HENRY VIII’s ACT OF SUPREMACY (1534)
The act of supremacy is a legal text signed by the English Parliament on November 3, 1534. This act declared King Henry VIII of England to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Henry VIII (born 1491) ruled England from 1509 to 1547 and he was the second monarch of the House of Tudor. He had married Catherine of Aragon in 1510 and after sixteen years only one daughter had survived: Mary (born 1516). By 1526 he was absolutely concerned about the birth of a male heir because it was unthinkable for him to be succeeded by a queen. He tried to persuade the pope to make the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He justified the reasons for this annulment in biblical texts: marriage with a brother’s wife was completely forbidden by the law of God. Although he did not expect any obstacle, Pope Clement VII forbade Henry’s annulment. Pope was in no position to offend King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, proclaiming that his aunt Catherine of Aragon had been living in incest with Henry VIII for nearly twenty years. Therefore Henry VIII’s Church reformation was more motivated by dynastic concerns rather than religious. Henry VIII was initially hostile to the new ideas of Reformation Protestantism that spread throughout North Europe. He had even written a defence of Catholic tradition and the pope had rewarded him with the title Fidei Defensor, Defensor of the Faith. When Henry’s case was summoned to Rome, it was such a bitter disappointment that he refused to judge the case outside his dominions. Henry was beginning to attack the church through the English Law. In 1533 it was promulgated the Act of Appeals in which the king’s jurisdiction was competent to adjudge all spiritual cases which might arise in his realm. And this was achieved by claiming that England was an Empire and the English Crown was an Imperial Crown. And after this act it was finally annulled Henry and Catherine’s marriage. His second...
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