Category:HistoryPaper Title:The English Reformation: Religion, Politics, and CultureText:The Protestant Reformation played an extraordinary part in European faith,culture, and politics. Even though the Reformation began in Germany in 1517 andspread throughout Europe very quickly, England remained Catholic for more than15 years before crossing over to Protestantism. Henry VIIIs desire for a maleheir precipitated the Protestant Reformation in England in 1527. In 1509 Henry married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
She bore theirfirst and only child, Princess Mary. Henrys disappointment led to his affairwith Anne Boleyn, who was a Protestant. He tried to get out of his marriage toCatherine on several occasions. He first claimed that his marriage was invaliddue to the fact that Catherine was the widow of his brother Arthur, Prince ofWales. Henry sent Cardinal Thomas Wosley to Rome to argue his claim. PopeClement VII threw out that claim because he had given Henry special dispensationto marry Catherine.
Henry then replaced Wosley with Sir Thomas More, but thePopes ruling stayed the same. The Pope was deeply influenced by Charles V,Holy Roman Emperor, the Catholic nephew of Catherine of Aragon. He would nottolerate a divorce, and the Pope was not going to take sides against him. With no cooperation, Henry decided to use Parliament to pressure Pope ClementVII into annulling his marriage. Parliament passed laws that permitted Henry toappoint bishops in his jurisdiction. He appointed Thomas Cranmer as Archbishopof York, a friend of Anne Boleyn.
In 1532 she became pregnant and Henry wasseverely pressured into breaking with the Catholic Church. Because of thesituation, Parliament passed a law ending the popes authority over marriagein England. Therefore, Archbishop Cranmer annulled Henrys marriage toCatherine, letting him marry Anne Boleyn, who bore adaughter, Princess Elizabeth. Pope Clement VII then excommunicated Henry andthe entire nation of England. With the break in the Catholic Church, Parliamentpassed the Act of Supremacy, making Henry the head of the church in England,hence the Anglican Church.
Henry was losing interest in Anne. She never produced a male heir, so he hadher arrested and eventually beheaded for adultery and treason. Months after Annesdeath, Henry married Jane Seymour, who bore a male heir, Edward. She died inchildbirth and Henry quickly married again.
He had three more wives: Anne ofCleves, CatherineHoward, and Catherine Parr, the wife who survived him. Henry VIII died in1547, and was succeeded by his only son, Edward VI. The Anglican Church changed during the reign of Edward VI. He imposedProtestant practices his father despised. The Common Book of Prayer andAdministration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Churchwas issued by him as the official prayer book of the Anglican Church. He alsoadopted 42 articles of faith essentialfor church membership.
At the age of 16, Edward VI died of tuberculosis, andwas succeeded by his sister, Mary I. Upon ascending to the throne, Mary abolished Protestantism in England andrestored Catholicism. Anglicans who resisted restoring Catholicism wereimprisoned and executed. Many people fled Marys wrath to countries abroad,embracing Calvinism. After five years on the throne, Mary I died and wassucceeded by Elizabeth I, a strong believerin Protestantism. Elizabeth restored the Anglican Church in England and passed the Act ofUniformity, which established a common prayer book and set the basic ceremoniesof the church.
She also reformed Edward VIs 42-article creed to 39, creatingthe Thirty-nine Articles. The articles were the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanpractice and tradition. Thechurch in England, however, remained relatively close to Catholic ritual. Protestantism in England also had great affects on an international level aswell. The king of Spain, Philip II, widowed husband of Mary I, desired to returnEngland back to Catholicism. Philip constructed the Spanish Armada to invadeEngland and dethroneElizabeth I.
He allied with the Netherlands to conquer England and restoreCatholicism. However, due to bad weather and great English forces, Spain wasdefeated and its government suffered economically. The English victory overSpain secured Protestantism and stimulated nationalism and country pride. Fourteen years after the Armada, the Thirty Years War broke out in Europe. The Thirty Years War was based in Germany in regards to events in theProtestant Reformation.
Germanys urge for world power curved toward Englandand France. The Danish Phase of the war involved French and English forcesagainst German Habsburgs and Catholic Spain. English and French motive was toend Habsburg control of Holstein, Germany, making it accessible to Protestantpeoples. Much of English literature was inspired by Protestantism.
Writers of theModern Era believed Protestants tried to establish a more individualrelationship with God than that of the Catholic Church. They attacked Catholicpractices–saints, Latin Bibles, priests,and indulgences–as being external not internal. Oppositions were also madeby writers, such as Hobbes, who wrote Levianthan. His book expressedProtestantism as a contradiction to that of centuries of Catholic tradition. Healso claimed that Protestant theology undermined itself.
Most EnglishProtestants rejected his work, claiming it washeresy. The Anglican Churchs control on love and marriage practices alsoproduced forms of love poetry. Literatures role in those days was tointerpret Protestant scripture to congregations of worshipers. Catholicinterpretations ceased due to persecution in England. Conflicts between religionand literature helped spread Christian humanism.
The Protestant Reformation was inarguably one of the most controversialevents in human history. This revolution led to the end of Papal jurisdiction inWestern Europe. Protestant churches developed quickly afterwards, beginningLutheranism, Calvinism, Anabaptism, and Anglicanism. The Reformation completelyaltered medieval life andstarted the Modern Era.
The power of Catholic nobility was passed to monarchsand government officials. Remaining Protestant to this day, Englandsseparation from Catholicism gained the nation political, religious, and culturalindependence.History