The Small Amount Of Opposition To The Henrician Reformation

2110 words - 8 pages

The Small Amount of Opposition to the Henrician Reformation

The Henrician reformation brought many changes to the religious and
secular ways of life in England. It stripped the nation of many of its
traditional Catholic ways and forced new and unheard of customs into
its religious life. The monasteries were dissolved deceitfully and
effectively and a once cherished tradition was brought to an abrupt
end. Henry agreed to have an English Bible in his churches, something
that had previously been considered an act of heresy. Other Catholic
traditions such as holy relics and the belief in purgatory were
discouraged in the newly revised faith. Cromwell initiated these
changes to the faith, but Henry's Catholic faith ensured these changes
were not too radical and chantries were still allowed to pray for
souls in purgatory. Although Henry remained a Catholic, the end of
papal power was signified in his becoming the head of the Church of
England. However, with such movements that shook the foundations of
England's faith, why was there so little opposition to the Henrician
reformation?

Perhaps on of the greatest tactics employed by the crown to prevent
opposition was provoking fear amongst those who were likely to oppose
the reformation. Henry had to start from the top, and therefore
started by controlling parliament. A few bishops that had once made up
a considerable part of parliament ( such as Bishop Fisher) were told
to no longer attend, and Henry occasionally attended parliament,
watching them as they voted, for example Henry attended debates in the
Lords on 3 occasions and in 1532 he attended parliament for the
passing of the 'Bill of Annates'. This form of intimation was certain
to have had an element of control over the behavior of the remaining
members of parliament.

Cromwell was a mastermind in creating considerable pressure in
Parliament to get the Acts passed. One such example was the passing of
the 'Act for the establishment of the King's succession' in 1534. This
was an act drawn up by Cromwell with the intention of bringing all
opposition out into the open. Although the document was written by
Cromwell, it was made to appear to have been drawn up by parliament. "We
your said most humble and obedient subjects". Cromwell,
however,included an oath in this act; if anyone refused to take the
oath, they were put to death under the law of treason. "And if any
persons refuse that to do…taken and accepted for offender in
misprision of high treason" (From the Act of Succession 1534) He also
passed a law of treason in 1534, and it meant that men could die for
simply uttering words against Henry or his marriage to Anne Boleyn. No
plotting or such action was needed for the persecution of being hung,
drawn and quartered. This law installed immense fear throughout the
nation and...

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