The Protestant Reformation
Certain practices of the Catholic religion were questioned during the Reformation. The beliefs of many men created a new religion called Protestantism. During this time in history many historical events were happening that caused this reformation. Persecutions against aspects of the Catholic faith were evolved into Protestantism. Protestantism is still a large religion today throughout many parts of the world. There are many differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Besides affecting the religions, this reformation also changed parts of the European culture.
There were many things that caused the split of the Catholic faith. The movement quickly gained adherents in the German states, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Scotland and portions of France. Support came from religious reformers, while others manipulated the movement to gain control of valuable church property. New religions outside of Protestantism were also formed during this reformation. These religions include Zwingli, Calvinism, and the Church of England. The selling of indulgences and selling and buying of clerical offices was a major thing that upset many people.
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The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural even that split up Europe. The protest against the church was not entirely new. In England there had been similar protests in the 14th century: although these had been crushed. Luther gained a lot of support for his ideas. Many people were unhappy with the Pope and the Church. The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation started in the northern and central parts of Europe.
This area was affected because it is further away from the Catholic religious capital, Vatican City. Reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged Catholic authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define the Christian practice. A movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of normal people and not over emphasized religious figures. The disruption triggered wars, persecutions, and the Counter-Reformation.
The Catholic Church revolved against some of these persecutions made by the reformers (Protestant Reformation). In 1517, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, posted “95 Theses” on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg. Luther’s propositions challenged some portions of Roman Catholic doctrine and a number of specific practices. Luther was particularly criticizing a common church practice of the day: the selling of indulgences. An indulgence was the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven.
At the time, Rome was using the sale of indulgences as a means to raise money for a massive church project, the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica. Martin Luther was a rude man; he had no problem taking up differences with those who went against him. The Church was upset with Luther, but many people still followed him creating their own religion called Lutheranism. In 1520 Pope Leo X ordered Luther to give up his beliefs. Luther burned the order in front of a cheering crowd and was excommunicated by Pope Leo X.
Martin Luther went into hiding in a castle and translated the New Testament into German. Martin Luther’s work made it possible for more people to read the Bible. Luther published a book or pamphlet on average every two weeks for the rest of his life. Today his works are collected in 56 volumes (Mobbs). Luther wanted his followers to be called Evangelicals and they were not called Lutherans until 1527 at the Council of Speyer. Martin Luther’s excommunication on January 3, 1521, from the Catholic Church, was a main cause for the Protestant Reformation (Mobbs).
The Protestant Reformation gathered momentum and other beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church came under attack by Protestant reformers. These beliefs include the existence of Purgatory, devotion to Mary, the intercession of and devotion to the saints, many of the sacraments, celibacy of the clergy, and the authority of the Pope (Protestant Reformation). The Protestants believed that they did not need all of the sacraments. Their main sacraments are baptism, communion, and confirmation. They also perform marriage ceremonies usually lasting only twenty minutes.
The Protestant faith ceremonies are much shorter than the Catholic Church’s due to different faith beliefs. The Protestant Reformation brought about two different types of Christianity the established Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches. There were different views on church services and the Bible. Catholics believed that church services and the Bible should be in Latin, as it had been for 1000 years (McManners). Protestants believed that church services and the Bible should be in the language of the people so that the ordinary people could understand them. Today the Bible and church ervices are said in Vernacular (Protestant Reformation). There were also different ideas about the priests. Catholics believed that priests were the link between God and the people and that the Pope was ordained by God. They remain unmarried and wear elaborate robes. However, Protestants believed that people could find God without a priest or a Pope. The Protestants created ministers who were ordinary people that lead normal lives and wore ordinary robes (Protestant Reformation). Catholics believed that churches should celebrate God and by being decorated with statues and shrines.
Protestants believed that Churches should be plain allowing the congregation to concentrate on the sermons. There are many differences between the Catholic and Protestant faiths, most of these differences are still around today. The Roman Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent. This was the most important ecumenical council since Nicaea II eight hundred years earlier. Northern Europe, with the exception of Ireland and parts of Britain and the Netherlands turned Protestant.
Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic. In the world today these areas still remain remotely the same. The Reformation led to a series of religious wars that culminated in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). This war killed between twenty-five and forty percent of its population. Some historians believe that the era of the Reformation came to a close when Roman Catholic France allied itself, first in secret and later on the battlefields. For the first time since the days of Luther, political and national people outweighed religious convictions in Europe.
It was fought mostly as a religious war between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. The Thirty Years’ War was ended with the treaties of Osnabruck and Munster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia (Wilde). There are three fundamental principles of the Protestantism. These include scripture and belief in the Bible as the supreme source of authority for the Church. The early churches of the Reformation believed in a critical reading of scripture and holding the Bible as a source of authority higher than the Church. They also believe in free grace through faith.
This gives God salvation and gives all glory to Christ. The priesthood of believers implies that the right and duty of the Christian laity is not only to read the Bible, but also to take part in the government and all the public affairs of the Church. This makes ordained priests the mediators between God and the people. The impact of the Protestant changed the religious beliefs, practices, culture and society of Christians in Europe. The Protestant reformation divided Christians and reshaped political and religious values in all of Europe.
In those times in Europe Christianity was the base of many social components, thus causing corruption in the social order of the European culture. Soon kings began gaining complete control over their kingdoms. Also, today’s democracies came from the principles of the Protestant Reformation (Protestant Reformation). It was over 250 years from the time of the Protestant Reformation to when the U. S. Constitution was formed and America became a nation. During that time, Martin Luther’s ideas helped to make America a place where religious tolerance and freedom was to be accepted.
No longer would one religious dominate a country and force people to serve whether they believed in it or not (Mead). As the hope of reforming the Roman Church faded, the Protestants were forced to separate from Roman Catholicism resulting in Lutheran churches in Germany, Scandinavia and some eastern European countries, the Reformed churches in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and the Anglican church in England, and other diverse elements all of which have evolved into the Protestant denominations of today.
The Protestant Reformation was a major 16th century European movement aimed initially at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout history many major events have occurred, the Protestant Reformation being one of them. The Protestant Reformation created many beliefs outside of the Roman Catholic Church. These religions are still around today and are some of the more popular in the European area.
This was also a turning point for the Catholic faith to clean up their act. There are still many components of these faiths that are still questioned today but that are what keep the faith in tact and growing. Many historians believe that this movement began the new modern era of religious faiths. There are many differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholic, but these differences entitle people to express their faith in the ways they believe.