Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Catholic moment from Jane Austen

One of the genuine advances the Web has brought us is the availability of lots of good writing that we'd otherwise find it difficult to gain access to, or even to know about.
Jane Austen's hardly an obscure writer, but I had never heard of her satirical History of England. I downloaded the text from Memoware to my old Palm smartphone and read it at lunch recently. I haven't studied her religious views, but I found this snippet about Henry VIII charming just on its own, regardless of its original tone.
The Crimes and Cruelties of this Prince were too numerous to be mentioned ... and nothing can be said in his vindication, but that his abolishing Religious Houses and leaving them to the ruinous depredations of time has been of infinite use to the landscape of England in general, which probably was a principle motive for his doing it, since otherwise, why should a Man who was of no Religion himself be at so much trouble to abolish one which had for ages been established in the Kingdom.