The King’s Great Matter
DOI link for The King’s Great Matter
The King’s Great Matter book
In England, humanism never acquired the pagan tinge of the Italian prototype. As for the Church in England itself, much ingenuity has been spent on the question why it gave way so readily; yet the answer is not really so hard to find. Fear of succession troubles was ingrained in sixteenth-century England: nation as well as statesmen never forgot the history of earlier civil wars. When Henry VIII, a few months after his accession, married Catherine of Aragon, he married his brother's widow: in the momentous story of Henry's first divorce this is almost the only statement one can make without fear of contradiction from some quarter. Benefit of clergy and sanctuary were only aspects of the real difficulty posed by the Church—the problem of its dual allegiance. The government which replaced Thomas Wolsey did not make his mistakes, but it neither had his successes or brilliance.