Henry VIII’s Desire for a Divorce as the Sole Cause of the English Reformation

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Henry VIII’s Desire for a Divorce as the Sole Cause of the English Reformation

The English reformation is widely discussed amongst historians; it was a process that saw the removal of the longstanding Papal influence and the beginnings of a new English Church. Although Henry’s divorce with Catherine of Aragon played a significant part in provoking a reformation there were other factors that lead to the creation of the English Church. Henry’s desire for a nation free of foreign religious intervention and total sovereign independence combined with a yearning of church wealth contributed significantly to the break with Rome.

After many years of marriage Henry’s wife, Catherine of Aragon had failed
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It was during the years of 1529 to 1532 that Henry had no chief minister. Woolsey had failed and the King still yearned for a divorce. During this time Henry applied pressure on the Pope to grant a divorce. He appealed to major universities for backing in order to prove that his biblical interpretation of Leviticus was correct, this process however, was costly and time consuming. Little was achieved and Henry was no closer to marrying Anne Boleyn.

It wasn’t until 1529 that real progress was made. Henry’s new chief minister, Thomas Cromwell had devised a strategy that would eventually get Henry the long awaited divorce that he yearned. Cromwell and Henry began to attack the church with real weapons. By using statutory laws against the Church Henry was able to obtain a divorce. Parliament was called and, according to Elton, the parliament was specifically chosen and given more free will than normally permitted. Therefore they focussed on two main issues. Firstly Henry’s divorce and secondly Church corruption. During the first session two bills were processed against the standing grievance of probates of wills and mortuary payments, here they brought up cases of clear clerical misconduct, the Richard Hunne case was a particular strong piece of propaganda. By the eighth session of parliament in 1339 Henry had not

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