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self-expression and a circumscribed form of advertising their grievances, requirements and ideas. But the King's heart was not won because his ear was assailed. Neither were his eyes opened. It was the task of a woman to persuade the King; to challenge his understanding and to attract his sympathy. Anne was made the mouthpiece of the party of reform.
It has been pointed out by a forcible modern historian 1 that from the first the revival of letters took a "tone in England very different from the tone it had taken in Italy, a tone less literary, less largely human, but more moral, more religious, more practical in its bearings both upon society and politics." Anne was of the foreign school of thought. France had directly contributed to her education. Italy, through Surrey, Wyatt and other imitators of the Latins, had indirectly assisted it. Her followers and supporters were English men and women. These facts partly explain the inconsistency of a light woman-if Anne were no more than a light woman-being the chosen head of a serious movement. Her versatility in morals, as in learning, was great. The angel of "manifold virtues," the “bountiful ” almsgiver and “ zealous defender” of “Christ's gospel ” of Foxe in his Book of Martyrs, is the “she-devil" and the “concubine" of the Imperialists and the Papists.
And to make this Anne Queen-Consort of England and the mother of England's heir, Henry VIII. quarrelled with the Pope, withdrew his kingdom from Roman protection, and proclaimed himself “Supreme Head of the Church in England.”
Yet the passion of the King, the machinations of the lady,
the doctrines, aspirations and beliefs of the Reformers and the nationalism of great races were not all the causes of the “Great Schism.” The methods of Rome, the cowardice and dishonesty of a line of Popes, and the sinful presumptions of the dogma of Infallibility, contributed in no small measure towards the catastrophe. Sooner or later the severance was bound to come. The
1 John Richard Green, History of the English People
Church that counts territorial dominion the main bulwark of its authority and continuity is foredoomed. My kingdom is not of this world, else would My children fight.” “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cesar's."
The calling for a judgment on the validity of a marriage would not seem the most crucial test of spirituality in a religious authority. Yet the application of that test by King Henry exposed unmistakably the worldly and self-interested character of the Papacy.
Katharine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, came to England in 1502 to marry Prince Arthur, the heir of Henry VII. All due regal and ecclesiastical ceremonies were performed at their wedding, but the prince died within five months of the marriage.
For ten months the young widow was kept in strict retirement, but it soon became evident that she was not to bear a child to Prince Arthur, and plans for her future disposal were quickly discussed. Katharine's experiences as daughter-in-law of the parsimonious Henry VII., had been of a nature that led her to write to her father that she had “no inclination for a second marriage in England,” though she avowed herself ready to act in all things as suited King Ferdinand best. The desire of Henry VII. to maintain his alliance with Spain and to obtain in full the marriage portion promised with Arthur's bride, but not yet paid over, led the English King to propose either to marry Katharine himself or to create his second son Prince of Wales and give him the PrincessDowager of Wales—as Katharine was called—for his wife. Ferdinand refused the odious offer of the father, but accepted that of the son.
That Henry could even contemplate a marriage with his daughter-in-law was due to the “indulgence Rome. The Papacy had long trafficked in Bulls that permitted the solemnization of marriages that, without these dispensations, were regarded as unions of affinity contrary to the laws of man and God. Popes were found, both before and after the days of Henry VII., who were
only too ready to further State policies of rulers they feared might deprive them of territory or who were useful to them for the defence of domains. And one of the special means whereby the Court of Rome could win the favour of earthly potentates, was that of blessing questionable and abhorrent marriages desired either for the soft gratification of men's passions or for stern reasons of State. Even in the nineteenth century royal and other marriages between closely related parties were “dispensed.” And now, as in the fifteenth century, there is among Roman Catholic peoples no very definite understanding as to what affinities are prohibitive of marriage. Papal indulgences can always be extended to particular cases.
In the case of the daughter of Ferdinand of Spain and of the son of Henry of England, Rome was very ready to oblige two Catholic monarchs, one accounted the hardiest and the other the wealthiest of Christendom. The requested Bulls were granted. But even after their reception in this country some scruples as to the legality of the union of a brother-in-law and sister-in-law arose. Henry VII. would not allow his son to conclude his union with his brother's widow. But, on coming to the throne, Henry VIII, made Katharine his Queen. Their union was celebrated with full Church rites.
