As established by Henry VIII in 1550 to distance himself from the Catholic Church and the Pope (and make it possible for him to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon), the official religion of England at the beginning of the Victorian period, circa 1850, was that of the Anglican Church, known as the Church of England. Nonetheless, there were other religions that were quite important in the country, mainly Catholicism and Methodism, which was greatly known thanks to John Wesley and grew under Victorian times. There was also a movement of anti-Church, notably with the Age of Reason of Tom Paine, in 1794, and the apparition of spiritualism. The initiators of such movements where referred to as dissenters, and there were many dissented groups at the time. The Victorian period, up until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, was therefore a time of religious confusion, but also, as we will see, of great charity, as well as of birth of new beliefs.
This piece of legislation would later give him the power to over through Catholicism and would which later make him ‘Supreme Head’ of the Church in England. The Dissolution of the Monasteries still, to this day, represents the largest legal transfer of land, property and assets in English history, since the Norman Conquest in 1066. But to what extent can the Dissolution of the Monasteries be considered a landmark? The Dissolution of the Monasteries is down to two occurrences, public and private intensions. Within the public intensions the king wanted to bring the clergymen into the sphere of his subjects.
This has been greatly debated and in the end he didn’t become more tolerant towards the Catholics, he started to suppress them. In 1604 the Hampton Court Conference took place, the conference was called in response to a series of requests for reform set down in the Millenary Petition by the Puritans, a document which supposedly contained the signatures of 1000 puritan ministers. The conference set off with a meeting between James and his bishops about some of the Puritan complaints detailed in the Millenary Petition. The King, after ending his talks with the bishops, claimed he was "well satisfied", and declared that "the manner might be changed and some things cleared". Private baptism, especially when administered by women, would prove to be a more intense argument between James and his bishops, but James eventually persuaded them that only ministers should administer baptisms.
King Henry VIII of England was at first opposed to Luther’s ideas, but when he broke with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s, he supported Protestantism. When he died and his daughter Mary took over the throne in 1553, she persecuted many Protestants trying to restore England to Catholicism because she was a devout Catholic, (John H. Ratliff, page 4). In 1558 Elizabeth I succeeded Mary restoring order to England. Elizabeth being a Protestant queen only intensified problems with Spain. This lead to problems between Catholic Spain and
While Pope Gregory VII did not introduce the celibacy of the priesthood into the Church, he did take up the fight against the indecency with greater energy unlike his predecessors. The image most often used to describe the role of the priest is one of marriage to the Church. Just as marriage is the total gift of self to another, the priesthood requires the total gift of self to the Church. One of the most powerful advocators of priest celibacy came from St. Augustine, the renowned philosopher of western thought, as he
The transfer of religious power and influence from the papacy to the Crown, instigated by Cromwell, suggests a developing nation state. After establishing Henry’s supremacy over the English Church, Cromwell issued the Ten Articles of Faith in 1536. This evolutionary theology stated that salvation could be achieved by faith alone; one could not pay for his sins, neither could they be atoned for by somebody else. Therefore monasteries which housed international organisations loyal to the papacy no longer had a function in the English Church. The dissolution of the monasteries, enabled by Cromwell’s actions, removed access to this outside influence from English spiritual life.
He reduced clerical privileges and, by charging the clergy with Praemunire, he undermined their power as representatives of the Pope in order to strengthen his own. Henry set about introducing the Bible in the vernacular and reducing the number of holy sacraments, having declared himself head of the Church, he began to make England a Protestant country. However, historians are divided over the extent of Henry’s influence and his motives. Some believe that the reformation was a ‘grassroots’ and progressive change caused either by anticlericalism and corruption in the church or by opposing movements like Lollardy and Lutherism. Even those who believe that the reformation came from above, like Haigh and Scarisbrick, disagree over Henry’s motives, whether he was persuaded by his desire for Anne or his pressure for an heir or by the influential factions in court or even by the financial or political advantages a break with Rome would offer.
Therefore by reforming the English Church and removing the Pope and making Henry VIII the Supreme Head of the Church in England, there was a revolution in the relationship between Church and State. Also as Thomas Cromwell, who masterminded this manoeuvre, had used parliament to enforce the reformation the principle that King-in-parliament was the highest form of authority. This sat very well with Henry VIII and appealed far more to those who lent to the positive and idealistic though secular form of anti-clericalism. This is one reason why the English Church did need to be reformed in the 16th century. Another reason the English Church may have needed reforming would be that many people lost enthusiasm for religious orders and religious images in the 16th century.
How protestant was England by 1540? Break with Rome, nature of the Church in England? * Henrician reformation was essentially an act of state motivated by political, personal and financial motives * The road towards the break with Rome & the Royal Supremacy had allowed evangelicals such as Crammer and Cromwell to rise to prominence, promoting Henry’s new policies. * Catholics still worshipped at a high level * Henry remained a catholic at heart * Comes to a confusing situation * Henry doesn’t show a clear understand of where he stands on religious fronts * Causes struggles in court Was there a move towards Protestantism in the years 1534-39 * The break with Rome and the royal supremacy had severed English connections with the papacy and removed Roman influence from English shores * English Church had been essentially created but papal authority was destroyed and payments were sent to the king * Encouraged more radical reformers abroad * Little alterations on popular worship The Factional struggle: evangelical’s v conservatives * Thomas crammer had risen from relative obscurity to the highest ecclesiastical position in England * On the temporal side Thomas Cromwell had shown his worth in masterminding the Royal Supremacy The Ten articles * see table The bishop’s book * see table Cromwell and the English Bible * both the ten articles and the bishops book can be regarded as partial successes for the evangelical faction at court, Cromwell in particular * neither offered a definitive statement of protestant belief * Cromwell used his friendship and trust with Henry to further the evangelical position * He maintained episcopal appointments to ensure that reformers were preferred * He organised preaching campaigns against Catholic practises such as the worshipping of
The events in Scotland began with Charles introducing the English bible into Scotland, from there a religious protest developed and ultimately the National Covenant was set up. Charles wanted to base the Scottish Church on an English model (Hughes, 1998; p35) much to their disgust, and he declared the covenanters traitors, this united the movement early on. Importantly Charles knew that while the covenant existed he had no power in Scotland (Hughes, 1998; p37). The events led to the First Bishops War, which is the reason that Charles called the Short Parliament. He believed he had the support of the English Parliament.