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  • Cited by 7
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    LEWIS, MICHAEL 2014. Report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme 2013. Post-Medieval Archaeology, Vol. 48, Issue. 2, p. 412.

    Tiffany, Grace 2012. Shakespeare's Miracle Plays. English Studies, Vol. 93, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    MARSHALL, PETER 2010. JOHN CALVIN AND THE ENGLISH CATHOLICS, c. 1565–1640. The Historical Journal, Vol. 53, Issue. 04, p. 849.

    Rieder, P. 2010. Miracles and Heretics: Protestants and Catholic Healing Practices in and around Geneva 1530-1750. Social History of Medicine, Vol. 23, Issue. 2, p. 227.

    Covington, Sarah 2009. Wounds, Flesh, And Metaphor In Seventeenth-Century England.

    Walsham, Alexandra 2005. Translating Trent? English Catholicism and the Counter Reformation*. Historical Research, Vol. 78, Issue. 201, p. 288.

    2005. Review of periodical literature published in 2003. The Economic History Review, Vol. 58, Issue. 1, p. 140.



  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 December 2003

This article explores the way in which the Counter Reformation priests sent to England after 1574 cultivated and harnessed the culture of the miraculous in their efforts to reform and evangelize the populace and to defend doctrines and practices assaulted by Protestant polemicists. Drawing on the insights emerging from recent research on Catholic renewal on the Continent, it shows how the seminary clergy and especially the Jesuits fostered traditional beliefs and practices associated with saints, relics, and sacramentals and exploited the potential of exorcisms and visions for didactic and proselytizing purposes. Close examination of these strategies serves to question some existing assumptions about the nature, objectives, and impact of the English Catholic mission and to illuminate the particular challenges that persecution presented to a movement determined to purge popular piety of its ‘superstitious’ accretions. It underlines the tensions between ecclesiastical direction and lay initiative which characterized a context in which Catholicism was a minority Church and highlights the frictions and divisions which these attempts to utilize supernatural power stimulated within the ranks of the Counter Reformation priesthood itself.

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I am grateful to Patrick Collinson, Anne Dillon, Simon Ditchfield, Mark Greengrass, Sarah Hamilton, Trevor Johnson, Peter Marshall, Ethan Shagan, Andrew Spicer, and the readers for this journal for constructive criticisms of earlier drafts of this article. It has also benefited from the comments of those who heard versions of it read as seminar papers in Denver, Birmingham, and Oxford.
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The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
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