The King sent for Thomas Cranmer in the fall of 1529. Cranmer told Henry that he thought the marriage should be tried by the Doctors of Divinity in the Universities. They were more equipped to speak on the matter since they heavily studied the Bible.
If the marriage was found invalid, then Henry could be free to divorce after the Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced the marriage unsound. Henry liked what Cranmer had to say and told him to make his divorce the number one priority on his list. The King also started to warm up to the thought of the king being the Head of the Church in England, and not the Pope.
Church Reform took place in November of 1529, where acts were passed by Parliament to address some of the abuses made by the church. For starters, the fees charged for probate and mortuary became limited. Procedures were made more severe for handling murderers and felons who sought sanctuary with the church. Regulations were put into place for spiritual men who had leased lands. The number of offices that any one man could hold was reduced to four. The reform rubbed members of clergy the wrong way.
In the meantime, Thomas Cromwell had become a part of the King’s service. He made the decision that he would try to use a papal bull (an official document signed and sealed by the Pope) that was obtained by Wolsey in 1518 that allowed some reform of the monasteries. Cromwell wanted to close the smaller monasteries and transfer their wealth to the Crown. England was home to more than 800 religious houses that involved the services of 10,000 monks, nuns and friars.
From early to mid-1530, the Universities were given a chance to decide on the fate of the King’s marriage to Catherine. The King’s advisors started consulting the universities on the matter and wondered what their opinions were. They already knew that many at Cambridge University had strong opposing opinions to the divorce, so it was important for the King’s advisors to carefully select the Doctors that would make a decision in their best interest. The University declared that marrying the widow of your brother was against divine law. Oxford university opposition to the divorce was even stronger. In the end, Henry won the majority of opinion , it was decided by 27 votes to 22 that he should have a divorce.
Money was a motivating factor for the supporters that searched for religious passages that would help Henry in his divorce request. Scholars that helped his case were sent a sum of money. Henry wanted them to argue that the passage in Leviticus was subject to Canon law. Scholars used libraries all over Europe to find supporting information for their claims.