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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > E > England (Since the Reformation)

England (Since the Reformation)

The Protestant Reformation is the great dividing line in the history of England, as of Europe generally. This momentous Revolution, the outcome of many causes, assumed varying shapes in different countries. The Anglican Reformation did not spring from any religious motive. Lord Macaulay is well warranted in saying in his essay on Hallam's "Constitutional History", that "of those who had any important share in bringing it about, Ridley was, perhaps, the only person who did not consider it a mere political job", and that "Ridley did not play a very prominent part". We shall now proceed, first, to trace the history of the so-called Reformation in England, and then to indicate some of its results.

History

Henry VIII (1509-1547)

It was not until the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth — the year 1535 — that the English Schism was consummated. The instrument by which that consummation was effected was the "Act concerning the King's Highness to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and to have authority to reform and redress all errors, heresies and abuses in the same". This statute severed England from the unity of Christendom and transferred the jurisdiction of the supreme pontiff to "the Imperial Crown" of that realm. That is the unique peculiarity of the Anglican Reformation — the bold usurpation of all papal authority by the sovereign. "The clavis potentiæ and the clavis scientiæ, the universal power of Government in Christ's Church, the power to rule; to distribute, suspend or restore jurisdiction, and the power to define Verities of the Faith and to interpret Holy Scripture has descended on the shoulders of the Kings and Queens of England. The actual bond of the Church of England, her characteristic as a religious communion, that which makes her a whole, is the right of the civil power to be the supreme judge of her doctrine." (Allies, "See of S. Peter", 3rd ed., p. 54.) The Act of Supremacy was the outcome of a struggle between Henry VIII and the pope, extending over six years. Assuredly no such measure was originally contemplated by the king, who, in the early part of his reign, manifested a devotion to the Holy See which Sir Thomas More thought excessive (Roper's Life of More, p. 66).

The sole cause of his quarrel with the See of Rome was supplied by the affair of the so-called Divorce. On 22 April, 1509, he ascended the English throne, being then eighteen years old; and on 3 June following he was wedded, by dispensation of Pope Julius, to the Spanish princess, Catherine, who had previously gone through the form of marriage with his elder brother Arthur. That prince had died in 1502, at the age of sixteen, five months after this marriage, which was held not to have been consummated; and so Catherine, at her nuptials with Henry, was arrayed not as a widow, but as a virgin, in a white robe, with her hair falling over her shoulders. Henry cohabited with her for sixteen years, and had issue three sons, who died at their birth or shortly afterwards, as well as one daughter, Mary, who survived. At the end of that time the king, never a model of conjugal fidelity, conceived a personal repulsion for his wife, who was six years older than himself, whose physical charms had faded, and whose health was impaired; he also began to entertain scruples as to his union with her. Whether, as an old Catholic tradition avers, these scruples were suggested to him by Cardinal Wolsey, or whether his personal repulsion prepared the way for them, or merely seconded them, is uncertain. But certain it is that about this time, to use Shakespeare's phrase, "the King's conscience crept too near another lady", that lady being Anne Boleyn. Here, again, exact chronology is impossible. We know that in 1522 Cardinal Wolsey repelled Lord Percy from a project of marriage with Anne on the ground that "the King intended to prefer her to another". But there is no evidence that Henry then desired her for himself. However that may have been, several years elapsed before his passion for her, whatever the date of its origin, gathered that overmastering force which led him to resolve with fixed determination to put away Catherine in order to possess her. For marriage was the price on which, warned by experience, she insisted. Henry's relations with her family had been scandalous. There is evidence, strong if not absolutely conclusive — it is summed up in the Introduction to Lewis' translation of Sander's work, "De Schismate Anglicano" (London, 1877) — that he had had an intrigue with her mother, whence the report, at one time widely credited, that she was his own daughter. It is certain that her sister Mary had been his mistress, and had been very poorly provided for by him when the liaison came to an end, a fact which doubtless put Anne upon her guard. That the king had contracted precisely the same affinity with her, by reason of this intrigue, as that which he alleged to be the cause of his conscientious scruples with regard to Catherine, did not in the least weigh with her, or with him.

The first formal step towards the putting away of Catherine appears to have been taken in 1527, when Henry caused himself to be cited before Cardinal Wolsey and Archbishop Warham on the charge of living incestuously with his brother's widow. The proceedings were secret, and the Court held three sessions, then adjourning sine die for the purpose of consulting the most learned bishops of the kingdom on the question whether marriage with a deceased brother's wife was lawful. The majority of the replies were in the affirmative, with the proviso that a papal dispensation had been obtained. Henry, thus baffled, then determined to proceed in common form of law, and Sir Francis Geary in his learned work, "Marriage and Family Relations", has summed up the proceedings as follows: "By a process well known to Ecclesiastical Law, the King wished to institute his suit in the Appeal Court for this purpose given original jurisdiction. With this object, instead of, as originally intended, suing in an English Consistory or Arches Court, from which appeal lay to Rome, then menaced or actually occupied by the armies of Charles V, a commission from Pope Clement, dated June 9, and confirmed by a pollicitatio dated July 13, 1528, was obtained constituting the two cardinals a Legatine Papal Court of both original supreme and ultimate jurisdiction and to proceed judicially. The Court opened May 21, 1529; there followed citation, articles, examination, and publication, and on Friday, July 23, 1529, the cause was ripe for judgment. At that day Campejus [Campeggio] adjourned till October, on the ground that the Roman Vacation, which he was bound to observe, had already begun. But in September the advocation of the cause to Rome, and inhibition of the Legatine Court, given by Clement contrary to his written promise on the word of a Pope, had arrived in England, and the Court never sat again. Henry waited for more than three years, negotiating to have the suit brought to judgment, till at last, in November, 1532, he married Anne Boleyn, and in the following year, May, 1533, Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, gave sentence of nullity. At Rome the cause dragged on, — there is a gap at this epoch in the reports of the Rota, and it does not appear if there was any argument either by the advocates of the 'orator' or 'oratrix', or by the defensor, — till at last, on March 25, 1534, the Pope, in a Consistory of Cardinals, of whom a minority voted against the marriage, pronounced the marriage with Katherine valid, and ordered restitution of conjugal rights."

The Statute of 1535 (26 Hen. VIII, c. 1) above quoted — it is commonly called the Act of Supremacy which transferred to the king the authority over the Church in England hitherto exercised by the pope, may be regarded as Henry's answer to the papal sentence of 1534. But, as Professor Brewer remarks, "to this result the King was brought by slow and silent steps". The Act of Supremacy was in truth simply the last of a series of enactments whereby, during the whole progress of the matrimonial cause, the king sought to intimidate the pontiff and to obtain a decision favourable to himself. Seven statutes in particular may be noted as preparing the way for, and leading up to, the Act of Supremacy. The 21 Hen. VIII, c. 13, prohibited, under pecuniary penalties, the obtaining from the Holy See of licences for pluralities or non-residence. The 23 Hen. VIII, c. 9, forbade the citation of a person out of the diocese wherein he or she dwelt, except in certain specified cases. The 23 Hen. VIII, c. 6, which is entitled "Concerning the restraint of payment of annates to the See of Rome", was not only an attempt to intimidate, but also to bribe the pope. It forbade, under penalties, the payment of firstfruits to Rome, provided that, if the Bulls for a bishop's consecration were in consequence denied, he might be consecrated without them, and authorized the king to disregard any consequent ecclesiastical censure of "our Holy Father the Pope" and to cause Divine service to be continued in spite of the same; and further empowered the King by letters patent to give or withhold his assent to the Act, and at his pleasure to suspend, modify, annul and enforce it. The Act was in fact what Dr. Lingard has called it, "a political experiment to try the resolution of the Pontiff". The experiment failed, and in the next year the royal assent was given to the Act by letters patent. In this year also was passed the Statute, 24 Hen. VIII, c. 12, prohibiting appeals to Rome in testamentary, matrimonial, and certain other causes, and requiring the clergy to continue their ministrations in spite of ecclesiastical censures from Rome. The next year witnessed the passing of the Act (25 Hen. VIII, c. 19) "for the submission of the clergy to the King's Majesty", which prohibited all appeals to Rome. The Act following this in the Statute Book abolished annates, forbade, under the penalties of præmunire, the presentation of bishops and archbishops to "the Bishop of Rome, otherwise called the Pope", and the procuring from him of Bulls for their consecration, and established the method still existing in the Anglican Church (of which more will be said later on) of electing, confirming, and consecrating bishops. It was immediately followed by an Act forbidding, under the same penalties, the king's subjects to sue to the pope, or the Roman See, for "licenses, dispensations, compensations, faculties, grants, rescripts, delegacies or other instruments or writings", to go abroad for any visitations, congregations, or assembly for religion, or to maintain, allow, admit, or obey any process from Rome. The net effect of these enactments was to take away from the pope the headship of the Church of England. That headship the Act of Supremacy conferred on the king.

This sudden falling away of a whole nation from Catholic unity, is an event so strange and so terrible as to require some further explanation than Macaulay's, who refers it to the "brutal passion" and "selfish policy" of Henry VIII; In fact the struggle between that monarch and the pope was the last phase of a contest between the papal and the regal power which had been waged, with longer or briefer truces, from the days of the Norman Conquest. The Second Henry was no less desirous than the Eighth to emancipate himself from the jurisdiction of the supreme pontiff, and the destruction and pillage of the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket was not merely a manifestation of uncontrollable fury and unscrupulous greed; it was also Henry VIII's way of redressing a quarrel of nearly four hundred years' standing. The reason why Henry VIII succeeded where Henry II, a greater man, had failed must be sought in the political and religious conditions of the times. Von Ranke has pointed out that the state of the world in the sixteenth century was "directly hostile to the Papal domination . . . The civil power would no longer acknowledge any higher authority" (Die römischen Päpste, I, 39). In England the monarch was virtually a tyrant. The Wars of the Roses had destroyed the old nobility, formerly an effective check upon regal despotism. "The prerogative", Brewer writes, "was absolute both in theory and practice. Government was identified with the will of the Sovereign; his word was law for the conscience as well as the conduct of his subjects. He was the only representative of the nation. Parliament was little more than an institution for granting subsidies" (Letters and State Papers, II, Part I, p. cxciii, Introd.). The lax lives led by too many of the clergy, the abuses of pluralities, the scandals of the Consistorial Courts, had tended to weaken the influence of the priesthood; "the papal authority", to quote again Brewer, "had ceased to be more than a mere form, a decorum to be observed." The influence of the ecclesiastical order as a check upon arbitrary power was extinct at the death of Wolsey. "Thus it was that the royal supremacy was now to triumph after years of effort, apparently fruitless and often purposeless. That which had been present to the English mind was now to come forth in a distinct consciousness, armed with the power that nothing could resist. Yet that it should come forth in such a form is marvellous. All events had prepared the way for the King's temporal supremacy: opposition to Papal authority was familiar to men; but a spiritual supremacy, an ecclesiastical headship as it separated Henry VIII from all his predecessors by an immeasurable interval, so was it without precedent and at variance with all tradition" (Brewer, Letters and State Paters, I, cvii, Introd.).

