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The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605
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The Gunpowder Plot (Dec 2018) > 10. Along the way

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Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
Put here your comments about your thoughts while you were reading the book.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
In chapter 1 Fraser says this about James I of England, VI of Scotland:
Perhaps it was James' youthful crush on the personable Esmé Stuart which had given him a preference for his own sex where intimate relationships were concerned; perhaps homosexuality was natural to him.

The Wikipedia has this quote about this: The evidence of his correspondence and contemporary accounts have led some historians to conclude that the king was homosexual or bisexual. In fact, the issue is murky.

I'm afraid many historians try to judge people who lived in other epochs by our own standards, thus betraying their vocation as historians. Men in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries wrote tender letters to other men without being homosexual. It was just the custom.

This is even worse when we consider that James I had a happy marriage with Anne of Denmark and was father of seven children.

I'm sorry Fraser falls in the current tendency of trying to prove that every well-know person in the past was a homosexual.


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Dorianne | 1 comments sorry, i got lost.
what is the title of the book being discussed here?
thank you


Fonch | 1264 comments Manuel wrote: "In chapter 1 Fraser says this about James I of England, VI of Scotland:
Perhaps it was James' youthful crush on the personable Esmé Stuart which had given him a preference for his own sex where in..."


I have the impression that the best description of the king James I was made by the sequel of Pocahontas. The impression that i have is that he is a coward, that he did everything to survive and to keep power. Although i must confess that with him the relationships between Spain, and England improved, but the situation of the catholic continued being really hard until the 19th century. In some case unacceptable especially with Cromwell, William III, and the three Georges.


message 5: by Manuel (last edited Dec 02, 2018 11:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
Dorianne wrote: "sorry, i got lost.
what is the title of the book being discussed here?
thank you"


The Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser, the book we are reading this month.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "Dorianne wrote: "sorry, i got lost.
what is the title of the book being discussed here?
thank you"

The Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser, the book we are reading this month."


Published in the U.S. as Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot


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Jill A. | 699 comments Manuel, I totally agree with your annoyance at contemporary authors reading homosexuality backward into history.


Fonch | 1264 comments I bought to my father some years ago a book called the Homosexual Kings, at finally the book had a bad ending because for a Little period of time we had a dog, a lovely Labrador Retreiver at finally we had to give it, because we could not with him, but when it was with us he ate the book of the homosexual kings *the anecdote is authentic and it was told without any bad intention*.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
I have found another problem with Fraser's book. In chapter 3, she writes: ...a conversion of this sort... has been the sign of many fanatics in history, not all evil but some sanctified (such as St. Augustine)...

St. Augustine a fanatic? Let us see. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "fanatic" thus: a person exhibiting excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial matter (as in religion or politics),

St. Augustine a fanatic? He who excelled in the use of reason for defending his faith was uncritical?

I can just see two explanations of this bungle: either Antonia Fraser does not know the meaning of the word fanatic, or (I wonder) she may be a fanatic in favour of cradle Catholicism against converts.


Fonch | 1264 comments Manuel wrote: "I have found another problem with Fraser's book. In chapter 3, she writes: ...a conversion of this sort... has been the sign of many fanatics in history, not all evil but some sanctified (such as S..."

