Martyrdom, selective memory and Pope Benedict in England

I was almost going a little soft on Pope Benedict XVI during the early part of his visit to the … Continued

I was almost going a little soft on Pope Benedict XVI during the early part of his visit to the United Kingdom. After all, the poor pontiff had to actually shake hands with a female Anglican priest–a torment he is not required to undergo every day. And he was visiting the country whose leaders had contributed so much(along with Martin Luther, of course) to Rome’s loss of its status as the sole authority in Christendom. True, that was half a millennium ago, but the Vatican has really never gotten over the loss…

But Benedict lost me when, at a prayer vigil in Hyde Park, he evoked memories of the 16th-century Catholic martyrs who were drawn and quartered for remaining loyal to the Vatican and added, “In our time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered, but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied.” That, Your Holiness,is what we secularists call progress.

Benedict did not, naturally, make any mention of the Protestants executed by Mary Tudor (aka Bloody Mary), whose aim was to restore the Roman Catholic rule–and loyalty to the Vatican–that her father, Henry VIII, had disavowed. Mary was the only child of Henry and Catherine of Aragon, who was cast aside when Henry’s roving eye fell on Anne Boleyn. When the pope refused to approve the annulment of Henry’s marriage, the Church of England was born. Anne, of course, eventually met a harsher fate–she was beheaded–for her failure to produce a male heir. The boy-king Edward VI, son of Henry and his next wife, Jane Seymour, ruled, in a manner of speaking, from his father’s death in 1547 to 1553. Then came Mary who did everything she could to undo the still-fragile hold of the Reformation. When Mary died in 1558, she was, in one of the great ironies of English history, succeeded by Elizabeth I, the girl child whose arrival had sealed her mother’s fate. Under Elizabeth’s long reign, the religious settlement that solidified the position of the Church of England took permanent shape (tested as it would be by the rise of Puritanism in the following century).

It was Elizabeth who reportedly said, “I have no wish to make windows into men’s souls.” For the most part, people actually had to do something to be executed for faith-based treason under Elizabeth–say, be a Jesuit priest sent to England to organize a plot to kill Elizabeth and place her cousin, the faithful Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, on the throne. The Pope naturally portrayed these Jesuits as martyrs, but it’s easy to see why Elizabeth would have viewed many of them as what many of them were–would-be assassins and threats to England.

Martyrdom and its veneration has always seemed to me one of the most dubious aspects not only of Catholicism but of many religions. This brief excursion into Tudor history highlights something that the pope also failed to note–the connection throughout history between politics and so-called religious martyrdom. Sir Thomas More was the chancellor of England at the time of his execution, in 1535, for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the church of England. His last words before his beheading were, “The King’s loyal servant, but God’s first.” That would be true, of course, if you believed in a god whose chief representative on earth necessarily lived in Rome. And More was an enemy of religious reform long before Henry’s sexual desires put him at odds with the Vatican. He was a fierce opponent of both Luther and of William Tyndale, who first translated the Bible into English.

Tyndale was another martyr the pope didn’t mention–possibly because, although he (like More) was executed by Henry VIII–he was a Protestant martyr. Tyndale was a crucial figure in the Reformation and was anathema to Rome. He knew Martin Luther and used the new printing press in Germany to publish the first English-language translation of the Bible (which later served as the basis for the King James Bible.) Even though the Reformation had begun in England, Henry VIII’s reach was long and although the king he had already executed More for refusing to recognize him as the head of the church of England, he took it upon himself to track down Tyndale in Antwerp and see that he was tried for heresy and executed. Henry, it should be noted, was somewhat ambivalent about his own theological loyalties.

Tyndale’s last words were “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes”–meaning that he hoped Henry would recognize the necessity of publishing an English-language Bible. That actually happened three years later, when King Henry’s “Great Bible” was published in English. Not only was poor Tyndale strangled and burned at the stake, but his work was later stolen by the committee that wrote the King James version. (Come to think of it, that is exactly what cut-and-pasters who claim that the Internet has nullified copyright are doing.)

Thomas More, then, was an enemy of all who would make the scriptures accessible to people in their own language. If you consider that a cause worthy of respect and honor, then I suppose you can weep tears over More’s martyrdom. In the hagiographical 1966 film about More, A Man for All Seasons, his opposition to an English-language Bible was never mentioned. Personally, I prefer a martyr who died for the right of people to read what the Bible actually says in a language they can understand. But I can see why Pope Benedict, who has an affinity for those who want to bring back the Mass in Latin (another big 16th-century issue), wouldn’t consider Tyndale his favorite marytr.

The whole concept of martyrdom is quite dicey, as the dueling martyrologies of the English Reformation indicate in a particularly graphic way. The truth is that in the 16th century, the vernacular Bible and vernacular Mass were the only issues that really divided the Church of England from the Church of Rome. And, oh yes, papal infallibility.To reflect that thousands of people actually died arguing over whether God wanted them to say “Credo in unum deum” instead of “I believe in God” is to reduce religious martyrdom to its proper proportions. By the 17th century, of course, the English Christians were dying over more substantive issues, such as the existence of saints and the nature of the Holy Trinity. And of course, all of the martyrs were also dying over the predominantly political question of whether a foreign head of a church that still made secular claims was going to determine how the English worshipped.

All religions have martyrs, and that is one reason I object to both religion and martyrology. I do believe that there are things worth dying for, although I doubt that I would ever have the strength to withstand torture myself. I honor people who died rather than give up the location of hidden Jews during World War II. I honor people who were beaten within an inch of their lives during the civil rights movement so that the next generation might have a greater share of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I honor people who risk their own lives to save their children (though this may be more of a basic biological instinct than a considered decision.) What all of these actions do have in common is that they involve saving other human lives.

I do not believe that upholding the spiritual authority of one man over another (the pope over a king) is worth dying for. I do not believe it is worth dying to assert that Jesus was or was not the Messiah. I do not believe it is worth dying for the right to mumble the mass in a language that most of the faithful don’t understand. Benedict’s basic message throughout his visit to the United Kingdom was that England has become a largely secular society and that the mission of his church is to challenge “aggressive forms of secularism.” It was in this context that he cited the names of Catholic martyrs. He might reflect that since secularists have been more or less in charge, no one has been drawn and quartered for professing a particular religious belief. But oh, how painful it is to be mocked!

