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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Katherine Parr: Queen of the English Reformation

The first woman to publish a book in her own name in the English language was Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. In her book The Lamentation of a Sinner (1547), she abased herself considerably and outlined her conversion to Protestant theology. In fact, she writes, “I feel myself to come, as it were, in a new garment before God, and now by his mercy, to be declared just and righteous. By faith alone I am sure to be justified, although the dregs of Adam do remain.” On this episode, Shane Rosenthal discusses Queen Katherine’s fascinating life and robust convictions with Don Matzat, author of a new biography titled Katherine Parr: Opportunist. Queen. Reformer.

Show Quote:

In myself, I find nothing to save me but a dunghill of wickedness. If I should hope that by mine own strength and power to come out of this maze of inequity and wickedness wherein I have walked for long, I should be deceived. For I am so blind, weak, and feeble that I cannot bring myself out of this entangled and wayward maze. The more I seek means and ways to find myself out of it, the more I am wrapped and entangled in it. So, I perceive my struggling to be a hindrance and my travail to be labor spent in vain. It is the hand of the Lord that can and will bring me out of this endless maze of death. For without the grace of the Lord that comes before, I cannot ask forgiveness for my sins, nor repent or be sorry for them.

Katherine Parr, The Lamentation of a Sinner


Lamentations of a sinner

Author: Katherine Parr

While the confession of sin and receiving of forgiveness and justification is miraculous—it is not monumental. That’s a bold statement, but it is the norm when every unbeliever becomes a Christian. Even if you are the Queen of England. As a special way to mark Reformation Day, we’re offering Queen Katherine Parr’s “The Lamentation of a Sinner” in booklet form as a free gift to our listeners.  Along with guest Don Matzat’s introduction, you’ll find this presentation of the basic truths of the Christian faith applicable to the life of every believer in every age.

Katherine Parr: Opportunist. Queen. Reformer

Author: Don Matzat

Unlike other biographies, which have focused on the court politics of the Tudor era, the romantic desires of Henry VIII that drove his serial marriages, and the military and economic challenges to England at the time, this biography remembers the central influence of religious belief on the king and queen, and explains how Katherine’s devotion to the self-questioning protestant ethos had a directing influence on her actions. In particular, the author identifies her seminal work, “The Lamentation of a Sinner,” as the key to unlocking Katherine’s personality.