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Historians Explore Shakespeare’s Catholic Sympathies

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England (CNS) – When the latest production of William Shakespeare’s play “Love’s Labor’s Lost” opened in the recently refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theater, it attempted to draw new meaning from the Bard’s eternal lines.

A similar task is being pursued by historians and researchers amid claims that Shakespeare was a secret Catholic at a time when the faith faced savage persecution.

“The probability that Shakespeare was a hidden Catholic helps explain the generally recognized enigma behind his work,” said Father Peter Milward, S.J., an authority on the playwright.

“The Catholic elements visible everywhere in his 37 plays suggest he can be viewed as a champion of medieval Christendom, looking back with nostalgia to England’s past Catholic traditions,” the Jesuit told Catholic News Service.

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