Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Bloody Horrors of the English Reformation

From The Catholic Herald:
In January, Henry bigamously married Anne Boleyn, his pregnant mistress. In March, on Passion Sunday, the relatively unknown Protestant-leaning Thomas Cranmer was consecrated 69th Archbishop of Canterbury. In April, Parliament passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals, cutting off all legal recourse to Rome. And in May, Cranmer pronounced the long-desired annulment of Henry’s marriage to Katherine, then presided over Anne’s coronation. Henry now had what he wanted. But his new wife had come at a high cost. He had changed the country’s religion to get her, and now he had to implement the new faith nationwide. What Henry needed were loyal lawyers and theologians to reshape the religion.

In Thomas Cromwell, he found the former. And in Cranmer the latter. Cromwell began enriching himself by pillaging and razing the monasteries. Cranmer legitimised Henry’s every move spiritually. Henry was secure in the knowledge he had ambitious fixers around him, but what about the response of the rest of the country? It quickly became apparent that despite passing the Act of Supremacy in 1534 making himself head of the English Church (Ecclesia Anglicana), legislation alone was not going to be sufficient to ensure the cooperation of the English people. Nor were Cranmer’s sermons and those of the other new bishops.

With little alternative, Henry resorted to the most basic tool of his power: violence. Burning people for heresy was an option, but it would raise a few eyebrows. The problem was that Henry largely believed in the same traditional theology that his people did. He had not changed his views from the time of writing the Assertio. This ruled out widespread heresy trials. The solution his circle came up with was more radical. (Read more.)
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5 comments:

Helen Davis said...

There is a reason our Constitution was set up the way it was. For every Catholic killed,in England there were Protestants killed in France, Spain and Italy. The founding fathers were very wise.

elena maria vidal said...

I don't know that you can make a comparison of numbers. For one thing, there were never many Protestants in Spain or Italy to begin with. I never heard of Protestants being killed in Italy at all, certainly not in a way that matched the atrocities that occurred not only in England but in Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well. Catholics were also killed in Germany and Holland (St. Fidelis and the Martyrs of Gorkum.)

Helen Davis said...

I thought the inquisition killer,many protestants? But it was 2009 when I did my paper and I forgot a lot of the information

elena maria vidal said...

The Inquisition in Spain mainly went after conversos, who were Catholics whom the Iquisition suspected of being secretly Jewish. There may have been a few "heretics" but there was never a large Protestant community in Spain since the Inquisition was already in operation before the Reformation. The same goes for Italy.

Helen Davis said...

Ok. Ironically the first person I met in Spain was a Protestant!