Evelyn Waugh: Edmund Campion. Jesuit und Blutzeuge. 1955

Englisch: Edmund Campion. A Life. Ignatius Press 2005. Eine erste deutsche Übertragung ist deutlich älter und wird geführt unter dem Titel: Saat im Sturm. Lebensbild des Edmund Campion aus der Zeit Elisabeths von England, Kösel-Pustet, München 1938. Auf englisch gibt es Waughs Campion hier.

Evelyn Waugh ist eigentlich ein böser Zyniker und hat sich besonders mit im Genre USA-belächelnder britischer Gegenwartsroman hervorgetan, wie The Loved One. Das Campion-Buch ist tief und ernst und schön: Biographie – Hagiographie – des großen Jesuitenmärtyrers, einer der vielen, der unter Elisabeth I. auf dem Tyburn das Leben lassen musste. Frei und spöttisch war auch dieser.

Leider liegt beim Schreiben dieser Zeilen nur die englische Fassung des Buches vor. Daraus seien wenigstens einige Zeilen aus Campion’s Brag zitiert, einer Art Bekennerschreiben des Märytrers und Katholiken an die anglikanische Königin:

Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors, and adventured myself into this noble realm, my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful, and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course.

Wherefore, providing for all events, and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance, I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships to give it your reading, for to know my cause. This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labour. For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession. And to the intent that the whole matter may be conceived in order, and so the better both understood and remembered, I make thereof these nine points or articles, directly, truly and resolutely opening my full enterprise and purpose.

i. I confess that I am (albeit unworthy) a priest of the Catholic Church, and through the great mercy of God vowed now these eight years into the religion [religious order] of the Society of Jesus. Hereby I have taken upon me a special kind of warfare under the banner of obedience, and also resigned all my interest or possibility of wealth, honour, pleasure, and other worldly felicity.

ii. At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.

iii. My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors—in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.

… viii. Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness‘ Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed [revealed], and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation. Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes. And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.

ix. If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour. I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us his grace, and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.

Campion’s Brag, Evelyn Waugh: Two Lives. Edmund Campion – Ronald Knox, Continuum 2001, 123 f.

Mehr von Evelyn Waugh gibt es hier, auf ad-fontes.org.