14 Annotations

First Reading

Emilio  •  Link

Elizabeth Pepys
She was a Protestant, but seems to have felt a lifelong connection with the Catholic faith. Pauline provides an excellent overview over on the Atheism page:

KMA (reposted by Emilio)  •  Link

[The politics of 17th-century religion; originally posted for 11 Feb 1659/60:]
Milton on King Charles Ist

Emilio  •  Link

Tomalin on the Popish Plot
Looking back at Pepys's time, when the strife and divisions of the Reformation were still only a century old, the depth of public feeling about religion is startling. Religion had as much to do with politics as with personal belief, often with catastrophic consequences.
In 1678, in response to fears of Catholic James, duke of York, ascending to the throne, Lord Shaftesbury encouraged Titus Oates and others as they spread hysteria about a Catholic plot to kill the king, massacre Protestants, and take over the country. This became known as the Popish Plot, and caused terror lasting well into 1680. Because of loyalty to the duke (his boss), Sam himself spent time in the Tower, lost his job as Secretary of the Admiralty, and had to spend months collecting evidence to disprove charges that never had any basis in fact. Claire Tomalin (pp. 307-308) explains the atmosphere of the times that led to such anti-Catholic frenzy:
"Folk memory kept fresh Catholic Queen Mary's burnings at the stake, the Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot, and in France the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, and there were still many who believed the fire of 1666 had been started by papists. The king's policy of alliance with Catholic France was generally disliked. So was the fact that he had not only a Catholic wife but Catholic mistresses; some of Nell Gwyn's popularity came from her supposed merry declaration, 'I am the Protestant whore.' Shaftesbury may have suspected that Charles was close to being a Catholic himself, but, if he was, he had no intention of revealing or imposing his faith on anyone else; but his heir, the duke of York, had a Catholic wife who would give him Catholic children. Too many Irish priests were seen at court, too many Catholics had commissions in the army. The combination of arbitrary rule and religious persecution practised by Louis XIV in France showed what Protestants could expect from a Catholic ruler. Shaftesbury's detestation of such a prospect drove him to action. . . . Like the anti-Communist frenzy spirited up by Senator McCarthy in the United States in the 1950s, the Plot caused normally reasonable people to lose their judgement, and before the hysteria wore itself out thirty-five men had been unjustly put to death, many more imprisoned, threatened and falsely accused, and scores of informers paid and f

jim petty  •  Link

The politics of 17C., Religion.

To understand the religion of the early Stuart era we have to remember that the Church in England considered itself to be no more than two dioceses of the Holy Catholic Church. Having got rid of ,what it considered medievalism,the Church sought the safety of the beliefs of the Undivided Church of the first thousand years. The main thing it differed from continental Catholicism in was in the refusal of the English Church to acknowledge the pretensions of the Papacy to Universal Jurisdiction and the findings of the Council of Trent.The belief in Pepy's time was that 'Romanism' was in fact a new Church or at least belief.[ See John Evelyn's Diary where the author describes the "New religion of Trent". See also CB Moss's book "The Divisions of Christendom."]The Stuart Church also held its provenance, in this country, to be from S.Joseph of Arimathea, rather from Rome. {See the Medieval Western Councils.] To use blanket terms such as Catholic and Protestant as used today when refering to Pepys's time is totally misleading. The terms used were Roman and Anglican. The Romans being considered schismatics from 1569/70.Protestants, in a religious sense were Lutherans, whilst the antonym to catholic was not protestant but heretic.Calvinists were known as Reformers and the antonym to papist was protestant. The term Protestant was used also in a political sense to oppose the political pretensions of the Pope.The Anglican Church considered itself to be the ancient Catholic Church in England. It is not necessary
to believe these claims but to understand the religion of Pepys's time it is essential to know about them.


Milton on the Catholicism of King Charles 1st.

