If you pick up an old pre-Vatican II, English Missal or prayer book, amongst the varieties of other beautiful prayers, liturgies and hymns, you will find at least a prayer for the conversion of England.
The conversion of our country is something that good, loyal Catholics have been longing for since the dreadful day in 1534 when Henry VIII rejected the rightful authority of the Vicar of Christ, and thus tearing our country away from the true fold of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many Catholics today see this date as the last time there was any real chance of the Catholic faith being the faith of this country. Many would prefer to see our attempts for conversion a waste of time and would prefer to move on to more important things, like ecumenism or anything that isn’t actually Catholic. They see this nation as a formerly protestant and now thoroughly secular one and having little supernatural faith abandon the idea of ever pushing for a Catholic England.
Yet this is untrue. The faith was never given up in this country, our countless martyrs in every county, every diocese and every historic city and town proves that to be the case. The western uprisings, the pilgrimage of grace and other such movements only serve to show the great lengths people went to defend the faith of their fathers that had been handed down to them of old.
And yet the single, most influential time in which this reversion of England to the faith of her greatest kings and saints could have happened was during the Stuart Dynasty. From Charles I to James II the faith slowly grew in England. Catholics fought for the King during the civil war (1642–1651). Catholics grew, tolerated under Charles II who converted on his deathbed.
When James II came to rule, the tables were turned on those who brutalized Catholics from the days of Henry VIII to the reign of Charles. Suddenly, a Catholic, with a Catholic heir was in possession of the throne. This heir, Prince James Edward Stuart (1688-1766) the rightful king of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland was barred from ascension to his own throne by his sister and her Dutch husband. He attempted to retake it, but failed to do so. His son the young pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788) came closest in 1745, with the upstart German George II almost prepared to flee the country. However, chance was against us and our cause. The expected French and to our eternal shame, English support for the bonnie Prince’s cause failed to appear and he was beaten back. His subsequent defeat at Culloden and exile has become the stuff of poetry and legend. Yet sailing with him on that tiny boat to the Isle of Skye, was England’s last chance of being united under a Catholic monarch; of being a Catholic nation.
But don’t lose hope dear reader, unlike those in the modern post-Vatican II church crowd in England, we still have every hope in the world. The Anglican Church has all but evaporated in the country today. Indeed the two largest enemies of the church active in the UK are: Islam and Atheism. By all indications the traditional church is growing at a tremendous rate. Everywhere you turn a traditional parish is making new inroads, with news arriving about the FSSP shrine in Warrington’s plans for expansion in what Fr. Armand De Malleray calls ‘the village option’ (for more on this, click here); the ready popping up of SSPX Chapels and Priories as well as the recent establishment of a new house of discernment with the ICKSP in Preston, not to mention the legions of diocesan priests saying the old mas and administering the old sacraments everywhere you go, proves that England is far from lost to the hands of Saracens or Unbelievers. It’s going to take one hell of a fight but we’ve hardly lost the war.
What must we do to secure this conversion? What ought we to do in order to ensure the victory of Christ the king over his enemies?
First pray, pray our daily rosary, pray to the English martyrs for their intercession and strength, pray to English saints like St. Edward the Confessor and St. Thomas A Becket, models for the Catholic to imitate. Pray that God convert the hearts of the nation to the faith.
Secondly, keep loyalty to the traditions of the church. We are Catholic insofar as we are united to the perennial magisterium, traditions and teachings of the church. Our loyalty to the old mass, the old sacraments and the old expressions of faith is not about ‘choice’ or ‘preference’, it’s about our recognition that without these things the church is strangulated of her lifeblood, beaten down by the whims of the culture and sins of liberal, wicked clerics. As the aforementioned churches show, in places where the church is traditional people rally around and nothing but growth is experienced there. This is how we will convert the church internally.
Thirdly, and this is a radical suggestion which many have not even considered, support and acknowledge the legitimacy of Francis I, Duke of Wittelsbach and rightful king of England, Scotland and Wales. His majesty’s rule is what will bring the faith back to England. As does the King so do the people. Francis is both God’s anointed king and, alongside all his successors Catholic, he is a member of the order of Malta and of The Holy Sepulchre. His claim is the one which will convert England once more. If we loyalty to the rightful King, we bear witness to our lack of fear, our lack of resignation to being ruled by heretics, our unwillingness to be dominated by infidels and unbelievers. We will bear witness to our faith and to Our Lord. With our banners blazing we will cry until either England is converted or we all die trying ‘God save the King’ and ‘Tandem Triumphans.’