Essay on The English Reformation

1410 Words6 Pages
Though there was no driving force like Luther, Zwingli or Calvin during the English Reformation, it succeeded because certain people strived for political power and not exactly for religious freedom. People like Queen Elizabeth I and Henry VIII brought the Reformation in England much success, however their reasons were based on self-gain and desire for political power.

Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I may have been the English Reformation’s greatest benefactors, all because of self interest. Henry VIII was not originally Protestant, but after the pope denied him of his divorce, Henry VIII took things into his own hands. Due to the power kings had in the Middle Ages, Henry VIII was able to control Parliament and force it to do whatever
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Nationalism made the Catholics believe that Henry VIII was right to remove the pope even though they may not have agreed with Henry’s decisions. This change gave the Lutherans and other reformers great hope also, knowing now that their greatest rival, the pope, had been deposed. Unfortunately, other Englishmen who stood firm against the Act of Supremacy met strong opposition from the king. Soon after, another law was passed called the Law of Treason and Heresy. This law made sure that everyone recognized the king as the head of the church and more importantly, brought punishments to anyone who did not receive the king as the lawful head of the Church of England.

In the early 1500s, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, grew in the favor of Henry VIII. When Henry VIII was attempting to divorce Catherine of Aragon, Thomas Cranmer helped Henry VIII build his case for the annulment of the marriage. Thomas Cranmer also supported the law of Royal Supremacy, which made the king the head of the Church. These things led to Thomas Cranmer getting in Henry VIII “good books” which later helped him once Edward VI acceded the throne. Thomas Cranmer’s willingness to compromise helped him reach such a powerful position in the church so quickly. If Cranmer had gone about things the way Luther did, he would have easily been executed for heresy and defying the Law of Treason and Heresy by revolting against the king. By compromising some
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