Anglican Church and the Monarchy

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Religion was an ongoing cause of issues in history, and the Church of England was no exception. Issues with the monarchy ruling the church in Britain was the reason for many debates, wars, civil issues and rights to the throne. Initially the Church was under Papal rule, making the Pope have control over something the Throne did not. Hunger for power in the sixteenth century was not limited to land control and civil control; it spread right up to the Church of England causing many problems for the monarchy and Papal authority. The argument during this time was whether or not the monarch had the right to rule church and state, or if the church was meant to be run by Papal authority. The Church of England has a deep history going back to the Roman Empire. An invasion in Britain in the fifth century by pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes caused the Church to lose its organization. Missionary work in the 6th Century by Pope Gregory the Great, led by St Augustine of Canterbury led to the eventual combination of three forms of Christianity. The new Church of England amalgamated the Roman tradition of St Augustine, the old Romano-British church and the Celtic traditions from Scotland. As a result of this new formation the influence of the Church was wider spread and more organized. Traditions assimilated with the Western Christians such as liturgy, theology and church architecture. All of this also meant that until the sixteenth century the Church of England was under Papal rule and was considered a branch of the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety Five Theses. They opposed the Catholic Churches doctrines and stated that the teachings and sales of indulgences and the abuses of them showed corruption in the religion. This was the jumping off point for many people questioning the Catholic Church. In the sixteenth century the English monarchy began to question the fact that their church was still following the authority of the Pope. A main factor in this questioning came from King Henry VIII. Henry wanted his marriage to Catherine annulled, and his marriage would normally be illegal under church law because Catherine was the widow of his brother, but it had been allowed by special consideration from the Pope. Henry claimed that the Papal consideration contradicted church law and therefore the marriage was not legal. The pope upheld his choice and refused to annul the marriage. The underlying cause was the fact that many believed that the authority of the church should belong to the English monarchy not the Pope. Henry broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and declared himself the head of the Church of England (1534), removing the church from the authority of the Pope. During this time Henry also forced the Dissolution of the Monasteries, this was viewed as suppressing the catholic faith. He also started statutes, such as, Statute in Restraint of Appeals, 1533, various Acts of Succession 1533-36, and the first Act of Supremacy in 1536. These acts all dealt with the relationship between the King and the Pope and how the Church of England should be structured. Henry’s belief in the independence of the Church was the dominant influence in making religious policy. Those who still worshipped Catholic rites during Henry’s rule were quietly moved into secrecy. Henry’s son Edward VI further reformed the church by saying that the Protestant Reformation was more like what the Bible’s teachings meant than that of the Pope. Edward was very young when he was in power so most decisions were ultimately decided by a regency council who were mostly Protestant, so of course the decision was made to keep the church under monarch rule. Edward was the first King who had been raised Protestant even though he was only nine when he was crowned his council did allow him to make decisions. By the age of eleven he had already written a treatise on the Pope as Antichrist and made educated notes on...
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