Church History II - Lesson 9
Henry the VIII (part 1)
This is the first part of the life and influence of King Henry the VIII with respect to the Reformation, including a background of the political system and the personal motives of the king for reforming the political structure. A short view of the life and influence of William Tyndale will be covered.
Henry the VIII (part 1)
Henry the VIII (part 1)
• Henry VIII
o In 1509 becomes king
o Marries Catherine of Aragon
• Family History
o Need of a successor and its challenges
• Theologian and Musician
o The assertion of the 7 sacraments
o Need of a Title by the church
• Charles V
o Imprisoned the Pope
• Henry VIII looking for an annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon
o The Parliament
• Henry’s call of it
• The church’s influence on it
o Divorce vs annulment
• William Tyndale
o Persuasion to translate the bible into English
o Student of Luther
o Smuggling of the English bible into England
o Theology’s conflict and impact
• Thomas Cranmer
o In charge of the king’s annulment proceedings
• King’s influence on the church
• Kings 2nd wife: Anne Boleyn
o Had a daughter named Elizabeth
o Executed in 1536
In this course a view of the Mediterranean church to the expansion of the Roman Empire will be studied. Also, the evangelistic attempts of the Roman Empire, its challenges and what it meant for the reformation will be covered.
The crusades, and John Wycliffe's challenge of the church’s authority happened before the Reformation.
This lesson covers the Renaissance period and the life and beliefs of Martin Luther.
The Reformation and Luther's emphasis on salvation by faith.
The Reformers' theological understanding of the importance of baptism and other sacraments.
John Calvin and the spreading of the Reformation to France.
This course covers the influence of the church and their separation from secular activities. Calvin’s influence in Geneva is included.
The English reformation will be studied in terms of its background, structure and the beginning of the expansion of the kingdom by Henry VII.
The life and influence on the Reformation of King Henry the VIII and William Tyndale.
Henry the VIII and his influence on the English Reformation.
The life and thought of the Christian church from the Reformation to modern times. Designed as an orientation to the shape of the whole tradition with special focus on the history of Christian doctrine and spirituality.
If you would like to help the ministry of BiblicalTraining, we would appreciate a short title and description of each lecture so that our table of contents could be more informative. If you would be willing to provide class outlines, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the word gone out that we're talking about Henry VI and his love life? I am. I am. I am. I am. Yeah, that's right. That's actually that's actually one one of the most. From from a teacher's point of view, you know, one of the worst things that ever happened was that song. I'm in the river if I am. Because the trouble is now everybody thinks you know that That's what the history was like. You know, he was the eighth old man named Henry. Madder than the other way round. You see. Not. Not enough young people today have enough education to get the joke. So it's a bit of a problem. All right, Everybody here. Good. Well, we need to pray before today's session because it's going to get pretty heavy, I guess, now. So let's pray together. Tell me, Father, thank you for this day. Lord bless us. We pray as we work together this afternoon. Help us to concentrate our minds on the things that you put before us, but above all, to direct our thoughts to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Father, sometimes it's so hard to see how this all fits in with our service for him. And yet we pray that you would help us to find the connections in our own lives and to make these things real in our experience today. For Jesus precious namesake, we ask it. Right. Okay. Well, Henry, the eighth, what are we going to say about him? Is one of those people in history that we don't know. We can feel free to make up and probably be all right.
But just to recap, what I was saying the other day is that Henry became king of England 1809, A few weeks after he became king, he married Catherine of Aragon, who was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Christopher Columbus fame, you know, so he married well. And I explained all that last time. Catherine was also, of course, as a result of, you know, because of who she was, the aunt of Charles the Fifth. I mean, the connection was Ferdinand and Isabella had two daughters. One was called Juana, and the other was, well, Catarina. But Catherine and her English form Juana had Charles the fifth as her son, and he, of course, became king of Spain and emperor of Germany in 1519. So this is important because of the conjunction of events which was then to occur. Catherine, married to Henry, had a daughter, Mary, born in 1516 on the eve of the Reformation. And of course, nobody knew that at the time. Obviously this is an important point to remember. Luther began his activities as a in 1517, and by the time Charles came to the throne in Germany, Germany was in turmoil over Luther's accusations against the papacy, against the Roman church and so on. We've looked at that already. See, we know this is going on. Henry, of course, is by this time happily married. Already for ten years or so. He has had his wife has had several miscarriages. But the survival of Mary, born in 15, 16 at least, indicated that perhaps a son would be born. Now, Henry's need for a son was not just male chauvinist pedigree. I mean, this is easy to think, but this is anachronistic. The reason he needed a son was that it was uncertain in England at that time what a woman's rights to succession were.
It is not entirely true to say that there had never been a case of a woman inheriting the throne, because in the year 1135, King Henry, the first, had died, leaving his daughter Matilda, as his heir. However, Matilda had about as much chance of ruling England as she would have had of coaching Alabama if she were the only daughter of Bear Bryant or something like that. You know, they might have respected the ancestry, but they weren't having her. Thank you very much. And so, of course, the football players of the time, otherwise known as the barons and knights in shining armor and so on. Well, they were I mean, they were just sort of licensed hooligans. That's all they really were. You know, perhaps we should I should change. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be so down on football. It's basketball now, isn't it? I mean, my latest suggestion is that this the Divinity school, instead of bothering with the Association of Theological Schools, you know, which demands sort of mountains of paper explaining who we are, what we do and all this, we should get out of the eighties and join the National Basketball Association instead. Well, don't you think? Because then we could strangle the boss and keep our jobs. You see, you could you could. You could strangle me and get you a degree, you know. But anyhow. Well, you know, I mean, you just have to extrapolate from one thing to the other. So anyhow, the licensed hooligans, I mean the barons and people like that said, there's no way we're having Matilda rule over us. And they picked her cousin Stephen to rule instead. Now, fortunately, that whole thing got solved in the end because Stephen's son, an heir, got drowned in the English Channel, sailing across at one stage.
