More on the Tudors

In 13 History on 2016/06/10 at 12:00 AM

• When Elizabeth I was crowned as Queen of England in 1558, the very first thing she did was to reverse the reestablishment of Catholicism as the official religion of the realm, a decision made by her half-sister and predecessor, Queen Mary.

• You’ll remember that their father, King Henry VIII, had broken from the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church in 1534 and formed the Church of England in response to the pope’s refusal to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

• Henry’s immediate successor, Edward VI, brought on the formal adoption of Protestantism during his reign from 1547 to 1553, but that was brought to a halt under the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary, who ruled from 1553 until 1558.

• Queen Mary was convinced that she was to bring the true faith back to England, but she died before her mission was fully accomplished, and her half-sister, ironically known as “Good Queen Bess” very quickly moved to suppress Catholicism upon ascending to the throne.

• Thus, from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Moreover, not only were Catholics not allowed to practice their faith, but many were imprisoned and eventually martyred for the Faith, especially many priests.

• While ultimately this period of English anti-Catholicism is a sad episode in Church history, many saints were borne out of the Church’s suffering, including martyrs such as St. Edmund Campion, who was hung, drawn and quartered by “Good Queen Bess” simply for being a Catholic priest and for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith.

Excerpted for Fr. Timothy Reid’s  sermon on the Epiphany re the Twelve Days of Christmas.


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