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Christianity's top 11 most contoversial figures | Henry VIII

The Tudor megalomaniac

Henry VIII would make it onto any number of top ten lists for controversy. Adultery, murder, hedonism - Henry did it all.

His most controversial moment undoubtedly came with the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, the upheaval and transformation of religious ceremony, and a move that saw him gain sovereignty above the Church - there are innumerable aspects to this most controversial passage of history.

The most impressive thing about Henry's most controversial act was that is appears to have sprung from an excessive bout of impatience and narcissism. More and more frustrated by his wife Catherine of Aragon's ability to produce him an heir, Henry decided to bend the divinely-set rules of the church to suit his own end.

With the aid of fixer-extraordinaire Cardinal Wolsey, Henry attempted to gain the papal thumbs up for a divorce from Catherine.

Henry was hindered by the small matter of the Papal Bull - the Pope's endorsement of his marriage in the eyes of God that the King was forbidden to break.

Seeing that he would not get his way, Henry decided to ditch the Papacy, divorce his wife and start his own Church. For unprecedented defiance of the system (a Tudor-day 'giving it to the man'), and his unyielding drive to get his way - at whatever cost - Henry VIII truly deserves his place near the top of the tree of controversy.


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