samedi 9 mai 2015

Bienheureux THOMAS PICKERING, frère bénédictin et martyr

Bienheureux Thomas Pickering

Martyr en Angleterre ( 1665)

Frère bénédictin de Downside en Angleterre, il resta fidèle à ses vœux religieux et à sa foi en l'Église catholique romaine jusqu'à la mort sanglante.


À Londres, en 1679, le bienheureux Thomas Pickering, moine bénédictin et martyr. Homme d’une vraie simplicité et innocence de vie, il fut faussement accusé de complot contre le roi Charles II et, d’un cœur tranquille, alla à la potence de Tyburn.


Martyrologe romain

Thomas Pickering

1621-1679
 
Né en Westmorland (Angleterre nord-ouest) vers 1621, il entra chez les Bénédictins de Douai (qui se sont maintenant transférés à Downside, Somerset), et fit les vœux religieux comme Frère convers en 1660.

En 1665, il fut envoyé à Londres, comme économe des moines bénédictins de la chapelle de la reine Catherine de Braganza, l’épouse catholique du roi Charles II.

Quand le roi ordonna l’expulsion des moines bénédictins (1675), il y eut une exception pour ce Frère Thomas, sans doute parce qu’il n’était pas prêtre.

Lors du complot de Titus Oate, qui prétendait que les Catholiques conspiraient contre la vie du roi, Thomas fut personnellement accusé de faire partie de la conspiration. La reine, qui le connaissait bien, plaida pour lui. Mais les juges maintinrent l’accusation, et le condamnèrent à mort avec deux autres.

Le roi hésitait beaucoup : il connaissait l’innocence de Thomas, mais il craignait l’opinion publique qui réclamait l’exécution des «victimes» de Titus Oate. Deux fois de suite dans le même mois, l’exécution fut ordonnée, puis commuée. Finalement, le roi ordonna l’exécution des deux autres, mais «plus tard», espérant pour le moment préserver le sort de Thomas. Mais le 26 avril 1679, la Chambre des Communes réclama l’exécution de Thomas et le roi céda.

Thomas Pickering fut, selon la formule rituelle, hanged, drawn and quartered (pendu, éviscéré et écartelé) à Tyburn le 9 mai 1679, avec trois autres. Parmi ces derniers se serait trouvé le bienheureux George Gervase, qui cependant est commémoré le 11 avril.
 
Frère Thomas Pickering a été béatifié en 1929.



Voici un bienheureux, fêté aujourd'hui, au sujet duquel les sites spécialisés (nominis, eaq, etc) ne nous disent pas grand chose.

Ce frère bénédictin anglais, accusé injustement de comploter contre le roi Charles II, fut condamné à mort en même temps que d'autres religieux catholiques, dans un contexte de persécution par le pouvoir anglican dans l'Angleterre du 17e siècle.

Dans un ouvrage intitulé "la persécution des catholiques en Angleterre", nous trouvons rapportées les circonstances de son exécution :

Quoi qu'il en soit, Pickering demeura en prison jusqu'au 9 mai (1665), jour où il fut traîné à Tyburn pour y mourir. La paix rayonnante de son visage impressionna vivement les spectateurs, non moins que ses protestations de fidélité envers le souverain pour lequel son père était tombé au champ d'honneur. Comme on lui reprochait d'être prêtre : « Oh non, dit il humblement », je ne suis qu'un pauvre frère convers » , il pria pour ses ennemis, puis monta avec tranquillité sur la fatale charrette. Là, on lui mit au cou la corde qui était attachée au gibet et on lui couvrit la figure d'un bonnet. Au moment même où la charrette se dérobait sous ses pieds, un des spectateurs lui cria qu'à cette heure solennelle il devait bien avouer son crime. Avec une présence d'esprit admirable dans un pareil moment, le martyr retira vivement le bonnet qui cachait ses traits et avec un bon sourire : « Regardez-moi », dit-il, «ai-je, la figure d'unhomme capable de commettre un si grand crime »? Il mourut ainsi « en souriant », ajoute Challoner, terminant une vie obscure et laborieuse (Challoner, vol. II, p. 193. PERSÉCUTION DES CATHOLIQUES EN ANGLETERRE) par un trépas glorieux; beaucoup le regrettèrent, dit-il encore ; ils savaient que cet homme doux et bon, incapable de faire de la peine à qui que ce soit, était innocent du forfait pour lequel on l'avait condamné.

Blessed Thomas Pickering, OSB M (AC)


Born in Westmoreland, England; died at Tyburn, England, 1679; beatified in 1929. Thomas made his vows as a Benedictine lay- brother at Saint Gregory's Abbey in Douai, France, in 1660. Thereafter, he was sent to England to serve with a small community of Benedictines who served the royal chapel. In such a prominent spot, he became an easy victim to the "Popish Plot," was falsely accused, and hanged (Benedictines).



