My Writings. My Thoughts.
// August 4th, 2012 // Comments Off // The English Reformation Today
“The English Reformation Today” tells the story of the English Reformation and its aftermath, focusing on how it affected Catholics in England after their Church was driven underground and their Faith and its practice outlawed. The series also highlights the on-going significance of the English Reformation today in many ways: issues of religious freedom; ecumenical issues between the Catholic Church and the Church of England, etc.
Great Catholic Converts and Catholic literary revival: from Chesterton to the Royal Family (and the recent changes in Royal succession); Beatifications and Canonizations of Catholic Martyrs from 1535 to 1681 by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II; Pope Benedict XVI and England–his outreach to “groups of Anglicans” with the Personal Ordinariate; his visit to England and the beatification of John Henry Newman
Four important years:
1) 1829: Catholic Emancipation–Catholics at last able to vote, worship freely,
2) 1845: John Henry Newman becomes a Catholic–harbinger of wave of Oxford Movement converts
3) 1850: Restoration of the Hierarchy–Catholic revival (churches, schools, convents, monasteries–infrastructure)
4) 1870: Papal Infallibility and Catholic Loyalty–John Henry Newman and Conscience
The Glorious Revolution of 1688–desposition of the last Catholic King of England, James II: Catholic low point from 1688 to 1829; demonstrate how Catholics were second-class citizens, neither tolerated nor persecuted, obscure and isolated. Describe the efforts of Bishop Richard Challoner and Father Alban Butler to remind Catholics of their heritage; recount the beginnings of toleration for Catholics in the late eighteenth century–and anti-Catholic reaction. Return to Maryland: end of religious freedom for Catholics until after the American Revolution and the Constitution of 1789.
Highlight the religious conflict in England leading to the English Civil War; describe the Puritan Experiment in government, including its attack on Christmas. Describe the great religious crisis of the Popish Plot during the reign of the restored Stuart monarch, Charles II–recount the injustice of the trials of the last great wave of Catholic martyrs from 1679 to 1681. Continue the story of Maryland, describing Calvert’s heirs and their efforts to inculcate religious tolerance and freedom of religion in their colony–the changing fortunes of Catholics in the Maryland colony during the the Civil War and Restoration.
Explain the two great dangers to Elizabeth and how they affected Catholics: her rivalry with Mary, Queen of Scots and the Spanish Armada (plots led by Catholics to depose Elizabeth and replace her with Mary on England’s throne and the Catholic position on the Spanish Armada). Describe the wave of martyrdoms of Catholic priests and laity after the Armada: why are they martyrs?
Describe the end of the Tudor dynasty and the transition to the Stuart dynasty–the status of Catholics in 1603.
Describe the legislation that established the Church of England as a via media compromise between Calvinism and Catholicism (The Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles). Catholic Reaction: The Northern Rebellion.The controversial excommunication of Elizabeth I by Pope St. Pius V–casting suspicion on all Catholics in England and leading to recusancy and martyrdom. Stories of early martyrs like St. Edmund Campion and St. Robert Southwell.
The failure of Lady Jane Grey’s reign; the succession of Mary, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s daughter. The controversy over the burning of heretics during Mary I’s reign; her efforts to restore Catholicism more positively: the efforts of Cardinal Reginald Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. The death of Mary and the succession of Elizabeth, her half-sister–the legacy of “Bloody Mary” and her current reputation.
Calvinism in England during the reign of Edward VI; the influence of Continental Reformers; Thomas Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer; popular reaction and rebellion. Discuss Edward VI and his position as a young king trying to control his older half-sister Mary (conflict over her Catholicism and Mass) and the attempt to prevent a Catholic Queen (the story of Lady Jane Grey).
Tell the story of why Henry VIII broke away from the Holy Father in Rome and established the Church of England with himself as the Supreme Head and Governor; describe the first martyrs (the Carthusians, Thomas More, John Fisher, etc); the Dissolution of the Monasteries; the death of Henry VIII and his legacy.
Brief notes on changing interpretation of the English Reformation in historical studies. Description of the Catholic Church in England before the Reformation/Break from Rome: based on landmark study by Eamon Duffy, note the vitality and integration of Catholicism with everyday life in England: introduce some main characters of the story: Thomas More, Thomas Wolsey, John Fisher, Henry VIII