History and popular culture do not know what to make of Henry VIII. Half of the world remembers him as a king determined to break the Romanist oppression and strengthen England by fusing religion and politics in himself. The other half remembers him as a murderer and desecrator, responsible for the martyrdom of thousands of Catholics and the destruction of shrines in an reign of terror.
But these are only two of his faces. He used to be a completely different man. Before his schism from Rome and persecution, Henry was an accomplished theologian and staunch defender of the Catholic Faith.
As king of England, he authored 'Defence of the Seven Sacraments', a book deliberately aimed against Martin Luther and his errors. He defended papal primacy. He fought for all seven sacraments. His pen dripped sarcasm and disdain for 'that ape in purple'. This masterpiece of Catholic Apologetics earned him the title of 'Defender of the Faith' from Leo X.
But then the schism. The persecutions. Fire, blood and war against the Christian innocent. This masterpiece became an embarrassement for the newly formed Anglican Church State, and its memory was quietly buried with it's author.
Almost five hundred years passed, in which it was reprinted once at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but it never worked its way out of scholarly circles.
A century later, a formerly Christian Europe is being gutted of her people through depopulation and stripped of her Catholic glory by de-Christianization. Islam blazes like a fiery flood, sweeping converts and abandoned churches into their belief system, deliberately taking over by childbirth. Europe remains helpless, fragmented by hair-splitting Bible interpretations that divide countries, communities and individuals.
Except... Finally disgusted by abject moral relativism among the hierarchy, Anglicans worldwide are begging the Holy Father to accept their return to full communion with Rome. Over four hundred thousand individuals, and increasing numbers of bishops, priests and congregations are becoming Catholic.
A historical shift? Maybe. Perhaps this is an ideal time in history to revive 'Defence of the Seven Sacraments' as an ironic capstone to the tragedy of Protestantism: Catholicism's greatest defenxe written by the man who joined Luther in infamy.
This New Millennium Edition of 'Defence of the Seven Sacraments' has been edited by international apologist and EWTN host Raymond de Souza, as a contribution to facilitate the re-unification of the baptized in 'one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism' (Eph 4:5) in the one Church of Christ, the pillar and mainstay of the Truth (1 Cor. 3:15).
'Defence of the Seven Sacraments' raises the standard of Catholic orthodoxy and helps refute the various forms of false ecumenism which gathers all creeds together into one people, instead of all peoples in one Creed.
This New Millennium Edition is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II, the twenty-first monarch to accede to the Throne of England since Henry VIII, and published in memoriam of the Crusader of the Twentieth Century, Plinio Correa de Oliveira.