On the 17th December 1538 Pope Paul III excommunicated Henry VIII from the Catholic Church. And, rather than reinvent the wheel, double click on the image to open a new page in the Anne Boleyn Files which explores the reasons why the papacy finally lost patience with the chubby Tudor terror.
Excommunication had been threatened by Pope Clement VII in 1533. He died the following year and a new pope was elected.
Pope Paul was born Allessandro Farnese and it was to this pope, elected in 1534, that fell the job of organising the Counter-Reformation. Two years after Henry’s excommunication using the papal bull drafted by Clement but never enacted the Jesuits were recognised by the Catholic Church and in 1542 the Inquisition received a face-lift.