Thursday, June 06, 2019

Church papists

Reading: Church Papists by Alexandra Walsham, another gift from William Tighe at Muhlenberg. Part of the sad late-1500s story of ordinary English people trying to remain Catholic under a Queen who'd turned against the church. Walsham notes early on that this segues into Christopher Haigh's description of "parish Anglicanism" circa 1600, people resigned to the new church but treating it reverently as they did the old. Crypto-Catholics and conservative Anglicans were still largely the same in the late 1500s. Many English people surreptitiously remained Catholic through the 1580s, 30 years after the re-imposition of Anglicanism. People still said their rosaries at home; priests secretly celebrated Mass; both outwardly conformed to the Church of England, and the parish churches in the provinces and countryside often remained very Catholic. So you had "church papists" still believing in the Catholic Church but obeying the law. Anyway, the church didn't approve, banning attendance at Anglican services. Interesting: the older English habit of referring to the C of E as simply "the church" is a carryover from us. "The church" vs. "the chapel" of various Protestant dissenters. There is something to the mother country: a consecrated Catholic land defiled.

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