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  • Ecclesiastical Democracy Detected: I (1779–1787)
  • Language (written in): English
  • Author: Duffy, Eamon
  • Source: Recusant History volume 10, 4 (January), (1970): 193–209.
  • Published: 1970
  • ISSN: 2055-7973
  • ISSN: 2055-7981
  • DOI: 10.1017/S0034193200000327
  • Abstract: “The history of opinions is as instructive and amusing as the history of battles”, observed Sir John Throckmorton in 1792; and few periods of Catholic thought in England present a more warlike aspect than that in which Sir John lived and wrote. The last twenty years of the 18th century saw the English Catholic community torn asunder by disputes which, to contemporaries, seemed certain to end in schism with Rome, and so destroy the heritage of the martyr church. Laymen “rose against the sanctuary”; committees of gentry swapped anathemas with bishops; and from the Catholic publishing houses issued a blizzard of acrimonious pamphlet literature, ecclesiastical sedition and the authoritarian counterblasts it provoked. Behind these troubles lay the desire for emancipation, and a great uncertainty among Catholics as to what, and how much, of the Church's “separateness” could be surrendered, to a Protestant nation, for the privilege of recognition as men and citizens.
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