Sir Francis Walsingham Memoirs Essay

2066 words - 8 pages

By the 1580’s, an impending threat loomed over Her Glorious Majesty. Europe had been divided, not for military as such, but by religion. The catalyst for such a divide culminated in the 16th Century, where courageous reformers like Martin Luther and Jean Calvin found the practices of the Roman Catholic Church absolutely corrupt, and sought reformation of such practices. It was arguably one of the first major challenges to the omnipotent control of the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps the most significant catalyst to the Protestant Reformation was a publication from Martin Luther himself entitled “The Ninety-Five Theses,” which expounded the most damaging of exploits and subsequently led to the slow beginning of reformation. Such exploits involved acquiring considerable profit from the sale of indulgences and positions within Church hierarchy. Now Europe has been divided almost equally, with countries including France and Spain who remained devoted to Catholicism, while England turned away from this religious disposition to create the Church of England.
One of our previous Kings, Henry VII, was undoubtedly Catholic, but when Henry VIII succeeded his father’s position, he became the first of all our Kings to separate the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. The cause for this sudden shift in religious disposition was because of many events. Henry VIII saw that the Pope seemed to be a participant in secular matters, and the Italians had only designated one cardinal out of fifty to England, who had no chance of becoming Pope. Henry VIII could not tolerate the fact that many major religious matters in England were settled by the Italians. This was the first step in England’s shift towards Protestantism. Consecutively, his successor, Edward VI, happened to take great interest in religious matters and transformed the Church of England into a mostly Protestant Church. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of Edward VI’s most loyal men and was vital in introducing several religious reforms that continued the slow shift from Catholicism to Protestantism. Edward VI became fatally ill by 1553, and in fear of his religious differences with his future successor, Mary I, attempted to remove her from all possible candidates for his position. His efforts were in vain, and Mary I succeeded him after his death. Mary I was responsible for restoring Catholicism after the short reign of Protestantism. She had Thomas Cranmer arrested, amongst many other men, and abolished the laws that had been put in place by Edward VI. After her untimely death, our Glorious Elizabeth I succeeded in 1558. Foreseeing an uprising from those unsettled Catholics, she strove to oversee a suitable Protestant reformation that wouldn’t enrage the Catholics and could also meet the demands of our people. Thus England was now Protestant, but retained many Catholic symbols.
Such religious tension acted as a catalyst for many potential high impact events. One previous...

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