In the spanish translation more or less compared to Saint Agustine with Tom Wintour and Percy, because they were converts, and for the dissolute life ha had before his converssion. In England there is a problema Antonia Fraser it is not the the only catholic critic with Saint Agustine i want to remember the case of Paul Johnson that he attacked sharply to Saint Agustine, and he defended to the heretic Pelagius. Ignoring that the Pelagius followers burnt the library of Saint Jerome. I want to remind that the Pope Francis prevent against the Pelagianism and it is alive in England. The Antoine`s Fuqua`s movie King Arthur converted to an heretic King. Bernard Cornwell for instance converted to the King Arthur in a pagan King enemy of God. We must think that Antonia Fraser is a very strange catholic, he has an affair with Harold Pinter and she quit to her husband for him, but this book is favourably to the catholics, although i think that some paralelism are the weak point of the book. Paul Johnson besides to accuse to Saint Agustine that he destroyed the christianity of Africa for his eternal war with the Donatist, ignoring that they were in Aftica for one century, besidea he compared with Rosseau :-(. It is truth that among the English Catholic Writers Saint Agustine has bad fame, because they considered that Saint Agustine inspired to Luther to bring the Reformation. The own Chesterton was critic aginst Saint Agustine for this question preffering to Saint Thomas Aquinas, although Chesterton had a good opinión of Saint Agustine. Like or dislike Saint Agustine was the essential autor of the medieval age until the 13th century and in the 15th century he came back plenty of energy.


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Jill A. | 699 comments Is Antonia Fraser a Catholic or even a Christian believer? Or just a historian attempting objectivity, unaware of her own prejudices?


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Jill A. | 699 comments not a major point, but I always think of Shakespeare as Elizabethan rather than Jacobean


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
I finally got my copy from the library and will start this evening.


Fonch | 1264 comments Jill wrote: "Is Antonia Fraser a Catholic or even a Christian believer? Or just a historian attempting objectivity, unaware of her own prejudices?"

Yes she is catholic although she quit to first husband to marry with Harold Pinter. In this case she falls in the classic political correction but the book is in favor the catholics especially the Father Garnet.
The own Shakespeare lived at least thirteen years in the reing of James I.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "I have found another problem with Fraser's book. In chapter 3, she writes: ...a conversion of this sort... has been the sign of many fanatics in history, not all evil but some sanctified (such as S..."

I am having trouble getting into this for this and other reasons. Fraser's writing style just doesn't agree with me. Her frequent use of the word fanatic in ways that make me wonder if she means orthodox, her reference to people from Catholic families as having "recusant blood." There is something in her writing style that make me feel like I am reading a history written by a writer of historical romance.


Fonch | 1264 comments John wrote: "Manuel wrote: "I have found another problem with Fraser's book. In chapter 3, she writes: ...a conversion of this sort... has been the sign of many fanatics in history, not all evil but some sancti..."

Well really she is not very orthodox i explained her extramarital romance with Harold Pinter. She is a novelist she wrote detective novels about Jemima Shore. With all i recomended the book because the book was in favor of the catholics. Recusants is the Word to define the catholic families in England especially the nobility families.


Mariangel | 560 comments Is the term "recusant" derogatory? I am not getting this impression from the book, instead I thought it points out the difference between the Catholics who refused to act as Protestants and the Catholics who conformed outwardly.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
I don't think "recusant" is derogatory. My reference was more to the idea that recusancy was something passed down through bloodlines, as if it was a quasi-genetic condition.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
John wrote: "I don't think "recusant" is derogatory. My reference was more to the idea that recusancy was something passed down through bloodlines, as if it was a quasi-genetic condition."

But in fact, Catholicism was passed down in families, although there were exceptions: pseudo-protestant conformists, that kept being Catholics in secret, and converts from Protestantism to Catholicism.

Recusancy also tended to be kept in some families and not in others, although there were some exceptions too, when some people got tired of being fined and sent to jail and finally conformed.

All this is very well explained in Robert Hugh Benson's novel ("Come rack, come rope!"), although it refers to a somewhat earlier time (the fifteen eighties).


Mariangel | 560 comments John wrote: "I don't think "recusant" is derogatory. My reference was more to the idea that recusancy was something passed down through bloodlines, as if it was a quasi-genetic condition."

Not genetic, but it was often the case that the children who saw their parents' witness followed in their steps. The book keeps mentioning how many years a father, mother, or grandparent of the plotters had spent in jail. The law enforcement was also watching these families closely, even after the children married and formed their own families.


