(The Dissenter) The Church of England (CoE), also known as the Anglican Church, was established in the 16th century as a result of King Henry VIII’s desire to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. When the Pope refused to annul their marriage, Henry broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and established the Church of England, with himself as its head. In the centuries that followed, the Church of England was closely tied to the British monarchy and the state and was known for its conservative theology and strong opposition to religious dissent.
Over time, the Church of England has undergone a number of transformations. In the 19th century, it became more involved in social issues, such as the abolition of slavery and the improvement of working conditions for the poor while slowly abandoning any semblance of the gospel. In the 20th century, it began to adopt more progressive attitudes towards issues such as women’s ordination and LGBTQ rights. Today, the Church of England is still officially affiliated with the state, but, like the state itself, it has followed the same trajectory of liberal drift.
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