He wasn't swimming or walking either, but he got drowned and therefore there was nobody to succeed him. And Matilda had a son who became Henry the second. And so it was agreed at that time that although Matilda herself could not rule England as queen, she could pass her rights on to her son. You see what I'm saying? So it could go through. The son could inherit through the mother, but the mother could not inherit in her own right. Now, this may have sat may sound to you like ancient history, but this is what happened in the case of Henry the seventh. Who was Henry the eighth father. Because when Henry the seventh ascended the throne, he claimed the throne through his mother. You see, it was not through his father. It was through his mother that his right to the throne was secured. The only little snag was Mother was still alive. In fact, I think Mother may even have outlived him. I mean, she was a, you know, tough old bird, and she survived for a long time. Lady Margaret Beaufort. And of course, the question then is, why wasn't she queen? But you see, I mean, after all, it was her. She had the right to be queen. But the argument was she couldn't be queen herself because she was a woman, but she could pass it on to her descendant, who was her son, Henry the seventh. So Henry, the eighth generation later finds himself in the same position. See, he has a daughter, Mary. But it's not clear that Mary can inherit in her own right. We know that she eventually she did, but there had to be a law passed to allow her to do that. I mean, it was a you know, it wasn't automatic.
And so this is why Henry really needed a son, so that this the succession could be guaranteed, could be assured. Now, you say, well, couldn't he just marry Mary after the right person? Well, yes, in theory, but that's not as easy as it sounds as those of you who have daughters needing to get married. No. You know, finding the right man is very difficult, isn't it? I mean, men don't seem to have this problem, but women do. Where is there a right man? Where is he? And so for Mary, in Mary's case, it would have been extremely difficult for several reasons, because if she had married an Englishman, she probably would have started a civil war because the Englishman she married would have been a subject, and therefore he would have had presumably one of the nobles, duke of something or other, and therefore would have had strong local interests, and this would be seen to be favoring one part of the country over against another. That would have been very difficult. And if she married a foreigner, the problem would be she'd have to marry the right foreigner, because if she married a foreigner of her own status, standing like a foreign king, she would presumably have to go off to that country with him. You say so. Things were not easy. And indeed the problem of a queen Regnant you see a queen on the throne. What do you do about her husband? Carried on really until the 19th century. I mean, it was a problem with Queen Victoria, you know? I mean, who was she going to marry and what was going to happen to her husband? And of course, luckily for her, she married the right person. You know, and it all worked out very well.
But that wasn't guaranteed at the beginning. So it is a you know, it's alright in our day and age with sort of equality and so on. It's a whole other story, but it wasn't the case in the 16th century. So this was more of an issue, more of a problem than you might think it would be today anyhow. Luther comes on the scene. What happens next? The Pope issues a kind of an appeal really, to the monarchs of Europe to support him in his struggle against this terrible monk of Wittenberg. The king of France throws the appeal in, you know, in the bin. I mean, he's not going to have anything to do with that. Thank you very much. The king of Spain. Otherwise, Charles, the fifth does the same. You say now that nobody's terribly interested in taking the pope's side. One exception, of course, Henry the eighth, because although you didn't know it, Henry the eighth was actually quite an accomplished theologian. He was also quite an accomplished musician. And he wrote he composed tunes. I mean, Greensleeves. It's supposed to have been composed by him and and so on. You see, I mean, he was quite a talented person in his own right. I mean, you mustn't sort of, you know, be too negative about the guy. Anyhow, he wrote a book against Luther called The Assertion of the Seven Sacraments, the only leading European monarch to come to the pope's defense. This, of course, put the Pope very much in Henry's debt. And Henry, like everybody, had his price for this kind of support. What Henry wanted was a title because the King of France had a title. The king of France was known as the Rex Christian. This was the most Christian king, of course, a title which had been given to King Louis the ninth back in the 13th century, when Louis the ninth agreed to go on crusade.
And after he died, he was canonized. He became Saint Louis. Saint Louis, which is how he was known until he moved to Missouri, when for some reason he became Saint Louis. But anyhow, that's the that's the person you're talking about. You say. So now he lives in Missouri and everybody knows about that. So anyhow, but he was the most Christian king, you see. And of course, this passed on to his descendants. Then, of course, Ferdinand and Isabella got the title of the Catholic King's race. Catholic cause. You see, because of the funding of the expedition of Columbus to America, the conquest of Granada, and kicking the the moors, the Arabs out of Spain, you know, they they the Pope felt that they deserved that title or. Well, I mean, he was persuaded to feel that way and gave them this title. So there was Henry, poor little thing, you know, no title from the pope left out in the cold. And so he wanted something, you know, which would match what the rest of Europe had. The pope, meanwhile, had gotten to the point where he was saying, enough is enough. You can have inflation of titles, you know, and it's like grade inflation. I mean, if you give everybody in a what's the point of even having a test? So we are rapidly approaching that stage here. But in Europe, in the 16th century, this was, you know, the fear that if everybody had a title, there would be no point giving titles anymore. So the pope said, well, I don't know about this, But Henry said, Well, look, I wrote a book against Luther. What more do you expect me to do and say? So in the end, the pope agreed that Henry would have his title.
