The Submission of the English Clergy During the Reign of King Henry VIII

Henry, a younger son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, was born on 28 June 1491. Many people know that Henry VIII was the king, who married six times, sent two of his wives to a scaffold, divorced three of them and one of them became his widow; nevertheless, Henry VIII is the king who reformed the Church of England and changed the course of British and European history forever. The most remarkable thing by which Henry VIII will always be remembered as the most extraordinary King in history is that he broke with Rome and made the English clergy subordinate to him. The Submission of the Clergy, passed in 1534, was the document that stated the supremacy of King Henry VIII over the English clergy. Henry’s reformation was revolutionary, since England was no longer obliged to send money to Rome and the Pope of Rome had no authority over the English clergy and the Church of England. What were the reasons for King Henry VIII to reform the English Church and to eliminate the authority of the Pope of Rome? Why did King Henry VIII decide to become the only head of the Church of England? Why did Henry VIII need the aforementioned document called the Submission of the Clergy to complete his church reformation? Even though it seems unbelievable, Henry’s overwhelming passion and desire to possess the woman whom he loved was his main reason to get rid of Papal authority and to become the Supreme Head of the Church of England, which started to be called the Anglican Church. Why was it necessary for King Henry VIII to break with Rome and become the Supreme Head of the Anglican Church in order to marry the woman whom he loved? Did Henry VIII have any other reasons except for the above-mentioned one to create the Anglican Church completely independent from Rome?

Let us have a closer look at all the available historical evidence that can explain the events of the reign of King Henry VIII. The Pope of Rome, the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church, had unlimited authority over Europe and England, because all people believed in God unquestionably, therefore the Catholic Church and the Pope were significantly influential at that period of history. Accordingly, all English people’s bodies belonged to their king, but their souls belonged to the Pope of Rome. Consequently, no English or any European king had boundless power over their subjects. Nevertheless, it had not been such a terrible trouble to Henry VIII until he faced a specific problem caused by such uncontrollable Papal authority – he could not divorce his first wife Katherine of Aragon without the permission of the Pope and the Pope did not give his permission no matter what. As David Starkey, a historian, pointed out in his book: “He wanted to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. The …
Posted by: Min Brust

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