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Background to the Dissolution The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the events which followed were all brought about as a direct result of the break with Rome The reason for the break lies simply in Henrys frustration at his inability to secure a divorce form his wife Catherine of Aragon and a blessing from the Pope for his new marriage to Anne Boleyn although arguably there was a need for reformation within the church Prior to the break with Rome the church was rife with pluralism simony one of the popes main failings and breaches of the vows of celibacy It is therefore clear that there were problems with the English church prior to the break but although it was unpopular many people including Henry remained Catholic A firm Catholic he was keen to have papal approval and the more unlikely this became the more he was forced to question the Popes jurisdiction in England 2 To accomplish a break Henry needed some kind of justification and he would also have to ensure that in implementing the break itself he was not seen as supporting heresy and the Protestant reformation in particular With the aid of advisor Thomas Cromwell Henry aims to enact the break with Rome using statute authority that of the king lords and commons acting through parliament A sequence of truly revolutionary acts of parliament now cut the bonds spiritual legal financial which linked the English church and state to Rome 3 There were several main landmarks in the break with Rome the first of which was the act in restraint of appeals This was a justification and definition of royal supremacy and was grafted by Thomas Cromwell It was the act of supremacy in 1534 however that would prove to be Henrys greatest step forward in the break It confirmed Henrys headship of the church and explicitly reserved the crown the rights to the organizing and
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