The Church
How it changed
in The Debate on the English Reformation
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The Act of Supremacy was confirmatory of a grant of supremacy to the English Crown from God: it was not an act of creation. The Act of Supremacy repealed the Marian ecclesiastical legislation, revived the Henrician laws against Rome, and restored to the Crown the ecclesiastical powers that Henry VIII had enjoyed. At one stroke, by the Henrician Act of Supremacy, relations between Church and state were put on a new footing. In general, the Crown and the episcopate shared identity of purpose after the translation of Whitgift to Canterbury and harmony was threatened only in specific areas. The Crown saw the episcopate as a protection against radical change in the social and religious framework. Studying the Church of England as an institution was almost a side issue for the majority of early modern historians, who were more concerned with the politics of religious settlement or the spread of Protestantism.


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