which we know he approved) and pocket the cash, stop people praying for the dead and to saints (both of which he enthusiastically did), he would have opposed it, as did his niece Margaret of Clarence and members of most of the northern families whose 15th-century members had been his friends and associates.
But all we KNOW is that Richard was a Catholic when he died in 1485.
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:48 pm

I didn't say that the babies' bodies were put into an *active* cesspit - according to the BBC's report it was a "disused septic tank", with the implication that by the time the bodies were put into it it was just a convenient vault. But that isn't the point. The point is that large numbers of children were kept in conditions so appalling that most of them died of malnutrition and disease, and nobody even tried to stop it happening, and then their bodies were just piled in all anyhow. It wasn't an orphanage, either - they were children of unmarried mothers, forcibly removed from their mothers and brought up to believe they were worthless and dirty because of the circumstances of their birth, and - at least according to the BBC report - segregated from other children, denied baptism and denied a Christian burial.

Actually they probably weren't all in the concrete tank. 796 children died at the institution in question and there's no record of any of them having an individual grave, and there were enough bones in the tank to fill it up, but there may have been some individual burials which weren't recorded.

I'm sure you're right that Richard would have disapproved strongly of the Dissolution. But there was also that story - which may or may not be true - that before Bosworth he refused to have mass said for his victory because he said if it was God's will that he should win, it was unneccesary to ask for victory, and if it wasn't God's will that he should win, to pray for victory would be blasphemous. Whether this story is true or not, the mere fact that people believed it of him suggests that he was known as an original, logical and unorthodox religious thinker.

I don't think Henry VII's orthodoxy would have born much close examination either. At the time that he was in Britanny and France there was a Templar revival movement - a bit like the New Age fascination with the Templars nowadays - and almost his first act as king was to cause his nobles to ride though London two to a horse. Two knights on one horse was of course the Templar symbol. [Here in Scotland, of course, the Templars hadn't died out in the first place.]
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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:11 am

whitehound wrote:
Wednesday wrote:
So the question to me would be how Richard would see himself, and I can't see him aligning himself with a church created by a Tudor.

Eeee-yesss, but I'm not sure he'd be all that thrilled about aligning himself with a religion which most non-Catholics in Britain currently associate with child-abuse, stolen babies and the ill-treatment of single mothers, bordering on outright torture.  Although it's not entirely fair to put all the blame on the Catholic church, since there was a lot of abuse by Protestant and secular organisations in Ireland as well, the recent discovery of a disused cesspit in Ireland containing the heaped-up skeletons of nearly 800 babies and small children who died at a Catholic home for unmarried mothers in the mid 20th C, because they were overcrowded and malnourished and when they succumbed to a succession of mass outbreaks of infection the nuns didn't call a doctor for them, or even bury them properly, hasn't made the church very popular - even with Catholics.

This is on top of the revalation a few months ago that Cardinal O'Brien, the local bishop in Glasgow and the church's most outspoken opponent of gay marriage, was a predatory homosexual who groped students at a seminary, and so many reports of sexual abuse at Catholic schools that it's hardly even news any more.  I don't think being a priest makes you more likely to be a paedophile, it just makes it easier to get away with it if you are, because until recently people were reluctant to believe any ill of a priest, and the new pope seems to be a delightful old boy who is doing his best to sort it out, but I can't see Richard being all that comfortable with a church which has become notorious for opressing children and poor women.

There's also the fact that he was a Wycliffite, and would have been considered a heretic if he hadn't been too powerful to cross.

Perhaps, with his experience of royalty, nobility, gentry, commoner, and the faults evidenced by all, he also would have realized that the Church -- any church -- is made up of men and women who have free will. That some men and women choose to do evil, and not just those associated with [insert church here].

Is it any less evil that the head of the new Church of England forced his subjects to choose between their God and their king, and punished accordingly if a subject chose their God? That dilemma continued for hundreds of years after the establishment of King Hal's church. Men, women and children suffered abuse then as well.

Power breeds abuse in some cases.

And yes, Richard might be considered a Wycliffite by scholars today, and he definitely would have been considered a heretic in his own day if he hadn't been too powerful to cross...but that's only if someone found out he had that bible. I don't imagine he set it on his prie dieu for all to see, or mentioned it to his personal confessor. There's personal power...and then there's inviting bell, book and candle to have a go at you because one couldn't keep one's heresy to one's self.