Henry VIII made full proof of his ecclesiastical ministry. In 1535 he appointed Thomas Cromwell his vicegerent, vicar-general, and principal official, with full power to exercise all and every that authority appertaining to himself as head of the Church. The vicar-general's function was, however, confined to ecclesiastical discipline. The settlement of doctrine Henry took under his own care and, as is related in the preamble to the "Act abolishing diversity of opinions" (31 Hen. VIII, c. 14), "most graciously vouchsafed, in his own princely person, to descend and come into his High Court of Parliament" and there expounded his theological views, which were embodied in that Statute, commonly called "The Statute of the Six Articles". It was in 1539 that this Act was passed. It asserted Transubstantiation, the sufficiency of communion under one kind, the obligation of clerical celibacy, the validity "by the law of God" of vows of chastity, the excellence of private masses, the necessity of the sacrament of penance. The penalty for denial of the first article was the stake; of the rest imprisonment and forfeiture as of felony. But while thus upholding, after his own fashion, Catholic doctrine, Henry had possessed himself of a vast amount of ecclesiastical property by the suppression first of the smaller and then of the larger religious houses, thus laying the foundation of English pauperism.

Edward VI (1547-1553)

After the death of Henry (1547) the direction of ecclesiastical affairs passed chiefly into the hands of Thomas Cranmer. Lord Macaulay has described him accurately as "a supple, timid, interested courtier, who rose into favour by serving Henry in the disgraceful affair of his first divorce", who was "equally false to political and religious obligations", and who "conformed forwards and backwards as the King changed his mind". During the minority of Edward VI, no longer cowed by the "vultus instantis tyranni", he favoured first Lutheranism, then Zwinglianism, and lastly Calvinism, so that it may seem doubtful what form of Protestantism, if any, he really held. Certain it is, however, that he had "the convictions of his own interests", and that these were bound up with the anti-Catholic party. He had judicially pronounced the invalidity of Henry's marriage with Catherine and the illegitimacy of Mary, thereby deeply offending and scandalizing Catholics, who were by no means mollified because, not long afterwards, he had similarly prostituted his judicial office in dealing with Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth. He was married, contrary to the Statute of the Six Articles, to a daughter of the Protestant divine Osiander, whom, according to a tradition preserved by Sander and Harpsfield (both first-rate authorities), he was in the habit of carrying about in a chest until, in the latter part of Henry VIII's reign, he judged it prudent to send her, for greater security, to Germany. Shortly after the death of the king, he reclaimed her, showing her publicly as his wife. To him are chiefly due the legalization of the marriage of the clergy (23 Ed. VI, c. 21), the desecration and destruction of altars, for which tables were substituted, and of images and pictures, which gave place to the royal arms. He had the chief part in the inspiration and compilation of the first Prayer Book of Edward VI (1548) in supersession of the Breviary and the Missal, a work which, in the preamble of the Act of Parliament sanctioning and enjoining it, is said to have "been drawn up by the aid of the Holy Ghost". Notwithstanding this encomium, it was superseded, within four years, by a second Cranmerian Prayer Book, not similarly commended in the Act prescribing it, in which the slight outward similarity to the Mass, preserved in the Communion Service of the first Prayer Book, was obliterated. The Ordinal underwent similar treatment; the sacrificing Priest, like the Sacrifice, was abolished. Another of Cranmer's exploits was the compilation of Forty-two Articles of Religion which, reduced to Thirty-nine and slightly recast, still form the Confession of Faith of the Anglican Communion.

Mary I (1553-1558)

In 1556, under Mary, Cranmer met his death at the stake, after vainly endeavouring by copious recantations — Sander avers that "he signed them seventeen times with his own hand" — to save his life. This severity, though doubtless impolitic, can hardly be deemed unjust if his career be carefully considered. But his work lived after him and formed the basis of the ecclesiastical legislation of Elizabeth, when Mary's brief reign came to an end, and with it the ineffectual endeavour to destroy the new religion by the fagot.

Mary's fiery zeal for the Catholic Faith failed to undo the work of her two predecessors, and unquestionably did ill service to the Catholic cause. It would be foolish to blame her for not practising a toleration utterly alien from the temper of the times. But there can be no question that Green is well warranted in writing that to her is due "the bitter remembrance of the blood shed in the cause of Rome which, however partial and unjust it must seem to an historic observer, still lies graven deep in the temper of the English people" (Short History, p. 360).

Elizabeth I (1558-1603)

The first act of Elizabeth, when she found herself firmly seated on the throne, was to annul the religious restorations of her sister. "All Laws and Statutes made against the See Apostolic of Rome since the twentieth year of King Henry VIII" had been abolished by the 1 and 2 Philip and Mary, c. 8, which "enacted and declared the Pope's Holiness and See Apostolic to be restored, and to have and enjoy such authority, pre-eminence and jurisdiction as His Holiness used and exercised, or might lawfully have used and exercised, by authority of his supremacy, before that date". Elizabeth, by the first Act of Parliament of her reign, repealed this Statute, and revived the last six of the seven Acts against the Roman pontiff passed between the 21st and 26th year of Henry VIII of which we have given an account, and also certain other anti-papal Statutes passed subsequently to the enactment of Henry's Act of Supremacy. That Act was not revived, doubtless because Elizabeth, as a woman, shrank from assuming the title of Supreme Head of the Church bestowed by it on the sovereign. But, although she did not take to herself that title, she took all the authority implied therein by this first Act of her reign. It vests the plenitude of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Crown and the Queen's Highness, who is described as "the only Supreme Governor of this realm as well in all spiritual and ecclesiastical things or causes as temporal", and it prescribes an oath recognizing her to be so for all holding office in Church and State. The next Act on the Statute Book is the Act of Uniformity. It orders the use in the churches of the second Prayer Book of Edward VI, in the place of the Catholic rites, and provides penalties for ministers disobeying this injunction. It also enforces the attendance of the laity at the parish church on Sundays and holidays, for the new service. This was the definite establishment of the new religion in England, the consummation of the revolution initiated by Henry VIII. The bishops, with the exception of Kitchen of Llandaff, refused to accept it, as did about half the clergy. The majority of the laity passively acquiesced in it, just as they had acquiesced in the ecclesiastical changes of Henry, and Edward, and Mary. Its effect was, virtually, to reduce the Church of England to a department of the State. The Anglican bishops became, and are still, nominees of the Crown, election by the dean and chapter, where it exists — in some of the newer dioceses there are no chapters, and the bishops are appointed by Letters Patent — being a mere farcical form of which Emerson has given a pungent description: "The King sends the Dean and Canons a congé d'élire, or leave to elect, but also sends them the name of the person whom they are to elect. They go into the Cathedral, chant and pray; and after these invocations invariably find that the dictates of the Holy Ghost agree with the recommendation of the King." If they arrived at any other conclusion, they would be involved in the penalties of a præmunire. The Convocations of York and Canterbury are similarly fettered. They cannot proceed so much as to discuss any project of ecclesiastical legislation without "Letters of Business" from the Crown. The sovereign is the ultimate arbiter in causes, whether of faith or morals within the Anglican Church, and his decisions of them given by the voice of his Privy Council, are irreformable. But of course in these days the sovereign practically means the Legislature. "The National Church", Cardinal Newman writes in his "Anglican Difficulties", "is strictly part of the Nation, just as the Law or the Parliament is part of the Nation." "It is simply an organ or department of the State, all ecclesiastical acts really proceeding from the civil government." "The Nation itself is the sovereign Lord and Master of the Prayer Book, its composer and interpreter."

Queen Elizabeth's Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity form, in the words of Hallam, "the basis of that restrictive code of laws which pressed so heavily, for more than two centuries, upon the adherents of the Roman church". It is not necessary here to describe in detail that "restrictive code". An account of it will be found in the first chapter of "A Manual of the Law specially affecting Catholics", by W. S. Lilly and J. P. Wallis (London, 1893). But we may observe that the queen who originated it was animated by very different motives from those which influenced her father in his revolt against Rome. Sander has correctly said, "he gave up the Catholic faith for no other reason in the world than that which came from his lust and wickedness"; and, indeed, while severing himself from Catholic unity, and pillaging the possessions of the Church, he was as far as possible from sympathizing with the doctrinal innovations of Protestantism and savagely repressed them. Elizabeth, by the very necessity of her position, was driven — we speak ex humano die — to espouse the Protestant cause. No doubt, as Lingard writes, "it is pretty evident that she had no settled notions of religion", and she freely exhibited her contempt for her clergy on many occasions — notably on her death-bed, when she drove away from her presence the Archbishop of Canterbury and certain other Protestant prelates of her own making, telling them "she knew full well that they were hedge priests, and took it for an indignity that they should speak to her" (Dodd, "Church History", III, 70). But, like Cranmer, if she had no religious convictions, she had the conviction of her interests. Her lot was plainly cast in with the Protestant party. Rome had declared her mother's marriage null, and her own birth illegitimate. Catholics, in general, looked upon Mary Queen of Scots as the rightful claimant to the throne which she occupied. Throughout her reign

Church policy and State policy are conjoint:
But Janus-faces, looking different ways.

