Henry VIII and the Anglican Church

It is often agreed by historians that predominate reason for Henry VIII’s formation of the Church of England was the Pope’s refusal to grant Henry an annulment for his marriage to Catherine, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. Of course, Henry later had Anne beheaded so that he could again remarry.

For me, this makes the whole Anglican/ Episcopalian church seem slightly hypocritical, being created for political reasons. What is your opinion on the actions of Henry and what reasons do you give to support the legitimacy of your church?

The refusal to grant Henry an annulment was equally for political reasons.

I am opposed to a man beheading his wife so that he can marry another.

I guess about the same as I do about the Great Schism being started by an arbitrary addition of the Filioque…wish it didn’t happen, but it is what it is.

How about you?

After the way she had Catherine of Aragón treated, Anne Boleyn got what she deserved, for the wrong reason, but she still deserved it.

Chopping off the head of your wife seems a bit harsh to me.

In my mind no one deserves to be beheaded.

What was the reason that the annulment of Henry’s marriage not granted? Was the marriage sacramentally performed and therefore valid, or was Henry being forced to marry Catherine due to political reason without either spouse’s consent?

Then, the power of a monarch was absolute. Beheading was not uncommon and sometimes due to political objective or punishment for crime. Today it seems very cruel but we have to see it from the perspective of the said era.

The more pertinent question was what crime did Catherine committed which led to her being beheaded?

And how did you determine that politics was a determining factor? You do know that the Church have valid sacramental reasons not to grant the annulment. If history is correct, Henry VIII was validly married for many many 23? years despite the lack of a male heir. Which means the marriage was properly consummated. Since the marriage is sacramentally valid and an annulment is not possible, how did you arrive that politics was an equal cause of the refusal of the annulment? Both were Catholics.

If a man lusted after another woman, should an annulment be automatically given by your church when they have been married for decades? And if not given, will you blame your church for political reasons as well?

Two reasons really.
Theologically Henry had to get a Papal dispensation to marry Catherine in the first place. As such, Henry’s attempt to say the marriage was invalid was not accepted.

Politically, Charles V who was the Holy Roman Emperor, and protector of Pope Clement VII, was also Catherine of Aragons’ nephew. He wasn’t going to allow the shame of the annulment occur to his aunt. Since he was Pope Clements’ protector, the Pope wouldn’t go with it either. Turns out Henry got what he wanted anyway.

Catherine was not beheaded. She died a natural death in 1536. Perhaps you are thinking of Anne Boleyn, who WAS beheaded later in that same year.

How did you determine that the refusal was equally politically motivated? After been married for decades and now lusting after another woman, should the Church grant him annulment ? The Church gave him the honour of Defender of the Faith previously.

Would your church grant that annulment and if so, for what reason would your church grant it? Wouldn’t your Church recognised such a marriage as sacramentally valid? And would your Church give in in such a situation.


Was this the politics that you allude to?

I thought he had a second wife who was beheaded? Catherine Howard? No, Catherine of Aragon was not beheaded.

I understand beheadings from a historical perspective. They were done more humanely than what we see happening now. Very barbaric the graphic videos made today. France had the guillotine. I also look at King Henry VIII’s predicament from the perspective of the era.
A Man for All Seasons is a great movie to watch.

The second part, politically. If it is due to anything other than the religious basis for annulment, then it was an abuse of pastoral power and therefore not right. Was there any recorded evidence that Pope Clement’s denial of the annulment was due to this, like he said so, or was it merely circumstantial, an assumption because of x and y and therefore it follows must be z?

Now the theological reason, one which matters actually. Regardless of how the marriage was contracted, the basis for annulment must be clearly spelt out - like there was no marriage in the first place for reasons like no consent, being forced, the couple or either one did not know what they were doing. Being not sacramental may not necessarily make the marriage illicit as the Church does recognize marriage outside of it. I am only generalizing though as there are unique circumstances for every marriage.

The question really which is still not decisively answered, what was the official reason why the petition for the annulment was rejected?

God bless.


:wink: :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

I don’t think it is very humane to chop off someone’s head.

I don’t either just as I don’t think it is humane to crucify someone.

Even in these two short paragraphs there is much scope for disagreement, as so often in matters historical. But to address simply the question in your last sentence, if I can be so presumptuous as to attempt to speak for the whole motleydom of Anglicanism, I doubt if most Anglicans are particularly approving of Henry — he was a tough man doing a tough job in tough times, and although in many ways brilliant, I don’t think you’d want to get too close to him. But they will not, I think, doubt the legitimacies of their churches on those grounds, because the Church of England does not believe it was formed by Henry, but was the church present in England since the early centuries AD.

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