Page 4, 11th September 1992

11th September 1992
Page 4
Page 4, 11th September 1992 — Church of England wasn't Henry's doing at all

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Organisations: Anglican Church
Locations: Canterbury, Rome


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Church of England wasn't Henry's doing at all

IN AN otherwise excellent article on the Royal Family and the media coverage of its foibles, Ruth Rees (Catholic Herald, August 28) repeats the ancient myth that the Anglican Church was founded by King Henry VIII and that "it was a Royal divorce that established it". She really should know better:

Henry VIII, after being refused an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, declared himself to be Supreme Head of the Church in England.

He was granted an annulment by Archbishop Thomas Cramer who had been deposed from his office of Archbishop of Canterbury by Rome for heresy.

The question of a divorce, however, never arose. Neither did King Henry ever found a Church.

With the exception of Cardinal John Fisher, all the bishops took the oath of allegiance to Henry as Supreme Head, and thus the Church in England went into schism.

When his daughter Mary I came to the throne that schism was healed, and the Church in England reconciled to Rome by Cardinal Reginald Pole.

It was left to Elizabeth I to found the Church of England, and this she did with the passing of the Act of Uniformity and the Act of Supremacy on April 29, 1559.

The entire Catholic hierarchy (with one possible exception) refused to take the oath of allegiance to Elizabeth, and the entire hierarchy (with no exceptions) refused to consecrate the men she appointed to replace them.

Thus did the Church of England come into existence as a completely new and separate Church.

John Clarke St Helen's, Merseyside

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