12th April 1532. History Casts Long Shadows.
In our present age when there appears to be a lack of cohesion in British society, it is well to cast back to the 16th century when religious (canon) law made for divisiveness as to whom to obey: King or Pope.
Today saw the Convocation of Canterbury in 1532 to discuss what is better known to history as the ‘Submission of the Clergy’ which constituted one of the defining moments for the Reformation bishops of England, in their surrendering independence to the King.(1)
Henry VIII, concerned to recoup power from the Pope saw: ‘Allegiance to the Pope [which] made clergy but half our subjects, yea and scarce our subjects.’
By the submission which Convocation passed later on 15th May 1532, the English Church surrendered its right to make Provincial Laws independent of the King.
It promised to issue no new canons without royal licence, and to submit existing canons (laws), to royal approval committees for revision. It passed the Reformation Parliament in 1533.
As in any change there were losers, with staunch Catholic, Bishop (Saint) John Fisher being beheaded on 22nd June 1535, for failing to acknowledge the Supremacy of Henry VIII.
Then Sir Thomas More, who was committed to the Roman Church and a supporter of church immunities, surrendered his office of Lord Chancellorship next day. Here again for refusing to acknowledge the King’s supremacy, he was beheaded 0n 6th July.(2)
History and its legislation casts long shadows, as one Section 1(3) of the Same Sex Marriage Act 2013 stated no Canon of the Church of England is contrary to Section 3 of the Submission of Clergy Act 1533, which made provision about marriage being a union of one man with one woman, which is still in force.
Without this the Church of England would not be able to ban such marriages in their churches; how long this will last is open to doubt as being the Established Church it can’t long be out of kilter with Statute Law.
(1) There were to be: ‘No Canons of the Church of England contraryaunt or repugnant to the Kinges prerogatyve Royall or the customes Lawes or statutes of this Realme’.
(2) Both were sanctified in 1935.
Ref : history.wisc.ed/sommerville/reformation.
Ref: oxfordindex.oup.com/submission of the clergy.
Ref: England Under the Tudors 3rd edit P.111, 2005.
Ref: wikipedia.org/sir_ john_fisher. Pic Ref.