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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Campeggi could not yield a hair's breadth


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this nothing was yet effected: it even appears as though Clement VII had given tranquillising promises to the Emperor; the Bishop of Bayonne declared that the Pope's intention was thus to keep both sides dependent on him--but it was at all events one step on the road once taken, which aroused hope in England that it would lead to the desired end.

But let us picture to ourselves the enormous difficulty of the case. It lay above all in the inner significance of the question itself. In his first interview with Henry VIII Campeggi remarks that the King was completely convinced of the invalidity of the Papal dispensation, which could not extend to Scripture precepts. No argument could move him from this; he answered like a good theologian and jurist. Campeggi says, an angel from heaven would not make him change his opinion. He could not but see that Wolsey cherished the same view.

But was it possible for the Roman court to yield in this and to revoke a dispensation, which involved the very substance of its spiritual omnipotence? It would have thus only strengthened, and in reality confessed, the antagonism against its authority which was based on Holy Scripture. Campeggi could not yield a hair's breadth.

The only solution lay--and Campeggi was authorised to attempt it--in inducing Queen Catharine to renounce her place and dignity. Soon after his arrival he represented to her at

length how much depended on it for her and the world, and promised her that in return not only all else should be secured to her that she could desire, but above all that the succession of her daughter also should be guaranteed. The wish, in which both Pope and King agreed, that she should enter a convent, Campeggi at first did not mention to her; he thought she would herself seek for some expedient. But she avoided this. Campeggi had spoken to her in the name of the Pope: she only said she thought to abide till death in obedience to the precepts of God and of the Church: she would ask for counsellors from the King, would consult with them, and then communicate to the Holy Father what her conscience bade her. Her consent still remained possible. This gained, the legate would have no need to mention further the validity or invalidity of the dispensation. He was still hoping for it, when Wolsey came to him one morning early (26 Oct. 1528) and told him the Queen had asked the King for leave to make her confession to him (Campeggi), and had obtained it. A couple of hours later the Queen appeared before him. She told him of her earlier marriage, which was never really consummated; that she had remained as unchanged by it as she had been from her mother's womb; and this destroyed all grounds for the divorce. Campeggi was however far from drawing such a conclusion; he advised her in plain terms to make a vow and enter a convent, repeating the motives stated before, to which he now added the example of a Queen of France. But his words died away without effect. Queen Catharine declared positively that she would never act thus; she was called by God to her marriage, and resolved to live and die in it. A judgment might be pronounced in this matter; if the marriage was declared to be invalid, she would submit, she would then be as free as the King; but without this she would hold fast to her marriage union. She protested, in the strongest terms conceivable, that they might kill her, they might tear her limb from limb, yet she would not change her mind; had she two lives, she would lay them both down in such a cause. It would be better, she said, for the Pope to try to divert the King from his design; he would then be able to trust all the more in the inclination of her kinsman the Emperor to help in bringing about a peace.


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