The Reformations



Download 97.81 Kb.
Date08.02.2021
Size97.81 Kb.
#109961

The Reformations

I.  Protestant Reformation



  • Causes of the Reformation

    • The Protestant Reformation occurred in part as a response to the decline of the late medieval papacy

      • Increasingly powerful secular rulers challenged the power of the popes, and since the secular rulers had the real power, money and armies to back up their will, the pope's claims to dominance were no longer real

        • Clement V came to live in Avignon in what later was known as the Babylonian Captivity

          • The prestige of the pope suffered enormously, with the English and German rulers accusing him of being merely the creature of the French king

        • The Great Schism

          • The return of the papacy to Rome only produced the Great Schism when, for a time, there were two popes,  one in Rome and one in Avignon

          • Eventually the schism was solved by the 1417 Council of Constance which elected a new pope

          • The council voted along national lines showing clearly that religion and politics were never far apart

          • But the dethroning of two popes had challenged papal authority and made later popes unwilling to call a council to deal with church abuses for fear of being dethroned themselves, even when the church found itself under attack by Luther

      • John Wycliff and John Huss

        • Martin Luther was not the first to challenge the doctrine of the church

        • John Wycliff (1329-84) in England had urged that the church be stripped of property and abolish such practices as veneration of saints, pilgrimages and the cult of Mary for which he could find no Biblical justification

          • He translated the Bible into English so people could read it themselves and see that his points were valid

          • At first he had influential protectors who wanted church property which Wycliff claimed the church did not need, but as his radicalism increased (he attacked the Eucharist), Wycliff fell into disgrace

          • The low point came when his ideas were used by the peasants to justify their 1381 Peasants Revolt in England as they condemned the church for its luxury and incompetence

          • As a result of the revolt, Wycliff's views, now known as Lollardy, were regarded as subversive and espousing them became a capital crime in England by 1400

        • Wycliff's ideas spread to Bohemia to John Huss (1375-1415), the rector of the University of Prague

          • The Czech king Wenceslaus' sister, Anne, had been married to Richard II of England, and when he was murdered, she fled to Bohemia with her confessors who had been influenced by Wycliff

          • Huss' criticisms of the church fed Czech resentment against their German overlords

          • Huss was invited to the Council of Constance to defend himself after being assured of his personal safety, but when he arrived, he was instead tried, convicted, and executed as a heretic

          • This produced the Hussite revolt (1420-24) in which Czech aristocrats seized the lands of the church and defeated Catholic German armies sent to put down the rebellion

          • Czechoslovakia would not be brought back into the Catholic fold until the 17th century following the Thirty Years War

      • Wycliff and Huss were responding to a outcry among Catholics for popular piety and mysticism, as well as a preoccupation with death resulting from the onslaught of the Black Death

      • Luther would respond to this as well, writing hymns which the entire congregation could sing and which were based on German folk songs

        • Gregorian chants in the Catholic church, by contrast, had become so technical that they required a professional choir to sing

      • The main complaints of the reformers began with clerical immorality

        • Celibacy was hard to enforce, and drunkenness and gambling among the clergy were widespread

        • Many priests, especially the lower clergy, lived with women

        • Instead of stopping the practice, the church just taxed the couples to make their children legitimate

      • Clerical ignorance was another complaint

        • The standards of ordination were shockingly low

        • It is estimated that maybe no more than 2% of the clergy could actually understand the Latin liturgy

        • As lay people learned to read Latin in the Renaissance, they could quickly see how ignorant the clergy really was

        • The printing of Bibles, moreover, allowed people to read the passages themselves; by 1522, there were 18 translations of the Bible

      • Clerical pluralism was another abuse

        • Sometimes churchmen held several offices at the same time, just collecting the revenues but not visiting their parishes

        • This was especially true of Italian churchmen who had offices in England and Germany but never went there

        • Nationalistic resentment allowed some to believe that Germany and England were "second-class citizens" in the church as a result

        • Nationalists in the north were further angered by the domination of the Italian popes

    • Many also criticized the church's lack of heartfelt piety;  many lay associations sprang up to create a more personally meaningful religious experience

      • Note, however, that there was little pressure for doctrinal change

      • Most criticism was about making the church live up to its own rules, rather than changing the rules

      • Indeed, most abuses were on their way to being corrected by Catholic reformers before the Reformation began

  • Martin Luther

    • It is against this background of clerical abuses that we see Martin Luther

      • He became a monk after being terrorized in a storm

      • In spite of many penances, he could not rid himself of a sense of his own sinfulness, until he finally came to believe that salvation did not depend on external observances, but rather on a simple faith in Christ

      • This faith is a gift from God and cannot be earned

      • This position is called justification by faith alone, as opposed to the Catholic view of justification by faith and good works, including the ritual of the church

    • Luther was shocked at the selling of indulgences which was being done to raise money for the building of St. Peters basilica in Rome

      • The church claimed the right to touch the "treasury of merits," the fund of goodness built up by the saints and Christ, to give absolution

      • Now, instead of undergoing true penance, people were simply buying indulgences

      • Worse, those who sold them were making piles of money; the Fuggers in Augsburg got a one-third commission on each one they sold

