The Pope, however, refused to yield to such intimidation. When news arrived at Rome that Henry had sent away Catharine from court, the question of excommunication was considered, but as the excommunication of a king was likely to be fraught with such serious consequences for the English Church, Clement VII. hesitated to publish it in the hope that Henry might see the error of his ways. The trial was delayed from time to time until at last in November 1532 the Pope addressed a strong letter to the king, warning him under threat of excommunication to put away Anne Boleyn, and not to attempt to divorce Catharine or to marry another until a decision had been given in Rome. By this time the king had given up all hope of securing the approval of Rome for the step he contemplated. Even in England the divorce from Catharine found much opposition from both clergy and laity. Sir Thomas More and many of the nobles were on the side of Catharine, as were also Bishop Fisher of Rochester and Bishop Tunstall of Durham. Even Reginald Pole, the king's own cousin, who had been educated at Henry's expense, and for whom the Archbishopric of York had been kept vacant, refused the tempting offers that were made to him on condition that he would espouse the cause of separation. He preferred instead to leave England rather than act against his conscience by supporting Catherine's divorce. Fortunately for Henry at this moment Warham, the aged Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a stout defender of the Holy See, passed away (Aug. 1532). The king determined to secure the appointment of an archbishop upon whom he could rely for the accomplishment of his designs, and accordingly Thomas Cranmer was selected and presented to Rome. After much hesitation, and merely as the lesser of two evils, his appointment was confirmed.
Thomas Cranmer was born in Nottingham, and educated in Cambridge. He married early in life, but his wife having died within a few months, he determined to take holy orders. His suggestion to submit the validity of Henry's marriage to the judgment of the universities, coming as it did at a time when Henry was at his wits' end, showed him to be a man of resource whose services should be secured by the court. He was appointed accordingly chaplain to Anne Boleyn's father, and was one of those sent on the embassy to meet the Pope and Charles V. at Bologna. During his wanderings in Germany he was brought into close relationship with many of the leading Reformers, and following their teaching and example he took to himself a wife in the person of the well-known Lutheran divine, Osiander. Such a step, so highly objectionable to the Church authorities and likely to be displeasing to Henry, who in spite of his own weakness insisted on clerical celibacy, was kept a secret, though it is not at all improbable that the secret had reached the ears of the king. At the time when the latter had made up his mind to set Rome at defiance, he knew how important it was for him to sacrifice his own personal predilections, for the sake of having a man of Cranmer's pliability as Archbishop of Canterbury, and head of the clergy in England. On the 30th March, 1533, Cranmer was consecrated archbishop, and took the usual oath of obedience and loyalty to the Pope; but immediately before the ceremony, he registered a formal protest that he considered the oath a mere form, and that he wished to hold himself free to provide for the reformation of the Church in England. Such a step indicates clearly enough the character of the first archbishop of the Reformation in England.
To prepare the way for the sentence that might be published at any moment by the Pope a bill was introduced forbidding appeals to Rome under penalty of Praemunire, and declaring that all matrimonial suits should be decided in England, and that the clergy should continue their ministrations in spite of any censures or interdicts that might be promulgated by the Pope. The bill was accepted by the House of Lords, but met with serious opposition in the Commons. An offer was made to raise ￡200,000 for the king's use if only he would refer the whole question to a General Council, but in the end, partly by threats and partly by deception regarding the attitude of the Pope and the Emperor, the opposition was induced to give way and the bill became law. By this Act it was declared that the realm of England should be governed by one supreme head and king, to whom both spirituality and temporality were bound to yield, "next to God a natural and humble obedience," that the English Church was competent to manage its own affairs without the interference of foreigners, and that all spiritual cases should be heard and determined by the king's jurisdiction and authority. The question of the divorce was brought before the Convocation in March 1533, and though Fisher spoke out boldly in defence of Catharine's marriage, his brethren failed to support him, and Convocation declared against the legitimacy of the marriage.
Henry was now free to throw off the mask. He could point to the verdict given in his favour by both Parliament and Convocation, and could rely on Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury to carry out his wishes. In order to provide for the legitimacy of the child that was soon to be born, he had married Anne Boleyn privately in January 1533. In April Cranmer requested permission to be allowed to hold a court to consider Henry's marriage with Catharine, to which request, inspired as it had been by himself, the king graciously assented. The court sat at Dunstable, where Catharine was cited to appear. On her refusal to plead she was condemned as contumacious. Sentence was given by the archbishop that her marriage with Henry was invalid (23rd April, 1533). Cranmer next turned his attention to Henry's marriage with Anne, and as might be expected, this pliant minister had no difficulty in pronouncing in its favour. On Whit Sunday (1533) Anne was crowned as queen in Westminster Abbey. The popular feeling in London and throughout the kingdom was decidedly hostile to the new queen and to the French ambassador, who was blamed for taking sides against Catharine, but Henry was so confident of his own power that he was unmoved by the conduct of the London mob. In September, to the great disappointment of the king who had been led by the astrologers and sorcerers to believe that he might expect the advent of an heir, a daughter was born to whom was given the name Elizabeth.
