Thomas Cranmer

[Thomas Cranmer]
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Prelate. While a public examiner in theology at Cambridge, he gained the favor of Henry VIII by a plan to obtain Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. As his counselor in this matter, Cranmer was sent on an unsuccessful embassy to Rome. He was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, England in 1533. In the presence of witnesses, he declared that his oath of obedience to the pope was only a matter of form which would bind him to nothing against the king‘s interest. He became Henry‘s tool in obtaining his divorces, and in framing a new ecclesiastical organization based on the theory of royal supremacy. After Henry‘s death, Cranmer became a powerful potentate of the kingdom, and signed the will of King Edward VI which designed Lady Jane Grey as heir. The nation rallied to Mary, the rightful heir. Cranmer was tried and sentenced. After a disputation upon the Mass with Catholic theologians, 1554, he was sentenced to go to Rome to answer the charge of heresy. He refused and sentence was pronounced. Though he made a recantation of his heretical opinions, a council of the Church decreed that since he had caused a schism he must be executed. He made four recantations of his erroneous doctrines while in prison, but on the day of his execution he denied them all, and is considered a martyr by Protestants.

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