      • Luther was also shocked at the fraud in the veneration of relics;  there were 12 heads of St. John the Baptist, for example

    • On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed to the church door in Wittenburg Castle a list of 95 thesis and offered to debate anyone on them

      • These theses challenged papal power to grant indulgences and criticized papal wealth

      • More important, they began the process of turning a critique of Catholicism into a new religion by saying the sole source of authority was the Bible and that indulgences were not in the Bible

      • To prove his point, Luther translated the Bible into German

    • The church declared him a heretic

      • The Bible was not the sole source of authority; the church recognized the role of the church fathers, the saints, and the councils

      • Luther only recognized two sacraments, baptism and communion, the only two mentioned in the Bible, while the church recognized seven

      • Luther could find no Biblical authority for the cult of Mary, purgatory, or relics, all of which were in fact added in the Middle Ages

      • And Luther rejected transubstantiation

    • Although declared a heretic, Luther was protected against the troops of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, because the latter was busy fighting the Turks in eastern Europe and would require German troops to do so

      • Thus, German rulers made the protection of Luther the requirement for sending men

      • This gave Luther precious time to develop his ideas which came together in the Augsburg confession of 1530 which later became the creed of the Lutheran church

  • The Political Impact of Luther's beliefs

    • The political impact of Luther's beliefs was enormous

      • Many worldly people embraced Luther because they hoped to get their hands on church lands and wealth which Luther had condemned

      • Many also objected that papal taxes to support a luxury loving church were draining wealth from northern Europe for the enrichment of Italy, and that Germany was especially prone to being "taken" because she did not have a central government to defend German interests

      • Some saw in Luther's views a way to unify Germany on the basis of a new religion

    • The Peasants of Germany revolted in 1524, demanding the abolition of serfdom and a reduction in taxes

      • While Luther recognized the justice of their grievances, he was appalled at the violence and asked the princes to crush the rebellion

      • This they did by 1525 with 100,000 dead

      • The religious strife in Germany was solved with the Peace of Augsburg in 1555

        • Each German prince was to decide the religion of his subjects

        • Protestants were to keep confiscated church lands

        • All Protestant sects except Lutherans were forbidden

        • And from now on, Catholic bishops converting to Lutheranism would be obliged to give up their property

        • The Peace of Augsburg added to the political disintegration of Germany by granting more power to the German princes, including now the right to determine the religion of their subjects

  • Calvinism

    • By the time of the Peace of Augsburg, there was another fast growing religion in Germany which the treaty did not recognize--This was Calvinism

    • Calvinists believed in predestination, that is that you were saved on damned before birth

      • The argument ran that all men had inherited Adam's sin and all were therefore damned

      • However, God in His infinite mercy saved some people before they were born, not because they deserved it, but because God was merciful

      • Nothing done here on earth could change God's mind

      • The idea of predestination rested on the sovereignty of God and the weakness of man

    • The church became supreme in Geneva where a council of ministers made and enforced the law

      • But this was no haven for dissenters

      • Calvinists brutally repressed those who disagreed with them

    • Calvinism gave support to the new ideals of capitalism by sanctifying thrift and diligence rather than the medieval virtues of chivalry and voluntary poverty accepted by the Catholics

      • Moreover, a clear division occurred between Luther, who became an ally of the princes, and Calvin, who became an ally of the merchants

      • Calvinists became the Presbyterians in Scotland, the Puritans in New England and the Huguenots in France

  • The English Reformation

    • The English Reformation was unique in that it was clearly politically motivated

    • England had already been the scene of reform with Wycliff and Thomas More, and Henry VIII had the sympathy of the people or he would not have prevailed

    • Causes of the English Reformation

      • Henry wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon who had not produced a male heir

        • Their daughter Mary would become Queen, and England had never been ruled by a queen before

        • Henry VIII was aware of the possibility of civil war, as England had already experienced in the War of the Roses

      • Henry thus wanted to divorce Catherine to marry another woman, Anne Boleyn,  and hopefully produce a male heir to avoid a disputed succession

        • The pope (a relative of Catherine's), however, would not grant a dispensation because he was surrounded by the troops of Charles V, Catherine's nephew

      • Henry retaliated by taking England out from under the control of the pope and making himself as king the last court of appeals in England

    • Monarch as head of the Anglican Church

      • Anyone who disagreed with Henry as the head of the English church was also disagreeing with him as king of England and thus guilty of treason; for this crime, Thomas More was beheaded

      • Henry moved to dissolve the monasteries and sold the land or gave it to men he could trust

      • This replenished royal coffers and also created accomplices in crime

      • Any attempt to restore Catholicism would mean the church would retake these lands

      • The "new men" as these new owners were known thus had a vested interest in supporting Henry

    • Parliament's role

      • The king had to work with Parliament to make his reformation so he could claim the support of the people whom Parliament represented

      • Thus the role of Parliament was enhanced in England while in other areas of Europe, representational assemblies were going out of fashion

    • The dogma of Henry's church was still Catholic, with the major exception that Henry and not the pope was the head of it

      • Henry still required transubstantiation as doctrine and confession to the priests, for example

      • Protestant ideas crept in slowly under his son Edward (1547-53), son of his third wife, Jane Seymour

      • Only then was the requirement of celibacy repealed and a new Common Book of Prayer established

    • Queen Mary

      • At Edward's death, Mary, the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, became queen (1553-58)

      • She tried to bring Catholicism back and her efforts have earned her the sobriquet of "bloody Mary."

