Mary I: England's Catholic Queen

By LaRocca, John J. | The Historian, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Mary I: England's Catholic Queen


LaRocca, John J., The Historian


Mary I: England's Catholic Queen. By John Edwards. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011. Pp. xvii, 397. $35.00.)

This is an excellent and very readable study of Mary Tudor and her reign that is based on research in both English and Spanish archival sources. Perhaps the author's greatest contributions to the field are the breadth of his research--especially his use of Spanish archival material--and his ability to transcend the barriers of confessional history imposed by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation or those imposed by a secular culture. He offers new, valuable insights into Mary's piety, her relationship with Philip, her husband, the attempt to re-Catholicize the English Church, the means she used to achieve that end, and her understanding of the burning of heretics. He also expands our understanding of Protestant doctrinal uniformity and the means proposed to enforce it. Mary's religious upbringing, in John Edwards's analysis, was traditional, but she was in touch with the sources of contemporary piety, including Ludolph of Saxony and the Imitatio Christi, which may be viewed as medieval yet form the basis of much of the material in Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. She was also in touch with Christian Humanism through her translation of Erasmus.

Edwards holds that Pole's arrival in England was delayed by Mary herself rather than Charles V. Pole's plan for the restoration of the Roman Church in England has been judged negatively and Pole criticized for seeing the English Church as part of the international church, which, the author points out, was the condition of the English Church before it split in 1533. The legislation of the Synods of London and Westminster, usually described as sterile and counterproductive, was actually incorporated into many of the decrees of the Council of Trent and, therefore, was a source for the Counter-Reformation. …

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