Friday 1st December 2023

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

October 10, 2017 saints No Comments


In the Middle Ages, England not only endured the raids of the Vikings, but also suffered from the raids initiated by Denmark and Normandy to control the small kingdom across the straights. Battles and intrigues were frequent, leaving little peace until the time of King Edward the Confessor. Even his reign experienced the plots and conspiracies so common when a kingdom is sought by more than one party.
Edward, the son of King Ethelred the Unready and his second wife, Emma of Normandy, was born in 1003. He was the seventh son of Ethelred, but the firstborn of his second wife who also gave birth to another son, Alfred, and daughter, Godgifu. The family lived in Islip, Oxfordshire, England at the time.
When Edward was still very young, a 1013 Viking raid led by Sweyn Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, seized the English throne from Ethelred. Emma fled to Normandy with Edward and Alfred. Shortly thereafter, Ethelred followed them. Historians concluded that it was during this time in Normandy that Edward developed his piety and love of the poor as he was mentored by Robert of Jumieges.
The following year, when Sweyn died, the people of England invited Ethelred to return and claim the throne if he would rule more justly than he had before. Ethelred agreed, but did not return immediately, sending Edward in his place, accompanied by his personal ambassadors.
Before he could return, Ethelred died in April 1016, leaving his eldest son, Edmund Ironside, to rule as his successor. However, Sweyn’s son, Cnut, had not left England when his father had died and continued to fight for his right to rule England.
The struggle for ascendancy continued until Edmund died in November 1016. Since Edward was the son of Ethelred and thus in line for the throne, he was a threat to Cnut. Even when his mother, Emma, married Cnut, the threat remained. Cnut even had Edward’s half-brother Eadwig executed.
Once again, Edward and his sister Godgifu fled into exile, beyond the reach of Cnut. Sadly, his own mother did nothing to protect the lives of her two children.
For 25 years, Edward lived in Normandy, most likely surviving on the benevolence of Godgifu who was married to Drogo of Mantes, count of Vexin. He also acted as king when he witnessed two of the four charters issued in the early 1030s in Normandy. In addition, he deepened his relationship with the Abbot Robert of the Norman abbey in Jumieges.
Meanwhile, Emma gave birth to Harthacnut, son of Cnut, and focused her attention on promoting his claim to the throne in England.
However, when Cnut died in 1035, Harthacnut preferred solidifying his position as King of Denmark. Then in 1036 Edward and Alfred, his younger brother, returned to England. Alfred was captured by Cnut’s relatives; he was tortured and died at their hands. Soon Edward returned to the safety of Normandy where he was regarded as a great soldier and statesman.
In 1037, Harold, the elder half-brother of Harthacnut, was accepted as king of England and soon banished Emma from England. His reign was short and he died in 1040, leaving the way open for Harthacnut to take the English throne.
In 1041, Harthacnut brought Edward back to England as heir and in 1042 with the support of Godwin — one of the most powerful men in England — Edward succeeded to the throne. Harthacnut had died and Edward, so very popular with the people, began his reign when he was crowned at Winchester Cathedral on April 3, 1043.
Emma, who had done so little to protect Edward, and even undermined his claim to the throne, was disciplined for unfaithfulness. Perhaps Edward was also motivated by the royal treasure she reputedly held. He and his three close associates rode back to Winchester in November 1043, and confiscated all of her property. Before her death in 1052, Edward restored Emma to her former position.
The intrigues among the various lines of rulers and powerful men such as Godwin continued to fester during the reign of Edward. After a series of abductions and bribes which went against him, he arranged marriages and granted lands that solidified his position as king. His love for the poor and his piety also endeared him to the people of England. Furthermore, with the tenacity, impetuousness, and formidable qualities he inherited from his parents, Ethelred and Emma, he maintained control of the kingdom.
In 1043, after Godwin’s eldest son, Sweyn, was appointed to an earldom, Edward married Edith, Godwin’s daughter. Since he had taken a vow of chastity when he was in Normandy, he and Edith agreed to remain chaste.
During this time King Magnus of Norway conspired to seize Edward’s throne, so Edward took control of the fleet in Sandwich. Sweyn II of Denmark submitted to Edward in order to prevent Magnus from taking over the throne of Denmark as well, but Edward refused to form an alliance with him. Only when Magnus died did the threats to the two thrones cease, with both rulers retaining their thrones.
Although Edward’s wealth was greater than any others, his lands were widely dispersed, leaving him with no secure base for his rule. He did not seek any more power and he even disbanded the navy he had obtained in Sandwich and for which he had levied a tax. The tax was cancelled in 1051.
Also in 1051 civil war almost broke out between Edward and Godwin over Church matters. Edward claimed authority over ecclesiastical appointments — not uncommon at that time. When the clergy and monks elected a relative of Godwin to be archbishop of Canterbury, Edward rejected the election and appointed his longtime friend from Normandy, Robert of Jumieges, an enemy of Godwin. Robert accused Godwin of trying to kill Edward just as he had killed his brother Alfred in 1036.
At this point, Edward sent his wife Edith to a nunnery, partly because she was Godwin’s daughter but mostly because they lived a celibate life, anyway.
Edward seemed to become disinterested in ruling and his wishes for a successor were never clearly determined. He died on January 5, 1066. Because of his sympathies for the Normans, some speculate that he wanted William of Normandy to succeed him, accounting for William’s invasion of England that same year.
The primary legacy of Edward is Westminster Abbey. The building was completed shortly after his death. Besides Edward the Confessor, many other members of royalty are buried there.
There seems to be little information on the holiness and sacrifices of Edward, but many miracles were attributed to his intercession as was the period of relative peace for the time he ruled from 1042 to 1066. He was called Edward the Confessor because he professed the Catholic faith. His feast is celebrated on October 13.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

Pope reportedly confirms he is taking away Burke’s apartment, denies calling him his ‘enemy

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 29, 2023 / 17:31 pm Pope Francis reportedly has confirmed that he plans to take away Cardinal Raymond Burke’s Vatican apartment and salary but denied that he referred to the American prelate as his “enemy,” according to a web post by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh. The pope reportedly announced at a meeting of Vatican heads on Nov. 20 that he intended to take action against Burke, who has publicly criticized some papal initiatives,…Continue Reading

The Pope: “Away with Cardinal Burke’s house and salary”

Vatican sources close to the Daily Compass: Burke was defined as an “enemy” in an announcement made to the Heads of Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. The cardinal has not yet received a formal notice, but considering precedents, it is unlikely to be just a threat, which nonetheless would be very serious.

Bishop Barron in ‘frank disagreement’ with Synod on Synodality’s report on ‘development of moral teaching’

Bishop Robert Barron has said that he is in “frank disagreement” with the final report of the Synod on Synodality’s claim that advances in the sciences require an evolution in the Church’s moral teaching on human sexuality. In a reflection published this week, the bishop of Winona–Rochester, Minnesota, said it is “troubling” to see how members of the German bishops’ conference are already “using the language of the synod report to justify ma

">Interview with Deacon Fournier – Great Testament to Bishop Strickland

Cardinal Müller on Strickland’s Sacking: “It’s an abuse of the Divine Right of the Episcopate.”

What is being done to Bishop Strickland is terrible, an abuse of the divine right of the episcopate. If I could advise Mgr Strickland, he should absolutely not resign, because then they could wash their hands of his innocence. [Note: Which is why Strickland refused to resign, and was sacked.] According to the commandment of justice, a bishop can only be removed by the Pope if he has been guilty of something evil (heresy, schism,…Continue Reading

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading