Henry VIII Defender of the Faith “The Defender of the Faith” is a title of which has been bestowed upon all English Monarch since the reign of Henry VIII. Decreed by Pope Leo X on the 17th of October 1 521 the title represented Henry Vic’s piety and loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church. However Henry Vic’s agenda changed, the pope became a hindrance to his plan thus he no longer sought the Catholic faith for guidance. From the pious, motivated, youthful King that Henry VIII was, to the tyrant Henry VIII became. Looking deeper into Henry Vic’s upbringing, actions and character the title still remains relevant.
Fide Defense, Latin for the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ is a title which belongs to the sovereign of England. Granted by Pope Leo X during the reign of King Henry VIII the titled has been inherited by each succeeding English monarch since its first establishment. Originally the title represented England’s standing under the pope. It brought prestige and honor to the English monarch who in himself represented the English nation. The importance of Henrys titles not only was prestigious but it put England in a position of political influence, for a close relationship with the pope went far in
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Christendom. Henry was granted his title because of the piety he demonstrated to the Catholic Church. The pope recognized the English Monarch as a man of God shortly after he had written the book, ‘Defense of the Seven Sacraments’ against the revolutionary Martin Luther. It was at this time that Martin Luther was declaring independence from the Catholic Church. As a second son “Henry was prepared for a life in the church” (Henry and his many Relationships:201 3) this reveals a lot of his character. Arthur, his brother was born and raised to be King, he however passed away leaving
Henry, who was born and raised to serve the church, the heir. What can be understood about Henry Vic’s character as a youthful king was that Henry was a very intelligent man. A firsthand account stated by Pipsqueaks in 151 5 proves this, saying: “Henry was well educated… Intelligent and enjoyed writing…. … A most accomplished Prince and King” (Description of Henry VIII: 201 3) When Henry wrote the book, “Defense of the Seven Sacraments” he made a statement, he publicly stood for the Catholic Church, hence why he was awarded “Defender of the Faith”.
Evidence suggests that Henry in his earlier ears was a man who was pious, deserving of the title which was bestowed upon him. Henrys later years took a different path from what he was as a youth. His needs changed which influenced how Henry constituted his decisions. The union between King Henry VIII and Catharine of Argon wasn’t just out of the love Henry felt for Catharine, it was also a political marriage. The marriage united the Kingdoms of Spain and England. As a queen Catharine was expected to provide a male heir however over a period of ten years she could not do so, Henry waited patiently to no avail.
As his patience wore he began to seek an alternative, he needed a new queen. This presented an issue; only the Pope could annul a marriage and as the Church believed in the sanctity of marriage Henry utilized Catholic doctrine such as the scripture from Leviticus Chapter 20, verse 16 in an attempt to convince the Pope that his marriage was unholy to begin with. The scripture states: “If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an impurity; he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless. ” (1999: King James version: Leviticus Chapter 20, verse 16)
Even with scripture Henrys arguments could not convince the Pope, divorce was something not shared by the papacy. The poops refusal of Henrys request to divorce represented a change in Henrys attitude towards the Papacy. The Kings ambitions were now being hindered by the Pope. What the pope could not provide, Martin Luther could. Martin Lather’s philosophy presented an alternate solution to the Christian faith which did not involve the “materialistic” Catholic Church. Under a protestant faith Henry would no longer have to succumb to the Pope’s instruction. The Consequences to his ewe agenda brought the end of Catholicism to England.
No longer was Henry defending the faith of the Roman Catholic Church but was instead he introduced the new reformed Church of England. Consequently Henry was renounced of his title “Defender of the Faith”. However can his actions be justified? Henry did what he had to; he still held faith in his own unique way. Could Henry have not just completely relinquished religion from England entirely and had everything his own way? Henry may have discarded the Roman Catholic Church under the popes influence but instead he kept his Christianity, he still defended what he believed was the true religion.
Over his reign serious changes politically and socially were made. He had begun with so much aspiration; however circumstance forced him further and further away from what he originally sought out to be. He became a tyrant. Of all the decisions Henry VIII made during his reign the reformation was by far the most significant. It brought the end of the Roman Catholic control in England; the religious customs of an entire populace were altered because of his decision. The reason to why Henry reformed the English faith comes down o his political ambition. He needed a male heir which meant a new wife.
This was something the Pope would never allow thus he discarded the Pope to see his own ends met. However even though Henry discarded the pope who was the one who entitled him with the title “Defender of the Faith” Henry could have entirely rid England of religion altogether. Arguably it would have been easier to just rid England entirely of religion; if he had no one would have had a higher authority than Henry. Instead of this pathway he chose to keep England as a religious state, this leads to suggest that even having committed ingenious crimes it wasn’t something which he considered wrong.
In the process of the reformation all Henry did was remove the Pope from a seat of influence to raise the power and authority Henry had in his Kingdom. The two variations of Christianity are virtually the same. The Church of England is merely Henrys interpretation of the Catholic faith. Over the period of Henry Vic’s reign he underwent dramatic changes politically and socially, as a youthful King Henry VIII was bestowed the title “Defender of the faith” because of his piety and diligence towards the Catholic Church and the Pope.
However as he grew older his needs changed, he could not produce a male heir from his first wife and needed a divorce. The pope wouldn’t allow a divorce which was initiate Henrys reformation from the Catholic Church. The original context regarding why Henry received the title “defender of the faith” Was lost when Henry parted ways from the Catholic Church but his faith remained, instead of discarding religion he kept his faith, he still deserved his title. The atrocious acts which Henry committed remain irrelevant because he defended the faith of his nation.