Henry and Catherine

November 5, 2003

To the Editor:

I recently picked up a copy of your Oct. 16-22 issue, and found the paper well written and interesting.

May I call your attention to an error in the first paragraph of Andy Humm’s article “Anglicans Face Gay Schism,” on page 8, an article otherwise well expressed and informative. Mr. Humm states, “In 1534 the Anglican Church was founded, partly over Henry VIII’s insistence on divorcing Catherine of Aragon.”

In 1534 the English Parliament, under pressure from Henry, declared that the king should be accepted as the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England, thereby refuting the pope’s administrative authority over the Church in England. No new church was founded. The apostolic ministry and sacramental formularies of the Catholic Church were retained. Under successful monarchs, some religious changes were made. However, the basic structure and creeds of the Church remained intact. In fact, the Church of England was reformed, not founded by anyone.

Also, what Henry was seeking from the pope was, in modern terms, an annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, not a divorce. Such annulments were almost routinely granted by the papacy for “reasons of state,” but Pope Clement VII was virtually the prisoner of Emperor Charles V, Catherine’s nephew. Hence the delays in the papacy making a decision, its eventual denial of Henry’s petition, and the ensuing repudiation of papal jurisdiction over the English Church.

Frederick L. Gratiot


Gaps and Bridges

November 8, 2003

To the Editor:

Very refreshing to read an article on the Middle East which focuses on travel, local hospitality, and tolerance rather than war, conflict, and terrorism (“Passage to Islam,” by Michael T. Luongo, Gay City News, Nov. 6-12).

Kudos to Gay City News and Michael Luongo on bridging the gap, in some small way, between the U.S. and the Islamic world. It’s more critical than ever for Americans to look beyond the stereotypical images of the Middle East and Islamic world that are often reinforced by the media.

A. Toor

New York City


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