My first question - Why did the Church of England break from the RCC?

If i broke any of the rules for first time posters i am SORRY… =(

I just wanted to know if you could give me a little insight as to why the church in England broke off and became the Anglican church. Now I know the basic story of Henry VIII wanting to get a divorce, but if possble I would like some other information, the sociopolitical aspects that wer going on at that time, etc.

One more thing, The Anglican church is thought to be the CLOSEST to Catholicism in the Protestant realm (hence some dont consider Anglicanism all that protestant),to Roman Catholics: What are your thought on the Anglican Communion and can an Anglican in your opinion have the same relationship with God that a Roman Catholic can?

Be gentle, im new here =)

Not to worry.

Henry was after a decree of nullity, not a divorce. Such a thing was common place at the time, and in the ruling levels of society, particularly, to permit the making and breaking of dynastic marriages, while simultaneously allowing the Church to maintain control of marriage as a sacrament. There was an extensive system of church courts, and relevant law and precedent, to handle such matters.

Henry had a couple of reasons to seek the decree, relating, in the first place (chronologically), to his need for a legitimate male heir, which his wife Catherine was unable to give him (his grasp on the throne, as only the second Tudor, was shaky). And, in time, he developed another reason to want to have his marriage declared null; Anne Boleyn. The story of the quest for this decree of nullity is long and technically complicated (involves impediments, dispensations, and other things).

Henry’s case, as he presented it, was not as strong as it theoretically could have been (he ignored the strongest impediment), but it was certainly as strong as was common to find in those days, and he was fully justified in expecting that he would get his decree, as his sister Margaret (for example) had gotten hers, on flimsier ground, just as Henry was filing his case. And he likely would have, if Catherine had not happened to have been the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles and the Pope, Clement, had not been both vacillating, and under Charles’ control, particularly after the battle of Pavia, and the sacking of Rome. End result: Henry has no chance of getting his decree. Politics ruled (as was always the case). And Henry made a political reply; he separated the Church in England from the Pope’s authority.

This step, in itself, or something like it, would likely have occurred, even without Henry, eventually. For roughly 300 years, there had been a trend, reflected in a large number of Parliamentary and Royal acts and decrees, all aimed at increasing the Royal authority over the Church, and decreasing that of any agency (Rome, that is) outside the country over it. Henry’s case was the occasion for a more dramatic assertion of this position, but it would have come, eventually, anyway; a reflection of increasing nationalism.

Neither Henry or Clement really thought of the break as permanent, originally, but that’s how it worked out.

This is the simple version.

I leave your last question to those you directed it too.


to Roman Catholics: What are your thought on the Anglican Communion

Jesus Christ founded one Church. The Church that Christ established subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the Successor of Saint Peter and the Bishops united with him. The Catholic Church is the biblical Church founded by Christ and governed by the Apostles. It alone has been the guardian of the truth given by Christ and his Apostles to the world. The Catholic Church alone professes the complete fullness of truth that is necessary for salvation.

Elements of truth and sanctification exist outside of the visible structures of the Catholic Church The Anglican Communion, being close to the Catholic Church, contains many elements of truth but it also contains many errors and incorrect beliefs. Although the Anglican Communion has defects, it still has an important role to play in the plan of salvation. However, the Catholic religion is the religion that is most pleasing to God. The Successor of Peter has possession of the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and he is the guardian of those creeds and sacraments which provide the surest means of salvation.

The Pope and the Bishops united with him are the successors of the Apostles. Both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches have valid Apostolic Succession, meaning that their Bishops and priests can trace an unbroken lineage back to the twelve Apostles of Christ. Only those communities which have valid Apostolic Succession are given the dignity of being called Churches. Christian denominations without Apostolic Succession are not Churches, they are Ecclesial Communities.

The Church of England does not have Apostolic Succession. This was lost centuries ago when the Edwardine Ordinal was adopted. Since that time, many within the Church of England attempted to re-gain Apostolic Succession but this has failed. The ordination of female Bishops and priests has effectively destroyed any remaining Apostolic Succession within the Church of England. Therefore, the Church of England does not have a valid priesthood or a valid Eucharist. It has sadly drifted further and further away from the Church of Christ.

Per your last paragraph, thus saith Apostolicae Curae. This is certainly what any RC should affirm, and, as to the females in miters, any orthodox Anglican would agree with you. As to the issue of Anglican orders generally, Anglicans have a different view of the matter. So to speak. But the OP did ask for an RC view, as I noted. Fair enough.


I’ll let others deal with the rest of your question. I want to answer this part.

As to Anglicans being closest to Rome, I am not so sure as I used to be. In many ways there are, but you are seeing a slight pull from orthodoxy in some areas. It is nowhere close to what some Episcopalians have done, but it is starting.

From a Catholic view, an Anglican can be every bit as good a Christian as a Catholic can. There is no reason that they cannot. However, a Catholic would say that an Anglican cannot have the same relationship because the Catholic Church holds that the Anglican Church has invalid orders. Because of that, the Anglican Church does not have valid sacraments. THis does not mean that there are not holy Anglicans or that Anglicans cannot make it to heaven. IT means that they are lacking something that the Catholic Church has.

the Anglican Church does not have valid sacraments.

This is true, but we must remember that the Anglican Baptism is valid.

anglicans/episcopalians are unitarians playing catholic.

Some are, yes; some are more odd than that. But generalizations about Anglicans, generally, are incorrect.

