This week in Christian history: Elizabeth I excommunicated, Francis of Assisi, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

Elizabeth I excommunicated – February 25, 1570

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), adorned in her coronation robes. | Public Domain

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England over her continued support of the Protestant Reformation in a papal bull known as the “Regnans in Excelsis.”

While it was King Henry VIII who had first split the Church of England from Rome, Elizabeth I was faulted by the pontiff for her continuation of this division.

“But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge,” read the edict in part.

“This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England to gather with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it, has once again reduced this same kingdom- which had already been restored to the Catholic faith and to good fruits- to a miserable ruin."

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