The Religious Policy of Elizabeth I

When Queen Elizabeth I came into reign over England it was unknown as to how she would side religiously. During the reign of her half-brother, Edward VI, she was known as a protestant because he was imposing the Protestant religion over England and during her half-sister Mary I’s Roman Catholic reign Elizabeth was a Catholic.

Like her father, Henry VIII, and Edward VI she chose Protestantism as her religion. She did not like the idea of being under the religious authority of a pope so Protestantism posed as a great option to establish more authority and power over England since she could make herself the supreme head of the Anglican church of England.

Catholics throughout England were persecuted as a result of her decision. The people of England were required to attend her Anglican church services weekly and if a person did not attend they would be fined. At one point over 50,000 people decided to pay the fine instead of attending church.

Even with all of these strict regulations a few remaining Catholics held their own religious masses under the cover of their own homes. When word of this came to the church authorities homes were searched for items of catholic descent, and those found in possession of such things were punished.

The Puritans believed that Elizabeth’s religious policy was still too catholic. Such things like bowing during a service and other ideas similar to that of which the Catholic Church practiced bothered the Puritans. So the Puritans decided to hold their own religious services because they did not like the idea of religion being controlled by the state. But once again, when Elizabeth got wind of this she set obstacles in the way of the growth of the Puritans’ religious ideas.

Elizabeth I reined in England from 1558 to 1603, a very long period of time for any monarch. She was known to be a well-liked ruler even though she was very authoritative over England especially in terms of religion.

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