Professor Peter Marshall of the University of Warwick, presented the annual Southwell lecture at Fordham University:
The St. Robert Southwell, S.J., Lecture Series is devoted to exploring the
history and theology of the Christian Church in the early modern period. The
series targets the scholarship of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation in
Europe and the Americas from 1500 to 1750.
Fordham provides a summary of the lecture, given on March 28, 2012:
Historians who study the Protestant Reformation tend to focus on what factors
led to the creation of the Protestant Church. However, a slightly different
question is often overlooked: What factors caused devoted Catholics to abandon
their faith and become reformers?
Peter Marshall, D.Phil., professor of
history at the University of Warwick, presented the English Reformation from
this alternative standpoint at the latest installment of the St. Robert
Southwell, S.J., Lecture Series, held March 28 at Fordham.
“forward” look at the Reformation, Marshall told the audience to keep in mind
that the first generations of reformers were not “early Protestants,” as
scholars retrospectively call them, but, rather, late medieval Catholic
“There were no ‘Protestants’ in early Tudor England,” said
Marshall, author of The Catholic Priesthood and the English Reformation
(Oxford University Press, 1994). “The word was not used at all to refer to
English people before the 1550s, and it was not widely adopted by adherents of
the Reformation themselves until well into the reign of
According to Marshall, the subtle difference between these
angles is important when considering the origins of the Reformation.
Read the rest of this summary here.
On my radio show, The English Reformation Today, last Saturday, I mentioned this mystery of how the majority of Catholics in England eventually left the Church and conformed to the established Church of England. I would like to see more of Professor Marshall's article and his proposed solution of that mystery.