This an essay titled; why did the Catholics become the monsters of the 16th Century? It will discuss the different, but major events in part of the 1600’s and the essay will conclude with a final decision as to why the Catholics became the monsters of the 16th Century. The major events help us discuss the way Catholicism was distorted in the eyes of the people of England. We will also discover who distorted the image of Catholicism.
Mary I was a strong Catholic, she would do anything to make England Catholic again, for it was not at this time in history.
Mary tried to make England Catholic again by using fear; she did this by burning people at the stake. If they were not a Catholic and refused to become so, then this is what their punishment would have been. It was very harsh and did not give her a good name. She became very disappointed that this source of punishment was not working so she carried on and
on until she managed to get rid of quite a few Protestants. However, her plan to turn people’s heads and hearts to her faith rather than their own didn’t work. By her death the Catholics that had once cheered to have her as their Catholic queen were now praising the Lord and shouting in joy for her death. Mary had put such a bad name and image to the Catholic religion that people were genuinely glad to see her gone. They nicknamed her Bloody Mary.
Elizabeth I problems!
During Elizabeth’s reign there was a great deal of Catholics in England. This caused quite a few missionary priests to come over into England to keep the faith alive. The Pope in Rome told his fellow Catholics to do anything they could to continue with Catholicism and not just to hold back from their beliefs because of a Protestant Queen. If they had to, they had his permission to kill the reigning monarch. Anyway, these undercover priests came into England to cause havoc according to the Protestants. To the Catholics there was quite a different reason. Their opinion was so that they could carry on worshipping in the way they wished. When the priests were being searched for they would hide in rooms called, ‘priest holes’. These were like little cubby holes; there would usually be a hidden doorway on the either side of the chimney and a rope ladder leading up the inside of it into a little room behind the chimney walls. It would be heated by the chimney itself.
This caused great worry to Elizabeth. She thought at times she might be destroyed as queen. The government saw this as traitorous behaviour to come to England, smuggled in by Catholic families, to preach the good news of their faith.
So in the eyes of Protestants Catholics were becoming more and more monstrous. Starting with Bloody Mary and leading on to this illegal affair. The Catholic religion really isn’t getting a good name for all these occurrences. Are they?
Mary Queen of Scots!
Is she trustworthy?
Are the ‘Catholics’ trustworthy?
Mary Queen of Scots was a threat to Elizabeth because she had just arrived in England having escaped from prison and been accused of her ex husband Lord Darnley’s death, she was a Catholic, and she had ideas to over throw Elizabeth. She wanted the throne of England!
Elizabeth’s fears are genuine ~ Mary is seeking help from outside England, someone must stop her. Sir Francis Walsingham was not far away, thankfully. This man was Elizabeth’s secret agent, if you like.
Mary certainly was intrigued with her plotting and came up with something called a Babington plot. There were quite
a few mistakes made in the preparation for this plot, and Walsingham was not far from getting his hands on a lot of evidence about it. Mary was then imprisoned and four months later executed at Fotheringhay castle on the 8th February 1587.
This leads to only one conclusion on Mary, she could not be trusted. But what about all the other Catholic monarchs we’ve talked about? Can they be trusted? Obviously not! So in general can Catholics be trusted?
! No ! No ! No !
Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada
King Philip II of Spain was a Catholic, and he caused a lot of trouble between Catholics abroad and Catholics and Protestants in England. His desire was to make a Catholic England, from a Protestant England. Seems to be a toughie! The options he hoped he had are as follows: to marry Elizabeth, to cause the Catholic subjects in England to rebel, or assassinate the Queen. These plans however, failed! Another reason for Philip’s plan of invasion was that Elizabeth was interfering in Spanish affairs. Also, Elizabeth had been helping Protestant rebels in the Spanish Netherlands to rise against their Spanish overlords. So Philip wanted these Protestants out for good!
On account of this Philip plans to invade.
Philip had been led to believe that the Protestants were small in number to the Catholics. Although the Catholics wanted England to be a Catholic country, they didn’t want invaders from abroad to come in. This leads me to say, that because of the incident with Catholicism and failure this also did not put a good name to their faith.
The Gun Powder Plot
Guido Fawkes as he was called, better known as Guy Fawkes, was the main trigger of the gunpowder plot! Guy was a Catholic and he didn’t like James I of England. James I was a Protestant. The whole idea of the gunpowder plot was to kill King James I. Guido Fawkes wanted a Catholic monarch because he wasn’t happy with a Protestant monarch, so therefore the gunpowder plot developed. Here is how it all happened.
There was a basement under the Houses of Parliament so Guy took advantage of this and filled the basement with gunpowder. He pretended they were potatoes! In the end he was caught, put on the rack, and burned at the stake.
This gave a bad image to the Catholic faith; so in my view I would say they are now seen as terrorists.
To sum up my ideas I would say that the Catholics have become the monsters of the 16th Century. Bloody Mary was the main start for the monstrous Catholic period; I think she was the beginning and the cause for the end. If you want to weigh up all the participants, Guy Fawkes was another kilo, if you like, of the Catholic monstrosity. So then when you weigh up this chaotic period I believe you would end with a sack of very heavy idiots and most definitely traitors!