Georgetown Presentation by Lord Nicholas Windsor, Royal Patron of the Christian Heritage Centre and The Case for Religious Freedom
This link http://youtu.be/aH219gdNCTs will take you to the presentation given by Lord Nicholas Windsor, Jan Graffius and David Alton at Georgetown University’s Berkley Centre, Washington DC. The session was hosted and moderated by Professor Tom Farr. The presentation describes the purpose of the Christian Heritage Centre Project, the Collections held at Britain’s Stonyhurst College, and the challenges to contemporary religious freedom. Please share it with others.
Mary Ellen Bork’s Thanksgiving article in the Catholic National Register:
“The Christian Heritage Centre is both informative and inspiring and having visited ones spirit soars and faith strengthened. The Centre will make changes for many and we should pray for its success “ – Charles Guthrie. Field Marshall Lord Guthrie , the former head of the British Armed Forces
“It is simply marvellous that the Stonyhurst Collection, the oldest private museum collection in the English-Speaking world, yet one of our least known national treasures, is going to be housed in a new purpose-built museum and education centre. This will undoubtedly bring a wider audience to learn about, and appreciate more fully, Faith and Heritage which has shaped the Britain in which we live in today” – Rt.Revd.Nicholas Reade, retired Anglican Bishop of Blackburn.
The Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst deserves the support of everyone who values Christian truth. – Paul Johnson, author of The History of The American People
“Britain’s Christian heritage is central to our culture, our laws, our history, our values: who we are as people. The creation of a Christian Heritage Centre will inspire, educate, and celebrate the rich contribution of Christianity to our national life. Please give it your support.” – The Rt Hon. Ann Widdecombe DSG
Details of how you can support the project or make a donation may be found at:
Article by Christopher Graffius
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The opening words of the Declaration of Independence form what was a treasonable document. The men who gathered on the 4th July 1776 knew that they were signing what could be their death warrants. As Benjamin Franklin commented: “we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Among those who took their lives into their hands that day was one Catholic. Charles Carroll had been banned for his faith from political office, but the revolutionary Congress was different. The story goes that after he signed one of the other congressmen commented that there were many Charles Carrolls in the colonies. Carroll stepped forward and added “of Carrollton”, his home in Maryland, so that there could be no doubt.
Carroll was an American revolutionary hero, but he had been educated by British Jesuits at the English College at St Omers in France. That school, at which it was crime to be educated, became one of the chief repositaries of the treasures of English Catholicism. Treasures that were illegal in England were smuggled out with the pupils for safe keeping. Today they form the world class collection at Stonyhurst College, the descendant of that school in St Omers.
Thomas More’s hats, his crucifix, which he may have ha
d with him in the Tower. The rope that bound Campion to the hurdle, that was worn by Robert Persons, the original political Jesuit, tied round his waist for the rest of his life. The prayer book carried by Mary, Queen of Scots, to the scaffold. The manuscript poems of St Robert Southwell. Relics from the body of St Gordianus, martyred in early Rome and given by a Pope to the persecuted English Catholics, to those of the Japanese martyrs. The “Peddler’s Box”, the trunk with “Massing Gear”, carried around Lancashire by St Edmund Arrowsmith. Jacobite portraits and relics. Many of these would have been seen and reverenced by Charles Carroll the boy, but since the College came home the collection has grown. A first Folio of Shakespeare. Manuscripts from Gerald Manley Hopkins. The sketch book of one of the first British Jesuit missionaries to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, which begins with drawings of oxen and wagons and ends, as the artist neared death, with images of the crucifixion. Relics of Oscar Romero. The list is virtually endless.
Taken together they form the collective historical memory of British Catholicism and its influence to the widest bounds of the world. To today’s young pupils who have the privilege of seeing them and living with them they speak eloquently of faith, values, commitment and ultimately love. Love so great that it lays down its life in imitation of the Lord. They deserve a wider audience, they are the heritage that transmits the values that are the heart of our community.
They silently preach a message for today. In our cold, consumer driven, selfish world they point to another way. A way that we must rediscover if we are really to “live life to the full”. They challenge, the injustice, the intolerance, the repression that are all to common.
It’s the hope of many that these collections may be given a home open to all. The Christian Heritage Centre will bring them all together to a wider audience. Last week a delegation lead by Lord Alton, and Lord Nicholas Windsor, returned from a fund raising mission to America. They had been to Congress, Princeton and Harvard. They drew audiences of politicians, academics and opinion formers. Many of them reverenced the relics that the group had taken with them. You can also be part of this mission. You can find the details at www.christianheritagecentre.com .
Once you’ve seen what’s in the collection it’s easier to understand a Catholic who would be prepared to stake his life in opposition to an oppressive regime prepared to assert its dominance by military force. Charles Carroll was the longest lived of those who signed that Declaration. He died in 1832. One of his last public acts was to lay the cornerstone of one of the first railways in America.
History is very close.
