Tag Archives: English martyrs

Blessed William Carter

Today, January 11th, the universal Church honors a most courageous English martyr, Blessed William Carter.
Blessed William was born in London, England in 1549 and at an early age, entered the printing business.  He served as an apprentice to well-known Catholic printers, one of whom served his sentence in prison for persisting in his Catholicism.  Indeed and in fact, it was a crime of high treason punishable by death to practice the Catholic Faith in Queen Elizabeth I’s realm.  One could imagine, therefore, how dangerous it was for any Catholic printer in such circumstances.  Blessed William himself served prison time for printing what the realm called “lewd” literature, or Catholic literature and for possessing Catholic books upholding Catholicism.
What offended the English officials was that Blessed William continued to publish inspirational works to help Catholics remain in their Faith.  English officials searched his home and found vestments for Mass left with him for safe keeping and other “suspect” books.  These officials went so far as to attempt to obtain information from his distraught wife.  Over the next 18 months, Blessed William remained in prison, learned of his wife’s death and suffered unspeakable torture.
The English court charged Blessed William with printing and publishing the “Treatise of Schisme,” which according to their interpretation, incited violence by Catholics and which was said to have been composed by a traitor and addressed to traitors.
The jury deliberated for 15 minutes, whilst Blessed William trusted Our Lord Jesus Christ as His servant.  Their verdict was guilty.  Blessed William made his final confession to a priest who was also being tried alongside him.  On January 11, 1584 at Tyburn, London, Blessed William was hanged, drawn and quartered.  Frankly, I believe that such a death was one of the cruelest ever invented by humankind.  Clearly, Blessed William carried on the Faith with the same spirit of St. Thomas More, whose last words were, “I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
I have always felt the greatest empathy and love for the English martyrs all of my life and throughout all of my studies of the saints.  For some special reason, I have a special kinship with these incredibly brave people.
Several centuries later, on November 10, 1986, Pope John Paul II venerated Blessed William and consequently, on November 22, 1987, Pope John Paul beatified Blessed William.
May we attempt to have the same courage, determination and love that Blessed William had, and may we follow his example to remain tenacious and bold, always trusting in Our Lord Jesus Christ no matter what the consequences. . .
Sources:  americancatholic.org; saints.sqpn.com; Wikepedia

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