Henry VIII, Wolsey and the case for a divorce

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  • Henry VIII - case for a divorce
    • Reasons Henry wanted a divorce
      • Loved Anne Boleyn, she no longer wanted to be his mistress
      • Came to believe his lack of a male heir was a punishment from God for marrying his brother - scriptural arguments
    • Barriers to getting a divorce
      • Catholic Church didn't allow divorce
      • Charles V was Catherine's nephew and had control over the Pope - so neither would be supportive of Henry
      • Henry himself was a catholic, didn't want to offend the Pope
        • Went to Mass at least once a day
        • Went on pilgrimage to Walsingham
        • Had made a fervent attack on Martin Luther's 95 theses
    • Scriptural arguments
      • Wolsey argued that Henry's marriage to Catherine depended on her word that her previous marriage to his brother Arthur hadn't been consummated - Leviticus
        • However many theologians disagreed with Leviticus' meaning, part of the Old Testament, written at a time when polygamy was still practiced. Also argued that Deuteronomy implied that it was Henry's duty to marry his brother's wife and have children on his brother's behalf
      • Unsuccessful
    • Legal efforts
      • Wolsey tried to move the hearings to England rather than Rome so he, as Papal Legate, could make the final judgement
        • Pope still cautious of offending Charles - agreed to send over Cardinal Campeggio in 1528, however gave him strict instructions to delay the hearings and not reach a final conclusion
          • Catherine of Aragon appealed against hearings and asked the Pope for them to be held in Rome, Pope agreed
            • Wolsey's last attempts had failed, Henry no longer had any use for him
    • Diplomatic manoeuvres
      • Wolsey created a French alliance to try and distract Charles by creating conflict in the Italian Peninsula, so they could free the Pope
        • Unsuccessful
          • Charles was too deeply entrenched in the Italian Peninsula to be evicted by the French
          • Anti-Hapsburg alliance broke down - the League of Cognac - little else Wolsey could do to combat Charles' immense power and influence


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