And in 1521, he gave him the title, which is Defender of the Faith. And that title is still held today by the Queen present Queen. Now, this is terribly important that you understand this, because every once in a while, some idiot known as a news commentator who has no idea what they're talking about, but they have to find something to say because they've got to fill in until the commercial break comes on, gets on and talks about defender of the faith, assuming that this means defender of the Protestant faith or defender of the Church of England or something like this. This is totally untrue. The royal title Defender of the Faith was given by the Pope because Henry the Eighth, wrote a book against Luther. So it is a Catholic title. And the faith he was defending all of us is against Luther. All right. The fact that it's still held by his descendants is one of those anomalies of history. But it has nothing whatever to do with Protestantism or with the Anglican Church or anything like that. It is completely independent of that. All right. Just be aware, because this is a mistake that is made all the time by everybody. And it's terribly annoying. Well, it's so untrue. You see, this is the problem. Right. Okay. The next year, 1522, who should turn up in London? But Charles the fifth, he came to visit. And this was quite a significant visit because it was the one and only occasion that he and Catherine of Aragon met. You see, I mean, they were of course, Charles was Catherine's nephew, but they'd never met. I mean, there was no reason for them ever to have met. But he came to England this time and met Catherine.
Mary. It must have been sort of dancing around, sort of six or seven years. Is old and probably very charming. Seven year old be in the presence of strangers, as you know, only in the presence of strangers. But anyhow, um, so this was, this was the great meeting at this point, and this was going to be significant later on. Charles then disappears and in 1526 pointed out, already sacked Rome and imprisoned the Pope because he didn't really think much of the Pope for various reasons. And so the Pope remained a prisoner of Charles for about three years. Now, this was very unfortunate from Henry's point of view, because it was in 1526 that Catherine turned 40 and that Henry began to realize that she wasn't going to have any more children. Therefore, of course, it was necessary to dispose of her. Now, Henry knew, like all men in these situations, that it was all her fault, of course. But unlike most men, he had at least a little bit more reason to think this, because back in his the days of his youth, in fact, shortly after he was married, he had an affair with a serving girl or something and produced a son. He actually did have a son, an illegitimate son, whom he created the Duke of Richmond. And so Henry could go around saying, well, I know I can have a son because I've got one, you know? I mean, I don't even think Bill Clinton would parade his illegitimate children, you know, on the witness stand. But Henry didn't have those scruples anyhow, you know, not being a Baptist. So he you know, he just told everybody, you know, here's my son what's going on. So he just assumed that it was her fault, Katharine's fault.
You know, I mean, I find another woman. I'll have a son, no problem. So for him, life was fairly simple in this respect. And he thought that getting his way would be relatively easy, because in those days, as indeed today, getting an annulment of your marriage from the Catholic Church has very little to do with the merits of the case, but a great deal to do with who you are and how much money you've got, as you know, if you follow this kind of thing. I mean, if you're a Kennedy, you won't have any trouble getting your marriage annulled. However many children you've got and however implausible it may be. And so Henry felt that, you know, he would have no real problem with this and probably he wouldn't have had if the pope hadn't been the prisoner of Katherine's nephew. That was the one first stroke against him. Second stroke against him was Catherine appealed to her nephew. And said, Hey, look, you know, I am the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. You know, I am an important person. Our family is being, you know, treated badly in this way. You have got to come to my defense. You're not going to let you know a trumped up. Nobody like Henry, you know, dishonor our family in this way. So Charles, of course, listened to this and heeded the call and agreed to suggest to the pope, who was, after all, his prisoner that giving Henry his annulment was not such a good idea. Henry. Took a while to realize this. I mean, it was all happening rather quickly. The person that he sent to Rome to negotiate was his chief minister, what we would call today the prime minister. But it's not really in the same category.
He was Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey? Why the wealthy who ran the government and because Wolsey was a cardinal, Henry figured, well, he's got influence, you know, he can go to Rome and just twist a few arms and everything will be okay. Wolsey failed in this mission for the reasons that I've already described to you. The Pope was not entirely a free agent. The result was that Henry got rid of Wolsey, his stripped wolsey of his position, and more or less forced him into early retirement. This, however, created a crisis because Wolsey had not only run the government for about 15 years or so, but he had also more or less run the church. He was not the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was never the Archbishop. But of course his network of influence and so on was very great and he had a way of putting relatives and friends and other dependents in various positions. And so when Wolsey fell, of course, their positions came in, came out, were up for grabs as well, because they all depended on him as their patron. In fact, Wolsey was so involved in all of this that he even managed to find cushy jobs for his son. And of course, if you stop and think about it, he wasn't supposed to have a son because as a cop, he was supposed to be dedicated to celibacy and things like this. But he went around openly acknowledging his son, illegitimate son. So, anyway, this was a very difficult situation. I mean, clearly there was a whole network of corruption permeating the church in particular as a result of Rosie. In fairness, it has to be said that the Archbishop of Canterbury was absolutely delighted when, well, he was forced to resign because he didn't like the corruption either.
But there wasn't much he could do about it because as a Cardinal Wolsey could pull rank on the archbishop because they were two men. I mean, he had a higher rank. And so the archbishop was quite happy at the thought that there would be nobody to get in his way in the future. You see a sort of papal representative breathing down his neck once. Well, they had gone anyhow. Henry decided at this point that the way to get what he wanted was to call a parliament. Parliament in those days did not meet on a regular basis. In fact, the previous one had met in 1523. And so it was not until 1529 that Henry summoned a parliament again. So after six years and although this is inconceivable today, it was not entirely unusual at that time for the Parliament, which met in 1529, lasted until 1536, seven years and is known to us as the Reformation Parliament because this was the body which legislated the English Reformation. Because of this and because Henry chose to go this way, to go this route, parliament in the process of legislating the Reformation. Emerged as a significant partner in government. Previously, it had been more a kind of a consultative assembly. You know, I mean, called from time to time to more or less suggest what the king might do. But it didn't really have any very serious role to play. The rise of parliament and therefore, of course, of what we call representative democracy, was intimately tied with the Reformation. And I say this because later on when you come to Cromwell and people like that, this legacy is going to come back to haunt the king and the church and everything else because the belief grew, it would grow up that parliamentary control and Protestantism were two sides of the same coin.
