Henry VIII And The Dissolution Of The Catholic Church

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Henry VIII is often remembered as the English monarch who broke with the Roman Church. However, Henry was only attracted to Protestant doctrine in a limited way, as the years 1530-1547 demonstrate. Between the years 1530-1534, Henry tried to secure the Pope's permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon, by threatening first the English clergy and then the Pope's powers in England. When the Pope still did not grant the divorce, Henry undertook the most extreme of measures, claiming jurisdiction over the English Church for himself. The Act of Royal Supremacy of 1534 stated that the Crown was reclaiming powers that it had always possessed; powers that Rome had usurped during the previous four hundred years - a fact which Henry and his advisors firmly believed. Yet, by the end of 1534, the English Church was still a Catholic one. Although it was now free of Rome, its religious doctrine hadn't changed at all. There was plenty of debate over the form of doctrine the Church should take, and Henry incorporated some evangelical ideas into his Church. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, for instance, may have been primarily concerned with matters of money and land, but it also swept away a huge and privileged…show more content…
The King was a keen theologian, and was prepared to incorporate evangelical ideas into his new Church where he saw fit. But he wasn't comfortable with the alterations, and from 1539 onwards he reversed most of his previous policies. In 1539 the Act of Six Articles returned the Church to unambiguous Catholic orthodoxy apart from papal supremacy. Amongst other things, transubstantiation and auricular confession were reaffirmed. Clerical marriage, which had crept in, was condemned, and vows of chastity were now held to be unbreakable. This was an embarrassment to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, whose marriage was an open secret at the
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