Note: I was extremely interested in all of your replies to the “Proust questionnaire,” and I’ve printed them out for future reference. Yes, it is fascinating to see in black-and-white how culture-bound we all are. To the blogger who resented having to answer the question about heaven and hell from the standpoint of an atheist or a religious believer (he believes not in a traditional god but some “transcendent being,”), I don’t agree with the person who said you are really an atheist. If your transcendent being plays any role in determining events in the universe or in the hearts of men, you aren’t an atheist.

Susan Jacoby
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  • FarnazMansouri2

    I think the pope’s biggest problem in the UK was his failure to get it, not a new problem for the Vatican.For months prior to his visit, the fact that many did not wish him to make it was widely publicized. A petition with upwards of twenty thousand signatures was published. Brits pointedly stated that they were not in the mood to lay out twenty million for the pontiff’s “state visit” under the circumstances of the child rape cover-ups.The demonstrations, rage, did not concern martyrdom in Susan’s sense, although the idea of the Vatican’s suffering in light of the massive suffering it had caused worldwide did, of course, aggravate the Brits. The endless suffering of the Vatican over the centuries of its abuse gets on the nerves of its victims.There are some devout English Catholics, strong and vocal critics of the Vatican who did find the language used by the demonstrations troubling. One of these critics had said that he was unconcerned about what a man who dressed in lace and red shoes had to say about gay people. I thought it odd that he could make such a scathing remark on the one hand and take offense at the demonstrators on the other.The position of the pope is at the source of these problems, and he, alone, is not to blame. So long as the Vatican remains a sovereign nation and a religious institution it will pose threats to national sovereignty in countries such as Ireland and the United States. Crimes committed by priests were ignored in these and other countries. Police were PREVENTED from making arrests. Rapist priests were, if necessary, retired with pensions instead of arrested, tried, and jailed until the X hit the fan.In part, the anger of the Brits, Americans, Europeans, Asians, et al, is misdirected. It should first be directed atCatholics should, then, look to the Vatican. They might begin by asking how it is possible that William Levada, who should be in jail, was named head of the CDF. Other questions suggest themselves.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,Of the people who hid Jews during the Shoah, Trocme is widely known. The fact that he did not know he had a choice is not rhetoric. He did not, and that is what I am in awe of. His congregants didn’t either because (emphasize BECAUSE) HE did not.He is not alone, however. There are lesser known people, one of whom lived through the tortures of the damned. One was a woman whom everyone should know of. She was a Catholic who went through hell. I’m looking for her memoirs on my endless shelves. Will post the title when I discover it, Columbus-like.

  • Jihadist

    I would love to read what Mary Cunningham has to say about this. The English Protestants were quite ruthless in their persecution, discrimination and marginalisation of English Catholics, right up to the 19th century by “a” special law. Mary, Queen of Scots, not mentioned by the Pope as a martyr?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

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  • FarnazMansouri2

    It is interesting that Judaism does not have a martyr concept in the way that other religions do. We do not think that the millions murdered by the Christians were”martyr,” but, rather, victims of evil.No human sacrifices. No one dies so that others might live. Those killed by racists are victims.It is interesting to explore the Israeli Ethiopian Jews on this. They strongly objected to Israel’s granting asylum to Sudanese Muslims and Catholics, those, that is, who had not been shot dead by their Egyptian co-religionists, while fleeing into Egypt (not large enough to accommodate them, I guess, and the Egyptians didn’t want to be bothered sending them back).It reached a point where the Ethiopians took to the streets to demand that these Sudanese refugees be stopped at the borders or deported. Why? Some of these Ethiopian Jews, those could not be able to be air-lifted out of the racist Ethiopian hell-hole had been caught in Sudan and tortured by the Sudanese. “WE DO NOT WANT TO LIVE AMONG OUR TORTURERS” read their placards. Also, “WE WERE PRISONERS OF ZION.” AND, “AREN’T THERE ANY CHRISTIAN NATIONS?”Prisoners of Zion means faced horror because of Judaism. The Ethiopians were saying, we were prisoners of Zion just like you Askenazim, Sephardim, Mizrahi, et al. Get it? Why tiny Israel? Are there no Christian nations big enough to take them? LOL!The biggest of these demonstrations occurred three years ago, and they did put a stop for a couple of years to granting the Sudanese asylum. It started again last year, but thus far, the Ethiopians have not protested.Israel had long ago acknowledged the prisoner of Zion status of the Ethiopian Jews, but the point had to be made again.Never in the process however did either the Ethiopians who had been tortured view themselves as martyrs. The children whose mothers or fathers had been killed by gentiles to protect them did not view their parents as “martyrs.”Judaism doesn’t like the concept. Neither do I.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

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  • DanielintheLionsDen

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  • DanielintheLionsDen

    I cannot post anymore than a few characters. Interesting to see if this makes it.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    test

