Henry VIII — Beginning of the Reign
Henry was eighteen years old when he became King. The nobles and ordinary people hoped that Henry would lead the country to contentment and prosperity. In state affairs young Henry was advised by Thomas Wol-sey, the Archbishop of York, later Cardinal and Chancellor. Wolsey stood in for the King in day-to-day administration. The ambitions of the King and his Chancellor went far — they wanted to restore English prestige on the continent.
In 1511, the Pope, the Emperor and the King of Spain united in a Holy League to drive the French from Italy. England made an alliance with Spain to start the war with France, but got a great defeat in the struggle. Henry hoped to reconquer France, but the war in general was unsuccessful despite some minor conquests.
After the French war Henry VIII made Wolsey Archbishop of York and Chancellor, and the Pope made him Cardinal and Papal Legate. Since that time Wolsey controlled English policy at home and abroad.
In the 1520s, Spain completely dominated Europe and Cardinal Wolsey tried to restore the balance of power by making alliance with France. The country soon expanded into the war with France until in 1523 the Parliament resisted an application for war expenses.
Twenty years of Henry's reign were aimed at maintaining "the balance of power" policy in Europe and at home. For a long period Henry supported Catholic Church, which was threatened by various protestant movements. These movements criticised the power of Catholic Church, its organisation and corrupted, money-loving priests. Henry VIII with the help of Sir Thomas More, a great thinker and scientist of that time, wrote the book containing the explanation of the main doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and attacking Martin Luther, the leader of German Protestants. For this book the Pope gave Henry the title of the Defender of Faith, which still can be seen on the English money in the letters FID DEF or F.D.
Cultural Focus: Reformation and Protestantism in Europe
Reformation Movement in Christianity began in the 12th century, but it became really effective in the 16th century, when the absolute monarchies gave it support. The support of the Reformation Movement was rather important for absolute monarchs — the separation from Rome meant that political power of papacy decreased and church wealth was confiscated. As the Roman Church was the biggest landowner in many European countries, it was the mightiest feudal — more than one third of all lands belonged to Catholic Church.
The establishment of new bourgeois relations instead of old feudal relations threatened the position of Catholic Church. New relations in society demanded new relations with God and Church. The other reason for the spread of Reformation Movement was the degradation of clergy, their greed and wealth.
Here are the main events of the Reformation Movement in Europe in the 16th century:
1517The German priest Martin Luther protested against the sale of indulgences and began the Reformation in Europe;
1519Zwingli lead the Reformation in Switzerland;
1529The term "Protestant" was first used;
1533Reformation in England;
1541The French theologian Calvin established Presbyterianism in Geneva, Switzerland;
1559The Protestant John Knox came from exile to found the Church of Scotland;
1545—1563The Roman Catholic Church initiated the Counter — Reformation at the Council of Trent. It extended moral persuasion and the Spanish Inquisition to other countries;
Mid—17th centuryThe Catholic and protestant churches were separated.
Protestantism was based on the following principal theses:
—Bible is the only source of understanding God;
—each person can read and understand Bible their own way;
—believers can talk to God directly without the help of priests;
—Church service should not be pompous and colourful;
—Church hierarchy should be abolished.
John Calvin found Presbyterian Church. Now it is the Established Church of Scotland, but it is also practised in England, Ireland, Switzerland and elsewhere. There is no compulsory form of worship and each congregation is governed by presbyters or elders, who are in equal rank. Congregations are grouped in presbyteries, synods and general assembles.
In the 18* century, Presbyterian Church was made the established Church in Scotland.
Task 2. Discuss different historical events, which led to the spread of Protestantism in England and later with the spread of English colonies all over the world. Consider the following facts and ideas:
—Catholic Church was the richest feudal in Europe;
—As a mighty landlord Catholic Church influenced the policy of European countries;
—The power of European monarchs was shared with Rome;
—Newly born class of bourgeoisie needed a new form of religion.