Today is the anniversary of the death of Bishop Richard Challoner, who is buried in the Cathedral, and who is one of the (largely unsung) heroes of English Catholicism. I posted about him last year here, and have also posted about his American connexion, but thought I would take this opportunity to show the fine portrait of him that hangs in Archbishop's House. This portrait was previously in the dining room of Clergy House.
Bishop Challoner helped keep alive the flickering flame of catholic faith at a time when its morale was lowest; direct persecution of Catholics had ceased, but heavy fines and social opprobrium were still faced by those faithful to the old religion. Apart from the Embassy chapels of Catholic countries, the Bishop still had to say Mass in secret in London, in places such as the Ship Tavern in Holborn - the plaque above on the pub records the fact, and makes it clear that the setting was less than salubrious.
"During his lifetime and after his death, he was considered not only as a model of every virtue but as a saint. Indeed the title accorded to him by the faithful was that of 'Venerable'. We must pray that our Blessed Lord, through the Holy Father, may reward the loyalty and devotion of this great bishop, by raising him to the altars of the Church."
The Cardinal approved this prayer for the beatification of Bishop Challoner:
O God who made your servant Richard a true and faithful pastor of your little flock in England, raise him, we beseech you, to the altars of thy Church, that we who have been taught by his word and example may invoke his name in heaven, for the return of our country to belief in the Gospel, and to the unity of all Christians in the one Chruch of Jesus Christ. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.