Friday, September 23, 2011

Bl William Way

The English priest and martyr William Way was "hanged, bowelled, and quartered" on this day in 1588 in Kingston-on-Thames for the crime of being a priest. He is one of the blessed English martyrs. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia - which still lists him as venerable - has this to say about him:

Our martyr William Way received the first tonsure in the Cathedral of Reims from the Cardinal of Guise on 31 March, 1584, and was ordained subdeacon, 22 March, deacon 5 April, and priest 18 September, 1586, at Laon, probably by Bishop Valentine Douglas, O.S.B. He set out for England 9 December, 1586, and in June 1587, had been committed to the Clink. He was indicted at Newgate in September, 1588, merely for being a priest. He declined to be tried by a secular judge, whereupon the Bishop of London was sent for; but the martyr, refusing to acknowledge him as a bishop or the queen as head of the Church, was immediately condemned. He was much given to abstinence and austerity. When he was not among the first of those to be tried at the Sessions in August, he wept and, fearing he had offended God, went at once to confession, "but when he himself was sent for, he had so much joy that he seemed past himself".

It's interesting to see how short his clerical career was. There were four and a half years from tonsure to martyrdom.

His CE page can be found here.