The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #163109   Message #3888165
Posted By: DaveRo
12-Nov-17 - 12:56 PM
Thread Name: BS: Henry VIII - The Mind of a Tyrant
Subject: RE: BS: Henry VIII - The Mind of a Tyrant
Joe Offer wrote: His differences with Rome were mostly political, at a time when the Popes were very political.
I'll try and persuade you that Henry was a protestant - even if he didn't call himself one, and that protestantism was a political stance, not a religious confession.

Over the past couple of years I've visited sites in Europe - Aaachen, Viena, Regansburg, Gozlar - which are associated with the Holy Roman Empire. This year I decided to try and understand what the Holy Roman Empire actually was. So I've been reading a thick book 'The Holy Roman Empire' by Peter H Wilson - which I recommend. It covers the 1000 years from the Empire's foundation by Charlemagne to its abolition to stop Napoleon becoming Emperor. Voltaire quipped that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire - but it was actually all three, just not as a modern person might expect.

The 'Holy' bit is because the Empire was ruled jointly by the pope and the emperor - the pope having religeous authority and the emperor secular authority. There was a tension between the two, ranging from wary cooperation to outright warfare - with anti-popes, and anti-emperors - with the general trend being the appropriation by the emperor - and from the emperor by his sub-ordinate kings, dukes, princes, landgraves - of powers initially held by the pope: the appointment of bishops and clergy, the control and ownership of papal lands, religious buildings, etc. So the role of the pope has always been political - I'd say it was primarily political.

Luther's theses (1517) were rejected by the at the Diet of Worms (1521) the emperor Charles V issuing the Edict of Worms which forbade dissemination of his ideas. Too late - in the four intervening years, and earlier, his ideas had caught on in several principalities of the German part of the empire. The edict was relaxed at the Diet of Speyer (1526) when the princes of the Lutheran principalities were given (or assumed) the right to continue their reformation. At a subsequent Diet in Speyer (1529) the Catholic princes ganged up on the Lutheran ones to get the Edict of Worms enforced. The Lutheran princes put forward their 'protestation' at that meeting, but it was ignored. The six 'protestant' princes then formed the Schmalkaldic League in 1531 for mutual self defence, but were defeated by Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547.

So from the coining of the word 'protestant' in 1529 to the death of Henry VIII in 1547 'protestant' was not a religious doctrine, or a confession, as it has become. It was a political movement, and it's focus was the preservation of the principalities' autonomy in religious matters against the pope and the catholic emperor. It was, perhaps, the 'political wing of Lutheranism'.

England was not part of the empire, but Henry would have been well aware of these events. In breaking with Rome in 1532-4, he had the same objectives as the protestant princes. No, he wouldn't have called himself a protestant, that was a German political movement. Protestants were against papal influence, and for religious autonomy - and so was Henry. In terms of religion he certainly wasn't a Lutheran but once he broke from Rome, even if he followed identical religious practices as before - which seems likely - he was no longer a catholic, because catholicism required subjection to the pope.
Joe Offer wrote: Infallibility didn't become a dogmatic teaching until 1870
My mistake: I meant papal supremacy.