Church Papists - Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England
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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
In the study of post-Reformation English Catholicism, a field long dominated by hagiographical and apologetic influences, there has been an enduring overemphasis on recusancy the principle and practice of refusal to attend the services of the established Church of England. Church Papistsattempts to redress this imbalance by directing attention to the sizeable category of individuals who conformed with Protestantism, and yet continued to insist emphatically on their Roman Catholic identity. Alexandra Walsham examines the attitudes of the Counter-Reformation clergy and the practice and experience of church papistry at parish level. She demonstrates how the use of the term `church papist' above all a nickname and term of abuse suggests the tensions created by the shifting theological temper and developing divisions of the late Elizabethan and early Stuart Church; and how recognising the presence of church papists challenges the sectarian models perpetuated by confessional `recusant' historiography. ALEXANDRA WALSHAMis currently a research student at Trinity College, Cambridge.