The Henrician Reformation Essay

1491 words - 6 pages

The Henrician Reformation The Henrician Reformation had much more political purpose than
religious principles and to understand this much of the motives and
changes of the reformation need to be considered. Reformation itself
suggests that the events were all clearly linked together as a part of
religious reform however, according to C. Davies "most of those
involved in bringing about the reformation, included the King himself,
had little understanding of the implications of what they were doing."
Both Cromwell and Cramner also had a great influence on the changes
within Englandbetween 1534 and 1546 and they themselves inclined the
religious decisions which revolved around the Kings principles. Those
principles were mostly political with power, money and an heir being
best at the heart of Henry.

One must remember the beginning of the reformation in England was King
Henry VIII's desire to have a male heir. When it became apparent that
Catherine could not produce another child Henry demanded a divorce and
this was rejected by the Pope because of Catherine's relation to
Charles V whom at that time was in control of Rome. From Henry's
desperate appeal for a divorce we can see that straight away Henry's
intensions are not religious but political. Due to Henry's priority to
produce a male thrown he conferred with Thomas Cramner, an academic
who told Henry that he should be allowed to divorce and that Henry
should also consult the English universities. It was then in order to
solidify his hold on power, Henry had Cramner named archbishop of
Canterbury and forced all of the clergy in England to submit to him
rather than the pope. Due to the Kings 'Great Matter' and importance
of children in political unions Henry started to look at the
beneficial aspects of breaking with Rome and becoming the head of his
own church. One of his first decisions was to dissolve the monasteries
in England which seemed to some such as Cromwell and Cranmer like a
real measure of triumph of Protestantism.

To many Protestants the monasteries were a clear reminder of the
survival of Catholic ideas. Although this is true much of the motives
behind The Dissolution of the Monasteries were not just a matter of
religion. Henry knew that there was a threat from foreign power and
was aware of the good financial income from closing the monasteries.
For example, in 1534 the Act for First Fruits and Tenths took away the
revenue of the Church which in the first year rose over £40,000. Henry
recognized that he needed a strong army against both threatening
France and Spain due to his break with Rome, Henry saw that the
financial gain from the closure of the monasteries would allow him to
build a strong military. Clearly from this example we can...

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