Monday, May 6, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Prodigal, Psalms 100, Act 16:1-10, John 15:18-21, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Mary give us the grace to be signs and tools of life!, St John Payne, 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, Catholic Church in England and Wales , Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 2 Sacraments of Healing Penance and Reconciliation Article 4:10 Indulgences

Saturday,  May 4, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Prodigal, Psalms 100, Act 16:1-10, John 15:18-21, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Mary give us the grace to be signs and tools of life!, St John Payne, 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, Catholic Church in England and Wales , Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 2 Sacraments of Healing Penance and Reconciliation Article 4:10  Indulgences

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Saturday in Easter


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis May 4 General Audience Address :

Mary, give us the grace to be signs and tools of life!

(2013-05-04 Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis on Saturday visited the patriarchal basilica of Saint Mary Major where he led the recitation of the Rosary. Please find Vatican Radio's translation of his reflection.

Dear brothers and sisters!
This evening we are here before Mary. We have prayed to her, to maternally take us more and more in union with her Son Jesus; we have brought her our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our difficulties; we have invoked her with the lovely name “Salus Populi Romani” (“protectress of the Roman people”) asking for all of us, for Rome, for the world that she keep us in good health. Yes, because Mary gives us health, she is our saving grace.

With his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ brings us salvation, the grace and the joy of being God’s children and the possibility of calling him with the name of the Father. Mary is a mother, a mother who takes care above all of the health of her children and knows how to heal them with her great and tender love. The Madonna is the custodian of our health. What does this mean? My thoughts go, above all, to three aspects: she helps us in our growth, she helps us to face life, she teaches us to be free.

1. A mother helps her children to grow and it is her wish that they grow well; this is why she teaches them to not yield to laziness – which is something that derives also from certain wellbeing -, she teaches them not to adapt themselves to a life of ease that desires nothing beyond material possessions. A mother takes care that her children’s growth is not stunted, that they grow strong and capable of taking responsibilities upon themselves, that they take on commitments in life and lean towards great ideals. The Gospel of Luke says that in the family of Nazareth Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him”(Luke 2,40). This is exactly what the Madonna does with us, she helps us to grow humanely and in faith, to be strong and not to yield to the temptation of being men and Christians in a superficial way, but to live with responsibility, reaching upwards all the time.

2. And then, a mother thinks of the health of her children, teaching them to face the difficulties of life. One does not educate, one does not look after someone’s health avoiding problems, as if life was a highway without obstacles. A mother helps her children to look to the problems in life with realism, not to lose oneself in them but to tackle them with courage, not to be weak, to know how to overcome them, in a healthy balance that a mother can “feel” is to be found in between the areas of safety and of risk. A life without challenges does not exist and a boy or a girl who does not know how to face challenges and put himself or herself on the line, has no backbone! Let us remember the parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus does not commend the behavior of the priest or of the Levite, who avoid assisting the traveler who had been beaten, robbed and left half dead along the road, but that of the Samaritan who saw the situation of the man and tackled it in a concrete manner. Mary lived many difficult times in her life, from the birth of Jesus, when “there was no room for him in the inn” (Luke 2,7), up until the Calvary: (John 19,25). And like a good mother she is close to us so that we never lose courage before the adversities of life, before our own weaknesses, before our sins: she gives us strength, she points to the path of her Son. From the cross, indicating John, Jesus tells Mary: “Woman, here is your son,” and to John: “Here is your mother!” (John 19,26-27). We are all represented by that disciple: the Lord entrusts us to the loving hands and to the tenderness of the Mother, so that we can rely on her support when we face and overcome the difficulties of our human and Christian journey.3. One last aspect: a good mother not only accompanies her children during their growth, not avoiding the problems and the challenges of life; a good mother also helps to take important decisions with freedom. But what does freedom mean? Certainly not doing all that one wants, letting oneself be dominated by passions, passing from one experience to the next without discernment, following the trends of the moment; freedom does not mean, so to say, throwing all that one does not like from the window. Freedom is given to us so that we make good choices in life! As a good mother, Mary teaches us to be, like she is, capable of making important decisions with the same full freedom with which she answered “yes” to God’s plan for her life (Luke 1,38).

Dear brothers and sisters, how difficult it is in our time to take important decisions! The ephemeral seduces us. We are victims of a tendency that pushes us towards the ephemeral… as if we wished to remain adolescents throughout our lives! We must not be afraid of definitive commitments, of commitments that involve and have an effect on our whole lives. In this way our lives will be fruitful!

The whole existence of Mary is a hymn to life, a hymn to love and to life: she generated Jesus the man and she accompanied the birth of the Church on Mount Calvary and in the Cenacle. The “Salus Populi Romani” is the mother that looks after our growth, she helps us face and overcome problems, she gives us freedom when we make important decisions; she is the mother who teaches us to be fruitful of good, joy, hope, to give life to others, both physical and spiritual life.

This is what we are asking of you this evening, Oh Mary, Salus Populi Romani, for the people of Rome, for all of us: give us the grace that only you can give, so that we may always be signs and tools of life.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: May

Vatican City, 3 April 2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father in the month May, 2013:

4 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Recitation of the Rosary in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

5 May, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass for Confraternities in St. Peter's Square.

12 May, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and canonizations of Blesseds Antonio Primaldo and Companions; Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.

18 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Pentecost Vigil in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.

19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 05/04/2013.


April 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:: "Dear children! Pray, pray, keep praying until your heart opens in faith as a flower opens to the warm rays of the sun. This is a time of grace which God gives you through my presence but you are far from my heart, therefore, I call you to personal conversion and to family prayer. May Sacred Scripture always be an incentive for you. I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

April 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, I am calling you to be one with my Son in spirit. I am calling you, through prayer, and the Holy Mass when my Son unites Himself with you in a special way, to try to be like Him; that, like Him, you may always be ready to carry out God's will and not seek the fulfillment of your own. Because, my children, it is according to God's will that you are and that you exist, and without God's will you are nothing. As a mother I am asking you to speak about the glory of God with your life because, in that way, you will also glorify yourself in accordance to His will. Show humility and love for your neighbour to everyone. Through such humility and love, my Son saved you and opened the way for you to the Heavenly Father. I implore you to keep opening the way to the Heavenly Father for all those who have not come to know Him and have not opened their hearts to His love. By your life, open the way to all those who still wander in search of the truth. My children, be my apostles who have not lived in vain. Do not forget that you will come before the Heavenly Father and tell Him about yourself. Be ready! Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." 


Today's Word: Prodigal prod·i·gal [prod-i-guhl]

Origin: 1500–10;  back formation from prodigality

1. wastefully or recklessly extravagant: prodigal expenditure.
2. giving or yielding profusely; lavish (usually followed by of  or with  ): prodigal of smiles; prodigal with money.
3. lavishly abundant; profuse: nature's prodigal resources.
4. a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5

1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence with songs of joy!
3 Be sure that Yahweh is God, he made us, we belong to him, his people, the flock of his sheepfold.
5 For Yahweh is good, his faithful love is everlasting, his constancy from age to age.


