Today one community fought another.
English King Edward VI was crowned when he was only nine years old, and spent much of his short reign instituting additional Protestant reforms to the Church of England that his father Henry VIII had founded (primarily to get out of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, but that’s another story). He was succeeded by his half-sister, Mary, a staunch Catholic, who went about reversing Edward’s accomplishments, primarily by persecuting religious reformers. She burned hundreds at the stake, which earned her the nickname “Bloody Mary.” When her Protestant-leaning half-sister Elizabeth succeeded her, tensions between the two rival spiritual communities within Christendom were high.
Elizabeth I is remembered as a pragmatist who seemed to want to avoid religious conflict more than cause it, but in those days nuance was painted in black and white. Her religious settlement of 1559 made the English Church’s break from Rome complete, while still using many of its rituals. The Act of Supremacy required all citizens to swear allegiance to her before the Pope; and the Act of Uniformity required everyone to go to Anglican churches every Sunday and use the newly-minted Book of Common Prayer to remind themselves who was running the show. This pissed off lots of Catholics, most notably Liz’s first cousin once-removed, Mary, Queen of Scots, who found herself the figurehead of various rebellions (about which she may well have known little, and for which she was ultimately beheaded in 1587), and Pope Pious V, who excommunicated Elizabeth on this day in 1570 thinking that one of the plots had succeeded (and instead succeeding in galvanizing support among Protestants who’d go on to victory, though it would involve many more years of torture, death, and destruction on both sides).
Is there a correlation between violent agreement within communities and the violence that occurs between them?