Thursday, 30 June 2016

Defence of the Seven Sacraments

King Henry VIII is famous for having sundered England from the papacy in 1534.

But in 1521 he was still fully Catholic and personally wrote this punchy theological treatise against the "pestilential heresy" of Martin Luther.

Before the death of his elder brother, Henry had been destined for the Church. He displays true learning and skilful debating in his defence of the seven sacraments and the Holy See. He poignantly champions the divine origin of the papacy and proves at length the indissolubility of the Sacrament of Matrimony which he was in later years to violate so often. It was this work which won for Henry the title of "Defender of the Faith", awarded by Pope Leo X, which still appears on British coins.

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