Skip to comments.Henry VIII's Nobles Threatened Pope Over Annulment
Posted on 03/01/2012 9:43:12 AM PST by marshmallow
Secret letter from Vatican archives unveiled
English nobles threatened "extreme remedies" against the Roman Catholic Church unless the Pope annulled Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a letter from the Vatican Secret Archives discloses.
The nine-metre wide parchment, with 81 wax seals and red silk ribbons, made public for the first time this week, was sent on Henry's orders to Pope Clement VII in 1530. It was signed by members of the English Parliament, bishops, abbots and the archbishops of York and Canterbury.
They urged the Pope to annul the king's marriage to Catherine so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, one of her ladies-in-waiting, in the hope of producing a male heir. "If the Pope is unwilling, we are left to find a remedy elsewhere. Some remedies are extreme, but a sick man seeks relief in any way he can find," the lords wrote in a barely veiled threat.
The letter is one of the highlights of an exhibition of 100 documents chronicling more than 1,200 years of the Vatican's dealings with kings, conquerors and caliphates.
Henry had fallen in love with Boleyn in 1526 and was desperate for his first marriage to be annulled - a struggle that he referred to as his "great matter."
He married Boleyn in 1533 but Clement VII declared the union invalid and five years later the king was excommunicated. The confrontation led to a split from the Catholic Church and fuelled the English Reformation.
(Excerpt) Read more at vancouversun.com ...
Wolf Hall ping
Fascinating! Thanks for posting.
In those days, it’s hardly surprising — politics could get rough and personal, and the Pope was as much into the game as any king.
The Church has seen the likes of Obama everywhere throughout history. At this point, he is barely rising to the level of “nuisance” on their 2000 year old scale.
Clement VII was a Medici and was as adept at taking and maintaining power through force or murder as was Henry or any other monarch of the time.
Katherine nephew was Charlwes V of Spain, Emperor Of Austria
and Holy Roman Emperor
In 1527 his troops captured and sacked Rome, forcing the
Pope to flee and putting the fear of God into the Pope
Seems Pope Clement when considering threats put more weight
into Charles V than Henry
in the hope of producing a male heir.
Henry had already “produced a male heir” with Catherine..
a couple of them in fact...
One at least was a healthy boy who Henry insisted be taken out soon after he was born into the freezing weather to be baptized in the unheated palace chapel ...the baby caught cold and died...
Henry had about 6 children with Catherine of Aragon..
Only Mary survived past infancy..
Henry also closed down all the monasteries and oratories established to pray for the dead in England, confiscated their goods and property, and handed some of it out to his favorites. He said the monks were “greedy”—kind of like Obama closing down or raising taxes on coal and oil companies because they are greedy. Maybe some of them are, but not as greedy as the Absolute Monarch, which is what Obama thinks he is.
Then, when Henry VIII died, he asked in his will that the monks should pray for his soul in Purgatory. Unfortunately, there weren’t any monks left to do it. They had all been dispersed.
A very important moment in world history. I’d argue that Henry’s break from the Catholic Church led to the Anglosphere maintaining a world dominance economically and militarily for the last 400 odd years.
Nonsense! Nobody puts the fear of God into the Pope, but GOD. He’s concerned not with this life - which is why he refused the annulment, because he’s only concerned with pulling as many folks up there with him as possible and getting there himself.
Why would he flee? To keep a head of the Church around for the stability of the Church, until God decides he should die. You can’t escape when your number is up. Briebart, not only knows this well, but I pray, is immensely happier for it!
Henry's appeal for annulment of a twenty year marriage that had produced a daughter was a legal stretch in the best of circumstances anyway, but till his death he considered himself a better Catholic than the Pontiff. Protestantism did not have a firm grasp on the country till Elizabeth was able to survive several assassination attempts and a serious threat of Spanish invasion and turn the country into a power to be reckoned with.
Rough and personal indeed.
Just ask Saint Thomas More about that goon Cromwell.
True, especially during the times of the Medicis.
One note for interest: all those popes, even the worst, NEVER failed at their job, that is, preach the established dogmas/doctrines and moral codes from those Biblical/Apostolic tradition sources.
They may have failed as men and politicians but not as "popes."
Please read the book reviewed: Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell.
