In honor of the Anglican initiative of Pope Benedict this week, a reminder of the history of Catholic England, when Catholics were willing to stand against the State if need be to protect the Honor of God. Becket (1964), although inheriting the historical howlers that existed in the play, and were known by the playwright Jean Anouilh who wisely preferred a poetic story to prosaic fact, (Becket was Norman not Saxon, Henry II was not a crowned juvenile delinquent, the armor, as is usual in medieval epics, is all wrong for the period, etc.), this classic film helped awaken in me a desire to learn about the history of the Church. With masterful performances by Richard Burton as “the holy blessed martyr” and Peter O’Toole as Henry II, the film brought alive to me as a child the high Middle Ages. The installation sequence brought home to me the important role of ceremony, tradition and symbolism in our Faith, a lesson I have never forgotten.
Richard Eden of the Daily Telegraph has reported that Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, who is also the head of the Church of England, is “appalled” at what has happened to the Anglican Communion.
The usually well-informed newspaper adds that the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the C(hurch) of E(ngland), is “also said to have an affinity with the Holy Father, who is of her generation”.
Quite good stuff to hear of the affinity that Queen Elizabeth has for Papa Bene.