Few areas of early modern English history have roused such passions and interpretations as the rule of Mary Tudor and her efforts to return the country to Catholicism following the reigns of her father and brother.
In this book, Dr Wizeman explores Catholic theology and spirituality according to the religious literature printed during the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-1558). As part of the strategy to renew Catholic religion in England after the reformations under Henry VIII and Edward VI, Marian theologians, authors and editors produced numerous works of catechesis, religious polemic, devotion and sermons.
These writings demonstrate that the Catholicism of Marian England was not a mere insular reaction to the preceding decades of religious change, nor a via media polity which eschewed important elements of traditional religion while embracing tenets of the Reformation.
Rather the theology and spirituality of Mary Tudor's church, as well as many of its strategies for religious renewal, was intimately connected to - and in fact anticipated or paralleled - the theology, spirituality and strategies for reform embraced by Counter-Reformation Catholicism, especially after the promulgation of the decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). After considering the recent historiography of Mary Tudor's reign, the book contextualises these writings through a brief history of the Marian church and a discussion of the authors and dedicatees.
It then presents an analysis of the Marian writers' and theologians' views on revelation, christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, piety and eschatology.
Finally, the study compares the Catholic belief asserted in these works to that found in texts by English theologians printed before 1553, especially John Fisher, and by contemporary theologians in Europe, particularly Bartolome Carranza, as well as the Tridentine catechism, and the decrees and official texts of the English Reformation.