Catholic recusant communion chalice

Contributed by R W Traves Parkinson

Catholic recusant communion chalice

This communion chalice is made of unhallmarked silver. It was made secretly in about 1700. It was used by Jesuit Priests under the Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District to minister to the Catholic Recusants in Lancashire. Recusants were those Catholics who worshiped in secret during the 250 years of Catholic persecution in England. To be found in posession of a tiny Jesuit chalice like this one could result in a death sentence. At this time Catholis could not hold public office, go to university, inherit land or own a horse. Catholics were not permitted to worship in public. Catholic priests were deamed to be guilty of treason and many were hung drawn and quartered [including several relatives]. The fact that catholics continued to worship despite these difficulies is a testament to their profound and enduring faith.

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