The Renaissance Era

Posted: October 17th, 2013

The Renaissance Era






The Renaissance Era

The Roman Catholic Church was the reigning church in England until around the 16th century. Henry VIII was the cause of the separation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England in 1534 (Bay Area Renaissance, 2012). Henry VIII decided to break the church due to financial and practical reasons. However, protest against the Catholic Church had started with John Wycliffe who was the founder of the Lollard Movement (Perry & Spencer, 2011). Wycliffe started this movement because he was in opposition of some Catholic practices. First, he stated that there was no evidence declaring the church in Rome to be the head of all the churches. Additionally, St. Peter did not have any more powers than the other apostles did. All these were declared in order to speak out in order to reform the abuses, corruption and wealth issues going on in the church.


            The Catholic Church was very resistant to divorces or marriage annulments especially when they were based on other matters apart from adultery. Henry had married Catherine of Aragon. They had been married for eighteen years. During this time, the marriage had failed to produce a son (Bay area Renaissance, 2012). Henry was not pleased by this fact and so he wanted to annul the marriage for this reason. When he approached Pope Clement VII in order to grant him the annulment so that he could marry someone else, the Pope denied his request. This did not please Henry.

It is clear that the Pope refused to annul this marriage based on the church’s principles. However, the pope also had another reason. Charles V, who was the Holy Roman Emperor, was greatly known for a series of events in the wars in Italy. By ending the marriage, the Pope would have provoked Charles (Perry & Spencer, 2011). The Pope did not know what his reaction would be. In other words, the Pope feared annulling the marriage because he feared for his safety.

Anne Boleyn

            Due to his wish for a son, Henry started gaining interest in Anne Boleyn who an attendant to Queen Catherine. Anne was both young and attractive, which made Henry think that she was in a good capacity of bearing him a son, who would be his successor. However, his desire was facing a challenge, as he could not get his marriage annulled.

Papal Jurisdiction Freedom

            As earlier noted, the Catholic Church was the dominating church in England. All Catholic countries had an obligation to the Pope on matters relating to faith. King Henry the VIII cut these ties using the Restraint of Appeals Act. The King therefore had no obligation towards the papacy and so he had to come up with another institution for him to base his beliefs on. The country was a religious state whatsoever (Perry & Spencer, 2011).

The Leader of the Church of England

            Since Henry could no longer associate himself with the Catholic Church, he took advantage of the Supremacy Act. The act stated that the supremacy of spiritual matters were upon the monarch. Consequently, this was against the papal authority legality He declared himself the head and the leader of the Church of England. The Church of England proclaimed the headship and Henry VIII on February 11, 1531. People could do little about this declaration since it was based on the law and he was a king.

Monastic Wealth

            The Catholic Church was no longer associated with England. However, it had wealth and other assets in England during its reigning period. After Henry separated from the church using the act, he liquidated all the monasteries in the kingdom. He also purloined the church’s wealth. All the wealth totaled to approximately £ 1.3 million (Perry & Spencer, 2011). All this was put into the king’s treasury.


Bay Area Renaissance Festival (2012). The Church of England. Retrieved From

Perry, G.G. & Spencer, J.A. (2011). A History of the Church in England: From the Accession of Henry VIII to the Silencing of the Convocation in the Eighteenth Century.  London: Nabu Press.


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