After the persecutions following the Reformation, the Catholic Church that reemerged in Britain in the nineteenth century was defensive and introspective, largely made up of working-class Irish immigrants and a handful of land-owning families who had kept the faith despite adversity. It was viewed with suspicion by the English establishment as something foreign and subversive. However, after the Second World War a new generation of educated Catholics emerged; they were outward-looking, questioning, and anxious to take their places in society. Peter Stanford argues that Basil Hume's appointment was a symbol of that change. His very Englishness exorcised some of the fears in the national subconscious about the Catholic Church. And in his struggles as leader to a flock that is not as obedient as it once was, the cardinal redefined English Catholicism by blending its traditional theological conservatism with a liberal pastoral practice.
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