monarch who rejected the authority of the pope and who was named
"supreme head of the church" in England.
VIII by Hans Holbein
of papal authority originated in a desire to have his marriage to Catherine
of Aragon annulled. After intricate diplomatic maneuvers, the pope refused
to grant an annulment. Henry VIII then proceeded to reject papal authority
in England, and in 1534 the so-called "Act
of Supremacy" declared Henry VIII "the only supreme head of the
Church of England." For a time after this Henry appeared to have some
sympathy for Protestant doctrine, but later reversed himself. The end
of his reign saw some steps toward reform in the Church of England,
but no desire on the king's part to reform traditional Roman Catholic
belief. The somewhat uncertain situation created by this attitude along
with the rejection of papal authority in England created the complex
religious situation inherited by his immediate successors, Edward VI
and Elizabeth I.