Was Shakespeare Catholic?





A clue, a clue, my kingdom for a clue.

With apologies to William Shakespeare, that line sums up the plea of scholars who for years have tried to untangle one of literary history's most nettlesome knots: To which church did the Bard belong?

Was he Roman Catholic, the religion of his mother's family, many of his schoolteachers, and perhaps the closet faith of his father? Was he Protestant, a version of which was the official religion of Elizabethan England, where he crafted works that rival the Bible for fame and citation? Or was he an ecumenist ahead of his time, one whose views transcended the fanatical religious debates of his day?

The Rev. David Beauregard, a Roman Catholic priest who teaches Shakespeare at the seminary of St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in the Back Bay, argues in his new book, "Catholic Theology in Shakespeare's Plays" (University of Delaware Press), that Shakespeare was Catholic.


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