Henry VIII began his reign as a loyal Catholic, accepting the Pope as head of the Church. The Pope even gave Henry the title, ‘Defender of the Faith’. However, this time of peace between Henry VIII and Rome did not last forever!
Henry had married Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of the King of Spain (an important Roman Catholic ruler). Henry and Catherine were happily married for nearly twenty years. However, to carry on his line, Henry needed a healthy male heir. Unfortunately, Catherine gave birth to six children, but only one, a girl called Mary survived. What is more, Henry had fallen in love with the beautiful Anne Boleyn.
The only way Henry could get what he wanted was to divorce Catherine of Aragon, then he could marry Anne Boleyn!
However, Henry later discovered bible passages that worried him: “And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing . . . They shall be childless. I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord you God, and a curse if ye will not obey.”
Henry got his lawyers to secretly look into whether his marriage to Catherine was legal or not. The marriage was found to be legal – but Henry still wanted a divorce. The only chance Henry had was to ask the Pope. He was the only man in the world who could give him the divorce he wanted so badly.
Henry VIII was also very annoyed at Wolsey his adviser at the time for not being able to get him a divorce so he fired him and had him beheaded but he died on the way to execution.
The Roman Catholic Church was very powerful in England. Henry hated the fact that his country should allow someone else to have so much power of them. After all, Henry was very lustful for power, and was used to getting what he wants when he wants!
If he broke with the Roman Catholic Church he would win many Protestant friends and have more power in England.
The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document