The Anglican Church, as established by her, was a mere instrument for political ends; in her own phrase, she tuned her pulpits. The maxim, Cujus regio ejus religio, was currently accepted in her time. It seemed according to the natural order of things that the people should profess the creed of the prince. Elizabeth is not open to the charges made against her sister of religious fanaticism. But she was given up to that "self will and self worship" which Bishop Stubbs justly attributes to her father. And, in the well-weighed words of Hallam, "she was too deeply imbued with arbitrary principles to endure any deviation from the mode of worship she should prescribe".

It was on the feast of St. John Baptist, 1559, that the statute took effect which abolished throughout England the old worship, and set up the new. Thenceforth Catholic rites could be performed only by stealth, and at the risk of severe punishment. But during the first decade of the queen's reign Catholics were treated with comparative lenity, occasional fines, confiscations, and imprisonments being the severest penalties employed against them. Camden and others assert that they enjoyed "a pretty free use of their religion". But this is too strongly put. The truth is that a vast number who were Catholics at heart temporized, resorting to the new worship more or less regularly, and attending secretly, when opportunity offered, Catholic rites celebrated by the Marian clergy commonly called "the old priests". Of these a considerable number remained scattered up and down the country, being generally found as chaplains in private families. These occasional conformists were supported by the vague hope of political change which might give relief to their consciences. Elizabeth and her counsellors calculated that when the old priests dropped off, through death and other causes, people generally would be won over to the new religion. But it fell out otherwise. As the old priests disappeared, the question of a supply of Catholic clergy began to engage the minds of those to whom they had ministered. Moreover, stricter conceptions of their duty in respect of heretical worship were gaining ground among English Catholics, partly on account of the decision of a congregation appointed by the Council of Trent, that attendance at it was "grievously sinful", inasmuch as it was "the offspring of schism, the badge of hatred of the Church". Then a man appeared whom Father Bridgett rightly describes as "the father, under God, of the Catholic Church in England after the destruction of the ancient hierarchy", to whom "principally, we owe the continuation of the priesthood, and the succession of the secular clergy".

That man was William Allen, afterwards cardinal. He conceived the idea of an apostolate having for its object the perpetuation of the Faith in England, and in 1568 he founded the seminary at Douai, then belonging to Spanish Flanders, which was for so many generations to minister to the wants of English Catholics. It is notable as the first college organized according to the rules and constitution of the Council of Trent. The missionaries, full of zeal, and not counting their lives dear, who were sent over from this institution, revived the drooping spirits of the faithful in England and maintained the standard of orthodoxy. Elizabeth viewed with much displeasure this frustration of her hopes, nor was the Bull "Regnans in excelsis", by which, in 1570, St. Pius V declared her deposed and her Catholic subjects released from their allegiance, calculated to mollify her. Increased severity of the penal laws marks the rest of Elizabeth's reign. By the Act of Supremacy Catholics offending against that statute had been made liable to capital punishment as traitors, the queen hoping thereby to escape the odium attaching to the infliction of death for religion. Few will now dissent from the words of Green in his "Short History": "There is something even more revolting than open persecution in the policy which brands every Catholic priest as a traitor, and all Catholic worship as disloyalty." But, for a time, the policy succeeded, and the martyrs who suffered for no other cause than their Catholic faith were commonly believed to have been put to death for treason. In 1581 this offence of spiritual treason was the subject of a far more comprehensive enactment (23 Eliz., c. 1). It qualified as traitors all who should absolve or reconcile others to the See of Rome, or willingly be so absolved or reconciled. Many English historians (Hume is the most considerable of them) have affirmed that "sedition, revolt, even assassination were the means by which seminary priests sought to compass their ends against Elizabeth". But this sweeping accusation is not true. No doubt Cardinal Allen, the Jesuit Persons, and other Catholic exiles were cognizant of, and involved in, plots which had for their end the queen's overthrow, nor would some of the conspirators have shrunk from taking her life any more than she shrank from taking the life of Mary Queen of Scots. But, in spite of all their sufferings, the great body of English Catholics maintained their loyalty. From the political intrigues in which the exiles were so deeply involved they held aloof, nay, many of them viewed with suspicion not only the exiles, but the whole Society of which Persons was a foremost representative, and desired the exclusion of Jesuits from English Colleges and from the English mission. When the Armada was expected they repaired in every county to the standard of the Lord Lieutenant, imploring that they might not be suspected of bartering the national independence for their religious belief. They received from Elizabeth a characteristic reward. "The Queen," writes Lingard, "whether she sought to satisfy the religious animosities of her subjects, or to display her gratitude to the Almighty by punishing the supposed enemies of His worship, celebrated her triumph with the immolation of human victims" (History of England, VI, 255). In the four months between 22 July and 27 November, of 1588, twenty-one seminary priests, eleven laymen, and one woman were put to death for their Catholic faith. During the rest of Elizabeth's life her Catholic subjects groaned under incessant persecution, of which one special note was the systematic use of torture. "The rack seldom stood idle in the Tower during the latter part of her reign", Hallam remarks. The total number of Catholics who suffered under her was one hundred and eighty-nine, one hundred and twenty-eight of them being priests, fifty-eight laymen, and three women. To them should be added, as Law remarks in his "Calendar of English Martyrs" (London, 1870), thirty-two Franciscans who were starved to death.

Notwithstanding the severities of Elizabeth, the number of Catholic clergy on the English missions in her time was considerable. It has been estimated that at the end of the sixteenth century they amounted to three hundred and sixty-six, fifty being survivors of the old Marian priests, three hundred priests from Douai and the other foreign seminaries, and sixteen priests of the Society of Jesus.

James I (1603-1625)

On the queen's death the eyes of the persecuted remnant of the old faith turned hopefully towards James. Their hopes were doomed to disappointment. That prince took himself seriously as head of the English Church. He chose rather to be the successor of Elizabeth than the avenger of Mary Stuart, and continued the savage policy of the late queen. The year after his accession an Act was passed "for the due execution of the Statutes against Jesuits, Seminary priests and other priests", which took away from Catholics the power of sending their children to be educated abroad, and of providing schools for them at home. In the course of the same year a proclamation was issued banishing all missionary priests out of the kingdom. The next year is marked by the Gunpowder Plot, "the contrivance", as Tierney well observes, "of half a dozen persons of desperate fortunes, who, by that means, brought an odium upon the body of Catholics, who have ever since laboured under the weight of the calumny, though no way concerned". Soon afterwards a new oath of allegiance was devised, rather for the purpose of dividing than of relieving Catholics. It was incorporated in "An Act for the better discovery and repression of Popish recusants" (a recusant Catholic was simply one who refused to be present at the new service of the Protestant religion in the parish church), and was directed against the deposing power. The Holy See disallowed it, but some Catholics took it, among them being Blackwell the Archpriest. Twenty-eight Catholics, of whom eight were laymen, suffered under James I, but that prince was more concerned to exact money from his Catholic subjects than to slay them. According to his own account he received a net income of 36,000 a year from the fines of Popish recusants (Hardwick Papers, I, 446).

Charles I (1625-1649)

With the accession of Charles I (1625) a somewhat brighter time began for English Catholics. He was unwilling to shed their innocent blood — indeed only two underwent capital punishment while he bore rule — and this reluctance was one of the causes of rupture between him and the Parliament. His policy, Hallam writes, "with some fluctuations, was to wink at the domestic exercise of the Catholic religion, and to admit its professors to pay compensations for clemency, which were not regularly enforced". The number of Catholic clergy in England received a considerable augmentation in his reign. Panzani reported to the Holy See that in 1634 there were on the English mission five hundred secular priests, some hundred and sixty Jesuits, a hundred Benedictines, twenty Franciscans, seven Dominicans, two Minims, five Carmelites, and one Carthusian lay brother, besides the clergy, nine in number, who served the queen's chapel. This large increase in the number of Jesuits was not regarded by all as an unmixed gain, unquestionable as was their zeal and devotion. It was considered by some as the cause of rivalries and dissensions, unpleasant to read of, among the small remnant who kept the faith. The Jesuits seem to have been, at times, open to the charge of aggressiveness, and certainly they did not succeed in dissipating the prejudice so universal against them. One of the burning questions among English Catholics was concerning the episcopal succession. The secular clergy desired a bishop, and Allen had proposed to Gregory XIII that one should be sent. Though Persons' influence at Rome, which was very great, instead of a bishop an archpriest was appointed (1598) in the person of George Blackwell, who has been already mentioned, a friend of his own, who was deprived by the Holy See ten years later for taking the oath of allegiance under James I. Birkhead succeeded him, and Harrison succeeded Birkhead, until, in 1623, Dr. William Bishop was appointed Vicar Apostolic of England. He died in 1624, and was succeeded by Dr. Richard Smith. Shortly afterwards there was an outbreak of persecution occasioned by the Puritan party in the House of Commons led by Sir John Elliot, and Bishop Smith withdrew to France at the end of 1628, never to return to England, which remained without a bishop till 1685.

When war broke out between Charles I and the Parliament, English Catholics, to a man, espoused the cause of the king. They could not do otherwise. Hatred of Catholicism was a dominant note of the Parliamentary party, who bitterly resented the quasi-toleration which the Catholics had for some years enjoyed; and between the meeting of the Long Parliament and the death of Cromwell twenty-four adherents of the Faith suffered martyrdom. The Catholics, as Hallam points out, were "the most strenuous of the King's adherents"; they were also the greatest sufferers for their loyalty. One hundred and seventy Catholic gentlemen lost their lives in the royal cause; and Catholics were especially oppressed under the Commonwealth.

