Title: Defender of the Faith.
Extract : Acts & Monuments John Foxe, Ed Rev. Geo. Townsend. Vol IV p 294 fn.
This might well be titled `good works rewarded` – a script for a 1920`s black and white silent film. It is of note that as late as 1521, the date of the title, the Pope still claims (last line) supremacy over princes and kings
The title of this curious production is Assertio Septern Sacromentorum.’ A good edition was printed in London In 1688, to which are adjoined Henry VIII.’s epistle to the pope, Mr. John Clark’s oration, and the pope’s answer thereunto. As also the pope’s bull, by which his holiness was pleased to bestow upon
King Henry VIII (for composing this book) ‘that most illustrious, splendid, and most christian title of Defender of the Faith. Faithfully translated Into English by J. W. gent,’ A copy of the portion of the bull which conferred the title is subjoined
” Considering that it is but just , that those who undertake pious labours in defence of the faith of Christ, should he extolled with all praise and honour; and being willing, not only to magnify with condign praise, and approve with our authority, what your majesty has with learning and eloquence writ against Luther; but, also, to honour your majesty with such a title, as shall give all Christians to understand, as well in our times as in succeeding ages, how acceptable and welcome your gift was to us, especially in this juncture of time: We, the true successor of St Peter, whom Christ, before his ascension, left as his vicar upon earth, and to whom he committed the care of his flock; presiding in this holy see, from whence all dignity and titles have their source, having with our brethren maturely deliberated on these things, and, with one consent, unanimously decreed to bestow on your majesty this title, viz: `Defender of the Faith,’ And as we have by this title honoured your we likewise command all Christians, that they name your majesty by this title; and, in their writings to your majesty, that Immediately after the word KING, they add DEFENDER OF THE FAITH.
Having thus weighed and diligently considered your singular merits, we could not have invented a more congruous name, nor more worthy your majesty, than this worthy and most excellent title: which as often as you hear or read, you shall remember your own merits and virtues; nor will you by this title exalt yourself or become proud, but, according to your accustomed prudence, rather more humble to the faith of Christ, and more strong and constant In your devotion to thIs holy see, by which you were exalted. And you shall rejoice in our Lord, who is the giver of all rood things, for leaving such a perpetual and everlasting monument of your glory to posterity, and showing the way to others; that if they also covet to be invested with such a title they may study to do such actions, and to follow the steps of your most excellent majesty, whom, with your wife, children, and all who shall spring from you, we bless with a bountiful and liberal hand, In the name of Him from whom the power of benediction is given to us, and by whom kings reign and princes govern, and in whose hands are the hearts of kings.”
The Bull Is dated the fifth of the Ides of October, A.D. l521.’