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Catholic Dictionary




Persons who violated the law that commanded attendance at the services of the Church of England. Penalties for violation were suffered most often by Catholics. Conviction resulted in a fine, disability to hold office, keep arms, maintain suits at law, prohibition from guardianship, practicing law, or holding military office. Three months after conviction recusants were to renounce the supremacy of the Pope over the Anglican Church or to abjure the realm. These laws were enforced with varying degrees of strictness from the reign of Elizabeth I to George III, and gave the Church many martyrs.