Stephen Bates

Papists’ Progress

The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis

By

Bloomsbury T&T Clark 245pp £16.99 pbk order from our bookshop

To grow up a Catholic in Britain in the 1960s was to feel slightly separated from the rest of the country. Our parish rituals set us apart – all the incense and tinkling bells, the way we prayed earnestly for the conversion of England and the little booklets from the Catholic Truth Society at the back of the church extolling the virtues of the martyrs of the Reformation (though never the Protestant ones).

At my country grammar school, I sat in a classroom to avoid being contaminated by Anglican prayers at assemblies. At Mass we prayed for the conversion of ‘our separated brethren’, which was odd because my devoutly Anglican father was not remotely separated. He drove us to church, but as someone of another persuasion he was somehow a lesser believer. Even the late Cardinal Basil Hume, a much-loved and saintly figure who did a great deal to reconcile England to Catholicism, according to his successor, privately thought that ‘Catholics had the truth, and that Protestants were in the wrong’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,
    • RT : I regularly make purchases based on - it’s excellent.,
    • RT : I wrote about Yoko Ogawa's dreamlike, allegorical novel The Memory Police, newly published in English in a translat… ,
    • 'At this frankly apocalyptic moment for indigenous rights in Brazil, John Hemming’s "People of the Rainforest" is a… ,
    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,
    • 'He has long been eclipsed by Vermeer, though his interiors are arguably more ambitious.' David Gelber on the Dutc… ,