Writes Tom McCarthy: “On top of everything else that was stupid and offensive in this hit piece, Jonathan Sandys, “the plummy Brit” you referred to, chose to perpetuate long-discredited anti-Catholic bigotry when he said that Guy Fawkes and the other plotters were “backed by the pope in Rome to blow up Parliament, blow up James I.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Whatever the justice of the conspirators’ grievances (and there was much justice to them), the men themselves knew that there was virtually no chance that the institutional church would give them any succour. Indeed, as part of their oath of loyalty to one another, they swore to conceal the plot from their confessors–proof positive that, at the very least, they feared that they might be denied absolution before placing their lives at risk.
“As it happens, the year 1605 saw the death of two popes, Clement VIII and Leo XI, before the election in May of Paul V. In 1606, after a pressing conflict with Venice was put on the back burner, Paul wrote to James I to express his gratitude and relief that he (James) had not been killed in the Gunpowder Plot; Paul also begged James not to punish England’s many remaining innocent and loyal Catholics for the actions of a criminal few. James, however, responding weakly to his vengeful Puritan-controlled Parliament and cowed advisers, ignored the pope’s petition and supported passage of an oath of allegiance that was so utterly opposed to Catholic belief and teaching that Paul was left with no choice but to condemn it. Thus, the isolation and persecution of Catholics that everyone had hoped would end with the death of Elizabeth resumed its course for another 55 years. The legal impediments against Catholics that the oath installed were not repealed until the mid-nineteenth century. Three cheers for British fairness and tolerance, then and now!”3:28 pm on November 13, 2007 Email Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.