Thursday 4 June 2009

"Fires of Faith"

Thanks to Leutgeb's mention of it at Bara Brith, on Sunday, I was able to get Eamon Duffy's new book "Fires of Faith, Catholic England under Mary Tudor" delivered by Tuesday and read by yesterday evening. Perhaps- for me at any rate- the strongest point in its favour is that it shows the real achievement of the reign in laying a firm foundation for the Catholic resistance that was to be such an important feature of Elizabeth's reign and subsequently. Perhaps I should have been aware of this from "The Stripping of the Altars" but "Fires of Faith" brings it home forcefully. The fact, for instance, that all but one of the bishops were prepared to resist the Elizabethan settlement, to the extent of accepting deposition, imprisonment or exile - a complete volte face from that obtaining with their predecessors under Henry VIII- is a tribute to the efforts of Cardinal Pole. In fact, given the radically Protestant dispensation of Edward's reign, it is hard to imagine any Catholic resistance under Elizabeth were it not for the vigour of the Catholic restoration under Mary. Having tended to view the period from a Jesuit perspective I feel I have gained something of a necessary corrective.

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