More published his own work in 1516: Utopia, literally “nowhere” or “no place”. It is an ironic, ambiguous discourse on a fictional commonwealth, made more telling on the ultimate impracticability of Utopia.
More took an active role in defending the Church in the convulsions that followed Martin Luther’s attack on the Church’s authority. He joined scholars and English clergy in advising Henry VIII on his response which would earn for Henry the papal title Fidei Defensor. Luther’s vitriolic response was met in turn by More’s Responsio ad Lutheram in 1523.
Like Cardinal Wolsey, John Fisher and others, More fell victim to the “King’s Matter” – Henry VIII’s attempt to set aside Queen Catherine. Henry denied Papal authority in both spiritual and temporal matters, declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. When it became a criminal offence for office holders to support anyone having a legal jurisdiction superior to the King’s, More resigned as Lord Chancellor.