21/2: Feast of St Robert Southwell…

21/2: Feast of St Robert Southwell…

From Wikipedia

Saint Robert Southwell (c. 1561 – 21 February 1595), was an English  Catholic priest of the Jesuit Order. He was also a poet, hymnodist, and clandestine missionary in post-Reformation England.

After being arrested and imprisoned in 1592, and intermittently tortured and questioned by Richard Topcliffe, Southwell was eventually tried and convicted of high treason for his links to the Holy See. On 21 February 1595, Father Southwell was hanged at Tyburn. In 1970, he was canonised by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. 

To mark the Feast, the short sermon below is delivered by a relative of the saint – Edinburgh-born priest,  Father Andrew Southwell 


It’s interesting, is it not, to reflect on the fact that in times of persecution from governments and false religions, Catholics have been willing to die in defence of the  truths of the Faith.  Yet, in times of internal strife, as in our times, when the Faith is under attack from within, in her liturgy, dogma and moral teaching, only a minority of the faithful is putting up a fight.  Interesting?   

Comments (24)

  • RCAVictor

    The first thing that came to mind, listening to Father’s sermon, was the stark difference between faithful Catholics and heretics and apostates – who, having sold out the Faith and the Church for a mess of pottage, still have the nerve to call themselves Catholic…”progressives.”

    So, faithful Catholics veil their statues during Passiontide because they and the Church are in mourning for Our Lord. But progressive “Catholics” veil their statues and crucifixes during any time of the year, especially in schools and universities, for fear of offending non-Catholics.

    For example:


    (Georgetown is a Jesuit insitution….)

    As for the relatively few faithful who are fighting the Vatican II-inspired destruction of the Church, I started to speculate that it was because of the “boiled frog” syndrome – in this case, incremental changes so as not to disturb the sleeping giant of the faithful. But then I recalled all the horror stories about the 1960s (I was not practicing then, so I missed the revolution), when the clergy and religious apparently turned into hippies almost overnight, organs were replaced by guitars, chant was replaced by Barry Manilow music, altars were replaced by tables, catechesis was replaced by “if it feels good, do it,” the Mass was replaced by…whatever you call that abomination, Latin was replaced by the vernacular, etc.

    So much for the boiled frog theory. However, I then wonder if it is the false obedience phenomenon so accurately pegged by Abp. Lefebvre. False obedience, that is, by those not benefiting financially for propping up the revolution. The betrayer clergy, that is, are still reaping benefits from the legacy of “pray, pay and obey,” and the bulk of the faithful remain clueless.

    February 19, 2020 at 10:28 pm
    • Lily

      RCA Victor,

      It really was overnight when the changes were brought in but I think the Boiled Frog Syndrome refers to the gradual numbing of the people who might have been inclined to fight back at the start, but then just accepted things, thinking they were coming from the top of the Church’s God-given authority. Eventually, they didn’t notice or think anything of the changes, all the “new” stuff brought into the Church.

      The bulk of the faithful are definitely clueless now, that’s a dead cert.

      February 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm
      • editor


        Spot on… the changes WERE brought in overnight which is why I always laugh a hollow laugh when people tell me that we can’t expect everything to be restored “overnight”. Seems odd that centuries of Tradition could be overthrown in no time, but we need years and years before we can park the mere 50 years of the revolutionary “new” everything. Interesting.

        February 20, 2020 at 8:31 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      “So, faithful Catholics veil their statues during Passiontide because they and the Church are in mourning for Our Lord. But progressive “Catholics” veil their statues and crucifixes during any time of the year, especially in schools and universities, for fear of offending non-Catholics.

      Well said! And that’s if they have any statues and crucifixes to begin with – I taught in one school where there were no signs of Catholicity. I sent a “begging letter” round the parishes and managed to obtain an assortment of statues, nearly all needing to be fixed, broken in one way or another, but happily one of the students was an expert in the field and willingly set to work.

      Such is life in the “new springtime” of Vatican II 😀

      February 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm
  • westminsterfly

    Dear All,

    A final reminder to join in the preparation for the rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry! And please get as many others as possible to join in. Even if you can’t manage the 33 day preparation starting in two days time on February 21st, at the very least please join in the Triduum of Prayer from March 26th – 28th and then the Rededication itself on March 29th.

    The rededication of England as Our Lady’s Dowry starts with a 33 day preparation from February 21st to March 25th. You can find the traditional St Louis de Montfort 33 day preparation before total consecration to Jesus through Mary, online, free of charge, here: https://www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html Your personal consecration takes place on March 25th, Feast of the Annunciation.

    After this, there is a three day period of prayer from March 26th – 28th when a Litany to the Saints and Martyrs of England is prayed each day. The litany can be found online here:- https://stuflesser.com/en/journal/litany-of-the-saints-and-martyrs-of-england/

    And then the re-dedication is made on Sunday 29th March and the rededication prayer is here https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5dd26c39e4888e54689c5a3f/t/5e1681de41d1895d960a582e/1578533343593/Act+of+Entrustment.pdf It is hoped that the rededication is going to be made in all Cathedrals and as many parishes as possible, and by as many groups and individuals as possible.

    The official http://www.behold2020.com website will list all the venues and hopefully people will be able to attend one of them for the rededication on the 29th March.

    February 20, 2020 at 8:56 am
    • editor


      Thank you for this reminder.

