SUPPLY. [PARLIAMENT.] SUPREMACY is a term used to de signate supreme ecclesiastical authority ; and is either papal or regal. Papal supremacy is the authority exercised un til nearly the middle of the sixteenth century by the pope over the churches of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as branches and integral parts of the Wes tern or Latin church, and which con tinues to be exercised to some degree over that portion of the inhabitants of those countries who are in communion with the Church of Rome. The extent of the legislative authority of the pope was never exactly defined.
The papal supremacy was abolished by the legislatures of the three kingdoms in the sixteenth century. In order to en sure acquiescence in that abolition, par ticularly on the part of persons holding offices in England and Ireland, an oath has been required to be taken, which is generally called the oath of supremacy, a designation calculated to mislead, it being in fact an oath of non-supremacy ; since, thougH in its second branch it negatives the supremacy of the pope, it is silent as to any supremacy in the king. This oath is therefore taken without scruple by persons who are not Roman Catholics, whether members of the An glican church or not The form of the oath was established in England by 1 Wm. & Mary, c. 8; it is as follows:—" I, A. B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure, as impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope, or any authority or the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-emi nence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spi ritual, within this realm. So help me God.' Under this and many former sta tutes, all subjects were bound to take the oath of supremacy when tendered ; but by the 31 Geo. III. c. 32. s. 18, no per
son, since the 24th June, 1791, is liable to be summoned to take the oath of supre macy, or prosecuted for not obeying such summons ; and Roman Catholics, upon taking the oath introduced by that Act s. 1, in which the civil and temporal autho rity of the pope are abjured, may hold office without taking the oath of supre macy. As to other cases concerning the oath of supremacy see Law, CRIMINAL, p. 218.
Henry VIII. was acknowledged as supreme head of the church by the clergy in 1528. This supremacy was confirmed by parliament in 1534, when, by the statute of 26 Hen. VIII. e. 1, it was enacted " that the king our sovereign lord, his heirs, and successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, and shall have and enjoy, annexed to the imperial crown of this realm, as well the style and title thereof, as all honours, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and com modities to the said dignity of supreme head of the same church belonging and appertaining ; and shall have power from time to time to visit, repress, redress, re form, order, correct, restrain, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities, whatsoever they be, which, by any manner of spiri tual authority or jurisdiction, may law fully be reformed, repressed, ordered, re dressed, corrected, restrained, or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquillity of this realm ; any usage, custom, foreign laws, foreign au thority, prescription, or any other thing to the contrary notwithstanding."