The Religious Policy of Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I(1533-1603), is probably one of the most famous of the rulers of England. During her rather long reign she accomplished greatly. England at the time of her rule was divided with Catholicism and Protestantism; but what was Elizabeth’s policy on religion?

Elizabeth I did not exactly have a religious policy, since she actually switched from Catholicism to Protestantism quite easily. But she could not and would not abide to subject herself to the Papacy, which was why she removed the Catholic Mass, and forced everyone to attend the Anglican church. She was able to do this because she was the head of the church. From this point on Catholics were persecuted; if a Catholic was suspected to be Catholic, their homes would be searched and if they were found with Catholic theological books, they would be punished. Also Elizabeth did not agree with the fully Protestant side, which is shown in the persecution she encouraged toward the Puritans.

Clearly, Elizabeth I religious policy was one that could not exactly be called a religious policy. She was neither fully Protestant or Catholic; she enforced and encouraged persecution towards Catholics and Puritans, and was at the head of the Church of England. Regardless of all this, this was her religious policy.

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