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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

Was privately married to Anne Boleyn


the beginning of 1533 (Jan. 25th), Henry VIII. was privately married to Anne Boleyn. He had taken the Pope's advice in this one particular, to get married without waiting for the Divorce; but soon afterwards (April 5th) he got from the Convocation of Canterbury a document declaring that the Pope had no power to grant a dispensation in such a case as the marriage of Henry with Catharine;[413] and the Act of Restraint of Appeals had made such a decision practically final so far as England was concerned.

Cranmer was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on March 30th, 1533. His opinions were known. He had been one of the Cambridge "Germans"; he had freely consorted with Lutheran divines in Germany; he had begun to pray in private for the abolition of the Pope's power in England as early as 1525; and it was not without reason that Chapuys called him a "Lutheran."[414]

On April 11th, 1533, the new Primate asked the King to permit him to try the question of the Divorce before his own ecclesiastical court; and leave was granted him on the following day, as the principal minister "of our spiritual jurisdiction."[415] The trial was begun, and the court, acting on the decisions of Convocation two months earlier, which had declared[416] that no dispensation could be given for a marriage with the widow of a brother provided the marriage had been consummated, and[417] that the marriage between Arthur and Catharine had been

consummated, pronounced that the marriage between the King and Catharine of Aragon was null and void.[418] This was followed by an inquiry about the marriage between the King and Anne Boleyn, which was pronounced valid, and preparations were made for the coronation of Queen Anne, which took place on June 1st, 1533.[419]

This act of defiance to Rome was at once resented by the Pope. The Curia declared that the marriage between Henry and Catharine was lawful, and a Bull was issued commanding Henry to restore Catharine and put away Anne within ten days on pain of excommunication; which sentence the Emperor, all Christian Princes, and Henry's own subjects were called upon to execute by force of arms.[420]

The action at Rome was answered from England by the passing of several strong Acts of Parliament--all in 1534. They completed the separation of the Church and people of England from the See of Rome.

1. The Act forbidding the payment of _annates_ to the Pope was again introduced, and this time made absolute; no _annates_ were for the future to be sent to Rome as the first-fruits of any benefice. In the same Act new provisions were made for the appointment of Bishops; they were for the future to be elected by the Deans and Chapters on receiving a royal letter of leave and nomination.[421]

2. An Act forbidding the payment of Peter's Pence to the Bishop of Rome; forbidding all application to the Pope for dispensations; and declaring that all such dispensations were to be sought for in the ecclesiastical courts within England.[422]

3. The Act of Succession, which was followed by a second within the same year in which the nullity of the marriage of Henry with Catharine of Aragon was clearly stated, and Catharine was declared to be the "Princess of Wales," _i.e._ the widow of Arthur; which affirms the validity of the King's marriage with Anne Boleyn, and declares that all the issue of that marriage are legitimate; and which affirms that, failing male succession, the crown falls to the Princess Elizabeth.[423]

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