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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day

Today we mourn the failure of the"Gunpowder Plot," which would have restored the Church in England and saved that otherwise noble country from its ignominious Protestant fate. While his methods were perhaps not those that people today look favorably upon, it can be well argued that Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators intended to act against people who were highly culpable in all manner of injustice, represented an illegitimate government, and served a king with no binding authority.

Ever since Henry VIII's narcissistic religious adventures in the 1530's, Britain had groaned under the weight of religious tyranny, and the once proud heritage and culture of the Church there had been largely reduced to ash as churches were stripped of their ornaments, monasteries razed, ecclesial property forfeited to the crown, and countless faithful Catholics martyred. Having suffered under this yoke for 70 years (with only the tumultuous reign of Mary I as a reprieve), English Catholics at the turn of the 17th century sought to do something about their nation's problem.

To that end, Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes, Hugh Owen, and others rented a room underneath the House of Lords in 1605. They then filled the room, over the course of several months, with 2.5 tons of gunpowder. The plan was to detonate the room during the opening session of Parliament, killing James I, the royal family, and the peers in one swoop. However, conspirators are not always the brightest people, and one of them wrote a letter to Lord Monteagle, a Catholic peer, advising him not to attend the opening session of Parliament. Suspicious, Lord Monteagle gave the letter to the secretary of state, which prompted a search of the catacombs underneath Westminster. There they found Guy Fawkes, crouching like a ninja in the cellar full of gunpowder, fuse in hand. He was captured, tortured, and along with several of his fellow conspirators, hanged, drawn, and quartered. Parliament proceeded, James I lived, and the Stuarts bungled their way into revolution, regicide, and eventual usurpation.

So, today, while the rest of the world mocks this man and burns him in effigy, setting off fireworks to celebrate the inglorious malaise that Britain has become, let's take a moment to remember -- and thank -- those throughout history, from Guy Fawkes to Bonnie Prince Charles to Cardinal Newman, who have sought to rescue the English from their own theological stupidity.

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Blogger Evan said...

Joke - right?

10:26 AM  

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