Charles II (1660-1685)

At the Restoration of Charles II, in 1660, English Catholics expected, not unnaturally, to receive some recompense for their unswerving devotion to the royal cause, and this more especially as the new king's personal obligations to them were very great. After his total overthrow at the battle of Worcester, he owed his life to the Catholics of Staffordshire, the Huddlestones, the Giffards, the Whitegreaves, the Penderells. But "Let not virtue seek remuneration for the thing it was" is a lesson written on every page of the history of the Stuarts. Catholics asked, in a petition presented to the House of Lords by Lord Arundell of Wardour, that they might receive the benefit of the Declaration of Breda. Charles was inclined to give them "liberty of conscience", but Lord Chancellor Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, we read in Kenneth's "Register and Chronicle", "was so hot upon the point, that His Majesty was obliged to yield rather to his importunities than his reasons". The king, who, as he himself expressed it, was not minded to set out again on his travels, recognized that there was in the nation a strong anti-Catholic feeling, and bowed to it, though himself intellectually convinced of the truth of the Catholic religion. The laws against Papists remained on the statute book, and, from time to time, proclamations — they were, it is true, for the most part brutum fulmen — were issued requiring Jesuits and other priests to quit the kingdom under the statutory penalties. A singular instance of overmastering anti-Catholic prejudice prevailing in the nation is supplied by the monument erected by the Corporation of London to commemorate the Great Fire of 1666. It bore an inscription in which Catholics were accused of being the authors of that calamity, a monstrous assertion for which no shred of evidence was ever adduced. —

Where London's column pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully lifts its head and lies,

Pope had the courage to write. But not until the nineteenth century was well advanced was the calumny erased.

It is not possible here to follow, even in briefest outline, the course of Charles II's reign. We may, however, point out that two things are necessary to a right view of it: to understand the character and aims of Charles II, and to realize the dominant temper of the English nation. Idle, voluptuous, and good-humouredly cynical, Charles certainly was; but he possessed deep knowledge of human nature, great political tact, and remarkable tenacity of purpose. That he preferred the Catholic religion to any other, is certain; and he was glad to embrace it on his death-bed. But he recognized the strong Protestant feeling of the people over whom he ruled, and was not prepared to imperil his crown by defying it. He was, however, really desirous to do what he could, without risk to himself, for the relief of Catholics; and this was the motive of his Declaration of Indulgence in 1672, by which he ordered "that all manner of penal laws on matters ecclesiastical against whatever sort of Nonconformist or recusants" should be suspended, and gave liberty of public worship to all dissentients, except Catholics, who were allowed to celebrate the rites of religion in private houses only. This declaration was sovereignly displeasing to all parties in the House of Commons, who answered it by a resolution "that penal statutes in matters ecclesiastical cannot be suspended except by consent of Parliament", and refused supplies until the declaration was recalled. That was a convincing argument to Charles. He recalled the declaration forthwith. Parliament then proceeded to pass a bill — it went through both Houses without opposition, and Charles dared not refuse his royal assent to it — which required every one in the civil and military employment of the Crown to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, to subscribe a declaration against Transubstantiation, and to receive the Eucharist according to the rites of the Church of England. One effect of this Act (13 Car. II, St. 2, c. 1) was to deprive James, Duke of York, who had become a Catholic, of his office of Lord High Admiral.

During the next nine years the struggle between the king and the Parliament continued. The popular leader was Ashley, Earl of Shaftesbury — for some time Chancellor — whose character has been delineated by Dryden with merciless severity, but with substantial accuracy, in "Absalom and Achitophel". This statesman's own Protestantism was of the haziest kind, but he was zealous, from political motives, for the national religion, and for that reason was bent upon excluding the Duke of York from the succession to the throne. To accomplish this end, he fought strenuously, unremittingly, nor was any weapon too vile for his use. The Second Test Act, passed through his exertions in 1678, rendered Catholics incapable of sitting in Parliament, and thus deprived twenty-one Catholic peers of their seats in the House of Lords; but the king contrived to procure the insertion of a clause exempting the Duke of York from the operation of the Statute. It was in this same year that Titus Oates appeared on the scene with his pretended Popish Plot. There is no evidence that Ashley was the instigator of the colossal villainy, but he did not scruple to employ it for his own purposes. "The origin of the Plot", says a recent well-informed writer in "Blackwood's Magazine" (May, 1908), "is a mystery. We know no more than that the English people, being mad, interrupted the course of justice, insisted that the judges should condemn every man brought before them, suspected of papistry, and easily believed the crazy stories of hired perjurers. It is most probable that Oates himself contrived the death of Sir Edmund Godfrey." However that may have been, certain it is that the calumnies of Oates and his confederates and imitators awakened the Elizabethan Statutes into fresh activity. The king was far too shrewd to give credence to what Macaulay has well called "a hideous romance resembling rather the dream of a sick man than any transaction which ever took place in this world." But he was powerless to save the victims of popular fanaticism; "I cannot pardon them", he said, "for I dare not." And so, in 1679, the horrors of 1588 were repeated, eight priests of the Society of Jesus, two Franciscans, five secular priests, and seven laymen being put to death, while many more died in their foul prisons. The next year witnessed the judicial murder of Lord Stafford, his peers being unable to withstand the madness of the people. In 1681 Oliver Plunket, the Archbishop of Armagh, was executed at Tyburn, after a mock trial. His was the last blood shed for the Catholic religion in England. The persecution, which had begun with the execution of the three saintly Carthusian friars in the twenty-sixth year of Henry VIII, had lasted, with little intermission, for a century and a half. Three hundred and forty-two martyrs had sealed their faith with their blood, while some fifty confessors, in the reign of Elizabeth and her successors, ended their lives in prison. The king's long struggle with the popular party ended in his complete victory. No more consummate master of political strategy ever perhaps existed; and the violence of the party led by Shaftesbury played into his hands. Shaftesbury himself was arrested on a charge of suborning false witnesses to the Plot; although the Grand Jury of Middlesex ignored the bill of his indictment, he saw that the tide of popular feeling, which had begun to ebb with the execution of Lord Stafford, was now turned completely against him, and at the end of 1682 he fled to Holland, where, two months afterwards, he died.

Charles II was the most popular of kings during the last two years of his reign, and he was careful not to mar his popularity by illegal acts or by measures opposed to the feeling of the nation. The statute for the regulation of printing, passed immediately after the Restoration, had expired in 1679; Charles made no attempt for its renewal. In the same year the Habeas Corpus Act — that great charter of the liberty of the subject — was passed; Charles acquiesced in it. He did indeed infringe the Test Act by the Duke of York's readmission to the Council and restoration to the office of lord high admiral. But, in the recrudescence of loyalty, this tribute to fraternal affection passed unblamed. In his last illness the churches were thronged with crowds praying that God would raise him up again to be a father to his people; and on his death, in February, 1685, all sorts and conditions of his subjects made great lamentation over him.

James II (1685-1688)

In the first year of the reign of James II Dr. Leyburn was appointed by the Holy See as vicar Apostolic. In the next year Dr. Giffard received a like appointment, as did Dr. Ellis and Dr. Smith the year after that, England being divided into four districts: the London, the Midland, the Western, and the Northern, in each of which the papal vicar exercised all the authority possessed by an ordinary. The new king came to the throne with advantages which he could hardly have hoped for. He inherited, in some sort, the popularity of his brother, and his religion was forgotten in his blood. He began his reign by a solemn pledge to keep the laws inviolate and to protect the Church of England, and the nation believed him. "We have the word of a king", it was said, "and of a king who was never worse than his word." The saying, whoever was its author, went abroad. It expressed the general conviction, and his first Parliament made proof of exuberant loyalty, granting to the monarch, without demur, a revenue of nearly two millions for life. Argyll's rebellion in the North and Monmouth's in the West but served to bring out the devotion of the nation at large to the sovereign. But the cruelties of Kirke and the savageries of Jeffreys in the "Bloody Circuit" caused a change in the general feeling. The king's popularity began to wane, and the measures to which he now resorted soon put an end to it. Monmouth's revolt was made the pretext for raising the army to twenty thousand men, and it soon appeared that James supposed himself able, with this force at his command, to place himself above the law. He attempted to nullify the provisions of statutes by the exercise of his dispensing powers. Judges who refused to fall in with his plans were dismissed; and it was held by a bench packed with his creatures that his dispensation could be pleaded in bar of an Act of Parliament. Armed with this decision, the king proceeded to set aside the disabilities of Catholics and the restraints upon the exercise of their religion. They were admitted to civil and military offices closed to them by the law; members of religious orders appeared in the streets of London in their habits; the Jesuits opened a school which was soon crowded. Further, the king found himself ex officio supreme head of the Anglican Communion, and he resolved to use his supremacy as a weapon for its overthrow. Following the precedent of Elizabeth, he appointed an Ecclesiastical Commission, in defiance of an Act of Charles I which declared that court illegal; and he placed Jeffreys at the head of it. He forbade the clergy to preach against popery, and suspended the Bishop of London for refusing to carry out this order. At Oxford he presented a Catholic to the deanery of Christ Church and converted Magdalen College into a Catholic society. Among English Catholics most men of reputation stood aghast at this reckless violence. Few approved it but converts of broken fortune and tarnished reputation. Rome gave no countenance to it. Macaulay is absolutely warranted in writing: "Every letter which went from the Vatican to Whitehall recommended patience, moderation and respect for the prejudices of the English people". "The Pope", he observes in another page, with equal justice,

was too wise a man to believe that a nation so bold and stubborn could be brought back to the Church of Rome by the violent and unconstitutional exercise of the royal authority. It was not difficult to see that if James attempted to promote the interests of his religion by illegal and unpopular measures, his attempt would fail: the hatred with which the heretical islanders regarded the true faith would become fiercer and stronger than ever: and an indissoluble association would be created in men's minds between Protestantism and civil freedom, between Popery and arbitrary power.

This is precisely what happened. And indeed it is not too much to say that British Catholics have, in great measure, to thank the two last Catholic sovereigns for the strong feeling which so long existed against them throughout the nation, and which, even now, has not wholly disappeared. The severities of Mary appeared to give countenance to the popular Protestant opinion that Catholics rely chiefly on the argument from fire and are always ready, if they can, to burn dissidents from their religious belief. The conduct of James II seemed an object lesson confirmatory of the vulgar conviction that Catholics are not bound to keep faith with heretics, and that any violation of law, any "crooked and indirect bye-ways" are justifiable means to the end of advancing the Catholic religion.

