William Shakespeare. Credit: Georgios Kollidas via www.shutterstock.com.

William Shakespeare. Credit: Georgios Kollidas via www.shutterstock.com.

April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, the playwright, poet, and actor widely considered to be the most influential literary figure in the English language.

Yet, there’s one mystery which continues to elude scholars to even this day: what exactly was Shakespeare’s relationship with the Catholic Church? And, could he have been a secret Catholic, forced to conceal his true religious identity in an era of persecution?

At the time of Shakespeare’s writing, Britain was in a period of religious upheaval. Its people were still caught in the crossfires of the English Reformation that had begun decades earlier when Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church of England. Shakespeare, like many of his contemporaries, outwardly followed the State-imposed religion, since it was illegal at that time to practice as a Catholic in England. However, scholars say he nonetheless maintained strong sympathies with the Church of Rome.

Shakespeare’s writings “clearly points to somebody who was not just saturated in Catholicism, but occasionally argued for it,” said Clare Asquith, an independent scholar and author of a book on Shakespeare called “Shadowplay:The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare.”

He “was definitely putting the Catholic point of view to an intellectual audience,” she said.

Read the full article:  http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/was-shakespeare-a-secret-catholic-98137/