||“The expense is reckoned,
the enterprise is begun;
it is of God, it cannot be withstood.
So the faith was planted;
so it must be restored.”
In 1570 Elizabeth I intensified the persecution of Catholics, specifically against St. Edmund Campion and Robert Parsons who initiated a “Jesuit Mission” to sustain English Catholics.
As popular and notable Oxford graduate, Campion came to be especially despised because he had
converted to Catholicism
. He became a Jesuit in 1573 and was ordained five years later. In 1580 he arrived in England disguised as a jewel merchant to support English Catholics.
In a bold move he wrote a challenge to the queen’s Privy Council. He declared that his mission was
“to preach the gospel, to minister the sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors—in brief to cry a spiritual alarm against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.”
This document, that came to be called
circulated widely and rallied Catholics with renewed hope. Campion seemed to pop up everywhere, his preaching and publications spreading a reinvigorated Catholicism. Unable to ignore such a threat, the government searched him out and arrested him in the fall of 1581. On November 14, a packed jury condemned him to death on the false charge of plotting rebellion.
Edmund Campion died a martyr on December 1, hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn near the present-day Marble Arch in London.
- Patron Saint of the Press
- Edmund Campion, SJ, was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
- Campion saluted the Statue of Our Lady as he was taken off to be martyred. During his martyrdom he prayed for the Queen who sentenced him to death.
Website: Loyola Press http://loyolapress.com/saints.htm#