Back on January 7th, 2015, I published a thread (here) that linked to ten separate posts at Shameless Popery which were based on Edmund Campion's book, Rationes Decem /Ten Reasons (link to PDF copy).
[Edmund Campion (sainted by the Catholic Church), was a Jesuit priest who was imprisoned, tortured numerous times, hanged and then drawn-and-quartered, in late 16th England during the of reign of Queen Elizabeth I—for a online biography in a PDF format, see THIS LINK.]
After finishing Joe Heschmeyer's provocative series, I then read the 1914 edition of Campion's, Ten Reasons (English text by Joseph Rickaby; Introduction by John Hungerford). Rickaby's translation, with Hungerford's introduction, created a yearning in my mind for more. A prior Google search had yielded a number of related works that I ended up either downloading or purchasing. It is James V. Holleran's, A Jesuit Challenge (Google Preview)—which I finished reading yesterday—that I would now like to comment on.
I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about Campion, prior to my reading of Joe's ten part series. I was, of course, aware of the religious turmoil that permeated 16th century England; but this knowledge had come primarily via more general works on Christian history (e.g. González, Latourette, Sheldon, et al.). Important figures such as Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor and Sir Thomas More immediately come to mind when I think about 16th century England; however, if any of the numerous general histories I have read mentioned Campion, possible impressions left on me at the time were not retained. As such, I felt compelled to remedy this void in my knowledge of the period.
The late Dr. Holleran's contribution has proven to be an invaluable resource in filling in this void. His 81 page introduction is excellent. The previously unpublished manuscripts of the four Tower of London debates between Campion and a number of Protestent divines (written by Catholics who had attended the debates), which Holleran provides in the book, gives one a fuller account than the highly edited 'official' version of 1583. Note the following:
...as historical documents, these Catholic accounts of the debates allow us to revisit the past and decide for ourselves whether or not official documents, endorsed and published by the government, are entirely trustworthy. These previously unpublished Catholic accounts, for example, supply us with information that was deliberately deleted from the government account of the same debates. (Page xi.)
Dr. Holleran has also given us a new edition of Campion's, "Challenge", a document he had written, "in less than half an hour", and sent to "Elizabeth's Council." This document spells out Campion's goals/purposes, and, "acknowledges that he was a Jesuit priest who had been ordered by his superior to go to England on a religious mission, not a political one." (See page 25 for quotes; pages 179-181 for the document.)
All in all, I highly recommend Holleran's book; it is informative, has a very useful bibliography, and is written in a balanced style that will appeal to both academic and lay audiences.
Grace and peace,