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Home » Guy Fawkes Day – The Jesuit Treason and the Gunpowder Plot

Guy Fawkes Day – The Jesuit Treason and the Gunpowder Plot

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Introduction

UK parliament

A plan was hatched by a joint collaboration of the Pope and the Jesuits to blow up the House of Lords during the state opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605. Robert Catesby was the leader of a group of English Catholics who plotted to assassinate the protestant King James 1 in the failed gunpowder plot.

Guy Fawkes, a key member of the group was chosen to bomb the parliament owing to his experience as a soldier in the Spanish army. He smuggled 36 barrels of gun powder into a cellar directly below the Parliament which was enough to obliterate the entire building thereby killing all the key members of the state including the king and high ranking officials.

However, through Divine providence, an anonymous letter was sent to a Catholic called William Parker who was a member of the Parliament. The letter warned him to stay away from the opening of the Parliament. Alarmed by this, he brought this to the attention of King James who then ordered a search of the basement of Parliament. Guy Fawkes was found hiding in one of the cellars guarding a stash of gunpowder and explosives. After being tortured, Guy Fawkes revealed that this was a preplanned Jesuit led Catholic conspiracy to annihilate England’s Protestant government and replace it with a Catholic one.

fireworks

Facts about Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes Day is also referred to as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night and Firework Night. It is celebrated in Britain every year on the 5th of November to commemorate the failure of a plot to bomb the house of parliament.

Guy Fawkes Day is named after Guy Fawkes, a key member of the Gunpowder conspiracy who was found with 2500 kg of gunpowder hidden under the Parliament on the night of 4th November 1605.

Every year as night falls on 5th of November people across Britain light bonfires, set off fireworks and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes.

Most people are unaware that originally, celebrations were held to mark the failure of the Catholic Church to destroy Protestantism in Britain.

The gunpowder plot is also known as the Jesuit Treason because it was primarly masterminded by Jesuits.

Orginally the effigies of the Pope were burnt but were later replaced with that of Guy Fawkes.

It was even celebrated in colonial United States and was called as the Pope Night because effigies of the Pope and the devil were burnt.

If the plot had been successful then the King James Bible would never exist, Britain would most probably have been Catholic and Spanish would have been its first language.

 

England breaks free from the Catholic Church

st peters basicillica, vatican

Right from the start, the Papacy has persecuted true Christians in every country including England. In order to grasp the agenda behind the Gun Powder Plot, we need to look into the history of Protestant England.

Up until the early 16th century, the Pope had considerable clout in England and also in the rest of Christian Europe. The pope was considered as the supreme authority over church and state. Everyone was required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Pope and his word was to be obeyed above everyone else including the King. The Catholic Church owned almost one-third of the land in England and money collected through churches was siphoned off to the Vatican. The Pope and the Catholic Church had become accustomed to “Lord” around over huge swathes of land and people and any opposition was unacceptable and was swiftly dealt with.

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547)

Henry VIII

However, relations between the Catholic Church and King Henry VIII soured when the Pope excommunicated him for divorcing Catherine of Aragon. King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 to form his own church of England. He passed several laws through the British parliament such as the Act Against Peter’s Pence, The Act of Supremacy and The Treason Act to release England form the stranglehold of the Catholic church.

From that time forward the king would be the supreme head of the Church of England and all ecclesiastical power would rest in his hands. The pope was to have no more authority over England. This greatly alarmed the papists as England was gradually turning towards Protestantism. The Papacy hatched several plots over the course of time to regain control over England and restore Papal supremacy in England.

Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553)

Edward VI

After the death of King Henry VIII in 1547 his son King Edward VI was crowned King at the tender age of 9. He became England’s first monarch to be raised as a Protestant. He continued with the reforms and abolished the Catholic mass and clerical celibacy. He had written A Small Treatise Against the Primacy of the Pope in which he declared The Pope as the antichrist and a persecutor of Christians. The radical transformation away from the Catholic church came to a stop when Edward died at the age of 16. It is claimed that he was poisoned by Jesuits in order to bring his Catholic half-sister Mary to the throne.

Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558)

Mary the step-sister of King Edward seized control over the throne soon after his death and became the first queen of England ruling from 1553 to 1558. She attempted to reverse many of the anti-catholic laws passed by her predecessors. She burned hundreds of Protestants at the stake for heresy in order to eradicate Protestantism and reinstate popery in England.

She spilled so much protestant blood that she became known as “Bloody Mary”. The reversion to Catholicism, however, was short-lived as Mary died within a few years of her reign. She died childless and therefore unable to leave a Catholic heir to the throne.

Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603)

Elizabeth 1

Queen Elizabeth I succeeded her half-sister Mary and ruled from 1533 to 1603. During her reign, she tried to please both Catholics and Protestants by formally establishing a protestant church but retaining many of the Catholic elements. Her Catholic half-sister Mary had reconciled England back to Catholicism but Elizabeth reversed this by implementing the Act of Supremacy of 1559, which re-established the Church of England and Church of Ireland’s independence from papal authority.

Bartolomeo Passarotti - Portrait of Pope Pius V - Walters 37453

This angered Pope Pius V who in retaliation excommunicated Elizabeth and issued a papal bull called Regnans in Excelsis on 25 February 1570 in which he declared her as “the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime”. He condemned her as a heretic and commanded her subjects not to obey her otherwise they too would be declared heretics.

The pope encouraged Jesuits to infiltrate and take over England by any means possible. Over the course of Elizabeth’s reign, the Jesuits hatched several plots such as the Ridolfi Plot of 1571 and Babington Plot of 1586 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and restore Catholicism.

spanish armada, ships in a storm

When this failed, Pope Sixtus V recruited King Philip II of Spain who was the self-proclaimed defender of Catholic Europe. At that time, Spain was the superpower of the world and so the Pope bribed King Philip with 1 million ducats and allowed him to collect crusade taxes. The pope was so desperate to get rid of Protestantism in England that he even granted Spanish soldiers free indulgences (forgiveness for sins).

In May 1588, Philip II sent in his feared naval force called the Spanish Armada composed of 130 ships, around 55,000 soldiers, 1500 brass guns and 1000 iron guns in order to defeat Protestant England, overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and reinstate Catholicism. It would have been virtually impossible to defeat the Spanish armada but due to divine providence, most of the Spanish ships were miraculously destroyed by high winds and storms. During the 16th century, the Catholic church had initiated the counter-reformation to suppress Protestantism.

The Papacy realized that the success of Protestantism was due to its insistence on using the original Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture. The Protestants had begun translating and printing the original Bible manuscripts into the local languages of the people thus exposing the anti-Biblical teachings of the Papacy.

In order to stop the spread of the Bible, the papacy declared it illegal to possess a Bible translated from the true manuscripts and instead pushed its own manufactured Bible called the Catholic Vulgate which was derived from corrupt manuscripts. The papists passed several laws to destroy both true Christians and true Bible manuscripts in order to retain the Papacy’s power and sway over Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the Christian world.

Why did the Jesuits try to blow up the Houses of Parliament?

King James 1

James VI and I (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625)

After Queen Elizabeth I died, James the son of Mary, Queen of Scots became King of England in 1603. King James I was a humble, and God-fearing Christian who grew up as a Protestant and understood the true aims of the papacy. He vehemently opposed the errors of the Roman Catholic church as he believed that Rome was the seat of the AntiChrist. He recognized the authority of scriptures rather than that of the pope.

King James found that existing Bible translations in English were not satisfactory and so in January 1604 he convened the Hampton Court Conference in which he commissioned a group of scholars to create a new translation of the Bible which came to be known as the King James Version. The task of translation was undertaken by 47 scholars who started work on the King James Bible towards the end of 1604 and they finished the translation by 1611.

