Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom
Starting with the Regnans in Excelsis in 1570 and lasting until 1766, the Pope did not recognize the legitimacy of the English Monarchy and called for its overthrow. Therefore by the time of the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, Catholics were discriminated against in England and Scotland in significant ways: in all the kingdoms of the British Isles, they were excluded from voting, from sitting in Parliament, and from the learned professions. These discriminatory laws continued after the Acts of Union 1800 which created the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. At that time, Catholic Emancipation was gathering support but was not yet a reality, particularly in Ireland, where the Protestant Ascendancy was still in full force.
The Treaty of Union of 1707, like the Act of Settlement, had stated that no "Papist" could succeed to the throne. Restrictions on the civil rights of Roman Catholics only began to change with the passing of the Papists Act 1778, which allowed them to own property, inherit land and join the British Army, although even this measure resulted in the backlash of the Gordon Riots of 1780, showing the depth of continuing anti-Catholic feeling.
After 1790 a new mood emerged as thousands of Catholics fled the French Revolution and Britain was allied in the Napoleonic Wars with the Catholic states of Portugal and Spain as well as with the Holy See itself, By 1829 the political climate had changed enough to allow Parliament to pass the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, giving Roman Catholics almost equal civil rights, including the right to vote and to hold most public offices.
The Catholic Church comprised three elements. In England there were about 50,000 people in traditional ("recusant") Catholic families. They generally kept a low profile. Their priests usually came from St Edmund's College, a seminary founded in 1793 by English refugees from the French revolution. The main disabilities were lifted by the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. In 1850 the pope restored the Catholic hierarchy, giving England its own Catholic bishops again. In 1869 a new seminary opened.
The second large group comprised very poor Irish immigrants escaping the Great Irish Famine. Their numbers rose from 224,000 in 1841 to 419,000 in 1851, concentrated in ports and industrial districts as well as industrial districts in Scotland. The third group included high-profile converts from the Church of England, most notably the intellectuals John Henry Newman and Henry Edward Manning (1808–1892) . Manning became the first Archbishop of Westminster. The next most prominent leader was Herbert Vaughan (1832–1903), who succeeded Manning as Archbishop of Westminster in 1892 and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1893.
Manning was among the strongest supporters of the pope and especially of the doctrine of papal infallibility. In contrast Cardinal Newman acknowledged this doctrine but thought it might not be prudent to define it formally at the time. Manning promoted a modern Roman Catholic view of social justice. These views are reflected in the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum issued by Pope Leo XIII. It was the foundation of modern Roman Catholic social justice teaching. Catholic parochial schools, subsidised by the government, were set up in urban areas to serve the largely Irish element. Manning spoke for the Irish Catholic laborers and helped settle the London Dock Strike of 1889. He gained acclaim for building a new cathedral in Westminister, and for encouraging the growth of religious congregations largely filled by the Irish.
A number of prominent individuals have converted to Catholicism, including John Henry Newman, Augustus Pugin, Muriel Spark, Gerard Manley Hopkins, G. K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Malcolm Muggeridge and Joseph Pearce. Members of the Royal family such as the Duchess of Kent and former Prime Minister Tony Blair have also converted to Catholicism, in Blair's case in December 2007 after he had left office.
According to the Central Statistical Office of the Church, Great Britain has a population of 63,181,775 of whom 8,831,167 (13.98%) are Catholics. There are 38 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 3,104 parishes.
- Catholic Church in England and Wales,
- Roman Catholicism in Ireland (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland),
- Roman Catholicism in Scotland.
- List of Roman Catholic dioceses in England and Wales
- List of Roman Catholic dioceses in Ireland (including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland)
- List of Roman Catholic dioceses in Scotland
- Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom
- Religion in the United Kingdom
- The Treaty of Union 1706 scotshistoryonline.co.uk, accessed 15 February 2009 - see article 2
- Kenneth Scott Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age (1958) pp 454-58
- Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age (1958) pp 454-58
- Vincent Alan McClelland, Cardinal Manning: the Public Life and Influences, 1865-1892 (1962).
- "Tony Blair joins Catholic faith". BBC News online. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- Francis Beckett and David Hencke, The Survivor: Tony Blair in War and Peace, 2005, Aurum Press Ltd, ISBN 978-1-84513-110-4
- Francis Beckett and David Hencke, "Regular at mass, communion from Pope. So why is Blair evasive about his faith?",The Guardian, September 28, 2004
- Ruth Gledhill, Jeremy Austin and Philip Webster, "Blair will be welcomed into Catholic fold via his 'baptism of desire'", The Times, May 17, 2007
- Beck, George Andrew, ed. The English Catholics, 1850-1950 (1950), scholarly essays
- Corrin, Jay P. Catholic Progressives in England After Vatican II (University of Notre Dame Press; 2013) 536 pages;
- Dures, Alan. English Catholicism, 1558-1642: Continuity and Change (1983)
- Harris, Alana. Faith in the Family: A Lived Religious History of English Catholicism, 1945-1982 (2013); the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the ordinary believer
- Heimann, Mary. Catholic Devotion in Victorian England (1995) online
- Hughes, Philip. The Catholic Question, 1688-1829: A Study in Political History (1929)
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age. Vol. I: The 19th Century in Europe; Background and the Roman Catholic Phase (1958), pp 451-59
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age. Vol. IV: The 20th Century in Europe; The Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Churches (1961) pp 210-20
- McClelland, Vincent Alan. Cardinal Manning: the Public Life and Influences, 1865-1892 (1962)
- Mathew, David. Catholicism in England: the portrait of a minority: its culture and tradition (1955)
- Mullet, Michael. Catholics in Britain and Ireland, 1558-1829 (1998) 236pp
- Watkin, E. I Roman Catholicism in England from the Reformation to 1950 (1957)
- Mullet, Michael. English Catholicism, 1680-1830 (2006) 2714 pages
- Newman, John Henry. Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000) 585pp; based on 6th edition of 1889
- Catholic Church in England and Wales
- Catholic Church in Ireland
- Catholic Church in Scotland
- The Holy See — The Vatican's Official Website