At the UK’s top festival of the arts, the annual Hay Festival, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that he believes William Shakespeare was likely a Catholic.
Unlike others who have made similar claims, however, Williams – himself a published poet who speaks and writes on a variety of literary topics – doesn’t think Shakespeare was particularly devout: “How much he believed in it, or what he did about it, I don’t quite know. He wasn’t a very nice man in many ways – it’s always very shocking, that. The late Shakespeare was hoarding grain and buying up property in Stratford…If he was a Christian, he wasn’t a saint.”
While Williams also doesn’t think the Bard’s religious affiliation “tells us a great deal,” he does allow “there are things in his plays you can’t understand without understanding the notions of forgiveness and free grace.”
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.