For eighteen years they remained together King and Queen! Children were born to them. Only the Princess Mary survived. The idea of a woman mounting the throne was not a familiar one to the popular or to the Royal mind. Mary, though revered as “ Princess of England” and invested with the style and dignity of “ Princess of Wales,” was not looked upon as a possible Sovereign. Heirs-presumptive-collateral descendants with
with Henry from Plantagenet kings-clustered round the throne. There was no heir-apparent. To quiet faction and to secure the integrity of the realm it was needful-so it was thought—that a prince should be born. There had come to be no hope of Katharine bearing that prince.
It is idle to force the belief that scruples of conscience were the only forces that drove Henry to apply to Rome for a Bull to annul for reasons of State a marriage that had been permitted for reasons of State. The King's personal desires and whims certainly played their part in the drama of his divorce as in the greater drama of the Reformation. But in support of Henry's claims, if not, as he said, as first incentive of them, there were the questions raised by the French ambassadors who came to England to treat of a marriage of the Dauphin with Mary, as to whether the princess were legitimate. It was a common occurrence in the middle Christian centuries for doubts of the legality of marriages contracted under papal dispensations, to be raised after those marriages had taken place, by parties troubled in their consciences concerning them, and by others who, from political motives, found it expedient to doubt them. This state of affairs was not unprofitable to the Roman Court. Further Bulls legalizing the issue of marriages could then be granted. The whole process contributed to the surer establishment of papal authority. It became to the interest of princes entering into “ dispensed” marriages, to support the authority that had allowed and could disallow them.
Whether conscientious or unconscientious, there was at least nothing in the appeal of Henry that was inconsistent with papal custom. No reply of Rome to the reiterated requests of the King voiced any righteous indignation because such an appeal had been made. On the contrary we have the word of the secretary of Clement VII., writing to Cardinal Campeggio, appointed with Cardinal Wolsey legate to try Katharine's cause in England, that “the Pope was in great trouble between the English and the Imperial ambassadors. He (the Pope) wished to please the King (of England), but the King and Cardinal (Wolsey) must not expect him to move till they had forced the Venetians to restore the papal territories.'
So much for the Pontifical veneration of the “Sacrament" of marriage! Undoubtedly if Henry had been able to wrench the lost lands of the Church from the grasp of the Venetians, the annulling of his union with Katharine would have been speedily dispensed.” As it was, the Pope vacillated and temporized; being, as he himself complained, “between the hammer and the anvil ” of the English king and the Spanish emperor.
Charles V., King of Spain, Naples and Sicily, lord of the Netherlands, Brabant and Burgundy, Emperor of the German and Austrian states, conqueror of Italy and gaoler of the Pope himself, was Katharine's nephew.
Very early in the struggle with Henry, Katharine appealed to Charles to champion her. She considered that Henry, styled “ Defender of the Faith" for the book he had written against Martin Luther, was in high favour at Rome, and she remembered, too, that Wolsey was her enemy because disappointed of the emperor's interest when he had made his English bid for the Papacy. Later on, when she made her public appeal to the Pope, “who held the place and had the power of God upon earth,” she shrewdly commented in private that “she, not the King, had cause to complain of His Holiness.” The Holy Father had conspicuously displayed his desire to oblige King Henry. Yet Katharine had faith in her appeal. She judged, and judged correctly, that the concern of the Pope for his temporal dominion would lead him in the end to take the course the Emperor Charles should prescribe.
And all the time that the war spiritual lasted, Pope's emissaries, like Campeggio, native bishops of the undivided Catholic Church, like Fisher of Rochester, and foreign friends and champions of the Queen, like Charles, besought Katharine to cut the Gordian knot of the difficulty by renouncing her matrimonial claims and retiring to a convent. They argued with her also against setting up the contention that her union with Prince Arthur had been only a solemn betrothal. They pointed out to her that by this plea she accused Rome, since, in the directness of a judgment more truly Catholic than that of the supreme head of Catholicism, she implicitly declared that, had she ever been the wife of Arthur, no power on earth could have made her union with Henry valid.
But Katharine too was a woman, though of a genus different from the class in which we have to place Anne