Byline: BILLY KENNEDY
The English Roman Catholic Church has had 40 cardinals since the Middle Ages and while their influence over state matters has waned considerably since the pre-Protestant Reformation period, they still carry much clout with the church faithful across the country.
This book examines the public careers of the English cardinals dating back nine centuries, their backgrounds and the spiritual and the political influences they brought to bear on the establishment of the day.
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who quarelled incessantly with Henry V111 after the King broke off from Rome, was arguably the most political of the English Roman Catholic prelates and his career was conducted in turmoil.
England only provided one Pope - Adrian 1V (Nicholas Breakspear), whose Vatican reign lasted five years (1154-9), while one Cardinal - the 15th century Henry Beauford, was the grandson of King Edward 111.
Another cardinal with royal family connections was Henry Benedict Stuart, Duke of York, in the mid-18th century. This son of the Old Pretender (James Francis Edward Stuart) and brother of Bonnie Prince …