The first Act of Uniformity (1548), as it is called, displaced the Mass as it had been celebrated for centuries in the English Church, and substituted in its place the new liturgy contained in the /Book of Common Prayer/. This latter while differing completely from any rite that had been followed in the Catholic Church, had a close affinity both in regard to the rites themselves and the ceremonies for the administration of the Sacraments to the liturgy introduced by the German Lutherans. According to the Act of Parliament it was to come into force on Whit Sunday the 9th June (1549). That it was expected to meet with strong opposition is evident from the prohibition against plays, songs, rhymes, etc., holding it up to ridicule, as well as by the heavy fines prescribed against those who might endeavour to prevent clergymen from following it. Forfeiture of a year's revenue together with imprisonment for six months was the penalty to be inflicted on any clergyman who refused to follow the new liturgy. Complete deprivation and imprisonment were prescribed for the second offence, and the third offence was to be punished by life-long imprisonment. For preventing any clergyman from adopting the new liturgy the penalties were for the first offence a fine of ￡10, for the second ￡20, and for the third forfeiture and perpetual imprisonment. Finally Parliament satisfied Cranmer's scruples by permitting clergy to contract marriages.
The attempt to abolish the Mass and to force the new liturgy on the English people led to risings and disturbances throughout the country. In London, where it might have been expected that the influence of the court should have secured its ready acceptance, many of the churches maintained the old service in spite of the frantic efforts of Cranmer and his subordinates. Bishop Bonner was reproved sharply for encouraging the disobedience of his clergy, and as he failed to give satisfaction to the government he was committed to prison. In Devonshire and Cornwall the peasants and country gentlemen rose in arms to protest against the new service which they had likened to a Christmas game, and to demand the restoration of the Mass, Communion under one kind, holy water, palms, ashes, images, and pictures. They insisted that the Six Articles of Henry VIII. should be enforced once more and that Cardinal Pole should be recalled from Rome, and honoured with a seat at the council. In the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where royal visitors and hired foreigners like Peter Martyr, Bucer, and Ochino were doing their best to decatholicise these seats of learning, violent commotions took place, that served to arouse both students and people, and soon the country around Oxford was in a blaze. The religious disturbances encouraged those who preferred small farms and sturdy labourers to grazing inclosures and sheep to raise the standard of revolt against the new economical tendencies, and to accept the leadership of the Norfolk tanner, William Kett. By the strenuous exertions of the Protector and the council, backed as they were by foreign mercenaries raised in Italy and Germany to fight against Scotland, these rebellions were put down by force, and the leaders, both lay and clerical, were punished with merciless severity. The disturbed condition of the country, however, the open dissatisfaction of the Catholic party, the compromises that were offered to those who fought against inclosures, and the unfortunate war with France into which the country had been plunged, pointed to Somerset's unfitness for the office of Protector. A combination was formed against him by the Earl of Warwick, assisted by the leaders of the Catholic party. He was arrested, found guilty, and deprived of all his offices (Dec. 1549), and the Earl of Warwick, created later Duke of Northumberland, secured the principal share in the new government.
Cranmer and his foreign assistants were filled with alarm for the future of their cause. They feared that the new administration would be controlled by Wriothesley, ex-Chancellor, the Arundels, Southwell and other prominent Catholics, that Gardiner and Bonner might be released from imprisonment, and that the demands of many of the insurgents for the abolition of the Book of Common Prayer and the restoration of the Mass might be conceded. The Catholic party were filled with new hope; in Oxford and throughout the country the old missals and vestments that had been hidden away were brought forth again, and the offices and Mass were sung as they had been for centuries. But Warwick soon showed that the change of rulers meant no change in the religious policy of the government. Gardiner and Bonner were still kept in confinement; Wriothesley was dismissed from the council; many of the other Catholic noblemen were imprisoned, and Somerset who was supposed to have fallen a victim to the hatred of the Catholics was released from his prison and re-admitted to the privy council (1550). By the inglorious war with France and by the still more inglorious peace of Boulogne the government felt itself free to devote its energies to the religious situation at home. Warwick went over completely to the camp of the reforming party and determined in consultation with them to push forward the anti-Catholic campaign.