Henry VIII lied to Wolsey, the Pope lied to Wolsey and Henry VIII. Ann Boleyn lied to everybody. Thomas More, the "Great Catholic Martyr" was a PIA who liked nothing better than torturing heretics. Henry VIII loved a good heretic roast, too. The only reasonable guy vis-a-vis your basic heretic was Cardinal Wolsey! He also comes off as the only sincere guy in this whole cast of characters, or at least more sincere than the others. And, one can see that it is through his incredibly brilliant efforts that England became a a creditable European power. He is also the guy that gave Henry the idea of, and the legal basis for "regulating" the monasteries!
Queen Catherine of Aragon was incredibly unreasonable, rejecting many a decent compromise offer from the Pope AND her husband. The confiscation of the monasteries sort of reminds me of the reassignment of assets carried out after the Soviet collapse. Once the nobles got their hands on those assets at knock-down prices, they were never about to give them up! It also meant the collapse of "social services" to the poor in England!
Read this. It is a brilliant psychological portrait of the times ... and it might even be true!
I was no fool----I always knew which side my bread was buttered on.
So, Since H8 was capable of fathering boy-children who lived, hje actually had some pretty good dynastic reason to dump Catherine of Aragon, or vice versa. One problem was that he had had to get a Papal Dispensation to marry her in the first place. And your Pope, he no lika change-a the deal once-a he gotta da money, capisce? Especially with a bunch of crazy Spaniards trying to burn Rome-town down! He did offer Queen Catherine a way out ... go to a nunnery! IMHO, she shoulda.
These annulments for big-time guys with heir problems were the norm, rather than the exception. I personally think that had H8 not been trying to prove what a brilliant theologian he was, the deal could have been done on the QT ... except for trying to swipe all that monastic property.
Ah well, it all worked out for the best. Those Anglicans have the best Church Jumble Sales! And their service can have enough ceremony, vestments, song, smells, and bells to satisfy any wandering Papist.
29.5 foot wide parchment. That must have been one hell of a letter!!
Ah, yes...have as many out-of-wedlock children, mistresses as you like.
Engage in as many assassinations as you like.
It doesn't matter. You still succeeded as religious leader of the world!!
If Catherine had accepted annulment and gone to a nunnery, her daughter Mary would have been declared a bastard and lost her opportunity to ever marry, and, of course, lost her right to inherit the throne. Catherine was protecting her only child, as any mother of that time would have done.
Now true, Mary may well have lost her place in line for the top gig, however, I am sure they would have worked out a sweet deal for her, too. H8 like her pretty well at the start of the mess. Queen Catherine? Not well advised in the negotiating department.
I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic and I cannot agree with you. The way things were at that time, the voiding of the marriage made Mary a bastard instead of the heiress to the throne.
To be fair, in the previous century England had gone through a forty or so year civil war, with massive devastation of the country and loss of life, ending only with Henry’s father’s accession to the throne.
Lack of a male heir was presumed at the time to be the best possible way to start up another round of the wars.
The ironic part is that Henry’s two daughters both ruled, one reasonably competently (though wildly unpopular) and the other as perhaps the greatest monarch in English history.
I don't understand what you are trying to say. What is your point?
After all, there are plenty to choose from in Tokyo.
I think you had better look at the facts of history. Rome had been sacked by the Germans under the Emperor Charles and the pope was in no position politically to declare the Emperors first cousin, the princess Mary a bastard. Also, the Sultan,, the greatest power of the age, was banging at the doors of Vienna, and both the Pope and the Emperor had even worse things to worry about than an English schism. As to the Medici, things, the petty politics of Renaissance Italy, mattered not at all after 1526, with that sack of Rome.
To this you might add, that the boy king produced by the syphallic king, was doomed from his birth, was despite his high intelligence, a religious bigot, and a tool in the hands of his bigoted ministers. Both Mary and Elizabeth had to suffer through those years of reform and it marked both of them personally. Both were royal tyrants, but Elizabeth lived long enough to restore stability to the country, and to become, in memory, a great queen who preserved England from Spanish rule. However, we forget how unpopular she was during her last years, when the Spanish war had exhausted the treasury and Ireland had risen in rebellion. England was glad to have her gone, and welcomed James. He, of course, was a fool who squandered his chance by not imitating Henry IV, the French king, and giving the Catholics the same protections that Henry had given the Huguenots.Furthermore, he also disappointed the Puritans and the sectarians, who had suffered almost as much as the Catholics from Elizabeth;s secret police.