Mariangel | 560 comments John wrote: "I am having trouble getting into this for this and other reasons. Fraser's writing style just doesn't agree with me. "

I also don't like how she uses the term fanatic and other aspects in her books, but I find her writing style easy to follow. I read four of her books in a row in 2007, including this one.


Fonch | 1264 comments I agree with Manuel Alfonseca`s and Maria Angeles`s explanations.


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Jill A. | 699 comments I am getting bogged down in too many details, then she slips in a single sentence about something that should be the crux of the whole thing, e.g. whether it's right or permissible to kill your ruler and what about "innocents" or even fellow Catholics who might die. But even that isn't exactly like contemporary terrorism where innocents are deliberately attacked and slaughtered in order to spread terror and undermine the whole social order.


Mariangel | 560 comments She explains the double effect principle in more than just a single sentence in Chapter VII.


Fonch | 1264 comments The Visigoth laws allow to depose a bad King or governor. I want to say that at the beggining were the calvinist among them Theodore Beza a Calvin`s disciple who insisted to disobey the authority, and the calvinist autor of "Vindicie against Tyrants" and afterwards jesuits continued this theory, with all the writings of the Father Mariana were misunderstood.
Recently i was Reading the Ronald Knox`s sermón and the conspiracy of Gunpowder was because the King James did not keep his promises and he pursued the catholics, being the violent catholics a minority.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "John wrote: "I don't think "recusant" is derogatory. My reference was more to the idea that recusancy was something passed down through bloodlines, as if it was a quasi-genetic condition."

But in ..."


Yes, of course the faith is passed down in families. But not through the blood.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
John wrote: "Yes, of course the faith is passed down in families. But not through the blood."

Right, but if we get literal, nothing is passed through the blood, except in a transfusion (:-)


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
At this point I have read two thirds of the whole book (12 chapters), and I think that it gets more interesting starting at chapter 4. The first three chapters were a little annoying for me, but later on the book improves.

Of course, the two main hypotheses suggested by Fraser (that Catesby was the main head behind the plot, and that the denouncing letter was forged by Cecil (Salisbury) and Monteagle, must be taken at that light (as merely hypotheses), for most historians do not agree with them, and anyway we'll probably never know.


Fonch | 1264 comments Manuel wrote: "At this point I have read two thirds of the whole book (12 chapters), and I think that it gets more interesting starting at chapter 4. The first three chapters were a little annoying for me, but la..."

In my case i must confess that i like the list of possible apllicants to be the king of England, only for the portrait of Elisabeth Claire Eugene, and the action and the popularity of Spain among the catholic English. It is a pity that e can not read the same title was written by Hugh Ross Williamson, which inspired this book.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "John wrote: "Yes, of course the faith is passed down in families. But not through the blood."

Right, but if we get literal, nothing is passed through the blood, except in a transfusion (:-)"


:-)


message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill A. | 699 comments The weakest part of the book is when she tries to equate these events with 20th century "parallels," the 60s, etc.
I was unaware of the connection of this event to "Macbeth," will have to re-read the play in this light.
I'm wondering if most Englishmen at this time had any theological basis for choosing the Church of England vs. Catholicism or if it was purely political. The biggest difference was simply who was head of the true Church, king or pope? And I would think it would have been very hard for people in this era to accept Elizabeth, a woman, as head of any church, since there weren't any other female leaders.
The whole conversation about the seal of the confessional is interesting, though its application is difficult. How could Tesimond "confess" someone else's sins (Catesby's) to Garnet? Even if a confession wasn't "legitimate" (e.g. the penitent had no intention of turning from his sin), any information the priest gained in this setting would still be confidential. Fascinating that the author thinks English law gives a greater privilege of secrecy to a lawyer than to a priest!


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "I'm wondering if most Englishmen at this time had any theological basis for choosing the Church of England vs. Catholicism or if it was purely political. The biggest difference was simply who was head of the true Church, king or pope? And I would think it would have been very hard for people in this era to accept Elizabeth, a woman, as head of any church, since there weren't any other female leaders."

