Posts Tagged ‘Reformation’

The Real Henry VIII

In 13 History on 2016/06/10 at 12:00 AM

The Reformation in Europe was the work of the princes, but in England, of one lustful prince, so aid the Seventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. How was this possible?  In order to understand the power of this one prince we need to go back to the days of his father, Henry Tudor.

In the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, England lost many from the ranks of the nobility.  The Wars of the Roses between the House of York and the House of Lancaster were precisely over the right to the throne, and it likewise cost many a noble his life.

Henry Tudor was not a member of the nobility but he was married to Margaret of York who had a distant claim to the throne.  However, the enterprising Henry Tudor was an ambitious man driven by a will to power and possessed of a practical organizational mind.  He promised the war weary nation: law and order, peace and prosperity.  They accepted him and he delivered.  But, how did he manage it?

First, the now Henry VII,  married off his heir, Arthur to the richest princess in Christendom: Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, whose galleons creaked under the weight of the treasures the New World brought Spain.  Catherine’s dowry provided Henry Tudor with the funds to create kings’ men out of townsmen to whom he gave the lands of fallen lords; men loyal to him; men he made and could break.

Second, he gave his daughter, Margaret as wife to the King of Scotland and thus neutralized the wild Scots who had been plaguing England for centuries.  With the King of Scotland now his son-in-law, he thus had achieved much needed tranquility in the northern border.

Last but not least, he sent his second son, Henry, off to a monastery.  If Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence could have a son a pope (Pope Leo X), he Henry Tudor would have his son, Henry be a future pope also.

Now for the fly in the ointment:  Little Arthur upped and died.  Catherine and her dowry need be return to her parents who would find her a new husband, particularly since the marriage had not been consummated. Henry VII could not returned the dowry, having used the funds for his purposes, so he approached the Pope to get his approval for the validity of the proposed marriage of his son Henry to his brother’s widow.  The Pope said their was no impediment.

While all the negotiations were proceeding, the multi-gifted Henry left the monastery and discovered the world of women.  His first of the many sired in the interim before his marriage to Catherine, was Geoffrey, later known as the Duke of Monmouth.

The age of discovery included an unhappy exchange between the New World and the Old World: syphilis and smallpox.  Each lacking the immunity, the consequences were devastating for both.  Before his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Henry was already syphilitic.  The numerous children Catherine bore Henry were either still-born or died shortly after birth; the one exception being a daughter, Mary, later to be Mary Tudor, Queen of England.

Sing a Song of Six Pence…the King, Henry; the Queen, Catherine; the Maid, Anne Boleyn; the Blackbird, the executioner.  (See a lengthier treatment of this in Political Nursery Rhymes in the Category: Tib-bits)

After seventeen years of marriage which includes many lust filled daillances with ladies-in-waiting, Henry claimed scruples about his marriage to Catherine being wrong on the grounds of consanguinity…that it was wrong to have married his brother’s widow, and God was punishing him by not giving him a male heir.  The reason for this late-arriving scruple?  Henry was asked to pay a price by Anne Boleyn and that price was Queen.  Anne’s sister Mary had been left pregnant and indigent by Henry (now how’s that the consanguinity issue?)

Making a long matter short: the Pope could not grant Henry the desired divorce because the Pope does not have the power to dissolve a lawful marriage.  So, Henry declared himself the head of the Catholic Church in England, appointed an Archbishop who granted him a divorce and Henry married Anne who got what she wanted: to be queen, and what she did not want: to be beheaded for giving birth to a daughter (Elizabeth). Reason for her execution: (trumped up charge of) adultery!

Some of the casualties of friendly fire:

Cardinal Wolsey, the butcher’s son and king’s man, failed in his annulment mission to Rome.  When Wolsey heard that the King had ordered his death, he sent for a coffin, stripped himself naked and lay in it declaring: “If I had served my God as well as I had served my King, I would not now like naked to my enemies.”  An ensuing heart attack deprived his executioners.  Henry gave Anne a gift: Wolsey’s Palace, Hampton Court.

