The Protestant Reform Movements On The European Continent Against The Roman Catholic Church

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Following the Evangelical reform movements on the European continent against the Roman Catholic Church, England also experienced its own reform movements and reformists. During the fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century, the English monarchy was Catholic, and thus opposed to reform, prosecuting evangelicals as heretics. In the first half of the reign of Henry VIII, the second Tudor monarch, this pattern continued under the administration of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as Lord Chancellor, and later with Sir Thomas More in that same office (Marshall 31). However, in 1526, Henry VIII was in love with Anne Boleyn, and the delay of Pope Clement VII to grant him an annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon set in motion the events…show more content…
Despite at the time reassuring Katherine, saying, “if it is a daughter this time, by the grace of God, boys will follow. We are both still young,” Henry later revealed he had had his doubts that his marriage to Katherine was valid (Weir, The Six Wives of Henry VIII 119). Sons were crucial in achieving a peaceful succession in Henry’s mind, since England had just emerged from the War of the Roses, a civil war between the royal houses of Lancaster and York, when Henry VII, Henry VIII’s father, took the English throne in 1485.
Henry was very Catholic in his religious beliefs and well versed in Scripture, producing a work with the aid of Richard Pace, Thomas More, and Bishop John Fisher in 1521 against Martin Luther entitled Assertio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martinus Lutherus (A Defense of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther) which earned him the title Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith) from Pope Leo X (Weir, Henry VIII: The King and His Court 231). Henry in this work takes the Pope’s authority for granted, stating that he would “not wrong the Bishop of Rome so much, as troublesomely, or carefully to dispute his Right, as if it were a matter doubtful…. For he [Luther] cannot deny, but that all the Faithful honour and acknowledge the sacred Roman See for their Mother and Supreme…” (Henry VIII 202), revealing that at the time of writing the

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