The role of Henry Vffl’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon in the course of the English Reformation has long been debated: “Protestant writers have tended to dismiss it as a mere ‘occasion’ rather than a genuine cause; Catholics have sometimes regarded the divorce as the chief cause of the cataclysm and supposed that, had it not been pressed, England might well have remained a Catholic nation” (Dickens 128). The divorce contributed powerfully but ambiguously to the Reformation, triggering neither Protestantism and anti-papal beliefs nor English nationalism in themselves, yet focusing and spurring royal and popular opposition toward the papacy. That the political and religious effects of the royal divorce cannot be precisely defined does, however, suggest its polemical significance in subsequent debates between Catholics and Protestants. Divorce becomes a trope whose meanings are disputed, contested, and, when claimed by one side, used to underwrite the truth of Catholic or Protestant theology and ethics.