Thomas More, Chancellor of England and friend of Henry, refused to take the Oath of Supremacy acknowledging the Act of Supremacy of 1634 by which Henry made himself the head of the Catholic Church in England.  (Recommendation: film MAN FOR ALL SEASONS)

“Six wives did Henry wed: two died, two divorced, one beheaded, one survived.”  So went the ditty.  Died: Catherine with a penitent Henry at her bedside asking forgiveness and truthfully claiming he always loved her.  Catherine had long forgiven him; she knew him well.  Jane Seymour, his child-bride, died in childbirth. Divorced: Anne of Cleves and another Catherine.  Beheaded: Anne Boleyn; Survived by her wits: the last of three Catherines.

Cardinal Pole’s mother and Henry’s great-aunt, executed along with her sons. Cardinal Reginald escaped to the Continent but was hounded by would-be assassins sent by Henry.

Countless archbishops, bishops, abbots and monks; the “four-and=twenty blackbirds”.  Henry needed to get the lead out of the roofs of the monasteries for war material.  His dissolution of the monasteries and their enriched his coffers beyond imagination, but also left the sick, the poor and the homeless without the services rendered by the monks to them for the love of God.  This destruction of the charitable services of the church centuries later gave birth to welfare from the state.

Incongruous notes: Henry’s will left all his personal wealth for masses to be said for the repose of his soul. Henry always remained a Roman Catholic in belief.  The Pope had awarded him the title of Defender of the Catholic Faith for his book THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS written as a defense of the Church against Luther.  All monarchs of England thereafter have used the title as Defender of the Faith, having edited out the “Catholic”.

England remained Catholic in the days of Henry VIII.  The people were appalled by the atrocities committed by the syphilitic king whose disease was eating up his brain and they termed him “Bluebeard”. The change to Anglican or Church of England came during the reign of the boy-king, Edward VI and was the work of his uncle Seymour and Archbishop Cramner.  It was at this time that Calvinist ideas were incorporated and priest were specifically not ordained to offer sacrifice.

After the premature death of Edward, Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry and Catherine of Aragon became Queen and with her husband, Philip II, great grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, they restored Catholicism to England.

With the premature death of Mary, the throne was vacant.  It should have automatically gone to Henry VII’s surviving descendant from the marriage of his daughter Margaret to the King of Scotland.  Mary Queen of Scots, Queen of France, Queen of England would meet her death at the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth, who would behead her in the first regicide.

By accepted international law, illegitimate children could not inherit.  If they could have inherited, the throne would rightly belong to Geoffrey, Duke of Monmouth.  Vested interests which had profited from confiscations of properties of Catholics feared he would continue Mary’s restoration.  So, the throne was offered to the discarded child of Henry, whose mother he had beheaded!  Needless to say, she accepted the condition: to make Anglicanism the official religion of the state.  As a female incarnation of Henry, she outdid him in destructiveness while her syncopates wove the legend of Good Queen Bess, not sustainable by historical facts.


The Catholic Church Through the Ages

In 15 Audio on 2015/08/28 at 12:00 AM

Host – Fr. Charles Connor

Fr. Charles P. Connor, Ph.D., offers an historical overview of the significant events and personages contained within the first 15 centuries of the Catholic Church’s existence. Events include the Church’s founding by Christ in the first century through the Reformation and Counter Reformation in the 16th century.

The Catholic Church through the Ages

Back to Series List

Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download


The World in Which the Church Was Born 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the influence of the Roman Empire on the civilization of first century Europe and the Mediterranean Basin at the time of Christ and Early Church.


The Spread of Christianity 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the spread of Christianity from the Holy Land to Rome, Greece and parts of Asia Minor largely due to the missionary journeys of St. Paul. Rome becomes the center of the Christian religion not because it was the center of the Roman Empire, but because Ss. Peter and Paul died there.


The Church in Rome and Beyond 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the teaching and Christian witness of the lives of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Justin Martyr and Ignatius of Antioch. The role of the Roman Catacombs in the life of the Early Church is explored.


