P. MCCOY: Catholics should quit telling the lie that Henry VIII wanted a divorce; he wanted an annulment because he WAS married to his sister Catherine.
FATHER JOE: Since an annulment was not possible, what you are arguing is semantics. The fact remains that he put her aside and many others as well in his search for a fertile mate that would give him an heir and satisfy his lusts. Further, she was not his sister but the widowed wife of his brother Prince Arthur (he died five months into the marriage). In other words, she was his former sister-in-law.
P. MCCOY: It doesn’t matter what she said; people have all kinds of reasons to lie-hers was a unhealthy fondness for her brother-in-law. You had an unscrupulous Pope giving her a dispensation to marrying her brother instead of persuading her to return to Spain and marry a non-relative, live as an lay widow, or enter the monastic life.
FATHER JOE: Actually, it was a marriage that the British crown initially wanted as it shored up tensions with Spain. Catherine was more the pawn here. The fact remains that the King wanted a male heir and that he wanted to advance the standing of his mistress Anne Boleyn and the rights of succession to any sons she might give him.
P. MCCOY: The Pope who refused the annulment request did out of fear of being slaughtered by Catherine’s nephew Emperor Charles V than having the courage to correct a prior mistake.
FATHER JOE: Annulments can be given or withheld for many reasons, but in this case fear or no fear, the Church acted rightly. Catherine was his wife. This was more a matter of divine than Church law. The case made was deemed insufficient for an annulment and no one deserves such Church intervention. In this case, it would have corrupted Church authority and sent Catholicism down the slippery of slope of scandal with all the so-called wives or paramours of Henry VIII.
P. MCCOY: But had Henry VII been more assertive, he would have sent his daughter-in-law on the first ship back to Spain right after Prince Arthur’s funeral. He would have then immediately arranged for a marry by proxy for Henry with a princess from various Catholic kingdoms: German city/ provincial states, choices of the Italian city states (a Medici or a d’Este would have made excellent English Queens!), Norway, Denmark or Sweden-OR, in a tribute to the illustrious Henry V, he could have married a French princess of the House that England was having friction with at the time. A Navarre princess could have made a good union too.
FATHER JOE: Science fiction might have us delight in alternative histories, but such armchair speculation really has little meaning in objective reality. It is like saying that Judas might have made a great saint had he repented instead of despairing and committing suicide. It makes for a quaint aside but the errant apostle is none the better and the fires of hell remain just as hot. No matter what prospects the reign had in Henry VIII’s regard, the trajectory of history remains unchanged: he became increasingly self-obsessed, exploitive of resources and Satan’s minion against the monasteries and the true Church.
P. MCCOY: Without the threat of incest gad flying him and realizing that he was not “god”, Henry VIII probably would have accepted the idea of a Queen ruling England after him. The Medici line would have raised up an exceptionally savvy and politically experienced and well supported by her Medici relatives English Queen!
FATHER JOE: Henry VIII had a contemptable view of women and would never have been satisfied with a woman on the throne. His life readily illustrates that females were merely a means to an ends— to satisfy the lust of his loins and to act as hens for his eggs. When the chicken failed to put out, he deemed it was time to have its head removed.
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