What if the break with Rome was prevented?

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
#1
What if Henry VIII was granted a divorce by the Pope, and England remained catholic? Would they still have risen to become a great power?
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#2
I think another good question would be this...would Catholicism still have the impact they did prior to the split? Better yet, would there be a reform movement?
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#3
Nick said:
What if Henry VIII was granted a divorce by the Pope, and England remained catholic? Would they still have risen to become a great power?
Unlikely England would have remained Catholic. Anne Boleyn was a fervent Protestant and it was her influence on Henry that allowed the spread of the Protestant faith in the country.
 
Feb 2007
538
Ohio
#4
What if Henry VIII was granted a divorce by the Pope, and England remained catholic? Would they still have risen to become a great power?
Remember that the Pope is not likely going to do anything that would tend to anger Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, who is also Charles I of Spain. Remember that the Spanish Hapsburgs have some landholdings in Italy and the Austrian Hapsburgs are just north of Italy. Remember also that Chuckie of Spain/HRE likely won't be too happy if the Pope allows Aunt Cathy to be used up and thrown away.
 
Feb 2007
538
Ohio
#5
I think another good question would be this...would Catholicism still have the impact they did prior to the split? Better yet, would there be a reform movement?
The Reformation had already started in Germany with Luther in 1517, seventeen years before Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534. Calvin and Zwingli likely still would have arisen in Switzerland regardless of whether Henry VIII had made the break with Rome. England, however, might still be predominantly Catholic.
 
Feb 2007
51
the greatest country there is: aka America! (hurra
#6
If he had granted Henry VIII the divorce, it would then anger the rest of the Roman Catholic Clergy and of course Charles V. England would then probably be condemned by other Catholic regions, also coming into conflict with the Pope's decision thus weakening the Church either way. Protestants and Lutherans worked to establish a stronghold in England prior to this event, and if Henry VIII had been granted the divorce yeah, England could still be a predominantly Catholic state. It took about 40 years after the founding of the Anglican church for England to permanently leave the Roman Catholic community, so if a different course was taken who knows what the outcome would've been...
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#7
The Reformation had already started in Germany with Luther in 1517, seventeen years before Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534. Calvin and Zwingli likely still would have arisen in Switzerland regardless of whether Henry VIII had made the break with Rome. England, however, might still be predominantly Catholic.
No question about the reform movements in other areas since they did already begin. The question I pose is strictly for England. My feeling is that there would have been a reform movement but much later. The Lollards of the 13th and 14th centuries had their ideas embedded into society throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, which are Protestant in nature. It would have taken slightly longer, but it would have eventually occurred.
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#8
If he had granted Henry VIII the divorce, it would then anger the rest of the Roman Catholic Clergy and of course Charles V. England would then probably be condemned by other Catholic regions, also coming into conflict with the Pope's decision thus weakening the Church either way. Protestants and Lutherans worked to establish a stronghold in England prior to this event, and if Henry VIII had been granted the divorce yeah, England could still be a predominantly Catholic state. It took about 40 years after the founding of the Anglican church for England to permanently leave the Roman Catholic community, so if a different course was taken who knows what the outcome would've been...
The only reason why Henry VIII was not given the annulment was because Charles V was already on Rome's front door. I think if he hadn't already threatened Rome Henry would have been granted the annulment and England would have remained Catholic for a little while longer. Again, England already had the Lollards of a couple centuries past embedding "Protestant" ideas so it was only a matter of time before a reform movement was established.
 
Feb 2007
538
Ohio
#9
No question about the reform movements in other areas since they did already begin. The question I pose is strictly for England. My feeling is that there would have been a reform movement but much later. The Lollards of the 13th and 14th centuries had their ideas embedded into society throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, which are Protestant in nature. It would have taken slightly longer, but it would have eventually occurred.
OK. Given that we are agreed that Calvin would still have happened with or without Henry VIII's break with Rome, then likewise there is no reason not to believe that John Calvin's disciple John Knox still would have gone to Scotland and stirred up the Puritan Reformation in the British Isles. Whether the Church in England would have become Protestant even without Henry VIII's break with Rome, and how long it would have taken, is anybody's guess. I guess the first thing to figure out here is whether there could be any reason for the Church of England to separate from the Church of Rome, other than the sitting monarch's desire for a divorce which the Pope refuses to grant.
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#10
OK. Given that we are agreed that Calvin would still have happened with or without Henry VIII's break with Rome, then likewise there is no reason not to believe that John Calvin's disciple John Knox still would have gone to Scotland and stirred up the Puritan Reformation in the British Isles. Whether the Church in England would have become Protestant even without Henry VIII's break with Rome, and how long it would have taken, is anybody's guess. I guess the first thing to figure out here is whether there could be any reason for the Church of England to separate from the Church of Rome, other than the sitting monarch's desire for a divorce which the Pope refuses to grant.
Yes, Knox was instrumental in Scotland. In England, I'm not so sure. That is something I will check out. I will say that one of Knox's colleagues, Martin Bucer was in England and did aid in the Puritan movement. Again, the time frame is just as you said...it's anyone's guess. However, there are reasons why the Church of England would want to have separated from Rome:

1. I'm not sure if this issue was ever resolved by the 16th century, but I do know that several Kings of England were looking to stop papal taxation. They wanted the money that went into their church coffers to remain in England. In fact, that is the major reason why the crown looked to John Wyclif in the late 14th century. He was endorsed by Edward III and became a part of a diplomatic entourage sent to Bruges by John of Gaunt to negotiate this very issue. Of course, when the Lancastrian Revolution took place in 1399, its a pretty safe bet that this issue became "dead in the water" and normal taxation resumed. If this were the case, this is one major reason. In fact, if we look back at one of Henry VIII's first acts, he stripped the monasteries in 1534.

2. The appointment of bishops and archbishops were still being debated between the English crown and the Pope. Now, the issue may not have been as serious and strenuous as in the previous centuries, but the fact that Rome was able to meddle in what was considered English affairs really ticked off the English crown for centuries. In fact, this goes to the very heart of the annulment issue...what authority does the papacy have over the king? The continuous meddling in English affairs, whether it would be taxation, appointment of clergymen, or authority issues, became a strong reason for separation.