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A King that Wanted a Son, Challenged the System and
Brought Down an Over-Powerful Religious Empire.

According to doctrine, Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church and Peter made it official in about 50-75 CE. The early church struggled for acceptance, wherein Christians were outcasts for the first couple hundred years of the Church’s existence. However, in the year 313, Emperor Constantine-I legalized Christianity and it eventually became the state religion of the Roman Empire by the decree of the Emperor. Even after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Catholic Church and the state remained closely linked. More specifically, the duties of every political authority and commoner including: kings, queens, princes, knights, serfs and soldiers were to the embrace the Catholic faith and to support, sustain and nurture the church. Kings believed that "God establishes kings as his ministers and reigns through them over the people.” For over a thousand years, the Catholic Church reinforced the political authority of the states and the states reinforced the authority of the church. However, in 1527 King Henry-VIII of England challenged the authority of the Church to exert its political and economic authority over sovereign lands. By establishing the Church of England, King Henry-VIII changed the way most European monarchs viewed the authority of the Pope. After complicated power struggle with the Catholic Church, involving political and theological issues, King Henry-VIII, was named "Defender of the Faith" by the Catholic Pope, but the King Henry-VIII did more to destroy the power of the Catholic Church than any other single person.
King Henry Tutor the VIII
Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491 and died on January 28, 1547. Henry was the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, succeeding his father, King Henry VII. Henry VIII ascended the thrown in April 1509 and ruled until his death in 1547. Henry VIII had a longtime obsession with invading France, and in 1513, the new King Henry-VIII allied his kingdom with Maximillian I, the Holy Roman Emperor. Together they invaded France in 1513 with a large, well-equipped army, but Henry VIII achieved little reward for Englands considerable financial expenditure. The Holy Roman Emperor used the English invasion to cement his own power and authority in France, which hampered England's ability to ultimately defeat the French. Although this may have been viewed as a betrayal, Henry VIII felt that his alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor would someday be beneficial.
Soon after taking the thrown in early April of 1509, Henry married Catherine of Aragon and she quickly became pregnant. Unfortunately, Henry and Catherine’s first child was a stillborn daughter who was born prematurely in the early months of 1510. This disappointment was soon followed by another disappointing pregnancy. Prince Henry was born in the January of 1511 and was ‘blessed’ mere days after his birth. There were great celebrations and merriments for the birth of the prince, but these celebrations were abruptly stopped by the baby's death, only 52 days after birth. Catherine then had another short-lived son, followed by a miscarriage. Finally in the February of 1516, Catherine gave birth a daughter named Mary, which lived.
Henry VIII remained a loyal and dedicated husband for 17 years, but had become very angered and frustrated by his wife’s inability to produce a male heir to take the thrown. In 1526, Henry had become disenchanted with Catherine, because he had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn, one of Catherine’s women in waiting. Henry wanted a divorce from Catherine, but the Roman Catholic Religion did not permit divorce. It plainly prohibited it. Unlike today, husbands and wives could not decide that their marriage was not working and divorce their spouse to later re-marry. More specifically, the Roman Catholic Church did not allow divorce. Accordingly:
“A Christian marriage implies the restoration, by Christ Himself, of marriage to its original indissolubility, there can never be an absolute divorce, at least after the marriage has been consummated;” (Catholic Doors Ministry)
Henry believed his earlier military alliance with the Maximillian-I would allow the Church to grant his divorce. More specifically, Henry used a special appeal to the pope so that he might get a special "Papal Dispensation". This meant that the pope would agree to Henry’s request for a divorce purely because Henry was king of England but that it would not affect the way the Catholic Church banned divorce for others. The pope refused to grant Henry this and by 1533 his anger was so intense that Henry was forced into action.
The Pope’s decision to not permit King Henry to divorce Catherine and marry Anne put Henry VIII in a very difficult position. If he disobeyed the Vatican and announced he was allowing himself to divorce Catherine, he was certain that the pope would excommunicate him. Excommunication would have caused major diplomatic issues for England because the church would have cuts all political ties with Henry, which in turn would cause major diplomatic issues. More specifically, virtually every Christian in England would have scorned an excommunication King Henry VIII. Additionally, it would have been very likely that without the support of the Christian faithful of England, Henry could not effectively administer his Kingdom and an rebellion would become a reality. Henry VII understood that the Catholic Church used excommunication to keep people under its complete and total control.
In order to avoid Excommunication from the church, Henry carried out a well-orchestrated plan. More specifically, Henry proclaimed Thomas Cramner to be the new Archbishop of Canterbury, wherein the Archbishop announced promptly that Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was null and the children (i.e. Mary I) illegitimate. After marrying Anne Boleyn in secret, the marriage to was declared official and the children of the newly proclaimed family legitimate. Henry VII still feared retaliation from the Pope and executed a plan to removed England from the Pope's control through the “Act of Supremacy” in 1534. The Act of Supremacy allowed the king to become the "supreme head" of the Church of England, a new branch of the Christian Church that was neither Catholic nor Protestant but a hybrid that became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England.