Today's Epistle - Acts 16:1-10

1 From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and had become a believer; but his father was a Greek.
2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him,
3 and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
4 As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to observe them.
5 So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
6 They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, because they had been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia.
7 When they reached the frontier of Mysia they tried to go into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them,
8 they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
9 One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and kept urging him in these words, 'Come across to Macedonia and help us.'
10 Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the good news.


Today's Gospel Reading - John 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples: "If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you. Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me.

• John 15, 18-19: The hatred of the world. “If the world hates you, you must realize that it hated me before it hated you”. The Christian who follows Jesus is called to live in a way contrary to society. In a world organized according to the egoistic interests of persons and groups which seek to live and radiate the love which will be crucified. This was the destiny of Jesus. This is why when a Christian is very much praised by the power of this world and is exalted as a model for all by mass media; it is good not to trust too much. “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you”. It was Jesus’ choice which separated us. And if we base ourselves on this gratuitous choice or vocation of Jesus we will have the force to suffer persecution and calumny and have joy, in spite of the difficulties.

• John 15, 20: The servant is not greater than his master. “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word they will keep yours as well”. Jesus had already insisted on this same point in the washing of the feet (Jn 13, 16) and in the discourse on the Mission (Mt 10, 24-25). And it is this identification with Jesus that, throughout the centuries, has given so much force to persons to continue the journey and has been a source of mystical experience for many saints and martyrs.
• John 15, 21: Persecution on account of Jesus. “But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me.” The repeated insistence of the Gospel in recalling those words of Jesus which can help the communities to understand the reason for the crisis and persecutions is an evident sign that our brothers and sisters of the first communities did not have an easy life. From the persecution of Nero after Christ up to the end of the first century, they lived knowing that they could be persecuted, accused, imprisoned and killed any moment. The force which sustained them was a certainty that Jesus communicated that God was with them.

Personal questions
• Jesus addresses himself to me and tells me: If you belonged to the world, the world would love what is yours. How do I apply this in my life?
• In me there are two tendencies: the world and the Gospel. Which of these two has the priority?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint John Payne

Feast Day:  May 04

Patron Saint:  

Saint John Payne (1532–1582) was an English Catholic priest and martyr, one of the Catholic Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.   John Payne was born at Peterborough in 1532.[1] He was probably a mature man when he went to the English College at Douai in 1574, served there as bursar, and was ordained priest by the Archbishop of Cambrai on 7 April 1576.[2]


Shortly afterwards, on 24 April 1576, he left for the English mission in the company of another priest, Cuthbert Mayne. While Mayne headed for his native South West England, Payne resided for the most part with Anne, widow of Sir William Petre, and daughter of Sir William Browne, sometime Lord Mayor of the City of London, at Ingatestone, Essex, in whose house was a "priest hole",[3] but also in London. The missioner passed as a steward of Lady Petre.[3] Shortly after his arrival he converted (or re-converted) to Catholicism George Godsalve or Godsalf, of the diocese of Bath, a man who had gained the B.A. at Oxford and had been ordained a deacon in the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary, but who had then become a Protestant. Payne sent Godsalf to Douai, where he arrived on 15 July 1576 to be prepared for the Catholic priesthood, which he was to receive at Cambrai on 22 December. Payne himself was arrested at Ingatestone and imprisoned early in 1577, but was soon released and went back to Douai that November. From there he probably returned to Ingatestone before Christmas, 1579.[2]


Early in July, 1581, he and Godsalf, who had come to England in June, 1577, were arrested in Warwickshire whilst staying on the estate of Lady Petre (widow of John Petre, 18th Baron Petre), through the efforts of the informer George "Judas" Eliot (a known criminal, murderer, rapist and thief, who made a career out of denouncing Catholics and priests for bounty). After being examined by Walsingham at Greenwich, they were committed to the Tower of London on 14 July.[2] Godsalf did not give in but spent several years in prison, after which he was released from the Marshalsea in September 1585 and banished, dying in Paris in 1592.

Eliot, a Catholic, had been employed in positions of trust in the Petre household where he had embezzled sums of money. He enticed a young woman from the Roper houselhold and then applied to John Payne to marry them; and on his refusal determined to be revenged and make a profit as well.[3]

As to Payne, a more significant catch, he was racked on the Council's orders on 14 August, and again on 31 October. On 20 March 1581/2 he was abruptly woken, taken from his cell half dressed and delivered by the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Owen Hopton (c. 1524-1591) of Cockfield Hall in Suffolk to officers waiting to take him to Chelmsford jail,[1] not being allowed to return to the cell to get his purse (which was stolen by the Lieutenant's wife, Anne Echyngham).


Payne was indicted at Chelmsford on 22 March on a charge of treason for conspiring to murder the Queen and her leading officers and install Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne. Payne denied the charges, and affirmed his loyalty to the Queen in all that was lawful (i.e. not contrary to his Catholicism or allegiance to the Pope), contesting the reliability of the murderer Eliot. No attempt was made to corroborate Eliot's story,[1] which had already been rehearsed in large part at the trial of Edmund Campion on 20 November 1581. The guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion.


At his execution on the morning of the Monday 2 April (nine months after his imprisonment), he was dragged from prison on a hurdle to the place of execution and first prayed on his knees for almost half an hour and then kissed the scaffold, made a profession of faith and declared his innocence. Reinforcements had been sent from London to help the execution run smoothly. Lord Rich called upon him to repent of his treason, which Payne again denied. A Protestant minister then shouted a claim that years ago Payne's brother had admitted to him Payne's treason. Payne said that his brother was and always had been an earnest Protestant but that even so would never swear to such a thing. To bear this out, Payne asked that the brother, who was in the locality, be brought, but he was not found in time and the execution proceeded and Payne was at last turned off the ladder. The government's intentions for a smooth execution with minimal trouble and maximum propaganda value had failed - indeed, the crowd had become so sympathetic to Payne that they hung on his feet to speed his death and prevented the infliction of the quartering until he was dead. The executioner, Simon Bull, was meanwhile rebuked for dithering over the quartering in case Payne revive and suffer further. 

Beatification and canonisation 

John Payne was one of the group of prominent Catholic martyrs of the persecution who were later designated as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was beatified "equipollently" by Pope Leo XIII, by means of a decree of 29 December 1886 and was canonized along with the other Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970.

Schools and churches 

A Roman Catholic secondary school in Chelmsford town centre (towards Broomfield) is now named after him. The name of the school is St John Payne Roman Catholic Comprehensive Secondary School.
The Roman Catholic church of St John Payne is found on Colchester's Greenstead estate. Founded in 1972, the Parish of Greenstead, Ardleigh and Mistley serves the community on the Essex-Suffolk border, with St John Payne being the Parish Church.


  1. ^ a b c Stanton, Richard, A Menology of England and Wales, p.140, Burns & Oates, Ltd., London, 1892
  2. ^ a b c Wainewright, John. "Bl. John Payne." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 Feb. 2013
  3. ^ a b c Camm OSB, Bede, Liv

        Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


        Today's Snippet I: 40 Martyrs of England and Wales


        The Forty Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation are men and women who died for the Roman Catholic faith in the years of persecution between 1534 and 1680. Certain of them have officially been recognised as martyrs by the Catholic Church.

