Today in Catholic History – Henry VIII is declared the Defender of the Faith

On 17 October 1521, Pope Leo X declared King Henry VIII the Fidei Defensor or Defender of the Faith. This title was given to honor Henry for his book Defense of the Seven Sacraments which attacked the theology of Martin Luther and was dedicated to Leo. This title was added to the full royal title of Henry as “Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith and Lord of Ireland”.

After Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church, Pope Paul III excommunicated Henry and rescinded the grant of the title “Defender of the Faith” in 1538 but the English Parliament declared that the title remained valid.

Henry’s book was very popular and went through twenty editions in the sixteenth century.



  1. Posted October 18, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    We Catholics should find another word to use instead of ‘reformation’, or at least put it in quotes, or add ‘so-called’.

    After Dirty Harry, everything went downhill, alas.

    • hejid
      Posted April 20, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink | Reply

      Vivat Henry Rex Defender of the Faith

  2. Sharon
    Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read somewhere that it was probably St Thomas More and St John Fisher who did the heavy lifting for Henry’s “Defense of the Seven Sacraments”.

  3. Gene
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Vivat Henry Rex!!!!! 😀

  4. Gene
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink | Reply

    Vivat Henry Rex!!!!! Defender of the Faith 😀

  5. Rooster Cogburn
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m far more fond of Henry’s “Beheader’s Bible” & often refer to it, under its factual name of “Tyndale’s Bible” when I want to know the literal translation from original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek texts. Truthfully, I’m most fond of John 3:3 & wonder just how many times Jesus would have to say something is the truth for people to believe him instead of saying he meant not to be taken literally.

  6. Sdney Hatchl
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Henry remained a true Catholic until his death. If the pope had not been a prisoner of Charles fifth, Henry would have got his annulment from Catherine of Aragon. He could have kept his title FD.

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