If Clarence had known about that bible....

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PostSubject: Re: Catholic Opinion on the New Tomb Design   Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:49 am

sorry folks,
continuing misconceptions.
1) That "bible" wouldn't on its own have had Richard denounced as a heretic, that is anachronistic. He may even have had clerical permission to own it. Do you not think, Wed, that Henry VII or the young Henry VIII would have made massive capital out of this proof of Richard's heresy if it really had been that?
2) Richard's known stance on various religious matters is Catholic rather than proto-protestant. Scholars today (and several have written about Richard's religion) do not, any of them, regard him as a Wycliffite. Wed, you obviously loath Catholicism and would love Richard to have been a secret lollard, but if he had been he would not have been founding chantries and colleges of priests dedicated to strings of saints, now, would he?
3) Whilst of course the events at that Irish orphanage are shocking by modern standards, the total deaths over its entire history (just under 800) apparently works out to a death rate of 10%, which was normal, if not actually slightly better than normal, for rural Ireland at the time, particularly given the problem of lots of babies living together in overcrowded conditions pre antibiotics. That they were buried in common graves, and some of the number (the Guardian estimates it cannot have been much more than 200) were buried in this particular common grave is shocking by our standards, but this was also the fate of paupers in England; although the Vatican may have been awash with money, Irish orphanages absolutely weren't. I'm not pretending the nuns were forgiving, kind and loving, or that the Irish clergy and Victorian values hadn't together managed to produce a society in rural Ireland that was prudish and censorious about sexual misconduct to a point of fanaticism. Part of that may also have to do with poverty. Marriages in many areas were available only to some children in the family, and they often married quite late - it was a form of birth control in a land-hungry environment, and needed a strong ethos of chastity to make it work.
As for high death rates for infants gathered together in other circumstances, my mother, who was nursing children in English hospitals during World War II, told me there were shocking rates of admissions of infants suffering from gastro-enteritis picked up in the nurseries that had been opened to look after them whilst their mothers were busy doing the jobs of the absent men. How many of these babies died I don't know, but there were no antibiotics available to civilians, and that is a story which has yet to break perhaps partly because it is currently politically correct to believe that mothers working are a good thing. We have also had scandal after scandal in the UK in recent years regarding sexual abuse of children in state-run children's homes, and physical abuse and neglect of the elderly and mentally handicapped in care homes at least one of which had received an "Excellent" rating from inspectors. The problem is not confined to Catholicism or even religion. Those kind of jobs unfortunately act as a magnet not only to the caring but to those who enjoy having and misusing power over others, and whenever you get large, powerful institutions you will get abuse and the ability to cover up that abuse.
The Catholic hierarchy did become shockingly arrogant, I've no quarrel with that, but to my knowledge few Catholics have actually left the Church over it. They have just got angry from within. People tend to leave the Church because they stop believing the doctrines, and only then are freed up to see the bad nuns and priests as an intrinsic problem.
There are two narratives, something I was always aware of having been brought up in a Catholic household but gone to a non-Catholic junior school. Protestants recoiled in horror from Bloody Mary and all the honest protestants she had burnt at the stake, the Spanish Inquisition, etc, and say their priests are true successors to St Peter because the line of ordinations was never broken. Catholics meanwhile said only their priests have true Apostolic succession because once the Church of England broke from Rome its priests were expelled and no longer able to make legitimate ordinations, and they dreamed about pre-Reformation Golden Age when England was known as 'Mary's Dower', and got all emotional about the 40 martyrs and brave priests hiding in priest holes and tortured for their faith, and admired those families who had passed the faith down through centuries of persecution. Neither side ever acknowledged any of the things that didn't fit its reverie of the past; had I not gone to a non-Catholic school I would never have heard about Bloody Mary, and my protestant friends had never heard of Catholic martyrs. Two narratives, both part true, both picking and choosing those aspects of history that suited the model. The fact is medieval and early modern Christianity was a persecuting religion per se because of the absolute assumption that a stable state could not survive except in a monochrome religious environment. I'm afraid I have absolutely no time for people bumping up their own brand of religion by focusing on the faults of the other.
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