        Catholics in England and Wales were executed under treason laws. In 25 February 1570 the "Regnans in Excelsis" papal bull excommunicated both the English Queen Elizabeth I and any who obeyed her. This papal bull also required all Roman Catholics to rebel against the Crown. In response in 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, including being Jesuit, being Roman Catholic or harbouring a Catholic priest. The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

        As early as the reign of Pope Gregory XIII (1572–85), authorisation was given for 63 recognised martyrs to have their relics honoured and pictures painted for devotion. These martyrs were formally beatified by Pope Leo XIII, 54 in 1886 and the remaining nine in 1895.  Forty are considered by the Catholic Church to be Christian martyrs and were canonized on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

        Decrees of Elizabeth I

        During the reign of Mary I, the Papal authority was officially reinstated and many Protestants were martyred. After Elizabeth I's accession to the throne, the Act of Supremacy 1558 was enacted denying Papal authority but it was not until more than a decade later in February 1570 that Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth and any who obeyed her and called on all Roman Catholics to rebel. The additional threat of invasion by a Catholic country assisted by English subjects led the Crown to try to stamp out Catholicism with repressive measures.. Elizabeth I's government passed anti-Catholic decrees in 1571: forbidding anyone from maintaining the jurisdiction of the pope by word, deed or act; requiring use of the Book of Common Prayer in all cathedrals, churches and chapels, and forbidding criticism of it; forbidding the publication of any bull, writing or instrument of the Holy See (the death penalty was assigned to this); and, prohibiting the importing of Agnus Dei images, crosses, pictures, beads or other things from the Bishop of Rome.

        Later laws made the following activities illegal: to draw anyone away from the state religion; non-attendance at a Church of England church; raising children with teachers that were not licensed by an Anglican diocesan bishop; and, attending or celebrating the Catholic Mass.

        In 1585 a new decree was issued that made it a crime punishable by death to go overseas to receive the sacrament of Ordination to the Catholic priesthood. Nicholas Devereux (who went by the alias of Nicholas Woodfen) and Edward Barber (see below Edward Stransham) were both put to death in 1586 under this law. William Thompson and Richard Lea (see below Richard Sergeant) were hanged, disembowelled and quartered under the same law. In 1588, eight priests and six laymen at Newgate were condemned and executed under this law.

        Canonization process

        Following beatifications between 1886 and 1929, there were already numerous martyrs from England and Wales recognised with the rank of Blessed. The bishops of the province identified a list of 40 further names; reasons given for the choice of those particular names include a spread of social status, religious rank, geographical spread and the pre-existence of popular devotion. The list of names was submitted to Rome in December 1960, and Catholics began to pray specifically to this group of martyrs to obtain favours from God. Out of 20 candidate cases for recognition as answered prayers, the cure of a young mother from a malignant tumour was selected as the clearest case. Pope Paul VI granted permission for the whole group of 40 names to be recognised as saints on the strength of this one miracle. The canonization ceremony took place in Rome on 25 October 1970.[1]

        The martyrs

        • Saint John Almond
        • Saint Edmund Arrowsmith
        • Saint Ambrose Barlow
        • Saint John Boste
        • Saint Alexander Briant
        • Saint Edmund Campion
        • Saint Margaret Clitherow
        • Saint Philip Evans
        • Saint Thomas Garnet
        • Saint Edmund Gennings
        • Saint Richard Gwyn
        • Saint John Houghton
        • Saint Philip Howard
        • Saint John Jones
        • Saint John Kemble
        • Saint Luke Kirby
        • Saint Robert Lawrence
        • Saint David Lewis
        • Saint Anne Line
        • Saint John Lloyd
        • Saint Cuthbert Mayne
        • Saint Henry Morse
        • Saint Nicholas Owen
        • Saint John Payne
        • Saint Polydore Plasden
        • Saint John Plessington
        • Saint Richard Reynolds
        • Saint John Rigby
        • Saint John Roberts
        • Saint Alban Roe
        • Saint Ralph Sherwin
        • Saint John Southworth
        • Saint Robert Southwell
        • Saint John Stone
        • Saint John Wall
        • Saint Henry Walpole
        • Saint Margaret Ward
        • Saint Augustine Webster
        • Saint Swithun Wells
        • Saint Eustace White

        Liturgical feast day

        In England, these martyrs were formerly commemorated within the Catholic Church by a feast day on 25 October, which is also the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, but they are now celebrated together with all the 242 recognised beatified martyrs on 4 May.[2]

        In Wales, the Catholic Church keeps 25 October as the feast of the 'Six Welsh Martyrs and their companions'. The Welsh Martyrs are the priests Philip Evans and John Lloyd, John Jones, David Lewis, John Roberts, and the teacher Richard Gwyn.[3] The 'companions' are the 34 English Martyrs listed above. Wales continues to keep 4 May as a separate feast for the Beatified martyrs of England and Wales.[4]


        1. ^ Malcolm Pullan (30 April 2008). The Lives and Times of Forty Martyrs of England and Wales 1535 - 1680. Athena Press. pp. xvii–xxii. ISBN 978-1-84748-258-7. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
        2. ^ National Calendar for England, Liturgy Office for England and Wales, accessed 31 July 2011
        3. ^ National Calendar for Wales, Liturgy Office for England and Wales, accessed 31 July 2011
        4. ^ Ordo for Wales, Diocese of Menevia, accessed 11 August 2011



        Today's Snippet II: Catholic Church in England and Wales


        The Catholic Church in England and Wales is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope. Celtic Christianity was established in what are now England and Wales in the first century AD and in 597, the first authoritative papal mission, establishing a direct link from the Kingdom of Kent to Rome and to the Benedictine form of monasticism, was carried into effect by Augustine of Canterbury.

        England adhered to the Catholic Church for almost a thousand years from the time of Augustine of Canterbury but, in 1534, during the reign of King Henry VIII, the greater part of the church, through a series of legislative acts between 1533 and 1536 became independent from the Pope as the Church of England, with Henry declaring himself Supreme Head. Under Henry's son, Edward VI, the Church of England became more influenced by the European Protestant movement.

        The English Church once again came under papal authority during the reign of Queen Mary I in 1553 and Protestantism was brutally repressed; however, when Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, she re-established the Church of England's independence from Rome in a 1559 settlement and reformulated its teaching and practice in the Act of Uniformity. In 1570 a papal bull Regnans in Excelsis was issued in response calling on all Roman Catholics to rebel against Elizabeth and excommunicating anyone who obeyed her. Catholicism (along with other non-established churches) continued in England, although it was at times subject to various forms of persecution. The act of being a Jesuit or seminarian was made treasonable in 1571. "It was now treason to belong to a particular category of person, a remarkable extension of the law." Priests found celebrating Mass were often drawn and quartered rather than burned at the stake. Most recusant members (except those in diaspora on The Continent, in heavily Catholic areas in the north, or part of the aristocracy) practised their faith in private for all practical purposes until the Pope recognised the English Monarchy as lawful in 1766 leading eventually to Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. Dioceses (replacing districts) were re-established by Pope Pius IX in 1850. Apart from the 22 Latin Rite dioceses, there is the Eastern Catholic diocese of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London.