Ven. Thomas Pickering

Lay brother and martyr, a member of an old Westmoreland family, b. c. 1621; executed at Tyburn, 9 May, 1679. He was sent to the Benedictine monastery of St. Gregory at Douai, where he took vows as a lay brother in 1660. In 1665 he was sent to London, where, as steward or procurator to the little community of Benedictines who served the queen's chapel royal, he became known personally to the queen and Charles II; and when in 1675, urged by the parliament, Charles issued a proclamation ordering the Benedictines to leave England within a fixed time, Pickering was allowed to remain, probably on the ground that he was not a priest. In 1678 came the pretended revelations of Titus Oates, and Pickering was accused of conspiring to murder the king. No evidence except Oates's word was produced and Pickering's innocence was so obvious that the queen publicly announced her belief in him, but the jury found him guilty, and with two others he was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. The king was divided between the wish to save the innocent men and fear of the popular clamour, which loudly demanded the death of Oates's victims, and twice within a month the three prisoners were ordered for execution and then reprieved. At length Charles remitted the execution of the other two, hoping that this would satisfy the people and save Pickering from his fate. The contrary took place, however, and 26 April, 1679, the House of Commons petitioned for Pickering's execution. Charles yielded and the long-deferred sentence was carried out on the ninth of May. A small piece of cloth stained with his blood is preserved among the relics at Downside Abbey.

Sources

     The Tryals of William Ireland, Thomas Pickering and John Grove for conspiring to murder the king … (London, 1678); An exact abridgment of all the Trials … relating to the popish and pretended protestant plots in the reigns of Charles II and James II (London, 1690), 464; DODD, Church History of England, III (Brussels, 1742), 318; CHALLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, II (London, 1742), 376; OLIVER, Collections illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in Cornwall, Devon, etc. (London, 1847), 500; CORKER, Remonstrance of piety and innocence (London, 1683), 178; WELDON, Chronological Notes on the English Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict, ed. DOLAN (Worcester, 1881), 219; Downside Review, II (London, 1883), 52-60.

Huddleston, Gilbert. "Ven. Thomas Pickering." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 9 May 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12075b.htm>.

Blessed Thomas Pickering

This English Benedictine lay brother was a martyr of the Popish Plot.

He professed vows in France in 1660 and was sent to London in 1665 as procurator of a small community celebrating liturgies in the chapel of Queen Catherine of Braganza. Though other monks were banished, he was allowed to stay. Because of the fictitious plot, in which Titus Oates alleged that King Charles II would be assassinated and the French king would re-establish Catholicism in England, three Jesuits, Pickering, and a layman were found guilty of conspiracy.

Profile

Benedictine lay brother at the Saint Gregory Monastery in Douai, France in 1660. Sent to London, England in 1665 to serve as steward to the Benedictines in the queen‘s royal chapel. He came to know Queen Catherine of Braganza and King Charles II, and in 1675 when the all other Benedictines were exiled from England, Thomas was allowed to stay. Falsely accused in 1678 of being part of the Titus Oates Plot to murder the king, he was found guilty and executed. Martyr.

Born

Popish Plot Martyr: Blessed Thomas Pickering, OSB

Blessed Thomas Pickering was a Benedictine lay brother and martyr caught up in Titus Oates' duplicitous plot; a member of an old Westmoreland family, b. c. 1621; executed at Tyburn, 9 May, 1679. He was sent to the Benedictine monastery of St. Gregory at Douai, where he took vows as a lay brother in 1660. In 1665 he was sent to London, where, as steward or procurator to the little community of Benedictines who served Queen Catherine of Braganza's chapel royal, he became known personally to the queen and Charles II; and when in 1675, urged by the parliament, Charles issued a proclamation ordering the Benedictines to leave England within a fixed time, Pickering was allowed to remain, probably on the ground that he was not a priest. 


In 1678 came the pretended revelations of Titus Oates, and Pickering was accused of conspiring to murder the king. No evidence except Oates's word was produced and Pickering's innocence was so obvious that the queen publicly announced her belief in him, but the jury found him guilty, and with two others he was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. The king was divided between the wish to save the innocent men and fear of the popular clamour, which loudly demanded the death of Oates's victims, and twice within a month the three prisoners were ordered for execution and then reprieved. At length Charles remitted the execution of the other two, hoping that this would satisfy the people and save Pickering from his fate. The contrary took place, however, and 26 April, 1679, the House of Commons petitioned for Pickering's execution. Charles yielded and the long-deferred sentence was carried out on the ninth of May. A small piece of cloth stained with his blood is preserved among the relics at Downside Abbey. 

The British Museum has a page dedicated to the deck of the Popish/Oates Plot playing cards, one of which depicted Brother Thomas Pickering's fictitious attempt on Charles II's life--and so does the V&A, providing this background:

Object Type 

These playing cards are engravings. The images were made by cutting lines into the surface of a flat piece of metal, inking the plate and then transferring the ink held in the lines onto a sheet of paper. Francis Barlow's original drawings for the engravings are in the British Museum, London.

Subject 

The Popish Plot was a fictitious Catholic conspiracy to kill Charles II that the Reverend Titus Oates claimed to have uncovered in 1678.The pictures on these cards tell the story of the plot and show the dire penalties meted out to alleged Roman Catholic enemies of the state. Sets of playing cards depicting historical events were very popular in the last quarter of the 17th century. There are other political packs from the time of the Popish Plot depicting 'All the Popish Plots' and the Rye House Plot, a conspiracy to assassinate Charles II and his brother, James, Duke of York.


Historical Context 

There was great fear in Britain at the time of Catholic intrigue and a very real apprehension that on the death of Charles his Roman Catholic brother, James, would be placed on the throne. Prints were used to fuel public anxiety, and playing cards were another ideal means of spreading political propaganda at a low cost. Many packs were designed and engraved by leading artists of the day.