Tuesday Sept 12th
Excellent meeting of The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild, at our new home, St Mary Moorfields in the heart of London - nearest tube station, Liverpool Street. Fr Peter Newby celebrated Mass in this beautiful and peaceful church - but it was dreadfully HOT as it has no windows and is extremely popular, with a vast number of candle-racks simply crammed with votive candles all burning and flourishing.....a delicious supper in the crypt-hall, and then a superb talk by Clare Asquith on Shakespeare and Catholicism: her book "Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare" explains that his plays have all sorts of messages about the situation in Elizabethan England following the tempest of the Reformation and the destruction of all that had made up people's Christian lives. There are references to the killing of Thomas More - and to Edmund Campion. (Did you know, incidentally, that the day Campion arrived in England to begin his mission, the country experienced its only recorded major earthquake?). There are all sorts of references to the great and savage changes that had followed Henry's break with Rome, to the destruction of so much that mattered and that was valued and led people to God, references to people's bewilderment, to the debates going on about these things, and to the ghastly and horrific things that were being done in the Tower of London, to Campion and others.
This is a book that will be like a slow-burning fuse, ultimately making much of the superficial commentary on Shakespeare look superfluous. A most fascinating evening.