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi DITLD,Can you post more? Are you using Explorer?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SusanI can’t post what I wanted to post, so I will try something off topic for a moment. I also thought the answers to your 20 questions were very interesting, and I am a little disappointed that more people didn’t answer. Maybe people could keep replying to that thread for awhile. Maybe people feel a little shy to say they don’t have a favorite composer or favorite artist, but so what? There’s no need to be shy, it is just an intersting excercise.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Hi FarnazI had a topical post about the Tudors. I copied it to an msword document, so it’s not lost, but it won’t post. It is not too long, and there is nothing in it that is censor-worthy, so mayabe I will just till later to try it again.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    Farnaz–The name of the person you’re looking for is Andre Trocme, the Huguenot pastor in France who led a movement that made his village, Le Chambon, a “city of refuge” for Jews during the war. The entire story is told in a book titled “Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed,” by Philip Hallie. Someone who says, “I didn’t know I had a choice,” is, let us say, somewhat removed from rest of humanity. Do people deserve less respect if they knew full well that they had a choice and chose to risk their lives anyway? You’re quite right about Judaism not having a concept of martyrdom in any way comparable to Christianity’s notions about martyrdom. Indeed, one of the basic tenets of Jewish law is that any law may be broken to save human life. That is why many Jews never condemned those who, in medieval Spain, went through the outward form of conversion to Christianity in order to save their own and their children’s lives.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    SusanThanks for your comment. No, Trocme’s name I have and used in my post. I know the name of the woman I’m thinking of, just want to find the title of her memoirs for you. Few people even know she ever lived. Trocme’s innocence is, in the Catholic sense, INNOCENCE, NOT naivete. He was not alone in failing to comprehend that he had a choice. You are right–He does not deserve more than any other person who did what s/he could to save persons in danger of any historic genocide. I am in awe of him because he had attained innocence. I have been accused of the same. I don’t think I have done so though. With me, it probably is a case of naivete, or simple stupidity.I admire the Catholic concept of innocence as the result of effort, work.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi DITLD,Sorry you’re having trouble posting. I don’t have many favorites myself. And at this point, I can’t say that any particular book, poem, etc., influenced me more than others because it all gets synthesized quickly.I don’t have a favorite composer. I think of Vermeer and Picasso as favorite artists only because different works of theirs flash through my mind more often than the works of other artists. Sometimes, Dali’s works do, as well. I like Vermeer mainly because he makes me think differently. I like Picasso because I like the curve of his lines, especially, in the later paintings. I like Dali because he does interesting things sometimes, as in Maelstrom or the Crucifixion.But I’m disgustingly ignorant of art and music. I should be more ashamed than I am. The girl ain’t got no culcha.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,More thoughts on Trocme. His congregants followed him, believed in him and his goodness (in the Catholic sense, although of course, he was no Catholic, and, of course, Protestantism derives much of its ethics from Catholicism, while denying its heritage). So, although people do not make much of the heroism of the people of Chambon, they should. The fact that they knew Trocme and his wife for what they were speaks very, very well of them. They had followed him before he simply asked them, without further comment, to work with him on a plan for the Jews on the run who would soon reach Chambon. They had followed him because he was good. May God rest their souls, all of them.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,On Jews and martyrdom, I think I need to give this more thought. You are absolutely correct in stating that Jews have never condemned those who converted to save their lives or those of their children. But, these are negative cases. Jews who died because they would not convert are not viewed as martyrs. They are not viewed as fools, either. They are not viewed as having violated the rule that life comes first. They are viewed as having died because they stood by Judaism, and they are revered for it. But not as martyrs. They are not seen as having “sacrificed” their lives, as having died for others. I don’t know how to express the construction of such murders/deaths any more succinctly. Is there a single word in English for this construct?

  • WmarkW

    I’m far from an expert on this, but isn’t the concept of martyrdom for Catholicism a way around the strict condemnation of suicide?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    ContinuedAlso recommend Alicia: My Story. Alicia Appelman-Jurman was caught up in the Holocaust at the age of 13. She was Jewish and witnessed the murder of her mother. She spent the remaining war years rescuing other Jews. Like others who made it to Palestine, she was imprisoned in Cyprus by the Brits, and then released into war in Israel.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Continues In the past, I’d collected more supporting documents thinking I would do more for her. I still want to. I need to. People need to know what she did. Also, the book is strange in its lack of judgment of one particular character. I don’t understand this, but have suspicions. There are other gaps that should be addressed. But most important, what cannot be ignored is this remarkable young girl.continues below

  • FarnazMansouri2

    SUSAN,I’ve found it! The book I’d love for you to see is “In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer.”

