Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty

By Lacey Baldwin Smith | Go to book overview
Save to active project

"The Conscience of a King"

MORE. In matter of conscience, the loyal subject is more bounden to be loyal to his conscience than to any other thing.

CROMWELL. And so provide a noble motive for his frivolous self-conceit!

MORE. It is not so, Master Cromwell--very and pure necessity for respect of my own soul.

CROMWELL. Your own self you mean!

MORE. Yes, a man's soul is his self!

Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, Act II

HENRY'S RELIGIOUS PROGRESS, the erratic route he followed between a malleable and ancient Catholicism untempered by the hot blast of the Council of Trent and a new and shapeless Protestantism still lacking the cold logic of John Calvin, leads through a theological bog into which even the expert may sink without trace. The sign posts are few and often untrustworthy. The old faith was a venerable and complex corpus of belief which had endured for fifteen hundred years because it was a spiritual synergism: a union of patristic commentaries, scholarly glosses, papal decretals and time-honored custom conjoined with the revelation of Scripture, all of which added up to, something more than the sum of its parts. The totality was a monumental authority, but the components were rarely clear and occasionally downright contradictory. It took Sir Thomas More seven years to convince himself that the secular supremacy of the Roman pontiff did in fact stem from divine prescription. 1 Time out of mind, the sacrament of the mass had been both a resacrifice of Christ's body on the cross and a commemoration of that historic event, but whether it was more one than the other remained in doubt, and ceremonial usage was not precise. The seven sacraments had been sanctified by the centuries, but history still resounded with the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 339

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?