A Yorkshireman has created a map pinpointing the birthplaces of nearly 300 martyrs of the English Reformation.
The map, put together by Graeme Garvey, 63, of Pocklington in the Yorkshire Wolds, shows a density of Catholic martyrs in the holy hotspots of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Oxfordshire. But it also demonstrates the wide geographical sweep of persecution, with martyrs coming from nearly every county in England.
The largest number – more than 50 – were from Yorkshire, while just over 30 came from Lancashire and eight, according to Garvey’s map, were born in Oxfordshire.
Garvey said moving to Pocklington four years ago had prompted him to learn about the martyrs in the area – for instance, Blessed Richard Langley, a landowner and father of four daughters who lived a mile outside the town, and who was hanged for sheltering priests.
A large Catholic uprising against Henry VIII known as the Pilgrimage of Grace also began in the Yorkshire Wolds.
“Two things started to dawn on me,” Mr Garvey wrote in a blog post at catholicherald.co.uk. First, “how much the ordinary English people loved their Catholic faith”; and, second, “the huge scale of suffering they endured”.
He said he embarked on the project when he began looking for a map and could not find one. Creating it, he said, felt like “an important thing to do”, he told the Herald. “The whole history needs telling. It’s been forgotten for too long.”
While a few hundred martyrs are known about, Mr Garvey said, tens of thousands of Catholics likely died for their faith, including whole families.
He said it was the “humble faith of ordinary people” who suffered alongside more prominent figures, that particularly touched him.
The map, which lists Catholics martyred between 1534 and 1680, is available to view online and can be accessed at catholicherald.co.uk. Each pinpoint is hyperlinked and will send readers to an online biography of the martyr. Meanwhile, Mr Garvey has urged readers to alert him to any omissions – he can be emailed at [email protected]
He said it was a “moving” exercise, adding: “Throughout I felt sustained by a beatific host of my fellow countrywomen and countrymen – a nation sanctified through suffering.”
Five hundred priests vow to oppose gender ideology
The confraternity of Catholic Clergy has issued a statement on “gender ideology”, calling it an urgent challenge for those involved in pastoral ministry.
About 500 priests and deacons in Britain are members of the CCC, which also has international branches.
The Confraternity said priests were increasingly meeting “individuals in our parishes unable to accept the sex in which they were born” – that is, suffering from “gender dysphoria”. The statement is intended to help clergy support these individuals with “sensitivity and honesty”.
The priests said there was widespread confusion partly because “to suggest that a person cannot change their sex is immediately met with charges of hatred and bigotry”.
Nevertheless, they said, the answer to gender dysphoria was “not to be found in rejecting their bodies or medically ‘correcting’ them, but in addressing the emotional and social factors that really give rise to this disassociation”. They wrote that “bodily defects” should be “clearly recognised as such and legitimately corrected. This is distinct from ‘gender ideology’ which states that our souls, or our psychological and spiritual faculties, can be at variance in their sex to that of our healthily functioning bodies.”
A priest member of the Confraternity told the Herald there seemed to be a “lack of guidance for pastors and Catholic institutions” on transgender issues, possibly because “gender ideology” had grown so quickly.
“Never has there been such an evident moral challenge to Christian anthropology with so little response,” he said. “There are already Catholic institutions that have accommodated themselves to principles of gender ideology and risk abandoning key foundations of our understanding of what it means to be human.”
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