dimanche 29 mars 2015

Bienheureux JOHN HAMBLEY, prêtre et martyr

Bienheureux Jean Hambley, prêtre et martyr

Né vers 1560, il était protestant. Alors qu’il avait une vingtaine d’années, un ami lui prêta un livre traitant de la religion catholique, qui le ramena à la foi de ses pères. Il partit sur le continent pour être ordonné prêtre. A son retour en Angleterre en 1586, il fut arrêté et condamné à mort, perdant courage, il accepta de s'en tenir à la religion protestante. Libéré, il revint à la foi catholique et fut arrêté à nouveau, mais il obtint sa libération en dénonçant d'autres catholiques. En 1587, il est arrêté une troisième fois et demeure fidèle. Il subit courageusement le martyre, à Salisbury en 1587, sous la reine Élisabeth Ière.

Bienheureux Jean Hambley

prêtre et martyr, à Salisbury en Angleterre ( 1587)

Né vers 1560, il était protestant. A une vingtaine d'années d'âge, un ami lui prêta un livre traitant de la religion catholique qui l'amena à adopter cette foi et à se déplacer à l'étranger pour devenir prêtre. A son retour en Angleterre en 1586, il fut arrêté et condamné à mort, perdant courage, il accepta de s'en tenir à la religion protestante. Puis libéré, il retourna à la foi catholique et fut arrêté à nouveau, il obtint sa libération en dénonçant d'autres catholiques. En 1587, il est encore arrêté mais on lui donne une lettre qui l'émeut et dont il refuse de révéler le contenu. A partir de ce moment, il exprime continuellement sa foi, montre des remords pour son instabilité et subit courageusement le martyre qui lui est imposé. Il fait partie du groupe de martyrs béatifiés par le pape Jean-Paul II le 22 novembre 1987.

Commémoraison du bienheureux Jean Hambley, prêtre et martyr, à Salisbury en Angleterre. En 1587, sous la reine Élisabeth Ière,un jour inconnu de ce mois aux environs de la Pâque du Seigneur, à cause de son sacerdoce, il fut livré aux supplices du gibet, communiant ainsi aux souffrances du Christ.


Martyrologe romain


Ven. John Hambley

English martyr (suffered 1587), born and educated in Cornwall, and converted by reading one of Father Persons' books in 1582. After his course at Reims (1583-1585), he returned and worked for a year in the Western Counties. Betrayed and captured about Easter, 1586, he was tried and condemned at Taunton. He saved his life for the moment by denying his faith, then managed to break prison, and fled to Salisbury. Next August, however, the Protestant bishop there, in his hatred of the ancient Faith, resolved to search the houses of Catholics on the eve of the Assumption, suspecting that he might thus catch a priest, and in fact Hambley was recaptured. Being now in a worse plight that ever, his fears increased; he again offered conformity, and this time he gave up the names of most of his Catholic friends. Next Easter he was tried again, and again made offers of conformity. Yet after this third fall he managed to recover himself, and suffered near Salisbury "standing to it manfully, and inveighing much against his former fault". How he got the grace of final perseverance was a matter of much speculation. One contemporary, Father Warford, believed it was due to his guardian angel, but another, Father Gerard, with great probability, tells us that his strength came from a fellow-prisoner, Thomas Pilchard, afterwards himself a martyr.

Pollen, John Hungerford. "Ven. John Hambley." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Mar. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07121a.htm>.

Three Falls and Final Perseverance: Blessed John Hambley

For good reason, of course, I often emphasize the great endurance and fortitude of the Catholic Martyrs of England and Wales after the Reformation and during the Recusancy era. But today's martyr, Blessed John Hambley, gave in thrice, renouncing his Catholic faith--one time at great cost to the Catholic laity who had protected him:

English martyr (suffered 1587), born and educated in Cornwall, and converted by reading one of Father Persons' books in 1582. After his course at Reims (1583-1585), he returned and worked for a year in the Western Counties. Betrayed and captured about Easter, 1586, he was tried and condemned at Taunton. He saved his life for the moment by denying his faith, then managed to break prison, and fled to Salisbury. Next August, however, the Protestant bishop there, in his hatred of the ancient Faith, resolved to search the houses of Catholics on the eve of the Assumption, suspecting that he might thus catch a priest, and in fact Hambley was recaptured. Being now in a worse plight that ever, his fears increased; he again offered conformity, and this time he gave up the names of most of his Catholic friends. Next Easter he was tried again, and again made offers of conformity. Yet after this third fall he managed to recover himself, and suffered near Salisbury "standing to it manfully, and inveighing much against his former fault". How he got the grace of final perseverance was a matter of much speculation. One contemporary, Father Warford, believed it was due to his guardian angel, but another, Father Gerard, with great probability, tells us that his strength came from a fellow-prisoner, Thomas Pilchard, afterwards himself a martyr.

 Some Notes:

~Since he "fell three times" I cannot help but think of the three falls of Jesus that occur in the traditional Stations of the Cross, especially since Blessed John Hambley's third fall came after Easter (thus the illustration above)!

~In 1582, he might have read Father Parsons' "A Brief Discourse Containing Certain Reasons Why Catholics Refuse to Go to [the Established] Church" or "The First Book of the Christian Exercise, Appertaining to Resolution".

~The Bishop of Salisbury in 1587 was John Piers. According to that wikipedia article, Piers had work to do in Salisbury: "At Salisbury, by command of the Queen, he brought the ritual and statutes of his cathedral into conformity with the spirit of the Reformation, with changes away from Catholic practice." He was appointed in 1571, more than ten years after the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, and Catholic practices remained in Salisbury!

~Remember that we just read about Blessed Thomas Pilchard and his incredible sufferings as a martyr, on March 21.




Blessed John HAMBLEY, 1560-1587

John Hambley was an English Protestant in his early twenties when a friend lent him a Catholic book entitled, The Reasons why Catholics should refuse to attend the Churches of the Heretics. The book led John to embrace the Catholic faith and to journey overseas to become a priest. After returning to England, Father Hambley was arrested in 1586 while on his way to a wedding, traveling with the betrothed couple. Upon being condemned to death for his priesthood, Father Hambley lost his courage and agreed to «conform» to the Protestant religion. After obtaining his freedom, he returned to the Catholic faith. But upon being captured a second time, he secured his release by betraying the names of other Catholics to the authorities. In 1587, he was arrested once more. At his trial, he seemed on the point of «conforming» again when a stranger gave him a letter. Upon reading it, the priest wept. Although Father Hambley refused to divulge the letter’s contents, he thereafter became steadfast in professing the Catholic faith, expressing deep remorse for his inconstancy, and bravely endured death by drawing and quartering.