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,The idiotic mechanical censor will not let me post the name of the hero of the book I post on below. In addition, I had to cut most of the post.Really. Someone needs to mind the store. Note the problems had by DITLD, also.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    I think people ought to make much of the heroism of anyone who did anything to save Jews during the Holocaust, for whatever reason. Someone doesn’t hsve to be either a martyr or a saint to deserve respect for doing what was difficult. I heard an interesting story many, many years ago from a survivor who was hidden throughout the war by a Polish farmer from 1939 until 1945. One thing she pointed out to me was that the danger of doing anything to help Jews was much greater in Poland than in, say, Denmark because (a) you were likely to be turned in by your Polish neighbors and (b) the Nazis regarded Poles as subhuman too–destined not immediately for the ovens but for slave labor. This farmer began by taking money from the Jews she was hiding. As we know, when the money ran out most people turned in the Jews to the Nazis. That was what my source’s family expected. But when their money ran out, the Polish family kept them on. And they took in even more Jews. Years later, this survivor, who lived in the U.S., returned to Poland to meet with the farmer’s wife who had cared for her family. She asked her why she had done what she had, given that there was no more money. The reply of the Polish woman is, I think, fascinating. She said, “You know, I told myself at first that I was only doing this for the money. And it’s what I told my husband too, because he had no love for Jews. But your mother was pregnant when you came to us, and I delivered her baby–your little brother. How could I ever not want to preserve a life I helped bring into this world? And my husband–well, he got to know your father because they both played chess. And his attitude just changed. Once he said to me, near the end of the war, ‘You did the right thing.’ It’s the only time we ever talked about it.’Something about the imperfect humanity of this story compels me more than stories of unalloyed goodness.This, of course, is a much more complicated story than that of people who felt they had no choice but to do right.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,It is true that some moron Jew haters of the Polish Catholic variety did wind up saving Jews, stopped taking money when it ran out, did not rape them or abuse them, etc. It is also true that there were actually nonMoronic Polish Catholics, who somehow, did not hate Jews. Not easy in PsycoRacist Poland. ALWAYS, remember this: racism and hatred start at the top and filter downward. While the Germ Nazis were massing at the Polish borders, the Polish Catholics were agonizing over new anti-Jewish legislation. Between the Church and the State, it is a wonder indeed that there were any moral Polish Catholics at all.The girl of whose book title I posted, and I strongly recommend the book was SIXTEEN and alone. Once she went to her priest, walked miles in desperation, because she didn’t know what to do and things were getting worse. He listened to her, and then trying to get her to her senses said,Irene allowed herself to be RAPED for years in order to save Jews. Do you understand?Please read her story.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,My friend’s grandfather, one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever known, told me a story a few years before he died.HIs father had gotten his family out of Jew-hating-killing Poland, where the angel landed by mistake, years before the Shoah. They wound up as refugees in France. His older sister, the beautiful Madeline, whose picture he showed me, who would die of TB, drowning in her own blood at twenty-seven, brought this grandfather, as a child, to a Catholic parochial school for his first day of classes in France.He was a little one, who spoke only Polish and Yiddish. Madeleine who was older was fluent in Polish, Yiddish, French, and German and was therefore selected to bring “Henri” to school. Their mother said that by the time the daughter returned from the Catholic institution, she would be lying dead in the kitchen–from horror. Madeleine said she understood, but this was the school Henri had been assigned to and he needed to go to school. The father was indifferent–he was a Jewish communist.At the school, according to Henri, his sister could not conceal her hatred. They sat down across the desk of a nun who asked questions about my father, asked slowly at first, assuming that neither he nor Madeline spoke French. Madeline answered fluently, biting off her words with hatred, unable even to look at the sister. (In Poland, they had lived near the Tlomaski Synagogue.)The nun began to speak more comfortably and ignored Madeline’s obvious contempt. Toward the end of the interview, she asked Henri, “What is your nationality?”Madeline answered snidely, but Henri did not recall her words. The nun politely asked Madeline to translate the question. Irritated because the nun knew the answer, Madeline translated for Henri.Henri said he was Polish. In French, of course, the nun said, “NO! You are not Polish. You are Jewish. Say it. Say it like this. JE SUIS JUIF.Madeline, in shock, said nothing. The nun repeated herself. Henri looked to his sister, who, in confusion, nodded.”JE SUIS JUIF!” he said.”Good,” said the nun. “You are Jewish, and I am Catholic. Welcome, Henri, and welcome, Madeline.”When the two Jews returned home, they were pleased to find their mother still alive. Madeline told her the entire story as Henri listened. The mother smiled, no longer fearing death from horror in the kitchen.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    WmarkW Regarding your comment on suicide, there is a very strict rule in Islam against suicide. I believe the actual suicide bombers, themselves, not their generals who direct them, think about suicide above and beyond merely suicide for political purposes. The idea of the suicide bomber martyr is justification for their suicidal tendencies.So, indeed, in my opinon, self-martyrdom is a form of suicide.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Farnaz !!!I finally figured it out!I used two words that could be considered “bad” words. But they are really integral to my thought. So, I have to figure out how to re-word things so that is WaPo-worthy.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    JihadistEngland was Catholic up until Henry VIII upset the cart. Remember Joan of Arc, who is a Saint for defending France against England? But that was before Henry VIII, and England was Catholic, too. Why did God intervene on the French side against the English, when they were all both the same side? I am just being rhetorical; I do not expect that there is any good answer, just the folly of man.Also, I have noticed that Mary Cunningham often mentions how the Catholics were driven from England. But that is not true. All of the people who lived in England as Catholics still lived there as Protestants; they just all changed sides. The very strong anti-Catholicism that arose in England was a reaction to Catholic attempts to assassinate and overthrow Queen Elizabeth, even though, as Susan has stated, she personally held a tolerant view.Among the Catholic intelligentsia of Europe, Queen Elizabeth was known as Great BLANK1* and the BLANK2** Queen, and the Catholic Church encouraged her assassination. Mary, Queen of Scotts, plotted against Queen Elizabeth, to have her killed, and to take her place on the English throne. But she wasn’t smart enough, and she was killed, instead. Who was better? Which side was right?Office politics, multiplied a million times.**Blank2 = illigitimate child, two syllables, starts with “b”

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLDFarnaz !!!I finally figured it out!I used two words that could be considered “bad” words. But they are really integral to my thought. So, I have to figure out how to re-word things so that is WaPo-worthy.Why don’t you post the offensive words, and we’ll try to find substitutes? 🙂 (smiley)

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    JihadistDid you ever read the “Heart is a Lonely Hunter”?It is an excellent, excellent book, and very realistic, speaking as someone from the South. If you get a chance to read it, keep in mind that the author was a 19 year old girl when she wrote it. It is incredible to me that such a young person could possibly imagine the things that she wrote, that would take most people decades to experience and understand.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLD,On Elizabeth’s tolerance, well, er, she did kill more than 100,000 Irish Catholic men, women, and children. (That could be viewed as intolerant.)Henry’s establishment of the Church of England was literally a matter of convenience, one from which the old bastard never recovered. In fact, he considered Elizabeth a bastard since the marriage that produced her was not sanctified.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLD,Don’t know about Jihadist, but I did read The Heart, many years ago. Remember it vividly. Recently reread To Kill a Mockingbird. Thought I’d be disappointed at my advanced age. Wasn’t. So then dottir and I read it together.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Jihadist,Re: Your post on the 20 questionsBut you did answer most of the questions! I recast some, answered a few. Could not answer most as posed.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,Last on Jews for now. Just got this email from my father concerning two men who are business partners, one of them Iranian Muslim, the other Iranian Jewish. Both had been friends of my father’s in Iran; in fact, they had grown up together. The Iranian Muslim has been warned not to return to Iran whither he had intended to go for the marriage of his niece. He has been labeled an Israeli spy. This is insane, and he, therefore, made inquiries. It turns out that the basis of the accusation is his partnership with his Jewish friend, a friend since boyhood, who has never been to Israel. This Iranian Muslim friend of my father’s asked for his help, and he tried.You see, although my father is Jewish, he has connections in Iran among the few sane politicians remaining. My father held office in Iran, was insanely outspoken about the Shah, nevertheless–a long story. At all events, he contacted his political friends on his friend’s behalf so that he could go to the wedding. He received sympathetic replies, but was informed that the friend should not go to Iran. Insanity is mounting.It is interesting to note that Madeline Albright regrets the overthrow of Mossadegh by the Brits and Americans. We, Iranians regret it to. Yes, we regret it a great, great deal.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazI know it is a complicated subject. With regard to the question of the state religion in England, Queen Elizabeth sought a middle ground; that is what I meant. I believe her hope was that the remaining Catholics in England would not cause her any trouble, but they did.My main point, was that the Catholics were not driven from England; the nation, as a whole changed sides; it is really incorrect for people to keep repeating that the Protestants forced the Catholics out of England. The main point of my main point, is that, if a whole nation of people can change sides so quickly, is there really that much difference between one side or the other?It was all a grand political struggle, with theoloigans pointing out the nuanced differences. And then they took the old signs off the churches and put up new ones. And everything continued on, as before.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLD:It was all a grand political struggle, with theoloigans pointing out the nuanced differences.Bloody Mary did exist and we have Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to document some of the horrors. But in the War of Religions, the Catholics lost. They still face discrimination in England; the Irish Catholics are still considered an “inferior race.” That many are Jew haters is, of course, beside the point.The bigger question is always whether we can be good WITH religion. It does not appear to be so.

