John Carey (martyr)

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Blessed John Carey (died 1594) was martyred at Dorchester, England for adherence to the Catholic Faith. His feast day is 4 July.

John (or Terence) Carey was an Irish layman, born in Dublin, and servant of Blessed Thomas Bosgrave and was put to death with Blesseds Thomas Bosgrave, John Cornelius (a priest, born of Irish parents in Bodmin in Cornwall), and Patrick Salmon, another lay helper also of Dublin birth, at Dorchester in Oxfordshire in 1594. They were all beatified in 1929.[1]

The persecution was part of a crackdown by the Elizabethan government after the Decree of 1585, which made it an offence punishable by death to seek ordination to the priesthood oversees and return to England. See List of Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation. Those apprehended suffered a 'traitor's death': partial choking by hanging, then evisceration whilst still alive, and quartering. The authorities hoped that by staging such spectacles the arrival of young, idealistic missionary priests (most of whom were English), inspired by the Counter-Reformation, would be brought to a 'dead end'.

John Cornelius was chaplain to the Arundell family, in the service of which took him to Chideock Castle, where he was arrested. The two lay helpers, John Carey and Patrick Salmon, were servants at the castle.[2] Thomas Bosgrave was a relative of the Arundells.

John Cornelius was accused of high treason, in the fact of being a Catholic priest and returning to England. He joined the Society of Jesus whilst imprisoned. The two lay helpers refused the offer of amnesty though abjuration of their allegiance to Catholicism and conversion to the Protestant faith. John Cornelius suffered the 'traitors death'; John Carey and the others were hanged. When he mounted the scaffold, John Carey is reported as saying aloud 'Oh, precious collar!'.[2]