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The Role Of The English Monarchs In The English Reformation In The 15th And 16th Centuries.

2194 words - 9 pages

The year was 1556. Mary Tudor had assumed the throne of England three years before. A fervent Catholic, Mary sought to undo the changes of the previous monarchs, who had begun a Protestant Reformation within England. The former Archbishop of Canterbury under the late Edward VI, Thomas Cranmer, had been one of the many proponents of the Protestant Reformation in England. He had been imprisoned since Mary had assumed the throne. For three years, theologians had debated him, urging him to reject Protestantism. At the age of 67, Cranmer was tired. He longed for a peaceful life and wanted to avoid his punishment, which was to be death by fire. Thus, he signed a paper recanting his Protestant beliefs.Traditionally, someone who recanted would have their execution stayed and would be released. However, this would not be so with Thomas Cranmer. On the 21 of March, 1556, he attended the sermon that was customarily preached to a heretic before execution. "My hand has offended in writing contrary to my heart. Therefore, my hand shall be first punished, for if I may come to the fire it shall be first burned," Cranmer said (Haack). Without waiting any longer, Cranmer ran outside of the church and thrust his right hand into the flames. The rest of his body followed afterwards. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," were his last words.The Anglican Church in England is very well-known today. From coronations in Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the baptism of infants in the town of St. Ives by a nearby vicar, the Church of England affects the daily lives of its attendees in large ways. It was not always this way. There was a time when the Church of England was not the Church of England, but a church in England, led by the pope, governed by Roman Catholic doctrines.However, in the 16th century the Reformation abroad, the self-centered motives of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary, as well as the policies of Queen Elizabeth showed the progression of a merely political event to a true spiritual reformation that caused England to become a leader in Europe's Reformation. Moreover, the government of the United States of America would probably not exist in its current form were it not for the Reformation in England.The Reformation abroad affected the church in England, which set the conditions upon which the Reformation in England began. These included the doctrines of Martin Luther and his followers as well as the earnest efforts of those who would later become martyrs for their faith.Prompted by the actions of a monk from Germany, Martin Luther, who also served as a professor and priest, the Reformation was already spreading like wildfire through that country. Luther's outcry began originally as a result of the selling of indulgences to fund the building of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. But after realizing that there were many more problems within the Catholic Church, Luther began attacking other issues. According to one source: "He summoned the German...

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