Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Archive for Catholic vs. Protestant

Martin Luther Pottymouth


Seriously, had you any idea this guy was so…brazen? Have a look at some of his zingers:

  • “You are such outrageous, shameless blockheads.”
  • “You are a little pious prancer.”
  • “You hellish scum.”
  • “You vulgar boor, blockhead, and lout, you ass to cap all asses, screaming your heehaws.”
  • “You people are more stupid than a block of wood.”
  • “We despise your whorish impudence.”
  • “My soul, like Ezekiel’s, is nauseated at eating your bread covered with human dung.”
  • “You are a crude ass, and an ass you will remain!”
  • “You stink like devilish filth flung into Germany.”
  • “Listen, you ass, you are a particularly crass ass, indeed, you are a filthy sow!”
  • “You sophistic worms, grasshoppers, locusts, frogs and lice.”
  • “Since you are such vulgar blockheads that you think such lewd and stupid gossip will harm me or bring you honor, you are the real Hanswursts – blockheads, boors, and dunderheads.”
  • “You are like mouse-dropping in the pepper.”
  • “You are the true, chief, and final Antichrist.”
  • “You are the prostitute of heretics.”
  • “You are ignorant, stupid, godless blasphemers.”
  • “Snot-nose!”
  • “Perhaps you want me to die of unrelieved boredom while you keep on talking.”
  • “Even if your writings were from an angel from heaven I would take this horrible document, and, after having used it as toilet paper, wipe its nose.”
  • “You are a brothel-keeper and the devil’s daughter in hell.”
  • “Think what you will, so make in your pants, hang it round your neck, then make a jelly of it and eat it like the vulgar sows and asses you are!”

There’s much more where that came from here.

To punish thy self with random insults from Luther, go here. Have fun! (??)


Two Things on Which to Shut Yer Trap

One is religion.  The other is politics. That’s the common advice. Others say if you really want to be interesting, definitely discuss God and government.

Our Tudors took various approaches to this, and often for them the two intertwined. Just a sampling of how outspoken (or not) some of them were …

  • Henry VIII — Whatever suited him, and he wasn’t secretive about it.
  • Catherine of Aragon — Unapologetic Catholic
  • Mary I — See above, plus a dash of extremism
  • Anne Boleyn — Technically Catholic, Reformation-curious, died after having asked for confession and the sacrament, though
  • Catherine Parr — Open-minded Catholic; walked that fence very carefully
  • Edward VI — Flag-waving teen Reformist
  • Lady Jane Grey — Reformist poster child
  • Elizabeth I — Surely Reformist but kept it to herself.

In such a volatile time, discussing your religious beliefs was very tricky (if not fatal). Was it more important to be true to faith, putting aside earthly happenings for a reward after death and to keep your soul at peace? Or to zip it, lock it, and put it in your pocket for the sake of running the country and/or dealing with those who did?

Was Catherine of Aragon “stubborn” or “brave”? Was Elizabeth I “a coward” or “smart”?

What would you have done?

Losing His Religion?

Our young Henry VIII was considered a devout Catholic: attending Mass three times a day, being buddy-buddy with the pope, and strongly defending the idea of transubstantiation (the changing of the bread and wine into the body of blood of Christ).  Let’s just skip over the part about his spending “quality time” with young ladies of the court, shall we?

At that time, all Christians in England were Catholics, period. However, over in Germany in 1526 (when Henry was 35 years old),  Martin Luther was busy organizing his new church after rejecting the Catholic Church, which was very corrupt at that time. Luther was especially riled up about indulgences, the Church’s way of saying “pay up at Mass and your soul will be saved.” His work sparked the Protestant Reformation, and Christianity was then split in two: Catholics and Protestants.

Around this same time, Henry was getting tired of his wife, Catherine of Aragon, failing to produce a male heir. He’d stayed married to this lady for nearly 20 years, and for what? One measly daughter? This had to end.

He ranted and raved and stomped his feet a bit when the pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce from this Spanish princess, but in the end he said, “Fine, the Catholic Church won’t let me divorce so I’ll take my ball and go home.” He declared himself the head of the brand-new Church of England, dumped Catherine, and married a certain court vixen named Anne Boleyn, as if she’d had “can produce male babies” stamped on her forehead. He embraced blossoming Protestant ideals such as married priests, no confession, and no transubstantiation.

Like a petulant child, he destroyed a ton of monasteries in England and cut off the heads of important Catholics in the country. That oughta teach ’em. But it didn’t help the new Queen Anne give birth to any healthy boys, nor did it keep his next wife, Jane Seymour, alive long enough to have more than one male heir. He couldn’t even stomach staying in the same room with Anne of Cleves (Wife #4), let alone try to have children with her.

And in 1539 (right between Wives 4 and 5), Henry convinced Parliament to pass the Act of Six Articles, which basically said:

  • Transubstantiation is A-OK once again
  • Communion is to be bread only, not wine
  • No married priests
  • Pay-per-view Mass was fine
  • No remarried widows
  • Confess to a priest

During the next several decades, his Catholic daughter Mary and his Protestant daughter Elizabeth would duke it out and the country would remain divided by religion. But for all intents and purposes, Henry — in his heart — was still a Catholic.

‘Zounds! Marry! Great Balls o’ Fire!

Now just what is an explanation of the Gunpowder Plot doing on a Tudor blog? Head honcho Guy Fawkes and his crew were aiming for James VI, the Stuart successor to Elizabeth I (the last Tudor monarch). So what’s the connection?

Even after all that breaking-from-Rome stuff brought on by Henry VIII, there was a lot of Catholic vs. Protestant bad blood going on in England. But even after Liz I was cold and in her tomb in Westminster Abbey, English Catholics were still carrying a wee bit of a grudge for the mistreatment they suffered during her reign.

At first they thought that James VI would be the answer to their very long Latin prayers. After all, his mother was Mary, Queen of Scots, who lost her head over her Catholic beliefs. And his wife, Anne of Denmark, was Catholic as well. However, the king turned out to be less and less sympathetic of the Pope’s followers in his country, and royally ticked them off as a result.

A revolt had begun, quietly. After more than a year and a half of holding meetings and discussing their plan, the six men who masterminded the plot to overthrow the government had their day. One of them, Guido “Guy” Fawkes had planted explosives under the House of Lords, and took charge of this plan to blow the king and the mostly-Protestant government to bits at the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605. The plot was discovered in the nick of time, and the conspirators were hanged, drawn, and quartered. So much for all that planning!

The very next year, Parliament decided to make an annual celebration out of the non-event that the government had survived, and Guy Fawkes Day was born. Also called Bonfire Night, it’s a huge national celebration in England to this day, packed with parties, bonfires, and fireworks.

A very popular rhyme (familiar to those who’ve either studied British history or have seen “V for Vendetta”) is helpful for remembering the date and the details:

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November / Gunpowder, treason, and plot / We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!”

Some revellers today say they are actually celebrating the fact that a select few back in 1605 had the stones to challenge the government at all …an interesting take on this popular autumn holiday.