        In the 2001 UK census, there were 4.2 million Catholics in England and Wales, some 8 per cent of the population. One hundred years earlier, in 1901, they had represented only 4.8 per cent of the population. The percentage of Catholics was at its highest in the 1981 census, with 8.7 per cent. In 2009 an Ipsos Mori poll found 9.6 percent, or 5.2 million, Catholics in England and Wales. Sizeable Catholic populations include North West England where one in five are Catholic. This includes Liverpool which has the highest proportion of any city in Great Britain at 46 per cent; historically, this is due both to a large influx of Irish migrants after the 1800 Act of Union, in which Ireland became part of the United Kingdom, as well as a high concentration of English recusants living in Lancashire.


        Early years

        Christianity arrived in the British Isles in the 1st or 2nd centuries. Records note that Romano-British bishops, such as Restitutus, attended the Council of Arles in 314, which confirmed the theological findings of an earlier convocation held in Rome (the Council of Rome) in 313. The Roman departure from Britain in the following century and the subsequent Germanic invasions sharply decreased contact between Britain and Continental Europe. Christianity, however, continued to flourish in the Brittonic areas of Great Britain. During this period certain practices and traditions took hold in Britain and in Ireland that are collectively known as Celtic Christianity. Distinct features of Celtic Christianity include a unique monastic tonsure and calculations for the date of Easter. Regardless of these differences, historians do not consider this Celtic or British Christianity a distinct church separate from general Western European Christianity

        In 597, Pope Gregory the Great sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury and 40 missionaries from Rome to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons, a process completed by the 7th century. The Gregorian mission, as it is known, is of particular interest in the Catholic Church as it was the first official Papal mission to found a church. With the help of Christians already residing in Kent, Augustine established an archbishopric in Canterbury, the old capital of Kent, and, having received the pallium earlier (linking his new diocese to Rome), became the first in the series of Catholic archbishops of Canterbury, four of whom (St. Lawrence, St. Mellitus, St. Justus and St. Honorius) were part of the original band of Benedictine missionaries. (The last Catholic archbishop of Canterbury was Reginald Pole, who died in 1558.) During this time of mission, Rome pursued greater unity with the local church in Britain, particularly on the question of dating Easter. Saint Columbanus, Columba's fellow countryman and churchman, had asked for a papal judgement on the Easter question as did abbots and bishops of Ireland. Later, in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, Bede explained the reasons for the discrepancy: "He [Columba] left successors distinguished for great charity, Divine love, and strict attention to the rules of discipline following indeed uncertain cycles in the computation of the great festival of Easter, because far away as they were out of the world, no one had supplied them with the synodal decrees relating to the Paschal observance." A series of synods were held to resolve the matter, culminating with the Synod of Whitby in 644. The missionaries also introduced the Rule of Benedict, the continental rule, to Anglo-Saxon monasteries in England. St. Wilfrid, a Benedictine consecrated archbishop of York (in 664), was particularly skilled in promoting the Benedictine Rule. Over time, the Benedictine, continental rule engrafted upon the monasteries and parishes of England, drawing them closer to The Continent and Rome. As a result, the pope was often called upon to intervene in quarrels, affirm monarchs, and decide jurisdictions. In 787, for example, Pope Adrian I elevated Lichfield to an archdiocese and appointed Hygeberht its first archbishop. Later, in 808, Pope Leo III helped restore King Eardwulf of Northumbria to his throne; and in 859, Pope Leo IV confirmed and anointed Alfred the Great king, according to Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Individual Benedictines seemed to play an important role throughout this period. For example, before Benedictine monk St. Dunstan was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury in 960, Pope John XII had him appointed legate, commissioning him (along with Sts. Ethelwold and Oswald) to restore discipline in the existing monasteries of England, many of which were destroyed by Danish invaders. Two continental (Italian) Benedictines were also prominent during this time: Lanfranc and St. Anselm. Both became archbishops of Canterbury (1070 and 1093, respectively), received their palliums, and made notable contributions to the church. St. Anselm later became a Doctor of the Church. A century later, Pope Innocent III had to confirm the primacy of Canterbury over four Welsh churches for many reasons, but primarily to sustain the importance of the Gregorian foundation of St. Augustine's mission.

        Medieval era

        Our Lady of Walsingham
        During medieval times, England and Wales were part of western Christendom. During this period, monasteries and convents, such as those at Shaftesbury and Shrewsbury, were prominent features of society providing lodging, hospitals and education. Likewise, schools like Oxford University and Cambridge University were important. Members of religious orders, notably the Dominicans and Franciscans, settled in both schools and maintained houses for students. Clerics like Archbishop Walter de Merton founded Merton College at Oxford and three different popes – Gregory IX, Nicholas IV, and John XXII – gave Cambridge the legal protection and status to compete with other European medieval universities.

        Pilgrimage was a prominent feature of medieval Catholicism, and England and Wales were amply provided with many popular sites of pilgrimage. The village of Walsingham, Norfolk became an important shrine after a noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1061, asking her to build a replica of the Holy House at Nazareth. In 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, by followers of King Henry II and was quickly canonised as a martyr for the faith. This resulted in Canterbury becoming a major place of pilgrimage and inspired the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. There were also shrines at Holywell in Wales which commemorated St Winefride and at Westminster Abbey to Edward the Confessor to name but a few. An Englishman, Nicholas Breakspear, became Pope Adrian IV from 1154 to 1159.

        Tudor era

        A banner showing the Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ which was carried by partisans during the Pilgrimage of Grace.
        England remained a Catholic country until 1534, when it officially separated from Rome during the reign of King Henry VIII. In response to the Pope's refusal to annul Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Parliament denied the Pope's authority over the English Church, made the king Head of the Church in England, and dissolved the monasteries and religious orders in England. Henry did not himself accept Protestant innovations in doctrine or liturgy – but he extended toleration, and even promotion, to clergy with Protestant sympathies in return for support for his break with Rome. On the other hand, failure to accept this break, particularly by prominent persons in church and state, was regarded by Henry as treason, resulting in the execution of Saint Thomas More, former Lord Chancellor, and Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, among others. The See of Rome Act 1536 enforced the separation from Rome, while the 'Pilgrimage of Grace' of 1536 and 'Bigod's Rebellion' of 1537, risings in the North against the religious changes, were bloodily repressed.

        The 1547 to 1553 reign of the boy King Edward VI saw the Church of England become more influenced by Protestantism in its faith and worship, with the (Latin) Mass replaced by the (English) Book of Common Prayer, representational art and statues in church buildings destroyed, and Catholic practices which had survived during Henry's reign, for instance the public saying of prayers to the Virgin Mary such as the Salve Regina, ended.