Generally, that is.


*Anglicanus Catholicus *

True, and I am sorry that I did not mention that.

The books Characters of the Reformation and How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc are excellent reading for an in-depth answer to your question.

In addition to what GKC has outlined above regarding his spat with the Pope over a decree of nullity, it is worth mentioning that Henry depleted the royal treasury which his miserly father (Henry VII) had amassed. Henry spent. He owed his barons and he needed to appease them. The nobles were growing strong in England. After evering from Rome, confiscating the vast lands and wealth of the religious orders and churches was a quick way to replentish the treasury and give land to the nobles. However, giving this land, money, and power to the nobles cemented the break with Rome especially when Henry died and left his sickly children on the throne in succession.

Henry spent like a drunken sailor, mainly on trying to run with the big dogs, and have wars with France. It was a common trait of the times; his father’s parsimony was rarer (and is one reason why Catherine wasn’t sent back to Ferdinand and Isabella, after Arthur’s death. Miserly Henry VII didn’t want to return her dowry).

Belloc is always fun reading. But (and I say this has one who has collected Belloc for around 45 years, accumulating roughly 80 of his titles) if you read only Belloc, you only get Belloc’s view of history, which is inadequate. That being said, vols III and IV of his HISTORY OF ENGLAND cover the Tudors, and are worth reading, too. But for Henry, read J. J. Scarisbrick’s HENRY VIII. Nobody does it better.


Henry spent like a drunken sailor, mainly on trying to run with the big dogs, and have wars with France. It was a common trait of the times; his father’s parsimony was rarer (and is one reason why Catherine wasn’t sent back to Ferdinand and Isabella, after Arthur’s death. Miserly Henry VII didn’t want to return her dowry).

Every break within the Mystical Body of Christ was caused by sin, of some kind or another. In this instance, it was the sinful desires of Henry VIII which caused the Church in England to separate itself from the Supreme Pontiff. The Church in England did not separate with Rome for doctrinal reasons. The early Church of England remained Catholic in belief and practice. It only became protestantized after the death of Henry VIII.

The modern Anglican Communion is vastly different from the infant Church of England. While the early Church of England was effectively Catholic, the modern Anglican Communion accepts many different interpretations of Christianity under its banner. It is impossible to make generalisations about Anglicanism because it contains many different strands of beliefs which are all accepted and endorsed. It is impossible to speak for all Anglicans, because all Anglicans are different.

In general, I agree with this, with exceptions. Though not all Anglicans are as inclusive as you suggest.


posterus traditus Anglicanus

In general, I agree with this, with exceptions.

Do you agree that the Church of England gradually departed from the faith of the Apostles? I believe that the Church of England once had the Apostolic Faith, but lost this over time because they separated themselves from the Successor of Peter. Papal Infallability prevents the Successor of Peter from erring in matters of faith and morals. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Church of England do not have this infallabiliy. This is why the Church of England has, to a certain extent, departed from the Apostolic faith

I doubt that Henry VIII intended for his Church to adopt the protestant faith. Despite his shortcomings, this man always believed in the Catholic faith. His sins alone kept him from being reunited to the Bishop of Rome.

Sins and politics. Never forget politics. Everyone’s sins and politics.

I agree that the CoE has strayed far, corporately.

It was not separation from the See of Rome that caused the judgment rendered in Apostolica Curae (a long sad tale of politics, personalities and theology, that). Rather, it was, as you know, the issue of the particular form of the rite of consecration/ordination, in the Ordinal, combined with the intent of those who used it, esp. in the case of Archbishop Parker, in 1559.

Generally, what you say of Henry is correct. He never heard a Mass in the vernacular in his life, and was (the issue of Papal authority aside) as orthodox as the average, in the day. Toward the end of his life, he drifted a little toward the reformed side, for both political purposes, and under the influence of his last wife. But, generally, you are correct.


Why did HVIII get married behind the scenes before his decree was even decided?

To me, the demon of Lust caused the split.

No, not in the main. Lust was a late comer, after the dynasty problem.

The marriage occurred when it did because La Boleyn, with her eyes on the prize, after fending off Hank’s hormones for years, had finally succumbed in Oct 1532, after Henry was finally convinced that Rome was not going his way. By Jan 1533, her pregnancy was confirmed. Henry already had one natural child (Fitzroy), he needed an unquestionably legitimate heir for the problem he had been worrying about for more than 3 years before he took up with Anne. He was out of time, and the marriage probably occurred around 25 Jan. Ideally, Henry would have waited until Cranmer was ordained Archbishop of Canterbury, but it was not to be.


Because Anne Boleyn was pregnant by that time.

The Church of England was established by King Henry VIII but this infant Church did not really stray from the old faith, that is, from the teachings of the Catholic Church. The English people were not protestant, they were Catholics who were forced to accept the Church of England. They were forbidden to attend the Catholic Mass and practice the old religion. Despite the actions of King Henry, the general public remained Catholic. They were protestant in name only.

After the death of King Henry, why didn’t the Church of England revert back into the Catholic Church in England? Why did the Church of England remain protestant? It suprises me that the England did not want to return to the Catholic faith which it had professed for centuries.

Well said as the official Roman Catholic reponse. Of course Anglicans and Episcopalians don’t agree with Rome’s opinion on the matter in any respect. Your opinion is yours, and ours is ours as it were.

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