Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The last few evenings - as my bedtime reading! - I've gone back to Newman's novel Callista, which sits beside Wiseman's Fabiola in the "Catholic novel" section of my bookshelf (alongside Cather's Death Comes to the Archbishop - no, not a wish-fulfilment fantasy, but a lovely lyric work, well-able to be dipped into as a soothing tonic - Robinson's melodramatic The Cardinal, and Marshall's comic but moving All Glorious Within).

Wiseman and Newman, writing in the mid-1850's, have the quaint old-time habit of interjecting as the omniscient author throughout their works, but that is part of the charm of both books, which deal with Christianity during the great persecutions - Newman's, that of Decius, as it struck North Africa; and Wiseman's, the greatest and last of all, that of terrible Diocletian, in Rome itself, then truly the seat of Antichrist, drunk with the blood of the saints (many of whom have cameo roles in the novel).

Both romances, for their true Christian message, their loving portrayal of the sanctity of the primitive Church, and their old-fashioned style are well-worth reading.  I turn now to a work of non-fiction: Frend's Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church.

Pray for us, all ye holy Martyrs, - That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

By the triumph of Thy grace in all Thy holy Martyrs, – Lord, deliver us.


David Murdoch said...

I didn't know Newman had written a novel. That's interesting. I might read it, thanks for telling us about it.

God Bless,

Joshua said...

There's also another - Loss and Gain, a fictional account of an Englishman's conversion to Catholicism.