Public Lecture by James Kelly: Die unendliche Geschichte: England and the Long Catholic Reformation

May 24, 2022, Prof. James Kelly (Durham University) will give a lecture at the Centre for Reformation Studies on England and the Long Catholic Reformation.

The concept of long reformation is more frequently applied by historians to Protestant reform movements, yet this paper will argue that it is equally applicable to what happened between England and the Catholic Reformation; indeed, it could even be argued to be a better descriptive fit. This paper will draw out three key themes, which are not just applicable to England and the Catholic Reformation but, it is argued, are identifiable in other geographical regions that experienced the long Catholic Reformation. The first of these is that competing visions of how the Catholic Reformation should be understood or implemented are frequently evident. The second theme is the relationship, and sometimes tension, between Rome and the local. The third theme to emerge is two different understandings of the missionary enterprise, one viewpoint prioritizing evangelization of areas previously not exposed to Christianity, the other vision focussed on the reclaiming of once Catholic lands lost to heresy. Such differing interpretations of, and emphases within, the missionary enterprise, particularly on the peripheries of Catholic Europe, could lead to conflicts with all three thematic characteristics identifiable in a country like England. The intra-Catholic debates witnessed there throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were part of long attempts at implementing the Catholic Reformation, itself far from being the monolithic, universalizing, homogenising movement of popular myth. It will be argued that the history of England and its long Catholic Reformation is a neverending story.

Venue of the Public Lecture

Institute for Literary Studies
H-1113 Budapest, Ménesi street 11-13.
1st floor, Klaniczay room


16:00 – 17:30 h.


Read more in the pdf.


Research Centre for the Humanities