I received an email from a reader in northeastern Europe:
I am writing from Vilnius, Lithuania, where I have been living for a number of years and where I was recently blessed to obtain a copy of your book, Supremacy and Survival. I found the book extremely interesting and very timely. It filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of this important history.
In further correspondence, the reader reminded me that Lithuanian Catholics endured great oppression under the Soviet Union and the country has been rebuilding since 1994, when Soviet troops finally left the Baltic states after Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia regained independence. Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai in 1993. Under Communist rule the Soviet authorities bulldozed the hill, where people came to place the crosses to proclaim their Christian identity, three times and considered flooding the area by building a dam. Each time the hill was destroyed, Lithuanians would come back to place more crosses and crucifixes. The Lithuanian tourist website features a tour that follows the path of the pope's visit.
I heard an NPR report earlier this week about continuing tensions in Estonia between the Russian nationals living there and the government of Estonia, which passed laws after independence that limited the civil rights of those Russian national families not in the country before Soviet domination began in 1944.
There's no way to compare what happened to Catholics in England to what happened to the Baltic peoples under the Soviet Union--but the connection we can apply is how long it takes for reconciliation after oppression and persecution. Even after Emancipation in 1829 and the restoration of the hierarchy in 1850, Catholics had years of rebuilding, reforming, and development to complete. They had to work out conflicts within their growing community and deal with violence and reaction against that growth in the wider British culture.