Shutdown Is Not an Option | National Review Online
‘He must be rejoicing from Heaven at what has been achieved.” Lord Alton was reflecting on the life of Edmund Campion during a drive between the U.S. Capitol and Georgetown University. Campion was a Jesuit priest who was “hanged, drawn, and quartered” for his religious faith in 1581. Alton, a longtime member of the British Parliament, was pointing to the fact that while Campion was killed for ministering as a Catholic priest, today 10 percent of the British population is Catholic, with over 850,000 children educated in Catholic schools. Alton’s is a message of hope and duty.
While he doesn’t pretend that all of these schools are making saints like Campion, they do preserve and pass on a tradition that exists to commit everything “to the greater glory of God,” to form women and men to do all that they can do and to live for others.
David Alton has been in the U.S. telling the stories of English martyrs through the history of Stonyhurst College; 18 of them were graduates of the boys’ school and were martyred after Catholicism was banned in England and Wales in 1571. Alton is visiting here, in part, to introduce Americans to Stonyhurst’s Christian Heritage Centre and the history preserved there. His first stop was St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., where Cardinal Donald Wuerl kissed a cross that had just travelled from Stonyhurst through Heathrow. It belonged to St. Thomas More and is believed to have been in his possession in the Tower of London as he awaited his execution for putting his service to God before his service to the king. It’s a permanent part of Stonyhurst’s Christian Heritage archives.
With that cross on display at a breakfast with the librarian of Congress in the U.S. Capitol building on the second morning of government shutdown, the political impasse provided the opportunity for a little bit of a retreat for some members of Congress. Both a historic artefact and a religious relic of reverence, the cross was a reminder that religious faith and civic duty mean something. We all have stewardship obligations and choices to make.
Alton is fond of the Churchill pronouncement “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.”
But he also quotes C. S. Lewis to me — “They make men without chests” — acknowledging the reality of our cultural state. And this is why he is here in the U.S., to remind us of our common roots and responsibilities.
Campion would certainly not be rejoicing at the state of our culture, or at o
ur relative silence in the face of religious persecution around the world today. Or at the laziness, indifference, and political manipulation with which many Americans have been treating religious liberty even here at home.
Today, while threats to religious freedom are not at all academic matters to business owners, university presidents, and religious leaders who run schools and hospitals and other bulwarks of civil society here in the U.S., people in Pakistan, Egypt, and Nigeria are opening themselves to martyrdom just by going to Mass. “Remaining faithful to conscience and faith is not a theoretical issue if you live in one of the 16 countries listed by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,” Alton points out. “In each of these countries people of different faiths — from Baha’is to Sufi Muslims — are being persecuted for their beliefs. Uniquely, the only group to be persecuted in each and every one of the 16 countries is Christians.”
How can we be silent? “Is it because we who have free speech and the privilege of living in a democratic society have forgotten who we are?” Alton asks.
He cites the prophet Isaiah: Never forget “the rock from which you are hewn.”
Knowing who we are can make all the difference. “Knowing who you are gives self-knowledge, security and confidence; the absence of this knowledge sows seeds of insecurity and instability,” Alton contends.
“If people don’t know where their faith comes from, if they don’t know the price people have paid, they are not going to hold that faith in very high esteem, very close to their hearts.”
We talk a little bit about Pope Francis and why so much of what he is saying and doing is so fundamental: “If we don’t re-evangelize . . . we’re not going to win the legislative battles. If we don’t change people’s hearts and minds, we’re not going to change the world around us. The heart of the human problem is the human heart. We have to soften hearts and challenge minds.”
Campion died praying for his executioners: “I recommend your case, and mine, to Almighty God, the Searcher of hearts, to the end that we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.”
All the world is a conversion opportunity — as a spiritual matter, as an intellectual and political matter. When we forget this, we shut down.
In the ups and downs of campaigns and headlines, we so often just don’t think things through. The challenges seem too great, the biases too hardened. But what does that lead to? Cheerleading for a so-called Arab Spring that created a situation where one could steal a bulldozer and demolish a church with it, all in plain sight of the military, as Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos put it during a visit to Washington, D.C. The West has been sobered. Death and destruction have been known to do this.
His Grace was in Washington for a congressional hearing on minorities in Egypt — which wound up being cancelled on account of the government shutdown. Still, the trip to D.C. gave him an opportunity to become “fast friends” with human-rights champion Representative Chris Smith, among others. He plans to return for that hearing once the government is open for operations again. And the trip gave him an opportunity to say on behalf of what he estimates to be 10 to 15 million Christians in Egypt: “Out of pain and suffering comes identity.” He says that the Copts in Egypt “are not broken.” They are “resilient,” and in their challenges they ask only that a new Egyptian constitution respects everyone’s dignity and religious freedom. Here at home, we had better be good stewards of these gifts.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a director of Catholic Voices USA. This column is based on one available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Raymond Arroyo interview on EWTN:
Austin Ruse in Crisis Magazine :
Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal
Joan Desmond in The Catholic National Register
The Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst deserves the support of everyone who values Christian truth. – Paul Johnson, author of A History of the American People
Web site and 2013 brochure:
Please share with others who may be interested.