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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Two fascinating DVDs

Mary's Dowry Productions have sent me their two latest DVDs. I now have a portable DVD player to watch such things while having lunch and enjoyed both of them very much.

Philip of Arundel (23 minutes) is the story of St Philip Howard, with footage from Arundel and original musical soundtrack from Media Evangelization Music. The story is told in the first person as though by the saint himself. It is interesting to hear that St Philip's father, the riches man in England, purchased the London Charterhouse, occupied not many years before by the Carthusians. St Philip led a worldly and dissolute life with great prospects at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, becoming the premier earl of the realm.

He heard the disputations with St Edmund Campion at the Tower of London. A notional assent to the Catholic faith gave way to a real assent of mind and heart. He knew that his conversion would be punished ruthlessly as indeed it was, yet he travelled to London to be reconciled to the Catholic Church by a Jesuit priest.

Tricked by the state security services of the day, he was intercepted at sea and imprisoned for 11 years in the Tower of London. Eventually, St Philip was charged with praying for the success of the Spanish Armada, the only case in English legal history where someone was condemned as a traitor for praying. He protested that he only prayed for the safety of Catholics but was convicted and sentenced to death.

Queen Elizabeth would not sign the warrant for his execution, preferring that he should die a slow and miserable death in the Tower. He was refused permission to see his wife - being offered not only this permission, but the restoration of all his estates if he would renounce the Catholic faith. This establishes beyond doubt that he was killed propter odium fidei (on account of hatred of the faith). He died on 15 October 1595.

The second DVD is "How I painted the Sistine Chapel Ceilling". Gary Bevans, who tells the story, was inspired while on a visit to Rome, to paint a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in his parish Church of the English Martyrs, Goring-on-Sea. A professional sign-writer, Gary painstakingly reproduced Michelangelo's work panel by panel.

This is a most fascinating and absorbing story, peppered with inspiring reflections on the faith. The work has attracted attention all over the world and is now regarded as a significant part of our heritage.

See the Bevansinc. blog for the latest information on this great new initiative of independent Catholic film making.
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