You know that the two things went together. And of course, the Puritans would try to use the parliament in order to bring about a further reformation. But it begins at this point in 1529 with Henry, who decides to use it as a tool in order to get what he wants. To understand this, we need to have a look at the Constitution as it was at that particular time, the English Constitution. Insofar as it was, was not, of course, a written document. The United Kingdom is one of the very few countries in the world which does not have a written constitution. You know, and this means that you can pray in schools and things like that without anybody interfering because there's no constitutional ground for not doing it. So it's quite useful not to have such a document. But anyhow, on the one hand you had Parliament, which consisted of two houses, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Of course it's still true today. You also had though, a body called convocation. In fact, there were two convocations because in ecclesiastical terms, as far as the church was concerned, England was not one country, but two. It had two provinces. Still does. Of course, the province of Canterbury, which is in the south and the province of York in the north. However, in practice we can ignore the convocation of York. It's not very important. The complication of Canterbury is very important. This convocation also had to house as it was a parallel body to the Parliament, composed of the bishop and the clergy. Now, in both cases, if you were a Lord, all Lords sat in the House of Lords as of right, and this is still true. So if you are a Lord, you sit in the House of Lords, if you are a bishop, you sit in the House of Bishops.
It's a 100% coverage. But the House of Commons and the House of the Clergy are representative bodies. In other words, you elect, you know, somebody to stand in your place, but obviously because you can't have everybody in in these houses. So these are elected representatives. These are not. All right. You get in the picture here. Now, to be even more complicated than that, the bishops that in the House of Lords. So that in a sense, you could say the upper House of the Convocations was a kind of subcommittee of the House of Lords in a way. Now, the king was, of course, sovereign over the Parliament. If you had a law, you know, a bill introduced in the House of Commons which passed the House of Commons, it would then go to the House of Lords and it would then go to the king for signature. I mean, you understand that process. Similarly, if something came from the house of the clergy, it was approved by the bishops. And then the question is, well, where does it go from there? And it is understood that a bill passed in convocation would not become law unless it was ratified by the king. And this wasn't actually written down anywhere. That was just kind of, you know, assumed as a maybe that was the case. However, there was the alternative. And that is that and this would be argued by a lot of people in the church. The king doesn't have any say over what goes on in the church. It's none of his business that if the convocations pass anything, it's law unless the pope decrees otherwise, you say. So that the appeal from the convocation is to the pope, not to the king. And what the king comes to.
Just comes to understand, comes to realize. Is that? This has got to be cut off if he can cut the pope out of the picture. And make it clear that the convocations are dependent on him, just as the Parliament is dependent on him. Then he can make the convocations do what he wants. And of course, what he wants is an annulment of his marriage. You see. And he can persuade the convocations to annul his marriage, to have it ratified in parliament. And that would be fine. No more pope. No need for the pope. All right. The way this is set up and this is very important to realize, is that Henry believed and in this he was correct that he could get rid of the pope as part of the administrative structure of the church without actually changing the church. Now, this was totally different from what happened in Germany. You see, Luther in his reformation was only secondarily interested in the pope. I mean, the pope, as far as he was concerned, only became a problem when the pope opposed to what he wanted to do. I mean, had the pope agreed with Luther? Luther would have been the pope's best friend. I mean, no problem at all. You say because Luther's main concern was over faith. GRACE You know, the question of understanding how we are saved and all this. It was a theological problem or a theological thing. Same in a way, with Zwingli saying with Calvin and all these other people, they were thinking in a different way. What Henry wanted to do was nationalize the church, basically put the church under his control to use it for his purposes. He was not interested in changing its doctrine or introducing any kind of new idea into it.
Indeed, you might argue that it was not in Henry's interest to change the church internally, because if he took over the church and then introduced all kinds of changes. This might destabilize the church and make it less useful for his purposes because it might become a hotbed of opposition to people who don't want changes and so on. So the best thing is to leave it as as conservative and as you know as possible don't make as few changes as possible, just enough to get what I want from Henry's point of view. All right. So what does Henry what he wants an annulment of his marriage. And this is another very important point. Henry, The eight had six wives, but he never got divorced. Never. This is another popular misconception. You're saying people throw this word divorce around as if it's a very obvious and easy thing. But it was not a divorce. It was an annulment. Now, I know that nowadays annulment means divorce for Catholics, but it is a fundamentally different conception because if your marriage is annulled, this is a declaration that it never existed in the first place. Divorce is not saying that there was never a marriage. It is breaking a bond which is regarded as having existed at one time. Now, this has all kinds of implications, which are we need to look at just quickly so that you understand the difference in Roman law. That is not Catholic law, Roman law, pagan Roman law. Way back from when there were two types of divorce. There was divorce as it's known then could all, which is what we would call divorce today. The Winkler The win column is the bond. So divorce from the bond. In other words, you are breaking the marriage bond in divorce.
Advincula children born during the marriage are legitimate. They have a right to inherit from the parents. The persons who are so divorced can remarry. The only snag is that in this kind of divorce, the husband must return the wife's dowry. And this, of course, was a very nasty proposition. If you've got a man who married a rich heiress for that reason. You're saying, as Henry the Eighth did. Because Catherine of Aragon, whatever else you say about it, was a rich heiress, and she brought a very large dowry with her. Well, Henry didn't have to worry about this because the church never granted divorce having close. You're saying this kind of divorce was not recognized by the church. The Roman Catholic Church to this day does not recognize it. Neither, incidentally, while we're on this subject, does the Church of England. So that when Prince Charles got divorced from Princess Diana, he was not free to remarry in the church. You see. I mean, her death was quite a lucky thing as far as he was concerned, because now he's a widower. So now he can remarry, but not the person he wants to because her ex-husband is not dead. So they'll have to be another accident before that can happen. But anyhow, you know, you have to realize there's more to this than meets the eye. Now, the church courts did, in fact, grant a kind of divorce, and the word divorce was used to describe it, But it's something else. This divorce also existed in Roman law, and it was divorce at total at Mensa, which means from bed and board. This is what we would call today a legal separation, not a true divorce. In legal separation, the children are legitimate. Yes. All right.
