Oxford University’s decree against the Papal supremacy over the Kingdom of England (27/06/1534)
Oxford Decree Against Papal Jurisdiction, 1534
Original in Latin
To all the Sons of our Holy Mother the Church, to whom these present Letters shall come, John by Divine Permission Bishop of Lincoln, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and the whole Congregation of the Doctors & Masters, Regents & non Regents, in the same, with all Happiness in ye Author of Salvation.
Whereas the most Illustrious & most powerful Prince our sovereign Lord Henry VIII by the Grace of God King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, and Lord of Ireland by the daily Requests and Complaints of his Subjects lately laid before him in his high Court of Parliament with relation to the intolerable Exactions of Foreign Powers, and on occasion of several Disputes started concerning the Authority and Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, and of the various & urgent Causes then & there exhibited & declar’d in opposition to the said Bishop has been address’d to and desir’d to consult the Good of his Subjects in that Point, & to satisfy their Complaints.
He, like the wise Solomon, being solicitous for ye Interest of his People, over whom by Gods Providence he presides & thoroughly considering with himself in what manner he might establish such Laws as are most advantageous to his Kingdom and above all things being careful that he might not settle any point contrary to Holy Scriptures which he always has been & will be ready to defend with his Blood, agreeable to his excellent Judgment and Sagacity has transmitted to this his University of Oxford a certain Question in order to be discussed publickly & solemnly by the Doctors & Masters of the same namely,
whether the Bishop of Rome hath any greater Jurisdiction in this Kingdom of England conferred on him by God in the Holy Scriptures, than any other Foreign Bishop;
and he commanded us, that upon a mature Deliberation & diligent Examination of this Question we should by an Instrument under the common Seal of our University, certify him, what the Holy Scriptures, according to our Judgment, determine in this Point,
we therefore, ye Chancellor, Doctors & Masters aforesaid often recollecting with ourselves & deeply weighing in our Hearts, how great a Virtue, how sacred a Duty, & how agreeable to our Profession & to due Submission, Obedience, Reverence & Charity it is, to point out the Way of Righteousness & Truth to those who desire to pursue the Footsteps of the sacred Writings, & with a more secure & quiet Conscience to fix their Sheet Anchor in the Law of the Lord, could not but use our utmost Endeavour to satisfy in all Respects so great a Prince (whom we are bound to obey as our most auspicious & supreme Governor) in so just & honourable a Request;
wherefore after we had receiv’d the abovementioned Question with all Humility, Devotion & due Reverence, having call’d together from all Parts the Divines of our said Vniversity, & having taken a sufficient Space of Time for Deliberation, in which we might with all possible Diligence, Zeal for Truth & Religion, & with an incorrupt Conscience examine both ye sacred Writings & the most approv’d Expositors of them, which were very often read over by us, & most exactly compar’d together, & having afterwards held publick & solemn Disputations upon the Subject,
we have at last all unanimously come to this Determination, viz. that the Bishop of Rome has no greater Jurisdiction in this Kingdom of England conferr’d on him by God than any other Foreign Bishop, which our Assertion, Resolution or Determination thus discuss’d with mature Deliberation & according to the Obligation of the Statutes & Ordinances of this our University by us concluded,
we in ye Name of the whole University by these Presents affirm & sincerely testify to be true, certain & consonant to the Holy Scriptures in testimony of all and singular of which we have order’d these Letters to be drawn up & confirm’d by the Common Seal of our University,
given in our Congregation House the XXVII Day of June Anno Domini MDXXXIV.
English translation from Latin by Thomas Birch, Director of the Society of Antiquaries (1742-47)
You must be logged in to post a comment.