The Church of England was more than a matter of dogma and ritual. From one point of view it was a branch of the government. As an "established" church, its bishops were appointed and its policies were determined by the political authorities. Elizabeth herself, in order to spare the feelings of moderate Catholics, substituted, in enumerating her various titles, the expression "and so forth" where her father and brother had used "Supreme Head of the Church": but she retained full authority. Parliament even used its religious authority to decree that Wednesday, in addition to Friday, should be a meatless day, in order to encourage the fisheries.
(from A History of England and the British Empire)