Sunday, October 25, 2015

Henry VIII’s secret hatred for the Blessed Virgin Mary

There are not too many Catholics who know about King Henry’s VIII destruction of the Marian shrines in England under his reign, in the year 1538.

He hated the Most Holy Mother of God.  He also hated other aspects of the Catholic Faith, especially those that touched and inspired the popular piety of the common faithful.

So, as we know,  in 1538, King Henry VIII ordered that all Catholic shrines be demolished.

-- The Holy relic of Our Lord’s Precious Blood of Hailes was removed from its shrine and declared not a relic at all, but "honey clarified and colored with saffron.”

-- Another chronicler describes the statue burning under Henry VIII:

The images of Our Lady of Walsingham and [Our Lady of] Ipswich were brought up to London, with all the jewels that hung about them, at the King’s commandment, and divers other images, both in England and Wales, that were used for common pilgrimages [including famous images of Mary attracting pilgrims to Worcester, Doncaster, and Penrise], because the people should use no more idolatry onto them, and they were burnt at Chelsey by my Lord Privy Sea [Lord Cromwell].

What is amazing to see is that Henry VIII had the statues of Our Lady burned as if they were live persons.

Moreover, these famous statues were not  just destroyed, but burned in public ceremonies in London of the type that a prominent human heretic might receive. 

Another author describes one of these burnings thus:

A wooden statue of Derfel Gadarn, much honored at his shrine in Northern Wales, was taken to London and burned along with friar John Forest, who had been confessor to Catherine of Aragon and refused to renounce Roman Catholicism. Burning the statue of Derfel Gadarn along with friar Forest in part enacted a pun on a popular prophecy that Derfel Gadarn would one day set a forest on fire. Present at the execution of the statue and the friar were an array of dukes, earls, bishops, and a crowd contemporarily estimated at more than ten thousand persons. Hugh Latimer, who had been chaplain to King Henry VIII and was appointed Bishop of Worcester, preached a sermon from a specially constructed platform before the bonfire.

There was also the annihilation in 1538 of shrine to Our Lady of Caversham, second in England only to Our Lady of Walsingham, centered around a precious statue of Our Lady.  This shrine also had other relics, such as the spearhead that pierced Our Lord’s side on the Cross.

On September 14, 1538,  Dr. John London, the government agent, arrived at Caversham to shut down the shrine, which he did in short order.

Before that, he removed everything from the shrine and its property, even the roof.  The actual statue of Our Lady was taken back to London , where it was burnt by Thomas Cromwell, under Henry’s orders. All the shrine’s wealth was stolen by Henry VIII.


  1. The Statue of Our Lady of grace in Ipswich is believed to have been rescued and ended up in Nettuno in Italy. It is thought to be the same statue in front of which St Maria Gorretti prayed, and is still in the Church in which she is buried.