Was Shakespeare Catholic

Michael Roche

Few names in history evoke such a wide array of responses as William Shakespeare (see Wikipedia article on his Catholic roots). To some he conjures up memories of agonizing days in English class, to others he is the standard by which all other writers are measured, and to others still he is just an historic relic that has no bearing on how we live today. Somewhere deep in the litany of these characterizations resides the occasional reference to Shakespeare’s religion, and to the dismay of some Elizabethan purists there is growing evidence that Shakespeare may actually have been a Roman Catholic. The greatest writer of all time – a Catholic with his faith clearly manifested in his many masterpieces, can this possibly be so?

Please join us as we explore a topic which has recently received a lot of academic attention and as we examine Shakespeare’s Catholic faith and its influence on his work. Bringing this discussion to life will be Fr. David Beauregard, OMV, a Shakespearean scholar whose latest book on the topic of Shakespeare’s faith was recently featured in the Boston Globe. Fr. Dave has written on and taught classes in this area for many years. We are grateful he has so generously made himself available to speak to the Leadership Forum.

About the Speaker

David N. Beauregard received his Ph.D. in English Literature from The Ohio State University. He studied theology in Rome at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), where he received his S.T.B. For four years he served as Director of Publications for The National Catholic Bioethics Center and as editor of Ethics & Medics. Presently he is adjunct professor of Church History at St. John’s School of Theology in Boston. An assistant editor of Religion and the Arts (Boston College), he is author of Virtue’s Own Feature: Shakespeare and the Virtue Ethics Tradition (1995) and co-editor of Shakespeare and the Culture of Christianity in Early Modern England (2003).

He has published several articles on Shakespeare in Shakespeare Studies, Renascence, Religion and the Arts, and The Ben Jonson Journal. Recently he has published Catholic Theology in Shakespeare’s Plays (University of Delaware Press, 2007).


When: Thursday, December 13, 2007, 7:30 - 8:45 AM
Where: Offices of Merrill Lynch, 125 High Street