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This Week In History

King Henry VIII, head of the Anglican Church. November 3, 1534.

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The First Act of Supremacy was enacted on November 3 1534 in the English Parliament during Henry VIII reign. In this act, the king was proclaimed “the only supreme head on Earth of the Church of England” and that the English crown shall enjoy “all honours, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity.”

The Act made the English Reformation official, though it had been building up since 1527, and it asserted the final independence of the Ecclesia Anglicana. The result of this act was a deep crisis of the relationships between England and Rome.

Henry VIII´s desire of obtaining the annulment of his marriage with Catharine of Aragon, which had been repeatedly denied by Pope Clement VII (who was under the control of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and Catherine’s nephew). The Pope refused to grant the annulment because, according to Roman Catholic teaching, a validly contracted marriage is indivisible until death, and thus the pope cannot annul a marriage simply because of a canonical impediment previously dispensed.

The Act remained valid all through the reign of king Edward VI, but it was later abolished by queen Mary I in 1554, as she was a devoted catholic.

 

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