  • william27

    “The English Protestants were quite ruthless in their persecution, discrimination and marginalisation of English Catholics.”Some excellent books cover this: Goeffrey Morehouse’s THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE (London:Weidenfeld and Moorhouse, 2003); Eamon Duffy’s VOICES OF MOREBATH (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001); Michael Wheeler’s OLD ENEMIES: CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS IN 19TH CENTURY ENGLISH CULTURE, covering the Gordon Riots against Catholics, etc. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Eamon Duffy’s STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), too.Dairmard Mac Culloch’s REFORMATION is very helpful too, pointing out that England executed more Catholics juridically than Catholic did (juridically) Protestants on the continent.The most interesting comment on this era is from Kevin Phillips’ THE COUSINS WARS:Ireland suffered a far worse fate. Whole regions were wiped out by Protestant forces — men women and children.

  • Secular

    I find the theological or whatever they are, differences between the so called church of england and the so called holy roman catholic church. Until the time the then pope got bought of by the Spanish, and denied annulment to Henry VIII, wasn’t Henry himself persecuting the protestants? So essentially there isn’t much difference between CoE & RCC, except CoE was born off Henry’s Loins. So how can so many people have veneration for an institution that was created for the sole purpose of enabling the king to nail another hussy. Is this fact completely lost on the people who subscribe to CoE? Then we have this guy Ratzinger and ex-Nazi who has the gall to blame third Reich on Secularism and atheism. There are nearly a billion automatons who go around calling him holy father, my foot. That goes to substantiate my assertion all religion is false and crap. There is no merit at all in trying to understand the nuances between them.

  • Kingofkings1

    Pope Benedict is a dangerous man.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The ruthless conflict between Queen Elizabeth and the Catholics had nothing to do with religious doctrine. It had nothing to do with the authority of the Pope versus a national church. It had nothing to do with what words to say in church; it had nothing to do with interpretations of Christ’s teachings.It had to do with the legitimacy of Elizabeth’s birth, and whether her parents were legally married when she was born, and therefore her right to rule as the English Monarch.To the Protestants, she was legitimately born of a married couple and was the legitimate ruler. To the Catholics, she was born out of wedlock, and therefore disqualified to rule.The Queen herself was compelled to be Protestant, so that her rule would be legitimate; what she actually believed about Christian doctrine was irrelevant. Because she had barely escaped with her life several times, because her own mother was beheaded, because she was eye-witness to murder and mayhem over these religious questions, she was inclined to be moderate, and in fact, Catholicized the Anglican Church. Her hope was that, perhaps, everybody could get along.But the Catholic Church in Europe and the Catholic intelligentsia pressed openly and aggressively for her assination and overthrow. They were in fact at war with Queen Elizabeth simply for existing, and the goal in this war was her ultimate destruction. Unfortunately, Ireland allied itself with Catholic Europe in their war against the Queen, and she felt compelled to crush them in retalliation and defense. She had a moderate temperment, but she was not suicidal.The final assault of Catholic Europe on Queen Elizabeth was the attack of the Grand Spanish Armada, sent to England for the express purpose of destroying Queen Elizabeth and replacing her with a Catholic monarch. Elizabeth was not paranoid; she was the perpetual target of Catholic Europe, not for her beliefs, but simply for being born.And Catholic Europe discovered something about war, that many aggressors do not seem to realize: the enemy throws bombs back.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Probably, we should keep “church” and state separate.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    In my opinion, part of the extreme hostility of Catholic Europe towards Queen Elizabeth was that she was a woman, a Queen who ruled in her own right; not only was she a woman, but she was a worldly, refined, intelligent, highly educated, and even glamourous woman. In a man’s world, she was a pretty bad character.Aside from her own personal qualities, the extreme hostility of foreigners to her rule is what drove the English people to support her more and more, and is why the English transformed so easily from Catholic to Protestant.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazYou are so right.

  • edbyronadams

    Ms. Jacoby,It wasn’t “transcendent being,”. It was transcendent reality. At least get the parts in the quotation marks correct. That transcendent reality is that to which Shakyamuni was awakened. It is the law of cause and effect writ large.

  • william27

    “She was a woman, but she was worldly….”Granted she was the “right” kind of woman for the times (and was had good health, unlike her sister, Mary Tudor, who died rather young)to be monarch over 3 million subjects at that time. That does not erase the fact that Catholics suffered terribly under her and other UK rulers. As pointed out by Anglican historian, Daimaid Mac Culloch in REFORMATION: “In the decade between 1581 and 1590, seventy-eight priests and twenty-five laypeople were executed, with executions still numerous between 1601-1680. In fact, England judicially murdered more Catholics than any other country in Europe, which puts English pride in national tolerance in an interesting perspective.”One should say, however, that Dissenters suffered too. Only with the Act of Tolerance passed in 1689 was freedom of speech guaranteed which also enabled Dissenter congregatons to register meeting-houses. Persecution of Catholics also let up some, according to Yale scholar, Steve Pincus. Catholics were not as marginal as one might think today in the 17th century.British historian, Paul Johnson, ironically notes that the NonConformists and the Catholics– especially wealthier ones — were the real victors in the end, in so far as anyone was — thanks to the secular influence in favor of religious liberty. These same English Catholics note this with pride as Editor of the TABLET, Catherine Pepinster, said not long ago: “The impact of Irish immigrants is one. There are numerous prominent [British Irish]…. But the descendants of the [English Catholic]recusant families are still a force in the land.”Interestingly, Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination among the Commonwealth nations, is pro-monarchist, with some rather hyper about their ties to the monarchy like the newly elected head of the Australian Labor Party, Tony Abbott, known to his Catholic opponents as Captain Catholic. He is quite proud of being pro-monarchy. One could say Catholics in the UK and in the Commonwealth nations rather like Elizabeth I’s successor, Elizabeth II. Such is how history turns out. And thanks greatly pluralism and religious freedom!!

