1970 was the first full liturgical year of the New Roman Rite (the "Ordinary Form" of the Roman Rite), a bitter year for all Catholics who love and cherish the Tradition and traditions of their Church. Amidst the ruins of the post-Conciliar years, the event of October 25, 1970, was a glorious exception: the canonization of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. 40 Catholic men and women, priests, religious, and lay faithful, who represented hundreds more killed in England and Wales since the tragic events of the 16th century simply because they were Catholics and faithful to the Tradition and traditions that they had received.
Paul VI declared on that day:
May the blood of these Martyrs be able to heal the great wound inflicted upon God’s Church by reason of the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church. Is it not one - these Martyrs say to us - the Church founded by Christ? Is not this their witness? Their devotion to their nation gives us the assurance that on the day when-God willing-the unity of the faith and of Christian life is restored, no offence will be inflicted on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the legitimate prestige and the worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Church when the Roman Catholic Church - this humble “Servant of the Servants of God” - is able to embrace her ever beloved Sister in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ: a communion of origin and of faith, a communion of priesthood and of rule, a communion of the Saints in the freedom and love of the Spirit of Jesus.Perhaps We shall have to go on, waiting and watching in prayer, in order to deserve that blessed day. But already We are strengthened in this hope by the heavenly friendship of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who are canonized today. Amen.
"That blessed day" are the historic days we live today: in the time and manner set by the Almighty, the reunion of all serious-minded Anglicans with the Church will take place. It is certainly not the way many thought reunion would take place in those hectic post-Conciliar years... But it will take place.
Thank you, Holy Martyrs of England and Wales.