About Charles A. Coulombe

I am a Catholic Historical speaker and author.


102471866_10105672746907010_5781421860436574208_nTo-day, June 2, 2020, is the 67th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey with the Crown Jewelsin the Coronation Chair as Sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. What a very different world it was then! The British Empire still spanned the globe, with Churchill as Prime Minister; Eisenhower had just become president of the United States. Anglo-Catholicism was at its apparent peak in many ways. At any rate, in honour of the day, I present a collection of prayers: some by (or to!) various of Her Majesty’s predecessors, others praying for the conversion of various of her realms, and ending with prayers for herself.

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Be England Thy Dowry

Charles Coulombe’s latest for Crisis – on the Ordinariates: Be England Thy Dowry.

Famous amongst Catholics for the part played by converts like St. John Henry Newman in reviving the Church in England, the Oxford Movement also gave rise to Anglo-Catholicism. In time this movement would transform the externals of Anglicanism, if not its doctrines or ethos. Nevertheless, it revived among its members belief in the Real Presence, prayers for the dead, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and founded devotional societies to these and other such causes, including the Sanctity of Charles I. Its liturgies often surpassed in ritual splendor contemporary Catholic Masses. It also revived such shrines as Walsingham and Glastonbury. Anglo-Catholic religious communities went in both for monastic life and missionary work overseas and among the urban poor.

Indeed, the propensity of Protestant-minded Anglican bishops to punish their Anglo-Catholic clergy by dumping them in undesirable areas led to the rise of the Anglo-Catholic “slum priests,” many of whom became legendary as much for their pastoral zeal as for the extraordinarily beautiful churches they built for their flocks. Whole provinces of the Anglican Communion, such as the West Indies and South Africa, were formed in the Anglo- Catholic way. For a time, it seemed as though the dream of those Oxford Movement members who did not swim the Tiber—that Anglicanism as a whole could be Catholicized—was within grasp.


So, what gifts do they bring us? To begin with, a reverent liturgy in sacral language and an extensive devotional life—things lost among many Catholics after Vatican II. They bring deeply pastoral traditions, as the far smaller Anglo-Catholic parishes were always more of a family affair than the huge parishes most Catholics in urban centers are used to. Due to historical persecution, Catholic intellectual life in the Anglosphere was primarily carried on by converts and foreign immigrants.

But Anglo-Catholicism produced not only many of those same converts but a large number of clerical theologians and lay thinkers of the caliber of T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Arthur Machen, Dorothy Sayers, George Grant, and a host of others—all of whom can be re-examined for what insights they may offer. In return, the Ordinariate members are in full communion with the Pope, and thereby with such revered figures of their own past as Julian of Norwich, Alfred the Great, St. Edward the Confessor, and the English martyrs. May this reunion be both a catalyst for and a foreshadowing of the re-evangelization of the Anglosphere.

Go on over and read the whole thing!


All of my life, the various institutions in Church, State, and Society to which I belong and have given my love, loyalty, and allegiance, have been successively taken over by new leaderships who in the name of freedom and progress have gutted what they have come to rule, and brutally punished and suppressed those who remained loyal to what ever the given institution’s original reason for being was. This is no doubt whence came my sympathy for deposed Monarchs and their descendants, as well as my fierce attachment to what has not undergone such alteration. On the one hand, I do not believe these developments were carefully planned by the denizens of Conspiracy Central; but on the other hand, I do believe that they are particular symptoms of a sickness that has been eating away at our civilisation for a long time. As GKC wrote:

“They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.”

But by the same token, this condition is endemic to decadent peoples, as Isaias writes (3:1-5): “For behold the sovereign Lord of hosts shall take away from Jerusalem, and from Juda the valiant and the strong, the whole strength of bread, and the whole strength of water.The strong man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet and the cunning man, and the ancient.
The captain over fifty, and the honourable in countenance, and the counsellor, and the architect, and the skilful in eloquent speech. And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them. And the people shall rush one upon another, and every man against his neighbour: the child shall make a tumult against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.”

In the face of this hideous strength, one can only have recourse to prayer and the Sacraments, tell the truth, and do one’s duty, in the knowledge that whatever may betide, our own Salvation and that of those we love is what matters; one day we shall shall be gone, and the world shall have to carry on without us. For good or ill, I have no doubt that it shall!

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Charles I – Is he a Saint?

Charles Coulombe publishes an article in the Catholic Herald asking this question, and noting its relevance for Catholics of Anglican patrimony.  Here’s an excerpt:

Interesting as all these facts may be to students of English history and Anglican beliefs, what interest could the question of Charles I’s sanctity possibly have for Catholics? Quite a bit, really.

For one thing, his cultus plays a prominent role in that Anglican Patrimony which Pope Benedict XVI created the Personal Ordinariates to preserve within the Catholic Church. When various Eastern Orthodox groups have been reconciled to the Church, they have been allowed to continue to venerate a number of post-1054 figures as Saints. So, might our newly admitted brethren of Anglican background be able to do the same with Charles I?

Go on over and read the rest!

Charles I’s Vow to Return Land to the Church

In the latest SKCM news, Benjamin Guyer reveals the text of a vow made by Charles I at Oxford on April 16, 1646, to return all Monastery and other Church lands held by the Crown since Henry VIII stole them – this included “…any Abbey, or other Religious House.” Granted that this did not include such lands in private hands, it represents a return to the Marian settlement in this area, taken together with his oft-expressed desire for reunion with the Holy See. One cannot but help be struck with the resemblance of this vow to that of Louis XVI to the Sacred Heart.


