Christian Author: Nancy W. Boyer

ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY

 

HENRY VIII of ENGLAND

         “The dogs will lick your blood….” shouted Friar Petra to HenryVIII,  King of England.  “It will be as the prophet Elijah told King Ahab and his wife Jezebel”  (I Kings 21:19-23)   The congregation sat stunned and later this fearless man of God  paid for that bit of news to the King when the Friar was executed.  

 Much is known about this King of England who broke with the Catholic Church to fulfill political control of all aspects of life in England. He did not want the authority of Rome to tell him what to do, whether it was marriage, divorce, or remarriage.  All religious offerings and property should be under his control.   Ask his six wives who endured his wrath, or those followers of Martin Luther who were burned at the stake.   This ailing king’s  three hundred pound, obese body was also  dragging an infected leg that finally brought him to his death.   It is said that his casket gave way under the weight  while being carried over rough roads to Windsor where he was to be buried.  The body cavity, in those days, was stuffed with straw, but through the crack the fluids drained….and truly the dogs did lap his blood as had been prophesied.  

The life of this man is well-known and written about in many books of history.  He was one of the most corrupt, using his authority  to bring dishonor on everything he touched.   Touching he did….and a great deal of it.  He was tortured in mind and soul about his need to produce a male heir to the throne.  Most of his wives either produced females; saw young infants die, or  had one miscarriage after another.   Power and corruption was not only a male failing  of this king, but a female one also.  Ann Boleyn, the Spanish beauty with beautiful dark eyes, made plans  to get rid of Katharine of Aragon, the King’s wife of twenty years, who could not produce a child. 

Katharine of Aragon

ANN BOLEYN

  
 
After seeing that Henry vanquished Kathryn to a damp, deserted castle where she eventually died, Ann was only able to produce a daughter.  Her “little neck” ended on the chopping block and her corruption and her title as the “home wrecking whore” ended also.  Shakespeare had it right when he wrote “Oh…the tangled web we weave…”
 
I could write extensively about the other wives of Henry VIII after Ann Boleyn:  Jane Seymour, executed on false charges of witchcraft, incest and adultery;  Ann of Cleves, who repulsed the King;  Catherine Howard who was beheaded at age 19 because she found love with a man her age.  No, I do not plan to write about any of these women, but about his last wife, Katharine Parr.           

KATHARINE PARR

 
 Little is written about her, but she was a special person in this drama of corruption.    She came on the scene during  the Great Reformation.   She knew of  the teachings of Martin Luther and his followers.  It was Katharine, a scholarly person, who let King Henry know that she no longer had use for Catholicism and found a “guiding light” in the reformed religion.  It was her belief that anyone should be able to read the Bible.  She often defended those being accused and persecuted for their protestant  beliefs.   People loved her, as did her stepchildren from other wives, but King Henry was hearing complaints about her activities.    This led to the Act for the Advancement of True Religion.   This act restricted the reading of the Holy Scriptures to the clerics, noblemen, the gentry and rich merchants.  Women of the gentility were only allowed to read in private.   Forget about the common person.  There were no rights in public or in private.     Katharine spoke of her new found faith and debated it, which was strictly forbidden.    At one point a reformer named Anne Askew was taken into custody, tortured and  was asked to implicate  Queen Katharine.   Anne refused.  She is the only woman on record to have been tortured in the Tower of London before being burned at the stake. 

ANNE ASKEW burned at stake

Henry VIII’s  only male heir to the throne was born when he was married to Ann Boleyn.   Prince Henry was a follower of the protestant teachings as was his stepmother, Katharine Parr.  Unfortunately he died at age fifteen from tuberculosis and measles.    In giving birth to another baby, a girl, Katharine Parr  died soon after from birth complications.  

What tragedy did this corrupt leader bring to his people and his nation?  During his rampage on Christian believers and the churches, great collections of books were destroyed as churches were burned along with their believers.    What does the life of King Henry  teach about leadership?  The  need for wisdom and compassion is part of responsibility.    The suffering that corruption brings  when power corrupts absolutely is not to be under-estimated.

 Turn on your sound for a video tourof Hampton  Court Palace,   Henry VIII’s home.

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