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The State of the Church before the Reformation

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The State of the Church before the Reformation Before the Reformation in England, the Catholic Church held a very powerful influence England. Historians have argued whether support for the church and the spirituality of the people would have resulted in a reform without Henry's personal reason to divorce. There are strong arguments on the power of the church being abused and not preaching its religions true doctrine. In 1512, John Colet, the Dean of St. Paul's preached a sermon to a meeting of the convocation of Canterbury, an assembly to discuss the need for a reform. He blamed the state of the church on the Clergy. In 1529 a pamphlet entitled, A Supplication for the beggars, was released around London. A lawyer and a Lutheran called Simon Fish wrote this. He suggested that the King himself act on the church. At the time, King Henry wrote his "Defence of the Seven Sacraments" in defence of the Catholic Church and against Luther's beliefs. ...read more.


This was seen as preposterous and something that a few people believed was not something that the church should make the people believe. The clergy were widely despised. At the top, Archbishops and Bishops were disliked for their wealth and ostentation with Wolsey being an obvious example. He was never seen without fine clothes and expensive jewellery and had several homes - Hampden Court being his prominent residence. This was in sharp contrast to the example set by Christ in the New Testament. They were further more seen as being guilty of pluralism and therefore non-residence as they were constantly moving between their dioceses. A Bishop was also obliged to attend Parliament, as he owed the service of counsel to the king, but not many attended regularly which would obviously anger a temperamental King, which when Henry VIII came to power was something that helped him come to a decision of reformation. Another grievance towards the Bishops was sexual irregularity with many Bishops seemingly ignoring their vow of chastity by having mistresses and illegitimate children. ...read more.


Many new Churches were built and most renovated to look new. This required a lot of money, something the people were willing to do for their local church. The best selling Books were of Catholic Literature, although many people could not read, it was still bought among the intellects that would have challenged the church (unless corrupt themselves). In Conclusion, The Church was seen as corrupt and wicked, but challenged by only a few. Many of the people saw the Church as the true path to God, although this majority would not have been very educated. There is little evidence of abuse of power, and it seems that reformation would only have been possible with Henry's need to divorce. However before the reformation, his state was weakened and always in need of money, something that the church had from the lands owned in England. With the removal of the church he would have been in a much more powerful position. The Church was and known to be corrupt, however this was most likely unknown to the majority of people who were uneducated and ignorant of the world around them. ...read more.

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