Originally the question was neither theological nor political, as everything depended on the fact that Henry VIII wanted to divorce her wife Catherine of Aragon, and the Pope did not concede the annulment of the marriage. When Henry promulgated the Supremacy Act, putting himself at the top of the English Church, his intention was not to change the dogmas, but to annul his own marriage so as to marry Ann Boleyn.

During the reign of Edward VI (his successor) the Regency Council made the Church of England adopt many Protestant ideas. The reason was political. If the Catholic tenets were adopted, Jane Seymour's marriage with Henry would be illegal, and therefore Edward would not be the legitimate heir and could not be king.

When Edward VI died young, his half-sister Mary (the daughter of Henry and Catherine) became queen. Being legitimate in any case, she tried to revert the Protestant tendency of the Church of England and get back to Catholicism, but she died at 42 and left her work unfinished. The throne then fell on Elizabeth, the daughter of Ann Boleyn, whose position was exactly the same as that of Edward: her legitimacy to be a queen depended on her legitimacy as a daughter of Henry, therefore she and all her supporters had to defend Protestantism and the Supremacy Act.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "The whole conversation about the seal of the confessional is interesting, though its application is difficult. How could Tesimond "confess" someone else's sins (Catesby's) to Garnet?"

Tesimond could confess his own reaction when receiving Catesby's confession, and to do that he had to speak about Catesby's confession. As Garnet would be under the confession seal, he could do that.

It is curious that Garnet's accusers, on the one hand denied that the confession seal made it impossible for him to denounce the plot, and on the other hand denied that Tesimond's words had been under the confession seal, because they were walking rather than kneeling. They obviously wanted to attack Garnet from every point, even if those points were contradictory.


message 34: by Manuel (last edited Dec 19, 2018 01:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manuel Alfonseca | 1515 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "The weakest part of the book is when she tries to equate these events with 20th century "parallels," the 60s, etc."

Yes, I agree with this, the first three chapters are the weakest.


Fonch | 1264 comments Jill wrote: "The weakest part of the book is when she tries to equate these events with 20th century "parallels," the 60s, etc.
I was unaware of the connection of this event to "Macbeth," will have to re-read t..."


I agree with Jill and Alfonseca that the parallels with the history of the 20th century is the weakest part of the book, although in my case i like the chapter explaining the question of the posible sucesor of the queen Elisabeth. Also it is very interesting that in the first chapter described the jubilee and the joy of the English people for the death of the queen breaking the image that the queen was loved. The last year of Elisabeth were terrible and the people lost a lot of freedom. I do not add it anything to the question of the King against the pope because Manuel Alfonseca explained perfectly curiously Elisabeth I crowned by catholic ritual with the blessing of Paul IV for this reason the Pope Pious V can excommunicate to the queen as he defended Evelyn Waugh in the Edmund Campion`s biography. In the topic of confession i agree 100% with Manuel Alfonseca. In the question of Garnet it is clear that they want to eliminate because he was the head of the jesuits in England. The infamous Ken Follet in his anticatholic novel "Column of fire" he forgot the Garnet`s process very convenient to his socialist and antichristian convictions. To see Jill the parallels between Garnet and Mcbeth i recomend to you read to this writers Hugh Ross Williamson, who inspired the Antonia Fraser`s book, Peter Milward, and Joseph Pearce, who spoke about the catholicism of William Shakespeare and his influence in his plays.


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John Seymour | 1901 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "Jill wrote: "The whole conversation about the seal of the confessional is interesting, though its application is difficult. How could Tesimond "confess" someone else's sins (Catesby's) to Garnet?"
..."


Fraser also notes that a priest can consult someone on what he has heard in confession with the consent of the penitent, which she claims Tesimond had. I haven't heard that before, but it makes sense.


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