Edmund Campion died a martyr and hero to English Catholics under Queen Elizabeth . . .
Feast Day: December 1
Canonized: October 25, 1970
Though raised Catholic, Edmund Campion took the Oath of Supremacy recognizing Queen Elizabeth as head of the Church in England. Elizabeth adored him, and his charm and scholarship attracted the attention of the leading men of England. But his increasing doubts about Protestantism excruciated his conscience. Leaving to study the faith in France, the truth became compellingly clear and he reconverted.
Campion eventually became a Jesuit and returned to England, living a hunted life to administer the sacraments and preach in order to bring Protestants back to Catholicism. Finally hunted down, he and his two priest companions were arrested. A mock trial found them guilty, to which Campion responded: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.”
They were sentenced to be hanged and let down alive, drawn, quartered and decapitated. The martyrs answered with a joyful shout of Haec dies and Te Deum. Spending his last days in prayer, Campion was dragged to Tyburn with his fellow Jesuits to win the crown of glory.
MATTHEW A. RAREY is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.