QUEEN ELIZABETH I ON RELIGION.
[Queen Elizabeth's reply to an address from five Catholic bishops]
"Sirs,—As to your entreaty for us to listen to you, we have it yet, do return you this our answer. Our realm and subjects have been long wanderers, walking astray whilst they were under the tuition of Romish Pastors, who advised them to own a Wolf for their head (in lieu of a careful Shepherd) whose inventions, heresies, and schisms be so numerous, that the flock of Christ have fed on poisonous shrubs for want of wholesome pastures. And whereas, you list us and our subjects in the teeth, that the Romish Church first planted the Catholic faith within our realms, the records and chronicles of our realms testify to the contrary, and your own Romish idolatry maketh you liars; witness the ancient monument of Gildas, unto which both foreign and domestic have gone in pilgrimage, there to offer. This author testifieth Joseph of Arimathea to be the first preacher of the word of God within our realms. Long after thatperiod when Austin came from Rome, this our realm had Bishops and Priests therein, as is well known to the wise and learned of our realm, by woeful experience, how your Church entered therein by blood, they being martyrs for Christ, and put to death because they denied Rome's usurped authority.
As for our Father being drawn away from the Supremacy of Rome by schismatical and heretical counsels and advisers, who, we pray advised him more or flattered him than you, good Mr. Father, when you were Bishop of Rochester? And then, you Mr Bonner, when you were Archdeacon? And you Mr. Turberville? Nay, further... who was more an adviser to our Father than your great Stephen Gardiner, when he lived?.... Was it not you and such like advisers that... stirred up our Sister against us and other of her subjects? Whereas you would frighten us by telling how Emperors... have owned the Bishop of Rome's authority. It was contrary in the beginning, for our Saviour Christ paid His tribute unto Cæsar, as the chief superior; which shows your Romish supremacy is usurped.... We give you, therefore, warning, that for the future, we hear no more of this kind, lest you provoke us to execute those penalties enacted for the punishing of our resisters, which out of our clemency we have foreborne." —From Greenwich, Dec. 6, Anno Secundo Regni.