Milton's suspicions regarding Charles's Catholicity were well justified. Sharon Achinstein in the annotation above, talks about "The Protestant Religion". What does that mean? There is no "Protestant Religion." There were,at that time, Lutherans, who were called Protestants,plus Reformed and Independents. We're talking about England.Charles and the Anglican Church considered themselves Catholics by reason of the fact that they held the Catholic faith of the first thousand years. The belief was and is, that there is only one Church, the Body of Christ and if you are not a member you are in deep trouble. Rome was considered an upstart sect being a child of the Council of Trent. The use of the term Protestant is popular but it is one the Anglican Church has never used in its basic formularies. [ Interestingly the Roman Leadership in the late 18th, Cent., claimed to be Protestants in a letter to the British Parliament.]Initially individuals used the term as a means of identifying themselves as anti-papalists.They objected first of all to the Papacy's political claim to decide the claimants to the English Throne. I.E.Portugal, Spain or Mary Stuart.It has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith. This was the attitude of Charles the First, even though the Pope's vanity claimed his grandmother's life.
Milton is quite right when he claims the King, "professes to own his kingdom from Christ and to desire to rule for His glory and the Churches good." Charles fought the Civil War to prevent a Calvinist take over of the Anglican /Catholic Church. Why shouldn't Charles think this. It was an idea that went back to Byzantine times.It was a plank in Henry's Reformation. It was part and parcel of the idea that authority in England stemmed politically not from Rome but from ancient teachings and was invested within the Chief Magistrate.
Likewise the authority of the Church came from Joseph of Arimathea with no detour to Italy. Incidentally this was acknowledged for at least a thousand years by the Western Church.With the schism that followed the accession of William of Orange, Pepys himself followed the teachings of the Church that the King, [James 2nd,in this case] was the Lord's Anointed.It is imperative that we look at Pepys's religion and attitudes with the eyes and understanding of the 17th, Cent., and not translate them in to our own wishes and hopes.. Pepys became a Non Juror and this meant giving up all his positions on the principle that James the Second was put in his place by God's good providence and not by men's wishes.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

restrictions on the Vatican supporters.
Popish Recusants. march of 60:
MR. Serjeant Glyn reports, a Proclamation for putting of all Laws and Statutes made against Seminaries, Jesuits, and Romish Priests, in speedy and effectual Execution: Which was this Day read the First and Second time; and, upon the Question, ordered to be ingrossed.
Tythes in Wales.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 7: 9 March 1660', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 7: 1651-1660 (1802), p. 868. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…. Date accessed: 27 October 2005.--

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

For the problems see the House of Commons and Lords for Laws that be against them
Must not send monies to Roma
must not send thy youth to Religious indoctrination , etc., search using
"Popish Priests and Jesuits" will bring forth some of the fears of the ruling class.
'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 24 March 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667
. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…. Date accessed: 03 April 2006.

3 Car. 1. Cap. 2.
"A Restraint of Passage or sending any Persons beyond the Seas to be Popishly bred.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 5 March 1663', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 486-89. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/…. Date accessed: 03 April 2006.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Catholicism -- Following on Jim Petty 'The politics of 17C., Religion.'

The 1662 'Book of Common Prayer' includes the Apostles' Creed which concludes "... I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church; The Communion of Saints; ..." and the Nicene Creed which concludes " ... And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church. ..."

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"The offhand decision of some commonplace mind high in office at a critical moment influences the course of events for a hundred years." -- Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A contemporary view of the Catholic faith in London is given in Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin's travelogue. He visited England in the Spring of 1669.

I corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

The preachers of the Anglican religion have but a thin attendance at their discourses, the people thronging in much greater crowds to the meetings of the Presbyterian sect; from which, as well as from that of the Hierarchy, which is a mixture of Calvinism and Lutheranism, have since been derived all those numerous and sub-divided Sectarians which are now to be found in London, daily multiplying in all the vigor of independence.

They are as follow:
Protestants or those of the Established Religion, Puritans, Presbyterians, Atheists, Brownists, Adamites, Familists or the Family of Love, Anabaptists, Libertines, Independents, Fanatics, Arians, Antiscripturists, Millenarians, Memnonists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Sabbatarians, Antisabbatarians, Perfectionists, Fotinians, Antitrinitarians, Sceptics, Tremblers or Quakers, Monarchists or Fifth Monarchy-Men, Socinians, Latitudinarians, Origenites, Deists, Chiliasts, Antinomians, Armenians, Quintinists, Ranters, and Levellers.



