Roman Catholicism as an Example of Religious Tradition in England
In What Ways had Roman Catholicism been an example of both religious tradition and dissent in England?
Roman Catholicism was the traditional form of worship in England until the sixteenth century. The rituals and practices had been carried on year to year and the congregation accepted the authority of the church to impart the teachings of Christianity to them. The participation of the congregation in the service would, I believe, have instilled a sense of belonging into them. An account written by Roger Martyn (c.1527-1615) demonstrates a deep love of his church. He describes in detail the rich colour and detail of the interior of Long Melford church. One such affectionate description is of ‘our Blessed Lady having the afflicted body of her dear son , as he was taken down, off the cross, lying in her lap, the tears, as it were, running down pityfully upon her beautiful cheeks’. (Reading 3.1, Wolffe 2008). In this description, he clearly demonstrates his total acceptance of the teachings of the church, and his love of it. He describes the roof as ‘Beautified with fair gilt stars’ which conjures an image of the beauty of the building. He even goes so far as to have a table from ‘his’ aisle ‘decaying in his house in the hope that his heirs will repair and restore it one day’. This shows the extent of the love for his church and all its old traditions which would have been reaffirmed to countless generations over time. He also includes details of the service in fond terms.
That this stays in his mind over many years, shows that it was not just a love of a beautiful building that made such an impression, but the ritual of the worship and the importance of it within community life.
The imagery and content of the church could also be described as traditional. Roman Catholic churches contained detailed and ornate statues, rood screens and altars. Candles are used a symbol for prayers. The method of worship was something for the congregation and priest to...