From Sir John Betjeman –

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Our Lady’s Dowry

This being the day of my departure to take up studying for the Master’s programme at the International Theological Institute in Austria – AND, in the traditional Roman Calendar, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer as an envoi the Marian Shrines of Great Britain and Ireland. I have visited a few – and plan to see a lot more over the next few years!

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Westminster

Our Lady of Willesden: Catholic and Anglican

Our Lady of Muswell

Our Lady of Canterbury

Our Lady of Ipswich

Our Lady of Caversham

Our Lady of England

Our Lady of Glastonbury

Our Lady of Doncaster

Our Lady of Guisborough


Ladye Park

Our Lady of Cardigan

Our Lady of Carfinn

Our Lady of Aberdeen

Our Lady of Knock

Why the Church needs You, Specifically

The recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania 300 have forced many more Catholics into an uncomfortable realisation that some of us cradle Catholics of a certain age have lived with our entire adult lives: as Pope Adrian VI remarked of his immediately pre-Tridentine era, “the Catholic Church is sick in head and members.”

Of these specific scandals and their allied occurences (even within the Vatican) that have sullied the past few decades, much has been and can be written: how disgusting it is that men could seamlessly perform both the most sacred rites and loathsome acts imaginable; that a culture of acceptance of this horror has grown up within the hierarchy – a hierarchy so often committed to altering the Faith committed to its care in as brutal a manner possible; and that under the current Pontificate, favouritism from the highest quarters of that hierarchy has protected some of the worst offenders.

But there are other things to that can, have, and should be said: that in many ways – despite Church teaching – this de facto acceptance of these practises by prelates parallels developments among the elite in western society as a whole (not merely Hollywood but Washington, where recurrent page scandals underline the fact that the age of consent in DC is 16 by Act of Congress, and elsewhere); that the problem is as bad or worse amongst other religious and civil organisations – especially the public schools (who coincidentally are usually exempted from any government attempts to lengthen the statute of limitations); that what is so often misnamed “pedophilia” by the media is simply the desire for younger men by older homosexuals; and that the difficulty of homosexuality in the priesthood so demonstrated presents a marketing problem for our media and elites, who wish to promote the practise in the greater society while attacking it in the Church (hence the misuse of the “pedophilia” label). Continue reading

The Patrimony and the Precious Blood

In the Roman Rite prior to 1969, July 1 was the feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus; July remains the month of the Precious Blood. Cradle Catholics over a certain age will remember the line of booklets produced by the Confraternity of that name, based at the Brooklyn Monastery of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, an order with French-Canadian origins. Given that the feast was instituted by Bl. Pius IX in thanksgiving for his regaining control of Rome in 1849, an individual of Anglican origins might be forgiven for thinking that it is a devotion of more interest to Latins. This would be a great mistake.

Without wanting to plug my latest book, A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail, unduly, I describe at great length therein close connexion between the Holy Grail (an integral part of the Arthurian legend and so of patrimonial literature) and devotion to the Precious Blood. Catholic, Anglican, and New Age visitors thrill when visiting Glastonbury to the stories there of St. Joseph of Arimathea and his blooming thorn-staff, the Abbey, the Catholic shrine, and the Tor – many of which refer to the Holy Grail. But the chalice that Christ used at the Last Supper is, if it is anywhere, most likely in Valencia, Spain. Moreover, the earliest legends do not describe St. Joseph as bringing the Grail, but relics of the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s side at the Crucifixion. The Blood he is supposed to have concealed under what is now the Chalice Well, and the Water under the White Spring; geologists ascribe the reddish hue of the former’s water and the whitish of the latter’s to differing minerals in each. Still, it IS odd that such closely situated springs should have such radically different minerals.

In any case, the story is not quite as farfetched as one might think. In French legendry, St. Joseph and his sacred relics are said to have come from Palestine with the party of Apostles and Disciples that first evangelised Provence. In Medieval England, relics of Christ’s Blood were venerated at Hailes, Ashridge, and Westminster – even as similar relics are enshrined at Bruges, Fecamp, Mantua, Weingarten, Neuvy-Saint-Sepulchre, Reichenau, and elsewhere in Europe to-day. While the English relics were destroyed at the Reformation, the concept of the cleansing Blood of Christ washing the believer free of his sins was retained by all the Protestant churches: amongst Anglicans, the Caroline Divines and Nonjurors retained the identification of that Blood on the Cross with the contents of the chalice used at Holy Communion. This was revived under nascent Anglo-Catholicism, culminating in the foundation of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.

Among the first generation of Oxford Movement-era converts to Rome was Fr. Frederick Faber, founder of the Brompton Oratory. Foremost among the large number of devotional works he wrote was one about the Precious Blood, which became very popular among English Catholics.  That popularity, alongside the memory of the Holy Blood that had existed at Westminster Abbey, led in 1895 to the new cathedral of the Archdiocese being named “The Cathedral of The Precious Blood.” Ironically, the Catholic Church of the Most Precious Blood in Southwark has been placed in the hands of the Ordinariate.