Thursday, March 10, 2011

Katharine of Aragon


Faith.  That word holds different meanings for different people.  In a religious context it means believing without seeing.  That is what has built and strengthened the foundation of Christianity from that moment when doubt seized St. Thomas.  The belief that there are three persons in one God; and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary and died for the sins of humankind.  For Catholic Christians there are perhaps even more challenges for it’s members in understanding faith and practicing it:  the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins through the Rite of Reconciliation and the many examples of true faith from all the saints through the ages – although a dim reflection of the one who had perfect faith:  Mary.

Over 500 years ago a Spanish Princess become Queen – beloved by the people of her adopted English homeland, and dying in the arms of the friend who had accompanied her to their new world when they were girls.  Yet she died abandoned by her husband of nearly 25 years, cast out from the royal life she was born to, separated from her daughter, so poor she had to be provided with food by the people in the village who loved her and , at last, dying in conditions less than hospitable or decent.  Such was the end for Katharine of Aragon, Queen of England – wife of King Henry VIII and the central figure of the English Reformation.
She was abandoned by her husband, by her nephew, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and by the Roman Catholic Church.  And yet, she never waivered in her faith.  Katharine of Aragon lived the model Christian life; one of piety and devotion to her faith.  Why then, has she never been considered a holy person worthy of recognition by the Roman Catholic Church.  If not recognition by including her on the List of English Martyrs or sainthood, then some special recognition acknowledging her faith and sacrifice as a devoted daughter of the Church and true Servant of God?
I have written a paper that poses this question and gives proof why I think a movement on her behalf is justified.  As with any “cause” there must be a grassroots movement of like-minded people to promote the cause.  As we all know, the Church, although the gift of Christ to his followers, is, at the same time, a bureaucratic institution with rules and regulations in its various branches.  Therefore, protocol and form must be followed to promote a cause for any individual.
If any of the above strikes a cord, please read the paper.  If you agree with its offerings and wish to place your name on a list that will become the basis for the grassroots movement to promote Katharine of Aragon’s cause, please do so. Before you begin, and if you wish, here is a prayer to Katharine of Aragon that encapsulates the essence of her life as a holy person of faith.

Good Queen Katharine, ever steadfast in your faith to your marriage and to Christ’s Church; bravely enduring unkindness and betrayal, yet never betraying your faith by succumbing to the false promises made by those who abandoned you.  Teach us the way of your faith. Grant us the grace to follow the example of your faith, courage, piety, kindness and compassion. Pray for Us.

No comments: