immediate problem in the 1520s was the lack of a male heir. After eighteen years of marriage, he had only
a sickly daughter and an illegitimate son.
His queen, Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536), after four earlier
pregnancies, gave birth to a stillborn son in 1518. By 1527, when she was forty-two, Henry had
concluded that she would have no more children.
His only hope for the future of his dynasty seemed to be a new marriage
with another queen. This, of course,
would require an annulment of his marriage to Catherine. In 1527, he appealed to the pope, asking for
the annulment. Normally, the request
would probably have been granted; the situation, however, was not normal. Catherine had first been the wife of Henry’s
deceased brother Arthur. Her marriage to
Henry had required a papal dispensation, based on her oath that the first
marriage had never been consummated. Now Henry professed concern for his soul,
tainted by living in sin with Catherine for eighteen years. He also claimed that he was being punished,
citing a passage in the Book of Leviticus, which predicted childlessness for
the man who married his dead brother’s wife.
The pope was sympathetic and certainly aware of an obligation to Henry,
who for his verbal attacks against Luther had been named “Defender of the
Faith” by a grateful earlier pontiff; but granting the annulment would
have been admission of papal error, perhaps even corruption, in issuing the
dispensation. Added to the Lutheran
problem, this would have been doubly damaging to the papacy.
Part of Henry’s argument for the annulment of he and Catherine
is rooted in Leviticus. Henry used this passage to claim
that his marriage, despite a papal dispensation, was immoral, “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife:
it is thy brother’s nakedness” (Leviticus 18:6). According to the Bible, it is against the
seventh commandment to have sexual relations with a family member, which he and
Catherine were, technically, as they were in laws; however, officially, they
were not because of the papal dispensation they had received. Therefore, Leviticus 18:6 does not apply to
Henry’s situation. The second part of
Henry’s Leviticus argument is a claim that he has been living in sin as a
result of his intimate relationship with his wife, “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of
impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless” (Leviticus
Bible verse substantially worried King Henry, as he believed this was the
reason for his dilemma. His inability to
produce a male heir with Catherine was asserted to be a “divine judgment”
resulting from Catherine’s apparent consummation of her previous marriage to
Henry’s brother. The argument of Henry
VIII is not valid Pope Julius II had granted the papal dispensation for
Catherine and Henry’s impediment of affinity on the basis that Catherine had
not consummated her previous marriage to Arthur, Henry’s deceased brother.
ADD A SENTENCE OR TWO HERE….. On March 7, 1530, Pope Clement VII issued the following bull:
Bull, notifying that on the appeal of queen Katharine from the judgment of the
Legates, who had declared her contumacious for refusing their jurisdiction as
being not impartial, the Pope had committed the cause, at her request, to
Master Paul Capisucio, the Pope’s chaplain, and auditor of the Apostolic
palace, with power to cite the King and others; that the said Auditor,
ascertaining that access was not safe, caused the said citation, with an
inhibition under censures, and a penalty of 10,000 ducats, to be posted on the
doors of the churches in Rome, at Bruges, Tournay, and Dunkirk, and the towns
of the diocese of Terouenne (Morinensis). The Queen, however, having complained
that the King had boasted, notwithstanding the inhibition and mandate against
him, that he would proceed to a second marriage, the Pope issues this
inhibition, to be fixed on the doors of the churches as before, under the
penalty of the greater excommunication, and interdict to be laid upon the
kingdom. Bologna, 7 March 1530, 7 Clement VII. (LP iv. 6256)
This was Pope Clement VII’s reaction
to Kings Henry VIII’s disobedience to God’s Law. Catherine of Aragon had
notified the Pope that King Henry VIII was persistent to marry Anne Boleyn, a
Protestant. The Pope reacted by
threatening excommunication. This attempt failed.
Henry VIII tried endlessly to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Continuing his efforts to prove this outcome,
he went as far as even sending his men to universities to acquire proof that
his first marriage was opposed to God’s law.
This was not Henry’s first attempt.
On April 13, 1528, a papal bull appointed Cardinal Wolsey as the Pope’s
proxy “to take cognizance of all matters concerning the King’s divorce” (Parenthetical Reference). The Pope appointed Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
as his papal legate in June to prepare for the upcoming divorce hearing.
This had all raised from early 1528 when Cardinal
Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s right-hand man, had written to Pope Clement VII
concerning Henry VIII’s demand that the case for an annulment of his marriage
to Catherine of Aragon be decided in England by Wolsey and a visiting papal
legate, who would act with the full authority of the Pope.
December 8, 1528, Cardinal Campeggio arrived in London, but Eric Ives explained
how his “powers were not complete” which necessitated “further wearisome and
unsatisfactory negotiation with the papal Curia” (Parenthetical
Reference). This was
intentionally done in order to stall the proceedings. Thereby making things worse for Henry VIII
and Wolsey when Catherine of Aragon produced Pope Julius II’s dispensation for
her to marry Henry. This caused a flaw
and further delayed the case. In the
meantime, Catherine was advised by Campeggio to join a convent; this would
allow the marriage to be annulled easily.
However, Catherine would not agree to this as she proclaimed herself to
be Henry’s true wife and queen, thus forbidding to taking the veil. Henry VIII and Wolsey then played dirty,
threatening Catherine with separation from her daughter Mary if she would not
obey the King. With the support of the people, like John Fisher (Bishop of
Rochester), Archbishop Warham, and Cuthbert Tunstall (Bishop of London),
instead of submitting to the King, Catherine fought back by appealing to Rome
against the authority of Wolsey and Campeggio to try the case at a Legatine
could only stall for so long and formal proceedings finally began on May 31,
1529, at the Legatine Court at Blackfriars.
On the 21st of June, Catherine of Aragon gave what David Starkey calls
“the speech of her life” (Parenthetical Reference).
She approached her husband, knelt
at his feet, and gave the following speech in slightly broken English:
Sir, I beseech you for all the love
that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice. Take
of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman, and a stranger born out
of your dominion. I have here no assured friends, and much less impartial
counsel… Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion of
displeasure have I deserved?… I have been to you a true, humble and obedient
wife, ever comfortable to your will and pleasure, that never said or did anything
to the contrary thereof, being always well pleased and contented with all
things wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were in little or
much. I never grudged in word or countenance, or showed a visage or spark of
discontent. I loved all those whom ye loved, only for your sake, whether I had
cause or no, and whether they were my friends or enemies. The twenty years or more,
I have been your true wife and by me ye have had divers children, although it
hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no default in
me… When ye had me at first, I take God to my judge; I was a true maid, without
touch of man. In addition, whether it be true or no, I put it to your
conscience. If there be any just cause by the law that ye can allege against me
either of dishonesty or any other impediment to banish and put me from you, I
am well content to depart to my great shame and dishonour. And if there be
none, then here, I most lowly beseech you, let me remain in my former estate…
Therefore, I most humbly require you, in the way of charity and for the love of
God – who is the just judge – to spare me the extremity of this new court,
until I may be advised what way and order my friends in Spain will advise me to
take. And if ye will not extend to me so much impartial favour, your pleasure
then be fulfilled, and to God I commit my cause!” In this speech, Catherine also reminded Henry
that his father, “The Second Solomon”, and her father, had considered “the
marriage between you and me good and lawful. (Parenthetical
In this speech, Catherine also
reminded Henry that his father, “The Second Solomon,” and her father, had
considered “the marriage between you and me good and lawful.” She ended her speech still on her knees,
though Henry had tried to raise her up twice during her speech.
then asked for the King’s permission to write to the Pope to defend her honor,
which he granted. Catherine then
curtseyed and instead of walking back to her seat walked straight out of court,
ignoring the crier who called for her to return to her seat. As her receiver general, Griffin Richards,
told her that she was being called back, Catherine was heard to reply, “On, on.
It makes no matter, for it is no impartial court for me, therefore I will not
tarry. Go on.” And with that she left the Legatine Court. ADD SENTENCE HERE.
on from here, King Henry VIII tried to prove that Catherine had consummated her
marriage to his brother, Arthur. However,
Catherine had already signed protestations of her virginity and Bishop John
Fisher shocked the court in his defense of Catherine’s virtue, quoting from the
Book of Matthew and saying:
Deus conjunxit, homo non separet. ‘What therefore God has joined together, let
not man put asunder.’ And, for as much as this marriage was made and joined by
God to a good intent, I say that I know the truth; which is that it cannot be
broken or loosed by the power of man.” He then said that he was so convinced of
Catherine’s cause that he would lay down his life for it. (Which, of course, he
did in the end when he was tried and executed by Henry in 1535. This was the
reason he was martyred and future canonized).
ANALYZE QUOTE. This prompted Henry VIII to then send Wolsey and Campeggio
to see Catherine. They tried to bully her into complying, but were
unsuccessful. Without her knowledge, on July 13th, Pope Clement approved
Catherine’s appeal. Unfortunately, she
was not to hear of this for some time. So,
with her hopelessness, Campeggio tried another tactic on her behalf. Thus, in July 1529, he announced that the
court would adjourn until October for a summer recess due to the fact that it
was “reaping and harvesting” time in Rome, a time when courts did not sit (Parenthetical Reference). This made King Henry VIII furious, but,
nonetheless, the Legatine Court was suspended.
Furthermore, not conjugating again when the news reached England that
Catherine’s appeal had been successful.
Henry, who was certain that the court would pass sentence and rule in
his favor, was distraught over this.
February 1531, these events led Henry VIII to claim the title of “Sole
Protector and Supreme Head of the Church of England” (Parenthetical
Reference). However, he had to
compromise by adding “as far as allowed by the law of Christ, Supreme Head of
the same” (Parenthetical Reference). This addition extracted from Parliament the
authority to appoint bishops; thus designating his willing tool, Thomas
Cranmer, as Archbishop of Canterbury. In
return, this paved the way for the break with Rome and for the annulment of
Henry’s marriage to Catherine finalized by May of 1533. Thus allowing Henry VIII to marry Anne Boleyn
in a secret ceremony in January 1533, shortly before Anne’s coronation. Henry and the Church began to stumble on to
the edge of schism. Any conflict with
Rome was in accord with national pride and often expressed in traditional
resentment against Roman domination.
Late medieval English kings had challenged the papacy over Church
appointments and revenues. More than a
century and a half before Luther, an Oxford professor named John Wycliffe had
denounced the false claims of popes and bishops. In more recent times, English Christian
humanists, including Sir Thomas More, had criticized the artificialities of
Catholic worship. Thus, when the pope
delayed making a decision, Henry was relatively secure in his support at home.
Henry’s ambitions to gain control truly began when the pope threatened excommunication. This gave Henry the encouragement he
needed. He passed one act forcing all to recognize the children
of his new marriage as heirs to the throne.
Then, he passed another making him the “supreme head” of the
church in England. He dissolved monasteries, redistributing their
property to his nobles to reinforce their loyalty. Monks who resisted were executed and the
money from their treasuries went into his coffers.
in an era of Reformation, his church reforms were conservative. He appeared to want a Catholic Church—just
one that was always loyal to him and to England. “I do not choose anyone to have it in
his power to command me, nor will I ever suffer it,” he once said (Parenthetical Reference). So, while he broke from Rome, he continued
to uphold transubstantiation and demanded clerical celibacy. Parliament also ended all payments of
revenues to Rome. Now, having little
choice, Pope Clement VII excommunicated Henry, making the breach official on
break from Rome happened in stages, beginning with the March 1532 Act in
Restraint of Annates, thus being the first legal part of the process. This act limited annates—payments from
churches to Rome—down to 5%. In 1534,
annates were abolished completely in the Act in Absolute Restraint of
Annates. The 1533 Act in Restraint of
Appeals began the process of transferring the power of the Church in Rome to
Henry VIII and his government, and is considered the starting point of the
English Reformation. All appeals to the
Pope were prohibited and the King was made the final authority on all matters.
Through the Act of Supremacy of 1534, the King made himself
the “supreme head” of the Church of England in place of the
Pope. After this dramatic move, King
Henry dissolved England’s monasteries, destroyed Roman Catholic shrines, and
ordered the Great Bible (in English) to be placed in all churches. However, Henry allowed few doctrinal changes
and very little changed in the religious life of the common English
worshiper. Under Henry VIII, the Church
of England maintained mostly Catholic traditions, with the exception of loyalty
Amid an anti-Catholic campaign in the 1530s, Henry secured
the Anglican establishment, which became an engine for furthering royal
policies, with the King’s henchmen controlling every function, from the
building of chapels to the wording of the liturgy. Former church revenues, including more than
40,000 a year from religious fees alone, poured into the royal treasury. In 1539, Parliament completed its seizure of
monastery lands, selling some for revenue and dispensing others to secure the
loyalties of crown supporters.
