Contra Mozilla

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Queen Bess?

Suffice it to say that I agree with Fr. Longenecker's assessment of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. She was a tyrant as bad as the rest of her dynasty, a dynasty which happily ended with her. Oh, her reign was certainly good for England if one wants to argue that it keep England distant from those foreign powers which happened to have (at least nominally) Catholic rulers. Of course, England could have been made great without systematically persecuting the Church, and could have been more than great in the merely secular sense. The Catholic Church in England and Scotland may have been one of the more corrupt branches in those days. But what came after was no improvement:
What I have never understood is why Elizabeth did not avoid all the difficulties and simply maintain the Catholic faith that her half-sister Mary had re-established. She could have legitimized her claim to the throne through a marriage to Philip of Spain or a French Catholic prince. She could have won the hearts of her people who were still much more in favor of the old Catholic faith, and if she had borne children would have established security during her reign and secure dynasty. She chose not to, and the only reason one must assume, is that she did not wish to share her throne with anyone—especially a powerful husband.

Her intransigence brought about continued insecurity in England and division in war-torn Europe. It necessitated the murder of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, and kept her country on a knife edge of religious strife, immanent civil war and the threat of external invasion....

For indiscriminating fans of popular history she might still be the red-haired, haughty monarch—the proud and popular Protestant queen, “with the heart and stomach of a king” but for many others she remains the true daughter of her father—a stubborn, cruel and heartless tyrant.
Come rack, come rope... The Church in England, indeed in Europe, did indeed need reforming. The problem of the Reformation is that it threw out good doctrines along with bad practices, and then implemented some bad practices of its own. England under the Tudor dynasty was not only no exception to this rule, but was indeed arguably an exemplar of it.

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