Anne Boleyn died a Catholic... but why is there so much confusion about her otherwise?

I was surprised to find out that A. Boleyn died a Catholic, even though she was not a practicing Catholic before her condemnation, at least as far as anyone knows… But no one seems to know much about her so I can’t take that for granted either. I find myself wondering if she was becoming more Catholic… and that’s possibly why or partly why the king had her executed?

This one book i read seems to only offer more and more confusion… TERRIBLE book. And i am not saying that just cuz the writer of the bk seems to be very anti-Catholic. That would be bad enough but she is a terrible writer… one of those writers who seems to assume her readers know this person or that person that she refers to and a lot of other things. She uses words not in common use today… and never explains what those words mean. Then she goes into MINUTE, irritating details about things most of us coud not care less about!!! Its a hard bk to read & i skipped thro most of it trying to find important info… She also tends to put into 25 words what could easily be put into 10… but anyhow…

What’s confusing is… a LOT of stuff.

Yrs ago i saw this TV documentary about AB that claimed she was given the chance to either save her life and live in obscurity until death with her daughter… or allow herself to be be-headed so that her daughter could some day be queen. The book i read The *Lady in the Tower * has a totally different version… (No wonder i dont watch TV… no wonder i don’t normally read books by anti-Catholic writers… :mad::banghead:)

Then, most confusing of all… on p. 326 it says this:

'[AB] had acted in good faith according to her conscience, and lived and died in the Church ???:confused:] that had declared her mariage valid ???:confused:], all of which rendered her blameelss and her daughter legitimate."

I wanted to throw this worthless book against the wall. The Church did NOT validate her marriage to Henry VIII!!!

Plus the author contradicts herself because she claims earlier in the bk that AB had NOT been living by the Catholic faith… that she had become friendly with the German Lutherans…

I think there is a good case for the theory that AB was becoming too interested in returning to the RCC and that may have been a BIG part of why the king had her executed…

Anyhow, this book is NUTS…

so I’ll try to find another one… and maybe some of you have more reliable info… (?) :ouch::hypno:

I need to bone up on my AB history, but I was under the impression she was beheaded because she couldn’t bare any sons. Additionally, there was the rumor about her and her brother (not sure how true that was). Many were executed or thrown in the tower at the time of the conspiracy that HVIII cooked up. At least, from what I can remember from history. Very interesting that she may have been reverting back, though.

Maybe the Church that the author was speaking of was in reference to the Church of England, because I’m pretty sure that the Catholic Church did not declare their marriage valid. The only church that I’m aware of that did was the Church of England. To us, the Church means Catholic, but maybe to the author (who is possibly British) it is CoE.

The key there is “the church that had declared her marriage valid”. That would not be the Catholic Church. I would like to hope she made her peace with the Catholic Church before she died, but she had too much at stake from a worldly point of view for her to become “more and more Catholic” as the years passed.

I recommend Hilaire Belloc’s Characters of the Reformation, published by TAN Books (you can order it on their website). It focuses mainly on the Reformation in England, and devotes a chapter to each major player, including Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. It is a fascinating read from cover to cover. Oh, and Belloc was Catholic.

According to “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” Thomas Cromwell the looter of the English monasteries under Goode King Henry the eighth of that naeme (archaic spelling is intentional to add to the sarcasm) is quoted before he is executed for treason as saying " he lives and dies in the Catholick (sic) faith." He was a round headed Puritan through and through. Anne’s marriage was certified by Catholic bishops who certified parliament’s act of succession and in so doing excommunicated themselves. St John Fisher refused and was executed for treason along with St Thomas More… King Henry promised his father on his deathbed he’d produce a male heir. Henry produced only two traceable children both females Mary Queen of Scots through Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s legitamate wife and Elizabeth the so-called “virgin queen” through I beleive Jayne Seymore. Henry had long since developed the “Spaniard’s disease” ,syphilus which caused most of his spawn to either be unfurtile or poorly formed causing his wives to not come to term even when he did manage to get them pregnant. Spaniard’s disease being a result of his constant “wenching” in some of England’s most questionable brothels. Henry did develop a rather creative solution to divorce by declaring his wives treasonous for not giving him a male heir snd then executing them. Only 2 managed to escape that fate ,Catherine of Aragon who he had locked in a tower and kept in penury because she refused to accept the divorce and Anne of Cleves the so-called ravishing beauty falsely painted by the Dutch painter Holbein (who obviously needed glasses :D) who the people refered to as "the goggle-eyed whore!."He sent her packing back to Germany for refusing to consummate the marriage anfd for breach of contracy for not being the ravishing beauty she was purported to be, Has this told you more than you wanted to know? I typed a friends History Thesis on this subject complete with Goode King Henry’s creative spelling. He actually was known to spell the same word differently twice in the same sentence!

