A Roving Causerie
By G. E. ANSTRUTHER In Birmingham, and in London, there will be honoured remembrance, next Tuesday, of the Venerable Cesare Baronius, for in these two cities the Oratorian Fathers have their English houses. In the history of the Oratorian Congregation there can hardly have been a more illustrious figure, after St. Philip Neri himself, than the founder's great friend and successor who saw the light on August 30, 1538. In Rome, pilgrims will be able to pay their homage in the Chiesa Nuova, while fifty miles across country, at Sore, where Baronius was born, the citizens of that ancient place are hardly likely to overlook the anniversary.
But it is not only his brethren in religion, and the.people of his native city, who have cause to honour the fourth centenary of Cardinal Baronius. All whose work lies with History, with Church History in particular, stand indebted to the amazing industry of one of the most famous of ecclesiastical annalists.
Obedient to St. Philip's wishes, Baronius set himself to a great undertaking for which he felt at first no special aptitude. He lived to lay down his pen at a point which his mind proposed; but had further years been granted to him, one wonders whether he could have resisted the call to further labour upon a chronicle which already had filled twelve large volumes. Those who essayed the task of continuing his work did so with less success.
History has in a way repeated itself at Walsingham. A Queen has again made pilgrimage—that word, of high association is here preferred to what others write down simply as a royal visit. When Queen Mary went to the site of the famous shrine, a few days ago, she bridged a gap, it is suggested, since the time of Catherine of Aragon, who was at Walsingham, with her so unworthy husband, early in the sixteenth century. Queen Mary's pilgrimage forged another link also, for like Queen Catherine she went to the abbey grounds from the towered hall at Barsharn.
What is to be the fate of this Tudor manor house, a mansion which, we read, " is now unoccupied "? Happy memories belong to that day, in 1513, when King Henry and his spouse set forth from Barsham to make their pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady. The young and comely prince, with no shadow as yet of the grossness which was to come upon him in mind and body; and the pilgrim queen, whose journey to Walsingham could have been saddened only by the gift of prophecy.
Many religious vicissitudes have beaten upon the fabric of the Marlborough House chapel at St. James's, now in the hands of the renovators previous to its reopening. To Catholics the building is little known, except by its uninteresting frontage; yet its first royal phase was in tune with the faith, much to the chagrin of Charles the First's Protestant subjects.
The chapel was built by the Stuart king for his Catholic consort, Henrietta Maria. Thither Pepys repaired, " thinking to have heard a Jesuit preach, but come too late.* Jesuits are betimes. Better fortune attended the diarist on two other occasions, once when he " saw a little mayd baptizea," and again when he " heard a good deal of their Mass, and some of their musique, which is not so contemptible, I think, as our people would make it, pleasing me very well."
Losing Alderman Myatt, K.C.S.G., the Catholics of Wolverhampton lose their most prominent lay representative in the town's affairs. Thirty years' service on the Council, eighteen years an Alderman and the same span as a magistrate, and membership of the County Council for Staffordshire—all this is in John Myatt's record of public work. The Catholic good causes in which he found time to engage were many more.
The late Alderman was in the fullest sense a townsman of the Midland centre which now mourns his death. Wolverhampton was his birthplace; Wolverhampton educated him; in Wolverhampton he had his home and his life's interests. In every way, therefore, a true son of Wulfrana's Hamton, he merited the favour of Wulfrana herself; for even as that royal lady founded a religious centre in the district, so, too, did Alderman Myatt, who has a memorial of his generosity in the church site at Tettenhall, St. Ignatius's College at Stamford Hill is entitled to nick a special notch of honour, figuratively, into its alpenstock. The present year has brought the achievement of upwards of a hundred Old Ignatian priests since the school began its labours in 1894. We are promised their names in a list to be printed shortly. For a day school which has still some years to go to the term of its golden jubilee, this is a proud consideration. These clerical Old Ignatians have included seculars and regulars; some are in the distant mission field, others working in the home dioceses.
It was at the wish of Cardinal Vaughan that the Jesuit Fathers opened their North London college forty-four years ago. Their efforts have been rewarded, as we see, in the grace of vocations as well as in the success with which they have equipped generations of Catholic boys for lay careers.
The lady who inquired, through this column, as to a book by the Rev. Dr. McCorry, refuting the Duke of Argyll, is referred to the work in question: The Monks of Iona, published in 1871 by Washbourne. A copy, it may be, can be seen in the British Museum reading-room.