The Growth of Apostolic Authority, Part One 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the selection of the 12 Apostles by Our Lord and informs as to the contributions of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Clement of Rome, Cyprian of Carthage, and Irenaeus of Lyons. The role of Deacons in the life and ministry of the Church is explored.


The Growth of Apostolic Authority, Part Two 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the role of Synods or gatherings of bishops in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch. He examines the place given to significant churches, such as St. Peter’s, and the Cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran. The contributions of Emperor Constantine are noted as well as his capital of Constantinople. Finally, the works of Ss. Leo the Great, Cyprian, Irenaeus and Gregory the Great are mentioned.


Heresies and Councils 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the contributions of the Fathers of the Church, Ss. Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria. The theological terms homoousious, hypostatic union and Theotokos explain the relation of the divine and human natures of Christ, as well as the related doctrine of Mary as truly the Mother of God.


Augustine and Monasticism 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the influence of the monastic life on the spirituality of the Church in general, led by Ss. Augustine, Anthony of Egypt, Basil, Martin of Tours, Benedict and Columba.


Introduction to the Middle Ages and English Monasticism 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the life of the Church in the Middle Ages, with particular attention given to the influences of Frankish ruler Charles Martel and King Oswald of Northumbria, as well as the contributions of Ss. Gregory the Great, Augustine of Canterbury, Ethelbert, Bede, Cuthbert, Aidan, Columba and Hilda of Whitby.


The Political Middle Ages, East-West Split, Gregorian Reforms 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Beginning with the capture of Rome by Visigoth King Alaric I in 410 AD, Fr. Connor discusses the significant events during the reign of Clovis I, King of the Franks (481–511) who unified Gaul as a single kingdom and established his capital at Paris. His name, Gallicized as “Louis,” was given to 18 later French monarchs. In 910, the monastery of Cluny was founded and began to initiate reforms. In 1054, Pope Leo IX and Eastern Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated each other, and Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church have been formally divided since. In modern times, Pope Paul VI and John Paul II have reached out to the Orthodox, bringing about closer ties.


The Later Middle Ages 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the Crusades as eight expeditions undertaken, in fulfillment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Islamic control: the first, 1095-1101; the second, headed by Louis VII, 1145-47; the third, conducted by Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1188-92; the fourth, during which Constantinople was taken, 1204; the fifth, which included the conquest of Damietta, 1217; the sixth, in which Frederick II took part (1228-29); also Thibaud de Champagne and Richard of Cornwall (1239); the seventh, led by St. Louis, 1249-52; the eighth, also under St. Louis, 1270. Next Connor describes the significant monastic influence, teaching and preaching of Ss. Norbert, Bruno, Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Dominic Guzman, and Albert the Great.


The Thirteenth Century Continues 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the theological influence of St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as the spirituality of Juliana of Norwich. The Avignon Papacy, 1309-1378 was the period during which the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, lived in Avignon, now a part of France. The removal of the Papacy to Avignon was justified at the time as owing to the factious tumults at Rome, where the dissensions of the Roman aristocrats and their armed gangs reached a nadir, and the Basilica of St. John Lateran was destroyed in a fire. The ‘Babylonian captivity’, in Petrarch’s phrase, marks the point from which the decay of the strictly Catholic conception of the Pope as universal bishop is to be dated, because the Avignon popes seemed largely concerned with France only. Seven popes, all French, resided in Avignon during this period: Pope Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII,Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V and Gregory XI. In 1378, with the encouragement of St. Catherine of Siena, Gregory XI moved the papal residence back to Rome and died there.


The Renaissance 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the period of the Renaissance, occurring within in the 15th and 16th centuries. The “rebirth” of art in Italy was connected with the rediscovery of ancient philosophy, literature, and science and the evolution of empirical methods of study in these fields. Increased awareness of classical knowledge created a new resolve to learn by direct observation and study of the natural world. Consequently, secular themes became increasingly important to artists, and with the revived interest in antiquity came a new repertoire of subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history and mythology. The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques and the desire to re-create the forms and styles of classical art. Of special interest are the Vatican Library, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica


The Reformation 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the Reformation, the usual term for the religious movement which made its appearance in Western Europe in the sixteenth century, and which, while ostensibly aiming at an internal renewal of the Church, really led to a great revolt against it, and an abandonment of the principal Christian beliefs. The Reformation was inaugurated in Germany when Luther affixed his celebrated theses to the doors of the church at Wittenberg, 31 October, 1517.