I have noticed that the Episcopalians recite the Apostle’s Creed, including the line, “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” (small “c” on Catholic), even though they are not Catholic. I do not know what they think they mean by “catholic,” but a professed Anglican/Episcopalian is clearly not Catholic with a big “C” until he forswears Anglicanism/Episcopalianism.

Which of course is not the same as having her marriage certified by the Catholic Church. It wasn’t.

Incidentally, Elizabeth was the daughter of Ann Boleyn. Jane Seymour was the mother of Edward VI.

Yes, while I was trying to check Elizabeth I’s parentage and found the correct answer the thread disappeared it was Anne Boleyn. Parliament was the one that certified Anne’s marriage and provided a decree of divorce called the Decree of Sucession whereby Henry the former Defensor Fidei (defender of the faith) because of his book on the sacrements (ghost written by Sir Thomas More wherin he declared the Pope to be the supreme head of the church) a title he now usurped for himself.

Your friend got a few facts wrong (or you had trouble remembering them. Not surprising since it is a rather involved history. Happens to be my speciality, I could REALLY tell you much more than you ever wanted to know about the Tudors!

Scotty, there are so many mistakes in this post that I don’t know where to begin.

Firstly Henry had THREE legitimate children - Mary by Catherine of Aragon, Elizabeth by Anne Boleyn (by the way it was Anne Boleyn, not Anne of Cleves, who was the ‘goggle-eyed whore’, Anne of Cleves was the ‘Flanders mare’ - don’t know which is more insulting!) and Edward, who took the throne as Edward VI after Henry’s death, by Jane Seymour.

He did NOT lock Catherine of Aragon in a tower, rather provided her with large houses and numerous servants, although it is true he kept her comparatively poor otherwise.

Henry may or may not have had syphilis, and certainly had numerous mistresses as well as being much-married, but he certainly didn’t visit brothels - he didn’t need to, there were plenty of women in his very own palaces who were willing to sleep with him whenever he wanted.

As for Anne of Cleves - there is no evidence at all that she was actually ugly, beyond Henry’s own disparagement of her. Or that she looked any different to her portrait - certainly Holbein who painted it never got into any trouble, and if he HAD painted her falsely Henry would’ve had his head along with that of Cromwell who arranged the marriage.

Regardless, it is true that Henry wasn’t sexually attracted to her. Partly, simply, because she disliked him too and may not have been smart enough to hide the fact, not being as good an actress as other of his women. Partly, even more simply, because he was known to suffer occasionally from impotence. Anne Boleyn also said that he was impotent on occasion, so the mere fact that he couldn’t consummate the marriage to Anne of Cleves is no reason to believe she was unattractive.

He never claimed that she was unwilling to consummate the marriage, rather that he himself was incapable of doing so. Again, he had been impotent before, so it’s no mark against Anne of Cleves that this was the case.

If your friend said half of what you claim in his or her history thesis then it must be terribly inaccurate.

Distracted…which book are you reading and whom is the author?

I think Anne was executed on charges of treason and witchcraft. The treason being she slept with other men. Among the three charged with being her paramours was her brother, George. Believe his wife, Lady Rockfort swore to it as well as others in the household.

I believe the author was refering to the Church of England.

Thanks to everyone who posted before me with corrections. Kept me from having a small meltdown at the DISinformation contained in the thread! I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone who mixed up “Bloody” Mary, with Mary Queen of Scots before. Thanks for the laugh!

Suggested movies: Anne of a Thousand Days, Man for All Seasons


I thought THE TUDORS on Showtime was good. Also there are two films out re. Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. One stars Scarlett Johansen and the other is lesser known. Amazing how women were treated.

