Thoughts on the Reformation

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Aidan, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    im of the opinion that Henry viii did not want reformation in any way, but simply a split from Rome. I remember reading that he barred reformers from England. What's your opinion please?
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There isn't much room for opinion here; just fact. :)

    Henry VIII was a complex and contradictory figure - as are we all, I suppose. His various beliefs were extremely Medieval. He retained pretty much everything except outward obedience to the Pope; even this, it seems, was broken more out of practical need (his divorce & remarriage) than conviction (Protestantism). The true Reformation began - on an official level - after his death, it's true.

    We're all sinners, imperfect, and broken. That is somewhat consoling when looking at history. We cannot absolutize people into mere ideals or sets of beliefs. They were persons, subjects, and individuals with many motives. Our knowledge of God in Christ may be helped along by such-and-such a person, but ultimately large forces also happen out of individuals' control. We do like to think we're in control, but God is.

    Whether Henry VIII wanted this or that or the other doesn't really matter, in the end. He is but one figure who has left footsteps in the sands of time. We choose to follow him, or those who came after him. Either way, we must act according to conscience, not according to Henry VIII.
     
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  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    True story: Henry VIII only got an annulment. He never got a divorce, nor asked for one.

    Btw, annulments were frequently granted by the Popes to rich donors. The French Henry IV is a famous example.

    In England's Henry VIII's case, his (much richer) rival Spanish king Charles V requested for Henry's annulment to not be given, and the Pope chose the richer donor. This was the reason why Henry didn't get an annulment when so many other kings did. But he never got any divorces. A divorce is impossible, for marriage is for life.
     
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  4. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Actually Charles was the Holy Roman Emperor and the nephew of Cathrine.

    To understand Henry and what happened we need to look at secular history.

    Henry's father, Henry VII, won the dynastic/civil War called the War of the Roses. After that war he had his oldest son
    and heir married to the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. Think Christopher Columbus. His older brother was Arthur. Arthur died soon after the marriage. Henry VII wanted to keep the alliance with Spain. So he sought to marry Henry to Catherine. Henry was about 10 years old. When he was 18 he married her.

    At this time in Roman Catholic Canon law, you could not marry your sister in law. To get around this law, Henry VII approached Pope Julius II for a
    special dispensation for the marriage. Henry paid the appropriate bribe or fee and the Pope over looked canon law. Back then Popes could and did ignore what they wanted.

    Henry VIII became king in 1509. He was about 18 years old. He opposed Luther's Reformation. He wrote Assertio Septem Sacramentorum a defense of the sacraments. For his opposition I believe it was Leo X who gave him the title Defender of the Faith. One of the titles the English monarch has had to this day.

    After several miscarriages and stillbirth he had a daughter Mary. He also had Elizabeth and Edward from different wives. Plus other illegitimate children.

    Now at the time of his annulment request he did not have a male heir. Remember England had just gone through a long bloody dynastic struggle that his
    father ended. Henry knew if he did not have a male heir there most likely would be another dynastic struggle. Remember England had dynastic wars until the mid 1740's.....Stuarts etc.

    Henry went to the Church. The English Bishops and Archbishops approved. Henry had every expectation the Pope would rule in favor of the annulment. His main argument was that the special dispensation should have never been given as it violated canon and levitical law. Also, the pope had recently granted French King Henry, Scotland's Margaret and another English nobleman similar annulments. Pope Clement VII refused. Why?

    In 1527, the Pope was the prisoner of the Holy Roman Empire. He had backed the French in the Italian wars. Rome was sacked and he was taken to Castel Sant'Angelo. After 6 months he escaped and until 1528 hid from his captors returning to Rome in Oct 1528. When Henry's appeal came to him, he was the prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, nephew of Catherine. Charles, for family and political reasons, pressured the Pope to refuse.
    Which he did, citing Roman Canon Law...which had been conveniently forgotten for the marriage. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was also Charles I of Spain. He kept the dual crowns until 1556. He actually had more crowns..Austria, Netherlands etc but Spain and Holy Roman Empire were the most important.

    Also, Henry never let the Reformation influence the Church in England. Yes he got rid of the religious holdings, but the theology and liturgy of the Church remained the same. Under Edwards reign, the regents allowed the continental reformers in. Mary undid their work. Elizabeth was tolerant of Roman Catholics until Pius V issued Regnans in Excelsis in 1570 which declared Elizabeth a heretic, releasing all her subjects from allegiance to her and excommunicating any who remained loyal to her. This happened just after the Northern rebellion of the Catholic nobility centered around the Dukes of Northumberland and Westmorland, of 1569. After this, the Jesuit spreading discontent and the three armadas of 1588, 1596 and 1598 (all with Rome's fingerprints all over it) England moved away and broke with Rome. All of the English Monarchs opposed the continental reformers influence in the form of the puritans until the puritans chopped off Charles I head after the third English Civil War in 1649.

    Probably enough history for now.

    Fr. Mark
     
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this, Mark
     
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  6. DICKSON NG'HILY

    DICKSON NG'HILY Member Anglican

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    Thank you so much Fr Mark, I am blessed to learn this....I need to learn more on church history....
     
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  7. Anglo1

    Anglo1 Member

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    Yeah, had Catherine of Aragon not been related to Charles V, the Pope almost 100% would have granted Henry his annulment. But as others have said, the Pope was scared of the emperor.
     

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