On November 17 in 1558, the first and only Catholic Queen Regnant of England died. She was Mary I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon. She is better known as “Bloody Mary” because of the almost 300 men and women burned alive at the stake after being found guilty of heresy during her reign. These men and women included bishops and ministers of the Church of England, many Protestant laity, and some who denied basic Christian doctrines, such as the divinity of Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. Those men and women, particularly celebrated by John Foxe in his “Book of Martyrs”, have haunted Catholicism in England and in the modern world for centuries.
How should Catholics respond to these haunting echoes of the past? Very carefully and precisely.
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We must also remember that Reginald Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury died the same day. The Catholic Encyclopedia has this comment on his character:
Dr. James Gairdner was a British historian specializing in the Tudor era.