Passage Nine (The Continuity of the Religious Struggle in Britain)
Though England was on the whole prosperous and hopeful, though by comparison with her neighbors she enjoyed internal peace, she could not evade the fact that the world of which she formed a part was torn by hatred and strife as fierce as any in human history. Men were still for from recognizing that two religions could exist side by side in the same society; they believed that the toleration of another religion different from their own. And hence necessarily false, must inevitably destroy such a society and bring the souls of all its members into danger of hell. So the struggle went on with increasing fury within each nation to impose a single creed upon every subject, and within the general society of Christendom to impose it upon every nation. In England the Reformers, or Protestants, aided by the power of the Crown, had at this stage triumphed, but over Europe as a whole Rome was beginning to recover some of the ground it had lost after Martin Luther’s revolt in the earlier part of the century. It did this in two ways, by the activities of its missionaries, as in parts of Germany, or by the military might of the Catholic Powers, as in the Low Countries, where the Dutch provinces were sometimes near their last extremity under the pressure of Spanish arms. Against England, the most important of all the Protestant nations to reconquer, military might was not yet possible because the Catholic Powers were too occupied and divided: and so, in the 1570’s Rome bent her efforts, as she had done a thousand years before in the days of Saint Augustine, to win England back by means of her missionaries.
These were young Englishmen who had either never given up the old faith, or having done so, had returned to it and felt called to become priests. There being, of course, no Catholic seminaries left in England, they went abroad, at first