Protestant Reformation Essay, Research Paper
3A2 Florian Boyce
Euro pd. 6 November 2000
The Protestant Reformation was period of revolt. It was an uprising of the Roman Catholic Church. Though it has been proven that the main reason of rebellion was the grievances many people had of the church. However, there were ulterior motives, and underlying causes to the start of the Reformation.
Religion was always ?used? as a driving force for many of the ideas for reform in the 16th century. However, with other revolutions in history, one main the main causes happened to be monetary. Reformers and rulers alike thought it was a disgrace to see that the Reformation was based so heavily on money.
There was a sort of economic depression in the 15th and 16th centuries. Many people were forced to borrow money through loans. One was the Dominican Friar who borrowed money from the Fruggers of Germany. To pay off the loan, he started to sell indulgences. Indulgences became widely popular. It was even exaggerated to the point where it was ridiculed (Document I). On the other hand, the German princes disagreed. As a whole, they stated that the money they donated to the church to help the people, where ?somehow? used to make the pastors richer (Document D). The German Princes saw it as a shame that the pastors pretended to be followers, only to elevate their financial status.
Politics also played a role in the development of the Protestant Reformation. At the head of the Roman Catholic Church, stood the pope. The pope was supposed to be a divine figure. He was supposed to stand at the head, and be as pure as any man can be. At that time, it was almost never the case.
The Pope had absolute authority when it came to making laws, and practices that were to be followed in the church. However, he wasn?t the emperor of the religion. The Pope didn?t make up the religion, and thus should not have absolute power, or so Martin Luther believed (Document G). It was like the Pope was abusing their power, or at least lost their way as religious officials. In fact it was perceived that the Pope, and other officials were ?fake? Christians: those of which who did nothing for the religion (Document E). In some cases, it went as far as the Pope mistreating his subjects. The Pope had the power (or used power in his favor) to change laws to his liking. The Pope would literary do anything to avoid be convicted of heresy, even if that meant going against the laws of Christ (Bible) (Document B).
The last of the major causes was social. Even though the Pope abused his power, nevertheless he wasn?t the only one. Even common people abuse their rights as a society. Many had thought that the populace of the 15th and 16th centuries distorted the laws themselves to suit their needs (Document F). In a way the people was taking advantage of God, and that is one of the most deadly sins a human can commit. While that was going on, people like Martin Luther, would try to find someway to defend the Church and their actions, ending up finding more fault in them (Document A). As Martin Luther found so many things wrong with the Church, he decided to break away, thus starting Lutherism. Lutherism led into the most dynamic part of the Reformation.
Though the fa?ade of the Reformation was religion, it was very different. Social, Political, and Economic reasons also contributed to the Reformation; because of that the Reformation wasn?t just a restructuring of the church. That period of time housed a political, social and economic restructuring as well. On the other hand, many people at that time, especially the common people, really had no idea of the other motivating forces that led into the Reformation.