Let’s Talk History Part 8: C’mon English Reformation


The English Reformation, a series of events initiated by King Henry VIII that lead to England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of the Independent Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal Church). Due to the inability of Catherine of Aragon to produce a (surviving) male heir, and Henry’s romantic interest in Catherine’s lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn, Henry petitions Pope Clement VII for an annulment of marriage.

Upon the pope’s refusal, the English Parliament passes a series of acts between 1529 and 1536 restricting papal power and influence in England; the 1533 Statute in Restraint of Appeals gives final authority to the King in all matters concerning England and English-owned lands by prohibiting all appeals to the Pope in Rome.

After subsequent pressuring of English bishops, divorce is granted and Henry marries Anne Boleyn in 1533, to which the Pope responds by excommunicating Henry. To legitimize the marriage and further establish monarchical power, Parliament passes the 1534 Act of Supremacy, reaffirming Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Under the act and subsequent acts known as the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’, hundreds of nunneries, friaries and abbeys are dissolved in England, Ireland and Wales between 1536 and 1540. The collapse of the monastic system generates vast (land) wealth absorbed by the English Crown and profiteers, providing greater incentive to permanently reverse Catholicism.

In 1537, Henry allows publication of Matthew’s Bible, a modified and translated English language Bible written and revised by John Rogers under the assumed name of Thomas Matthew. Despite English separation from Rome, however, as well as Protestant religious appointees and tutors to Edward VI, and Henry’s later marriage to Protestant Catherine Paar in 1543, Henry and the Church of England remain Catholic in practice and belief

Stay tuned for 9 year-old King Edward VI, vicious in-fighting for power, and the imposition of Protestantism …

See ya next Tuesday! >>>