The reign of James II lasted only three years. It is not too much to say that before two of them were out he had succeeded in alienating the devotion of the entire nation. The famous Declaration of Indulgence supplied the supreme proof of his folly and was the immediate occasion of his downfall. The gist of it was that by the royal authority all laws against all classes of Nonconformists were suspended, that all religious tests imposed upon them by statute as a qualification for office were abrogated. Only an absolute monarch could claim to exercise such a prerogative. It is true that the Declaration was full of professions of love of liberty of conscience — professions which came oddly from a monarch with James's record. Moreover, as we now know, upon the very eve of publishing it he had written to congratulate Louis XIV upon his revocation of the Edict of Nantes, an example which Barillon, a very competent judge, thought he would have only too gladly followed if he had been able. Those hollow and palpably false professions deceived no one, and the failure of the Declaration to conciliate the support of those who would have chiefly benefited by it, might have suggested caution to a wiser man. But James would brook no opposition; and on 27 April, 1688, he ordered the Anglican clergy to read his Declaration of Indulgence during divine service on two successive Sundays. Nearly all the clergy refused to obey, and Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with six of his suffragans, addressed to the king a respectful and temperate protest. The document was treated as a libel, and the famous trial of the seven bishops was the result. The acquittal of the prelates was greeted throughout the country with a tumult of acclaim, which was the signal for the Revolution, whereby the ancient liberties of England were vindicated, and a Parliamentary title to the crown was substituted for an hereditary one. (See ENGLISH REVOLUTION OF 1688).

William III & Mary II (1688-1702)

The disfavour with which Catholics were viewed when William and Mary were placed on the throne vacated by James II, was natural enough. They shared in the hatred inspired by the perfidy, cruelty, and tyranny of the absconded sovereign. William, indeed, would have gladly extended to them the same measure of toleration which, in spite of Tory opposition, he was able to secure for Protestant Nonconformists. He was under great obligations not only to the emperor, but also to the pope, whose sympathy and diplomatic support had been of much help to him in his perilous enterprise. He was, by temperament and by conviction, averse from religious persecution. Moreover, as Hallam justly observes, "no measure would have been more politic, for it would have dealt to the Jacobite cause a more deadly wound than any which double taxation or penal laws were able to effect." And this, no doubt, was one of the reasons why the High Tories persistently opposed it. But the Legislature did not content itself with leaving on the statute book the former statutes against Catholics; it enacted new disqualifications and penalties. The Bill of Rights provides that no member of the reigning house who is a Catholic, or has married a Catholic, can succeed to the throne, and that the sovereign, on becoming a Catholic, or marrying a Catholic, thereby forfeits the crown. This article of the constitution was confirmed by the Act of Settlement (12 & 13 Will. III, c. 5, s. 2), which conferred the succession on the descendants of the Electress Sophia (a daughter of James I), being Protestants. Another statute, of the first year of William and Mary, prohibited Catholics from residing within ten miles of London and empowered justices to tender to reputed Papists "the oath appointed by law", providing that any who refused it, and yet remained within ten miles of London, was to forfeit and suffer as a Papist recusant convict. A third Act of the same year (1 W. & M., c. 15) provides that no suspected Papist who shall neglect to take the oath appointed by law, when tendered to him by two justices of the peace, and who shall not appear before them upon notice from one authorized under their hands and seals, shall keep any arms, ammunition, or horse above the value of five pounds in his possession, and in that of any other person to his use (other than such as shall be allowed him by the sessions for defence of his house and person); that any two justices may authorize by warrant any person to search for all such arms, ammunition, and horses in the daytime, with the assistance of the constable or his deputy or tithing-man, and to seize them for the king's use; and that if any person shall conceal such arms, ammunition, or horses, he shall be imprisoned for three months and shall forfeit to the king treble the value of such arms, ammunition, or horse. The 7 & 8 Will. III, c. 24, closed to Catholics the professions of counsellor-at-law, barrister, attorney, and solicitor; and the 7 & 8 Will. III, c. 27, declared that any person who refuses to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, when lawfully tendered, should be liable to suffer as a Popish recusant convict; and that no person who should refuse the said oath should be admitted to give a vote at the elections of any member of Parliament. In 1700 an Act was passed which, Sir Erskine May observes, "cannot be read without astonishment". It incapacitated every Roman Catholic from inheriting or purchasing land, unless he abjured his religion upon oath; and on his refusal it vested his property, during his life, in his next of kin being a Protestant. He was even prohibited from sending his children abroad, to be educated in his own faith. And while his religion was thus proscribed, his civil rights were further restrained by the oath of abjuration. It prescribed imprisonment for life for all Catholic priests, and enacted that an informer, in the event of their being convicted of saying Mass, was to receive a reward of one hundred pounds.

Concerning this Act of William III Hallam remarks, "So unprovoked, so unjust a persecution is the disgrace of the Parliament that passed it." But he goes on to add, "The spirit of Liberty and tolerance was too strong for the tyranny of the law and this statute was not executed according to its purpose. The Catholic landholders neither renounced their religion nor abandoned their inheritance. The judges put such constructions upon the clause of forfeiture as eluded its efficiency." No doubt this is generally true. But as Charles Butler tells us in his "Historical Memoirs" (London, 1819-21), "in many instances the laws which deprived Catholics of their landed property were enforced." He adds that "in other respects they were subject to great vexation and contumely". They were a very small and very unpopular minority in an age when a common creed was regarded, in every European country, as the chief bond of civil polity and dissidents from it were more or less rigorously repressed. As a matter of fact, it is to a great English magistrate that we owe the ruling which placed an almost insuperable difficulty in the way of the tribe of informers. At the trial of the Rev. James Webb on the 25th of June, 1768, at Westminster, at the suit of a notorious common informer named Payne, Lord Mansfield told the jury that the defendant could not be condemned "unless there were sufficient proof of his ordination". Such proofs, of course, were not forthcoming. Lord Mansfield, as Charles Butler relates in his above-mentioned "Historical Memoirs", discountenanced the prosecution of Catholic priests and took care that the accused should have every advantage that the form of proceedings, or the letter or spirit of the law, could allow. And at that period the same temper animated English judges generally.

After William and Mary

As the second half of the eighteenth century wore on, English Catholics ceased to be regarded by the Government as politically dangerous. A certain number of them had taken part in the rising of 1715, and in the far more serious rising of 1745, and had in some instances been executed for their pains. But in 1758 the Old Pretender died, and the Young Pretender, upon whom his claim devolved, had ceased to excite either dread or enthusiasm. Men no longer took him seriously, and English Catholics in time — it was no very long time — acquiesced in the Revolution of 1688. Nay, they did something more than acquiesce. In 1778 an address was presented to George III, bearing the signatures of the Duke of Norfolk and nine other peers, and of one hundred and sixty-three commoners, on behalf of the Catholic body. It represents to the sovereign their "true attachment to the civil constitution of the country, which having been perpetuated through all changes of religious opinions and establishments, has been at length perfected by that Revolution which has placed your Majesty's illustrious house on the throne of these Kingdoms, and inseparably united your title to the crown with the law and liberties of your people". In this year, 1778, the first Catholic Relief Act was passed. It repealed the worst portions of the Statute of 1699 above mentioned, and set forth a new oath of allegiance which a Catholic could take without denying his religion. Though a very modest measure of relief, it was extremely distasteful to some bigoted Protestants, among whom it is distressing to find the name of John Wesley. But in truth Wesley — it is not a rare case — was no less ignorant and narrow-minded than zealous and devout, as is sufficiently evident from his "Letter concerning the Principles of Roman Catholics". In this document, besides other equally foolish assertions, he alleges that they hold an oath not binding if administered by heretics, and that they believe in the remission of future sins through the Sacrament of Penance. The conclusion he draws is that no government "ought to tolerate men of the Roman Catholic persuasion". There can be no doubt that the diatribes of Wesley and his followers largely swelled the agitation for the repeal of the Act of 1778, which was conducted by the Protestant Association, and which issued in the Lord George Gordon Riots.

It would be an error to impute the prevalence of a milder spirit towards Catholics at this period to sympathy with their religion. It arose rather from the relaxation of dogmatic belief, the latitudinarianism, the indifferentism which is a notable sign of those times, and which infected Catholics as well as Protestants throughout Europe. In England it was manifested, among other ways, in the apostasy of nine Catholic peers, while many other Catholic laymen, of position and influence, assumed a quite un-Catholic attitude towards the episcopate and towards the Government. They desired, legitimately enough, further deliverance from the penal laws; and to compass this end they had recourse to means not at all legitimate. In May, 1783, five of these constituted themselves "a Committee appointed to manage the further affairs of Catholics in this kingdom", to use their own words. "It was in some respects", writes Canon Flanagan (History of the Church in England, II, 393), "a useful institution, working zealously for the supposed interests of the Catholic body. Its zeal, unfortunately, was not according to knowledge. It sought to win emancipation by making to Protestants every concession that it believed it could in conscience, but it forgot meantime that minute theological knowledge would be necessary for so delicate a task; or rather it forgot that it was unintentionally perhaps, but not the less certainly, usurping the place of the bishops and of the Holy See. It was now in treaty with the government for fresh measures of relief. It complained that the Catholics were not allowed their own 'mode of worship'; were punished severely for educating their children 'in their own religious principles', whether at home or abroad; could not practise any of the professions of the law, or serve in the Army or Navy, or vote in the elections, or hold a seat in either House; and it prayed William Pitt, who was now prime minister, to aid them in their intended application for redress". Pitt was favourably inclined towards the committee, whose proceedings, however, were soon marked by great unwisdom. Protestant Nonconformists were at that time striving to obtain a complete toleration, and held out the right hand of fellowship to Catholics. The Catholic committees were well pleased by the proposed alliance, and in a bill which they drafted for the House of Commons, they inserted a clause providing that the relief to be given by it was to be available to those only who subscribed their names, in a Court of Justice, in the following form: "I, A.B., do hereby declare myself to be a Protesting Catholic Dissenter. The four vicars Apostolic, in an encyclical letter, condemned this and other vagaries of the Catholic Committee, and declared that none of the faithful clergy or laity under their care ought to take any oath or subscribe to any instrument wherein the interests of religion are concerned without the previous approbation of their respective bishops. The Holy See approved this letter. In the Relief Act which was passed in 1791 the foolish phrase "Protesting Catholic Dissenters" was struck out, and the oath proposed by the Catholic Committee was utterly discarded, the inoffensive Irish oath of 1778, with slight variations, being substituted for it. Catholics taking this oath were relieved from the penalties of the Statutes of Recusancy and from the obligation of taking the oath of supremacy prescribed by the Statute of William and Mary. Various disabilities were removed, and toleration was extended to Catholic schools and worship. Shortly after this Act was passed the Catholic Committee turned itself into the Cisalpine Club and continued under that name, for thirty years, to trouble more or less the vicars Apostolic.