Disabling the Catholic Church from Responding:
Through the passage of new laws, political posturing and creative interpretation of existing church doctrine, Henry VIII had taken effectively the Pope’s power over England away. However, his acts against the Church needed to be embraced by the Christians of England or his subjects would still view him in an unfavorable light. As such, Henry also had a plan to appease the faithful Christians of England. More specifically, one of the most important policies of King Henry’s Reformation was the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536-1540. Henry’s administration enacted the dissolution of the monasteries to put a stop to the suspected corruption of the religious establishment. King Henry VIII break away from the Catholic Church needed to be complete, wherein he create a new Protestant form of Christian worship within the new Anglican Church. Thus, Catholic practices had to be abandoned, including monasticism. The wealthiest lands in England belonged to the monasteries and because the monks that lived at the monasteries were also the most loyal supporters of the pope, Henry knew they were a threat to Henry’s Reformation plans – they had to go.
Henry used the people’s prejudice toward the monks to sway public opinion. More specifically, monks were supposed to help communities, but by the time of Henry VIII, many monks had grown lazy and did not help the community. Most common people believed that all monks seemed to do was take money from the poor. Some of the monasteries had grown to be enormous and owned vast areas of land. Henry decided to shut down the monasteries of England. The monasteries were to disappear “like sugar cubes dissolve in hot liquid.” This is why Henry’s attack on the Catholic monasteries was called the 'Dissolution' because they were to be dissolved!
In addition to protecting his administration and reign from the wrath of the Vatican, there were also enormous economic and political gains to be made by the dissolved monasteries. More specifically, the monasteries were the single largest landowners in the country because they had been collecting kingdom property for over a thousand years. By declaring himself Head of the Anglican Church, all of that land immediately became the property of Henry Tutor VIII! Part of Henry’s plan to prevent uprisings included selling some of the seized Church lands to those who families that had supported England’s break with Rome. Additionally, the Crown could now keep the profits the monasteries had previously collected. More importantly, a large portion of the land taken from monasteries was sold/distributed to the common people, which made them beneficiaries/accomplices of the Reformation and prevented them from resisting the sweeping changes.
The residents of England handled Henry’s political actions against the Church very well. Largely due to the fact that a majority of the population had been very angry with the way the Roman Catholic Church had conned them and used them as a source of money and profitable income. To legally get married you had to pay the Catholic Church. To get children baptized you had to pay the Catholic Church. You even had to pay the Church to bury someone on Church owned land because your soul could only go to, and would only be allowed to go to Heaven if you were buried on Holy Grounds. Therefore, the Catholic Church was extremely wealthy while many people in the common population remained in poverty. The common man knew their money was going to the Leviathan Catholic Church. Therefore, there were no protests or riot throughout the land, as many felt that King Henry would ease up on taking money from them. Henry knew of the Catholic Church’s unpopularity with the people and used this to his advantage.
One of the key features of Henry’s ‘Dissolution’ plans was to use the propaganda to make the break with the Church appear to be backed by law. One trick was that Henry sent government “officials” to check-up on what the monks were doing. Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s chief minister, organized this sting operation to sway public opinion. More specifically, his government officials went on a fact-finding mission to collect only the facts that were needed to produce a desired public outrage toward the monasteries. Henry needed specific documentation to show that the monks were NOT working to help communities; were NOT saying their prayers; and were NOT needed in England, etc, and anything to discredit the monks was considered useful. The monks were asked “false” or “loaded” questions in order to trick them. For example: "Mr. Monk, have you keep ALL of your vows?" By answering either “yes or “no” the monks would break their “vow of silence,” wherein – the King’s “official report” would show that the monks had not kept ALL of their vows and therefore the monk was corrupt. In contrast, by refusing to answer, due to the monk’s “vow of silence,” they would be accused promptly of interfering with official government investigations to root out corruption in England. Regardless of the monk’s answers, the official reports were pre-designed to discredit the monks, regardless of their answers.
The smaller and less valuable monasteries were shut down by 1536. It took longer to seize the larger and more valuable monasteries, but they too were shut down by 1540. More importantly, Henry’s political posturing and propaganda worked so well that most of the Christian faithful in England were happy to see the monasteries go because they believed the unfair nature of the church. Additionally, very few monks protested because they were given pensions or jobs in exchange for loyalty to the Crown. For example, the Abbot (i.e. chief Monk) of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire was bribed with a £100 pension a year for life (i.e. in 1536, £100/year was a large amount of money.) In contrast, other chief monks (called abbots) that did refused jobs or pensions were hanged.
