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Tradition and Dissent in English Christianity - Essay Example

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Truly English Christianity may be said to have begun in 1533 when Henry VIII broke with Rome and renounced the authority of the Pope since he refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This act, although involving religion was not religious but personal since…
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Download file to see previous pages Catholicism was the doctrine that God exists in three forms: the Father who created the world, the Son – Jesus Christ who saved it – and the Holy Spirit, who continued after the crucifixion to keep alive the belief that Christ died for us. The transmission and upholding of these beliefs were the prerogative of the clergy, and they were made accessible – if not understandable – by the creation of a familiar series of traditions enshrined in ritual: the sacraments, processions a fixed order of service based on a yearly cycle encompassing a succession of holy days, the belief that religion was central to the local community and, above all, a profusion of recognisable and reassuring objects: images of the Holy Family, the Saints, the altar, the rood and many others which were affectionately recalled by Roger Martyn and described by Dymond & Paine (1992).
After the break with Rome events moved fast. In Henry’s time – despite the dissolution of the monasteries - there were few changes in church rituals which largely retained their traditional form. After his death in 1547 Protestantism was introduced, largely reinforced by the production by Archbishop Cranmer of a new “Protestant” order of service and the determination to remove Catholic rituals. When the young king Edward VI died in 1553 he was succeeded by his half-sister Mary who immediately moved to restore Roman Catholicism. This was vigorously resisted by those who had become convinced Protestants – including Cranmer who was burnt at the stake – who saw this move as dissent against the established religion. Others however with more old fashioned views welcomed the return of a traditional form of religion. However there were others who saw Roman Catholicism as fomenting dissent against Protestantism – being authoritarian, persecuting and antagonistic to England (Foxe 1563). Only five years later Elizabeth I became
queen. Although a dedicated Protestant she was also an accomplished ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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