There can be little doubt that the passing of the Relief Act was facilitated by the outbreak of the Revolution in France. Another result, at first extremely prejudicial to the Catholic Church in England, of that great upheaval was the closing of the seminaries on the Continent, which had furnished to that country a supply of priests. Douai was seized by the French Revolutionary Government in 1793. The English Benedictine houses in France also disappeared. The closing of the English Catholic colleges in France was, however, to some extent compensated by the influx of clergy from that country. No less than eight thousand of these confessors of the Christian Faith sought the hospitality of Protestant England, and it was ungrudgingly given. The King's House at Winchester sheltered a thousand of them, and for several years a considerable sum was voted for their relief by Parliament and was largely supplemented by voluntary subscriptions. A certain number of these priests sought and found work on the English Mission. By far the greater part of them returned home when Napoleon had concluded his Concordat with the Holy See and re-established Christian worship in France. Of those who remained a few were irreconcilably dissatisfied with the new ecclesiastical arrangements in their country. They were known as Blanchardists, from their leader Blanchard, and were a source of much annoyance to the vicars Apostolic. The heroic Milner was especially prominent in combating them, and in asserting the rights of the Holy See. That strenuous champion of orthodoxy had, at the same time, to contend with Catholics of his own nationality. The spirit which had animated the Catholic Committee and the Cisalpine Chub was by no means extinct, and led to the formation in 1808, of what was called a "Select Board" which professed as its object the organization of an association for "the general advantage of the Catholic body". That "general advantage" turned out to be the further removal of Catholic disabilities, and the price which the Select Board was prepared to pay for such removal was the vesting in the Crown of an effectual negative upon the appointment of Catholic bishops — commonly called the Veto. The Irish episcopate unanimously opposed this arrangement, and passed a vote of thanks to Dr. Milner for his "apostolic constancy" in withstanding it. On 30 April, 1813, Grattan brought forward a Catholic relief bill in the House of Commons, which substantially provided for the Veto. It was thrown out on the third reading. Eight years later a similar bill passed the House of Commons, but was rejected by the House of Lords. Of the eventual emancipation of Catholics Dr. Milner had no doubt. Twelve years before his death, which took place in 1826, he assured the pope that it was certain to come. But he would not purchase it by the slightest sacrifice of Catholic principle. In 1826 a declaration was put forward by all the vicars Apostolic of England explanatory of various articles of the Catholic Faith greatly misunderstood by many Protestants. It was widely read and doubtless helped to remove prejudice. In the same year Sidney Smith published his masterly "Letter on the Catholic Question". Not, however, till March, 1829, was the long desired boon conceded to Catholics. It was wrung, so to speak, from statesmen who had always opposed it. The Clare election convinced Peel and the Duke of Wellington, who were then in power, that the settlement of the Irish question was a political necessity. The duke reminded the House of Lords that when the Irish Rebellion of 1798 had been suppressed the Legislative Union had been proposed in the next year mainly for the purpose of introducing this very measure of concession, and not obscurely intimated his opinion that further to refuse it must lead to civil war. This relief bill passed both Houses by large majorities. The king's consent was reluctantly given, and the Emancipation Act became law. It should be noted that before the passing of the Emancipation Act the friction of which we have been obliged to speak, between certain prominent members of the Catholic laity and the vicars Apostolic, was virtually at an end. The Cisalpine Club still existed; but, as Monsignor Ward remarks (Catholic London A Century Ago, p. 38), "there was very little Cisalpinism in it". This was largely due to the personal influence of Dr. Poynter, Vicar Apostolic of the London District, whose gentleness and meekness triumphed where the fiery zeal of Milner failed.

When the nineteenth century opened, the Catholics of Great Britain were, to quote Cardinal Newman's words, "a gens lucifuga, found in corners and alleys and cellars and the housetops, or in the recesses of the country". Their chapels were few and far between, and were purposely placed in quarters where they were unlikely to attract observation. It was common to locate them in mews, and in their exterior they were hardly distinguishable from the adjoining stables. George Eliot has well remarked in Felix Holt, "Till the agitation about the Catholics in '29, rural Englishmen had hardly known more of Catholics than of the fossil mammoths." Their political emancipation was the beginning of a great change in their social condition. "The steps were higher that men took"; their ostracism began to pass away. Moreover, the reaction which had followed the French Revolution had told in favour of Catholicism even in England. Chateaubriand's "Génie du christianisme" had a world-wide influence, and some of the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott, however deficient in accuracy, presented a much kinder view of the ancient faith than had been commonly taken in Protestant countries.

In the history of the Catholic Church in England since 1829 two events require special notice. One was the rise of what is called "The Oxford Movement". Cardinal Newman used to date that movement from the year 1833, when Keble preached at Oxford his famous assize sermon on "National Apostasy". But indeed it was simply the bodying-forth of tendencies which had been long in the air. The old notion of the medieval period as "a millennium of darkness" had passed away; and from the contemplation of its masterpieces in architecture and painting men proceeded to study its intellectual and spiritual life. They were also led to investigate, in the light of facts and first principles, the claims of Anglicanism. No doubt the "Lectures on the History and Structure of the Prayer Book of the Church of England" delivered by Dr. Lloyd, the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, set many of his hearers thinking, Newman among them. But the object of the leaders of the Oxford Movement at its beginning was not to examine, but to defend, the Anglican Church. This was the intention of the "Tracts for the Times", begun in 1833. It is not here possible, or indeed necessary, to follow the course of the movement, which, as it went on, departed ever more and more widely from the standards — even the highest — of Anglicanism, and approximated ever more and more closely to the Catholic ideal. It culminated in the famous "Tract XC", the theme of which was that the Thirty-nine Articles were susceptible of a Catholic interpretation and could be accepted by one who held all the dogmas of the Council of Trent. Of course the movement greatly interested Catholics, and by no one was it more closely and anxiously followed than by Dr. Wiseman, who had made the acquaintance of Newman and Froude upon the occasion of their visiting Rome in 1833. In September, 1840, Wiseman arrived at Oscott from Rome — where almost all his previous life had been spent — to take up his residence as president of that college and Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District. He felt from the day of his arrival there, as he wrote in a memorandum eight years afterwards, that a new era had commenced in England. To help forward that era was the end to which his great gifts and his large heart were utterly devoted. The majority of hereditary English Catholics were much prejudiced against the Tractarians. Dr. Lingard warned Bishop Wiseman not to trust them. Dr. Griffiths, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District, used similar language. But Wiseman did trust them. He held that Catholic principles, if honestly entertained, must lead to the Catholic Church, and he fully believed in the honesty of Newman and Newman's followers. How Newman was influenced by a paper of his on the Donatists, published in the Dublin Review in 1839, is well known. The Oxford Movement had been directed to the impossible aim of unprotestantizing the Anglican Church. Newman and many of his friends came gradually to see that the aim was impossible. The kindly light which they had so faithfully followed step by step led them on to Rome. Wiseman testified: "The Church has not received at any time a convert who has joined her in more docility and simplicity of faith than Newman."

Wiseman had earnestly desired "an influx of fresh blood" into the Catholic Church in England. The accession of the converts due to the Oxford Movement brought it. And no doubt it accelerated the restoration of the hierarchy which had been so strongly desired by generations of Catholics. In 1840 Gregory XVI had increased the number of English vicars Apostolic from four to eight. Ten years afterwards Pius IX decreed that "the hierarchy of Bishops ordinary, taking their titles from their sees, should, according to the usual rules of the Church, again flourish in the Kingdom of England". The whole of the country was formed into one province consisting of the metropolitan See of Westminster, and the twelve suffragan sees of Southwark, Plymouth, Clifton, Newport and Menevia, Shrewsbury, Liverpool, Salford, Hexham and Newcastle, Beverley, Nottingham, Birmingham, Northampton. This restoration of the hierarchy was certainly not designed as an act of war; it was indeed "unattended by any suspicion that it would give offence to others". But it did give dire offence, and the country resounded with denunciations of what was called "The Papal Aggression". An "insolent and insidious aggression", Lord John Russell, the premier, pronounced it to be, and shortly afterwards introduced into the House of Commons a bill by which the Catholic bishops were prohibited, under penalties, from assuming the territorial titles conferred upon them by the pope. The bill became law after long and angry debates, but was, from the first, a dead letter. There can be no question that Cardinal Wiseman's appeal to the people of England largely contributed to allay the popular passion which his pastoral letter "From without the Flaminian Gate" had had no small share in exciting. Though a somewhat lengthy pamphlet, it was printed in extenso in "The Times" and in four other London newspapers, and its circulation was immense. The cardinal appealed to the "manly sense and honest heart" of his countrymen, to "the love of honourable dealing and fair play, which is the instinct of an Englishman", and he did not appeal in vain.

Cardinal Wiseman filled the metropolitan See of Westminster from 1850 to 1865, and it would be hard to overrate the greatness of his services to the Catholic cause in England. Manning truly said in the sermon preached at his funeral: "When he closed his eyes he had already seen the work he had begun expanding everywhere, and the traditions of three hundred years everywhere dissolving before it." When he began that work, there were less than five hundred priests in England; when he ceased from. it there were some fifteen hundred. The number of converts during these fifteen years had increased tenfold, and fifty-five monasteries had come into being. But mere statistics give no sufficient notion of the progress made by the Catholic Church under Wiseman's rule, a progress directly due to him in large measure. Not the least important item of his service to religion was the way in which he presented the Church to his countrymen. Mr. Wilfrid Ward is well warranted when he writes: "Wiseman may claim to have been the first effectively to remind Englishmen in our own day of the historical significance of the Catholic Church, which so much impressed Macaulay, and which affected permanently such a man as Comte, which kindled the historical enthusiasm of a De Maîstre, a Görres and a Frederick Schlegel." The organization of the Catholic Church, as it now exists in England, may be said to be due to him. He himself drew up, almost entirely, the decrees regarding it for the First Provincial Synod, held at Oscott (1852). His work, indeed, was not done in the tranquillity which he loved. "Without were fightings, within were fears." Some of the converts did not fuse with the hereditary Catholics, "the little remnant of Catholic England", whom they judged to be ill-educated and behind the times, and this prejudice Wiseman regarded as ungenerous, even if, to some extent, it was not unfounded. He deprecated strongly the spirit of party and sought in all gentleness, to put it down and to guide his flock into the way of peace. On the other hand, some of the old clergy, taking their stand upon the ancient ways, regarded with distrust certain innovations of discipline and devotion introduced by the more zealous of the converts. They looked upon the Oratorians as extravagant. They viewed Monsignor Manning with suspicion. It is unnecessary to enter into the dissensions which embittered Wiseman's declining years. The last two, indeed, were passed in comparative quiet, but amid much physical suffering. Not long before he died he said: "I have never cared for anything but the Church. My sole delight has been in everything connected with her."

