CHAPTER III. CATHOLIC REACTION IN THE REIGN OF QUEEN MARY (1553-1558)
An embassy had been sent to Rome to inform the Pope that England had returned to the Holy See. The envoys reported, too, that though Mary had failed to secure a restoration of the ecclesiastical lands, she had at least set a good example to the lay usurpers by returning the possessions of the Church still held by the crown. The synod summoned by Cardinal Pole to restore the discipline of the Church in England, met in November 1555. It was agreed in the synod that the 30th November should be kept as a national holiday in memory of the reconciliation of England to the Church, that the decrees binding in England before the troubles began under Henry VIII. should be enforced, that the clergy should be mindful of their duties of residence and preaching, that seminaries should be set up in each diocese for the education of the clergy, that bishops should hold frequent visitations, that a set of homilies should be compiled for the guidance of preachers, and that an English version of the Scriptures should be published without delay. This new code of constitutions issued under the title Reformatio Angliae ex decretis Reginaldi Pole is in itself a testimony to the ability, moderation, and prudence of the papal legate. Some months later he was consecrated bishop and took possession of the See of Canterbury to which he had been appointed on the deposition of Cranmer. In pursuance of her plans for the complete re-establishment of the Catholic religion the queen took steps to ensure that the monastic institutions, which had been suppressed during the previous reigns, should begin to make their appearance once more in England. The Carthusians returned to London, the Grey Friars occupied a house at Greenwich, the Dominicans took possession of St. Bartholomew's, and the Benedictines were installed in Westminster (1556).
The queen, who two years before had been full of courage and hope, began to lose confidence in the success of her work. The Spanish marriage was the beginning of her misfortunes, and the apparent dependence of Catholicism on Spanish help proved to be the undoing of the Catholic religion in England. Disappointed in the birth of an heir, deserted by her husband who found enough to engage his attention in Spain and the Netherlands, confronted with conspiracies promoted by heretics and encouraged for its own selfish purpose by France, doubtful of the real sentiments of Elizabeth, and with hardly any friends upon whose advice she could rely with confidence, it is not to be wondered at that Mary felt inclined to despair. She was determined, however, to continue the work she had begun, and to see that at least during her life heresy should be put down with a heavy hand. Unfortunately for the success of her projects she was involved in difficulties with Rome. Paul IV. (1555-59) was a man of stern, unbending character, firmly resolved to maintain the rights and liberties of the Holy See. Annoyed at the domineering policy of Charles V., and of his son Philip II., he was anxious to put an end to Spanish rule in Naples. The relations became so embittered that a Spanish force under the command of the Duke of Alva crossed the frontiers of the Papal States, and Paul IV. recalled his agents from Philip's territories (1557). France decided to support the Pope, and soon active hostilities began. Philip, for whose return to England Mary had so often appealed in vain, came back early in 1557, but only to request that England should join with him in a war with France.