  • william27

    I meant to say in previous post:” Persecution of Catholics also let up some, according to Yale schoalr, Steve Pincus. Catholics were not as marginal in the 17th century as one might think today.See Pincus’s book — 1668: THE FIRST MODERN REVOLUTION; also see Gabriel Glickman’s THE ENGLISH CATHOLIC COMMUNITY 1688-1745: POLITICS, CULTURE, IDEOLOGY.Glickman claims Catholics had a significant part to play in 18th century England when England started to get more enlightened about religious tolerance.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,I’ve been giving your posts a great deal of thought, and I think you have a very important point when you write about the complexity of the Shoah’s righteous gentiles.You are right in that it is essential that we keep human imperfections in mind, something I do not always do well.I recall telling a good white friend of mine, quite emotionally, what another friend, black, had meant to me. This African American–I’ll call her Loraine–reminds me, in her goodness, courage, generosity, and empathy of my father–the only other such person I had (and have) ever known. Large, vast human beings.This white friend, after having heard me out, briefly told me about a black student she’d had, who was also very decent. I was so stunned I could not speak. I was angry and disappointed, silently vowing to sever my relationship with this woman. Grays have never come easily to me.I mentioned the episode to Loraine, a more generous soul than yours truly, who dissuaded me from ending my friendship with the white woman, whom she also knew. She did not encourage me to “educate” my Caucasian friend who is fifteen years my senior, holds a doctorate from an ivy league university, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, etc., etc.; however, educate her, I did.I have learned from Loraine, but my learning isn’t done. I loathe racism, and need to recognize that bigotry, stereotyping, etc., is part of our condition or culture or both.As for this: “This, of course, is a much more complicated story than that of people who felt they had no choice but to do right.”I don’t know about that, don’t know about it at all. Take another look at Flannery O’Connor. We tend to read goodness as the default position, equate innocence with naivete, as I wrote earlier. Trocme was good and innocent, not naive. Nor was he alone among the Shoah rescuers in his virtues. He was a good man.Goodness is not the default position. Though I am no Catholic and do not share O’Connor theology, she made that point better than anyone I can think of. Goodness comes from LABOR, work, effort, and it is not simple to achieve or even comprehend. Consider Cordelia. Consider Shakespeare’s villains, none of whom could explain their evil. Is evil an impulse?If you think goodness is simple, take a look around. How many truly good people do we see around us? Are you good? Am I?Farnaz

  • edbyronadams

    What does an atheist actually believe might be worth dying for?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    william27 “That does not erase the fact that Catholics suffered terribly under her and other UK rulers.”I am not trying to erase the fact, but to explain it, something that you ignored. It was the official view of the Catholic Church in Europe that Queen Elizabeth was of illegitimate birth, not entitled to be a ruling monarch of England, and her assasination was actively promoted and encouraged. And there were, in fact, several Catholic-inspired attempts on the Queen’s life, sometimes with collateral fatalities, in the Queen’s presence. Queen Elizabeth was born and raised Protestant but converted to Catholicism, under the reign of her sister, Queen Mary, aka Bloody Mary. She apparently was not all that bothered, one way or the other, which religion was “true.” But as the Catholic Church hated Elizabeth, simply by the fact of her birth, and sought to destroy her, what other course of action could she have taken, but to be Protestant, and to seek the destruction of Catholic influence in England?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Something that I had not previously known, several years ago, I visited England, and went to West Minster Cathedral. Inside, the sister Queens Elizabeth and Mary are entoumbed beside each other. In some sense, they were political enemies, but I believe, at least, that they also loved each other. During her short reign, Queen Mary was repeatedly advised to kill her sister Elizabeth, and almost did, several times, but she always had mercy on her and spared her, because, I believe, she loved her. Of course, being on a waiting list for execution at the hands of Catholic authority, must have had some psychological effect on the future Queen Elizabeth.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLD,If I recall correctly desires to kill Elizabeth were rather persistent, emanating, in part, from Pius V. Also, I think James I had something to do with the entombment of the sisters side by side. Mary did try to get her sister removed from the chain of succession, I think, but Parliament refused.For her part, Bess did keep Roman Catholic elements in the Book of Common Prayer, did try to work out doctrine that would be acceptable to most. Sans the Vatican, however, one of many important pieces was missing from the Catholic worldview, and there was of course the problem of her “illegitimacy.” I think, though, that power, was a huge issue in the religion controversy here. Power as in land, wealth, etc. Not a new story at the time, and, then, the more things change….

  • william27

    “…but not like their father.” I mean, not to the degree of their father. I have come to that conclusion after reading: Goeffrey Moorhouse’s THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE: THE REBELLION THAT SHOOK HENRY VIII. He slaughterd well over 72 thousand people by some estimates (quite a kill in a country of barely 3 million).

  • mrbradwii

    Excellent, well-written article. SJ is finding her legs as in internet essayist. A lot to chew on and a lot of important study or revisit. The pope fears aggressive secularism? Why, the pope hasn’t seen an ounce of it yet. When the assets of the church are frozen, confiscated, and auctioned, THEN he might call it aggressive secularism. Others might call it too little too late.

