The question and answer are locked and cannot be edited.

Why did King Henry VIII break with the Roman Catholic church?

already exists.

Would you like to merge this question into it?

already exists as an alternate of this question.

Would you like to make it the primary and merge this question into it?

exists and is an alternate of .

The historical answer is that Henry VIII established his control over the Church in England because he was very anxious to father a son to continue his dynasty. He was denied a divorce by the Pope, leading to the schism that eventually formed the Anglican Church.


The immediate cause of Henry's breakaway from the Pope was so that he could get a divorce from his aging wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to produce a male heir. Theoretically, it was not impossible for him to get an annulment on some pretext, but for purely political reasons, it was impossible. Catherine's nephew, Charles, was the King of Spain and both the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope had a lot more to fear from him than from Henry. At that time, England was a minor power, while Charles' empire was both geographically closer and militarily stronger. The ugly fate of Boniface VIII is a stark illustration of what powerful rulers could do to a Pope who crossed them.


There is equal reason to believe it was because he wished to stop the Inquisition from taking hold in England.


England became a part of the reformation more through politics than theological debate. King Henry VIII (1509-47) needed an heir to the throne and with his wife was unable to produce one. The Pope would not grant a divorce and so Henry convinced Parliament to declare him head of the Church in England. After his death, Henry's daughter (Mary Tudor) was a staunch Catholic and persecuted the Protestants. When Henry's other daughter, Elizabeth, inherited the throne, she tolerated the Protestants just enough so as not to irritate the Pope. When the English fleet defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Anglican Church permanently replaced the Catholic one in England.


(Below is an excerpt from the biography of Henry VIII)


King Henry VIII requested that Pope permit him to divorce his wife and marry his mistress. The Pope refused and Henry married his mistress anyway and renounced Catholicism. He removed England from the Pope's control, seized many of the Church's assets and declared himself to be the head of the Church. Henry's repudiation of papal authority led to the Church of England's existence as a separate entity: a new branch of the Christian Church that was neither Catholic nor Protestant but a hybrid that became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England. It became official in 1536. Henry funded the first printing of the Bible in English to spite the Pope.


Henry at no time broke away from the Catholic Church. The Church in England was simply reformed because a great deal of error was creeping in, both in England and on the Continent. Also there had been much trouble in the Catholic Church over authority: where did it lie? King Henry and the English Church followed the teachings of the early saints and claimed it was in the Ecumenical Councils. That was the same Catholic teaching as preserved today by the Orthodox Church as well as the Anglicans.


Henry VIII had no male child through his wife, Catherine, so he petitioned the Vatican for an annulment (statement that no marriage had ever been validly contracted). The Holy Father denied his petition as he had previously requested and been granted permission to marry her, so the marriage was valid. In order to divorce Catherine, he declared that no foreign prince (i.e. the Holy Father) had authority in England, and henceforth he would be head of the church. So he divorced her and married again. Eventually the child of the second wife became Elizabeth the First, and she is the one who formally broke all ties with Rome and established the Church of England pretty much as we know it today, with herself as head.


Henry did not actually break away from the Church. Certainly there was a rupture between Henry and Rome, but it didn't originate from Henry or from the English Church. The fact is there had been a fall out between Henry and the Pope, the pope refused Communion with Henry, and and in return Henry pointed out that the Bishop of Rome was breaking the ancient canons of the Church by interfering in another Bishop's See. This was probably the breaking point because it struck at the basis of the Bishop of Rome's authority.
+ 26 others found this useful
Thanks for the feedback!

Who advised Henry VIII to break from the catholic church?

Personally, I think his chief adviser on this issue was Satan. Up until then he had been a defender of the Catholic faith. It was only when he wouldn't listen to lawful author

What year did King Henry VIII break from the Roman Catholic Church?

The Act of Supremacy, which set up Henry VIII as head of the English church, was enacted in 1534.   Henry broke away from the Church of Rome because he went to the Pope to

When did Henry VIII break from the Catholic Church?

Henry VIII of England broke from the Catholic Church in 1534 when the Act of Supremacy was passed which declared that the King of England was "the only Supreme Head in Earth o

How did king Henry VIII of England break away from Catholic Church?

Henry VIII wanted a divorce from Anne Boleyn. The Pope wouldn't do it, so Henry got Thomas Cranmer to grant an annulment. In return, the Pope excommunicated Henry. Henry rep

What did Henry VIII do after breaking with the Catholic church?

Roman Catholic Answer England became a part of the reformation more through politics than theological debate. King Henry VIII (1509-47) needed an heir to the throne and with h

Why did King Henry VIII leave the Catholic church?

Henry did not leave the catholic church. He merely broke away from the control of the Pope in Rome and set himself up as head of the English (catholic) church.   He did thi

What impact did King Henry VIII have on the catholic church?

King Henry VIII took power away from the Catholic Church which impacted the role of the Church in society for centuries to come. Henry wanted to take power away from the Pope

When did king Henry VIII leave the Catholic church?

He didn't, he was a member of the Catholic Church all his life . His great sin was to tell the Bishop of Rome that he was going against the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils o

How did Luther Calvin and Henry VIII break with the Catholic Church?

A:   Martin Luther Martin Luther was far from being against the Catholic Church when he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. At first, he s

Why did England's King Henry VIII break with the Catholic Church?

England became a part of the reformation more through politics than theological debate. King Henry VIII (1509-47) needed an heir to the throne and with his wife was unable t

Did King Henry VIII brake away from the catholic church?

Yes Another answer: Henry VIII himself did not "break away" from the Catholic Church. Henry VIII was a devout Catholic who was awarded the title of "Defender of the Faith

How did Henry viii benefit from his break from the roman church?

Henry benefited through his break with Rome because he put himself as the head of the Church therefore making himself more powerful to the people of England. He could also gra