This essay examines the events surrounding the case of Thomas Preston, an English Benedictine who wrote in support of the Oath of Allegiance. Preston’s career has been studied mainly as an “English affair,” that is to say, as an example of the Catholic loyalist tradition as opposed to the Jesuits’ uncompromising political stances toward the English monarchy. This essay presents new evidence to make the case that Preston was the center of an important international debate. Through a reexamination of his case in light of this new evidence it is shown how the Church of Rome reacted to the debates over political and confessional loyalty among the English Catholic community, and provides a deeper understanding of the many theological, political, and theoretical links between English Catholicism and Europe.
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