Gay Marriage: Is It Really The Biggest Threat To The Church of England In The Last 500 Years?

The Church of England has reaffirmed its opposition to gay marriage, claiming it to be one of the biggest threats to the institution in its 500-year history.

But is that really the case? Throughout its existence, the Church of England has faced numerous challenges to its authority, especially during its beginnings.

After being founded by Henry VIII, who wished to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon against the Pope's wishes, the church's members were persecuted by his daughter Mary I, who burned scores of Anglicans during her reign.

The Enlightenment saw Europe and Britain plunge into an era of free-thinking, where science and philosophy blossomed, the printing press was invented and moral authority began to move away from the clergy.

Surely any one of these, or one of many more modern problems, represented a larger threat the sovereignty of the church that gay marriage does?

Click through our slideshow below to see what we think were or are bigger 'threats' to the CofE than gay marriage...

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