The above exclamation is not much used now. To be honest I’ve only ever seen it in books written long before my time and long forgotten.

The business of canonisation in the Catholic Church puzzles me. A woman of violence was burned at the stake by a French Bishop and was proclaimed a saint by a Pope some centuries later. Perhaps in another century or galaxy the Fenians, cursed by Bishop Moriarty of Kerry, will be canonised by a Pope. Before Popes got in on the act saints were established by public acclaim.

The Fenians would, surely have qualified under the old system?

I did not realise that the Church of England had a system of canonisation although its membership has always had huge numbers of virtuous people. But I learned recently that Edith Cavell is included in its Calendar of Saints. Like Joan of Arc, the French Woman of Violence, condemned by a Bishop to death by burning, Edith Cavell was executed (by rifle-fire) after a trial in October 1915. The charge,   proven to the satisfaction of a German court martial, was of passing information to their British enemies. The British denied that she was a spy and within months claimed that her execution was worth two Army Corps (some tens of thousands of men) to them as chivalrous youth flocked to their Colours to avenge the atrocity.

I’d be interested to know what considerations weighed with  the Church  of England before it inscribed Edith Cavell’s name in its Calendar of Saints, and the date it was inscribed.

In October 2015, on the Centenary of Cavell’s execution, Dame Stella Rimington, a former Director of MI5 confirmed the findings of the German Court Martial. Cavell was a spy and her execution in accordance with civilised conduct in time of war.

Tens of thousands of decent men were taken for suckers as they flocked to kill and be killed.Were the learned and prudent authorities of the Church of England quite so innocent and gullible. Perhaps it’s as well they don’t claim Infallibility? 

In late 1914 the British Foreign Office determined to kill Roger Casement and one of agents promised, in writing to pay an employee of Casement £5,000 and free passage to America if he would help in the enterprise. The London trial in 1916 was merely an apparently legal confirmation of a sentence already passed. 

Many people, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, thought that Casement’s humanitarian record should earn him a reprieve. But the Government showed them alleged entries in his papers, which to this day have not been released for proper examination, and they were happy that he should hang.

Knowing as we do now that the British Government lied about Edith Cavell in 1915 and for 100 years thereafter, it seems to me that it would be foolish to accept any story they have told about Casement in that time.

It would be no harm if the Church of England would explain how and why it inscribed Edith Cavell in its Calendar of Saints, and thus encouraged the Gadarene rush to the killing fields of Europe, of generous, brave, and deluded youth.

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