Henry VIII and the Church of England

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INTRODUCTION King Henry VIII was an important figure in helping to kick start the Reformation in England, even though it was not his intent. His break with the Papacy and his constantly changing ideas on how the new Church of England should be run gave the Protestants the foothold they needed to gain popularity in Europe. Although his intentions were purely politically motivated, he started a change in the way the layman viewed the church and how it should be run. THE LIFE OF HENRY VIII Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491 to the King Henry VII of England and Queen Elizabeth of York. He was the second son and his elder brother Arthur and his bride Catherine of Aragon inherited the throne upon his father’s death.2 In 1502, shortly after ascending the throne, Arthur died, leaving the throne to a young Henry and leaving his new bride a widow. Due to his age Henry did not ascend the throne until 1509. After his coronation, a match was made between Henry and his brother’s widow, Catherine, in order to seal the friendship between England and Spain. The Pope granted Catherine a dispensation of her marriage to Arthur. Soon after, Henry and Catherine were married. During their marriage, Henry and Catherine produced six children, only one of which survived infancy, Mary who was born in 1516. After several failed attempts to produce a male heir, Henry began to question the validity of his marriage to Catherine.4 Henry and Catherine’s failure to produce a male heir was taken as a sign of divine wrath because Henry had take his brother’s widow as his bride. This caused growing repugnance for Catherine, and Henry began to contemplate divorce.5 Henry made several attempts to place his illegitimate son on the throne, incl... ... middle of paper ... ... foothold in England that they needed to begin to spread throughout the country. Works Cited Dowley, Tim. Eerdsman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity. Herts: Lion Publishings, 1977. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 15th edition. Chicago: Volume 5, 1998. Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church. N.p.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959. Hobbs, Jeff. “The Religious Policy of King Henry VIII.” Britannia. . Gonzalez, Justo. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to Present Day. New York: HarperCollins, 1985. Secondary Sources Bernard, G.W. The Kings Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church. Great Britain: Yale University Press Publications, 2005. Durant, Will. The Story of Civilization VI: The Reformation. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1957.
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