Saint John Jones and Saint John Wall

Franciscan Martyrs † 1598 † 1679

Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

John Jones was born in Clynnog Fawr, Gwynedd. He joined the Friars Minor of the Observance and was later forced into exile in France where he was ordained priest. After spending a short time in Rome he returned to England and settled in London to work secretly as a priest. He was arrested, imprisoned, cruelly tortured, and finally hanged at St Thomas Waterings in the Old Kent Road on 12th July 1598.

John Wall was born in Lancashire in 1620 and ordained a priest in France, where he joined the Friars Minor. He returned to his native land and for twenty-two years worked as a priest under an assumed name. Eventually he was arrested, tortured, and condemned to death. He died a martyr in Worcester on 22nd August 1679. They were canonized in 1970 by Saint Paul VI as two of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

F r o m the Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council

Lumen Gentium n. 22

The college of Bishops express the unity of the flock of Christ

Just as, by the Lord’s will, Saint Peter and the other apostles constituted one apostolic college, so, in a similar way, the Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, and the bishops, as the successors of the apostles, are joined together. The collegial nature and meaning of the episcopal order found expression in the very ancient practice by which bishops appointed the world over were linked with one another and the Bishop of Rome by the bonds of unity, charity and peace; also, in the conciliar assemblies which made common judgments about more profound matters in decisions reflecting the views of many. The ecumenical councils held through the centuries clearly attest this collegial aspect. And it is suggested also in the practice, introduced in ancient times, of summoning several bishops to take part in the elevation of someone newly elected to the ministry of the high priesthood. Hence, one is constituted a member of the Episcopal body by virtue of the sacramental consecration and by hierarchical communion with the head and members of the body.

But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is simultaneously conceived of in terms of its head, the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and without any lessening of his power of primacy over all, pastors as well as the general faithful.

For in virtue of his office, that is, as Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme, and universal power over the Church. And he always exercises this power freely.

The order of bishops is the successor to the college of the apostles in the teaching authority and pastoral rule; or, rather, in the episcopal order the apostolic body continues without a break. Together with its head, the Roman Pontiff, and never without this head, the Episcopal order is the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church. But this power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord made Simon Peter alone the rock and key, bearer of the Church, and appointed him shepherd, of the whole flock.

It is definite, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter, was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head. This college, insofar as it is composed of many, expresses the variety and universality of the People of God, but insofar as it is assembled under one head, it expresses the unity of the flock of Christ. In it, the bishops, faithfully recognizing the primacy and pre-eminence of their head, exercise their own authority for the good of their own faithful, and indeed of the whole Church, with the Holy Spirit constantly strengthening its organic structure and inner harmony.

The supreme authority with which the college is empowered over the whole Church is exercised in a solemn way through an ecumenical council. A council is never ecumenical unless, it is confirmed or at least accepted as such by the successor of Peter. It is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke these councils, to preside over them, and to confirm them. The same collegiate power can be exercised in union with the Pope by the bishops living in all parts, of the, World provided that the head of the college calls them to collegiate action, or at least so approves or freely accept the united action of the dispersed bishops, that it is ma a true collegiate act.


you have made the martyrs
outstanding witnesses to the Catholic faith.
Grant through their intercession
that all who are privileged to be Christians
may be united in believing the truth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.