Anti-Catholicism has been a feature of British history from the Reformation, but it has been little studied for the period since the Second World War, and rarely using quantitative methods. A thematically-arranged aggregate analysis of around 180 opinion polls among representative samples of adults since the 1950s offers insights into developing attitudes of the British public to Catholics and the Catholic Church. Anti-Catholicism against individual Catholics is found to have diminished. Negativity toward the Catholic Church and its leadership has increased, especially since the Millennium. Generic and specific explanations are offered for these trends, within the context of other manifestations of religious prejudice and other religious changes.
ClementsBen “The Sources of Public Feelings towards Religious Groups in Britain: The Role of Social Factors, Religious Characteristics, and Political Attitudes” Journal of Contemporary Religion27/3 (2012) 419–431.
John Wolffe (ed.)Protestant-Catholic Conflict from the Reformation to the Twenty-First Century: The Dynamics of Religious Difference (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan2013); Yvonne Maria Werner & Jonas Harvard (eds.) European Anti-Catholicism in a Comparative and Transnational Perspective (Amsterdam: Rodopi 2013). For a review of earlier writings see Marjule Anne Drury “Anti-Catholicism in Germany Britain and the United States: A Review and Critique of Recent Scholarship” Church History 70/1 (2001) 98–131.
Mark MassaAnti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (New York: Crossroad Publishing2003); Philip Jenkins The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003).
Arthur MarottiReligious Ideology and Cultural Fantasy: Catholic and Anti-Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press2005); Leticia Álvarez Recio Fighting the AntiChrist: A Cultural History of Anti-Catholicism in Tudor England (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press 2011).
Edward NormanAnti-Catholicism in Victorian England (London: Allen and Unwin1968); Robert Klaus The Pope the Protestants and the Irish: Papal Aggression and Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Nineteenth Century England (New York: Garland Publishing 1987); Frank Neal Sectarian Violence: The Liverpool Experience 1819–1914 – An Aspect of Anglo-Irish History (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1988); John Wolffe The Protestant Crusade in Great Britain 1829–1860 (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1991); Denis Paz Popular Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Victorian England (Stanford: Stanford University Press 1992); Frank Wallis Popular Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Victorian Britain (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press 1993); Jonathan Bush “Papists” and Prejudice: Popular Anti-Catholicism and Anglo-Irish Conflict in the North East of England 1845–70 (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2013).
Steve BruceGod Save Ulster: The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism (Oxford: Oxford University Press1986); John Brewer with Gareth Higgins Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland 1600–1998: The Mote and the Beam (Houndmills: Macmillan 1998). See also footnote 16 below for British opinion polls on the Northern Ireland question.
Steve BruceNo Pope of Rome: Anti-Catholicism in Modern Scotland (Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing1985); Tom Gallagher Glasgow: The Uneasy Peace: Religious Tension in Modern Glasgow (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1987); Joseph Bradley Ethnic and Religious Identity in Modern Scotland: Culture Politics and Football (Aldershot: Avebury 1995); Tom Devine (ed.) Scotland’s Shame? Bigotry and Sectarianism in Modern Scotland (Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing 2000); Steve Bruce Tony Glendinning Iain Paterson & Michael Rosie Sectarianism in Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2004); Michael Rosie The Sectarian Myth in Scotland: Of Bitter Memory and Bigotry (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan 2004); Steve Bruce Tony Glendinning Iain Paterson & Michael Rosie “Religious Discrimination in Scotland: Fact or Myth?” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28/1 (2005) 151–168; Tom Gallagher Divided Scotland: Ethnic Friction and Christian Crisis (Glendaruel: Argyll Publishing 2013); Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services An Examination of the Evidence on Sectarianism in Scotland (2013) http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/ 0042/00424891.pdf (accessed 14 March 2014).
Trystan Owain Hughes“Anti-Catholicism in Wales, 1900–1960,”Journal of Ecclesiastical History53/2 (2002) 312–325; Paul O’Leary “When was Anti-Catholicism? The Case of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Wales” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 56/2 (2005) 308–325 (with response by Hughes at 326–333).
Clive Field“Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain: The Evidence of the Opinion Polls, 1988–2006,”Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations18/4 (2007) 447–477 and “Revisiting Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain 2007–10” in Marc Helbling (ed.) Islamophobia in the West: Measuring and Explaining Individual Attitudes (London: Routledge 2012) 147–161.