I find it monstrous that bl. King Charles the Martyr has no official status or cult within Roman Catholicism. I'd have thought...no wait, let's not be too naïve about the Ordinariates. We all know it has nothing whatever to do with Anglican tradition. That much can be perceived by any idiot who perhaps notices that "Monsignor" (very English!) Newton dresses like a Roman prelate and by a quick glance at the Ordinariate service books; a "dried up old onion," in the words of a friend of mine who is a Master of Ceremonies. And I am certainly not convinced by the enthusiasm of certain traditionalist clergy of working class Irish parents. The ancestral contempt of the Catholic Irish of anything "Anglican" (which is to them synonymous with status and taste) is well known, although interestingly that demographic is changing with the emerging middle class in Eire. But I remember before the Ordinariates were even conceived Fr W.C Mick (those of you who know me personally know exactly who this is) disparaging the Funeral Sentences of the Prayer Book as "random quotes from scripture," with a look of contempt in his face. I have no doubt that were he and I not standing upon the dais in his barn (or the sanctuary in his church) he'd have spat upon the floor.
But Benedict XVI goes into Westminster Abbey and witnesses a dumbed-down Evensong with a real liturgical procession and decent choir and all of a sudden Anglican tradition becomes desirable! And yet the Papists all deny that the personal whims of popes have little bearing on official church discipline. I beg strongly to differ. And the whims of popes change every time the wind blows. Ratzinger, inaptly dubbed the greatest theologian of modern times, is a pope, and popes have no interest in Tradition; that is almost a prerequisite for the job (Io sono la Tradizione, a saying which I do not consider to be apocryphal), so what makes people think that he actually gives a shite about the Prayer Book or the King James Bible? He doesn't, ostensibly! This "pope of Christian unity" just wanted more Roman Catholics, Roman Rite, Novus Ordo; compare his obsession with the $$PX; and the whole "treasures to be shared" line a mere red herring. I don't think you'd ever see Fellay reading The Country Parson! Unity, uniformity, communion with the See of Peter is the driving force; communion with Rome at all costs, and believe whatever and worship however the hell you want.
So, we all know that the members and architects of the Ordinariate hold traditionally Anglican works in gratuitous contempt, but what of a traditionally Anglican figure? Blessed King Charles remains the only man ever to have been canonised by the reformed Church of England; the significance of that will become apparent as we go on. Immediately upon the Restoration, the Convocation of Canterbury and York, being then free to assemble, added the name of Charles to the Prayer Book kalendar of saints with a commemoration and proper, even so:
Blessed God, just and powerful, who didst permit thy dear Servant, our dread Sovereign King Charles the First, to be (as upon this day) given up to the violent outrages of wicked men, to be despitefully used, and at the last murdered by them: Though we cannot reflect upon so foul an act, but with horror and astonishment; yet do we most gratefully commemorate the glories of thy grace, which then shined forth in thine Anointed; whom thou wast pleased, even at the hour of death, to endue with an eminent measure of exemplary patience, meekness, and charity, before the face of his cruel enemies. And albeit thou didst suffer them to proceed to such an height of violence, as to kill him, and to take possession of his Throne; yet didst thou in great mercy preserve his Son, whose right it was and at length by a wonderful providence bring him back, and set him thereon, to restore thy true Religion, and to settle peace amongst us: For these thy great mercies we glorify thy Name, through Jesus Christ our blessed Saviour. Amen.
That the "schismatic" Church of England had the "authority" to make anybody a saint at all undoubtedly puts the Romanists out of reckoning. After all, only the pope, who holds all the keys and binds all the teachings, can manufacture saints. But the sainthood of Charles I was declared in a very traditional way; redolent of the ancestral praxis of a bishop adding the name of a local saint to a litany. The comparative "canonization" ceremonies of modern Rome, especially since the promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, are ridiculous at best, necromancy at worst. And the fact that most Papists hold obscure "saints" in reverence, relative non-persons of whose sanctity or even existence we are not altogether sure, just makes the matter worse. Look at the "Raccolta," or the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum; you will look in vain therein for an indulgenced prayer to an actual saint! If the invocation or commemoration of the saints has any merit at all then surely we are called upon by apostolic tradition to invoke the most worthy and the most eminent saints; St Mary of Bethany, the Apostles, St John the Baptist, St Stephen the Protomartyr, etc. The canonization process has instead become a weapon and an instrument of papal control, particularly where canonized popes are concerned. Look at Pius V. If he is a saint then so is Jihadi John! How can you seriously invoke a man who was a ruthless backstabber, supported Phillip II in the murder of his son, and called upon the English to murder their Queen? Or "blessed" Pius IX? A demented megalomaniac and one of the most arrogant and destructive men of the 19th century. The canonization of Pius X by Pius XII pretty much put his every action above reproach, among them the ruthless and thoroughly successful revision of the Roman Breviary and destruction of the Psalter; actions which set a precedent for still greater liturgical reforms under which we all groan to-day. Even Paul VI, a man I hold in some esteem, fell into the trap. One certainly questions the propriety of his canonizing the forty martyrs of England and Wales and conspicuously leaving out Ridley, Latimer, Cranmer, etc. But the absolute worst of them all was John Paul II, the superstar-bully-turned-vegetable who clung to life and wouldn't let go, himself now a "saint" in a scandalously botched process that trumps even Rome's accustomed arbitrariness, and a man who made a fetish out of canonizing hundreds of obscure people; people who cannot possibly rank next to the greats of Church history. But he is a "saint" now so his every action is above reproach. It is an absolute sham and serves merely to bolster some of the most repugnant actions of modern popes and the current praxis of the Papal communion.
The Necromancer himself in the act of canonizing his demonic predecessor, Pius X.
And yet Charles I, a martyr for the doctrine of episcopacy (that is the doctrine that an episcopal church polity is absolutely necessary for the existence of a true church), is not recognised. Why? Because he died in schism with Rome, and sanctity cannot exist outside the periphery of Rome's communion. It cannot be denied that Charles I was an egregiously incompetent politician but he had solid evangelical principles and his reign witnessed a reawakening of religious life at Little Gidding, standardization of liturgical praxis according to high church principles; he oversaw the restoration and adornment of cathedrals and churches, founding of charities, patronage of devotional literature, etc. He presided over the twilight of the Golden Age of Anglicanism. That he was beset with puritan foes was hardly his own fault; that was ultimately the legacy of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement which Charles inherited from his father.
One piously hopes that in a reunited Christian Church blessed Charles might have a place in the martyrology as a saint whose death meant something. To hell (literally) with all these non-persons canonized by modern popes! In the wake of Mrs Lane's ascendancy to "episcopal" rank, Charles' martyrdom has an especial significance for us to-day. God grant that he entered into Paradise to the words, "well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Beate Carole, ora pro nobis!