“The Pilgrim Queen
(A Song)

There sat a Lady
all on the ground,
Rays of the morning
circled her round,
Save thee, and hail to thee,
Gracious and Fair,
In the chill twilight
what wouldst thou there?

'Here I sit desolate,'
sweetly said she,
'Though I'm a queen,
and my name is Marie:
Robbers have rifled
my garden and store,
Foes they have stolen
my heir from my bower.

'They said they could keep Him
far better than I,
In a palace all His,
planted deep and raised high.
'Twas a palace of ice,
hard and cold as were they,
And when summer came,
it all melted away.

'Next would they barter Him,
Him the Supreme,
For the spice of the desert,
and gold of the stream;
And me they bid wander
in weeds and alone,
In this green merry land
which once was my own.'

I look'd on that Lady,
and out from her eyes
Came the deep glowing blue
of Italy's skies;
And she raised up her head
and she smiled, as a Queen
On the day of her crowning,
so bland and serene.

'A moment,' she said,
'and the dead shall revive;
The giants are failing,
the Saints are alive;
I am coming to rescue
my home and my reign,
And Peter and Philip
are close in my train.”

 John Henry Newman 

I stated my own view strongly. …he saw only one side, I another. …He said something like ‘Who are the laity?’ I answered (not in these words) that the Church would look foolish without them.

It is curious to see how strikingly in this matter the proverb has been fulfilled, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Men of the present generation, born in the new civilization, are shocked to witness in the abiding Papal system the words, ways, and works of their grandfathers. In my own lifetime has that old world been alive, and has gone its way. Who will say that the plea of conscience was as effectual, sixty years ago, as it is now in England, for the toleration of every sort of fancy religion? Had the Press always that wonderful elbow-room which it has now? Might public gatherings be held, and speeches made, and republicanism avowed in the time of the Regency, as is now possible? Were the thoroughfares open to monster processions at that date, and the squares and parks at the mercy of Sunday manifestations? Could savants in that day insinuate in scientific assemblies what their hearers mistook for atheism, and artisans practise it in the centres of political action? Could public prints day after day, or week after week, carry on a war against religion, natural and revealed, as now is the case? No; law or public opinion would not suffer it; we may be wiser or better now, but we were then in the wake of the Holy Roman Church, and had been so from the time of the Reformation. We were faithful to the tradition of fifteen hundred years. All this was called Toryism, and men gloried in the name; now it is called Popery and reviled.

When I was young the State had a conscience, and the Chief Justice of the day pronounced, not as a point of obsolete law, but as an energetic, living truth, that Christianity was the law of the land (‘Letter to the Duke of Norfolk’, 6).

O memorable time, when St. Aidan and the Irish monks went up to Lindisfarne and Melrose, and taught the Saxon youth, and when a St. Cuthbert and a St. Eata repaid their charitable toil! O blessed days of peace and confidence, when the Celtic Mailduf penetrated to Malmesbury in the south, which has inherited his name, and founded there the famous school which gave birth to the great St. Aldhelm! O precious seal and testimony of Gospel unity, when, as Aldhelm in turn tells us, the English went to Ireland “numerous as bees;” when the Saxon St. Egbert and St. Willibrod, preachers to the heathen Frisons, made the voyage to Ireland to prepare themselves for their work; and when from Ireland went forth to Germany the two noble Ewalds, Saxons also, to earn the crown of martyrdom!

Such a period, indeed, so rich in grace, in peace, in love, and in good works, could only last for a season; but, even when the light was to pass away from them, the sister islands were destined, not to forfeit, but to transmit it together. The time came when the neighbouring continental country was in turn to hold the mission which they had exercised so long and well; and when to it they made over their honourable office, faithful to the alliance of two hundred years, they made it a joint act. Alcuin was the pupil both of the English and of the Irish schools; and when Charlemagne would revive science and letters in his own France, it was Alcuin, the representative both of the Saxon and the Celt, who was the chief of those who went forth to supply the need of the great Emperor. Such was the foundation of the School of Paris, from which, in the course of centuries, sprang the famous University, the glory of the middle ages (‘Idea of a University’, Introductory).

Telling the truth about Ireland is not very pleasant to a patriotic Englishman; but it is very patriotic [. . . .] The truth about Ireland is simply this: that the relations between England and Ireland are the relations between two men who have to travel together, one of whom tried to stab the other at the last stopping-place or to poison the other at the last inn. Conversation may be courteous, but it will be occasionally forced. The topic of attempted murder, its examples in history and fiction, may be tactfully avoided in the sallies; but it will be occasionally present in the thoughts. Silences, not devoid of strain, will fall from time to time. The partially murdered person may even think an assault unlikely to recur; but it is asking too much, perhaps, to expect him to find it impossible to imagine. And even if, as God grant, the predominant partner is really sorry for his former manner of predominating, and proves it in some unmistakable manner – as by saving the other from robbers at great personal risk – the victim may still be unable to repress an abstract psychological wonder about when his companion first began to feel like that (‘The Crimes of England’, chapter V, AD 1914).

