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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Did you ever wonder....?

I've used the expression "in the clink" often but never gave its origin much thought -- until last night when I came across "The Clink" while reading Clare Asquith's book on Shakespeare's coded language, Shadowplay. She mentioned The Clink, a notorious prison in Southwark, England not far from the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare apparently visited a friend there. And, in fact, some famous Catholic recusants were imprisoned in The Clink including Fr. John Gerard, S.J. He was one of the few Catholic priests who escaped the "hanging tree" at Tyburn during Elizabeth I's draconian persecution. Many English priests were hanged, drawn, and quartered as a gruesome reminder to others. And why? because they refused to give up the Mass. Would that we loved the Mass as much today!

Fr. Gerard was imprisoned temporarily in The Clink (Summer 1594 to Spring 1597) before being moved to the Tower of London from which he made an amazing escape. After fleeing to the continent, Fr. Gerard's superiors instructed him to write down his story, and he did in a fascinating book called The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest.

The chapter on The Clink relates the blessing of being in a prison filled with Catholic prisoners. A friendly guard was bribed and coaxed "not to pry too closely into our doings" and Fr. Gerard was able to hear confessions and engage in apostolic work during his time there. In the same chapter he describes the capture and death of Ann Line, one of the English martyrs who harboured priests and frequently held illegal Masses in her home. She had a "priest hole" where clergy hid when Mass was invaded by the queen's agents.

Fr. Gerard describes his work in prison saying, "During this period God used me as His instrument to turn many hearts from worldly ambitions to the love of God and the following of Christ's counsels....I was able to send many young men and boys to the seminaries. Some of them are now Jesuits and are working in England, others remain in the seminaries training more labourers for the mission."

Next time you hear that someone's "in the clink," especially a group of pro-lifers like the dear ones arrested at Notre Dame who face serious persecution, remember where the term comes from. Defenders of the faith, imprisoned and persecuted for the good they do, walk in the footsteps of Fr. Gerard and his martyred brothers and sisters imprisoned in the infamous English prison.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between the priests who were hunted down in England and pro liferss at Notre Dame. The first were bothering nobody, the second group were trespassing. The first group are saints, the second group was posing for the cameras. They embarass serious pro life Catholics.

Ray Schneider said...

I think the cameras came because of the pro-lifers and not the pro-lifers for the cameras. You live in a small and highly stylized world which doesn't seem to include any motive but personal advantage.

How exactly do you distinguish "serious pro life Catholics" from the pro life people at Notre Dame and why should anyone take your classification seriously?

Anonymous said...

The folks posing for the cameras are the perfumed princes.

The pro lifers holding signs
in wind, rain, snow, and sleet
when it is 20 degrees outside, those are the REAL pro lifers.

I am not discriminating agasint age, race or state in life.
I just find the flash bulb bob types....... phony.

Ray Schneider said...

Well the March for Life each year gives everyone a chance to stand in the cold and march up to the capitol. The fact that Notre Dame holds its graduations in the Spring shouldn't be the factor that decides that someone is authentically pro-life or not. That is just silly.

Your category of "flash bulb bob" is an example of Bulverism. You ascribe a motive to people on not very good basis, and then dismiss them by dismissing the motive. Pure Bulverism. I think the point that was being made is that faithful Catholic institutions should not honor blatantly pro-abortion politicians, period!

Anonymous said...

It is tough to debate a chemistry denier, but here goes.
Pro life protesting is a good thing. Most that I know, obey the law. It is illegal to deliberately trespass, which is clearly a sin.
But these people decided the flash bulbs were more important than obeying the law or committing sins. In the final analysis, these protestors are setting a bad example for children and working against their cause as they refuse to obey the law. You can call it a pro life protest, I prefer media stunt, which does far more to hurt pro life movement than help it.

Ray Schneider said...

Trespass is a shaky concept on a campus that is celebrating a graduation it seems to me. The right to assembly plays some sort of role and also there is the concept of a hierarchy of good. Trespass is not something that is intrinsically evil. Abortion is intrinsically evil and supporting and enabling those who support evil to do the evil that they do is also evil.

I think your case is quite weak. BTW, just how much chemistry is it that you think you know? I'm a physicist not a chemist, but I know some chemistry. What is your degree in? BTW I think in legal circles this is called questioning your standing?

Cheers, Ray

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

With regard to the arrests at Notre Dame, those folks primary intent was education, not arrest. They visited an OPEN CAMPUS that allows all kinds of people to walk around without being accused of trespassing. So how does pushing a stroller with a baby doll covered in fake blood make you a trespasser? They did not like the message. So all the talk about "academic freedom" by these bastions of the first amendment was a huge lie when it came to the right to defend the life of the unborn.

Those who carried pro-Obama signs on graduation day were not arrested, only those who carried pro-life signs. That is a violation of free speech. It is the same thing that prevents a shopping center that is only quasi-private from preventing people from leafletting the cars because they don't like the message.