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Protestant Reformation In England Essay

1013 words - 4 pages

England was a very isolated place in Europe during the period of the Protestant Reformation. Although Protestantism was tearing apart the rest of Europe, it took on a different form in England, taking on much of the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. Because of his actions, Henry VIII laid the foundations of Protestantism in England which under the rule of Edward and Elizabeth would transform England from a Catholic to a Protestant nation.Henry's personal affairs seem to have jump started the reformation in England. Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon became an increasing complication for him. Because she had failed to breed a male heir to the throne, Henry wanted out. She was becoming too old and Henry already had her replacement in mind, Anne Boleyn. However, getting a divorce was a very complicated issue being that Henry was Roman Catholic. The church did not recognize divorces and would not allow it under any circumstances. Henry feared that if he announced a divorce, the Pope would excommunicate him, and in this period in time, this was a great fear because people believed that their soul would not reach heaven if this happened. The Pope's refusal to grant a divorce angered Henry, so he ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant him his wish instead. To remain on good terms with the King, the Archbishop allowed the divorce; against Pope's orders. In the aftermath, Henry effectively placed himself as the Head of Church in England, calling it the Church of England (Anglican), and distanced himself from the Roman Catholic Church based in Rome. Henry's decision had no major effect on the general public. Since the people felt they were being taken advantage of by the Roman Church, they put their faith in Henry and believed he would not take money from them ruthlessly like the Catholic Church had. Henry's next targets were the monasteries where monks lived. The monks were very loyal to the Pope, and Henry did not like that at all. They were also very wealthy and owned ample areas of land. This attack on the monasteries was called the Dissolution. Again, the general public did not mind this attack because Henry had allowed them to take whatever they wanted from the ruins as long as the gold and silver went to the Crown. By the time of Henry's death in 1547, England was not completely a Protestant nation. Henry's successor, his son Edward VI, would further progress what his father had already started.Edward's reign as king lasted from 1547 to 1553. He had been brought up as a Protestant which differed him from his father who was brought up Catholic. Although he was only 9 years old when he assumed power, he had two advisors who influenced him greatly and who also wanted major changes made to religion in England. Edward's first advisor was his uncle, Duke of Somerset, who guided Edward for the first half of his reign and was replaced by the Duke of Northumberland for the latter half. Both these men were strong Protestants and it...

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