Henry VII,the Reign
26 July 
1117. Paul III. to Francis I.
Expecting to hear from day to day of the liberation of John (Fisher) cardinal of Rochester, having recommended him most earnestly to Francis, has been astounded by the announcement of his execution by King Henry.
Doubts not but that Francis is sorely grieved, seeing that his intercession would appear to have hastened the Cardinal's death.
Deplores his loss to the Church, and especially the degrading mode of death inflicted on him. Regrets still more the cause of his death,—defending, not the rights of a particular church, as St. Thomas of Canterbury, but the truth of the universal Church.
Henry has thus even exceeded his ancestors in wickedness. Not content with disregarding the censures of Clement VII., "biennalique in illis insordescentia,"—with the notorious adultery, which gives rise to scandal in the Church, —with the sacrilegious slaughter of so many clerks and religious men,—with heresy and schism, and the withdrawal of his kingdom from the universal Church, and from obedience to the Roman Church, to which it is tributary,—he commanded publicly to be executed a man who was elevated to the cardinalate because of his learning and holiness, after endeavouring to get him to recant and to deny the truth, which he would not do; and hastened his death on hearing of his creation as cardinal, thus committing the crime of lese-majesty, and incurring the usual penalties, especially that of privation.
Is not ignorant of Henry's intrigues with Francis at the last meeting at Calais, tending to the universal destruction, nor of their repulse by Francis.
Out of respect for Francis, and in hope of Henry's repenting, has for more than three years patiently borne many and great injuries, but has gained nothing. Is compelled, therefore, at the unanimous solicitation of the cardinals, to declare Henry deprived of his kingdom and his royal dignity; and the Roman Church has recourse to Francis, her most dear son, —having always been accustomed to have recourse to his predecessors in her oppressions,—and earnestly implores him to bear this calmly, and to be ready to execute justice on Henry when required, remembering the great armies with which his forefathers revenged her injuries.
Refers him to the Bishop of Faenza, papal nuncio, for further particulars, Rome, at St. Marks, 26 July 1535..