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Protestant Reformation Essay

917 words - 4 pages

Exam 1, Question 1
The Protestant Reformation of the Church of England took place over a hundred year period under the Tudor monarchy. Beginning with Henry VIII desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon, the reformation exposed deep rifts within English society. The radical efforts of Edward VI and Mary turned into religious persecution. It was left to Elizabeth, the last of the Tudor dynasty, to institute the final reforms and ensure the success of Protestantism within the Church of England.
Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church for selfish reasons. Henry, frustrated by the delays and excuses he received from Pope Clement VII, declared himself the “proctor and supreme head” of the Church of England. This effectively split the Church of England from the Catholic Church. Henry could now affect an annulment to his marriage to Catharine of Aragon. Although the Church England was no longer in compliance with the Roman Catholic Church, it nevertheless, remained Roman Catholic in looks and feel. The one major change Henry implemented was the dissolution of the monasteries and convents. Since the monastic orders owed allegiance to the Pope, Henry could not tolerate them in England. Henry confiscated their land and wealth and distributed it to his supporters.
In contrast to his father, Henry, Edward VI allowed sweeping changes within the Church of England. Edward assumed the throne as a young child and therefore his advisors, strong Protestants, influenced him greatly. They were incredibly motivated to reform the doctrines and rituals of the Church of England. Priests were officially allowed to marry. Because the Latin services were exchanged for English ones, a new prayer book was published to identify specifically how the new English-language services of the church were to be conducted. The veneration of images was eradicated and the images themselves were vandalized or demolished. The prayers for the dead were abolished and bequests for such prayers were sequestered. New articles of belief were drawn up, repudiating all sacraments except baptism, communion and affirming the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone. By the time of Edward’s early death, Protestant reformers, with Edward’s blessing, had drastically changed the appearance and ceremony of the Church of England. Yet many questions of doctrine remained unresolved.
Mary, the daughter of Catharine of Aragon and Edward’s half sister, succeeded him to the throne. Devoutly catholic, Mary swiftly reversed all of Edward’s Protestant reforms. She required married priests to give up their wives, restored the Latin Mass and prevailed upon Parliament to vote to return the Church of England’s loyalty to the Pope. Many English commoners welcomed a return to familiar religion. But Protestants resisted the changes. Mary reacted by ordering the execution of many of the leading...

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