That's important point. You are. But you are still married. You do not. You are not free to marry somebody else. If you marry somebody else, that's bigamy. Okay. You can live apart. You are separated from bed and board. That's fine. But you may not remarry. But of course, the plus side is you don't have to return the dowry either. And the church granted this kind of separation. That's what what happened? That was possible. Of course, this is not what Henry wanted because Henry needed the freedom to remarry. So the only way he could get it was by applying for an annulment that the saying that the marriage never existed. Now, if that was the case, if he got an annulment, his child marry would be illegitimate. Because the marriage would never have have existed. So therefore, marry would be illegitimate. And this, of course, was the big sticking point, particularly with Catherine. I'm not going to have an illegitimate my child being declared a bastard. I mean, she is legitimate. What is going on here, you say? And of course, this could be felt very deeply, as I'm sure you would feel it if it happened to you. I mean, you wouldn't want this in these circumstances so you can understand what was going on. All right. Well, what ground with Henry Hughes for getting an annulment? I mean, what do you suppose he could he could offer, you say, as an excuse for this? Well, there were various grounds that you could use for this. First of all, if you married under age, you could get an annulment. But it was very difficult to marry under age because the legal age for marriage was 14 for a boy and 12 for a girl. So, you know, I mean, there weren't that many who married under age.
So that was not usually a very good way out. Then if you married by force, you know, if you could if it could be proved that you you know, it was a shotgun wedding of one kind or another, this could be annulled because it was very important from the church's point of view that there should be consent on both sides. And that was very interesting, because whatever you say about in the Middle Ages, women had to give their consent to marriage. You couldn't be forced into it. And if if somebody tried to do this, you say, which of course they did. You know, in many cases, if you could prove if you could prove that you had married against your will, then the marriage could be could be annulled as if it never existed. Well, clearly, of course, that was not the case with Henry. Thirdly, if you could prove that one of the parties was mentally insane. At the time of the marriage, it could be annulled. And again, you know, there were people who who did that from time to time. But one of the the church had to pass the special regulations saying that if the insanity came about after the marriage, it didn't count. So if you were crazy at the time you married, that was fine. But if you went crazy afterwards, you couldn't get out of it. Now, of course, this was essential because otherwise you'd have every man in the country down there saying, She's driving me nuts, you know, that I would let me out after six months and this would. This couldn't. Could not happen. All right. They were more clever than you think. So these were all grounds for annulment. But as you can imagine, they none of them were particularly common.
The most common form of annulment was based on kindred or affinity. If you married within the prohibited degrees of kindred or affinity. You could get an annulment. Now, Kindred, we understand. I mean, if you marry your brother or your sister or somebody like that. I mean, it is clear that this has got to be annulled. I mean, this is incestuous stuff. However, the medieval church, always flexible in these matters, decreed that Kindred stretched to the seventh degree. So that it wasn't just a case of your brother or your sister or your first cousin, but it could stretch to your seventh cousin. This meant, of course, that if you lived in the village and those of you who come from small towns in Alabama will know exactly what I'm talking about. You were basically related to everybody, you know. I mean, if you come from a small place around here and you marry somebody locally, chances are that if you go back seven generations, you're going to find your related. Now. You don't need to go back that far. Of course, if the marriage is working out, I mean, you wouldn't even think of it. But if suddenly you just needed an annulment for some reason. Boy, it's amazing how you could find out how closely you were related, you know, in order to get this even more convenient. I can see some people. I'm giving you ideas. I can see this happen anyway. Even more convenient, though, was the question of affinity, because affinity was not a case of blood relation, but what we would call today in-laws. So that if you were related in the seventh degree, not by blood, but just by marriage, you could claim an annulment as well. And not only that, if you had what is called a spiritual relationship with somebody.
Namely, if you were their godparents or godchildren or something like that, that could also be annulled if you were a guardian for somebody, you know, because they were an orphan or something like that, you couldn't marry your ward. I mean, if you took somebody and, you know, because they had no parents and looked after them and so on, you couldn't marry that person even though there was no blood relation between you. I mean, you just couldn't know it. Neither could your son, because, you know, this would be equivalent to being a step brother or stepsister. So they were all basically in a small village community. What this meant was that virtually every marriage was against the rules somewhere along the line, and the rules were conveniently ignored, except when they had to be discovered because something wasn't working out, you see. So annulment was actually a lot easier to get than you might imagine. Now, the snag for poor old Henry was that his marriage was just too public. Everybody knew what his family tree was. Even if he went back seven generations, he still wasn't related to Catherine of Aragon. You know, so that poor man finds that he's one of the few people who cannot get away with this, except for the fact that Catherine conveniently had been married to his older brother. As I pointed out, when Henry and Catherine married the first time in 1509. They had to get a dispensation from the pope saying that the first marriage, Catherine's first marriage, had never been consummated. So Catherine's first marriage was annulled in effect on grounds of non consummation of that was another grounds for annulment, which didn't obviously didn't apply in Henry's case, but it did apparently in the case of his older brother, Arthur.
