The Suppression of the Nineteenth-Century Catholics

775 Words2 Pages

The Suppression of the Nineteenth-Century Catholics Missing Works Cited During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, vicars were under direct authority from Rome, and controlled the Roman Catholic Church of England. It was not until the early nineteenth century, under Pope Pius IX, that the Church decided to split England into several smaller districts, each headed by a bishop. London papers began following the growth and leadership change of the Roman Church in England. One article in The Times stated that "Rome had mistaken the High Church renewal, the Oxford Movement, within the Church of England for a Romeward move" (qtd. in Bowen 148). Several bishops tried to explain to The Times and its readers that the new hierarchy was simply a matter of church government and had nothing to do with politics or national life in England. The Roman Catholic Church thought that it would be better for their congregations to have a local bishop they could rely on, rather than having nearly all of the control in Rome. As the Roman Catholic Church began its restructuring, Parliament passed a proviso that enabled them to control the public acts of Catholics. According to Bowen the proviso banned Roman Catholics from: performing rites in public, no officer of the law was allowed to wear his robe in public, no monk was able to wear his habit, no processions were allowed in the streets and no funerals were allowed to be conducted at grave sites. Every male member of the Catholic religious order was forced to register with the clerk of the peace, and no new members were allowed once the proviso passed. (19) The only Catholics left undisturbed by the new proviso were cloisters of nuns. Despite the new proviso, the number of Catholics began to grow. This increasing number is attributed to the immigrating Irish who were coming to England to escape over-population and the beginnings of a famine. The English were already anti-Irish, and they heightened their prejudice by attaching the anti-Catholic prejudice onto the immigrating Irish. The majority of the immigrating Irish were tenant farmers, who were unable to support and feed their families. This was caused by the decreasing size of farms and an increase in agriculture inefficiency (McCaffrey 16). The British landowners who controlled the barren property did nothing to help the starving Irish. The farmers felt dehumanized and demoralized, possessing neither the hope of progress nor the desire for improvement (McCaffrey 15).

More about The Suppression of the Nineteenth-Century Catholics

Open Document