        The institutional Church in England acquiesced to Catholic practice during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I from 1553 to 1558. Mary believed she had a mission to bring back the whole of England to the Catholic faith. This aim was not necessarily at odds with the feeling of a large section of the populace; Edward's Protestant reformation had not been well received everywhere, and there was ambiguity in the responses of the parishes. Mary also had some powerful families behind her. The Jerningham family together with other East Anglian Catholic families such as the Bedingfelds, Waldegraves, Rochesters together with the Huddlestons of Sawston Hall were "the key to Queen Mary's successful accession to the throne. Without them she would never have made it." However, Mary's executions of 300 Protestants by burning at the stake proved counterproductive, as they were extremely unpopular among the populace. For example, instead of executing Archbishop Cranmer for treason for supporting Queen Jane, she had him tried for heresy and burned at a stake. With the assistance of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which glorified the Protestants killed at the time and vilified Catholics, this practice ensured her a place in popular memory as Bloody Mary – for centuries after the idea of another reconciliation with Rome was linked in many English people's minds with a renewal of Mary's fiery stakes.

        When Mary died and Elizabeth I became Queen in 1558, the religious situation in England was confused. Throughout the see-sawing religious landscape of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary, a significant proportion of the population (especially in the rural and outlying areas of the country), are likely to have continued to hold Catholic views, at least in private. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, however, England was clearly a Protestant country, and Catholics were a minority.

        Elizabeth's first act was to reverse her sister's re-establishment of Catholicism, but during the first years of her reign there was relative leniency towards Catholics who were willing to keep their religion private, especially if they were prepared to continue to attend their parish churches. The wording of the official prayer book had been carefully designed to make this possible by omitting aggressively "heretical" matter, and at first many English Catholics did in fact worship with their Protestant neighbours, at least until this was formally forbidden by Pope Pius V's 1570 bull, Regnans in Excelsis, which also declared that Elizabeth was not a rightful queen and should be deposed, and formally excommunicated her.

        In the setting of England's wars with Catholic powers such as France and Spain, culminating in the attempted invasion by the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Pope's bull unleashed a nationalistic feeling which equated Protestantism with loyalty to a highly popular monarch, rendering every Catholic a potential traitor, even in the eyes of those who were not themselves extreme Protestants. The Rising of the North, the Throckmorton plot and the Babington plot, together with other subversive activities of supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots, all reinforced the association of Catholicism and treachery in the popular mind. Elizabeth's government declared all Catholic priests, and all those who sheltered them, to be guilty of treason. Elizabeth did not believe that her anti-Catholic policies constituted religious persecution, finding it hard to distinguish between those Catholics engaged in conflict with her from those Catholics with no such designs. The number of English Catholics executed under Elizabeth was significant, including Edmund Campion, Robert Southwell, and Margaret Clitherow. Elizabeth herself signed the death warrant that led to the beheading of her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.

        Because of the persecution in England, Catholic priests in England were trained abroad at the English College in Rome, the English College in Douai, the English College at Valladolid in Spain, and at the English College in Seville. Given that Douai was located in the Spanish Netherlands, part of the dominions of Elizabethan England's greatest enemy, and Valladolid and Seville in Spain itself, they became associated in the public eye with political as well as religious subversion. It was this combination of nationalistic public opinion, sustained persecution, and the rise of a new generation which could not remember pre-Reformation times and had no pre-established loyalty to Catholicism, that reduced the number of Catholics in England during this period – although the overshadowing memory of Queen Mary I's reign was another factor that should not be underestimated.

        Stuart era

        The reign of James I (1603–1625) was marked by a measure of tolerance, though less so after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot conspiracy of a small group of Catholic conspirators who aimed to kill both King and Parliament and establish a Catholic monarchy. A mix of persecution and tolerance followed: Ben Jonson and his wife, for example, in 1606 were summoned before the authorities for failure to take communion in the Church of England, yet the King tolerated some Catholics at court; for example George Calvert, to whom he gave the title Baron Baltimore, and the Duke of Norfolk, head of the Howard family.

        The reign of Charles I (1625–49) and his Catholic Queen Henrietta Maria saw a small revival of Catholicism in England, especially among the upper classes. As part of the royal marriage settlement the Queen was permitted a Catholic royal chapel and chaplain. Henrietta Maria was in fact very strict in her religious observances, and helped create a court with continental influences, where Catholicism was tolerated, even somewhat fashionable. Some anti-Catholic legislation became effectively a dead letter. The Counter-Reformation on the Continent of Europe had created a more vigorous and magnificent form of Catholicism (i.e., Baroque, notably found in the architecture and music of Austria, Italy and Germany) that attracted some converts, like the poet Richard Crashaw. Ironically, the explicitly Catholic artistic movement (i.e., Baroque) ended up "providing the blueprint, after the fire of London, for the first new Protestant churches to be built in England."

        While Charles remained firmly Protestant, he was personally drawn towards a consciously 'High Church' Anglicanism. This affected his appointments to Anglican bishoprics, in particular the appointment of William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury. How many Catholics and Puritans there were is still open to debate.

        Religious conflict between Charles and other "High" Anglicans and the more extreme Protestants - at this stage mostly still within the Church of England (the Puritans) - formed a strand of the anti-monarchical leanings of the troubled politics of the period. The religious tensions between a court with 'Papist' elements and a Parliament where the Puritans were strong was one of the major factors behind the English Civil War, in which almost all Catholics supported the King. The victory of the Parliamentarians meant a strongly Protestant, anti-Catholic (and, incidentally, anti-Anglican) regime under Oliver Cromwell.

        The restoration of the monarchy under Charles II (1660–85) also saw the restoration of a Catholic-influenced court like his father's. However, although Charles himself had Catholic leanings, he was first and foremost a pragmatist and realised the vast majority of public opinion in England was strongly anti-Catholic, so he agreed to laws such as the Test Act requiring any appointee to any public office or member of Parliament to deny Catholic beliefs such as transubstantiation. As far as possible, however, he maintained tacit tolerance. Like his father, he married a Catholic, Catherine of Braganza. (He would become Catholic himself on his deathbed).

        James II is to date the last Catholic to reign as monarch of England.
        Charles' brother and heir James, Duke of York (later James II) converted to Catholicism in 1668–1669. When Titus Oates in 1678 alleged a (totally imaginary) 'Popish Plot' to assassinate Charles and put James in his place, he unleashed a wave of Parliamentary and public hysteria which led to anti-Catholic purges, and another wave of sectarian persecution, which Charles was either unable or unwilling to prevent. Throughout the early 1680s the Whig element in Parliament attempted to remove James as successor to the throne. Their failure saw James become, as James II in 1685, Britain's first openly Catholic monarch since Mary I (and last to date). He promised religious toleration for Catholic and Protestants on an equal footing, but it is in doubt whether he did this to gain support from Dissenters or whether he was truly committed to tolerance (Contemporary Catholic regimes in Spain and Italy, for example, were hardly tolerant of Protestantism, while those in France and Poland had practised forms of toleration)

        James' clear intent to work towards the restoration of the Church of England to the Catholic fold encouraged converts like the poet John Dryden, who wrote "The Hind and Panther", celebrating his conversion.Protestant fears mounted as James placed Catholics in the major commands of the existing standing army, dismissed the Protestant Bishop of London and dismissed the Protestant Fellows of Magdalen College and replaced them with a wholly Catholic board. The last straw was the birth of a Catholic heir in 1688, portending a return to a Pre-Reformation Catholic dynasty.

