Sunday, Sep 24, 2006: “Anglicanism: Session 2”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Lecture Series Led By Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, September 24, 2006


Anglicanism, Session 2, notes


Henry VIII died in 1547 and was succeeded by the nine-year-old Edward VI. Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset became “Protector of the Realm.” Henry had educated his son with the reformers and had prepared a council of regency with a strong protestant influence.


The first English liturgical text had come in 1544, “The Great Litany.” Its original form (cf. Chapman, p. 23) was later toned down (cf. BCP pp. 148-153).


The First BCP was published in 1549 and the official date for its use throughout England was set at June 9, 1549. It is also referred to as the first Book of Edward VI. At the time, it was considered to be a compromise version, but changed far too little to suit the reformers. Reformation influences were quickly spreading. Wider-ranging changes were begun in parts of England, and it was clear that a book reflecting those changes would be needed. See the Preface to the book in BCP, pp. 866-7.


Edward Seymour favored reform and was often supported in his efforts by Thomas Cranmer. Convocation rarely met, and so the decision-making for the Church was by default a matter of state. Parliament passed a series of laws intended to remove any shrines or objects that were considered to be supportive of superstition. It repealed the Six Articles of Henry VIII.


Henry had proposed suppressing the chantries, but had not done so. The new regime carried out that plan, seizing the money. They claimed that the money would go for education, but it was never used that way. Wardens began selling of the works of art in the churches as part of the so-called “reform.”


Conservative bishops were put in the Tower and eventually deprived of their sees. They were replaced by a group of “yes-men” who supported the more radical “reformers.”


The Second BCP (a.k.a. the second Book of Edward VI) was introduced on November 1, 1552. The book was highly influenced by reformers from the continent, especially by Martin Bucer who had come to England in 1549. He, along with other reformers, were facing a great deal of opposition (and threats) in Europe. Cranmer invited him to England. His views tended to fall somewhere between those of Calvin and Zwingli. Along with the 1552 BCP came the Forty-two Articles of Religion, which condemned both Romish practices and some of the more radical changes from the continent. Liturgical scholars have commented that, with the 1552 BCP, the English liturgy reached a low point. It apparently was unpopular everywhere. The book, however, was in use officially for only eight months, until the 1553 death of Edward VI.


After the nine-day, uncrowned reign of Lady Jane Grey (1553), Mary Tudor became queen. She was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and a devote RC.

· tried to restore the links with Rome and the religious practices that had existed

· restored many of the old bishops

· imprisoned the reformers who had not fled, including Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley; removed about 20% of the clergy

· renounced the title “Supreme Head of the Church in England” but acted like one anyway

· Within a few months, Parliament had repealed all religious laws that had been enacted since 1547.

· brought back stone altars, statues, vestments etc; met with support from the public who did not care about the Reformation, nor about superstitions, but just wanted things to be the way they were accustomed to having them, without troublesome questions being asked

· On January 12, 1554, Mary signed a marriage treaty between herself and Prince Philip of Spain. This caused great alarm throughout England, with the prospect of the country being ruler by the half-Spanish Mary and the future King of Spain.

· As Mary and Philip planned a reconciliation with Rome, a key concern was that all formerly church property now belonged to the merchants. A compromise, passed by Parliament and accepted by the pope, repealed all ecclesiastical legislation since 1528, except for the dissolution of the monasteries.

· On October 16, 1554, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake. Latimer cried, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out.”

· Thomas Cranmer, now 65, was burned at the stake on March 21, 1556.

· About 300 other reformers were likewise burned alive on orders from “bloody Mary.”

· The reconciliation with Rome failed. War broke out between the pope and the king of Spain, who was then also the king of England.

· Mary died on November 17, 1558. She, whose return to the “old ways” had been greeted by the people five years earlier, was gone. At the news of her death, according to a contemporary “the same day all London song and sayd Te deum laudamus in evere chyrch in London.”


Mary was succeeded by Elizabeth (1558-1603). The nation was in a disastrous state, both internally and internationally. As for the church, three groups then existed:


1) the bishops and active priests, all of whom were conservative and wanted to continue Mary’s attempt to reconcile with Rome; all the others had been exiled or burned at the stake

2) those church leaders who had fled the country and who often wanted reforms like those on the continent

3) a group of lay and clergy leaders who wanted a middle road: maintaining Catholic traditions, but ridding them of superstitions and abuses


In January 1559, Elizabeth’s first Parliament met and passed two critically important measures:


1) The Act of Supremacy, which restored the independence from Rome of the Church in England, and named Elizabeth at the “Supreme Governor” of both Church and State


2) The Act of Conformity, which provided for the use of a revised Prayer Book, based principally on the 1552 book but with some changes, and mandated its use throughout the realm. To ensure conformity, Elizabeth sent delegates throughout the country to visit the churches and “clarify” any differences in their practice with the law of the land.

[The official, mandatory date for use of the Prayer Book was June 24, 1559. The Book included elements from both the 1549 and 1552 book. The regular Sunday service consisted of Morning Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion. Despite the opposition of the more radical reformers, music was encouraged.]
Together, these two acts comprised the “Elizabethan Settlement.”


Bishops were required to take an oath to follow the law, and a few chose to go into exile rather than comply.

Archbishop of Canterbury Reginald Pole, who had served with Mary Tudor, had died just a few hours after her. Elizabeth chose a moderate, Matthew Parker as his successor. He had remained in England, concerned with academic affairs, during the preceding years. Previously he had associated with many of the reformers, but advocated for a middle position. With his help, Elizabeth managed to assemble a new group of bishops who were supportive of her approach.


Elizabeth at first tried to exercise more leniency toward dissenters than Mary had done. However, after the Council of Trent, Pius V decided to make a more forceful attempt to reassert Rome’s authority in England. He allied himself with Mary, Queen of Scots, who was at the center of an attempt (the Northern Rebellion) to replace Elizabeth as Queen. (Mary was descended form Henry VII.) The pope excommunicated Elizabeth and in 1570 issued a decree declaring that she was no longer queen. A sympathizer nailed a copy to the door of the Bishop of London’s palace. The recusants, who had been tolerated by simply paying a small fine for not worshipping in the official churches, were now forced to choose between Pope and Queen; according to the papal decree, those who did not reject that authority of the queen were excommunicated.


The pope tried to rally the Catholic leaders of Europe to mount an armed invasion of England. When he failed at that, he launched a missionary effort. It was allegedly non-political in nature but in fact encouraged rebellion and even the assassination of the queen. A letter from the papal secretary to the nuncio in Madrid declared, “whosoever sends her out of the world with the pious intention of doing God service not only does not sin but gains merit.” The Jesuits were expelled from the country and Mary, Queen of Scots, who served as the center of Roman hopes, was executed on February 8, 1587. With Mary gone, any support for reunion with Rome appeared to the people to be a attempt to impose Spanish or papal rule over England. The launch of the Spanish Armada was Spain’s and the pope’s last, futile attempt to “retake” England. In the aftermath, Roman sympathizers were further limited in their actions by the law. 250 were put to death, but most lived quiet lives.