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Henry VIII broke with Rome because he wanted personal power.

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In November 1534 the Act of Supremacy was passed which gave Henry VIII complete power over the Church in England. By securing this role and ruling as King of England he had achieved caesaropapism (the idea of combing secular government with a spiritual authority of the church however, in this case the theory that Head of State is also Supreme Head of the Church). Henry VIII broke with Rome because he wanted personal power, however, other possibilities could be argued as the reason for the Break with Rome, these include; succession, divorce and reform. While power was Henrys ultimate goal he was able to use the vindications of succession, divorce and reform to secure the break with Rome. Henry VIII had always craved power; he was the first King in Parliament, which changed parliament entirely as never before had a monarch sat in the House of Commons. Scarisbrick argues Henry had always been in charge of his own destiny and also emphasises his dominant role in government throughout his reign. This would imply he wanted the power to have the opportunity to decide legislation something that would be impossible if he did not play an active role in Parliament. Moreover AF Pollard contends that Henry VIIIs reason for breaking with Rome was purely for power. Pollard states the divorce was the occasion and not the cause for Reformation. This implies the divorce was simply used as an excuse to break with Rome. This argument can be justified by the fact Henry VIII was granted his divorce before the break with Rome. Collectanea Satis Copiosa was a collection of historical document complied in 1529 by Thomas Cranmer and Edward Foxe. It was designed to prove that historically kings of England had never been subordinate to anyone, as they never had somebody who was superior to them, not even the Pope. Henry VIII valued this document because it showed confirmation for royal supremacy. Furthermore it gave him precedent because he viewed it as evidence that his claim to set up the Church of England was legitimate. Another potential reason for the break with Rome was succession. His wife, Catherine of Aragon, was unable to provide and in 1527, after 18 years of marriage, she has not been pregnant since 1515; she had however, had a number of stillborn and miscarriages. It was highly unlikely she would conceive again. However, succession as a reason for the break with Rome could be linked with the need for power. Perhaps Henry VIII hoped to keep power within the Tudor family and to achieve this aim he would need a legitimate male heir. Henry VIII had two healthy children nevertheless they would never be accepted to be the heirs to the thrown. His daughter, Mary, would not be accepted as queen despite being a legitimate child and his son, Henry Blount would not be recognised by the nobility because he is the result of an affair and therefore illegitimate. It proved Henry VIII had three options; he could attempt to legitimise his son by marring his mother, however this would not disguise the fact he was born out of wedlock, Henry VIIIs daughter could bare a son, but unfortunately this is very unlikely within his life time or lastly he could obtain a divorce, which appeared to be his only viable option. Henry VIII was in fact a strong Catholic; L Wooding states Religion was an integral part of his daily life and a crucial aspect of his kingship. Divorce was not an excuse for the break with Rome just the occasion. Perhaps Henry VIII genuinely believed his marriage was invalid in the eyes of God due to a quote from the Bible. In the Old Testament Leviticus writes if a man takes his brothers wife it is an impurity; he has uncovered his brothers nakedness, they shall be childless Arguably this is contradicted by the fact they are not childless and a quote from Deuteronomy which states If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stronger; her husbands brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife However, Leviticus is

supposedly the commandments of God whilst Deuteronomy is the commandments of Moses, in which case Leviticus triumphs Deuteronomy. Moreover, the Hebrew word used in the bible for childless translates to male childless. Ford Henry VIIIs marriage to be authorized he would have needed Papal dispensation due to Cannon Law which forbids the marriage of men to their sisters or sister in laws. Due to this Henry VIII asks for an annulment, but possibly he could be asking for an annulment not a divorce because he genuinely believes the marriage never existed in the eyes of God. Henry VIII did not break with Rome because he wanted a divorce as this was granted before the break. The divorce was used as a method of reaching his aim of gaining power by which he must break with Rome to achieve. Lastly, Henry VIII could have broken with Rome due to the speculated need for Reform within the Church. John Colet addressed four main evils that he presented in a convocation sermon. The four evils were ambition, lust, ignorance and greed. Discontent with the Church was not widespread and poor practice of the Catholic Doctrine would not have affected Henry VIII directly hence it would not concern nor interest him therefore reform was not Henry VIIIs reason to break with Rome. When a storm arose over the extent of clerical independence in England, Henry made his stance quite clear, We are King on England, and the kings of England in time past have never had any superior but God alone. This would strongly suggest Henry VIII sought power and would soon obtain such supremacy through the break with Rome. Leading up to the Act of Supremacy in November 1534 five acts were passed which contributed to Henry VIIIs power. The Submission of the Clergy in May 1532 made the king the Clergys lawmaker rather that the Pope thus adding to Henry VIIIs power. This would imply that he was indeed looking for power when the break with Rome took place. Henry VIII broke with Rome because he wanted personal power. Overall power was his main priority and the result he had hoped to gain from the Break with Rome. Although Succession, divorce and reform were also gained during the process they were not the Kings fundamental wants nor causes for the Break with Rome.