|Worshippers at a Catholic church in Taiyuan, China (CNS)|
We are very lucky, here in the United Kingdom: it’s been years since any cleric has been sent to jail for the crime of being a cleric. The Anglicans had some ritual martyrs in the nineteenth century who fell foul of the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874, but these must have been the last men to have been imprisoned for a specifically religious offence in British history. The last Catholic martyr to be executed in England was St Oliver Plunket who suffered in 1681, during the Titus Oates disturbances, though anti-Catholic legislation remained on the statute books until the twentieth century, and only really disappeared with the Catholic Relief Act of 1926.
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