So now the question arises, was this dispensation valid? And Henry said, no. The pope granted a dispensation which he had no right to grant because it went against Scripture. And now, for the first time, theology enters the ring. You say here, because if there is a conflict between the Pope and the Bible, who wins? Aha. Well, you see, now Henry goes round looking for people who are going to say the Bible is more important than the pope. And all of a sudden, Protestants become useful to Henry because Protestants of people who are prepared to say this kind of thing. Now, Henry, you say, Well, how come the Bible says that you can't do this when you know the pope said you can? I mean, what is the. What is Henry talking about? Well, of course, there's that well-known verse in Leviticus, which I'm sure you have engraved over your bed. Leviticus. Well, it's amazing what some people have, you know, on a bumper sticker on your car, Leviticus chapter 20, verse 22, which says something like, If a man marries his brother's wife, they shall be childless. And Henry said, Well, there you are. This is proof. You see that God has condemned my marriage to Catherine of Aragon because I married my brother's wife, and we've been childless. And somebody said, But you've got a daughter. Yeah, but she doesn't count. I mean, look at all those miscarriages that Catherine kept on having. And so Henry convinced himself that Leviticus Chapter 20 justified his annulment to Catherine, to the annulment of his marriage to Catherine. Well, needless to say, this argument didn't go down very well with people who might be said to be regarding the situation objectively. And Henry had a very hard time persuading people that this was necessary and that this was going to happen and it didn't happen.
He called the parliament of 1529, came up with this idea, and everybody sort of looked at him and said, Who do you think you're kidding? You know, this argument did not go over well. And so the parliament, which was called to facilitate Henry's annulment, didn't actually do it. Henry needed help. And this particular matter and help, as very often happens, was to hand and it was to hand in the work of a person who, up until this time nobody had ever heard of. And this was a man called Thomas Cranmer. Now, I don't know what will happen when you tell the authorities of this in divinity school. That's one of the sweet 16 up there in the dome actually made his fortune by advocating divorce. But, well, you know, what do you say, anyhow? Cannot had been up until this time a university lecturer in Cambridge. More or less unheard of by anybody. Cambridge, on the other hand, had become a center for Protestant propaganda. Is that perhaps the best way to put it? England did not have a whole lot of Protestants this time. In this respect, it was very different from France. France, which was full of them. England had very few. The few Protestants that there were were mainly people who had been persuaded by the writings of Luther or his followers, which they had managed to get hold of from London traders, because what happened was that books were brought over from Germany in in the holes of ships and things, and they were sold on the black market and it was like smuggling drugs or whatever today, you know, And you know how it is. I mean, I could wander around Birmingham for years on end and never find any cannabis, but there are other people who wouldn't have to go further than the food court and they'd come back with, you know, kilos of eggs, you know.
I mean, you know how it is. It's just one of those miraculous things, isn't it? So those with the contacts, those who knew where to go, knew where to get these books in London, and people in Cambridge had the right contacts. And this is this is what happened. And I don't like to don't want to sort of kill your Protestant ardor at this point. But actually, they met for discussion in a pub, a public house over beer, a real beer, not American beer. I mean, beer that actually sort of tasted like something called the White Horse Tavern. Well, the White Horse Tavern isn't there anymore. Perhaps that was God's judgment on it. But there isn't even a plaque or a theme park or anything to recall it. But the beer is still flowing. Anyhow, this was in Cambridge during the 1520s they used to meet. You see it for theological discussion in the pub. And of course this is where the books of Luther and so on got passed around. And this is where Cranmer came into contact with it all. Now, Henry was not the only person to have been influenced in this way. Nor at this point was he by any means the most important, the most important person to have up until this time to have undergone this kind of influence was William Tyndale. William Tyndale, who through discussion group of this kind. Had been persuaded of the need to translate the Bible into English. Well, Tyndale was a young and rather foolish person, and he went to the bishop of London and said, I want to translate the Bible into English. And the Bishop of London sort of looked at him, you know, and said, Oh, well, you know, if you're a nice person, go off and, you know, do something else.
And Tyndale said, No, no, I really want to translate the Bible into English. And the bishop said, Well, you can't do that because it's illegal. I mean, in England, it was illegal to translate the Bible because of John Wickliffe and the lowlands. You see, it had been made illegal in the previous century. So Tindale didn't have a lot of choice. He had to leave the country altogether. And in 15, 23 or so, he took himself off to Wittenberg and became a student of Luther in Wittenberg. I mean, he actually went there to study. You know, and this was something very unusual at the time, and people didn't do this kind of thing. But anyway, William Tyndale graduated with a theology degree from the University of Wittenberg. Mm hmm. And the monument, which he had to show for it. I mean, I don't know whether he ever did a term paper in his life, but he did produce a translation of the New Testament. And this translation of the New Testament was published in Germany and smuggled back into England. Where, of course it was decreed to be illegal and was seized if ever it was found and so on and so successful was this that there are now only two copies left, both of them in the British Museum, and of course no one's ever found them since because they're in the British Museum. And it's a good place to lose things. But, you know, there they are to this day. So Tindale, of course, was doing this, and he was about to embark on his translation of the Old Testament. Now, if Tyndale had been content just to translate the Bible, this would have been bad in the eyes of the law, but not criminal.
