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Catholic England

The era when just being Catholic was a crime. Ed West. Slice 1. Read more.

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When buying ordinary products, you may be funding political causes you reject. Francis Phillips. Chad Pecknold. Weekly Newsletter. Sign up to our weekly newsletter. Latest News. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. But such voices were few indeed in the 18th century. It was the French Revolution above all that changed the climate in such a relatively short time. Continental Catholics were now victims of anarchistic terror; and doors were flung open in Britain to welcome refugees, even members of the hated and despised monastic orders.

In another anticipation of more recent times, the British people turned out to be more compassionate and more sensible than one might have expected from the violent nonsense regularly spouted in the public media of the day. There was also increasingly a pragmatic reason for looking afresh at the problem.

Earlier generations had assumed that security required repression and surveillance; but the smouldering unrest in Ireland in the s, when Britain faced a major threat from revolutionary France, made it clear that other tactics would be needed: perhaps security would be better served by giving Irish Catholics a proper stake in the society they were part of, a reason for supporting its structures rather than rejecting them? Wellington and eventually Peel became — at a real personal and political cost — advocates for change.

The obstacles were still formidable, and Fraser as the title of her book implies has a particular interest in the role of the monarch — or rather the Prince Regent for much of the period.

Anti-Catholic Penal Laws In Ireland

It is unashamedly old-fashioned narrative history, not overly concerned with statistics or analysis, but solidly factual and even-handed without being dull. Its significance, though, is more than this alone might suggest. Yet during the late 16th and 17th centuries, Catholic priests in Britain worked in secret, knowing discovery meant certain death. Dozens were martyred.

Those days are clearly over.

Never forget the bloody horrors of the English Reformation | Catholic Herald

The leaders of the Catholic church and the Church of England are on close terms, so are people in the pews. That was evident in Westminster Abbey this week at a service to mark years since the Lutheran Reformation, attended by both Catholics and Protestants. Up to a point. But in an increasingly secular nation such as Britain, fellow Christians are no longer the enemy; they are allies. That is where the problem lies for Catholics.


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If there is any prejudice left against them in the UK, any suspicion of popery, it comes from those who are avowedly secular. Hideous caricatures of the pope appeared on the streets, of the German pope carrying a swastika, rather than a crucifix.

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