Also curious as to why Catherine was never made a saint.

Thanks for making those corrections. I’m a Tudor history dork (although no expert) and was about to also correct the well-meaning inaccuracies.

that thought crossed my mind… but this just fruther proves what a terrible writer this person is (Weir)… She never distinguishes … throughout the bk… which Church… or “church” she is referring to…

I guess she is not totally anticatholic cuz she dedicated the bk to a Father something… Or do the church of eng ministers go by that name also??

one of the most interesting parts of the bk was at the end… the appendix where she talks about people who claim to have seen AB’s ghost… Some claimed to see it in places where she never went in life… so it was prob some other ghost… but interesting … have always wondered about ghosts… I mean, i thought souls went to heaven, hell or Purg… only… :confused:

thanks… i believe i will do that… (i think the whole world knows he’s Catholic…) :slight_smile:

TAN books are pretty… uh…“extreme” sometimes, though, dont you think? i read this one book by TAN about the Eucharist… and they acted like all those who don’t adore Jesus There… are antiChrists… when a lot of the time its igrnorance…

i was raised Catholic yet i didn’t know about spendi ng time w/ Him there until WAY late in life… Well, it always seems late when you find out you have been missing out on the greatest secret known to men… which should NOT be so secret… :frowning:

Catherine was never made a saint:confused::confused:

Wier was the author…

her brother’s wife didn’t love her husband, (AB’s brother) cuz he was promiscuous… so she may have had a motive…

its interesting that none of the ladies who waited on the Queen were ever charged with allowing her to have those lovers… NOT ONE… How could she have slept with all those guys without their help?? Katherine, H’s 5th wife… did get help, if i recall (tho t he book doesn’t go into much detail on her)… and tht woman who helped her… and strangely, i think it was Lady Rochford… DID get be- headed for helping… so why didnt that happen w/ AB?

Oh, hon, you’re reading Alison Weir – She’s. . .um. … well, let’s just say that although she is considered a historian by some, she writes more what we would call ‘historical fiction’ ( though she has done some research there). More of the ‘history with conversation’ as in, she will write authentic dialogue from a real event and then ‘mix in’ what she thinks people might have said, or thought, about it. That mix. . .the ‘actual words’ mixed in with ‘imagined conversation’ make a MESS.

Of course, a lot of the books about Anne (even the straight up fiction by say Norah Lofts The Concubine or Jean Plaidy’s historical series) are that kind of jumped up mix. It is rare to find decent scholarly work and because so much of this stuff is pumped out of the BBC (and thus onto US Public TV) it’s what most people think they ‘know’ about Tudor history.

And even going back further into the 19th century you’re not going to get much better.

I would recommend for a balanced portrait reading (for the more popular but also more balanced view) Lady Antonia Fraser’s portrait of Anne, as well as Professor Eric Ives recent work. I also found David Starkey’s Six Wives (don’t mix it up with Alison Weir’s Six Wives of Henry VIII) to be well-written and well-balanced.

And avoid Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl, etc.) like the plague! Her works are incredibly inaccurate and there is no excuse for them to be so. Very slipshod work.

thanks… i hope i can find some of those at the library?

i get the feeling Ms Weir doesn’t know the 1st thing about Catholicism…

and another thing: she mentioned other writers on AB… sayng that there was either a protestant or a Catholic bias…

as if NON religious people dont EVER have a bias!!!

i think people think that if you are NO religion you are open-minded and not biased… Why they think that is beyond me…

and her bias shows in the book… she seems to be biased against religion period… but whateer… i dont plan on reading anymore of her books… I had to keep re-reading many paragrphs in the book… saying HUH??? all the time… geeze, never realized READING could be so much WORK!!! Even after re-reading the paragrpahs, tho… i often could not figure wht the he-- she was trying to say… :banghead:

no time to read all of your post… but Elizabeth, objectively speaking was NOT legitimate.

jjust cuz Henry VIII made himself pope and changed the laws of the Church (supposedly) does’t mean that really happend … other than in his mind…

he was just another Luther… couldn’t stand to be subject to Christ and His Church… so he started another one… :rolleyes:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit