old days of the mass but beyond that there were no attempts to undermine the new state of play. It was due to this that Elizabeth could afford to be lenient to the remaining Catholics: they represented no threat as they were; any attempt to persecute them could have stirred up Catholic indignation. The Protestants tried to play on this sense of over- riding patriotism by presenting the English Church as having been founded on roots other than Rome's (this was also a further way of legitimising the Act of Supremacy), older, in fact, than the Latin mission of Augustine's and older than the Roman Lucius who was always credited with the initial conversion of England. As Spenser wrote in The Faerie Queene,
"Yet true it is, that long before that day
Spencer was following the ideas of John Foxe, who, in his Acts and Monuments put forward the idea that the true English faith had been given to them by Joseph of Arimathea and the later Roman missions destroyed this purer faith.
The Catholics might have been acquiescent, but the Protestants were downright annoyed. They believed Elizabeth had not gone far enough, that too much of the old form of worship survived. The leading Protestant, John Jewel, even criticised the Queen for having a silver cross. For true Protestants this smacked of popery. The Protestants refused to see the need for any sort of compromise, and after living through Mary's reign this is hardly surprising. There was undoubtedly some bitterness in their wish to totally obliterate everything remotely Catholic: they wanted revenge for the blood on Mary's hands. It is not surprising, therefore, that the first major crisis to spring from the new settlement came from the radical Protestants rather than the conservative Catholics over the restoration of crucifixes to parish churches. It ended with threats of resignation and Elizabeth's climb-down. In return the bishops were more prepared to compromise over the use of vestments (see section on Theology).
Elizabeth managed to create a well-balanced order. On the one hand she refused to persecute the non-conformists while on the other she was quick to clamp down on the radical Protestants. The latter she did with great skill, refusing to be bullied into measures she didn't agree with. Thus the act passed by the radical Parliament of 1563 making the refusal of the oath of supremacy an act of treason, the Queen simply told her bishops not to administer the oath more than once.
This state of affairs came to a sudden end in 1570 when Pope Pius V ordered the papal Bull Regnans in Excelsis. This Bull denied the authority of Elizabeth claiming that as a heretic she could not be Queen. It made rebellion against her a religious duty and pronounced that any nation wishing to attack her would be conducting a religious crusade. This suddenly upped the stakes; Elizabeth could no longer afford to be so conciliatory towards the Catholics. Immediately the publishing or importing of the papal Bull was outlawed and all property belonging to exiled Catholics was confiscated. Elizabeth still refused the requests of the Puritans to clamp down of the English Catholics, She realised that the papal Bull was unwelcome to the recusants (i.e. those who refused to take the oath of supremacy) who simply wanted to get on with their old faith as quietly as possible, and she still didn't want to drive them to rebellion through persecution. Those ardent Catholics who would have supported the Bull were in exile already anyway so posed little threat. For those in England the Bull, if anything, lessened their will to rebel. The Rebellion of the Northern Earls (see above) had never sought the destruction of Elizabeth; any future rising would now have to. This was against the English nature.
The Bull did, however, inspire Catholics from abroad, working within the Court, to attempt to assassinate the Queen and encourage foreign interference. It was this that led to the Ridlophi Plot where the adventurer Ridolphi and the Spanish Ambassador De Spes intrigued to bring a Catholic uprising centred around the papal Bull and Mary Queen of Scots. The plot was quickly discovered and broken having the unfortunate effect of stirring the Council into attempting repressive measures against Catholics including the be- heading of the Duke of Norfolk who was implicated in the plot. The Queen, however, stood firm and aside for Norfolk's necessary execution no further measure against Catholics in general were taken.
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