Not terribly, terribly bad. But what Tyndale did was he followed Luther's example and gave an introduction to each of the books of the Bible. And of course, it was in the introduction that he introduced his theology. Now, Tyndale's theology was basically that of Luther justification by faith alone. But one of the interesting things that Tyndale did, and apparently this was just off the top of his own head it doesn't seem to have come from anywhere particularly, is that Tyndale worked out a system by which the Old Testament could be related to the New Testament. And, you know, he actually sat down and and figured it out that the Old and New Testaments were two dispensations of a single covenant of grace. And so Tindale is really the grandfather of what was later to be known as covenant theology. And the English Puritans who were hot on covenant theology, as we will discover when we get there, actually owed this to him and to his introductions to the Bible. So all this was going on, as I say, in the 1520s, but from outside the country. I mean, this was not happening inside the country, inside the country. You know, people were sort of gradually depleting the stocks of beer in the White Horse Tavern and in the process gradually coming to adopt Protestant ideas more and more. Now, one Protestant idea was that marriage matrimony was not a sacrament. And therefore, if it wasn't working, it could be dissolved. The medieval system of annulment. Was regarded as hypocritical. Because virtually anybody could get it. And it was a denial of the existence of what everybody realized was a real marriage. I mean, it was just a lie. And so these Protestants who were sitting around discussing said, wouldn't it be much better? If we had legalized divorce.
If we restricted Kindred and affinity to a narrow band defined by Leviticus Chapter 18. They were into Leviticus in those days. The verdict is Chapter 18 lists what the degrees of kindred and affinity should be. Let's impose that instead of this to the seventh degree business. And restructure the whole thing. You say give different grounds for divorce like incompatibility, you know, breakdown of relationship, all this kind of thing. I mean, they were prepared to consider all these things as possible. Grounds for divorce. Are there also, of course, as part of this general package, thought that the clergy should be allowed to marry because if marriage is not a sacrament, then why not? You see that the old medieval idea that if you were ordained you couldn't marry, should go out the window as well. And Cranmer was very in favor of this because he wanted to get married. And in fact, he did get married in secret to somebody at this point. But anyhow, in 1530 4:00, this happy life came to an end for Cranmer because there was an outbreak of plague in Cambridge, you know, the plague, which sort of came back from time to time. And for the sake of his health, Cranmer was advised to leave, and he went to a place called Waltham Abbey, which is just outside London. And it's chiefly known because Waltham Abbey was founded by King Harold, the man who lost the Battle of Hastings. And Harold is actually buried there. It's the burial place of the last English king of England in 1066. So anyhow, Cranmer went off there to become a tutor in a private household. And while he was there, the king's annulment proceedings, of course. But now public knowledge. Cranmer wrote a paper about this, saying that the king ought to get his divorce.
Well, his annulment on completely different grounds. You know that the the medieval system is out of date and it ought to be overthrown. And it's quite clear that the marriage has broken down, that the king, you know, desperately needs a son, that he cannot get this son in this marriage and so on. And therefore, higher reasons ought to override the laws of the church. You see that in this particular case, he should be allowed to proceed with the annulment as he wished. Well, of course, the king at this point was desperate for anybody who was going to support him in any way whatsoever. And so somebody showed this to the king. I mean, there was a you know, the pamphlet got into the king's hands and the king said, who is this man? Where is he? You know, I need him. And so out of the woodwork, literally, you know, can appears. And the king says, right. You know, he said, you really believe all this? Yes, I do. Right. Okay. You can take over my annulment proceedings. And Cranmer was promptly dispatched off to Rome. Would you believe, to argue with the pope in favor of the annulment? Because the king's son thought that he'd found suddenly somebody who could do this. And so in 1531, Cranmer took himself off to Rome in order to argue the king's annulment case. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as it were, the king decided that it was time to start putting the pressure on because he felt if I can pressure the church into realizing that they would be better off doing what I want. I might get my way. And so in different ways, the king began to turn the screws on the church. Of course, he called this cleaning up corruption.
And it just so happened, thanks to Cardinal Wolsey, that there was quite a lot of corruption to clean up. So the king got away with it, you say. But his technique was to say, Right. Well, here we have people, we have priests going into churches and, you know, they're robbing the churches blind. They they're getting an income from the church, but they're not actually taking the services that they're supposed to take. They're not resident. You know, they come to London and they sort of spend all this money in the bars and so on, and they shouldn't be doing this. And so we need to clamp down. The only way we can clamp down is by tightening control. The bishops obviously either don't want to do this or they have failed to do this, so the king must do it instead. And so the parliament started passing all kinds of laws telling the clergy how to behave, you say, and tightening up the rules for them in this particular way. And there were all kinds of things that they had to do. For example, clergy were not allowed to dress as laymen. They had to wear special clothing so that they could be identified. You know, the idea being that if you rated, you know, a rather low dive in London, you'd know who you were arresting this kind of thing you say possibly. Also, they wanted to discourage clergy from going to places like that, but you never know. Anyway, this was the sort of law that was passed. And, of course, the church realized that, you know, they were in trouble because once the king started doing this kind of thing, where was it going to stop? The next thing was that the king accused the entire church of having broken the law.
Now, again, you say, what law did they break? Nobody really knew. But it turned out that back in the 14th century, in 1351, there had been a law passed saying that nobody could appeal a case to Rome. Without the king's permission. Well, of course, for generations people have been doing this. You see, they've been sending cases like annulment. Well, Henry himself had sent his own annulment case to Rome. So this was an extremely hypocritical thing for him to say. But he said, well, you know, the clergy have been going against this law. This law which nobody had ever heard of. You saying he dragged it out, dusted it off and said, you're all guilty. But in my generosity and kindness, I will dispense you from this. I will not pursue this matter any further. As long as you pay a huge fine. So this was rather like kidnaping the church? Well, the church decided that rather than, you know, cause any more trouble, they would give him the money. Something like ¬£100,000, which, you know, in today's money would be like $1,000,000,000. I mean, it was a huge amount of money. Well, the trouble, of course, as you can imagine, was that once somebody manages to get away with this kind of thing once. You aren't going to give it up easily. Henry realized that he could get further with the church than he thought, and so he began to put more tighten the screws even further, put more pressure on the church in order to extract even more money out of them. In particular, he passed laws to say that the church was not to send any money out of the country to Rome and for various things, taxation to to stop stock. And all the time Henry thinks in the back of his mind, sooner or later they are going to realize that I want this annulment.
