Henry Viii's Desire For A Divorce As The Sole Cause Of The English Reformation

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Henry VIII’s Desire for a Divorce as the Sole Cause of the English Reformation

The English reformation is widely discussed amongst historians; it was a process that saw the removal of the longstanding Papal influence and
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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.

For example it was Catherine who refused to divorce Henry. She was particularly pious and would not freely walk away from her marriage. This in turn led to a long battle that could have been avoided if either Catherine had given birth to a male heir or if she agreed to leave without a struggle. Catherine also had widespread support especially from her home country, Spain, and several leading powers
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Papal legates such as Carpeggio failed to conclude that a divorce was necessary. This Papal decision was possibly based on the belief that Henry’s lust for Anne Boleyn would soon wear out.

The rise in anticlericalism also contributed to the Reformation as it was used as a factor to bully the Church. The parliamentary sessions was also made up of people who were critical of the clerical abuses. They were given free will to discuss clerical shortcomings and highlighted previous examples of clear misconduct and foul practise. Church courts were also slandered and this in turn appealed to the lawyers in the secular courts who were losing money.

It was these anticlerical feelings within parliament that allowed bills pass through. Without the prevalent anticlerical feelings few laws would have passed and Henry’s role within the Church would be no greater nor would there have been a break with Rome.

Many historians, including Elton, believe that there would have been a reformation even if Henry hadn’t wished for a divorce. There are many benefits of ruling a country free of papal influence. Firstly the

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