Bill Bennett

 Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Bill Bennett’s latest book, America: The Last Best Hope, released last month. The book can be purchased here.

When she received word of her half-sister’s death, twenty-five-year-old Princess Elizabeth fell to her knees and recited in Latin the words of the Psalm: “This is the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.”

Although she suppressed the public celebration of the Catholic Mass, Queen Elizabeth was unwilling to search out secret Catholics. “I have no window to look into men’s souls,” she famously said. Despite a number of plots against her life—encouraged by the pope and framed by Jesuit priests—Elizabeth continued to rely on the loyalty of her subjects, including not a few great Catholic noble families. In turn, Elizabeth wanted no religious turmoil in England. She ran the Church of England as a Protestant monarch, but she wanted to stop arguments among the fractious Protestants. After breaking from the Catholic Church, Lutherans and Calvinists disputed with Baptists and with each other over the meaning of communion and baptism. Elizabeth cleverly glossed over such theological disputes. About the Lord’s Supper, she said:

Christ was the word that spake it.
He took the bread and break it;
And what his words did make it
That I believe and take it.

Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett is the author of Our Country's Founders .

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