Tag Archives: seminary

29 August: Relics, XXXII; Reburying Bishop Butt.

From Canon Anthony Charlton of Saint Thomas, Canterbury, a further reflection on respect for the bodies of the dead.

Last month, Fr John and I were at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark, for Solemn Evening Prayer in honour of St John the Apostle and Evangelist and the Rites of Re-internment for the body of Bishop John Butt who had been buried in the aisle of the seminary chapel where we both trained. He founded the seminary in 1891. As you know St John’s Seminary closed last year.

Along with Bishop Butt’s body was the heart of Cardinal Francis Bourne which had been placed in the wall of the side altar of St Francis de Sales in the Seminary Chapel. Francis Bourne had been appointed first rector of the seminary by Bishop Butt. It had been his request that his heart be placed in the seminary when he died.

Showing due respect for these mortal remains emphasises that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Nicols said these words of committal:

In the sure and certain hope 
of the resurrection to eternal life 
through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
we commend to almighty God our brothers John and Francis 
and commit their mortal remains to their resting place.
The Lord bless them and keep them, 
the Lord make his face shine upon them, 
and be gracious unto them, 
the Lord lift up his countenance upon them 
and give them peace.

More news from Wonersh tomorrow.

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30 November: St Andrew, Dr Johnson and the Scottish mission

Doctor Johnson, on his 18th Century tour of Scotland, got into a discussion about Catholics. There were thousands of Catholics in the Highlands and Islands, served by missionary priests largely trained overseas; a seminary in the Highlands was illegal and repeatedly destroyed. Johnson was misinformed about where the Catholics were, but it would not be long before many were driven out during the Clearances, though Johnson would not have seen that coming.

Roads were poor or non-existent; to cross this loch would have meant hiring a rowing boat or sailing vessel, there was no telephoning ahead to warn people a priest was coming, and he was a more or less tolerated outlaw. He was, however, a worthy son of Saint Andrew, patron of Scotland.


“There is in Scotland, as among ourselves, a restless suspicion of popish machinations, and a clamour of numerous converts to the Romish religion.  The report is, I believe, in both parts of the Island equally false.  The Romish religion is professed only in Egg and Canna, two small islands, into which the Reformation never made its way.  If any missionaries are busy in the Highlands, their zeal entitles them to respect, even from those who cannot think favourably of their doctrine.” (from “Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland” by Samuel Johnson)

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