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Henry VIII's desire for a divorce was the sole cause of the English reformation. Discuss the validity of this statement

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Introduction

Henry VIII's desire for a divorce was the sole cause of the English reformation. Discuss the validity of this statement The English reformation is widely discussed amongst historians; it was a process that saw the removal of the longstanding Papal influence and the beginnings of a new English Church. Although Henry's divorce with Catherine of Aragon played a significant part in provoking a reformation there were other factors that lead to the creation of the English Church. Henry's desire for a nation free of foreign religious intervention and total sovereign independence combined with a yearning of church wealth contributed significantly to the break with Rome. After many years of marriage Henry's wife, Catherine of Aragon had failed to produce a male heir to the Tudor dynasty. Henry believed that God was punishing him as he was living in sin. Henry was a pious monarch as well as being an accomplished biblical scholar; he personally believed he was going against the teachings of the bible. 'If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an impurity: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.' ...read more.

Middle

Firstly Henry's divorce and secondly Church corruption. During the first session two bills were processed against the standing grievance of probates of wills and mortuary payments, here they brought up cases of clear clerical misconduct, the Richard Hunne case was a particular strong piece of propaganda. By the eighth session of parliament in 1339 Henry had not only stopped annates from being sent to Rome but he had succeeded in becoming 'Supreme Head of the English Church.' Papal influence was completely removed and clerical money began to filter through Henry. These benefits aside, Henry, as supreme head was able to go to Canterbury and obtain a divorce; Ann was crowned Queen on the 1st June 1533. It is undoubtedly clear that the divorce played a significant role in bringing about the reformation of the Church. To obtain a divorce it was necessary for Cromwell to create laws to limit Papal power in England and this inevitably lead to a break with Rome and the creation of a new English Church. The divorce was probably the main cause for the Reformation yet without other factors the reformation would have never occurred. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly the King would be more powerful as he would be able to run the country independently free of foreign intervention. Furthermore the payments of annates to Rome were no longer necessary and this money could be filtered through the crown. It was evident that Henry longed for church wealth as he decided to dissolve both the lesser and greater monasteries and dissolve much of their wealth. The destruction of foreign influence upon Henry's lands was clearly beneficial. Henry himself believed that the same person should be both the temporal and religious leader. For example he ordered Cramner, Archbishop of Canterbury to collect historical evidence to support such views. The evidence had been collected by 1530 and was named 'Collectenea satis copiosa'. This shows that even before Henry wished to break with Rome he believed that he should be the sole, independent ruler of England. It is clear that although Henry's desire for a divorce was probably the main cause of the reformation in England there were other factors that significantly contributed to a state free of foreign intervention. For example the rise in anticlericalism and Henry's desire for further power and wealth both allowed the divorce proceedings to progress into a full blown attack on the Papacy. Becky Grevitt ...read more.

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