King James Bible

When the Jesuits realized that such a momentous task was initiated, they immediately devised a plan to kill the King and all the Bible translators. They knew that the scholars had access to the correct Bible manuscripts and if a Bible was compiled and printed under the authority and sponsorship of the King then millions of copies would be made and distributed around the world. This would deliver a deadly blow to the power of the Pope and so the Jesuits fought hard to stop the creation of the King James Bible.

The Jesuits didn’t have any time to waste and so they decided to kill off the major players in the King James translation when the Parliament would open for its first session on November 5th, 1605. The Jesuits were so deeply involved in the treacherous gun powder plot that the plot came to be also known as the Jesuit Treason.

The sinister plot was masterminded by Henry Garnett, the leader of the Jesuits in England along with other Jesuits such as Oswald Tesimond, John Gerard, Nicholas Owen, and Thomas Garnet. These Jesuits were known to be involved in several other plots in the past to kill Protestant Kings and Queens some of which have already been discussed earlier in this article. They set up secret communities and worked to sow seeds of disharmony and sedition amongst the Catholic population. As a result of their behavior, the Jesuits were banned in several countries including England. Nevertheless, the Jesuits would return back to the country and operate covertly to advance their malicious designs and continue to subvert the government and authority of the day.

The fact that Jesuits were involved in the gunpowder plot is recorded by the British Parliament under the direction of King James 1 shortly after the gunpowder plot was discovered.

The Thanksgiving Act was an Act of the Parliament of England passed in 1606 in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.

The preamble to the Act records the following:

many malignant and devilish Papists, Jesuits, and Seminary Priests, much envying and fearing, conspired most horribly, when the King’s most excellent Majesty, the Queen, the Prince, and the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, should have been assembled in the Upper House of Parliament upon the Fifth Day of November in the Year of our Lord One thousand six hundred and five, suddenly to have blown up the said whole House with Gunpowder : An Invention so inhuman, barbarous and cruel, as the like was never before heard of. The Thanksgiving Act
THAT whereas our Sovereign Lord the King had, by the Advice and Assent of his Council, for divers weighty and urgent Occasions concerning, his Majesty, the State, and Defence of the Church and Kingdom of England, appointed a Parliament to be holden at his City of Westminster; That Henry Garnet, Superior of the Jesuits within the Realm of England, (called also by the several names of Wally, Darcy, Roberts, Farmer, and Henry Philips) Oswald Tesmond Jesuit, otherwise called Oswald Greenwell, John Gerrard Jesuit, (called also by the several names of Lee and Brooke) Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Gentlemen, Guy Fawkes Gent. otherwise called Guy Johnson, Robert Keyes Gent. and Thomas Bates Yeoman, late Servant to Robert Catesby Esquire; together with the said Robert Catesby and Thomas Percy Esquires, John Wright and Christopher Wright Gentlemen, in open Rebellion and Insurrection against his Majesty, lately slain, and Francis Tresham Esq; lately dead; as false Traitors against our said Sovereign Lord the King, did traitorously meet and assemble themselves together; and being so met, the said Henry Garnet, Oswald Tesmond, John Gerrard, and other Jesuits, did maliciously, falsly, and traitorously move and persuade as well the said Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, and Thomas Bates, as the said Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, John Wright, Christopher Wright, and Francis Tresham, That our said Sovereign Lord the King, the Nobility, Clergy, and whole Commonalty of the Realm of England, (Papists excepted) were Hereticks; and that all Hereticks were accursed and excommunicate; and that none Heretick could be a King; but that it was lawful and meritorious to kill our said Sovereign Lord the King, and all other Hereticks within this Realm of England, for the Advancing and Enlargement of the pretended and usurped Authority and Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, and for the restoring of the superstitious Romish Religion within this Realm of England. A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Year 1820 by Thomas Bayly Howell

Conclusion

The gunpowder plot was not some random plot by a disgruntled revolutionary and anarchist but rather a covert operation conducted by the Jesuits and Papists to advance the nefarious purposes of the Papacy to seize control of England and disrupt the publishing of the King James Bible.

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