Thomas More on the "king's great matter"

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A canonical-legal dispute shook 16thcentury's Europe and had lasting political and ecclesiastical repercussions, not least because it concurred with the so-called Protestant Reformation and the separation of the Anglican Church from the Roman Church. Although at the time, it was reffered as a divorce case, in reality it was a marriage annulment case, sustained by Henry VIII, King of England, against his wife of almost 20 years, Katherine of Aragon. Henry VIII claimed that his marriage was void because of the presence of a Bible impediment that forbade marrying the brother's wife, and which could not be dispensed. He tried to convince the best lawyer of his time and famous humanist, Thomas More, to support his plea. More refused to do so, but kept silent about his reasons. This work attempts to analyse his letters and early biographies, to determine what his moral thoughts were in regard to this case and the seriousness he assigned to it; to the point of preferring death rather than declaring an opinion different from the onehe had formed in his conscience in respect of it.




Talciani, H. C. (2020). Thomas More on the “king’s great matter.” Revista de Estudios Historico-Juridicos, (42), 263–287.

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