        The Glorious Revolution deposed James and established his Protestant daughter and son-in-law and nephew, Mary II and William III, on the throne (1689–1702). For some, however, the revolution was "fundamentally a coup spearheaded by a foreign army and navy." Nevertheless, the King fled into exile, and with him many Catholic nobility and gentry. The Act of Settlement 1701, which remains in operation today, excludes any Catholic or anyone who marries a Catholic from the throne. However, this Act was partially changed when the ban on the monarch's marrying a Catholic was eliminated (along with the rule of male succession).

        Henry Benedict Stuart (Cardinal-Duke of York), the last Jacobite heir to publicly assert a claim to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, died in Rome in 1807. A monument to the Royal Stuarts exists today at Vatican City. The current Duke of Bavaria, Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria von Bayern, head of the Wittelsbach family, is the most senior descendant of King Charles I and is considered by Jacobites to be the heir of the Stuarts.

        Eighteenth century

        The years from 1688 to the early 19th century were in some respects the nadir for Catholicism in England. Deprived of their dioceses, four Apostolic Vicariates were set up throughout England until the re-establishment of the diocesan episcopacy in 1850. Although the persecution was not violent as in the past, Catholic numbers, influence and visibility in English society reached their lowest ebb. Their civil rights were severely curtailed: their right to own property or inherit land was greatly limited, they were burdened with special taxes, they could not send their children abroad for Catholic education, they could not vote, and priests were liable to imprisonment.

        There was no longer, as once in Stuart times, any notable Catholic presence at court, in public life, in the military or professions. Many of the Catholic nobles and gentry who had preserved on their lands among their tenants small pockets of Catholicism had followed James into exile, and others, at least outwardly, conformed to Anglicanism, meaning fewer such Catholic communities survived intact. A bishop at this time (roughly from 1688 to 1850) was called a Vicar apostolic. A Vicar Apostolic was a titular bishop (as opposed to a diocesan bishop) through whom the pope exercised jurisdiction over a particular church territory in England. (Interestingly, English-speaking colonial America came under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of London. As titular bishop over Catholics in British America, he was important to the government not only in regard to its English-speaking North American colonies, but also after the Seven Years War when the British Empire, in 1763, acquired the French-speaking [and predominately Catholic] territory of Canada. At the time, Richard Challoner, 1758–81, was titular bishop when Great Britain gained Canada. Only after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and in 1789 with the consecration of John Carroll, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, did the U.S. have its own diocesan bishop, free of the titular bishop of London, James Robert Talbot.

        Geographical distribution of English Catholic Recusancy, 1715—1720.
        Most Catholics retreated to complete isolation from a popular Protestant mainstream, and Catholicism in England in this period is politically, if not socially invisible to history, Alexander Pope being one memorable English Catholic of the 18th century and the other being a member of the Catholic gentry, the Duke of Norfolk, the Premier Duke in the peerage of England and as Earl of Arundel, the Premier Earl. In virtue of his status and as head of the Howard family (which included the Earl of Carlisle, the Earl of Suffolk, the Earl of Berkshire, and the Earl of Effingham), the Duke was always at court. Pope, however, seemed to benefit from the isolation. In 1713, when he was 25, he took subscriptions for a project that filled his life for the next seven years, the result being a new version of Homer's Iliad. Samuel Johnson pronounced it the greatest translation ever achieved in the English language. Over time, Pope became the greatest poet of the age, the Augustan Age, especially for his mock-heroic poems, Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad. Around this time, in 1720, Clement XI proclaimed Anselm of Canterbury a Doctor of the Church. In 1752, mid-century, Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Later in the century there was some liberalisation of the anti-Catholic laws on the basis of Enlightenment ideals.

        In 1778 a 'Catholic Relief Act' allowed Catholics to own property, inherit land and join the army. Hardline Protestant mobs reacted in the Gordon Riots in 1780, attacking any building in London which was associated with Catholicism or owned by Catholics. Other reforms allowed the clergy to operate more openly and thus allowed permanent missions to be set up in the larger towns. Stonyhurst College, for example, was re-established in 1791 for wealthier Catholics. In 1837, James Arundel, the tenth Baron Arundel of Wardour, bequeathed to Stonyhurst the Arundel Library, which contained the vast Arundel family collection, including some of the school's most important books and manuscripts such as a Shakespeare First Folio and a manuscript copy of Froissart's Chronicles, looted from the body of a dead Frenchman after the Battle of Agincourt. Yet Catholic recusants as a whole remained a small group, except where they stayed the majority religion in various pockets, notably in rural Lancashire and Cumbria, or were part of the Catholic aristocracy and squirearchy. One of the most interesting contemporary descendents of recusants is Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)and writer. Radcliffe is related to three former cardinals—Weld, Vaughan and Hume (the last because his cousin Lord Hunt is married to Hume's sister), and his family is connected to many of the great recusant English Catholic families, the Arundels, Tichbournes, Tablots, Stonors, and Weld-Blundells. Finally, history cannot forget the famous recusant, Maria Fitzherbert, who during this period secretly married the Prince of Wales, Prince Regent, and future George IV in 1785. The British Constitution, however, did not accept it and George IV later moved on. Cast aside by the establishment, she was adopted by the town of Brighton, whose citizens, both Catholic and Protestant, called her "Mrs. Prince." According to journalist, Richard Abbott, "Before the town had a [Catholic] church of its own, she had a priest say Mass at her own house, and invited local Catholics", suggesting the recusants of Brighton were not very undiscovered.

        In a new study of the English Catholic community, 1688–1745, Gabriel Glickman notes that Catholics, especially those whose social position gave them access to the courtly centres of power and patronage, had a significant part to play in 18th-century England. They were not as marginal as one might think today. For example, Alexander Pope was not the only Catholic whose contributions (especially, Essays on Man) help define the temper of an early English Enlightenment. In addition to Pope, Glickman notes, a Catholic architect, James Gibbs, returned baroque forms to the London skyline and a Catholic composer, Thomas Arne, composed "Rule Britannia." According to reviewer, Aidan Bellenger, Glickman also suggests that "rather than being the victims of the Stuart failure, 'the unpromising setting of exile and defeat' had 'sown the seed of a frail but resilient English Catholic Enlightenment.'" Yale University historian, Steve Pincus, likewise argues in his book, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, that Catholics under William and Mary and their successors experienced considerable freedom.