The Pope, acting on the request of the French and English ambassadors, had delayed to pronounce a definitive sentence, but the news of Henry's marriage with Anne and of the verdict that had been promulgated by the Archbishop of Canterbury made it imperative that decisive measures should be taken. On the 11th July it was decreed that Henry's divorce from Catharine and his marriage with Anne were null and void. Sentence of excommunication against him was prepared, but its publication was postponed till September, when an interview had been arranged to take place between the Pope and Francis I. Francis I. was not without hope even still that an amicable settlement could be arranged. Throughout the whole proceedings he had espoused warmly Henry's cause, in the belief that England, having broken completely with Catharine's nephew Charles V., might be forced to conclude an alliance with France; but he never wished that Henry VIII. should set the Holy See at defiance, or that England should be separated from the Catholic Church. To the Pope and to Henry he had addressed his remonstrances and petitions in turn, but events had reached such a climax that mediation was almost an impossibility. The interview arranged between the Pope and Francis I. took place at Marseilles in October 1533. Regardless of all the rules of diplomatic courtesy and of good manners, Henry's representative forced his way into the presence of the Pope, and announced to him that the King of England had appealed from the verdict of Rome to the judgment of a General Council. Notices of this appeal were posted up in London, and preachers were ordered to declaim against the authority of the Pope, who was to be styled henceforth Bishop of Rome, and whose sentences and excommunications, the people were to be informed, were of no greater importance than those of any other foreign bishop. The way was now open for the final act of separation.
Parliament met in January 1534. The law passed the previous year against the payment of annats was now promulgated. According to this Act the Pope was not to be consulted for the future regarding appointments to English Sees. When a bishopric became vacant, the chapter having received the /Congé d'élire/ should proceed to elect the person named in the royal letters accompanying the /Congé/, and the person so elected should be presented to the metropolitan for consecration. In case of a metropolitan See, the archbishop-elect should be consecrated by another metropolitan and two bishops or by four bishops appointed by the crown. Another Act was passed forbidding the payment of Peter's Pence and all other fees and pensions paid formerly to Rome. The Archbishop of Canterbury was empowered to grant dispensations, and the penalties of Praemunire were levelled against all persons who should apply for faculties to the Pope. By a third Act a prohibition against appeals to Rome was renewed, although it was permitted to appeal from the court of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the king's Court of Chancery. Convocation was forbidden to enact any new ordinances without the consent of the king, and those passed already were to be subject to revision by a royal commission. Finally, an Act was passed vesting the succession in the children of Henry and Anne to the exclusion of the Princess Mary. The marriage with Catharine was declared null and void by Parliament on the ground principally that no man could dispense with God's law, and to prevent such incestuous unions in the future a list of the forbidden degrees was drawn up, and ordered to be exhibited in the public churches. To question the marriage of Henry with Anne Boleyn by writing, word, deed, or act was declared to be high treason, and all persons should take an oath acknowledging the succession under pain of misprision of treason. That the Parliament was forced to adopt these measures against its own better judgment is clear from the small number of members who took their seats in the House of Lords, as well as from the fact that some of the Commoners assured the imperial ambassador that were his master to invade England he might count on considerable support.
In Rome the agents of Francis I., fearing that an alliance between France and England would be impossible were Henry to throw off his allegiance to the Church, moved heaven and earth to prevent a definitive sentence. The fact that the Emperor was both unable and unwilling to enforce the decision of the Pope, and that instead of desiring the excommunication and deposition of Henry he was opposed to such a step, made it more difficult for the Pope to take decisive measures. Finally after various consultations with the cardinals, sentence was given declaring the marriage with Catharine valid and the children born of that marriage legitimate (23rd March, 1534). When the news of this decision reached England Henry was alarmed. He feared that the Emperor might declare war at any moment, that an imperial army might be landed on the English shores, and that Francis I. yielding to the entreaties of the Pope might make common cause with the imperialists. Orders were given to strengthen the fortifications, and to hold the fleet in readiness. Agents were dispatched to secure the neutrality of France, and preachers were commanded to denounce the Bishop of Rome. As matters stood, however, there was no need for such alarm. The Emperor had enough to engage his attention in Spain and Germany, and the enmity between Charles V. and the King of France was too acute to prevent them from acting together even in defence of their common religion.
Meantime it was clear to Henry that popular feeling was strong against his policy, but instead of being deterred by this, he became more obstinate and determined to show the people that his wishes must be obeyed. A nun named Elizabeth Barton, generally known as the "Nun of Kent," claimed to have been favoured with special visions from on high. She denounced the king's marriage with Anne, and bewailed the spread of heresy in the kingdom. People flocked from all parts to interview her, and even Cranmer pretended to be impressed by her statements. She and many of her principal supporters were arrested and condemned to death (Nov. 1534). It was hoped that by her confession it might be possible to placate Bishop Fisher, who was specially hated by Henry on account of the stand he had made on the question of the marriage, and the late Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More. Both had met the nun, but had been careful to avoid everything that could be construed even remotely as treason. In the Act of Attainder introduced into Parliament against Elizabeth Barton and her confederates, the names of Fisher and More were included, but so strong was the feeling in More's favour that his name was erased. Fisher, although able to clear himself from all reasonable grounds of suspicion, was found guilty of misprision of treason and condemned to pay a fine of ￡300. Fisher and More were then called upon to take the oath of succession, which, as drawn up, included, together with an acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the children born of Henry and Anne, a repudiation of the primacy of the Pope, and of the validity of Henry's marriage with Catharine. Both were willing to accept the succession as fixed by Act of Parliament, but neither of them could accept the other propositions. They were arrested therefore and lodged in the Tower (April 1534).
Source of this article：http://anbjd.sflxhy.com/html/630d698956.html
Copyright statement: The content of this article was voluntarily contributed by internet users, and the views expressed in this article only represent the author themselves. This website only provides information storage space services and does not hold any ownership or legal responsibility. If you find any suspected plagiarism, infringement, or illegal content on this website, please send an email to report it. Once verified, this website will be immediately deleted.