      February 20, 2020 at 8:28 pm
  • westminsterfly

    Today – Feb 20th – is also the 100th anniversary of the death of St Jacinta Marto of Fatima. St Jacinta, pray for us!

    February 20, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    • Laura

      Westminster Fly,

      Thank you for that information – I didn’t know that today is St Jacinta’s anniversary.

      I must get in some requests right away!

      February 20, 2020 at 2:50 pm
  • Nicky

    That’s amazing that an Edinburgh-born priest is related to one of the forty martyrs of England and Wales! Kudos! It makes me wonder how many other people are related to saints. I remember the royal Ogilvies being in the news at the time of John Ogilvie’s canonisation – they were in Rome for the canonisation, but I don’t think they’re much in the public eye these days. It must be fascinating to be related to a saint. It won’t happen in my family, LOL!

    Father Andrew Southwell’s sermon is very clear, instructive about the reasons for the covering up of the statues, etc. He speaks slowly which makes it easier to follow everything and none of the usual jokey comments which can be very annoying in homilies. I know sometimes it’s fine, but if it’s contrived, shoved in to raise a laugh, it can be annoying, IMHO.

    Editor: sorry, found this in the “trash” folder – for absolutely no good, reason, be assured 😀

    February 20, 2020 at 5:02 pm
  • Nicky


    I didn’t know that either. She must be very powerful in Heaven because she spent her young life, after the Fatima apparitions, making sacrifices to save souls from Hell, even giving away her lunch. What a lovely young saint. Thanks for the info, Westminster Fly!

    I’m wondering if she, Jacinta and Francisco have their own Feast days now? If so, when? Does anybody know? (Sorry if this is off topic).

    February 20, 2020 at 5:05 pm
    • editor


      I can’t find Feast Days for the two, but Wikipedia says that today, 20 February, is St Jacinta’s Feast. It’s not included in the traditional calendar today – not had time to check the rest of the year.

      February 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm
    • westminsterfly

      Actually, both St Jacinta Marto and St Francisco Marto share a feast of February 20th – even though Jacinta died on February 20th 2020 and Francisco died on April 4th 1919. I suppose it makes sense to put the two together. Also, Sister Lucia died on February 13th, and although she hasn’t been canonised yet and doesn’t have a feast, it’s nice that the two events are a week apart.

      February 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    That’s a great sermon from Father Andrew Southwell.

    It’s all well and good to be related to a saint but what pressure to follow in his footsteps, LOL!

    February 20, 2020 at 7:15 pm
    • editor


      That’s what I tell my family. I don’t want them to feel pressured to become saints – that’s whyI take it easy 😀

      February 20, 2020 at 8:21 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to sainthood, but I am well on my way to becoming an old relic…

        February 20, 2020 at 11:03 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Priceless! Why didn’t I think of that? A strictly rhetorical question, be warned 😀

        I Googled to see if I could find a joke about “old relics” but nothing funny turned up – then I saw this one (below) and although it definitely IS off topic, I thought, what the heck. It made me smile, so maybe normal people will smile a well. And, who knows, maybe the odd “old relic” too…


        February 20, 2020 at 11:33 pm
  • Josephine

    That is a really lovely sermon by Fr Andrew Southwell. I agree that it must be amazing to be related to a saint – I’m definitely not, my relations are more likely to be seen on “wanted” posters, LOL!

    Seriously, it does actually bring the history of the reformation to life, when you think that there is a living relative today of one of the 40 English martyrs. It would be good to hear a sermon from Fr Andrew Southwell, about St Robert, I wonder if there is one on YouTube. If I get time, I will do a search. That’s one sermon I’d love to hear.

    February 20, 2020 at 11:44 pm
  • Greg Grimer

    He is a good friend of our family and whenever he comes over to dinner I make sure to buy him a nice quality steak and a good quality bottle of red wine because he is a man of taste. I never invite him on Fridays or at Lent for this reason.

    February 21, 2020 at 12:36 am
    • editor


      I LOVE a good steak and although I don’t drink alcohol, a nice red glass of Cranberry juice would do nicely, thank you very much.

      Does Sunday suit? 😀

      February 21, 2020 at 9:43 pm
  • editor

    Happy Feast everyone!

    I would also like to ask prayers for the repose of the soul of my mother who died on this day, 21 February, 2015. May she rest in peace.

    Thank you.

    February 21, 2020 at 10:25 am
  • Robin

    A happy feast of this great martyr to everyone on this blog!

    Father Andrew Southwell is a well known and respected traditional priest in England. God bless him!

    It would have been unthinkable if he’d been a modernist! The Saint would be turning in his grave!

    February 21, 2020 at 5:39 pm
    • editor


      Yes, indeed, that would definitely be unthinkable. Happily, although I’ve never met Fr Southwell I know several people who have and all agree with your description of him as “a well known and respected traditional priest”. The “in England” bit is always followed by “But he was born in Edinburgh, ye know…” ! Joking… we love England !

      February 21, 2020 at 9:46 pm
  • Fidelis

    What a great sermon and how wonderful to know of a priest who is a member of the same family as an English martyr! That’s quite something.

    A very happy Feast day to everyone at CT.

    February 21, 2020 at 10:24 pm
  • editor

    I’ll now close this thread to comments, with thanks to all who contributed.

    February 22, 2020 at 10:11 am

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