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Henry VIII, the English Reformation, and Brexit

Most anti-Brexit polemic is so inane, banal and stultifyingly dull that it hardly warrants the time and effort of a response. Occasionally, however, we come across a piece of rhetoric which is clever and imaginative enough to deserve attention. Take, for instance, the interesting idea, posited by the British historical novelist, Patricia Finney, that Brexit had already happened twice before in history and that the current Brexit is analogous to them.

The first Brexit, according to Miss Finney, somewhat tenuously, was “a rather involuntary Brexit in the 5th century AD” when the Roman Empire withdrew from Britain. Since, however, this was a case of Europe exiting Britain, it doesn’t really work as an analogy.

It is Miss Finney’s second analogous Brexit which is more interesting. She makes the case that King Henry VIII’s break with Rome was carried out in the same spirit as Brexit and that his infamous henchman, Thomas Cromwell, was “possibly the first Brexiteer in history”. This is how Miss Finney describes what happened:

So Henry did it. He split from Rome. He Brexited. He didn’t need to worry about parliament which was full of men who would profit from the sale of church lands. There was a flurry of dodgy legislation, including the statute known as Praemunire which made it treason for anyone to appeal to any authority higher than the King’s.

Read more at Catholic World Report 

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