There’s been a good deal of poor history in the previous thread, which spawned this one. I don’t propose to go back and address the points, unless they come up again. But the issue of the dispensation Julius gave to permit Henry to marry Catherine I will expound a little on.
The fact that Catherine was the widow of Henry’s brother established an impediment to the nuptials between Henry and Catherine, which Henry VII (for a couple of reasons) was arranging. This was what as generally known as an impediment of affinity (of which there were many kinds and degrees). Because of this impediment, Julius II had issued a dispensation (the other side of a decree of nullity, removing a canonical impediment) permitting Henry to marry Catherine in the first place. When Henry, for reasons multiple and complex, was seeking to be able to marry Anne (again for multiple reasons, history being complex like that), he had to submit his *causa, *, his case, to the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities. This was a commonplace at the time, and a detailed and evolving system was set up to deal with this sort of situation, particularly involving marriages of state. Henry’s case maintained that the prohibition on marriages between persons in his and Catherine’s situation (the Levantical prohibition) was Scriptural, God’s law, not positive Church law, and thus was beyond a Pope’s power to dispense. There are impediments like that; no one can dispense to permit a son to marry his mother for example (canonically, an impediment of consanguinity in the first degree, direct). This meant that he was saying that Julius had made an error and the dispensation exceeded his authority (was ultra vires). In addition, Church rulings on whether the Levitical prohibition was natural or Divine law had varied over the years, Hence his case was not strong, on that account. But it was as strong was was customary in such dynastic cases, and likely was even stronger than he had claimed. Without going into technical details, Wolsey had suggested that an undispensed diriment impediment of the justice of public honesty lurked in Pope Julius’ dispensation for Henry to marry Catherine. This would avoid some of the political weaknesses in claiming that Julius’ original dispensation was faulty, in the specific manner Henry’s causa asserted. Henry ignored him; his causa was as good as was ordinarily found at his level of society and he fully expected to get his decree. But an Emperor trumps a King. And there was no way that, in the circumstances, Henry was going to get that decree of nullity. And he really had tried to play the game by the rules, fully expecting to get his decree. His *causa *was as strong as was customary; certainly stronger than that of his sister Margaret, who sought one shortly before Henry submitted his papers. Henry thought her case was so weak that he scolded her. She got the decree.
As I’ve hinted, there are a myriad of details involved in this story, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve rehearsed them here. Which is fine with me. But if there are other points I might address, I might do so. I consider Hank a fascinating train wreck.