Today, it is widely accepted, albeit reluctantly by many, that Shakespeare was raised in a devoutly Catholic family at a time when the practice of the Faith was illegal. His mother’s family was one of the most notoriously defiant of all the recusant Catholic families in England. Several of Shakespeare’s cousins lost their lives for their part in so-called papist plots. John Shakespeare, the poet’s father, seems to have resigned from his life in local politics rather than take the anti-Catholic Oath of Supremacy. Years later, in 1592, while his son was in London forging a reputation as a playwright, he was fined for being a defiant Catholic who refused, in conscience, to attend the services of the state religion. Years later, in 1606, Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, was similarly fined. Like his father and daughter, Shakespeare seems to have refused to attend Anglican services.
The Bard of Avon & the Church of Rome, by Joseph Pearce