IT is a miserable time when a man’s Catholic profession is no voucher for his orthodoxy, and when a teacher of religion may be within the Church’s pale, yet external to her faith. Such has been for a season the trial of her children at various eras of her history. It was the state of things during the dreadful Arian ascendancy, when the flock had to keep aloof from the shepherd (from Newman’s ‘Idea of a University’)

The Vatican announced on Monday that Heiner Koch would be the new archbishop of Berlin. He was one of the bishops who participated in the ‘Shadow Synod’ in Rome the other day which according to one of its participants (and the fact is well-known, in any case, and denied by no 0ne), sought “a pastoral opening on issues such as communion for the divorced and remarried, and the pastoral care of homosexuals”.


In a February interview with a German newspaper, Bishop Koch called for changes in the pastoral care of homosexuals, saying that to “portray homosexuality as a sin is hurtful,” adding that the Church “needs a different language when it comes to homosexuals … I know gay couples who value reliability and commitment and live these in an exemplary manner.”

The archbishop of Berlin knows ‘gay couples’ who live their ‘commitment’ to each other in an exemplary way? Clearly we are not talking here about people who suffer from but resist temptations to unnatural lust, or how could he speak of ‘couples’. I don’t see how any reasonable person can think that Koch accepts the Church’s teaching about the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts. Yet this teaching is infallible in virtue of the ordinary and universal magisterium, and whoever denies it is a heretic.

So, what should Berlin’s Catholics do now? If we read in a history of the Church that some Catholics of the mid 4th century had blockaded the door of a cathedral so that the Arian bishop appointed to that see might not take possession of it, we should admire their initiative and determination. I suggest that it would be a good idea for Berlin’s Catholics to do the same. Not to stand to one side and hold placards; to keep him out. They are soldiers of Christ, in virtue of their confirmation. Let them fight for Him, and against Sodom.


   It’s funny how not just words but even some concepts can become old-fashioned and even apparently fall into disuse. Take the concept of a gentleman, for example.  It was so important in the 19th century as a term of moral approbation that Newman wrote a justly famous portrait of a gentleman. Yet the word is hardly used nowadays except in irony, nor has any other word emerged to describe that particular complex of qualities that Newman delineated. That is what I mean by a concept’s falling into disuse.

   Did St Thomas Aquinas have a concept of a gentleman? I mean in the moral, not the social sense (C.S. Lewis wrote about the shift from the latter to the former meaning.) The nearest approach to Newman’s description that we can find in the angelic doctor is perhaps his treatment of the ‘potential parts of temperance’.  By  a ‘potential part’ of a virtue he means one that deals with something which is similar to, though less demanding than, that which the virtue itself deals with. So the virtue of temperance itself puts limits to the pursuit of tactile pleasure. The potential parts of temperance therefore put limits to seeking pleasure in other, less demanding, realms of life. He mentions three main categories where limits must be put: in the ‘inner movements of the mind’, for example, when we limit by clemency the appetite for punishing an offender; in exterior movements and acts of the body; in possessions.

   It is in what he says about the virtues that set a limit, modus, to external movements of the body that he seems to have something like Newman’s vision in mind. The virtue that effects the due limit here is called modestia. Here St Thomas refers to a treatise called ‘De Affectibus’, then attributed to Andonicus of Rhodes, who lived in the first century before Christ:-

Andronicus divides modestia into three things. To the first of these it pertains to perceive what is to be done and what left undone, and in what order things are to be done, and not to change one’s mind {in hoc firmum persistere}. In this respect he speaks of orderliness {bonam ordinationem}. A second point is that the man in what he does must observe fittingness {decentiam}, and in this regard he speaks of decorum {ornatum}. The third aspect is in conversations with friends or other such things, and here he speaks of due reserve {austeritas}.

   This combination of bona ordinatioornatus, and austeritas seems to come close to Newman’s vision. Bona ordinatio might seem like a too general category to be of much use, far more at any rate than a mere part of a potential part of a cardinal virtue. But St Thomas is talking simply about bodily actions as such. Bona ordinatio is not the virtue that inclines a man to pay his debts or resist a tyrant: it is a mu:h humbler virtue, that ensures that whatever the man is engaged in, he will do it in an orderly way, not beginning to do one thing and then going off on a tangent, giving way to the attraction of novelty and the mild bodily pleasure it brings, but rather acting calmly and consistently until he has finished the task in hand. Ornatus means that the man does not make a nuisance of himself by his bodily actions: not eating with his mouth open, perhaps. Austeritas is the virtue which keeps someone from intruding where he is not wanted: it inclines him, for example, to leave a dinner-party before his hosts are weary, and it prevents him from telling the story of his life to someone he’s just met.

   So St Thomas’s modestia seems close to Newman’s gentlemanliness:-

His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature: like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature provides both means of rest and animal heat without them. The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast; — all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome.

   Newman adds, with his unflinching realism, that such a man may nevertheless be a heartless, infidel libertine. Though perhaps less often today than in the past.