It was essential to keep the peace in England with this control, and this was another factor motivated by politics. Elizabeth was aware of the instability of England and that the quarrels over religion would lead to political division making Catholic threat from home and abroad easier and expected. So in order to keep the balance between Protestantism and Catholicism, Elizabeth introduced the Act of Uniformity; the Book of Common Prayer of 1552 was brought back with modification to the communion service. This was a deliberate fudge to allow and satisfy both Protestant and Catholic beliefs, although it infuriated the extremes of both sides. There was also an order that Church ornamentation be as laid down in the 1549 Prayer Book which pleased the majority of Catholics and made it look like that Elizabeth chose their faith as equally compared to Protestantism. The Black Rubric was completely removed in the Royal Junctions of 1559 which forbade kneeling at communion service. The arguments rose about ideas of transubstantiation and that it was just simple respect – altogether it was out of the settlement to provide stability in Elizabeth’s realm. Peace abroad was a consideration as Elizabeth would end up upsetting ally Catholic Spain and the Papacy. She retained the Catholic hierarchal system in which the Church would be governed by bishops. However, her attempts to place the Marian Bishops back in their office proved rather difficult after their refusal to the oath from the Act of Supremacy. She would eventually turn into Protestant persuasion but this shows that they were second choice and that her first choice reveals that she was more interested in presenting religious continuity than full blown Protestantism. This was a compromise which would clearly aim towards Protestantism, but in order for Elizabeth to keep the peace at home and abroad she would have to make it seem as though it was Catholic and then slowly draw them into Protestantism.
However, there is the argument that the Church Settlement was motivated by religion as well. Perhaps the most important consideration to Elizabeth in creating the settlement was that it conformed to her personal, religious views. Sources shows that in March 1559, Elizabeth told her Spanish Ambassador, Feria that she would ‘resolve to restore religion as her father had left it’. But this proves to intervene with Elizabeth’s upbringing as a Protestant and being governed and tutored by Protestants such as Roger Ascham. Contemporaries such as John Foxe believed that she pushed through a more Protestant religious settlement against the opposition of the Catholics; she allegedly stormed out of her chapel following Bishop Oglethorpe’s Elevation of the Host on Christmas Day 1558, preferred to have the Bible translated into English and was regarded as an example of piety during Edward VI’s reign rather than a heretic as was the case during Mary’s reign. The Protestant nature of this settlement on the other hand proved to be suspect still as Elizabeth kept a crosses and candles in her chapel which was allowed due to the Act of Uniformity, retained services of Thomas Tallis as a chapel organist, disliked long sermons and especially clerical marriage which was a Protestant belief. R.E. Foster stated the Queen’s religion had ranged from her being a crypto-Catholic on the one hand to a convinced Protestant on the other. But many historians conclude that a Protestant settlement was inevitable as Stephen Alford suggests that she was a mild Protestant but not to radical to risk the (religious) peace of the country. But the fudge between the faiths showed that Elizabeth wanted to come down to a conclusion, therefore the settlement can be regarded as a religious factor.
Following on her religious beliefs are the fact that her closest advisors were Protestants. Among these were Grindal (Bishop of London), Cox (Ely), Jewel (Salisbury), Sandys (Worcester) and Young (Archbishop of York). Above all of importance was Sir William Cecil who is described as a more moderate and devout Protestant. According to Feria, Cecil was the key figure, ‘the man who does everything’ and proved to be important and trustworthy to Elizabeth. All stages of the bills for supremacy and uniformity were managed by Cecil as well as drawing up the Injunctions of 1559 which established a Protestant settlement with elements of continuity with the Catholic beliefs. Although there is no hard evidence on what role the council played in the settlement, you could argue that Protestant calling was persuaded on the Queen, perhaps by Cecil and the rest of the Council. Perhaps what was more significant and attacked Catholic beliefs was The Thirty Nine Articles of 1563, based on (the Protestant) Cranmer’s Forty Two Articles of 1552. This was a more clear order of Protestant beliefs which forbid the signs of the cross, marriage rings and the kneeling at communion. Perhaps Elizabeth was secure by 1563 in enforcing the Articles and deleted all fudges completely from the previous Acts. Importantly, it would have been backed up by the majority of the Protestant population, especially the Privy Council.
After going through the major principles of the Church Settlement, I conclude that it was motivated more by politics than religion. Even though Elizabeth had mild Protestant beliefs and upbringing, the political factors of gaining control of her kingdom and beliefs as well as securing her position on the throne was much important to her. The settlement could be regarded as ‘Erastian’, with the state controlling both political and religious life. She was England’s Supreme Governor without the interference of the Pope. Establishing the Acts of religious beliefs needed Parliaments permission as Elizabeth found out by struggling to enforce her first settlement. She used politics as a way to guarantee peace for a while between Protestants and Catholics, the term known as the Via Media, or the Middle Way in which Elizabeth tried to make some sort of compromise in the Settlement. However, this was impossible to carry out, as it confused and created chaos among the people. William Cecil had assured that ‘the state could never be in safety, where there was toleration of the two religions’. This could have made both sides, especially the radicals, do what they wished was right and Elizabeth couldn’t bear without the drive for Uniformity. Even though politics is important, you couldn’t ignore the religious factors of the Church Settlement. Due to Elizabeth’s character she was unable to completely ignore the past Catholic beliefs and therefore retained the hierarchal system. But the doctrine of the Church was aimed to a more Protestant direction, especially by the end of 1563. Stephen Alford argues that Elizabeth could have made life easier on her accession if she continued the Catholic policies of Mary I. There would be no fear of Catholic threat from ally Spain and the Pope. Also, the majority of England was Catholic at the time in 1558 so it would have pleased them and made Elizabeth more welcome to the throne. But due to her Protestant beliefs, as already mentioned, she chose to go through this path and slowly enforce it on her people with some Catholic traditions, which proved to be fudge. Revisionists such as Christopher Haigh argue altogether that the Church Settlement made no coherent sense and had very little settled anything. I agree with this statement as the settlements purpose supposedly was to establish religious beliefs, but this was overcome with Elizabeth’s own political needs at the forefront of her mind. The Act of Supremacy and Uniformity didn’t create a balance or unity of religious beliefs, as Elizabeth may have though it would; instead it created disorder and confusion. The Thirty Nine Articles then orders Protestant beliefs, so the purpose of the previous Acts was of no use. Perhaps Elizabeth secretly intended to follow the flow and slowly enforce Protestantism when she was more secure on the throne. Or maybe this was pushed upon her due to the difficult circumstances. The answers are anonymous and I believe that politics is the major factor in establishing the Church Settlement.