Protestant Reformation

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Exam 1, Question 1

The Protestant Reformation of the Church of England took place over a hundred year period under the Tudor monarchy. Beginning with Henry VIII desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon, the reformation exposed deep rifts within English society. The radical efforts of Edward VI and Mary turned into religious persecution. It was left to Elizabeth, the last of the Tudor dynasty, to institute the final reforms and ensure the success of Protestantism within the Church of England.

Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church for selfish reasons. Henry, frustrated by the delays and excuses he received from Pope Clement VII, declared himself the “proctor and supreme head” of the Church of England. This effectively split the Church of England from the Catholic Church. Henry could now affect an annulment to his marriage to Catharine of Aragon. Although the Church England was no longer in compliance with the Roman Catholic Church, it nevertheless, remained Roman Catholic in looks and feel. The one major change Henry implemented was the dissolution of the monasteries and convents. Since the monastic orders owed allegiance to the Pope, Henry could not tolerate them in England. Henry confiscated their land and wealth and distributed it to his supporters.

In contrast to his father, Henry, Edward VI allowed sweeping changes within the Church of England. Edward assumed the throne as a young child and therefore his advisors, strong Protestants, influenced him greatly. They were incredibly motivated to reform the doctrines and rituals of the Church of England. Priests were officially allowed to marry. Because the Latin services were exchanged for English ones, a new prayer book was published to i...

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...its founder’s military background in its organization. The group’s leader, the black pope, acted as a general and enforced strict discipline within the organization. Because of its missionary and educational role, the society directly encountered and confronted Protestants on a daily basis.

The Counter-Reformation sparked by the Council of Trent and under the momentum of the Jesuits reinvigorated Catholics. This new energy helped spread Catholicism back into areas of Europe which had converted to Protestantism and exported the Catholic faith into colonial establishments in the New World. The education efforts of the Jesuits brought wider spread literacy to Catholic areas. Counter-Reformation leaders also founded a tradition of charity by preaching the benefits of almsgiving and the founding of orphanages. This provided shelter for the vast number of poor.
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