How Did The Events Of The Reformation Affect The Enlightenment – You are here: Home / Magazine / Great Events in British History: The Reformation in England – The Time of the Martyrs
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How Did The Events Of The Reformation Affect The Enlightenment
Under the reign of Henry VIII, England began a journey of religious change. The old faith, Roman Catholicism, was cast aside to make way for the New British Evangelical Church. It was not a smooth or peaceful transition. Both sides suffered during the reign of Henry and his sons, but with the closure of the House of Tudor, the Church of England was firmly established and survives to this day.
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Christianity came to England in the first century, brought by the Romans. For centuries, England followed the Church of Rome. There are dissidents, such as the Lollards, but they face near-universal opposition from the clergy and the state. In 1517, German priest and scholar Martin Luther issued his 95 Theses, in which he opposed many of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. His actions caused a schism in the Church that led to the Protestant Reformation.
Despite the growing popularity of Luther’s ideas, Henry VIII remained a firm believer in Roman Catholic doctrine. He was also a good reading scholar. In 1521, he wrote and published a rebuttal of Luther’s ideas. In gratitude for his support, the Holy Father gave him the title “Defender of the Faith” or “Defender of the Faith”.
Henry’s loyalty to the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church was tested over the years. Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s wife, was unable to bear him the son he would need if his reign had continued. Catherine was past childbearing age, and in 1527, Henry set his eyes on the vivacious and charming court lady, Anne Boleyn. Henry petitioned the Pope to annul his marriage to Catherine, citing biblical references to support his case that his marriage was wrong in the eyes of God because of Catherine’s first marriage to Henry’s brother, Prince Arthur. Henry’s theological arguments did not shake the Pope, who knew that Catherine was the aunt of the most powerful man in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor. Abolition will not happen, despite years of negotiations. Henry is determined to find a way out of his marriage.
Anne Boleyn isn’t just a pretty face. He was educated, intelligent, and interested in the ideas of the Protestant Reformation. Together with Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, Anne found a way out for Henry. Cromwell, a lawyer and Congressman, was a silent supporter of Protestantism and he became famous as Cardinal Wolsey’s assistant. His friend Cranmer was a prominent clergyman who supported Lutheranism and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532, through the Boleyn family corridor. Between them, Cromwell and Cranmer were able to find a solution to the King’s Great Thing: breaking with Rome.
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When Cranmer became Archbishop, he began to solve a legal case to annul Henry’s marriage. Henry did not wait for the conclusion of Cranmer’s work. He had no time to lose because Anne Boleyn was pregnant, so he married her in January 1533. Cromwell was laying the groundwork to settle the disagreement that would inevitably arise when Cranmer announced the annulment of Henry’s first marriage. He drafted an Act of Parliament establishing the king as the final legal authority in England and Wales, and prohibiting any appeals of religion or other matters to the Pope. The Limitation of Appeals Regulation was the cornerstone of the Reform in England. It not only allowed Cranmer to authorize an annulment of Henry’s engagement without reference to Rome, but it also declared England an independent nation and empire independent of foreign authorities in any way. Henry was proclaimed Supreme Head of the Church of England the following year in the Acts of Supremacy.
Henry had achieved his goal of breaking with Rome. His first marriage was annulled and he married Anne. The door of the Reformation was open, but Henry was still a Catholic at heart and rejected the full-blown reform. That is left to the likes of Cromwell and Cranmer. With Queen Anne’s influence, they were able to appoint reformers willing to challenge the faith. Although Henry was happy to preside over the dissolution of the monastery, which had brought him great wealth, he opposed radical change. In 1539, he asked Congress to pass Six Articles that restated Roman Catholic ideas about priests, the Mass, and the sacraments, and instituted punishment for those who challenged them. King also disagrees with the idea that the English Bible should be available. When William Tyndale, who had translated the Bible into English, was executed abroad for heresy, he cried from the stake, “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England.” Henry’s conservatism was confirmed when he appointed like-minded people as county councilors to his son after his death. In Henry’s mind, breaking with Rome was all the reforms needed.
After Henry’s death in 1547, his nine-year-old son ascended the throne. Edward was raised Protestant. Intelligent and precocious, he is a firm believer in the Protestant cause. Any changes to the country would have been delayed if his father’s original elected county council had stood, but it was changed and Edward’s uncle, Edward Seymour, took control. Major changes were made in the first year of the new king’s reign.
The church is the first target. Stained glass, images, shrines and statues were removed or destroyed due to the demand for a more distinct church style. The stone altar was replaced by the wooden altar. The priests lost their clothes but were allowed to marry. People were no longer allowed to make mass payments to declare the dead, and religious processions were banned. A new Book of Common Prayer, written in English, was introduced during Henry’s reign, following the Catholic tradition, but now a new, much more radical version has circulated.
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This is a big change for Britons because religion is at the core of their lives. Some accept the changes while others stick with Catholic tradition. Rebellions broke out in Cornwall, Devon and East Anglia, while elsewhere there was quieter resistance, with people not repairing their churches, hiding vestments and altars or attending Mass in private. Indeed, the Reformation was so unpopular that it was in danger of stalling, but Edward’s death meant it was not only stalled, but reversed.
Edward attempted to preserve his Protestant legacy by appointing his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his successor. Like Edward, Lady Jane is an ardent Protestant and prefers her Catholic sister Mary. However, the country liked to take a chance against Mary, and after reigning for less than two weeks, Lady Jane was deposed and sent to the Tower of London to await trial.
Mary, like her late mother Catherine of Aragon, was a devout Catholic. He has no love for Protestants; Their rise meant the downfall of his mother. His most fervent wish was to restore the country in the heart of Rome, for the souls of the people. Mary managed to turn back the clock, starting with her parents’ marriage being declared valid again. Thomas Cranmer was deposed as Archbishop of Canterbury and tried for heresy. He retreated several times during his captivity, but that was not enough to save him from the death of a heretic. At the last moment, he renounced his words and put his right hand, the hand that signed his words, into the fire saying that it offended God and should be burned first. Cranmer was just one of many people Mary sent to stake. Some are famous, others are just ordinary people. There were over 300 victims of Mary’s efforts to weed out Protestants in England, earning her the nickname “Bloody Mary”.
All of Mary’s efforts to reintroduce the Catholic faith were in vain. Although married to her Catholic cousin, Philip of Spain, she will die childless and her successor, her sister Elizabeth, is a Protestant. Elizabeth could not have been otherwise; His parents’ marriage was not recognized by the Catholic Church, making his claim to the throne invalid in the eyes of Catholics. During her sister’s reign, she was forced to attend Mass to avoid religious conflicts and possibly the fate of those who were executed. He also witnessed the unhappiness and chaos created during his brother’s reign when he was forced to make radical reforms to the church. Learning from the mistakes of his brothers, his approach throughout his reign was religious tolerance. He said he didn’t want to be a “window”
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