Today is Campion Day – the Feast day of Saint Edmund Campion an English Catholic Jesuit priest and martyr. Campion was highly regarded by Queen Elizabeth, having led a debate in front of her at Stonyhurst College in 1566. While conducting an underground ministry in officially Anglican England, Campion was arrested by priest hunters. Convicted of high treason, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Campion was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 and canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. His feast day is celebrated every 1st of December.
St. Edmund has been a powerful intercessor on my behalf since I was ten or eleven. His stirring “brag” (a challenge he issued to the privy council) has long been an inspiration to me: “The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the Faith was planted: so it must be restored.”As a former student of The Campion School in Hornchurch, Essex, I would be forced to “celebrate” this day each year by running round a local park in my vest and pants.
By way of contrast I thought I would mark the day this year by reflecting on the homily given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the conclave Mass before his election as Pope Benedict XVI. You can read the whole thing here.