        Nineteenth century

        Statue of Cardinal Newman outside the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, London
        After this moribund period, the first signs of a revival occurred as thousands of French Catholics fled France during the French Revolution. The leaders of the Revolution were virulently anti-Catholic, even singling out priests and nuns for summary execution or massacre, and England was seen as a safe haven from Jacobin violence. Also around this time (1801), a new political entity was formed, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland, thus increasing the number of Catholics in the new state. Pressure for abolition of anti-Catholic laws grew, particularly with the need for Catholic recruits to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. Despite the strong opposition of King George III, which delayed reform, 1829 brought the culmination of the liberalisation of the anti-Catholic laws. Parliament passed the Catholic Emancipation Act, giving Catholics almost equal civil rights, including the right to vote and to hold most public offices. If Catholics were rich, however, exceptions were always made, even before the changes. For example, American ministers to the Court of St. James's were often struck by the prominence of wealthy American-born Catholics, titled ladies among the nobility, like Louisa (Caton), granddaughter of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and her two sisters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth. After Louisa's first husband (Sir Felton Bathurst-Hervey) died, Louisa later married the son of the Duke of Leeds, and had the Duke of Wellington as her European protector. Her sister, Mary Ann, married the Marquess of Wellesley, the brother of the Duke of Wellington; and her other sister, Elizabeth (Lady Stafford), married another British nobleman. Though British law required an Anglican marriage service, each of the sisters and their Protestant spouses had a Catholic ceremony afterwards. At Louisa's first marriage, the Duke of Wellington escorted the bride.

        In the 1840s and 1850s, especially during the Great Irish Famine, while the bulk of the large outflow of emigration from Ireland was headed to the United States to seek work, hundreds of thousands of Irish people also migrated across the channel to England and Scotland, and established communities in cities there, including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, but also in towns and villages up and down the country, thus giving English Catholicism a Gaelic flavour and a huge numerical boost. Also significant was the rise in the 1830s and 1840s of the Oxford Movement, which sought to revive some elements of Catholic theology and ritual within the Church of England (creating Anglo-Catholicism).

        Many of the Anglicans who were involved in the Oxford Movement or "Tractarianism" were ultimately led beyond these positions and converted to the Catholic Church, including, in 1845, the movement's principal intellectual leader, John Henry Newman. A steady stream of new Catholics would continue to enter the Church from the Anglican Church, often via high Anglicanism, for at least the next hundred years, and something of this continues. Among a large number from Anglicanism were some who brought British Catholicism a certain amount of public prestige.

        Prominent intellectual and artistic figures who turned to Catholicism in the 19th and 20th centuries included the leading architect of the Gothic Revival, Augustus Pugin, the artist, Graham Sutherland, and literary figures such as Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, two sons of William Wilberforce, Samuel and Robert, G. K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox, Siegfried Sassoon, Evelyn Waugh, Edith Sitwell, Graham Greene, and Muriel Spark. Prominent cradle Catholics included the film director, Alfred Hitchcock, writers like Hilaire Belloc, Lord Acton, and J.R.R. Tolkien and the composer, Edward Elgar, whose oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius, was based on a 19th century poem by Newman.

        There is no doubt that at various points after the 16th century real hopes have been entertained by many English Catholics that the 'reconversion of England' was near at hand. To some the sign of this being imminent was the steady trickle of establishment converts from the second quarter of the 19th century on.

        More important was the arrival of immigrant masses of Irish Catholics. Together these trends were seen by some as constituting a "second spring" of Catholicism across Britain. Rome responded by re-establishing the Catholic hierarchy in 1850, creating 12 Catholic dioceses in England from existing Apostolic vicariates and appointing diocesan bishops (to replace earlier Titular bishops) with fixed sees on a more traditional Catholic pattern. The Roman church in England and Wales had 22 dioceses immediately before the Reformation, but none of the current 22 bear close resemblance (geographically) to those 22 medieval dioceses.

        The re-established diocesan episcopacy specifically avoided using places that were seats of Church of England dioceses as seats, in effect temporarily abandoning the titles of Catholic dioceses before Elizabeth I because of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851, which in England favoured a state church (i.e., Church of England) and denied arms and legal existence to territorial Catholic sees on the basis that the state could not grant such "privileges" to "entities" that allegedly did not exist. In the few cases where a Catholic diocese bears the same title as an Anglican one in the same town or city (e.g. Birmingham, Liverpool, Portsmouth, and Southwark) — this is the result of the Church of England ignoring the prior existence there of a Catholic see and of the technical repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act in 1871. Of course, the Act was only carried out in England. For example, the official recognition afforded by the grant of arms to the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, brought into being by Lord Lyon in 1989, was made on the grounds that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851 never applied to Scotland. In recent times, former Conservative Cabinent Minister, John Gummer, who is a prominent convert to Catholicism and columnist for the Catholic Herald in 2007, objected to the fact that no Catholic diocese can have the same name as an Anglican diocese (such as London, Canterbury, Durham, etc.) "even though those dioceses had, shall we say, been borrowed."

        Twentieth century and the present

        Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool

        English Catholicism continued to grow throughout the first two thirds of the 20th century, when it was associated primarily with elements in the English intellectual class and the ethnic Irish population. Numbers attending Mass remained very high in stark contrast with the Anglican church (although not to other Protestant churches), and conversions and vocations to the priesthood and religious life were also plentiful. Clergy numbers, which began the 20th century at under 3,000, reached a high of 7,500 in 1971.

        By the latter years of the twentieth century low numbers of vocations also affected the church with 16 new priests for England and Wales in 2009 compared to 110 thirteen years earlier. Annual vocation numbers have been variable in recent years: from 24 in 2003 to the mid 40s in 2006 and 2007 and a drop back to 31 in 2008. Parishes have been closed or merged: Liverpool, for example, reducing from 60 to 27 parishes. Sexual abuse scandals have also damaged the Church.

        As in other English-speaking countries such as the United States and Australia, the movement of Irish Catholics out of the working-class into the middle-class suburban mainstream often meant their assimilation with broader, secular English society and loss of a separate Catholic identity. The Second Vatican Council has been followed, as in other Western countries, by divisions between traditional Catholicism and a more liberal form of Catholicism claiming inspiration from the Council. This caused difficulties for not a few pre-conciliar converts, though others have still joined the Church in recent decades (for instance, Malcolm Muggeridge and Joseph Pearce), and public figures (often descendants of the recusant families) such as Paul Johnson; Peter Ackroyd; Antonia Fraser; Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC; Michael Martin (politician), first Catholic to hold the office of Speaker of the House of Commons since the Reformation; Chris Patten, first Catholic to hold the post of Chancellor of Oxford since the Reformation; Piers Paul Read; Helen Liddel, Britain's High Commissioner to Australia; and former Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Blair, have no difficulty making their Catholicism known in public life. The former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was recently received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Catherine Pepinster, Editor of Tablet, notes: "The impact of Irish immigrants is one. There are numerous prominent campaigners, academics, entertainers (like Danny Boyle the most successful Catholic in showbiz owing to his film, Slumdog Millionaire), politicians and writers. But the descendants of the recusant families are still a force in the land."

