Roman Catholic Relief Bills

The Roman Catholic Relief Bills were a series of measures introduced over time in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries before the Parliaments of Great Britain and the United Kingdom to remove the restrictions and prohibitions imposed on British and Irish Catholics during the English Reformation. These restrictions had been introduced to enforce the separation of the English church from the Roman Catholic Church which began in 1529 under Henry VIII.

Following the death of the Jacobite claimant to the British throne James Francis Edward Stuart on 1 January 1766, the Pope recognised the legitimacy of the Hanoverian dynasy, which began a process of rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the United Kingdom. Over the next sixty-three years, various bills were introduced in Parliament to repeal restrictions against practise of the Roman Catholic faith, but these bills encountered political opposition, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. With the exception of the Catholic Relief Act 1778 and the Catholic Relief Act 1791, these bills were defeated. Then, finally, most of the remaining restrictions against Catholics in the United Kingdom were repealed by the Catholic Relief Act 1829.

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