December 1, 2012

Edmund Campion - a Scarlet Pimpernel!

Edmund Campion
Edmund Campion is remembered December 1st on the Christian Calendar. He reminds me of the movie and book: The Scarlet Pimpernel (the BBC version is the best and closest to the book). Though born of a protestant printer-bookseller in London in 1540, he became a Jesuit and a secret agent for the Faith.

I love history. I love books. I've read stories where old homes in England had cubbyholes called "priest holes". Campion's story makes me literate of these priest holes.

With the introduction of Protestantism, some rulers were seeing possibilities of separating from the Pope. The Church ruled. Monarch Henry VIII was the first to start a new church. What happened for probably a century is that the religion followed the ruler. Differing beliefs could not coexist for quite some time. The last Catholic monarch of England is what history calls Bloody Mary, and her successor, protestant Good Queen Bess. Lots of deaths swinging from protestants killing catholics and then vice versa and back again.

Campion was in Elizabeth's reign and he was constantly changing his name and apparel. Like once he was disguised as a jewel merchant. He was the object of a year long manhunt, all the while ministering to catholics in hiding and publishing 'underground' pamphlets. Queen Elizabeth liked him and tried to dissuade him, making him offers. But he was the 1st of hundreds who were hanged, drawn, and quartered for adhering to their religious beliefs.
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