Saturday, September 5, 2015

5 September 1553 A.D. Cranmer on the hot seat: his defense of Edwardian Reforms in the face of rumors


5 September 1553 A.D. Cranmer on the hot seat: his defense of Edwardian Reforms in the face of rumors.

Bromiley, G.W. Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr. London: Church Book Room Press, 1956.

Brief backstory. King Edward VI dies in July 1556. A brief effort to enthrone Lady Jane Grey ensues, but fails. Mary is enthroned as per Henry VIII’s will. Things begin the southward and downward spiral for Reformed Churchmen.

Who and with what burial rites shall Edward be buried? What about the Edwardian reforms, 1552 Book of Common Prayer, Forty-two Articles, and the Book of Homilies?

Prof. Bromiley advises on page 97 that Cranmer was “determined to maintain his witness.”

Cranmer, it had been “rumoured,” offered to say Requiem Mass at Edward VI’s funeral on 8 Aug 1553. This was to be held before Queen Mary 1 at St. Paul’s. Prof. Bromiley hastily and unhappily provides little here by way of evidence.

One source, Prof. Bromiley says (without identifying the source) says Cranmer used Reformed service book of 1552.

As for the rumor, Cranmer denied it and reaffirmed the “Edwardian service and all his liturgical and doctrinal work” (Parker Society, I, 428-429).

We still have questions. What service was used for Edward’s service? Surely, more is need that Prof. Bromiley's unidentified source with no documentation.

Where? As can be seen, we are not well-served by Prof. Bromiley’s brevity.

I think Cranmer did the service, but that’s an unsubstantiated opinion at this point. But this much: Cranmer did not—at this point—recant his Edwardian reforms, liturgical or doctrinal work. However, by early 1556, he will offer six pitiful, groveling and written recantations.

But, at this point, there was a rumor floating in London.

Thomas Cranmer wrote out his affirmation and gave a copy of it to Bishop Scory.

On 5 Sept 1553, the affirmation was being read in Cheapside.

Prof. Bromiley introduces two opinions of the matter (98).

Froude: this written affirmation is “one of the bravest actions ever deliberatively ventured by the man” (Froude, V, 255).

Deane, an English Churchman and scholar, who generally complains of Cranmer’s timidity, said “it was an act of incredible folly” (Deane, 223). Deane’s larger context needs evaluation, although, off hand, this is quite a claim.

On Prof. Bromiley’s view, Dean “does not understand is that while Cranmer will not stand out boldly for ecclesiastical privileges and property, he had an overmastering concern for the truth.”

An important point to resolve here, Froude v. Deane? The timeline from 5 Sept 1553 to 21 March 1556 needs very close analysis. Thomas will soon be in the Tower by late 1553. So will Latimer and Ridley. And life for English Reformed Churchmen will soon be one of flight (to the Continent), hiding (e.g. Parker), or death.

But, at this point on 5 Sept 1553, Cranmer saw that the Reformation was threatened by an “insidious and untruthful rumour” floating around London.
Cranmer’s written “rejoinder” had an “immediate effect” in London. But, that wouldn’t last long.

Queen Mary 1 was in command now.

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