The Parliament that assembled in November 1549 was distinctly radical in its tendencies. In the House of Lords the bishops complained that their authority had been destroyed, and that their orders were set at naught. In reply they were requested to formulate a proposal for redress, but on such a proposal having been submitted, their demands were regarded by the laymen as exorbitant. A commission was appointed against the wishes of a strong minority of the bishops to draw up a new Ordinal as a complement to the Book of Common Prayer. The committee was appointed on the 2nd February 1550, and it appears to have finished its work within a week. In the new /Ordinal/ (1550) the ceremonies for the conferring of tonsure, minor orders, and sub- deaconship were omitted entirely, while the ordination rites for deacons, priests, and bishops were considerably modified. Just as the sacrificial character of the Mass had been dropped out of the Book of Common Prayer, so too the notion of a real priesthood disappeared from the forms for ordination. In spite of the opposition of a large body of the bishops, an Act was passed ordering the destruction of all missals, antiphonals, processionals, manuals, ordinals, etc., used formerly in the service of the Church and not approved of by the king's majesty, as well as for the removal of all images "except any image or picture set or graven upon any tomb in any church, chapel or churchyard only for a monument of any king, prince, nobleman or other dead person who had not been commonly reputed and taken for a saint." As a result of this measure a wholesale destruction of valuable books and manuscripts took place in the king's own library at Westminster and throughout the country. The royal visitors, entrusted with the difficult work of Protestantising Oxford, acting under the guidance of Dr. Cox, chancellor of the University or "cancellor" as he was called, ransacked the college libraries, tore up and burned priceless manuscripts or sold them as waste paper, and even went so far as to demand the destruction of the chapel windows, lest these beautiful specimens of art might encourage loyalty to the old religion that had inspired their artists and donors.
As it had been determined to abandon completely the religious conservatism of the former reign it was felt absolutely necessary to remove the Catholic-minded bishops, to make way for men of the new school on whom the government could rely with confidence. Gardiner of Winchester and Bonner of London were already in prison. Heath of Worcester, who had refused to agree to the new Ordinal, was arrested in March 1550, as was also Day of Chichester in October. Tunstall of Durham, whose conservative views were well known to all, was placed under surveillance in May 1551, and thrown into prison together with his dean in the following November. In a short time a sentence of deprivation was issued against Bonner, Heath, Day and Gardiner. Bishop Thirlby of Westminster, who had given great offence by his uncompromising attitude regarding the Blessed Eucharist, was removed from Westminster, where his presence was highly inconvenient, to Norwich, and the aged Bishop Voysey was forced to resign the See of Exeter to make way for a more reliable and more active man. At the same time steps were taken in the universities to drive out the men whose influence might be used against the government's plans. The Sees of Westminster and London were combined and handed over to Ridley of Rochester, one of Cranmer's ablest and most advanced lieutenants. Hooper, who looked to Zwingli as his religious guide, was appointed to Gloucester; but as he objected to the episcopal oath, and episcopal vestments, and as he insisted on his rights of private judgment so far as to write publicly against those things that had been sanctioned by the supreme head of the Church, it was necessary to imprison him before he could be reduced to a proper frame of mind for the imposition of Cranmer's hands (March 1551). Ponet was appointed to Rochester, and on the deprivation of Gardiner, to Winchester, where his scandalous and public connexion with the wife of a Nottingham burgher was not calculated to influence the longing of his flock for the new teaching. Scory was appointed to Rochester and afterwards to Chichester, and Miles Coverdale to Oxford.
