Martin Luther King and King Henry VIII
How it works
Leaders such as Martin Luther and King Henry VIII both opposed the Catholic Church and broke away from the church. However, they had different reasons for opposing the church; Luther had a hatred for the Church’s selling of indulgences and the acceptance of the Popes words without question, while Henry VIII was denied a divorce from his wife, Catherine of Aragon, by the Catholic Church and found that he could gain power and money from taking over the church. Therefore, despite both Luther’s and Henry’s similar goal to split from the church, the two acted on very different motives.
Although Martin Luther and King Henry VIII achieved several of the same things in establishing their disdain for the Catholic Church, their motives were radically different. The only similar incentive between the two was the fact that they disliked the way that the Catholic Church was being managed. They were angered by the amount of power that the Church had over everyone’s personal affairs. The two men also began to personally struggle with the Church’s policy. This began a strong desire for change in the Catholic Church in dramatically different ways by Martin Luther and King Henry VIII.
Martin Luther had been forced to oppose the church for numerous reasons, many of which differed from King Henry VIII’s motives. As Martin was growing up, he was very religious. Luther was a monk from Germany and he lectured on the bible and wanted to know the certainty of salvation. During in his early thirties, Luther began to have doubts about the theological basis for much of the daily practices of the Catholic Church.
He wondered if all of the things done by Catholic leaders could be justified. Martin Luther was angered by the widespread selling of indulgences. Particularly a monk, Johann Tetzel who would offer the public an opportunity to pay to have their sins annulled. To organize his thinking, Luther composed a list of statements and questions that became known as the “”95 Theses.”” A person printed and distributed them without his permission throughout Germany, causing a commotion throughout the highest levels of the Catholic Church.
The Pope condemned him in 1520 but all that did was make Luther more radical which caused him to call on German princes to overthrow the papacy. The Roman Emperor found him guilty of heresy at a religious trial, but when Luther refused to back down, he became the Reformation’s moral leader as well. He destroyed all the sacraments except the sacrament of Baptism and Eucharist and also called for clergy to marry.
Henry’s motivations were substantially different from those of Luther, although they led to almost the same conclusion. Henry had married Catherine of Aragon in hopes of having a son who could inherit the throne from him. After many years of marriage, she could only bring a single daughter, pushing him to want a divorce. At the same time, he began to fall in love with another woman, Anne Boleyn, and requested that Pope Clement VII declare his marriage to Catherine invalid.
When the pope refused, Henry’s mounting frustrations with the Catholic Church led him to break up with the Catholic church and pope in the Act of Supremacy of 1534. He became a member of the protestant movement and established the Church of England. Being head of the Church of England proved to be very profitable for Henry. With his new powers, he sold items within the church and the lands of monasteries to merchants. After Henry’s death Edward VI, his son, took over and later allowed clergy to marry.
There were very few shared motivations for which Luther and Henry became a part of the protestant reformation, although they both disliked the Catholic Church’s practices. Luther was unhappy with the Church selling indulgences and the Pope’s absolute power, while Henry was trying to get a divorce and gain more power. Luther and Henry both played important roles in the Protestant Reformation, although their roles were initiated by very different motives.