Flathers, Matthew, Bl.

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Priest, martyr; alias Matthew Major; b. ca. 1580 at Weston, Otley, Yorkshire, England; d. March 21, 1608, hanged, drawn, and quartered at York under James I. Three months after his ordination at Arras on March 25, 1606, Matthew was sent to English mission. He was discovered almost immediately by government emissaries, who, after the Gunpowder Plot, had redoubled their vigilance. He was brought to trial on the charge of receiving orders abroad, i.e., from the Vatican, and condemned to death. By an act of unusual clemency, the sentence was commuted to banishment for life. Undaunted, Flathers returned to England in order to fulfill his mission, and, after ministering for a brief time to oppressed Catholics in Yorkshire, was again apprehended. Flathers was offered his life on condition that he take the recently enacted Oath of Allegiance. On his refusal, he was condemned to death and taken to the common place of execution outside Micklegate Bar, York. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 22, 1987 with George Haydock and Companions.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924). j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891). d. de yepes, Historia Particular de la persecución de Inglaterra (Madrid 1599).

[h.g. wintersgill/

k. i. rabenstein]