        Since the Council the Church in England has tended to focus on ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Church rather than winning converts from it as in the past. However, the 1990s have seen a number of conversions from Anglicanism to the Catholic Church, largely prompted by the Church of England's decision to ordain women as priests (among other moves away from traditional doctrines and structures). The resultant converts included members of the Royal Family (Katharine, Duchess of Kent, her son Lord Nicholas Windsor and her grandson Baron Downpatrick), a number of Anglican priests. Converts to Catholicism in Britain, for this reason, tend to be more conservative and even traditionalist than Catholics on the European mainland, often opposing trends within the Catholic Church similar to those which induced them to abandon Anglicanism in the first place.

        The spirit of ecumenism fostered by Vatican II resulted in 1990 with the Catholic Church in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, joining Churches Together in Britain and Ireland as an expression of the churches' commitment to work ecumenically. Recently, for example, a memorial was put up to St. John Houghton and fellow Carthusian monks martyred at the London Charterhouse, 1535. Anglican priest, Geoffrey Curtis, campaigned for it with the current archbishop of Canterbury's blessing. Also, in another ecumenical gesture, a plaque in Holywell Street, Oxford, now commemorates the Catholic martyrs of England. It reads: "Near this spot George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, Thomas Belson, and Humphrey Pritchard were executed for their Catholic faith, 5 July 1589."[81] And at Lambeth Palace, in February 2009, the Archbishop of Canterbury hosted a reception to launch the book, Why Go To Church?, by Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, one of Britain's best known Religious and the former Master of the Dominican Order. A large number of young Dominican friars attended. Fr. Radcliffe said, "I don't think there have been so many Dominicans in one place since the time of Robert Kilwardby, the Dominican Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th century."

        The Church's principles of social justice influenced initiatives to tackle the challenges of poverty and social inclusion. In Southampton Fr Pat Murphy O'Connor founded the St Dismas Society as an agency to meet the needs of ex-prisoners discharged from Winchester prison. Some of St Dismas Society's early members went on to help found the Simon Community in Sussex then in London. Their example gave new inspiration to other clergymen, such as Rev Kenneth Leech (CofE) of St Anne's Church, Soho who helped found the homeless charity Centrepoint, and Rev Bruce Kenrick (Church of Scotland) who helped found the homeless charity Shelter. In 1986 Cardinal Basil Hume established the Cardinal Hume Centre to work with homeless young people, badly housed families and local communities to access accommodation, support and advice, education, training and employment opportunities.

        In 2006 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor instituted an annual Mass in Support of Migrant Workers at Westminster Cathedral in partnership with the ethnic chaplains of Brentwood, Southwark, and Westminster.


        • Peter Ackroyd Albion: The origins of the English Imagination (New York: Anchor Random, 2002) ISBN 0-385-49773-3
        • Virginia Blanton Signs of Devotion: The Cult of St. AEthelthryth in Medieval England, 695–1615 (University Park: Penn State University, 2007) ISBN 0-271-02984-6
        • Michael Burleigh Sacred Causes (New York: HarperCollins, 2007) ISBN 978-0-06-058095-7
        • Thomas Clancy, S.J., English Catholic Books, 1641–1700 (Cambridge: Scolar Press, 1996) ISBN 1-85928-329-2
        • Thomas Clancy, S.J., English Catholic Books, 1701–1800 (Cambridge: Scolar Press, 1996) ISBN 1-85928-148-6
        • Eamon Duffy The Voices of Morebath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) ISBN 0-300-09825-1
        • Eamon Duffy Marking the Hours: English People and their Prayers 1240–1570 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007) ISBN 0-300-11714-0
        • Eamon Duffy Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) Excellent for background and policies of Cardinal Pole. ISBN 0-300-15216-7
        • Mark Turnham Elvins, Old Catholic England (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1978)
        • Antonia Fraser Mary Queen of Scots (New York: Delta Random, 1993) ISBN 978-0-385-31129-8
        • Howard Esksine-Hill Alexander Pope: World and Word (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1998) ISBN 0-19-726170-1
        • Stephen Greenblatt Will in the World (New York: W.W.Norton, 2004) ISBN 0-393-05057-2
        • John Guy A Daughter's Love: Thomas and Margaret More (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) 0618499156
        • Clare Haynes Pictures and Popery: Art and Religion in England, 1660–1760 (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2006) ISBN 0-7546-5506-7
        • Robert Hutchinson House of Treason: the Rise and Fall of the Tudor Dynasty (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009) ISBN 0-297-84564-0
        • Emilia Jamroziak and Janet Burton, eds. Religious and Laity in Western Europe, 1000–1400 (Europa Scra 2.Turnhout: Brepols, 2006)
        • Julie Kerr Monastic Hospitality: Benedictines in England, c.1070-c.1250, Studies in the history of Medieval Religion 32. (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell, 2007) ISBN 1-84725-161-7
        • K.J.Kesselring The Northern Rebellion of 1569: Faith, Politics, and Protest in Elizabethan England (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007) ISBN 978-0-230-55319-4
        • Peter Marshall Religious Identities in Henry VIII's England (London: Ashgate, 2006) ISBN 0-7546-5390-0
        • Peter Marshall and Alex Ryrie, Eds The Beginnings of English Protestantism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) ISBN 978-0-521-80274-1
        • Goeffrey Moorhouse The Pilgrimage of Grace: the Rebellion that Shook Henry VIII's Throne (London: Weidenfeld and Moorhouse, 2003) ISBN 978-1-84212-666-0
        • Hazel Pierce Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury 1473–1541: Loyalty, Lineage and Leadership (University of Wales Press, 2009) ISBN 0-7083-2189-5
        • Linda Porter The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary" (New York: St. Martin Press, 2008) ISBN 0-312-36837-2
        • Michael C. Questier Catholicism and Community in Early Modern England: Politics, Aristocratic Patronage and Religion, c.1550–1640 Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). This re-evaluates post-Reformation Catholicism through windows of the wider Catholic community in England and through aristocratic patronage. ISBN 0-521-06880-0
        • John Saward, John Morrill, and Michael Tomko (eds), Firmly I Believe and Truly: The spiritual tradition of Catholic England 1483-1999 (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011).
        • Karen Stober Late Medieval Monasteries and their Patrons: England and Wales, c.1300–1540 Studies in the History of Medieval Religion. (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell, 2007) ISBN 1-84383-284-3
        • Charles E. Ward The Life of John Dryden (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1961) B00IUBM07U
        • James Anderson Winn John Dryden and His World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987) ISBN 978-0-300-02994-9


        Catechism of the Catholic Church

        Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

        Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 





        Article 4

        X. Indulgences
        1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.

        What is an indulgence?
        "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints."Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 1 

        "An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin."Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 2; Cf. Norm 3 Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.

        The punishments of sin
        1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820

        1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man."Eph 4:22, 24

        In the Communion of Saints
        1474 The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God's grace is not alone. "The life of each of God's children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person."Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5

        1475 In the communion of saints, "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things."Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5 In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

        1476 We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church's treasury, which is "not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their effficacy."Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5

        1477 "This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body."Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5

        Obtaining indulgence from God through the Church
        1478 An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5

        1479 Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted.