Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Defence of the Seven Sacraments: Week 1 - Introduction

King Henry VIII is an enigma. He was not supposed to the King, but the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tudor dynasty was young and shaky, a male heir would make it secure. He has theological training, devout, attended Mass usually multiple times a day, regular confessor, made pilgrimage, creeped to the cross on Good Friday, fought Protestantism, given title “Defender of the Faith”, died with the host on his tongue . . . and yet . . . he carried on an affair with the Boleyns (product of the church in his time), was willing to use absolute power (executions), was weak-willed, was very lustful, began young and vigorous but then likely suffered from syphilis and diabetes, dissolved the monasteries and gave their property to the nobility, broke up the communion of the church in the West, and promoted and fostered Protestantism.

From Belloc's chapter on Henry: 
"Though so much else was at work, it will be seen that if Henry had not weakly allowed himself to be captured by Anne Boleyn, and then allowed himself to be pushed into the extreme position of breaking with the Papacy rather than disappoint the woman who had infatuated him, England would be Catholic to-day; and if England had remained Catholic the Reformation elsewhere would certainly have died out. 

"He it was who started the ball rolling. He did not intend the results which ultimately followed, nor even the results which followed immediately within his own lifetime, still less the results which followed after his death. It was a passionate, foolish, ill-considered blunder — and was a very good example of the truth that evil comes upon the world through men's blind sins much more than through their calculation. 

" . . . even for the betrothal it was necessary to get a dispensation from the Pope of the day, Julius II, because Catherine had been (nominally at least) the wife of the boy's brother. It was a disputed point among theologians whether the Pope could or could not give a dispensation for marriage with a deceased brother's wife; morally, of course, it did not matter in this case because the marriage between young Prince Arthur and' Catherine had only been a nominal one, but the point was to prove of enormous importance in the future. 

" . . . Now let me describe the character of this young fellow, upon whom so much was to depend. His leading characteristic was an inability to withstand impulse; he was passionate for having his own way — which is almost the opposite of having strength of will. He was easily dominated, always being managed by one person or another in succession, from this beginning of his fife to the end of it, but being managed — not bullied or directly controlled. 

"It is exceedingly important to understand this chief point about him because a misjudgment of it has warped much the greater part of historical appreciation upon him. Because he was a big man who blustered and had fits of rage and was exaggeratedly eager to follow appetite and whim he had been given the false appearance of a powerful figure. Power he had, but it was only the political power which the mood of the time gave to whoever might be monarch. He had no personal power of character. He did not control others by their respect for his tenacity, still less by any feeling that he was wise and just and still less by any feeling that he was of strong fiber. 

"On the contrary, all those who managed him, one after the other — except his wife — despised him, and soon came to carry on as though they could do what they liked on condition that they flattered him. They managed public affairs while he followed his appetites or private interests. That was true of the whole series of those who "ran" him: Wolsey, Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, and, at the end, his brother-in-law Seymour. The only exception was that admirable wife of his who, through the simplicity of her character and her strong affection as well as from her sense of duty, treated him with respect. But her influence over him was, perhaps on that very account, soon lost. 

"As might be expected with a nature of this kind, he revolted against each manager one after the other. He felt he was being "run" by each in turn, grew peevish about it, had explosions of anger and would in a fit of passion get rid of them. Getting rid of them often meant, under the despotic conditions of that day, putting them to death. That is how he suddenly broke with Wolsey, that is how he broke with Anne Boleyn, that is how he broke with Thomas Cromwell — who had all three done what they willed with him, acting independently of him, showing their contempt for him in private and ultimately rousing his fury. Every woman (except his first wife Catherine) with whom he had to deal treated him pretty soon with contempt, and that is a most significant test of a man's value. 

" . . . though he was intelligent, in the sense of being able to follow a logical process clearly or to draw up a consecutive plan or to analyse intellectual propositions such as are presented by theological or political discussion, he was a bad judge of men. He could see indeed well enough that this man or that was working hard and producing results, but he blundered badly whenever he tried to frame a foreign policy for himself; also he was very hesitant — perhaps because he half consciously recognized his incompetence in dealing with a complicated situation. 

"He would put off a decision, advance towards a certain end and then draw back, half determining to give up objects towards which he was bent, and the main lines of action during his reign were always undertaken by somebody else. 

"It was Wolsey who conducted his early foreign policy entirely; it was Cromwell who later worked his breach with Rome; it was Seymour who, at the end of his life, determined what sort of will he should leave and how the succession to his throne should be arranged. He was emotional after a fashion, and especially sensitive to music; he was even a good practical musician himself and something of a poet and he composed a few songs which are not without merit, as well as other set pieces of harmony, notably two Masses to which are given his name but which are perhaps from his own hand. 

"He was very vain — vain of his looks, and of his athletics in early life; exceedingly touchy about his dignity and his majesty as a King. His feelings were here in comic contrast with the way in which he was always being got the better of by other people, until the moment when the regular explosion against their control arrived. It was this vanity which made him fall a victim to more than one woman, but it also prevented his being completely infatuated by them save in the one case of Anne Boleyn. 

" . . . he did have a fixed emotional attachment to the practices of the Faith, and he never got out of what may be called the atmosphere of these practices. He had a constant devotion to the Sacrament of the Altar and no little of his severity appeared in his treatment of anyone who denied the Real Presence. He insisted on the celibacy of the clergy, on the maintenance of full ritual in the liturgy and all ecclesiastical discipline under the episcopacy, which he formally maintained."

1491—Henry Tudor is born; as the second-born son, he is prepared for a career in the Church.

1502—Arthur, Prince of Wales, dies, leaving Henry Tudor as the heir to the throne of England.

1504—Henry VII, still desiring a Spanish alliance, arranges a marriage between his son and Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon; though Catharine swore that her marriage had not been consummated, an additional papal dispensation of affinity (see Leviticus 18:16) is sought to remove all doubt regarding the legitimacy of the marriage; Pope Julius II grants the dispensation.

1509—Henry VIII, becomes king after the death of his father, Henry VII.

1515—Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, is made a Cardinal by the pope and Lord Chancellor of England by the king.

1517—Martin Luther nails his “95 Theses” debating indulgences on the church door at Wittenberg; the Protestant Reformation begins.

1520—Martin Luther writes his essay “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” his most hostile treatment of the papacy (labeling the pope the “antichrist”) and the Catholic teaching on the sacraments.

1521—Henry VIII publishes his treatise “Defence of the Seven Sacraments” as a rebuttal of Luther’s “Babylonian Captivity.” King Henry  receives the title “Defender of the Faith” from Pope Leo X for his work.

1522—Martin Luther writes his reply to King Henry VIII. In this year, Henry begins an affair with Mary Boleyn.

1525—At the entreaty of Christian, King of Denmark, Luther apologizes to Henry. The King also becomes interested in an annulment of his marriage and begins pursuing Anne Boleyn.

1526—Sir Thomas More writes a reply to Luther’s response to Henry VIII, entitled “Vindicatio Henrici VIII. a calumniis Lutheri” by “Gulielmus Rosseus.”

1529—Henry VIII dismisses Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor for failing to obtain the Pope’s annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon; Sir Thomas More appointed Lord Chancellor; Henry VIII summons the “Reformation Parliament” which begins to cut ties with the Church of Rome.

1530—Cardinal Wolsey dies; the “Reformation Parliament” reinstates præmunire charges, outlawing legal appeals to the Roman Curia; reformer William Tyndale is executed; his final words are, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”

1532—The “Reformation Parliament” curtails church taxes sent abroad to Rome; Sir Thomas More resigns over the question of Henry VIII’s annulment.

1533—All legal appeals to Rome are outlawed by the “Reformation Parliament”; the Boleyn family chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and grants the annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon; Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn and is excommunicated by Pope Clement VII.

1534—The “Reformation Parliament” passes the Act of Supremacy: as no foreign bishop has jurisdiction within the realm, Henry VIII is declared the “supreme head” of the Church of England.

1535—Sir Thomas More and John Cardinal Fisher, Bishop Rochester, are beheaded for failing to take the Oath of Supremacy.

1536—Concluding the “Reformation Parliament,” all papal authority in England is outlawed; Anne Boleyn is beheaded; Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour; the dissolution of monasteries in England begins under the direction of Thomas Cromwell and is completed in 1539.

1537—Jane Seymour dies after bearing a son, the future King Edward VI.

1539—Parliament passes the king’s “Six Articles” of Religion, outlawing Protestant religious opinions on key issues; Glastonbury Abbey is dissolved; the buildings are torched and looted by the king’s men.

1540—Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves following negotiations by Thomas Cromwell; as it was not consummated, Henry’s marriage to Anne of Cleves is annulled and he marries Catherine Howard; Thomas Cromwell executed on charge of treason.

1542—Catherine Howard is executed.

1543—Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr; alliance forms between Henry and Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) against Scotland and France.

1544—The first liturgical texts in English are issued (the only ones issued in Henry’s reign); the Exhortation and Litany were composed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

1547—Henry dies; under the Act of Succession, his sole surviving son, becomes King Edward VI; as he is too young to rule (nine years old), Edward Seymor acts as Lord Protector of the Realm.

1548—Archbishop Thomas Cranmer introduces an English communion rite, to be inserted in the Latin Mass just before receiving Communion.

1549—The first Book of Common Prayer, mostly written by Cranmer, is issued and its use is required in all English churches; resistance comes from Cornwall.

1552—A new Prayer Book, revised along Protestant lines, is issued.

1553—Upon the death of Edward VI, Henry’s first daughter Mary is crowned Queen of England; she restores both the Latin liturgy and communion with the Church of Rome.

1558—Upon the death of Mary I, Henry’s second daughter Elizabeth (by Anne Boleyn) is crowned Queen of England; papal jurisdiction is denied, the Queen being proclaimed “Supreme Governor” of the English Church, and the Prayer Book is restored.

"Whose Sins ye forgive, shall be forgiven unto them, and whosoever Sins ye retain, shall be retained. (Jn 20:22). By which Words, if it is manifest that any Priest has Power to absolve Men from Sins, and take away eternal Punishment due thereunto; who will not judge it ridiculous, that the Prince of all Priests should be denied the taking away of temporal Punishment?"

Joining things

An inexpansive free verse.

I tried to join the Masons because it was free
But then I discovered I had to buy my apron.
(I didn’t know they baked their own bricks.)
The Communist party looked good at first,
But in the end, there were too many red flags.
I didn’t have enough pride to join the Lion’s Club.
I was too much of a square to join the Rotary Club.
I was a little too ordinary to be one of the Odd Fellows.
Should I lodge with the Moose or the Elk?
As a hunter, I was accustomed to shooting them both.
I was getting a little too old for the YMCA.
It turns out the Red Men were just a bunch of white guys.
The Knights of Columbus only held daytime meetings.
I had more in common with the emcees than the Jaycees.
I figured I didn’t really wanna be in Kiwanis.
(Plus, I didn’t have the key to the club anyway.)
When I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to be,
I figured I was content being little old me.