samedi 21 mars 2015

Bienheureux MATTHEW FLATHERS, prêtre et martyr

Bienheureux Matthieu Flathers, prêtre et martyr

Matthieu Flathers fut condamné à mort sous le roi Jacques Ier, parce qu’après des études au séminaire de Douai, il était entré, bien que prêtre, en Angleterre, puis pendu et dépecé encore vivant, à York en 1608.


Matthew Flathers

Prêtre anglais, Martyr, Bienheureux

1580-1607


Matthew Flathers, est probablement né vers 1580 à Weston, en Angleterre.
Il a fait ses études à Douai (France) et a été ordonné prêtre à Arras, en la solennité de l'Annonciation, le 25 Mars 1606. Trois mois plus tard, il a été envoyé à la mission anglaise, mais a été découvert presque immédiatement par les émissaires du gouvernement, qui, après la conspiration des poudres, avait redoublé de vigilance dans la traque des prêtres de la religion proscrite. Il a été jugé et condamné à mort, mais, par un acte de clémence inhabituelle, cette peine a été commuée en bannissement à vie. Mais après un bref exil, Matthew résolut de retourner en Angleterre et d’y continuer avec une intrépidité peu commune, son ministère sacerdotal. Mais après quelque temps de mission intense auprès de ses compatriotes du Yorkshire, il fut de nouveau arrêté et traduit en justice à York, sur la charge d’avoir été ordonné à l’étranger et d’exercer des fonctions sacerdotales en Angleterre. On lui a proposé la liberté à condition qu’il prête serment d'allégeance au décret récemment promulgué. Sur son refus, il a été condamné à mort et conduit à la place commune d'exécution en dehors de Micklegate Bar, York, pour y être pendu, comme le stipulait alors la Loi.
La pendaison, et le traitement qui lui a été réservé, semble avoir été réalisée d'une manière particulièrement brutale, et des témoins oculaires racontent que le spectacle tragique excitait la commisération de la foule des spectateurs protestants, qui en étaient horrifiés. Cette cruauté sans nom a fait que l’un des conseillers municipaux exprime le souhait de ne plus voir couler le sang des catholiques. C’était le 21 mars 1607 ; Matthew Flathers n’avait que 27 ans.
Bl. Matthew Flathers
Matthew Flathers, of Weston, England, was ordained a priest in Arras, France on the solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25, 1606. Almost immediately after returning to England to begin his priestly ministry there, he was captured by the Protestant authorities, and then banished from the country. But determined to serve the Catholics of his native land, come what may, Father Flathers soon secretly re-entered England. He was quickly re-arrested and this time sentenced to death for being a priest. At York, he was executed by drawing and quartering, always a brutal procedure, but in Father Flathers case it was done with such exceptional barbarity that the Protestant onlookers were horrified and sympathized with the martyred priest. Thereafter the Protestants of York extended their sympathy to the whole Catholic population. One city councilman declared that he wanted to see all the bloodshed against Catholics ended.

Ven. Mathew Flathers
(Alias Major).

An English priest and martyr; b. probably c. 1580 at Weston, Yorkshire, England; d. at York, 21 March, 1607. He was educated at Douai, and ordained at Arras, 25 March, 1606. Three months later he was sent to English mission, but was discovered almost immediately by the emissaries of the Government, who, after the Gunpowder Plot, had redoubled their vigilance in hunting down the priests of the proscribed religion. He was brought to trial, under the statute of 27 Elizabeth, on the charge of receiving orders abroad, and condemned to death. By an act of unusual clemency, this sentence was commuted to banishment for life; but after a brief exile, the undaunted priest returned to England in order to fulfil his mission, and, after ministering for a short time to his oppressed coreligionists in Yorkshire was again apprehended. Brought to trial at York on the charge of being ordained abroad and exercising priestly functions in England, Flathers was offered his life on condition that he take the recently enacted Oath of Allegiance. On his refusal, he was condemned to death and taken to the common place of execution outside Micklegate Bar, York. The usual punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering seems to have been carried out in a peculiarly brutal manner, and eyewitnesses relate how the tragic spectacle excited the commiseration of the crowds of Protestant spectators.

Wintersgill, H.G. "Ven. Mathew Flathers." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 21 Mar. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06098a.htm>.

Blessed Mathew Flathers

Martyred at York, 21st March 1608

Mathew was born at Weston near Otley in 1560, the youngest of eight children. Little is known about his early life. He was educated at University College, Oxford and eventually entered the English College at Douai in 1604 at the age of 44. He was ordained a priest on 25th March 1606 at Arras. Shortly after he returned to England, he was captured and condemned to death for receiving Catholic orders overseas. The sentence was changed to perpetual banishment, but again he returned to England and made his way to Yorkshire.

In 1607 he was arrested and imprisoned in York castle. He was tried the following year for high treason. Father Flathers could have saved himself by taking an Oath of Allegiance but he refused and was executed. He died in great agony, hanged, but cut down from the scaffold while still alive, he was then struck on the head, disembowelled and quartered. Mathew Flathers was martyred outside Micklegate Bar, York on Easter Monday, 21st March 1608.