Keeping up with the Catholics: Protestant Evangelism in the Late 17th Century

In: Exchange
Lisa Clark Diller Professor, History and Political Studies Department, Southern Adventist University Collegedale, TN USA

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James II’s reign opened up space for Catholic mission activity within England. Priests, both foreign and English-born, set up public worship services that were open for visitors to attend. A wave of pamphlets explaining the Roman Catholic faith rolled over the country, and converts were encouraged to publish their stories of leaving Protestantism. Schools were opened, apparently attended by both Catholics and Protestants. And the important pastoral work of invigorating English Catholics, educating them and encouraging them in piety, began. Devout Protestants immediately recognized the efficacy of these missions and admired how quickly they worked. Beginning in the reign of James, they argued that they should also be doing such missional work. This paper looks at what Catholics prioritized in their work in England under James II, and how English Protestants referenced those examples in their own work after 1688.

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