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Monday, 7 January 2008

Henry Morse - Priest of the Plague

I have just finished reading an excellent book- 'Henry Morse, Priest of the Plague', a biography written by Philip Caraman, and first published by Longmans in 1957. Morse was a Jesuit priest working in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, a time of great persecution for Catholics. He was born in 1595 and died in 1645 when he was hanged at Tyburn - his 'crime' being that he was a Catholic priest. His priestly life was devoted to serving the suffering Catholics of England, also to serving all those of whatever faith suffering and dying from the Plague. Immediately prior to his execution Morse was allowed to address the people, at the end of which he concluded, "I will glory in nothing, all glory I ascribe to God. I pray that my death may be some kind of atonement for the sins of this kingdom. If I had as many lives as there are sands on the sea-shore,I should willingly lay them all down for this end and to testify to the truth of the Catholic religion. To this day it is the only faith confirmed by miracles, by which the blind see, the dumb speak and the dead are raised to life. Tell me Mr Sheriff, if you saw the dead return to life would you not believe? Would you not say that it was the true Church where all these things are done?"

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