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Elizabeth I and Pope Paul IV

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Reticence and Reformation

image of Church History and Religious Culture

This article is a historical look at the political and religious relationship between England’s Elizabeth I and Pope Paul IV. In 1558 when Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England, there was much speculation about how she would be received by a Pope so well-known for his intolerance of heresy and zeal for the Inquisition. This article will argue that a complex set of forces were at work during Elizabeth’s early reign which allowed her time to pass legislation to establish the English Church as a separate entity from Rome. It would be Paul IV’s inaction, possibly born out of a hope that Elizabeth might still be redeemed to the Catholic faith, that in the end allowed the English Church to consolidate its gains and left his Catholic subjects with no recourse but to give allegiance to their prince whether they thought her illegitimate or not.

Affiliations: 1: Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN


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