Monday, 11 October 2021

Defending The Faith

Today is the five hundredth anniversary of the conferral of the title Fidei Defensor on Henry VIII by Pope Leo X. But the present title derives from its conferral by Parliament on Henry's son, Edward VI.

Not that it has ever been peculiarly British or English; various monarchs have used it in various times and places, and Popes have conferred it on a number of people, so that, for example, Catherine of Aragon was a Defender of the Faith in her own right.

Martin Luther and William Tyndale both supported Catherine against Henry. Tyndale went to his death rather than return to the England that Henry was by then creating. The robustly Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey sought to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession. Think on.

All in all, the position of Defender of the Faith would seem to have been vacant in both the Catholic and the Protestant senses for a very long time. Any suggestions? Any volunteers?