When Elizabeth became Queen in 1558, English Christians experienced their fourth religious upheaval in a generation. Once Henry VIII had broken with the Pope, for the rest of his reign there had been a pendulum swing from the conservatives, who had wanted England to be Catholic in ceremony and doctrine but without allegiance to the Pope, to the reformers, who wanted to use the opportunity to see real change in liturgy and doctrine. With the death of Henry, the reformers had been given free rein, and the official church was extremely Protestant under Edward VI, only to return to Catholicism and obedience to the pope under Mary, though Mary’s regime could not obliterate all reformist thought and action.
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