Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/11

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For the total suppression of the Ancient Faith in England, Queen Elizabeth at first was content to trust to the natural effect of the Oath of Supremacy which was imposed upon the clergy and certain classes of the laity, and to the substitution of the New Prayer Book for the Mass, both of which were enforced by most severe penalties. Very many of the Marian priests had fled the kingdom and many of them had been received into the houses of the gentry who still adhered to the Old Faith, and they do not seem to have suffered much molestation from the authorities. It was felt that, in a few years, death would have removed them, and that Catholicity in England would die a natural death from lack of pastors who might attend to the spiritual wants of the flock. This inevitable result was forced upon the attention of Dr. William, afterwards Cardinal, Allen, an Oxford divine and a dignitary in Queen Mary's reign, who had left his own country and was at that time residing in Flanders.

In the year 1568, with the assistance of a friend, Dr. Vendeville, who had invited him to Douay for the purpose of completing his degrees, he was enabled to carry out the project which had suggested itself to him for preventing the total extinction of the Catholic Faith in England. This was the establishment of a College for the education and training of priests who should devote their labours to the perpetuation and spread of the faith in their own country.