Friday, May 11, 2018

Divided Loyalties: May 11, 1532

Chronicler Edward Hall describes the events of May 11, 1532, when Henry VIII told Thomas Audley, Speaker of the House of Commons, that the Catholic clergy of England were not true subjects of their king unless they renounced their loyalty to the Pope:

"The. xi. daie of Maie, the kyng sent for the Speker again, and. xii. of the common house, hauvng with hym eight Lordes, and saied to theim, welbeloued subiectes, we thought that y clergie of our realme, had been our subiectes wholy, but now wee haue well perceiued, that they bee but halfe our subiectes, yea, and scace our subiectes: for all the Prelates at their consecracion, make an othe to the Pope, clene contrary to the othe that they make to vs, so that they seme to be his subiectes, and not ours, the copie of bothe the othes I deliuer here to you, requiryng you to inuent some ordre, that we bee not thus deluded, of our Spirituall subiectes. The Spekar departed and caused the othes to be redde in the comon house, the very tenor whereof ensueth.

"I Ihon bishop or Abbot of A. from this houre forward, shalbe faithefull and obedient to sainct Peter, and to the holy Churche of Rome, and to my lorde the Pope, and his successors Canonically enteryng, I shall not be of counsaill nor concent, that they shall lese either life or member, or shall bee taken, or suffre any violence, or any wrong by any meanes, their Counsaill to me credited, by theim their messyngers or letters, I shall not willyngly discouer to any person : the Papacie of Rome, the rules of the holy fathers, and the Regalie of sainct Peter, I shall help and retain, and defende against all men : the Legate of the Sea Apostolicke, goyng and commyng I shall honourably entreate, the rightes, honors, priuileges, authorities of the Churche of Rome, and of the Pope and his successors, I shall cause to be conserued, defended, augmented and promoted, I shall not bee in counsaill, treatie, or any acte, in the whiche any thyng shalbe imagined against hym, or the Churche of Rome, there rightes, states, honors, or powers. And if I knowe any suche to bee moued or compassed, I shall resist it to my power, and as sone as I can, I shall aduertise hym or suche as maie geue hym knowlege. The rules of the holy fathers, the Decrees, Ordinaunces, Sentences, Disposicions, Reseruacions, Prouisions, and Commaundementes Apostolicke, to my power I shall kepe and cause to be kept of other : Heretickes, Sismatikes and rebelles to our holy father and his successors, I shal resist and persecute to my power, I shall come to the Sinode, when I am called, except I be letted by a Canonicall impediment, the lightes of the Apostles I shall visite yerely personally, or by my deputie, I shall not alien nor sell my possessions, without the Popes Counsuill: so God me helpe and the holy Euangelistes."

Henry VIII wanted the clergy to forswear that oath and make another:

"I Ihon Bishop of. A. vtterly renounce and clerely forsake all suche clauses, woordes, sentences and grauntes, whiche I haue or shall haue here alter, of the Popes holines, of and for the Bishopricke of A. that in any wise hath been, is or hereafter maie bee hurtefull or preiudiciall to your highnes, your heires, successors, dignitie, priuilege, or estate royall : and also I dooe swere, that I shalbe faithfull and true, and faithe and truth I shall beare to you my souereigne lorde, and to your heires kynges of thesame, of life and lymme, & yearthly worship aboue all creatures, for to liue and dye with you and yours, against all people, and diligently I shalbe attendant, to all your nedes and busines, after my witt and power, and your counsaill I shall kepe and holde, knowlegyng my self to hold my bishopricke of you onely, besechyng you of restitucion of the temporalties of thesame, promisyng as before, that I shalbe faithefull, true, and obedient subiect to your saied highnes heires, and successors duryng my life, and the seruices and other thynges dewe to youre highnes, for the restitucion of the Temporalties, of thesame Bishoprike I shall truly dooe and obediently perfourme, so God me helpe and all sainctes."

This was part of the pressure on the clergy to submit to the king and acknowledge not only his temporal but his spiritual authority over England. The Submission of the Clergy would lead Sir Thomas More, the Chancellor, to resign. He had preceded Thomas Audley as Speaker of the House of Commons and Audley would succeed More as Chancellor too. 

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