Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Fr Garnet's 'Facebook'

On my way to the Archives this morning, I was flicking through one of the free papers and found reference to a bizarre story relating to a seventeenth century book that is about to go on auction - A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings Against the Most Barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuite, and his Confederats, etc (1606).

Apparently (and I don't know whether this is historically certain), it is bound in Fr Henry Garnet's skin and what appears to be the priest's face can be seen on the front (the picture is from the Daily Mail):

It echoes the earlier tradition of Fr Garnet's Straw - that the priest's face could be found on the bloodied straw at his execution.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall, Father Garnet is on the official list of English martyrs. By any standards he was guilty and justly executed for at least not revealing "treason".
There is a grey area in English Catholicism between those who might be described as "Catholic" martyrs and those who might be described as "terrorists". Perhaps Garnett is the most obvious person in that area.
Interesting about "straw" and "facebook". I recall a vague reference in the Universe several years ago to witnesses to Garnetts execution. Seemingly one or more had his face and features replace their own after the execution. Or am I totally wrong?

11:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will rember you in my prayers during my retreat...

4:06 pm  
Anonymous Puer Westmonasteriensis said...

This is really fascinating, and a real link to the Martyrs and thus to the heritage of our Faith.

It thus occurs to me that the title of the blog is not really borne out by the recent postings. It would be better described as "London Miscellany".

Much of excitement has been happening in Rome this week, with the Consistory and the 1st Vespers of Advent, are they too not part of the glorious Roman heritage which our Bishops are keen to transmit to us?

9:53 pm  
Blogger Hebdomadary said...

I think to call Fr. Garnet a terrorist is a bit far fetched. Look at whose skin binds the book. Actually his death, as related in Antonia Fraser's book "The Gunpowder Plot" was profoundly moving to all those present. When he was hung, someone leaned up out of the crowd (thereby risking his own life) to hang on his feet in mercy, that he might be unconcious when he was disembowlled. Also, when the executioner - an agent of a royal terrorist if ever there was one - held up Garnet's still beating heart and proclaimed "Behold the heart of a TRAITOR!", the crowd was malevolently silent. Garnet's suffering, and the inability of his captors to confound his logic or his maintainance of his position, had outlasted their taste for disingenuous justice. I daresay, Fr. Garnet ranks among the martyrs.

2:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to know more about Fr Garnet read Philip Caraman's book about him. He exonerates him of blame for his association with the plotters. Does anybody know where this book has gone? There was a note in the current Catholic Herald about the purchase price - £5,400 I think - but not about who bought it. I hope it will find a place in a Catholic archive or library. It's too precious to be lost.

9:38 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Puer Westmonasteriensis - my blog doesn't claim to be a blog about Rome or events in Rome, but is only 'Roman' in that it is Catholic. I did consider posting about the events you mentioned but time has been short and I didn't think I could say anything not already pointed out by more comprehensive and regular bloggers. Besides, you can't blog about everything!

8:36 pm  

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