Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Edmund Campion

Edmund Campion, an Englishman born in 1540 in London. He studied at Oxford University, where he became a very learned and respected professor of Latin and Greek. In 1566, he receives the honor of being asked to deliver a speech welcoming Queen Elizabeth I to Oxford. Queen Elizabeth I and her advisers believe that Campion will have a distinguished career as a leading clergyman in the Church of England because of his intelligence and persuasiveness as an orator. He surprises his colleagues at Oxford and disappoints the queen by his decision to leave England and convert to Catholicism, which was then persecuted in England. In 1571, he begins studying for the priesthood at the Catholic seminary in Douai, France, but after two years he decides that his spiritual development would be served better by his entering the Jesuit order. He travels to Rome, where he is accepted by the Jesuits. He is assigned to their novitiate in Prague, where he continues his study of theology. He is ordained in Prague in September, 1578. He teaches philosophy, theology, Greek, and Latin at a Jesuit school in Prague, for which he also writes several edifying Latin plays. Two years after his ordination, his superiors decide to send him back to England as a missionary. Saying Mass was a capital offense in England at the time, and many Catholics were arrested and executed for their refusal to convert to the Church of England. Campion fully understands the dangers...

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