Henry VIII and his Reformation of the Church in England Essay

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Henry VIII and his Reformation of the Church in England

Henry VIII, in his Reformation of the English Church, was driven mostly by political factors, but also partially by a belief that he was one of the Kings of the Old Testament. Although the initial break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries seem to be the work of a monarch who has changed his religious colours, and turned from Catholicism to Protestantism, they were in fact only a means for gaining money and divorce. By 1547, England was still essentially Catholic.

Many traditional historians, such as G. R. Elton and A. G. Dickens, believe that the Church originally came under attack in 1529 because the laity were not
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It therefore seems that the poor state of the Church was the reason for the initial Reformation.

However, modern historians are now taking a kinder view of the pre-Reformation Church. As J J Scarisbrick said, they were 'fairly conscientious men trying to do a conscientious job.' There were contemporary complaints, but no more than there had been previously, and the English Church was in a much better state than others, such as the European Church. Professor J. J. Scarisbrick and Dr Christopher Harper-Bill have presented a picture of the Church which, although far from perfect, was acceptable to the majority of its members and continued to enjoy considerable support at all levels of society. Contemporaries such as Colet and More who demanded reform were not condemning the Church, but simply measuring it by their own, extremely devout standards. Lollards, who aimed much criticism at the Church, and Evangelicals, who actually had very little support in England, were fundamentally opposed to the Church because they were ideologically different, which is why they criticised it. 'Heresy was not commonâ?¦it would seem that Englishmen were well enough satisfied with the traditional faith as far as its teachings
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