Elizabethan Religious Policy

Queen Elizabeth I (b. 1533, d.1603) was politically religious. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She became Queen of England after the the death of her half-sister, Mary I, in 1558. Elizabeth’s religious leanings were based on what was best for the present political situation. She was a pseudo-protestant under Henry VIII, a more rigorous protestant under Edward VI, and a Catholic under Mary I. She was flexible in terms of her religious conviction, which was probably why she survived the vastly different policies of her predecessors. When she herself came to the throne in 1558, she had a sort of mixed policy. She was quite attracted to the pomp and ceremony surrounding the traditional Catholic Mass, and thought it would please the remaining Catholics of the country (which were still in the majority). She would also continue the break from the Papacy in order to keep the protestants happy. However, she did continue to persecute the Catholics, searching homes for Catholic books, destroying altars and sacred images, and imposing a fine on anyone who attended the Catholic church service. It is interesting to note that an estimate from 1581 said that 50,000 people preferred to pay the fine than to go to the Anglican service. Elizabeth was not religious for entirely religious reasons. She vacillated between protestantism and Catholicism before coming to the throne, and her policy during her reign was a mixed bag. Although she probably had more protestant leanings, her religious conviction was very political


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