Q:

Why did Henry VIII break away from the Catholic Church?

A:

Quick Answer

Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church so that he could divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry his lover Anne Boleyn.

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Why did Henry VIII break away from the Catholic Church?
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Full Answer

The year was 1527, and Henry VIII wanted a male heir. Unfortunately, his wife was too old to bear a child, so he needed a new wife. At the time, divorce was not allowed in the Catholic Church, and if Henry got a divorce without the pope's permission, he could be excommunicated or kicked out of the church – a fate that would ultimately lead to an eternity in hell.

Henry asked the pope for a dispensation to get a divorce, but the pope would not grant him that. In response, Henry asked the archbishop of Canterbury to grant him a divorce, and the bishop had no choice but to comply. The pope was appalled, but Henry just used the occasion to split away from the Catholic Church and to establish the Church of England.

The break away from the Catholic Church had far reaching consequences, and it subverted the current world order. Prior to the break from the Catholic Church, the commonly accepted hierarchy was God, pope, king, but Henry thrust himself between the pope and God in a move that was unprecedented. Ultimately, the break opened the door for the Protestant Reformation to enter England, but that movement did not gain speed in the country until after Henry's death during the reign of Edward VII.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What was the full name of Henry VIII?

    A:

    The full name of Henry VIII was Henry Tudor. He was the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth York, and was born on June 28, 1491 at Greenwich Palace.

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  • Q:

    What did King Henry VIII die of?

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    There has never been an exact cause of death listed for King Henry VIII. Available information from the time leads to the assumption that he died of chronic heart and pulmonary failure.

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    What is the Catholic Church's estimated net worth?

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    While it is difficult to come up with an exact figure, some sources, such as NBC News, estimate that the Catholic Church's net worth is $8 billion or more. Factors like lack of required financial disclosure and unknown value of precious works of art and architecture make it difficult to pin down the exact value of this massive political and religious organization.

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  • Q:

    Why did Henry VIII create the Church of England?

    A:

    King Henry VIII created the Church of England in 1536 as a result of a dispute with the pope, who would not permit Henry to get a divorce from his wife and marry his long-time mistress. Henry's marital history started under a cloud of suspicion, as his marriage to Catherine of Aragon meant he was forming a union with his brother's widow. Whether his series of divorces was actually the result of his failure to produce a male heir or some other form of instability is a matter of some dispute, but the reason for forming the Anglican Church was to give Henry the right to act as the head of his own church and marry as he pleased.

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