The English Reformation 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor



Following the Counter-Reformation 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


In the period following the Counter-Reformation, Fr. Connor studies the documents of the Council of Trent, as well as the heroic example of the lives of the saints: Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Philip Neri, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de sales, Jane de Chantal, Therese of Lisieux, Vincent de Paul, and Blaise Pascal.


The Internal Life of the 17th Century Church 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Here Fr. Connor describes the Sacred Heart devotion, including the 12 promises given by Jesus in a vision to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Contributions to this devotion are also noted by her spiritual director Claude de la Colombiere and a connection is made to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as mentioned by Pope John Paul II.


17th Century Catholic Spirituality 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr Connor contrasts the life and thought of Voltaire, with that of John Carroll, Benedict Joseph Labre, Paul of the Cross, and Alphonsus Liguori, whose order promoted the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.


Church and State in Europe: 17th-18th Century 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the lives of King James I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, William of Orange, William and Mary, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Louis XVI and Pope Pius VII.


The Napoleonic Era 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the lives of Napoleon, Pius VII and Fr. Felicite de Lamennais, and also notes for Europe the consequences of the Congress of Vienna.


The Church in the 1830s 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Here Fr Connor contrasts the life works of John Vianney, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Anne Catherine Emmerich, Catherine Laboure, King George IV, Daniel O’Connell, Cardinal Newman, Cardinal Manning, and Fr. Faber.


The Era of Political Revolution 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr Connor describes the historical actions of William I of Belgium, Felicite de Lamennais, Lacordaire, Gregory XIV, Mazzini, Rossi, Cardinal Antonelli, Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel.


The First Vatican Council 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr Connor discusses the historical contributions of Felicite De Lamennais, Veuillot, Mantalembert, and Pius IX.


The Church in the Late 19th Century 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the historical figures of Bismarck, Leo XIII, Leon Gambetta, Gueranger, Bernadette Soubirous, Dr. Alexis Carrel, Franz Werfel, and Margaret Mary Alacoque.


The Church Faces Industrialization 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr Connor describes the historical phenomena of industrialization, World War I, the October Revolution and World War II, as well as distinguishing between the personalities of Hegel, Pius XI, Hitler, Pius XII, Leo XIII and Cardinal Gibbons.


The Church Enters the 20th Century 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor relates the contributions of Gueranger, Marmion, Romano Guardini, Pius X, Pius XII, Emperor Franz Joseph, Thomas Aquinas, Leo XIII, Cardinal Mercier, as well as the philosphical thought of Descartes, Kant, and John Locke.


The Second Vatican Council and its Aftermath 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the contributions of John XXIII, as well as that of the Vatican II documents, Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Gravissimum Educationis, Unitatis Redintegratio, Gaudium et Spes, Ad Gentes, and Inter Mirifica.


The Legacy of John Paul II 

Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Connor discusses the personalities of Karl Barth and Pope John Paul II, as well as the influence attributed to the documents, Gaudium et Spes, Redemptor Hominis, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Evangelium Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Dominus Iesus, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, and Presbyterorum Ordinis.

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Catholic Priesthood Through the Ages

In 15 Audio on 2014/06/14 at 12:00 AM

Host – Fr. Charles Connor

The series is designed to give priests and especially catholic laity a deeper insight into the scriptural, theological, historical and spiritual richness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Catholic Priesthood Through the Ages Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. What is the Priesthood?
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
2. The Priesthood of Jesus Christ
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
3. The Priesthood in the Mind of St. Paul and the Early Church.
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
4. The Fathers of the Church on the Priesthood
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
5. The Medeival, Reformation And Counter-Reformation Mind on the Priesthood.
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
6. The Eucharist and the Priesthood
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
7. Prayer and Suffering: Essential Ingredients of the Priesthood
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
8. The Priest as Preacher of the Word
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
9. The Gift of Priestly Celibacy
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
10. Priesthood in the Third Millennium
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
11. Priestly Theology of Pope John Paul II – Part I
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
12. Priestly Theology of Pope John Paul II – Part II
Host – Fr. Charles Connor
13. The Blessed Virgin Mary And The Priesthood.
Host – Fr. Charles Connor


