Defense of the Seven Sacraments

The Defence of the Seven Sacraments (in Latin, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum) is a theological treatise written by King Henry VIII of England in 1521.

Henry started to write it in 1519 while he was reading Martin Luther's attack on indulgences. By June of that year, he had shown it to Thomas Wolsey, but it remained private until three years later, when the earlier manuscript became the first two chapters of the Assertio, the rest consisting of new material relating to Luther's De Captivitate Babylonica. It is believed that Thomas More was involved in the composition of the piece.

Author J. J. Scarisbrick describes the work as "one of the most successful pieces of Catholic polemics produced by the first generation of anti-Protestant writers."[1] It went through some twenty editions in the sixteenth century and, as early as 1522, had appeared in two different German translations.

It was dedicated to Pope Leo X, who rewarded Henry with the title Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith) in October 1521 (a title revoked following the king's break with the Catholic Church, but re-awarded to his heir by the English Parliament).

Luther's reply to the Assertio was, in turn, replied to by Thomas More, who was one of the leaders of the Catholic humanist party in England.

References

  • James Cardinal Gibbons, New York, Benziger brothers, 1908.
  • Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum, Henry VIII, King of England; Pierre Fraenkel, Münster, Aschendorff, 1992, Corpus Catholicorum, vol. 43. ISBN 3-402-03457-3 ISBN 9783402034576
  • Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, 1968, pp. 110–113.
  • Scarisbrick, J. J.. Henry VIII. 2 ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. 113.
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