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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Catholic Mini-Protests

Terror in Elizabethan England | Podcast | History Extra:

"In 1570, when Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I, he not only cut her off from the Catholic Church and declared her a heretic, but he declared her illegitimate. He said she had no right to rule, and he enjoined all the Catholics of England to disobey her, upon pain of anathema he said she should not be obeyed.

So what do they do? They're in this bind, this terrible bind.

Y'know, do you obey the Pope, and save your soul but submit your body to temporal punishment? Or do you obey the Queen and condemn your soul to the flames of Hell forever? Not easy.

Actually, what most of them did was they crossed their fingers. Y'know, they would go to church and they would cross their fingers and they would sort of register little mini-protests that they thought - hoped - would sit well with God. So they might keep their hat on during the service, or they might chatter during the sermon, or, or my favourite was Sir Richard Charthem (sp?) of York who for two decades of attendance, every time he went into church he put a little bit of cotton in each ear.

And I guess they kind of hoped that God would think that was alright. And these guys were known perjoratively as "Church Papists"."
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