Friday, February 25, 2011

Anniversary of excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I

It happened 441 years ago in 1570. Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I. He wrote a papal bull in 1570 calling Elizabeth a heretic for acting against the Catholic faith, and allowed any Catholic to disobey her on these grounds.

This prompted great persecutions of Catholics in England, and eventually in 1580 to relieve pressure on them, Pope Gregory XIII said the English should obey the queen until she is overthrown.

One of the effects of this was that there was a rift between Ireland and England, since most of Ireland chose to remain Catholic. This rift lasted for centuries.

The popes during this time believed the true heir to the British throne was Mary, Queen of Scots. Eventually Elizabeth had her executed.

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V, the famous namesake of the Sistine Chapel, renewed the categorization of Queen Elizabeth I as a heretic.


A related movie to this era of Catholic persecution is a great one titled A Man for All Seasons, which profiles St. Thomas More and his interaction with King Henry VIII when he disagree with the monarch. It can be purchased for $7.49 on

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