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Parliamentary debate and legislation

pardon granted
by lisby1

Article by Chelsey Trisa

In 1529, the king summoned Parliament to deal with annulment, thus bringing together those who wanted reform but who disagreed what form it should take; it became known as the Reformation Parliament. There were Common lawyers who resented the privileges of the clergy to summon laity to their courts; there were those who had been influenced by Lutheran evangelicalism and were hostile to the theology of Rome; Thomas Cromwell was both. There were those, like Foxe and Stokesey, who argued for the Royal Supremacy over the English Church. Henry’s Chancellor, Thomas More, successor to Wolsey, also wanted reform: he wanted new laws against heresy.

Cromwell was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament, an evangelical who saw how Parliament could be used to advance the Royal Supremacy, which Henry wanted, and to further evangelical beliefs and practices which both he and his friends wanted. One of his closest friends was Thomas Cranmer, soon to be Archbishop.

In the matter of the annulment, no progress seemed possible: the Pope seemed more afraid of Emperor Charles V than of Henry. Anne and Cromwell and their allies wished simply to ignore the Pope; but in October 1530 a meeting of clergy and lawyers advised that Parliament could not empower the archbishop to act against the Pope’s prohibition. Henry thus resolved to bully the priests.

Having brought down Cardinal Wolsey, his Chancellor, Henry VIII finally resolved to charge the whole English clergy with praemunire in order to secure their agreement to his annulment. Praemunire, which forbade obedience to the authority of foreign rulers, had been around since the 1392 Statute of Praemunire and had been used against individuals in the ordinary course of court proceedings. Now Henry, having first charged Queen Catherine’s supporters, Bishops John Fisher, John Clerk, Nicholas West and Henry Standish and archdeacon of Exeter Adam Travers, then decided to proceed against the whole clergy. Henry claimed £100,000 from the Convocation of Canterbury of the Church of England for their pardon, which was granted by the Convocation on 24 January 1531. The clergy wanted the payment to be spread over five years. Henry refused. The Convocation responded by withdrawing their payment altogether and demanded Henry fulfill certain guarantees before they agreed to give him the money. Henry refused these conditions, agreed only to the five-year period of payment and then, to the payment which Henry wanted the Convocation to accept, added five articles:

1. that the clergy recognise Henry as the “sole protector and Supreme Head of the Church and clergy of England” 2. that the King had spiritual jurisdiction 3. that the privileges of the Church were upheld only if they did not detract from the royal prerogative and the laws of the realm 4. that the King pardoned the clergy for violating the statute of praemunire, and 5. that the laity were also pardoned.

About the Author

Chelsey Trisa’s: Palace Resorts, Singles Cruise,Korean Airline, AndItalian Villas.

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