Cardinal Wiseman's successor in the See of Westminster — the successor he desired — was the provost of his chapter, Monsignor Manning, whose episcopate lasted until 1892. They were twenty-seven years of fruitful activity, through evil report and through good report. For some time he was certainly unpopular, not only among his Protestant fellow countrymen but among his own clergy, who did not like his strict discipline and some of whom by no means sympathized with what was called his "ultra-papalism". But gradually the prejudice against him wore off, and his great qualities obtained general recognition. It was the victory of his faith unfeigned, his deep devotion, his spotless integrity, his indomitable courage, his singleness of aim, his entire devotion to the cause which, in his heart of hearts, he believed to be the only cause worth living for. One who knew him well said of him: "He was an Archbishop who lived among his people", "the door-steps of his house were worn with the footsteps of the fatherless and the widow, the poor, the forlorn, the tempted and the disgraced, who came to him in their hours of trouble and sorrow." No doubt he made mistakes, some of them grave enough — as, for example, his persistent opposition to the frequentation of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge by Catholic young men — and his abortive and costly attempt to supply the loss of academical training by a college of higher studies at Kensington under the direction of Monsignor Capel. But it is certainly true that the active part which he played in every department of social reform revealed him not only as a great philanthropist and a great churchman, but also as a statesman of no mean order. It was said by an able writer, upon the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his consecration: "To him, more than to any man, it is due that English Catholics have at last outgrown the narrow cramped life of their past of persecution, and stand in all things upon a footing of equality with their fellow countrymen." No doubt this happy result was largely due to Manning; but perhaps it was more largely due to another. The revelation of his inner life which John Henry Newman thought himself obliged to put before his countrymen in order to vindicate himself from the wanton attacks of Charles Kingsley, in 1864, came like a revelation to multitudes of what Catholicism as a religion really is. The "Apologia pro Vita Sua" was like a burst of sunlight putting to flight the densest mists of Protestant prejudice. And the "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk" (1875), in reply to Gladstone's pamphlet on the Vatican decrees which appeared in 1874, may be said to have made an end of the old error that a loyal Catholic cannot be a loyal Englishman. It was enough for Newman to affirm that there was no incompatibility between the two characters. His countrymen believed him on his word. Lord Morley of Blackburn, a very competent judge, writes: "Newman raised his Church to what would, not so long before, have seemed a strange and incredible rank in the mind of Protestant England" (Miscellanies, Fourth Series, p. 161).

Herbert Vaughan, who succeeded Cardinal Manning in the See of Westminster, ruled the diocese as archbishop, and the province as metropolitan for nearly eleven years. It was reserved for him to take up a work which his predecessor had put aside — the erection of a cathedral for Westminster. The first public act which Manning had to perform after his nomination to the archbishopric — it was even before his consecration — was to preside over a meeting summoned to promote the building of a cathedral in memory of Cardinal Wiseman. He declared on that occasion: "It is a work which I will take up and will to the utmost of my power promote — when the work of the poor children in London is accomplished, and not till then." This work for the poor Catholic children of London — provision for their education in their religion — was Cardinal Manning's life-work; and before he passed away it was accomplished. The building of the cathedral he left, as he announced in 1874, to his successor. The magnificent fane conceived by the genius of John Francis Bentley may, in some sort, be considered as Cardinal Vaughan's monument, as being the outcome of his energy and zeal. It is a memorial of him, as well as of Cardinal Wiseman.

Current position of the Church

So much must suffice regarding the history of Catholicism in England from the so-called Reformation to the present day. We now proceed to give some account of the actual position of the Church in that country. We have already seen that in 1850 Pope Pius IX reconstituted the hierarchy, making England one ecclesiastical province under the metropolitan See of Westminster, with the twelve suffragan Sees of Southwark, Hexham and Newcastle, Beverley, Liverpool, Salford, Newport and Menevia, Clifton, Plymouth, Nottingham, Birmingham, and Northampton. In 1878 the Diocese of Beverley was divided into the Dioceses of Leeds and Middlesborough; in 1882 the Diocese of Southwark was divided into the Dioceses of Southwark and Portsmouth, and in 1895 Wales, excepting Glamorganshire, was separated from the Diocese of Newport in England and Menevia, and formed into the Vicariate Apostolic of Wales. Three years later this vicariate was erected into the Diocese of Menevia, so that the Archbishop of Westminster now has fifteen suffragans. Hitherto, since the Reformation, England had been regarded as a missionary country and had been immediately subject to the Congregation of Propaganda. But Pius X, by his Constitution, "Sapienti Consilio", transferred (1908) England from that state of tutelage to the common law of the Church.

The number of priests, secular and regular, in England, according to the most recent list, is three thousand five hundred and twenty-four, and the number of churches, chapels, and institutes, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-six. Of the regulars who are over a thousand in number, many are French exiles, and a considerable number of them are not engaged in parochial or missionary work. There are three hundred and eleven monasteries and seven hundred and eighty-three convents, a great increase during the half-century which has passed away since 1851, when there were only seventeen monasteries and fifty-three convents. During the same period many churches of imposing proportions, adorned with more or less magnificence, have been erected. Conspicuous among them is the cathedral of Westminster of which mention has been already made. It is in the Byzantine style and is certainly one of the noblest of modern religious edifices. Nearly two hundred and fifty thousand pounds have already been expended on it, and, although still unfinished, it has been open for daily use since Christmas, 1903.

Catholics in England are still subject to various legal disabilities. We have already seen that by the Bill of Rights (11 Will. and Mary sen. 2, c. 2) no member of the reigning house who is a Catholic, or has married a Catholic, can succeed to the throne, that the sovereign, on becoming a Catholic, or marrying a Catholic, thereby forfeits the crown, and that the Act of Settlement (12 and 13 Will. III, c. 2, s. 2), by which the succession was confined to the descendants of the Electress Sophia, being Protestants, confirms this article of the Constitution. This last-mentioned statute further enacts "that whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of the Crown of England shall join in communion with the Church of England as by law established". The Emancipation Act (10 Geo. IV, c. 7), which was largely a disabling Act, provides that nothing contained in it "shall extend or be construed to enable any person otherwise than he is now by law entitled, to hold the office of Lord Chancellor of England or Lord Lieutenant of Ireland", and the common opinion is that Catholics cannot now fill these great positions, but this view appears questionable. The point is discussed at length in Lilly and Wallis's "Manual of the Law specially affecting Catholics", pp. 36-43. The Emancipation Act also contains sections imposing fresh disabilities upon "Jesuits and members of other religious orders, communities or Societies of the Church of Rome, bound by monastic or religious vows". These sections have never been put in force; still, as they remain on the statute book, they have the serious effect of disabling religious orders of men from holding property. An Act of 1860 (23 and 24 Vict., c. 134) has, however, somewhat mitigated this hardship, as also a like hardship regarding bequests for what are deemed superstitious uses, such as Masses for the dead. Such bequests are held by English law to be void, but the Irish courts do not follow the English on this point. It should be noted that up to the passing of the Emancipation Act, trusts for the promotion of Catholic charities were held to be illegal. Nor did that enactment expressly refer to them, so that three years later, in order to remove all doubts concerning them, the Roman Catholic Charities Act was passed, by which such charities were made subject to the same laws as Protestant Dissenting charities. The English law as to trusts for Catholic purposes, which are neither charitable nor void as being for "superstitious uses" or for support of forbidden orders, is the same as that which applies to other bequests which are lawful but not charitable.

The only other Catholic disability which need be noticed here is that no person in Holy orders of the Church of Rome is capable of being elected to serve in Parliament as a Member of the House of Commons. This disability is shared by the clergymen of the Church of England, who, however, can escape from it by the legal process vulgarly, though incorrectly, called renouncing their orders, but not by Protestant Dissenting ministers.

It should be noticed that in England provision is made for securing religious liberty for pauper and criminal Catholics. In every workhouse a creed register is kept in which the religion of every inmate is entered by the master, upon admission, and the Guardians of the Poor are empowered to appoint Catholic clergymen, at suitable salaries, to minister to the Catholic paupers. Similarly, Catholic chaplains may be appointed in public lunatic asylums. Catholic pauper children may be transferred from the workhouse schools to schools of their own religion, and, if boarded out, provision is made for their attending the Catholic church. Catholic ministers to prisons are appointed by the Home Secretary, and are duly remunerated. There are sixteen commissioned army chaplains paid by the State. In the Navy there are twenty-three Catholic chaplains, and a hundred and thirty priests receive capitation allowances.