The zeal of the new bishops in seeking out the suppression of papistical practices and their readiness to place the property of the churches at Northumberland's disposal soon showed that those who selected them had made no mistake. On Ridley's arrival in London he held a conference for the purpose of compelling the clergy to adopt the new liturgy in place of the Mass. He issued an order for the removal of altars, and for the erection in their places of "honest tables decently covered," whereon Communion might be celebrated. The high altar in the Cathedral of St. Paul was pulled down, and a plain Communion table set up in its stead. As such a sacrilegious innovation was resented by a great body of both clergy and people, the council felt it necessary to instruct the sheriff of Middlesex to enforce the commands of the bishop. The example thus set in the capital was to be followed throughout the country. In November 1550 letters were sent out to all the bishops in the name of the youthful head of the Church, commanding them to pull down the altars in their dioceses, and for disobedience to this order Bishop Day was arrested. Hooper, once his scruples regarding the episcopal oath and vestments had been removed, threw himself with ardour into the work of reforming the clergy of his dioceses of Worcester and Gloucester, but only to find that nothing less than a royal decree could serve to detach them from their old "superstitions" (1552). While the wholesale work of destruction was being pushed forward care was taken that none of the spoils derived from the plunder of the churches should go to private individuals. Warwick insisted on the new bishops handing over large portions of episcopal estates to be conferred on his favourites, and royal commissions were issued to take inventories of ecclesiastical property. During the years 1551 and 1552 the churches were stripped of their valuables, and the church plate, chalices, copes, vestments, and altar cloths, were disposed of to provide money for the impecunious members of the council.
Violent measures such as these were not likely to win popularity for the new religion, nor to bring about dogmatic unity. Risings took place in Leicester, Northampton, Rutland, and Berkshire, and free fights were witnessed even in the churches of London. Rumours of conspiracy, especially in the north, where the Earls of Shrewsbury and Derby still clung to the Catholic faith, were circulated, and fears of a French invasion were not entirely without foundation. A new Act of Uniformity was decreed (1552) threatening spiritual and temporal punishments against laymen who neglected to attend common prayer on Sundays and holidays. Acts were passed for the relief of the poor who had been rendered destitute by the suppression of the monasteries and the wholesale inclosures, and to comfort the married clergy, whose children were still regarded commonly as illegitimate, a second measure was passed legalising such unions. Fighting in churches and churchyards was to be put down with a heavy hand. If spiritual punishments could not suffice for the maintenance of order offenders were to be deprived of an ear or branded on the cheek with a red hot iron.
Though according to some the Book of Common Prayer had been compiled under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, soon it came to be regarded by many as unsatisfactory. The men, who had rejected the authority of the Pope because he was a foreigner to follow the teaching of apostate friars from Switzerland, Italy, Poland, and Germany, clamoured for its revision on the ground that it seemed to uphold the Real and Corporeal Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Cranmer, who had accepted Transubstantiation in the days of Henry VIII., and had defended a kind of Real Presence in 1549, veered gradually towards Calvin's teaching on the Eucharist. In order to remove the ambiguities and difficulties of the old Prayer Book, it was determined to subject it to a complete revision by which everything that implied a real objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist should be omitted. The second Book of Common Prayer was submitted and approved by Parliament (1552), and its use was authorised by royal proclamation. It was to come into force in November 1552, but late in September, when some copies of the Book were already printed, the council issued a command that the work should be stopped until further corrections had been made. It seems that by a new rubric inserted by Cranmer communicants were enjoined to receive the communion on bended knees, and John Knox, who had arrived lately in England and was high in the favour of the council, objected strongly to such an injunction as flavouring of papistry. Notwithstanding the spirited remonstrances of Cranmer, the council without authority from Parliament or Convocation obliged him to insert on a fly leaf the famous "Black Rubric" which remains in the Book of Common Prayer till the present day, except that in the time of Charles II. a change was made, by which "corporeal presence" was inserted in place of the "real and essential presence" repudiated in the first form of the rubric.
Source of this article：http://anbjd.sflxhy.com/news/576b699010.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.