      • She was quite unpopular, especially after marrying her cousin, Philip II of Spain, and forcing England into a war with France which England lost (and which forced England to give up Calais, the last English possession in France)

      • Mary executed some 300 Protestants, including former Archbishop Cranmer who had helped Henry divorce her mother

    • Elizabeth I

      • When Mary died, her half-sister Elizabeth, daughter of the executed Anne Boleyn, became Queen

      • Elizabeth ran a middle course between Protestant and Catholic, insisting primarily on her authority as head of the realm

        • The Articles of Faith were written broadly so that as many as possible could swear to them

        • You had to attend a Church of England service, but Elizabeth did not inquire too closely into what you did the rest of the day, provided your loyalty to her was not questioned

      • Elizabeth was, therefore, a pragmatist, able to distinguish to a remarkable degree for the 16th century between church and state

      • The inability of the rest of Europe to do so, however, would plunge Europe into devastating wars of religion


II.  Catholic Reformation

  • By 1547, the Protestants were in control of England, Scotland, Scandinavia, the northern half of Germany and great pieces of France

  • Catholics responded by taking the initiative and no new areas "fell" to the Protestants with the exception of the Netherlands

  • The Catholic Reformation

    • This Catholic Church had actually begun a series of reforms before the Protestant Reformation, but the pace quickened in the 16th century

    • One example of this reform were new religious orders

      • These were needed to raise the moral and intellectual level of the clergy in response to criticisms leveled against the church

      • Orders of Nuns

        • The Ursulines were an order of nuns trying to fight heresy through Christian education to train future wives and mothers; in this way, the Catholics reached out to women and their educational needs

        • The Carmelites were an order of barefoot nuns, founded by St. Teresa of Avila, who lived in extreme poverty, thus responding to the Protestant charge that the Catholics were too concerned with luxury

      • Jesuits

        • But the most important was the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish nobleman and warrior who decided to become a soldier of Christ

        • The Jesuits were subject to iron discipline and became the pope' shock troops in the Catholic Reformation

        • They became confessors and advisors to kings and had enormous political impact

        • Jesuits created excellent schools and engaged in missionary work as far away as Ceylon, Japan and India

        • They were responsible for bringing much of Germany and eastern Europe back into the Catholic fold

    • The Council of Trent

      • Popes had feared calling a council to deal with the abuses of the church, fearing such a council would trim their powers or even dethrone them as the Council of Constance had a previous pope

      • The Council of Trent was thus finally called only in 1545

        • instead of compromising with the Protestants, the Council restated basic Catholic doctrine

          • salvation was due to both faith and good works

          • the Bible was not the sole source of authority

          • the cult of Mary and the saints were valid

          • and pilgrimages were valid as well

        • Theological seminaries would be created to train priests

        • The reforms at the Council strengthened the pope and made the church monarchical

    • Impact of the Council of Trent

      • The Council of Trent was not representative of the Catholic church, however

      • Almost no German bishops attended and at various times, neither Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, nor Francis I, king of France, would allow their bishops to attend

      • This was because major political concerns underlay the Council

      • Francis wanted to keep Germany divided, fearing a powerful, united Germany on his border

      • Thus Francis would not consider any compromise on Catholic dogma; this would keep Germany hopelessly divided between Protestants and Catholics

      • By contrast, Charles V wanted to reconcile Lutherans and Catholics so as to keep his divided empire together and make it easier to govern

      • Clearly, Francis prevailed

    • Even in architecture, the Catholics showed new vigor as the Baroque style was developed

      • Catholics now turned to the outward symbolism of the power and might of the church, the very things Protestants had criticized before

      • The churches of the Baroque were grandiose and contrasted sharply with Protestant simplicity

      • Most emphasized popular piety, especially the cult of Mary which again Protestants had condemned

      • Fittingly, the Jesuitsí new church in Rome was the beginning of the Baroque, characterized by great theatrical vistas and the dramatic use of light

      • All these elements centered on the altar where the supreme miracle of the mass was performed and around the pulpit where new dynamic preaching took place

      • The altar was moved forward so more people could see the service and so be a part of it, and the side naves were removed to avoid having columns interfere with parishioners seeing the service

    • Catholics also placed great emphasis on the collectivity of men as opposed to the Protestant insistence on individual faith

      • Catholics restated their belief that you could benefit from the prayers of others as well as be hurt by the sins of others

      • Unfortunately, this came to mean that Protestantism was a direct threat to your personal salvation, not just a matter of private conscience for the dissenter

This belief may help to explain the ferocity of the religious wars  (a subject for next semester)

Download 97.81 Kb.

Share with your friends:




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2022
send message

    Main page