Hmmm. I don’t think I made any comment on the power of the pope to declare Mary a bastard, annul the marriage or anything else to do with the power struggles including those involving Charles or Hapsburgs. Whether or not the politics of the Renaissance were petty or not is a matter of opinion.
I merely noted that the Pope, and the Medicis did hold religious and political power just as the monarchs of Europe and he was a power player, although not always successful. He obviously had enough power to put caution into Henry’s mind and induce him to take threatening actions to pressure as well as persuade the pope to accede to his wishes. Clement feared the wrath of Charles V and refused to annul the marriage, leading to Henry’s excommunication and the scism.
The political and military power of the pope, the various monarchs, as well as the various city-states and ruling families like the Medicis did matter in the politics and the shape of Europe at the time.
And St Thomas had the last laugh as he iwas canonized and Thomas Cromwell was disgraced and executed by a axeman who was drunk and made a gruesome and prolonged mess of it
The only real power at the disposal of the pope was, as it turned out, the Catholic faith of the English people. For the English Establishment did not merely break diplomatically with the papacy; they began a religious revolution, which involved the seizure of the monastic lands, the closing of popular shrines, the overturning of popular customs. The Church had owned about a tenth of the lands of the realm, and with that they had supported many social services, such as schools and hospitals. In addition, the monks had been slow to enclose public lands, dispossessing peasants in order to run sheep for the factories of the low countries, a process that not only enriched the nobility but the merchants of London. In time this lead to a revolt called the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising that was quelled only because of the peoples loyalty to the d ynasty,
For the English people were mindful of their souls, and mindful they would remain when the government took measures that threatened their faith. Under Elizabeth the country became accustomed to the New faith and largely abandoned the old, but a hundred years later, when the king sought to suppress Puritanism, they rose up again, but this time against an unpopular king.
St Thomas had the last laugh
As far as St. Thomas More goes, he apparently never laughed all that much any way. It is reported that a a wry smile or two when torturing and burning heretics (for their own good of course) was about as much mirth as the guy could muster. We shouldn't hold that against him, as his boss H8 was just as enthusiastic when it came to toasting heretics of all kinds. But, WTF, that was back in the day when every body on all sides enjoyed a good heretic roast.
Ah! The good old days!
BTW, I ain't so sure that executioner was drunk. See, Thomas Cromwell had few pals among the aristocracy who largely resented the noble honors the jumped up blacksmith's boy had received. It's my theory that the swells paid the guy to make a dog's dinner of the deal. After all, how hard could it be? If I meet him in the hereafter, I'll be sure and axe him.
It is I then, who must turn in my Canon Lawyer Papers, eh? OK, then! The Rev. Al Sharpton will make a place for me on his staff. After all, it is I who straightened him and that Jesse Jackson fellow out on the difference between The Immaculate Conception and The Virgin Birth.
However, The Pope Clement VII knew his theology just as well (incredible as that may seem) as I. In offering the Queen the choice of entering a nunnery, The Pope was helping her to sorta kinda split the difference between a divorce and an annulment via a set of arcane but certainly not unknown series of protocols that allowed inconveniently married women and men to set aside their husbands or wives to take vows. The children would not be bastardized, which is not to say they would have been given boxes of bon-bons either. Everything is negotiable down at the Vatican, which why they have Canon Lawyers in the first place.
This whole mess might have been eminently avoidable until them Bible-Beatin' Bunko Artists got involved with little Edward. By then, that eminent Catholic Monarch H8 was dead and it was too late to restore Roman Catholicism as the state religion, although Queen Mary and that useless Spaniard she was married to gave it a game try.
Outrageous that anyone calling themselves reverend doesn’t know the difference between the immaculate conception and the virgin birth.
I'm not clear on what your point is.
Henry never tried for a divorce. He tried to get the Pope to annul the marriage. When that failed he took England out of the Church and had a puppet court do the same.
In any case, Mary was indeed declared illegitimate and removed from the succession.
"Outrageous," perfect word for both of those two well known divines, Sharpton and Jackson. But then we must not judge. They were apparently ordained directly by the Holy Ghost without the need for long years of arduous study, or indeed any at all.
It is a tribute to the common sense of their adherents that most of them seem to live rich, full, picturesque, and definitely exciting lives, on someone else's money, without benefit of clergy.
So was Elizabeth! Then, they were BOTH sort of restored. Go figure.
Just ask Thomas More. He did go bravely.