The Break with Rome Part 1

  • Why did Henry seek an annulment of his marriage to Catherine?
  • What were the consequences of Henry's failure to attain a divorce through Rome?
  • What was the Role of the Reformation Parliament 1529-32?
  • How did royal policy change in the years 1529-32?
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  • Created by: alys
  • Created on: 12-01-13 19:02

Why did Henry seek an Annulment?

  • Catherine was beyond child bearing age.
  • Henry argued that she had been committing adultery.
  • Henry was convinced that he could gain papal approvement for his annulment. He believed in the levitical line that for marrying his brothers widow he was being punished by God and refused of a male heir.
  • His case was actually quite difficult to sustain because of Deuteronomy*, canon law and the fact that his marriage with Catherine had been consummated while her marriage to Arthur had not been.
  • Anne had been intending to marry John Hoskins, but this marriage was prevented by Thomas Wolsey on behalf of Henry

The king decided to divorce Catherine because...

  • Anne was younger, whereas he had no chance of having an heir by Catherine
  • He claimed that Catherine was committing adultery
  • He wanted an heir
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Henry's Problems with Rome

Henry had problems gaining a divorce through Rome, which he had to do if it was to be seen as legitimate. Henry had to show that his marriage was invalid from the very beginning.

  • Emporer Charles V Controlled the Pope
    • Charles superior in Habsburg-Valois conflict
    • Pope's situation worsened in May 1527, when Imperial troops sacked Rome and made the Pope prisoner.
    • An annulment was unlikely because Charles was Catherine's nephew
  • Wolsey and the Papal Situation
    • As papal legate and cardinal, Wolsey tried to get the French Cardinals to agree to a council of leading archbishops to pronounce on a divorce. He failed.
    • Made the situation worse by switching to a french alliance from a spanish one. He hoped an alliance (Treaty of Wesminister) might pressure the Emperor into negotiations over Henry's marriage to Catherine.
    • Wolsey had backed the wrong side. When Clement was freed he was still under Charles' control.
    • Consquences include: the nobility were cross with Wolsey and it weakened Henry over the Great Matter
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Problems with Rome (continued)

Solve the Great Matter in England- Clement Unhelpful

  • Wolsey wanted the pope to grant him the power to annull Henry's marriage in England
  • The Pope wanted to pacify Henry and Charles, so he suggested
    • Henry was to divorce in England, marry Anne and get an annulment later, possibly after Catherin's death. The Pope was therefore suggesting bigamy- Henry refused.
    • The Pope told Campeggio, his legate, to suggest that Catherine enter a nunnery and take her monastic vows. This would allow Henry to remarry but Catherine refused.
    • He also told Campeggio to delay the matter as much as possible.

Catherine's Obstinancy

  • She had truth and God on her side. She was a virgin and Henry's Levitical line did not apply to an unconsummated marriage. Catherine wanted to defend the legality of her 18-year marriage to defend the legitamacy of her daughter, Mary.
  • She had supporters at court, in the Church (John Fisher) and the sympathy and support of important men (Thomas More)
  • She had sympathy amongst the common people. Many felt she was being cast aside because of his passion for a younger woman.
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Problems with Rome (continued)

Catherine's determined opposition together with her bloodline (Charles V) was a central reason for Wolsey's failure to attain an annulment.

Blackfriars Court.

  • April 1528, Clement was finally granted the commission to try the case in England
  • October 1528, Campeggio arrived but Imperial Power had been confirmed in Northern Italy. Wolsey's French alliance was worthless. A papal annulment was even more unlikely.
  • A letter from Julius II in 1503 confirmed Catherine's version of events. This delayed the hearing. The English argued it was a fake & its timing does suggest this. The Spanish refused to let Henry see the letter.
  • Wolsey wanted to start the case ASAP for fear that the case would be revoked to Rome. Campeggio was under strict orders not to come to a decision on the Great Matter.
  • Catherine denied the authority of the court. She appealed to Rome- then walked out.
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Problems with Rome (continued)

  • Campeggio allowed the proceedings to drag on and adjourned the case for the summer.
  • Wolsey had failed to get the divorce
  • His continuing power depended on Henry's confidence (Which Wolsey had lost)
  • Henry would remove Wolsey because of his failure. 
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The Consequences...

...Of the Failure to persuade Rome and the role of the Reformation Parliament

  • There was no clear plan for an annulment; his dismissed Wolsey and replaced him as chancellor with Thomas More- who sided with Catherine.
  • Henry was ambivalent...
    • He wanted an annulment through Rome to ensure the legitamancy of his marriage to Anne Boleyn
    • However Henry found an 'English' rather than a papal solution appealing, since it enhanced his power
  • 1528-32 Henry still insisted on trying to secure a solution through Rome while persuing the Reformation Parliament which undermined the power of Rome.
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The Role of the Reformation Parliament

What was the role of the reformation parliament?

  • Passed anti-clerical legislation- put pressure on Rome. Simon Fish and his 1529 A Supplication of the Beggars.
  • Mortuaries Act- almost certainly passed in remind people of the Hunne Case and Wolsey's attempt to defuse the situation in a way that did not damage the church
  • The Plurarities Act- to remind people of Wolsey's sins in the area
  • The Probate Act- aimed again at Wolsey who had tried to take over probate jurisdiction as legate
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Wolsey's Fail

Henry had Wolsey charged with Praemunire- accusing him of using his power as cardinal legate to favour papar power over Henry's royal power.

The fact that Wolsey had been made Legate a Latere only increased Henry's expectations- and disappointment.

The charge also started Wolsey's fail- it also exerted pressure on Clement by reminding him of the English Church's independent decisions.

Wolsey retired to his archbishop of York and continued to live in slendour. He had done all that he could yet his failure was due to forces beyond his control. Yet Henry's ego has been dented and Wolsey was blamed for the failure at Blackfriars. In November 1530 his enemies on the council had Wolsey arrested and on his way to face charges of treason in London. The Cardinal died at Leicester Abbey on 24th of November 1530.

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Henry wanted a divorce because he loved Anne Boleyn, wanted to preserve Tudor Dynasty and believed that his first marriage contravened God's laws

Henry was happy to challenge papal authority with his Levitical line. Wolsey did not want to challenge papal authority but his attempt to find technical failings with the original papal dispenscation was ignored.

Wolsey's failure was due to his inability to secure a decision at Blackfriars via Campeggio.

Foreign affairs- 1525-6: Wolsey's diplomatic revolution: siding with France meant he could not influence Charles. Charles' troops sacked Rome and replaced France in Northern Italy. Clement VII was a prisoner of Charles. However Charles was the nephew of Catherine of Aragon. Wolsey was simply unable to solve Henry's Great Matter.

Wolsey was replaced by Radicals such as Cromwell and Cramner became more important because they did seem to be able to solve the Great Matter.

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Summary (continued)

The Reformation Parliament was not an indication that Henry sought to break with Rome. He sought to use it to pressure the pope into granting the divorce. Yet, the direction of policy was unclear because Henry was willing to listen to more radical suggestions from reformers. It was not until May 1532 that Henry secured the Submission of the Clergy.

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