Fr. Charles Conner – The Great Heresies

In 15 Audio on 2012/03/01 at 9:11 AM

The Great Heresies

Host – Fr. Charles Connor

In the series, The Great Heresies, Fr. Charles Connor of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania examines how the Catholic Church has handled issues of heresy throughout its history, thereby providing a clarified understanding of the deposit of faith.

Please click on this link to access these programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7109&T1=connor

1. What Is Heresy?...Fr. Connor cites St. Thomas Aquinas on the definition and nature of heresy as deviation from the whole and entire, universal Catholic Faith. He distinguishes between formal and material heresy, apostasy and schism.

2. Here Fr. Connor explores what the Bible says about heresy and those who espouse heretical tenets. The inspired writers seek to protect the full revelation made by Christ to His Church.

3.The Early Heresies: Fr Connor explains the early heresies known as Gnosticism, Marcionism and Manichaeism.

4.The Church Fathers and Heresy: In the effort to declare the true Faith over and above the errors of heresies such as Docetism, Fr. Connor focuses on the works of St. Augustine, Tertullian, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome and St. John Chrysostom.

5. Heresies of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries,..Fr. Connor gives a treatment of Arianism, a heresy which stated that Jesus was the perfect creature, but not God. St. Athanasius defends the divinity of Christ.

6. Heresies of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries…Here Fr Connor discusses the heresies known as Monothelitism, Donatism and Pelagianism. St. Augustine worked to champion the true Faith.

7. Iconoclasm: Fr Connor examines the period of the Iconoclastic Controversy, from 725-843 A.D., in which there were alternating periods of icon desecration and recovery, succeeded by the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicea and the eventual triumph of the Iconophiles, resulting in the Feast of Orthodoxy. The works of Andrei Rublev and Theophanes the Greek are noted for their splendor in depicting divine realities.

8.The Great Schism of the Eleventh Century: Fr Kilian introduces us to the theological and political reasons for the 1054 split between Eastern and Western Christianity. The Church today seeks to actively promote the cause of Christian unity.

9.The Military Response to Heresy: The Crusades… Fr. Connor explains that the Crusades were intended for the defense of Western Europe as well as a means to secure safety and access to revered Christian sites in the Holy Land. The diplomacy of St. Francis of Assisi gains the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which lasts to this day.

10. The Papacy Returns to Rome: Rise of Schism and Heresy…Fr Kilian introduces us the history involved in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, including Pope Gregory XI returning the papacy from Avignon to Rome in 1377 after a meeting with St. Catherine of Siena. The Great Western Schism then took place from 1378-1417, as rival claimants to the papacy plunged the Church into turmoil. In this period the Church deals with the works of William of Ockham, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.

11.The Inquisition:  In addition to giving a treatment on Albigensianism in early 13th century France, Fr. Connor discusses the reasons the Church through Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition. The roles of Church and state are discussed in the handling of heresy.

12. The Reformation, …Fr. Connor introduces the major figures involved in the period of the Reformation: Martin Luther, Pope Leo X, Frederick of Saxony, Ulrich Zwinglii, John Calvin, Henry VIII, St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and Elizabeth I.

13. The Reformation…Fr. Connor continues his introduction to the major figures involved in the period of the Reformation: Martin Luther, Franz Kolb, King Christian II of Denmark, Gustavus Vasa, Olaf Petersson, King Francis I of France, Cardinal Richelieu, Vittoria Colonna in Italy,Emperor Charles V, Edward VI and Queen Mary Tudor.

Please click on this link to access these programs:http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7109&T1=connor