“it was a crime to be a Catholic priest in England”
Emancipation wasn’t passed until 1829.
Yes, but I think the idea that being a priest was high treason punishable by evisceration had passed before that time. It horrifies me that anyone claiming to be a Christian would have advocated burning people alive or vivisecting them for their beliefs, but the real issue was which denomination would get to enjoy govt. patronage. The nightmarish warfare over that issue motivated the Founders to oppose establishment of any denomination, at least on the national level.