1st Edition

The Theology and Spirituality of Mary Tudor's Church

By William Wizeman Copyright 2006

    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 Bartolomé Carranza, as well as the Tridentine catechism, and the decrees and official texts of the English Reformation.

    Contents: Introduction. The interpretation of Catholicism in Marian England; The Marian Catholic texts, their authors and dedicatees; Marian Catholic theology of revelation and its transmission; Marian Catholic christology and soteriology; Marian Catholic ecclesiology; Marian Catholic sacramental theology and spirituality; Marian Catholic piety; Marian Catholic eschatology; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


    William Wizeman, SJ, received his D.Phil. at the University of Oxford in 2002, and is Associate Pastor of Corpus Christi Church, New York, USA.

    ’The book is clearly written and well documented; it also has an index and a comprehensive bibliography.’ The Way ' ... we are in the midst of an unusually rich period for publications on the Marian church. William Wizeman's sometimes combative but always meticulous scholarship is a major contribution and deserves to be widely read and discussed.' Journal of British Studies 47 (April 2008) ’For the seminarian who wants a straightforward examination of the beliefs of Marian Catholics, this is the text... this by far is the best book on the subject. Wizeman's clear, unpretentious writing will impress readers who tire of self-absorbed authors who burden others with their needlessly complicated syntax and diction.’ Anglican and Episcopal History ’William Wizeman's lucidly written study sheds important light on the complex processes of re-Catholicizing England in the reign of Mary I... His arguments are amply supported throughout with varied, judiciously chosen examples, and this study does valuable work to fill a gap in religious scholarship.’ Sixteenth Century Journal ’Happily, William Wizeman gives his readers exactly what the title promises... Even an advanced undergraduate would be able to comprehend his arguments and evidence with relative ease... William Wizeman's [...] always meticulous scholarship is a major contribution and deserves to be widely read and discussed.’ Journal of British Studies ’Wizeman’s study makes an important contribution to understanding the developments of Catholic theology during the second half of the sixteenth century.’ Ecclesiology '... Wizeman's book is a valuable addition to a major historical debate. His untimely death is a great loss to the academic world.' Theological Studies