Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 223. PAPAL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO KING HENRY'S DIVORCE.

223. PAPAL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO KING HENRY'S DIVORCE.

            In the mean season, amongst other omissions here overpast, forasmuch as a certain instrument of the pope's sentence definitive against King Henry's first divorce with Lady Katharine, dowager, hath of late come to our hands, containing matter neither impertinent nor unmeet to be committed to history, I thought here presently to place the same, to the intent that the reader, seeing the arrogant and impudent presumption of the pope in the said sentence, going about by force and authority so to constrain and compel kings and princes against their wills, and against right and Scripture, to apply to his imperious purpose, may the better understand thereby, what was the true cause and ground why the king first began to take stomach against the pope, and to send him clean packing out of this realm. But before I shall produce this aforesaid sentence definitive of the pope, to make the matter more plain to the reader, it shall not be amiss, first, to decipher and rip up the original of such occasions as shall induce the reader to the better understanding of this falling out between the king and the pope.

            For so I find by the letters of Dr. Stephen Gardiner, written to Cardinal Wolsey from Rome, (at what time he and Foxe were sent ambassadors by the king to Pope Clement the Seventh, about the expedition of the kings divorce, A. D. 1532,) that the said Pope Clement, with the counsel of the Cardinal Sanctorum Quatuor and other cardinals, at first was well willing, and very inclinable, to the accomplishment and satisfaction of the king's desire in that behalf, and that for divers respects.

            As first, for the great benefits received, and the singular devotion of the king toward the see apostolic, in taking war for the church's cause: in surceasing war at the pope's desire; and, especially, in procuring the pope's deliverance, whereby the pope then thought himself with his whole see much obliged to the king, in all respects, to pass by his authority whatsoever reasonably might be granted in gratifying the king's so ample merits and deserts.

            Secondly, for the evident reasons and substantial arguments in the king's book contained, which seemed well to satisfy the pope's liking, and to remove away all scruples.

            Thirdly, for the good opinion and confidence that the pope had in the excellent wisdom, profound learning, and mature judgment of the king, which the pope (as he said in formal words) would sooner lean unto, than unto any other learned man's mind or sentence, so that the king's reasons, he said, must needs be of great efficacy and strength of themselves to order and direct this matter.

            The fourth cause moving the pope to favour the king's request, was, for the quiet and tranquillity of his conscience, which, otherwise, in that unlawful marriage with his brother's wife, could not be settled.

            The fifth cause was, for the consideration of the perils and dangers, which otherwise might happen to the realm, by the pretended titles of the king of Scots, and others, without any heir male to establish the king's succession: for the avoiding of which perils, and also for the other causes above rehearsed, the pope showed himself at that time propense and forward to promote and set forward the king's desired purpose in that behalf.

            And thus much touching this by-matter I thought here to suggest and repeat to the reader, albeit the same is also sufficiently expressed before: to the end that the studious reader, pondering these first proceedings of the pope, and comparing them with this sentence definitive which under followeth, may the better understand what inconstant levity, what false dealing, what crafty packing, and what contrariety in itself, are in this pope's holy see of Rome, as by this case of the pope may well appear; who, in short time after all this, was so clean altered from what he was, that whereas before, he pretended to esteem so gratefully the king's travail, and benefits exhibited to the see apostolic, in his defence against the emperor and the Spaniards, now he joineth utterly with the Cęsarians against the king. And whereas before, he so greatly magnified the king's profound learning and mature judgment, esteeming his mind and sentence above all other learned men, to be as a judge sufficient in the direction of this case; now, turning head to the tail, he utterly refuseth to bring the matter in judicium orbis, but will needs detain it at home.

            Again, where before he pretended a tender provision for the state of this realm, now he setteth all other realms against it; and finally, whereas he before seemed to respect the quiet and tranquillity of the king's conscience, now he goeth about to command and compel the king, against his will and conscience, to do clean contrary to that which he himself before in his judgment had allowed, thinking to have the king at his beck, and to do and undo what he listed and commanded; as by the tenor and true copy of this his sentence definitive ye may understand; which, as it came newly to our hands, I thought here to exhibit unto the world, that all men might see what just cause the king had (being so presumptuously provoked by the pope) to shake off his proud authority, and utterly to exile him out of his realm. Mark, I pray thee, the manner of the pope's proud sentence, how presumptuously it proceedeth.

            The effect of this sentence is as much as to mean, "that Pope Clement the Seventh, with the consent of his other brethren, the cardinals assembled together in this consistory, sitting there in the throne of justice, calling upon the name of Christ, and having God only before his eyes, doth pronounce, define, and declare -- in the cause and causes between his dear daughter, Katharine, queen of England, appealing to the see apostolic, and his beloved son, Henry the Eighth, king of England, concerning the validity and invalidity of the matrimony heretofore contracted between them, and yet depending in the consistory court of the said Pope Clement -- that the said matrimony always hath stood, and still doth stand, firm and canonical; and that the issue proceeding, or which shall proceed, of the same, standeth, and shall stand, lawful and legitimate; and that the aforesaid Henry, king of England, is and shall be bound and obstrict to the matrimonial society and cohabitation with the said Lady Katharine, his lawful wife and queen, to hold and maintain her with such love and princely honour, as becometh a loving husband, and his kingly honour, to do."

            Also, "that the said Henry king of England, if he shall refuse so to perform and accomplish all and singular the premises, in all effectual manner, is to be condemned and compelled thereunto by all remedies of the law, and enforced, according as we do condemn, compel, and enforce him so to do; providing, all molestations and refusals whatsoever, made by the said King Henry against the said Queen Katharine, upon the invalidity of the said marriage, to have been and be judged unlawful and unjust; and the said king, from henceforth for ever to hold his peace, and not to be heard in any court hereafter to speak, touching the invalidity of the said matrimony: like as we also do here will and charge him to hold his peace, and do put him to perpetual silence herein; willing, moreover, and adjudging the said King Henry to be condemned, and presently here do condemn him, in the expenses, on the said Queen Katharine's behalf, here in our court expended and employing in traversing the aforesaid cause, the valuation of which expenses we reserve to ourselves to be limited and taxed, as we shall judge meet hereafter.

 

We do so pronounce,
"At Rome, in our apostolical palace, publicly in our consistory the twenty-third of March, 1534.
Blosius."

 

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