Option 1 Tradition and Dissent in English Christianity
In what ways has Roman Catholicism been an example of religious tradition in England?
The aim of this essay is to discuss how Roman Catholicism has been an example of religious tradition in England. For my discussion it’s very important to determine what tradition is? Tradition can be defined as ‘the action oftransmitting or handing down...from one to another or from generation to generation; the transmission of statements, beliefs, rules, customs’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 2009). Roman Catholicism’s tradition which I would argue is relevant to this essay is the community of men brought together by the profession of the same Christian faith, and conjoined in the communion of the development of papalprimacy and the long confessional struggle with emergent Protestantism. The key point to my argument will be how perceptions of the Roman Catholic church in England as the upholder of religious tradition from the 16th century to the 19th century, and in this essay I will analyze how it swung like a pendulum back and forth during this period, from being that of tradition to become that off dissent overthe course.
Since the sixth century the Church of England had been Roman Catholic. In fact, up until the English Reformation the Catholic Church was England’s traditional religion, and was widely unchallenged in England until 1533. It was at this point that the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was denied by the Pope ??????. Hence, this prevented Henry tomarry Anne Boleyn and denied him the opportunity to father a male heir. Subsequently, King Henry and Parliament renounced the authority of the Pope, and abolished the monasteries. Surprisingly, King Henry had done this strictly for personal reasons and not for religious reasons. In doing so Henry turned his back on many centuries of tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, an action which would, overthe following three centuries, cause much unrest and political upheaval. It is at this point that the dissent from the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church in England began.
Just before Henry VIII died, Protestant influence was growing; under the influence of Thomas Cranmer who was the archbishop of Canterbury from 1533. However, the Church of England continued to stay traditional.All that changed after King Henry’s death in 1547. Under King Edward VI Cranmer created a new and distinctively Protestant order of service, which was imposed in 1549 in a more emphatically Protestant direction in 1552. Consequently, determined efforts were made to stamp out Catholic practices. I would argue that this was a very important change in English history as tradition was going to bereplaced by dissent. As a consequence, the next three centuries swung like a pendulum To and Fro between Catholicism and Protestantism, with many religious conflicts.
This leads nicely onto how tradition and dissent affected Catholics and Protestants in the middle decades of the sixteenth century, and put my argument forward if it was tradition or dissent for that period of time? During thereign of Mary I, England was forced to return to traditional Catholicism. Queen Mary I was a fanatical catholic. She had all the Protestant clergy thrown in jail including the archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and if they refused to return to Catholicism, Mary had them burnt at the stake, consequently, many were including Thomas Cranmer. I would argue here that this was a good example of dissent [,] asthe protestant population were being persecuted for what they believed in. Therefore, under Queen Mary’s reign the government had to recognise that although it might claim to be restoring ‘tradition’ it could not reverse all the changes of the previous twenty years, nor in fact did it necessarily want to do so. I would argue that this would be going back to tradition. However, ‘the return to...