As an additional incentive for the local people to embrace the King’s plan, some monastery buildings were deconstructed that allowed the local people to acquire freely the building materials, with the one caveat that the silver and gold found in the monasteries went to the King. This meant that the local populations were bribed with expensive building bricks and other high quality building materials. This action alone of “stealing-from-the-rich” and “giving to the poor,” made the Dissolution plan very popular with the majority of the very poor people who tended to dislike lazy monks anyway. This type of political policy exists to this day.
As stated above, the vast bulk of the wealth of the monasteries went to Henry. Some of this new wealth was used to improve defenses from French aggression on the southern coastline near Portsmouth. Only a small amount of Henry’s new wealth was used as a political “payout” to fund extraordinary pensions of monks and abbots that accepted them. King Henry died in 1547 and he was considered to be a very influential King that pulled many Catholics along with him into a brave-new-world-of-Reformation when he converted to the Church of England. Henry’s son, King Edward, would continue his father’s vision, but he was physically weak and died in 1553.
In contrast to zealous Church of England converts, many devout Catholics waited quietly until the King’s reign ended in order to restore the Catholic Church to its “proper” position as a satellite of the Catholic church. The time came when Mary Tudor became Queen of England in 1553. She so hated the Church of England that she persecuted those who refused to abandon Protestantism. So driven to restore the Catholic Church, she burned Anglican bishops, including Cranmer. Her resolve to reinstate the Catholic Church in England let to her having the nickname of “Bloody Mary,” which was not a term of endearment in public opinion of the time. Over 800 dissenters fled the Continent and came under the tutelage of more radical reformers, especially John Calvin. Mary reign only lasted 5 years before her half sister, Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) succeeded Mary and reestablished a more inclusive and tolerant Anglican Church. Elizabeth welcomed back the dissenters from Europe, who had since become well educated in Reformed theology.
Conclusion:
King Henry’s complicated power struggle with the Catholic Church of England allowed one nation to leave the Catholic Church’s Federation of European States. Although this action did not immediately destroy the grip of power the Catholic Church held over other Europe States for more than 1,200 years, King Henry’s political propaganda, economic theft and the establishment of the Church of England allowed others to imagine a world that did not have a central religious power controlling the political and economical future of independent countries. As more European Monarchs challenged the Church’s authority to direct its political and economic will in a sovereign states, the Pope named King Henry-VIII "Defender of the Faith." By then it was too late to stem the tide of discontent with the Church, the genie had been released from his bottle and he was not going back in. As such, the policies and actions of King Henry-VIII did more to destroy the power of the Catholic Church than any other single person. For example, Less than 100 years after Henry VIII’s death, the European Enlightenment yielded high minded thinkers such as John Locke, Newton, Voltaire, and Rousseau. The writings of which led to a document called the United States Constitution, wherein Church and State are separate, which was considered a very radical idea at the time, but was and extension of what King Henry VIII attempted with the Church of England.

Bibliography (MLA) 1. Elton, G. R.. N.p.. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/henry-viii>. 2. McCarthy, M. n.d., n. pag. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-jousting-accident-that-turned-henry-viii-into-a-tyrant-1670421.html>. 3. "Anglican Church." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 May 2 4. Blackwell, Amy. "Reformation." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 May 2013. 5. Brockman, Norbert. "Canterbury Cathedral." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 May 2013. 6. Melton, J. Gordon. "Anglican Communion." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 May 2013. 7. Eakins, L. E.. N.p.. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://tudorhistory.org/henry8/>. 8. . .Catholic Doors Ministry. Web. 27 May 2013. <http://www.catholicdoors.com/misc/marriage/canonlaw.htm>.

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...Carmen Hollow Mr. Beurskens College English Critique Essay: The Morals of the Prince May 3, 2011 The Grey Area between Good and Evil: A Critique of “The Morals of the Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli Introduction We’ve all made a promise that we couldn’t keep and we have all felt bad about breaking those promises. Whether it was a promise to our parents, our children or a co-worker, we don’t feel good about it, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Usually if we couldn’t keep a promise it was for a good reason and not a selfish one. To the person that we made the promise to, we may be viewed as uncaring or unreliable, but to ourselves we know that we had to make a decision that could hurt someone but at the same time our decision could help that same person or persons. Making a promise and not being able to keep it for one reason or another, is one of the few topics that Machiavelli writes of in his essay “The Morals of the Prince”. He also tells why he believes a prince should be feared rather than loved, and why a prince should be stingy and not generous. He wants us to know how a “perfect” prince should act and behave so that the prince will be viewed upon as a great prince. Summary Machiavelli writes about how he believes a prince should act and behave to be considered a successful prince, one that is loved and feared, liberal and stingy, one that knows when to keep his word and when to break it. In his essay, Machiavelli writes “a prince who wants to keep......

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