King Henry VIII Defends the Seven Sacraments
Henry VIII, King of England (1491–1547, r. 1509–1547).
Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum, aedita ab invictissimo Angliae et Franciae rege, et domino Hyberniae Henrico eius nominis octavo.
London: Richard Pynson, 1521. (00630)
In response to Luther’s critique of indulgences and his 1520 De captivitate Babylonica ecclesiae, King Henry VIII issued the theological treatise “Defense of the Seven Sacraments,” dedicated to Pope Leo X. The pope responded by assigning King Henry the title of Fidei Defensor (“Defender of the Faith”), a status later revoked following the king’s own break with the Catholic Church in the 1530s.
A highly successful example of early anti-Protestant polemic, the work appeared in at least twenty editions during the sixteenth century, including two different German translations published by 1522. Exemplifying the ongoing debate in print around these issues, Luther responded to King Henry’s critiques with his 1522 Contra Henricum Regem Anglie(“Against Henry, King of the English”).