  • william27

    “When the assets of the church are frozen, cconfiscated, and auctioned….”Now, Henry VIII did do that in his kingdom, but he was a divine rights king.American secularism, at its best, is law-abiding, favoring no “ism” [i.e., theism, atheism, agnosticism, etc.), among so many other things. I also can’t imagine our Supreme Court trying to bring down the Catholic Church (or any church), especially when 6 of the 9 Justices are Catholic.Maybe President Obama? But so many Catholics are Democrats. (Of course, attacking the Catholic church might actually help Republicans recruit more Catholics into their fold — if “agressive secularist Democrats” attack it.)Poor democrats! We always get screwed some way or another! Now it’s the Tea Party beating up our candidates!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    In the previous post regarding the 20 questions, I wrote that the most interesting people in history were Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Eliazabeth I. Henry VIII started out as the young, handsome, king, and morphed into a hulking murderous blob of protoplasm. In turn, he treated each daughter, Mary and Elizabeth, as Royal Princesses, and then mistreated them as prisoners, even occaisionally threatenting to execute them, through no fault of their own. As children, they were mere pawns in the international power politics between Henry and the Pope.Mary’s big mistake was to seek to restore the Catholic Church after it had been completely dismantled, and gone; it was pointless and hopeless.Elizabeth’s great strength was that she survived each mortal challenge to her existence, to become an impressive and powerful monarch. I do not think that Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth sought to kill so many people with the ruthless caprice of their father; they merely sought to manage the extremely unstable state of affairs that they had inherited from him.

  • mrbradwii

    […]True enough. Perhaps 503c tax exemption will one day be considered favoritism, but as a non-democrat, I cringe at the idea of the kind of government interference that could impose such a tax on some and then turn around and make someone else exempt. Although generally speaking, making the same rule apply for all without micromanaging exceptions is preferable.Favoritism is also in the eye of the beholder. Some view the teaching of evolution as favoring atheism, when it really is just returning creation stories to the realm of myth, where they belong. There’s nothing wrong with mythology.Yet arguing against certain foundations of faith based on observation and evidence is considered an attempt to undermine a belief system when all it really is is an attempt to understand the world as it actually is, to listen to what existence is telling us.Utility-wise, creationism doesn’t help explain anything so it doesn’t help us learn more about the world — i.e. its value really is in its mythology anyway, in how people relate to other humans, not in its usefulness as a model of reality.Anyway, how I ever got on that tangent, I don’t know.Martyrdom isn’t anyone who loses their life for a cause or even sacrifices themselves for a cause or another… it’s kind of a social definition and those kinds of things are fraught with cultural baggage, as evidenced by the pope’s view of who he considers a martyr for his church. One man’s martyr is another man’s mortal enemy or another man’s hero or idol.You can admire a sacrifice, depending on what you value and what was sacrificed and what or who was saved or what consequence resulted. Sometimes the consequences are far away in time and space and we don’t see them without a good historical context to see how things connect. Reality is what it is. Humanity is a very messy business.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazElizabeth could have solved everything by re-converting to Catholicism, and then stepping down. But then she would lose all her power. People don’t usually give up power, do they?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Another interesting tidbit of information, the first of Henry’s six wives. and the mother of Queen Mary, was Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.And to make a VERY long story short, this is the real source of all the trouble.Henry VIII messed with King and Queen Isabella, and in return, they cashed in some debts that the Pope owed them, and made big trouble for England.It all boils down to a big family feud.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Sorry to have veered off a little from the point of Susan’s essay. But as it turns out, all of the competing martyrdom of the times was due to Henry’s bad relations with his in-laws, more than over which religion was more true.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    From the Wikipedia article on Pope Pius V:”An important event in the history of Elizabethan England was the publication of a bull, Regnans in Excelsis, dated April 27, 1570, that declared Elizabeth I a heretic and released her subjects from their allegiance to her. In response, Elizabeth, who had thus far left Catholics alone, now actively started persecuting them.”

  • william27

    “Mary’s big mistake was to seek to restore the Catholic Church …had been dismantled….”Mary’s “big mistake” was that she was “born with poor health.” She died of cancer in her very early forties, at the peek of her power. Had she lived to be as old as Elizabeth, her sister, she would have succeeded. Read Eamon Duffy’s FIRES OF FAITH: CATHOLIC ENGLAND UNDER MARY TUDOR, published by Yale University Press, 2009. It is quite good with loads of good footnotes and an excellent bibliography.Queen Mary I had a lot of the most powerful families around her, a good proportion of the local populace, and some brilliant cabinent members, notably Cardinal Reginald Pole, one of her cousins.Sadly, after so much blood and slaughter, England is a pluralistic society, with Anglicans dominant and Catholicism second in size to any other faith.What a pity the two religious traditions couldn’t have worked it out more peacably.

  • william27

    I mean happily the UK is a pluralistic society, with English Catholic church and Anglican Church of England living side by side. Sadly, they had to slaughter each other to attain that — but then we had to go through a series of wars to attain where we are, and twice with England/UK!!

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Mary Queen of Scotts, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, an adventurer who married her only for the prestige of being her husband. In a way, he tricked her into marrying him and they were very unhappy together. They had a son, who became James I, (Jamestown, the King James Bible).Shortly afterwards, there was a massive explosion in the house where he was staying, and the next morning, his dead body was found in a nearby field, in his night clothes; he had been murdered after he fled the house. Soon afterwards, Mary Queen of Scotts married the man implicated in her late husband’s murder.So much for poor innocent Mary, Queen of Scotts whom Elizabeth Tudor later had executed for plotting against the English throne.

