« PreviousContinue »
written document from England, the contents of it were never known. On the other hand,--if we take into consideration, that, during the whole of this stage of the business, the king persisted in his offensive measures; and even enacted several laws, destructive of papal authority, we shall find no reason to believe, that the pope, although he had conducted himself with ever so great moderation and temper, would have prevented a final rupture. It is probable, that, at this time, Henry considered the pope's decision, as a matter of great indifference.
Act of Parliament ratifying the Divorce, and confirming the
king's marriage with Anne Boleyn. ! In a former part of these pages,
it has been mentioned, that Cranmer pronounced the marriage of the king with Katharine, to have been invalid; and that, soon after the passing of this sentence, his marriage with Anne Boleyn was solemnised. an act of the 25th of the monarch's reign, the archbishop's sentence was ratified ; and the marriage with Anne Boleyn, confirmed. The crown was limited to the issue of this marriage ; and, in default of such issue, to the king's right heirs. An oath was enjoined, in favour of this order of succession, under the penalty of imprisonment, during the king's pleasure. It is observable, that this act excluded the princess, Mary, from the crown ; this seems to have been contrary to the monarch's avowed intentions, when he first applied for the sentence of divorce.
cH AP. VI.
INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE KING's
ASSUMPTION OF THE TITLE OF SUPREME HEAD OF
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND :-GIVING A SHORT
HISTORICAL MINUTE OF THE PAPAL ENCROACHMENTS ON THE SOVEREIGN, AND CHURCH OF ENGLAND; AND OF THE RESISTANCE TO THEM.
WE come now to consider the most important part of the reign of Henry; his assumption of the title of head of the church of England. To present the reader with a view of this interesting event, some account of the previous encroachments of the popes, on the rights of the sovereign, and church of England ; and of the resistance of each, is necessary. An attempt will, therefore be made, in this chapter, to give a succinct statement,. Of the success, and subsequent decline, of the pretensions of the popes to temporal power: II. Of their occasional abuse of their spiritual power: III. Of the resistance of the sovereigns of England to the former : IV. And of the legislative acts of the parliament of England against the latter.
First success, and subsequent decline, of the claim of the
Popes to Temporal Power. THE successive rise of the
from a proprietor of houses and farms, first to the magistracy, and progress of
afterwards to the sovereignty, of the city of Rome, and several adjacent provinces; and the his claim to universal temporal dominion, are shortly stated by the writer, in his “ Succinct History of “ the Geographical and Political Revolutions of
Germany, or the principal states, which composed the empire of Charlemagne, from his coro“ nation in 800, to its dissolution in 1806; with
some account of the genealogies of the imperial “house of Hapsburgh, and the six secular electors "s of Germany, and of Roman, German, French “ and English nobility."
The beginning of the 14th century, may be assigned, as the era of the highest elevation of the temporal power of the popes :--since, about this time, their territorial possessions had their largest extent; they had made their greatest progress in exempting the clergy from the civil power; and they experienced the slightest resistance, to their general claim of a divine right to dominion. Thus, at this period, they had attained their highest elevation. - Its decline may be dated from the year 1309; when the policy of the French king prevailed on the pope to remove to Avignon. During seventy years, that city continued the metropolis of Christendom. This exasperated the Italians, to the highest degree : they lost their personal affection for the pope ; called his residence at Avignon, the captivity of Babylon; and filled Europe with invectives against him.
This was followed by an event, still more detrimental to the popes. Gregory the eleventh quitted
Avignon, and established his residence at Rome. He died, in 1378. The Italian cardinals chose a pope; he assumed the name of Urban the sixth
; and also fixed his seat at Rome. The French cardinals likewise chose a pope. He assumed the name of Clement the seventh ; and fixed his seat at Avignon. Christendom was divided between the two popes; and the schism lasted, from 1378 to 1417: it then ended by the elevation of Martin the fifth. Throughout the period of this schism, there were two, and sometimes three rival
divid. ing the christian world by their quarrels, and scandalizing it by their mutual recriminations.
But, nothing contributed so much to the decline of the temporal power of the popes, as the discussions, which took place at the councils of Constance, Basil, and Pisa ; and the writings of several men of learning, particularly of the Parisian school, who then began to discuss the papal pretensions to temporal power, with wisdom, temper and erudition.
A rougher attack was made upon them by the Albigenses, Wickliffites, and Lollards; and by some other sectaries of the fourteenth and fifteenth, centuries. It must, however, be admitted, on the one hand, that these maintained some doctrines, irreconcilable with those of the gospel, and subversive of civil government ;---so that it may be considered a matter of some surprise, that the protestant churches should be so anxious to prove their descent from them ;-and, on the other, that they brought charges against the temporal usurpations of some popes, and
of some churchmen, to which their advocates could make no reply.
The effect of these circumstances was, that the justice of the pretensions of the popes to temporal power, by divine right, became much suspected ;
the antient canons were more attended to ; and the limits of spiritual and temporal power were better understood*.
* As much, unavoidably is said, in many pages of each volume of this work, respecting papal power, the following exposition of the doctrine of Roman-catholics upon this subject, is here inserted, from the author's Historical Memoirs of the Church of France, during the Reigns of Louis XIV. XV. XVI, and during the Revolution.
Universal Doctrine of the Roman-catholics, respecting the
Supremacy of the Pope.
It is an article of the Roman-catholic faith, that the pope has, by divine right, ist, a supremacy of rank; 2dly, a supremacy of jurisdiction, in the spiritual concerns of the Romancatholic church; and, 3dly, the principal authority in defining articles of faith.--In consequence of these prerogatives, the pope holds a rank, splendidly pre-eminent, over the highest dignitaries of the church ; has a right to convene councils, and preside over them, by himself or his legates, and to confirm the elections of bishops. Every ecclesiastical cause may be brought to him, as the last resort, by appeal ; he may promulgate definitions and formularies of faith to the universal church; and when the general body, or a great majority of her prelates, have assented to them, either by tacit acquiescence, or formal consent, all are bound to acquiesce in them." “ Rome,” they say, " in such a case, has spoken,” and the
is determined.” To the pope, in the opinion of all Roman-catholics, belongs also a general superintendence of