Catherine of Braganza - Catholicism - The Popish Plot

The Popish Plot

Further information: Popish plot

The Test Act of 1673 had driven all Catholics out of public office and anti-Catholic feelings intensified in the years to come. Although she was not active in religious politics, in 1675 Catherine was criticised for supposedly supporting the idea of appointing a bishop to England who, it was hoped, would resolve the internal disputes of Catholics. Critics also noted the fact that, despite orders to the contrary, English Catholics attended her private chapel. As one of the highest-ranking Catholics in the country, Catherine was an obvious target for Protestant extremists, and it was hardly surprising that the Popish Plot of 1678 would directly threaten her position. However, Catherine was completely secure in her husband's favor ( "she could never do anything wicked, and it would be a horrible thing to abandon her " he told Gilbert Burnet) and the House of Lords, most of whom knew her and liked her, refused by an overwhelming majority to impeach her.

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