(National Catholic Register) - For five years, a group of 60 Catholics and Anglicans has been visiting the 84 Marian shrines in England that had been destroyed during the Reformation.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: All of this is done against a backdrop of falling membership in the Church of England, and the failure of Evangelicals to "revive" British Protestantism, to the point where Catholicism now ranks the number one Christian religion on the British Isles. As Islam threatens to take over the U.K. within a generation, Catholicism may be England's last hope.
“We offered prayers and sacrifices to make reparation and atonement for our sins and the sins of our country,” said Frances Scarr, chairman of Art and Reconciliation Trust, at a press conference April 29. The conference was held, appropriately enough, at the Charterhouse, where proto-martyr St. John Houghton had served and where St. Thomas More had received spiritual formation during his four-year residency as a young man.
The “fruit of that prayer and sacrifice,” Scarr said, is a memorial, a sculpture entitled Mary Most Holy, which is scheduled to be unveiled next year in Chelsea near the very spot where the Marian shrines were burned. Cromwell, instigator of the burnings, was himself beheaded at Henry VIII’s order in 1540.
The artist behind Mary Most Holy is Paul Day, a leading English sculptor who sculpted the large memorial to the Battle of Britain (1940) that stands by the Thames near the Houses of Parliament.
Mary Most Holy “is not just about reparation but is also very much about reconciliation,” Scarr said at the conference. “I hope that when we come together before this monument we will ask for God’s forgiveness and through the intercession of Mary, we will pray that she will help us put behind our turbulent past and lead us forward in unity, peace, and reconciliation.”
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