The Kings Great Matter

.. Henry would plead guilty and the private court would then sentence him and the marriage to nullity. But, they ran into a problem. Catherine found out what the plan was. Her nephew was Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

He had much power in Rome and over the papacy. She wrote letters and sent them to Charles for help. In her letters, she told him the entire story and appealed the case of the divorce to Rome. In 1527, Wolsey was in a hurry to get to France. He was trying to beat Catherine’s letters to Charles for help.

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He knew that if Charles heard the story he would threaten Pope Clement VII so that he would not dare dissolve the marriage. However, Wolsey did have an alternative plan. It is a good thing he did because he did not beat her letters to Charles. In June 1527, Charles troops attacked Rome and put the Pope up as prisoner. Wolsey went to France and signed the Treaty of Amiens.

This protested that no action of the Pope would be valid while he was under duress and proposed that Wolsey, himself, preside over the cardinals in this time of trouble. Wolsey was afraid that Charles would provoke the Pope to do something while under imprisonment. Wolsey’s next plan was to make comments to Henry’s ambassador with Charles that there was a rumor going around in England about the divorce between the king and queen and that there was some questions from the French concerning the validity of marriage and the papal dispensation for the marriage. He also said that the queen had heard of the rumors and was very upset. He did to place doubts in Charles mind about what Catherine had told him.

Henry and his most trusted advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, began to fall away from each other a bit. Henry wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. She hated Wolsey and he did not want them married because he wanted Henry to marry a French princess to benefit himself. They began going separate ways in trying to achieve this divorce. While Wolsey tried to make peace in France and to organize a way to rescue the pope from Charles power, Henry went behind his back and had a document drawn up by his secretary, William Knight, that would manipulate the pope.

Henry was going to take the document to the Pope himself to get him to sign it. He thought that the pope would appreciate a more personal approach. The pope did have a history of giving people divorces, so Henry really did not think he would have a problem either. He probably would not have had if it was not for Charles V. Henry’s sister, the Queen of Scotland, had no problem getting a divorce from the pope after she had been having an affair with a married man.

Henry IV of Castile was allowed by the pope to take another wife to bear him children because his first wife could not. In 1498, Pope Alexander VI allowed the King of France to have a divorce so that he could marry the ruler of Brittany. Both of Henry’s sister Mary’s husbands had received divorces from the pope. The document that Henry had written by his secretary contained many ideas that the Pope would agree with but in-between-the-lines he added the dissolution of the marriage between him and Catherine. Wolsey found out about Henry’s ideas but did not do anything because he knew that the papacy would not fall for it.

Wolsey wanted to get a Decretal Commission signed. This document would say that if he proved certain things concerning the marital dispensation then he could declare the marriage null and void. This case contained four things. The first was, the dispensation had been obtained under false pretenses because it was said Henry asked for it, when he didn’t even know what it was and was only twelve years old. The second was,it stated that it was issued to prevent war between England and Spain but at that time there had been no problems between the two countries. The third was, the dispensation had been granted by Pope Julius II out of his gratitude for two great leaders, Henry VII and Isabella of Castile but they were both dead before the marriage even took place so the validity of the document did not really exist.

The fourth was, at the age of fourteen, Henry had protested against the marriage and no one paid any attention to him. Pope made changes in the document Henry sent. This angered Henry because he thought the Pope was being provoked so, he sent troops to protect the Pope and free him from the Emperor. The Pope finally issued a decretal commission that the case could be tried in England. It was sent by Cardinal Campeggio who had been given strict orders not to actually go through with it.

Following orders, he caused many delays. During this time, Cardinal Campeggio, along with Cardinal Wolsey mentioned to Henry that maybe Catherine would enter a religious house to spend the rest of her days in peace. If she agreed to this then the divorce proceedings could have been cancelled. Henry liked this idea so he sent Wolsey and Campeggio to talk to her about it. Catherine listened respectively to the cardinals but told them that she would not agree to do that.

The brief of the marital dispensation issued by Pope Julius II was brought up from Spain which caused some added problems and delays. On June 15, 1529 the legatine court opened at Blackfriars in London. Henry and Catherine were both called to appear. When Catherine was called into court, she kneeled at Henry’s feet and begged of him to have mercy on her. She pleaded with him on how she had been a wonderful wife to him and she did not understand his reasoning to get rid of her as his wife.

She meant the things she said to him but she also wanted to show the court that she did not agree with what Henry was trying to accomplish. The legatine court in London was not successful and the proceedings were also called back to Rome. However, the court in Rome was not successful either. No matter how many things that Henry tried to turn around and justify to prove his argument, they did not work. Eventually, Henry went ahead and married Anne Boelyn according to his own opinion without the consent of the pope. Of course, this did not make things any brighter with the Pope or the church heads.

On August 8, 1533 Pope Clement VII issued a bull commanding Henry to restore Catherine as his wife and put away Anne in ten days or he would suffer excommunication. If he didn’t comply, then the support of Charles V, all other Christian princes, and Henry’s own subjects would be called upon to carry out the terms of the bull by force of arms. After this, Henry seperated from the Catholic Church, because it would not allow the divorce, and formed his own church in which he was the head of it. This way he could do whatever he wanted. Henry’s great matter had turned into a matter that affected the entire country of England and probably all of Europe. History Essays.


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