December 29, 2006

St. Thomas Becket

Today, is the Optional Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr. He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England on December 29, 1170 possibly at the behest of King Henry II. Devotion to St. Thomas Becket was very strong in the Middle Ages. You can read more about St. Thomas Becket

Spero News has a story about some Muslims demanding to be able to worship at the Catholic Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain.

These kinds of demands really get my back up. Does this mean Catholics get the Hagia Sophia back?

Where will it end? Can we get Canterbury Cathedral back too?

And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,

--Canterbury Tales (Prologue), Geoffrey Chaucer

It used to be "to the victor belong the spoils" Now, its "to the biggest whiner, belong the spoils"


Blogger Ray from MN said...

That's a great idea, Cathy.

What the 21st Century needs is an Art and Architecture Repatriation Organization (AARO)like the United Nations of the 20th Century.

We Catholics would get all our church buildings back from the English and the Muslims.

The Orthodox (sorry, Cathy) probably would get the Hagia Sophia because in a shrewd ecumenical move by the Vatican, Pope Benedict would relinquish his claim in an attempt to solve the 1,000 year old schism. But he might retain "visiting privileges."

But resolving visiting priviliges to a Christian church by anybody in a country that only has 13,485 Orthodox residents, all over 80, will be difficult.

After 30 years of whining, the Elgin Marbles (remnants of the Acropolis of Athens) would go back to Greece, accompanied by the Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo and dozens of other items from the Louvre. Quite a few wings of the Louvre could be closed after Napoleon's booty had been returned.

I'm sure there is a coven of Druids ready to take over the administration of Stonehenge in England.

Who would take over the Great Pyramid might be a matter for litigation, but certainly, the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum would quickly be transferred to Cairo.

Italy might lose a lot of Greek statues and Egyptian columns, etc.

The Vatican would get lots of recovered "loot" but would have to give up items like the Laocoon (Father and Sons Wrestling with Snake - ugh - not my cup o' tea)to Greece. Fortunately the Popes commissioned most of their own art.

It will be a boon for the publishing industry as all the art books will have to be republished once items have been settled in their new homes.

December 29, 2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Excellent points.

I'm still praying for the Great Reunification. But, until that happens, you are probably right about the Orthodox getting the Hagia Sophia.

December 29, 2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Geometricus said...

Thanks for your Chaucer reference. I am almost finished listening to the Naxos recording of "Canterbury Tales" which I checked out of the Mpls Public Library. I have many thoughts, not the least of which is this question: what kind of sacrifice or miracle would it take to get our "global community" back to the mindset of Christian Europe at the time of Chaucer?

I am not advocating a return to the Middle Ages in any way except for the parts where people openly discuss the four last things in daily parlance: death, judgement, heaven and hell. Since I have converted to Catholicism, 25 or so years now, every year I find my thoughts returning to these things. I wish I was more like the characters in Chaucer's "Tales": for all their naughtiness, they consider the saints their friends, they pray aloud for others in their presence without shame, they encourage each other to grasp the things that lead to eternal salvation, and they make pilgrimages as a reminder of the one eternal pilgrimage to which we all must be attentive.

We have quite the job of evangelization ahead of us.

December 31, 2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

geometricus: Yes, most of the literature from that period is outright religious or has religious undertones.

January 01, 2007 6:59 AM  

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