You know, give me this annulment and this will stop. But it didn't happen like that. It just didn't. And then the worst thing imaginable happened. And that is that Henry fell in love with somebody else, not Catherine. This nobody had foreseen. Now, of course, as you know, love and sex are two totally different things. Particularly in Henry, the imagination. I mean, one must not suppose that Henry went home every night to his wife. I mean, that would be going much too far. You know, from his point of view. And he was quite willing to bed down with anybody he could find anywhere. He could find them more or less all the time. But all kings at that time did this sort of thing. I mean, you know, was this unusual at all? And you certainly wouldn't be impeached for doing anything like that anyhow. You know, this was this was this was well, not okay, but it was it was tolerated. And Henry had, in fact, been having an affair with a lady called Mary Boleyn. B0leyn who was the daughter of a wealthy London merchant. And in fact, this is still commemorated in London today because in East London, in East Ham, near where I used to live, there was a there's a pub called the Boleyn Arms, and that's supposed to be where they lived, you know. And so it's still commemorated to this day. Well, anyhow, this was just a kind of run of the mill, you know, bed warming exercise. Not terribly exciting on either side. But one day, this lady introduced Henry to her younger sister, her younger sister, Anne. And it was love at first sight on Henry's side. History has not recorded what am thought about it, but if you've ever seen a portrait of Henry the Eighth, you can imagine, you know, I mean, he was a fat, middle aged pig, really.
And I can't imagine that Anne Boleyn was terribly taken with him. Well, anyhow, Henry sort of was going through his mid-life crisis and did everything he could to chase this woman you see all over the place. You know, who was, of course, half his age, naturally, and so on. Gave him gave her a job in his household, sort of lady in waiting. And I mean, that's the 16th century equivalent of being an intern. You know, you can see it all happening, catch you and showered with presents of one kind or another, you know, the whole bit. But Anne, funnily enough, had principles. She wasn't going to sleep with somebody she wasn't married to. Now, Henry never met anyone like that before. Apart from his wife, of course. But that didn't count. You know, What do you do? What do you do? You're king of England, and you know, you're madly in love with this sort of 20 year old girl. And she won't do what you want because you're not married. Well, there wasn't anything for it. Henry had to promise. He said, Well, I'll marry you. And she said, Yes, I've heard that one before. You know, you can't marry me, dear, because you're already married. Well, we'll sort that one out. Yeah, well, you do that and then we'll see. It didn't happen, of course, like that. But and who had actually and spent most of it had spent most of her youth in France. She'd grown up in Paris and she had come into contact with Protestants in Paris. And, you know, she she had read a lot of Protestant literature and was very favorable to Protestants, which Henry had no idea about. Or if he did, he kind of overlooked it.
His interests were sort of elsewhere and and so on. But at one point they went to France. I mean, she went to France and he chased after her and so on. And at this point, they got married secretly, apparently. Nobody really knows what actually happened, but they were supposed to have got married secretly. And then, of course, it was all right. She could sleep with him. The only snag was that Henry was now technically a bigamist because he still didn't have his annulment from Catherine of Aragon. And this was Christmas 1532. They arrived back in England. And before long it becomes clear and is pregnant. And this is the moment which touches off a crisis. The Archbishop of Canterbury had died in August of 1532, and Henry decided that Thomas Cranmer, who was still a layman, would be appointed in his place. Cranmer was in Rome, so he had to be summoned home to be made Archbishop. It took a while for him to get there, but he eventually came back. He was made Archbishop and Henry. The first thing after he got made, Archbishop Henry said, Right now you are going to annul my marriage to Catherine and perform the wedding ceremony of me. And I. Cranmer said, Yeah, great, Fine. Let's go ahead. And that's what he did. So this was now legal, legalized marriage, and just got bigger and bigger by the day. And Henry got happier and happier because here at long last was the son who was going to be the justification, ultimate justification for everything. Henry knew that if a son was born to him, all would be forgiven. The country would be on his side and there would be no more trouble. And so what happened, of course, was that on the 7th of September in 1533 and gave birth to a very live and lively young girl, not quite what Henry had expected.
This was the Princess Elizabeth, future Queen Elizabeth. The first Elizabeth was promptly declared illegitimate by the pope because, of course, the annulment of the marriage to Catherine was not recognized. Katherine was still alive, but Henry didn't care and was still young and so on. There would be other children. However, as time went on, guess what happened? And did in fact get pregnant again and had a miscarriage. Famous old thing story happening again. It was a boy. Disaster. You say this did all the wrong thing for him. They. So Henry his enthusiasm for and gradually cooled at this point began to wonder what was going on. Is this the curse being visited on him for having broken the laws of the church? And meanwhile, is a sort of 22 year old young girl, you know, married to a 40 year old man who is getting bigger by the day. And, you know, needless to say, she had other interests in line, rather like Princess Diana. And, you know, she started having friends of her own. Well, of course, this was not possible in those circumstances. I mean, the queen just didn't play cards in the evening, you know, with dashing young knights and so on. And although and probably never did anything wrong by our standards, I mean, she certainly never had any kind of liaison with anybody. The mere fact that she was seen in the company of men that she wasn't related to, but who were a good deal more attractive and closer to her age than her husband was, enough to set the gossips going. Henry found out, had been arrested, had a doubt. And the now archbishop can annul the marriage on the grounds of adultery and beheaded. And in May of 1536, just a couple of months after Catherine of Aragon died.
She died around this time. So Henry was now left as a double widower. You're saying he was actually free to remarry legally? But he had two daughters, both of whom were regarded by different people as illegitimate for different reasons and still had no son. And he was 45 years old.