viernes, 8 de mayo de 2015

Edmund Campion: an english catholic martyr & Shakespeare’s work, a suggestive Catholic worldview

Saint Edmund Campion: 

English Catholic Martyr

By Shane Schaetzel

Living in the Bible Belt of the United States, many people in this area are shocked to learn that Catholics were persecuted by Protestants in England. Many of them have been raised on legends about the "evil popish religion" (Catholicism) that "killed so many Christian martyrs across the centuries." They've never heard of Catholics ever being persecuted by Protestants. The main reason for this lack of historical knowledge is that they themselves are Protestants, though many of them don't know it, and that much of their world view has been shaped by English Protestant propaganda. The truth is that Catholics suffered terribly for their faith in England, and that in turn led to thousands crossing the dangerous Atlantic Ocean to seek refuge in the English colonies of North America, where sadly they weren't treated much better.

The story of Saint Edmund Campion serves as a highlight in this tragic episode of English history when Catholics were second-class citizens, and were subject to unacceptable forms of persecution for their faith. Saint Edmund Campion was born on January 24, 1540 AD. This was about six years after King Henry VIII formally broke England away from the Roman Catholic Church by declaring himself, in the Act of Supremacy, the supreme head (essentially pope) of the Church of England. Prior to this, England was known as the most Catholic country in all of Europe, and bore the nickname "Mary's Dowry." King Henry VIII changed all that.

So Campion was born in Protestant England, even though he was raised as a Catholic. While this may seem a bit confusing at first, we need to understand that King Henry's initial break with Rome was primarily over legal matters, particularly those regarding the annulment of his first marriage with Catherine of Aragon. Henry made all the clergy of England, as well as many others, swear an oath of allegiance to him (called the "Oath of Supremacy") over the Pope, but beyond that, no significant changes were made to worship or doctrine in the Church of England. If one were to enter a Church of England parish in 1540, it might be virtually indistinguishable from a Catholic parish. At that time, a Catholic could blend into the Anglican population, and if he didn't call too much attention to himself, nobody would be the wiser. That would gradually change in the most tumultuous way as young Edmund Campion came of age.


Read more:


Allusions to Edmund Campion in Twelfth Night

C. Richard Desper

Resultado de imagen para Twelfth Night

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 1995 Elizabethan Review

The Elizabethan Age underwent a continuing crisis of religion that was marked by a deepening polarization of thought between the supporters of the recently established Protestant Church and the larger number of adherents to the Roman Catholic faith. Of these latter, Edmund Campion may be taken as the archetype. Well known as an Englishman who fled to the Continent for conscience’s sake, he returned to England as a Jesuit priest, was executed by the English government in 1581 and was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1970.[1]

It has been observed that the author of the Shakespeare plays displays a considerable sympathy and familiarity with the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. The intent here is to show a link between this English Catholic leader and the writer of the drama, Twelfth Night, as revealed by allusions to Edmund Campion in Act IV, scene ii of that play.


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