Ch 06 The New Monarchy and the Bourgeoise

Ch.06-The New Monarchy and the Bourgeoisie

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CHAPTER VI: NEW MONARCHY AND THE BOURGEOISIE

SECTION 5: THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND

 

THE MEDIEVAL PAPACY WAS A CENTRALISED, INSTITUTIONAL ORGANISATION, WHICH HAD A HIGHLY PROFITABLE MONOPOLY IN THE GRACE OF GOD. THIS WAS BOUND TO LEAD TO CONFLICT AND TO THE CREATION OF ABSOLUTE MONARCHIES.

 

THE CHURCH BECAME EASY PREY FOR KINGS AND LANDOWNERS.

 

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION WAS THEREFORE, IN ESSENCE, A POLITICAL MOVEMENT IN RELIGIOUS DISGUISE AND BECAME PART OF THE LONG STRUGGLE OF THE EUROPEAN MONIED CLASSES FOR POWER.

 

THE PAPACY RESIDED IN AVIGNON, FRANCE, BUT THE CONTROL OF THE PAPACY BETWEEN FRANCE, SPAIN AND ITALY LEFT ENGLAND IN BETWEEN THE EXTREMES OF POWER. THIS FREED ENGLAND FROM PAPACY CONTROL AND ITS RELIGIOUS DOGMA.

 

THE BREAK WITH ROME WAS UNIVERSALLY WELCOMED HERE.

 

IN 1526, HENRY WANTED TO DIVORCE CATHERINE OF ARAGON, OR, RATHER, HE WANTED A PAPAL DECLARATION THAT THE MARRIAGE WAS INVALID, SINCE CATHERINE HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN THE WIFE OF HENRY’S BROTHER ARTHUR.

 

THE DIVORCE WAS CONVENIENT AS CATHERINE WAS SPANISH AND HENRY WAS CREATING AN ALLIANCE WITH FRANCE. CATHERINE HAD ALSO FAILED TO PRODUCE A SON.

 

HENRY APPLIED TO POPE CLEMENT VII AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A FORMALITY, BUT, IN 1527, ROME HAD BEEN SACKED BY THE GERMANS AND THE SPANISH, AND THE POPE WAS A VIRTUAL PRISONER OF SPAIN. HE COULD NOT DO OTHER THAN LOOK FOR A COMPROMISE.

 

FOR HENRY, THIS WAS A TEST CASE, AND, WHEN IT FAILED, IT WAS DECIDED TO BREAK WITH ROME.

CARDINAL WOLSEY’S DIPLOMACY WAS TESTED, AND HE FAILED TO DELIVER BUT DIED JUST IN TIME TO AVOID EXECUTION.

 

HENRY TURNED TO THOMAS CROMWELL, A ROUGHER CHARACTER, AND, FROM 1529-1536, THE REFORMATION PARLIAMENT SAT PASSING LAWS THAT CUT ENGLAND FROM ROME AND BROUGHT THE CHURCH UNDER STATE CONTROL.

 

APPEALS TO ROME WERE FORBIDDEN. HENRY BECAME HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS AND DETERMINED DOCTRINE.

 

THE BREAK WAS COMPLETE, THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE CHURCH BROKEN.

 

IN 1536, A DIRECT ATTACK ON THE MONASTRIES BEGAN AND CORRUPT CONFISCATIONS WERE JUSTIFIED ON MORAL GROUNDS. 376 MONASTRIES AND HOUSES WERE TAKEN. HOWEVER, CROMWELL OVERESTIMATED HIS POWER TO DETERMINE HENRY’S POLICY AND IN 1540 WAS BEHEADED.

 

HENRY REVERTED TO BALANCE OF POWER TACTICS, PLAYING ONE OFF AGAINST ANOTHER.

 

THE STATUTE OF SIX ARTICLES MADE DENIAL OF THE MAIN CATHOLIC DOCTRINES PUNISHABLE BY DEATH.

LATIMER AND OTHER PROTESTANTS WERE DEPRIVED OF THEIR POSITIONS.

 

HENRY EXECUTED PROTESTANTS FOR DENYING CATHOLIC DOCTRINE AND CATHOLICS FOR DENYING HE WAS HEAD OF THE CHURCH.

 

ONE INNOVATION WAS THE PUBLICATION OF AN ENGLISH VERSION OF THE BIBLE, WHICH BECAME COMMON PROPERTY OF THE LITERATE.

 

PROTESTANTS MADE THE BIBLE THE TEXT BOOK OF THEIR ‘PARTY’.

 

CHURCH LANDS WERE GIVEN TO PROTESTANTS AS A WAY OF GUARANTEEING A WIDE DIFFUSION OF PROTESTANTISM TO THE MASSES.

 

HENRY DIED IN 1547, BUT THE BREAK WITH ROME WAS COMPLETE. 

 

PROTESTANTS WERE A MINORITY BUT WERE VOCAL AND INFLUENTIAL. THEIR DESIRES COINCIDED PRECISELY WITH WHAT WAS THE WIDER COURSE OF ENGLISH HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT.

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