  • william27

    One man’s martyr is another man’s mortal enemy….”Yes, and we see that in our own American history. Benedict Arnold was a traitor and N. Hale was a martyr to our cause; but to the English, the opposite was true. Circumstances and beliefs, idologies change everything, especially in forming our perceptions, ideals. What we don’t want are extremes, setting two extremes at lethal variance.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    HI DITLD,Has anyone mentioned Henry’s brief stint as Defender of the Faith? Oh, well.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    eezmamata,Bulgaria is a fascinating case, Holocaust-wise. Although, of course, we know the specifics, no one yet seems able to pin down what was unique to the country.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    william27 “But that like saying what a pity the Arabs and Israelis can’t work something out peacably. It’s like — diplomatically — they are back in the 16th century.)”Yes, I have thought of that, myself. The violent condition of the world today, is not greater than it was in the past. When I try to point out that the violent disolations of modern Islam have already happened in Christianity, with equal if not greater vengeance, no one believes me; but I know it is true.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    FarnazOff the top of my head … without looking up anything to verfy my memory …In addition to being ruthless and visious, all of the Stewart monarchs were brainy and well educated. Henry VIII wrote poetry and music. He also had some serious theological musings. Early in his reign, he wrote a treatise condemning Martin Luther and the Reformation. And the Pope bestowed the title, “Defender of the Faith.” So he was on good terms with Rome. He naturally assumed that the Pope would grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. But he did not count on the great power that his mother and father-in-law, (Ferdinand and Isabella) exerted over the Pope. I am not sure if he retained the title “Defender of the Faith” as he destroyed the Catholic Church in England, but if I had to guess, I would say, “yes.”(Kings and Queens add more and more titles but never take any away).

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Mary Stewart was crowned Queen of Scotland at the age of one. When she was five, her mother fled with her to France, as the Catholic position had become dangerous in Scotland.She lived in France until the age of 18, before returning to Scotland. While in France, she married the Crown Prince, and became Queen of France, when her husband ascended the throne as Francis II. “What a great gig,” I am sure her mother exclaimed. Queen of France was a mighty big deal. But Francis II was only kind for 15 months, and died of an ear infection, or something like that. So, she was stuck in France, at age 18, the widowed queen, with some title like consort or dowager, or something. So she took her bedraggled self back to drab Scotland, married Lord Darnly, had a son, had her husband murdered, and married his murderer. Then she was run out of the country again, and fled to England. There Queen Elizabeth put her under house arrest for some 20 years. Elizabeth was fearful of trying her, what a bad precedent that would set, trying a queen; but she was afraid to let her go too, so Mary was held against her will, in limbo, for her entire adult life.Finally Queen Elizabeth was convinced to sign her warrant of execution which her advisors immediately implemented, without Elizabeth’s knowledge. When Elizabeth found out that Mary had been executed behind her back, she was horrified and furious; and had intened to use the execution warrant as a tool to bargain with Mary, and possibly she had thought to take it back.Anyway, that is what I think happened; I wasn’t really there. But it is more interesting than any novel, and I have read a lot about it.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    william27 The Stewart monarchs also remind me a little of the Julio-Claudian Emperors, I think that is the name of the first dynasty of the Roman Emperors. At any given moment, anyone could be stabbed in the back, poisoned, or strangeled in their sleep. And they weren’t realy fighting over religion, just fighting.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    oops, I meant to say, the Tudor monarchs, not the Stewarts …

  • william27

    “When Elizabeth found out that Mary had been executed behind her back….”Elizabeth was very bright. Like her father, Henry VIII, and her sister, Mary I, she knew exactly what she was doing through her advisors. Give her credit as all historians do now in acknowledging that she consented to her cousin’s execution (Mary, Queen of Scots). My earlier point was that just as Henry VIII killed tens of thousands to impliment his political, social and religious changes and to stay in power, his daughter, Mary I, did likewise, burning 300 at the stake for “heresy,” and his other daughter, Elizabeth I, did likewise, executing hundreds for “treason.” Only Elizabeth, however, went a step further, committing regicide, executing a queen, and someone of her own bloodline, a cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth was very modern in that regard. The old medieval “sin” of regicide didn’t seem to bother her like it might have bothered her father and sister. She did what she had to do to survive. Later, Parliament had no problem committing another regicide, executing Charles I. Elizabeth had set the precedent.

  • william27

    Once Elizabeth I signed Mary’s death warrant, the rest was inevitable. Some apologists claim she “might have changed her mind.” But only after having signed it? Most doubt this because she wasn’t a monarch to see things done by halves. I am reminded of Helen Rappaport’s excellent commentary about Lenin’s approval of and indirect involvment in the execution of the Romanovs in her book, THE LAST DAYS OF THE ROMANOVS: “The evidence is equivocal and one can only go by the political logic that drove Lenin and Sverdlov, the men at the centre. One might also ask whether the Ekaterinburgers, now extremely anxious to carry out the liquidation, deliberately sent their final telegram asking for approval too late that day, in the knowledge that it would not get to Moscow in time for the executions to be stopped. If the direct lines were down, the telegeram would have had to go the route: Ekaterinburg — Petrograd – Moscow and then back…. Either way Moscow would not complain — for it was about to be saved from direct association with a highly damning political act.”

  • eezmamata

    “Bulgaria is a fascinating case, Holocaust-wise. Although, of course, we know the specifics, no one yet seems able to pin down what was unique to the country.”I don’t speak the language very well yet so I’ve not been able to talk to many of the old people who are still around, who remember those days.But my general sense of things from the conversations I have had tells me that the jewish people living in Bulgaria at the time were not so different from the other Bulgarians. They were fairly mixed into the population, were mostly blue-collar types who worked for a living.Also I think it’s because of the seeming total lack of religiosity in these people, it’s as if they simply aren’t capable of it rather than having chosen not be. Almost all of the Bulgarian jews emigrated to Israel after the war. There is a synagogue in the town where I live, it’s being maintained by a Jewish family and some local ‘cultural’ friends as a museum, and a meeting place for cultural events … last year they put on an exhibit of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci which my wife and I attended.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    It is known that after Elizabeth signed Mary’s execution warrant, the execution was carried out with great speed, without letting Elizabeth know. It was deliberately done this way, in case she changed her mind. It is also known that she was horrified that it was done this way, that her intentions were obviously exploited and manipulated; it is not known whether she would have taken back the warrant or not; in fact, Queen Elizabeth did indeed have a reputation of being wishy-washy on many things. She did not kill Queen Mary capriciously; it DID bother her; she strung her along for 20 years, unable to decide what to do.Mary could have made friends with her cousin Elizabeth and lived at the English court. But she was a former French Queen; she thought she deserved more; she would rather risk it all in plots to do away with Elizabeth and take her thrown, and she lost.