Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Anne Boleyn and the Reformation
For many years I have been a huge fan of Henry VIII. Not the man he was per se, but the wives he had and the religious turmoil that arose under his rule. Each wife was very different; some had a drive of their own while others just wanted to sit back and take orders. (nothing wrong with either) Of course the two main wives 90% of us know about are Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn due to the widespread rumors and tensions between this powerful threesome.
I admire Catherine very much; she was a pious woman who truly put up a fight to save her marriage that was rightfully sealed by God. I also have a special place in my heart for Anne Boleyn. You may wonder why...but honestly many of the myths about her are untrue. I visited London a few years back and picked up a book on her at the Tower of London. I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything..lol!...but much of what was written about her was done so by her enemies and critics, those who wanted to tarnish her name. For instance her marriage to Henry in general was not some evil scheme to make it rich...it wasn't even a marriage of passion. She had been engaged to a man she knew and loved, but when Henry took an interest, the Boleyn men set out to seal the deal. A marriage between their family and the Tudors benefited them financially and socially. Thus for much of the arrangement, Anne had no say. She even resisted his sexual advances, as to not commit adultery. She guarded her purity for marriage, something her own sister and many women at court ignored.
Anyways, I know many Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, view Anne Boleyn as a trouble maker. A false Christian even. From the Catholic perspective it's clear as to why...she attacked the Church and her teachings. HOWEVER! That time period was a shady one in Catholic history. This woman was knowledgeable about her faith and she saw the atrocities and abuses those leading the Church were orchestrating. She played a big role in the Reformation, and while this may make some of you gag, do you think it's reasonable to say the Reformation was NEEDED?
Think of it this way...the Catholic Church held the Council of Trent soon after to reform the abuses and redefine the true teachings of the faith. It was a real wake up call for those in charge; they realized they didn't have the right to take advantage of the laity. Without the reformation, would this have happened? How would it have affected our faith today if the Church kept on going as it was, since it would have faced no opposition? Did Anne Boleyn perhaps have a right to speak up? While she was Queen she made her servants read the Bible everyday (as did she), she was also very devoted to Mary. She wanted the true message of Christ to be accessible to those without the power to fight the abuses. I think that was heroic. She risked her ideas on the faith being rejected by Henry. If he disagreed with her reading illegal books about the reformation, she could have been killed. (Although...she was anyways lol) But the point is, she risked her life to defend Christianity and what she thought was right in achieving salvation.
thoughts? opinions? anything? haha