Monday, August 08, 2005

The Observant Friar Martyrs of Greenwich

The Franciscan friars described in this essay were martyred in 16th century England for upholding the sanctity of marriage and the office of the papacy. They were of the Observant branch of the Order which was introduced into England by Henry VIII's father. I had known of Blessed John Forest before but I had not realized that there were in fact hundreds of Franciscan martyrs at this time whose names are not known to us. There were either six or seven houses of Observant Franciscans in England at this time and the vast majority of their members supported Queen Catherine and the validity of the marriage. This is a wonderful, invigorating story of martyrs whose patronage is so necessary here and now when marriage and the papacy are under constant attack.