We go on to say some words en Catholic education in England since the Reformation. Of course it hardly existed when the penal law's were enforced in their full rigour. The clergy, as we have seen, were trained abroad at Rome, at Douai, at Lisbon, at Valladolid. The young laity benefited in intermittent and uncertain fashion by the teaching of the priests. Shakespeare, whom there is strong reason for accounting a Catholic (see Lilly's "Studies in Religion and Literature"), was "reared up", according to an old tradition, by an old Benedictine monk, Dom Thomas Combe, or Coombes. In Pope's time a few Catholic schools were found here and there, and he was sent to one of them, a "Roman Catholic seminary", it is called, at Twyford, kept by Thomas Deane, an ex-fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. But these "seminaries" were carried on with difficulty, being illegal, and it was not until the outbreak of the French Revolution that much was effected for the cause of Catholic education in England. The professors and pupils of the University of Douni, after enduring many hardships, returned to England in 1795, some going to Herefordshire, in the South, and some to Tudhoe, in the North. The Herefordshire establishment developed in time into St. Edmund's College. The school founded at Tudhoe, and removed first to Crook Hill, has expanded into the great college of Ushaw, which now also serves as a seminary for the five northern Dioceses of Hexham and Newcastle, Leeds, Middlesborough, Salford, and Shrewsbury. Thus these two noble institutions may claim as their far-off founder Cardinal Allen. The magnificent Jesuit college of Stonyhurst may in like manner derive its origin from Father Persons, for it was founded by the religious who fled from the house established by him at St. Omer. The not less magnificent college of Downside is the descendant of St. Gregory's, Douai, i.e. of the Benedictine monastery and college founded there in 1606. The monks fleeing from the fury of the French Revolution were received at Acton Burnell in Shropshire by Sir Edward Smith who had been one of their pupils. It was in 1814 that they settled at Downside. The great college of Oscott is now a seminary in which priests are trained for the southern dioceses and is under the joint direction of the Archbishop of Westminster and the Bishops of Birmingham, Clifton, Menevia, Newport, Northampton, and Portsmouth.

St. Joseph's Missionary College was founded by Cardinal Vaughan, who ever took the deepest interest in it, and who is buried in the grounds. Of Catholic higher schools two deserve special mention; that at Edgbaston, founded by Cardinal Newman, and that at Beaumont, established by the Jesuits. Until 1895 Catholic young men were discouraged — nay were inhibited, without special permission of the ecclesiastical authorities — from frequenting the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but in that year a letter from the Congregation of Propaganda to Cardinal Vaughan announced that the Holy See had removed this restriction, the bishops, however, being enjoined to make proper provision for Catholic worship and instruction for Catholic young men resorting to these ancient seats of learning. Elementary education has also been largely provided for by Catholics in England. Before the Protestant Reformation all the great monasteries had, attached to them, primary schools for poor children. These of course disappeared with the monasteries. In the eighteenth century a number of Protestant charity schools were founded, but it was not until the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century that provision for elementary public instruction began to be recognized as a public duty. In 1833 a Parliamentary grant was first made "for the purpose" of education. It was divided between two Protestant societies, the British and Foreign School, which ignored dogmatic religious teaching, and the National, which represented the Church of England. In 1847 Catholic elementary schools, which had much increased in numbers, were admitted to share in the government grant, and the Catholic Poor School Committee was founded to supervise and direct them, a duty which this body, now called the Catholic Education Council, still fulfils.

Catholic journalism in England is zealously represented by "The Tablet" newspaper, which was founded so long ago as 1840. It is published weekly. Other Catholic journals are the "Catholic Times", "Catholic Meekly", "Catholic Herald", "Catholic News", and "Universe". The chief Catholic review is the "Dublin Review", founded by Cardinal Wiseman, long edited by W.G. Ward, and now by his son Mr. Wilfrid Ward. It is published quarterly. "The Month", a magazine of general literature edited by Fathers of the Society of Jesus, is issued monthly, as its name denotes. An extremely important publication is the "Catholic Directory", which in its present form dates from the year 1838. But for nearly a century previously there had been a Directory which, however, in its earliest issues was merely an Ordo, or Calendar, for the use of priests reciting Office.

It remains now to speak of certain Catholic societies existing in England. In the first place mention must be made of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, founded in 1871. The earliest meeting recorded in the minute book was held at Norfolk House, on the 10th of February of that year, when it was unanimously agreed, "that a Society of Catholics be founded, under the title of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, to promote all Catholic interests, especially the restoration of the Holy Father to his lawful Sovereign rights". The establishment of the society was sanctioned by the archbishops and bishops of England and by the vicars Apostolic of Scotland (the hierarchy in that country was not restored until 1878), and was emphatically approved by Pius IX. In the rules of the Catholic Union the following means of effecting its objects are specified:

  1. By meetings of the Union and of the Council;
  2. By public meetings;
  3. By petitions or memorials, or deputations to the Authorities;
  4. By local branches;
  5. By correspondence with similar societies in other countries;
  6. By procuring and publishing information on subjects of interest to Catholics;
  7. By co-operation with approved Confraternities, Institutions, and Charitable Associations, for the furtherance of their respective objects; which co-operation shall, in each case, be sanctioned by the Bishop of the Diocese;
  8. By any other mode approved of by the Council and the Bishops.
For thirty-seven years the Catholic Union has worked steadily and successfully on the lines thus indicated. It has also been of great utility in affording advice and assistance to Catholics, especially the clergy, in matters of doubt and difficulty, legal and administrative. It is governed by a president and council elected by the general body of members. From the first the office of president has been held by the Duke of Norfolk, and for many years the Marquis of Ripon has been the vice-president. On its list of members will be found most British Catholics of position and influence.

The Catholic Truth Society was founded in 1884 by the late Cardinal Vaughan, then rector of the Foreign Missionary College at Mill Hill, and has since had a career of much usefulness. Its main objects are to disseminate among Catholics small and cheap devotional works; to assist the uneducated poor to a better knowledge of their religion; to spread among Protestants information about Catholic truth; to promote the circulation of good, cheap, and popular Catholic books. It holds every year a Conference for the elucidation and discussion of questions affecting the work of the Catholic Church in England. During the twenty years of its existence it has issued publications, great and small, at the rate of about a million a year. It has formed a lending library of books for the blind; and it has a collection of about forty sets of lantern views, with accompanying readings on subjects connected with Catholic faith and history. It has been copied by societies bearing the same names in Scotland and Ireland, in the United States Canada, Bombay, and Australia.

The Catholic Association was originally founded in 1891. Its objects are stated in its Rules as being;

It has been particularly successful in the organization of pilgrimages to Rome and other places of Catholic interest.

We cannot better bring to an end this brief survey of the career of Catholicism in England since the Protestant Reformation than in some eloquent and touching words with which Abbot Gasquet concludes his "Short History of the Catholic Church in England": — "When we recall the state to which the long years of persecution had reduced the Catholic body at the dawn of the nineteenth century, we may well wonder at what has been accomplished since then. Who shall say how it has come about? Where out of our poverty, for example, have been found the sums of money for all our innumerable needs? Churches and colleges and schools, monastic buildings and convents, have all had to be built and supported; how, the Providence of God can alone explain. . . . From the first years of the nineteenth century, when the principle 'suffer it to be' was applied to the English Catholic Church, there have been signs of the dawn of the brighter, happier days for the old religion. Slight indeed were the signs at first, slight but significant, and precious memories to us now, of the workings of the Spirit, of the rising of the sap again in the old trunk, and of the bursting of bud and bloom in manifestation of that life which, during the long winter of persecution, had been but dormant. Succisa virescit. Cut down almost to the ground, the tree planted by Augustine has manifested again the divine life within it; it has put forth once more new branches and leaves, and gives promise of abundant fruit."

Sources

Anything like a complete bibliography of the subject treated in the foregoing article would attain to the dimensions of a large library catalogue. But the following books may be mentioned: BELLESHEIM. Wilhelm Cardinal Allen, 1532-1594, und die englischen Semin re auf dem Festlande (Mainz, 1885); BUTLER, Historical Memoirs of English, Scottish, and Irish Catholics (3 vols., London, 1819-21); ID., Historical account of the Laws respecting the Roman Catholics (London, 1795); ID., The Book of the Roman Catholic Church (London, 1825); BREWER, GAIRDNER, AND BRODIE, eds., Calendar of Letters and Papers foreign and domestic of the reign of Henry VIII (18 vols., London, 1862-1902); CHALLONER, Memoirs of the Missionary priests and other Catholics that suffered death in England, 1577-1684 (2 vols., Manchester, 1803; Derby, 1843); COLLIER, History of the Church of England (London, 1708-09); DODD, Church History of England from 1500 to 1688 (Brussels, 1737-42), and new edition by TIERNEY (5 vols., London, 1839); FOLEY, Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus (7 vols., London, 1880); GASQUET, Henry VIII and the English Monasteries (5th ed., London, 1893); ID. AND E. BISHOP, Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer (London, 1890); GILLOW, Literary and biographical history of Roman Catholics (5 vols., London, 1886); GILLOW ed., Haydock Papers (London, 1888); HALLAM, Constitutional History of England from the accession of Henry VII to death of George II (3 vols., tenth ed., London, 1863); HAUDEC UR, La Conservation providentielle du Catholicisme en Angleterre (Reims, 1898); HUSENBETH, Notices of the English Colleges and Convents on the Continent after the dissolution of the religious houses in England (Norwich, 1849); KNOX, Records of the English Catholics under the Penal Laws (2 vols., London, 1882-4); LAW, A Calendar of the English Martyrs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (London, 1876); LILLY AND WALLIS, A Manual of the Law specially affecting Catholics (London, 1893); MACAULAY, Works (8 vols., London, 1866); MAY (LORD FARNBOROUGH), Constitutional History of England, 1760-1860 (2 vols., 2nd ed., London, 1863-5); MILNER, Letters to a Prebendary; ans. to Reflections on Popery by J. Sturges, remarks on the opposition of Hoadlyism to the doctrines of the Church of England (7th ed., London, 1822); ID., Supplementary Memoirs of English Catholics (London, 1820); ID., The End of Religious Controversy; ID., Vindication of the end of religious controversy from exceptions of T. Burgess and R. Grier (London, 1822); PANZANI, Memoirs, giving account of his agency in England, 1634-6, tr. by BERINGTON, added, State of English Catholic Church (Birmingham, 1793); VON RANKE, Die r m. P pste in d. letzten vier Jhdtn (3 vols., 7th ed., Leipzig, 1878); SANDER, Rise of the Anglican Schism (1585), with continuation by RISHTON, tr., with notes, etc., by LEWIS (London, 1877); SIMPSON, Edmund Campion (London, 1867); Statutes at Large; STRYPE, Annals of Reformation (London, 1708-09); WARD, Catholic London a Century ago (London, 1905).

About this page

APA citation. Lilly, W. (1909). England (Since the Reformation). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05445a.htm

MLA citation. Lilly, William. "England (Since the Reformation)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05445a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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