Meanwhile, Catholics suffered.
Dispossessed nuns, unlike monks and priests, could find no place in the
new church and were often reduced to despair.
One such nun, the famous “holy maid of Kent,”
dared to rebuke the King publicly. As a
result, she was executed, as were other Catholic dissidents, including Henry’s
former chancellor, Sir Thomas More, and the saintly Bishop Fisher of
Rochester. Henry even forced his
daughter, Mary, to accept him as head of the church and admit the illegality of
her parents’ marriage.
The new English Church, however, brought little change in
doctrine or ritual. The “Six
Articles,” Parliament’s declaration of the new creed and ceremonies in
1539, reaffirmed most Catholic theology, except papal supremacy.
The way the Anglican Church deviated from the Catholic Church is
the root of the Anglican disbelief of papal supremacy. The Archbishop of Canterbury is considered
the highest ranking. However, he does
not have authority over any of the churches outside his province; he has the
same authority as all the members of
the Anglican Communion. Therefore, the
Anglican Church rejects hierarchy while the Catholic Church embodies it, as a
result of the fashion in which the schism occurred.
thirty-nine articles, written by ____ and included in the Book of Common Prayer,
clarifies the rules of Anglicanism.
Although Anglicanism is a derivative of Catholicism, the schism between
the two religions caused the appearance of certain Anglican rules, including
Those five commonly called
Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders,
Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for
Sacraments of the Gospel,
being like they have
grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles…
This directive is the
outcome of the way Anglicanism was formed.
This religion, unlike that of the Catholic Church, believes in only two
sacraments—Baptism and Communion. The “reasoning”
behind this is that the Apostles taught the disciples about the other five
sacraments—Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction—and
Anglicans consider the Apostles as “corrupt” because they are recognized
leaders of the Catholic Church, one of them, Peter, was even the first Pope of
the Catholic Church. As a result of the
way the schism occurred, Anglicanism is so much against papal supremacy that
they do not celebrate five of the seven sacraments because they were preached
by the Apostles.
of Aragon could never have known that her refusal to accept the annulment of
her marriage to King Henry VIII and with that by appealing to Rome for the
Pope’s support would lead to England breaking with her beloved church. Furthermore,
proving that the papacy’s involvement and reinforcement paved the way for Henry
to break away from Rome and the Catholic Church leading to the King’s creation
early church in England was a distinctive fusion of British, Celtic, and Roman
influences. ADD SENTENCE HERE OR TAKE AWAY PREVIOUS
SENTENCE. Under King Henry VIII,
in the 16th century, the Church of England broke from Rome, largely because Pope Clement VII refused to grant
Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
was not that King Henry VIII had a change of conscience regarding publishing
the Bible in English. His motives were
more sinister… ADD MORE HERE… but the Lord sometimes uses the evil intentions of men
to bring about His glory. King
Henry VIII had in fact, requested that the Pope permit him to divorce his wife
and marry his mistress. The Pope refused. King Henry responded by marrying his
mistress anyway, (later having two of his six wives executed), and thumbing his
nose at the Pope by renouncing Roman Catholicism, taking England out from under
Rome’s religious control, and declaring himself as the reigning head of State
to also be the new head of the Church.
This new branch of the Christian Church, neither Roman Catholic nor
truly Protestant, became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England.
King Henry VIII acted essentially as its “Pope.” His first act was to further defy the wishes
of Rome by funding the printing of the scriptures in English, the first legal
English Bible, solely out of spite.
break from Rome was fundamentally over control of the English Church. Although he instituted some Protestant
measures during his reign. For example,
he put English Bibles in all the churches.
Additionally, despite the fact that he always supported his Protestant-leaning
archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer, Henry sided with Rome on key issues of
doctrine and practice, “I do not choose anyone to have it in his power to
command me, nor will I ever suffer it.”