The Catholic Religion still exists in England, though without the power of shewing itself openly. The semi-public exercise of it is tolerated in the Queen's Chapel at St. James's, and in that of the Queen Mother at Somerset House, and in the oratories of the Catholic Princes.

To these places there is free access, except when, at the instigation of Parliament, the decrees of Queen Elizabeth against Catholics are renewed. On those occasions, people go to them with greater caution, that they may not render themselves liable to the severity of the above laws; and secretly avail themselves in their own houses of the services of missionary priests, who are maintained by the Catholic families to administer to their spiritual wants.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The king moreover, whose business it is to enforce these harsh measures, suspends the execution of it, either from political reasons, or to gratify the good disposition of the Catholic queen his wife, from whose exemplary conduct, those Catholics who live in England, either openly or secretly, derive no small advantage in evading the rigor of the punishments attached to all who do not conform to the heresy of the kingdom.


A considerable number of priests of either order, both secular and regular, watch over the spiritual concerns of the Catholics. They are divided into several companies, and are very attentive to the fulfilment of their duties.

The first are English or Irishmen, eminent for their zeal and learning, who have been educated and instructed ill the seminaries founded for the youths of those nations in Rome, in Spain, and in Flanders, where they attend equally to the study of religion and literature.

These receive instruction for the proper management of their respective charges from an ecclesiastic, whom they call the Head of the Clergy, who is established in England, almost with the authority of an Ordinary.

He communicates to other co-adjutors, his deputies, in various parts of the kingdom, a power resembling his own, or more limited, as it may happen; all of them however are, in the first instance, subordinate to the Nuncio in France, and, at present, to the Internuncio in Flanders, to whom, as being nearer to these parts, the superintendence of the missions of England and Ireland has been entrusted; and this he retains in conjunction with that which he before had over that of the United Provinces.

The regulars are subject to the government of their own prelates, who appoint them to such particular missions as belong to their respective orders.


There are many religious of the orders of St. Benedict, of St. Augustin, of St. Dominic, of St. Francis, and of the Society of Jesus, who perform their spiritual duties towards the Catholics with much fervor, encouraging them to preserve in their manners the purity of the ancient faith, which, as far as the lower orders are concerned, is at present kept up principally by those who live in the country, and have retired thither to avoid the persecutions which heresy is perpetually stirring up in the city, where almost the whole of the populace is infected by its contagion.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Various disputes arise among the missionaries; the seculars thinking that the regulars extend their privileges further than they ought; and these, on the other hand, complaining that the seculars impede them in the exercise of their missions.

The greatest complaints are against certain Jesuits, because, under the pretence of their peculiar privileges, they are desirous to administer the missions, without recognizing any other superiority in this kingdom than that which is set over them by their own society.

This is the cause of the dissensions which, in no small degree, disturb this pious ministry, both in England and Holland: on which account, appeals are constantly coming from both parties, not only to the apostolic minister in Flanders, but to the congregation at Rome, being carried thither by the queen's grand almoner, and the heads of the English clergy, of both descriptions, and by the Bishop of Chartres, Apostolic Vicar of the United Provinces.


To avoid the further exasperation of these discordant spirits, to the great detriment of the holy faith, gentle and moderate measures are adopted, such as serious admonitions and exhortations to unanimity; and to settle the differences at once, it has been wished at Rome to consecrate, as titular bishop in England, some ecclesiastic of integrity and talent, a native of the kingdom, who may watch over the missions in the same manner as is done in Holland.

For this purpose they cast their eye upon Philip Howard, Grand Almoner to the Queen, having ascertained that the king was no way averse from such a step; but the affairs of the kingdom being in a condition not very favorable to the Catholics, owing to the inveteracy of the Parliament, it was thought unseasonable, and was judged more prudent, the same having been hinted by the king, to put off the execution of such a proceeding to some other more favorable opportunity.


In the meantime, the bishops of Ireland perform the episcopal functions for the benefit of the Catholics, and come over occasionally to exercise their charge in the best manner in their power.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II. They were all professed Catholics, of course.

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