The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Catechisms and Catechesis in England, Part 2

Authored by Gerard Boylan in Issue #29.3 of The Sower

In 1678 Titus Oates announced his discovery of a Jesuit-inspired plot to murder King Charles II and replace him with his Catholic brother, James, Duke of York. In the wave of engineered hysteria that followed upon his allegations, thirty-five priests and laymen were put to death.

When the full extent of Oates’ perjuries was discovered, there was a widespread sense of revulsion towards the bloodletting, which they had occasioned. This would significantly affect official attitudes towards English Catholics and the laws under which they suffered. Penal legislation against seminary priests remained in force, and the Toleration Act of 1689 specifically excluded Catholics, but no priest in England was executed after1681. Although occasional test cases were brought as late as 1771, and a priest named Maloney was condemned at Croydon to perpetual imprisonment in 1769, this was commuted, ‘by the mercy of the Government’ to banishment after three years. Other cases were thrown out of court on the grounds of insufficient evidence.[i]

James II’s flight into exile in 1688 was marked in several places by outbursts of violence against Catholic chapels,[ii] but no priests or religious were killed. By and large, the government wished ‘to let sleeping dogs lie’, and throughout the eighteenth century, while the Catholic gentry would be penalised by exclusion from government office, by social ostracism and by the imposition of double land-taxes, the days of bloody persecution were over. The Stuart Risings of 1715 and 1745 were met with indifference by the great majority of English Catholics, and by the middle of the century the Vicars Apostolic and informed Catholic gentlemen had come to accept that the Stuart cause was hopeless, and that they should make their peace with the House of Hanover.

It was against this political background that the nucleus of Oscott College’s Recusant collection was formed.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections— The Eucharistic Congress and the Missionary Year
By Dr. James Pauley
Catholics in the United States have a long history of hosting both national and international Eucharistic congresses. The first of these was in Washington, DC, in 1895, and the last was in Philadelphia in 1976. If your ancestors were Catholic and lived in North America, they may have participated in one of these congresses—in St. Louis (1901), or... Read more
Missionary Worship
By Sr. Jude Andrew Link, OP
There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs in nearly every culture across history: man ritualizes worship. All over the world the similarities are astounding—animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, gifts of grain, the joy of ecstatic praise. It points to a universal sense within man that not only recognizes that there is a God but also knows that... Read more
Ask, Seek, Knock: The Pitfalls and Potential of Catholic Door-to-Door Evangelization
By Joshua Kenny
“He’s just too small,” sobbed a woman we had just met. It was a sunny summer day, and the pastor, transitional deacon, and I were out knocking on doors within our parish boundaries. This woman’s door was within eyesight of the rectory, and it happened to be the first one we had visited. The conversation had started off just as awkwardly as one... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now