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How far was England a Catholic Country by the end of Henry VIII's reign in 1547

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Introduction

How far was England a Catholic Country by the end of Henry VIII's reign in 1547? Explain your answer. It is argued by some historians that the changes enforced by Henry VIII with respect to the Break with Rome suggest that England was becoming a Protestant Country. However, it is also argued that these changes were not made for religious reasons, and the strong Catholic measures put into place in the 1540s shows that England was still catholic by 1547. With both arguments taken into account, it would appear that a clearly defined religious position cannot be established. Instead perhaps, a state of "National Catholicism" with some Protestant elements mixed in would be a more accurate description. On the Protestant side of the argument, it is suggested that the measures such as the Act in Restraint of Appeals in 1533, and the Act for the Submission of the Clergy, the Succession Act, and the Treason Act would suggest that England was certainly moving away from the Catholic Church. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, the argument for the view that England was Catholic in 1547 begins with the suggestion that the initial changes made during the Break with Rome were made for reasons other than religion. Protestantism was never mentioned, and instead it is argued that a state of "National Catholicism" was created. G.R. Elton suggests that the reformation was an "Act of State", which would suggest that religious position of England never actually changed from that of Catholicism. Following the Pilgrimage of Grace which can be seen as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry became much more conservative in his actions. This Bishop's Book of 1537 included the additional four sacraments that had been omitted from the Ten Articles, showing that England may well have been moving back into a more strictly Catholic position. The Act of Six Articles was also very conservative, with the Catholic ideas of Transubstantiation and Clerical Celibacy being enforced. ...read more.

Conclusion

Political actions such as these may well have covered Henry's true feelings for large parts of his reign in an attempt to appease all parties that could may well pose a problem to him of his successors. On balance, it would appear that the final description of England's position in 1547 holds the most strength. With this taken into account, it is therefore reasonable to conclude that the points observed when either arguing for Protestantism or Catholicism are not incorrect, but need to be combined to fain a full reflection. It was inevitable that with individuals such as Cranmer and Cromwell in power some Protestant ideas would be incorporated into the Church and State, but Henry's underlying Catholic beliefs kept these in check and ensured that the doctrine remained predominantly strongly Catholic until 1547. Although England cannot be classified as Catholic due to the lack of Papal Power, England can be seen as following largely Catholic beliefs for most of Henry's reign and especially at the time of his death in 1547. ...read more.

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