Queen Elizabeth's Religious Settlement

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  • Queen Elizabeth's religious settlement
    • Elizabeth's personal religious beliefs
      • Her doctrine was very Protestant
        • Constubstantiation
        • In 1558, Elizabeth's Privy Council was dominated by Protestants.
        • At her coronation, Elizabeth told priests, 'away with those torches'. Also, the bread and wine was not consecrated during the ceremony.
        • Elizabeth translated three texts by Desiderius Erasmus.
      • She preferred some Catholic practices
        • Elizabeth wanted clergymen to wear vestments.
        • Elizabeth was strongly opposed to the idea of married clergymen, particularly bishops.
        • Elizabeth had crucifixes and candles in her private chapel.
      • Elizabeth's personal preference seems to be for a Church with Protestant doctrine which retained the traditional structure and appearances with some catholic rituals still active.
    • Elizabeth's aims for the religious settlement
      • Elizabeth acted as a pragmatist by steering a middle route as she was aiming to create a Church which was acceptable to the majority of her people.
        • She wanted to avoid persecution and civil war.
      • Above all, Elizabeth sought two outcomes from her religious settlement.
        • Uniformity: Elizabeth wanted to establish a national Church that would be acceptable to all.
        • Conformity: Elizabeth was determined that her subjects would conform to the demands of her religious settlement regardless of their personal religious religious beliefs.
      • Her religious bills sought to introduce a Protestant structure, including the rejection of transubstantiation, but to keep a traditional structure to the Church, as well as familiar rituals.
    • The Church Settlement, 1559
      • In February 1559, three religious bills were introduced into the House of Commons.
        • One was to establish the monarch as the head of the church and the other two were to establish a Protestant form of worship. On 21st Feb they were combined and passed by the Commons, who favoured Protestantism.
          • However, the bill faced opposition by the Lords who forced the bill into a committee dominated by Catholics who rejected the restoration of Protestantism, refusing to repeal Mary's heresy laws and questioning Elizabeth's rights to supremacy over the Church.
      • Easter, 1559- Elizabeth prorogued (suspended) Parliament. During Holy Week a disputation was held at Westminster Abbey between four Catholics bishops and doctors and an equivalent number of Protestants.
        • Elizabeth won the disputation as the Catholics were barely able to state their case.
    • Additions to the settlement, 1559-1566
      • The Act of Supremacy
        • Elizabeth was made Supreme Governor of the Church of England. A lesser claim than Head of the Church but in reality she had the same power over the Church as Henry had.
        • Papal supremacy was revoked.
        • The Archbishop remained the primate (superior bishop)- a hierarchical structure that had its origins in the Catholic Church.
      • The Act of Uniformity
        • A new Book of Common Prayer was issued based on those of 1549 and 1552.
          • All churches were obliged to use the new prayer book- punishments if they didn't
        • The words used when offering communion in both kinds were ambiguous enough for Catholics to perceive the presence of the living Christ in the Eucharist.
        • The monasteries and chantries founded in Mary's reign were dissolved and their assets transferred to the crown.
      • The Royal Injunctions, 1559
        • The clergy were to wear distinctive clerical dress, including the surplice.
        • Catholic practices including processions, pilgrimages and monuments were banned.
        • The clergy were to observe and teach the royal supremacy and to denounce papal supremacy.
        • Clerical marriage was only permitted where the priest had permission from his bishop and two JPs.
      • The Thirty-Nine Articles, 1563
        • They were a statement of the doctrinal beliefs of the Church of England.
        • Repudiated key Catholic doctrine and confirmed key elements of Protestant belief.
  • Easter, 1559- Elizabeth prorogued (suspended) Parliament. During Holy Week a disputation was held at Westminster Abbey between four Catholics bishops and doctors and an equivalent number of Protestants.
    • Elizabeth won the disputation as the Catholics were barely able to state their case.

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