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The Protestant Reformation: England

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England was isolated from the rest of Europe. While Protestantism divided European society, it took a different form in England. It kept most of the doctrine and the practices of Catholicism. England also had the greatest wavering between the two religions as the monarchs of England passed from one religion to the next.

For several centuries, England had an uncomfortable relationship with Rome. Some of the most successful reformers in the Middle Ages were English. The first translation of the Bible from Latin into a vernacular language was made in England. Two major movements in England; the Wycliffite rebellion against the church in the fourteenth century and the spread of Northern humanism, prepared the foundations for English Protestantism. Wycliff was the first to translate the Bible into a vernacular language.

The adoption of Protestantism was more of a political than a religious move. King Henry VIII originally married Catherine of Aragon. Since she had been previously married to his brother, Henry had to get special papal dispensation for the marriage. Marrying the wife of his brother was incest. It was almost equivalent to marrying his sister. They had no male children to take the throne at Henry's death. Henry began to doubt the marriage and the spiritual validity of the marriage. In the mid-1520's, he met and fell in love with Ann Boleyn. Ann Boleyn was a lady in waiting to Catherine. He wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine and marry Ann. Not only did he love Ann, he feared leaving the throne of England without a male heir

In order to marry Ann, the marriage with Catherine had to be annulled by the pope. Circumstances were working against him. First, in order to marry Catherine, he needed special papal dispensation. Annulling the marriage would imply that the first papal dispensation was in error. This was something the pope was not willing to admit. Second, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, had recently invaded Rome and captured the pope. While the



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