Protestant Reformation

How does religious diversity affect a society?


Brief explanation before we began


Martin Luther was a German Monk and a professor of theology who sparked the Protestant Reformation in 1517. Martin Luther had many concerns for the practices that the churches held such as the sale of indulgences. The sale of indulgences was a practice where the Catholic church acknowledged donations that certifies that your soul would enter heaven quicker than the average "process". Martin Luther was concerned about this. He disagreed about how the way people were promised into heaven was connected to money. Christians also began finding fault in priesthood when they saw priests drinking and gambling. They also complained how the monks and priests get exempt from taxation and indulgences.

Martin Luther


The ninety-five theses was a list posted by Martin Luther that expressed his concerns about the Catholic church's practice of indulgences and other church practices. He posted the list outside of the Castle Church in Germany. This sparked the rise of the reformation. People started to disbelieve in the Catholic priest when the priest began acting out. They questioned everything that they believed in and practiced in. After Martin Luther sparked the disagreements throughout the church a punishment was laid out by the church. When one of the church's members breaks an important rule, excommunication is enforced. Excommunication is putting a specific group or individual out of communion. Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther and wanted him to take back what he was spreading around; he refused and led the protestant movement until his death.


When Catholics celebrated mass they celebrated it in Latin and read the bible in Latin as well. When the Protestant movement took place it was important for the preacher to be able to read the bible and interpret the readings. If the bible isn't written in your own language, you can't do that. The reformation created a demand for bible's to be printed and for ordinary villagers to be educated enough to read it. Bible's were beginning to be translated in German, French, English, Spanish, and so on.

Primary Source of the 95 Theses


  Counter-Reformation is known as the church's response to the Protestant Reformation

The council of Trent was a meeting of all the highest levels of the Church in Europe. The idea at first was to reconcile with the Protestants, but no Protestants showed up when they were invited to the council so they finally realized that the reconcile of them was merely impossible. An outcome of the Council of Trent was that the Catholic Church reaffirmed its doctrines.

During the time of the reaffirmation of the Church, Ignatius Loyola founds the Jesuit Order. Jesuits have absolute faith to the pope and are all about faithfulness. The inquisition is an institution of the Catholic Church by which has protected itself against incorrect teaching or doctrine. It is based on two ideas. 1)That religious belief is an objective gift of God, not something open for individual interpretation, and 2) the the Church is a sovereign Society based on revelation whose duty it is to protect God's deposit of faith.  The Catholic Church gave the Jesuits of defending the church  and bringing Protestantism back to the Catholic Church. This was done through the Inquisition and through torture.  

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Catherine of Arag

King Henry VIII was the king during the protestant reformation in Europe. He restored peace after 30 years of civil war and strengthened England's position among other nations. However he is one of the main causes of the reformation. King Henry decided to leave his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, because she could not have a male heir. He had even already decided who his next wife would be. However a divorce is not a small matter.

King Henry was Roman Catholic and the Catholic church believed in marriage for life. It did not support divorce. A husband could not decide to opt out of a marriage, divorce their wife, and remarry. This caused a predicament for King Henry. If he continued with his plan for divorce, the pope could excommunicate you, which basically means you are expelled from all things Catholic. This event led to England breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry placed himself as head of the church and made his divorce perfectly legal . This Church is known as the Anglican Church.

The people of England were not happy. The Catholic Church charged them for every sacrifice necessary to be apart of the Church. The Catholic church was very wealthy while all the townspeople were poor. King Henry saw this fault in the church and used it to gain liking from the people to come to his church where he wouldn't charge as much for the sacraments.

King Henry VIII

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                       The unity of Europe as Christians was shattered

ECONOMICAL: After the reformation, it was put in place that several countries would not trade with each other and the countries created smaller communities.  Land was now divided Catholics vs Protestants.

POLITICAL: Before the reformation, the Catholic Church had almost most to all power in Europe during these times. After the reformation other powers were introduced so they Church didn't have the power anymore and it lost all control.  Europe became politically fragmented along religious lines. Powerful  monarchs began to reject the idea of being subordinate to religious authority.  The Roman Empire weakened as nation states grew stronger.

SOCIAL: After the reformation, the church no longer controlled everything and the social status could now be based on religion as well. Also, the drop of status of the church created mass migrations of the people in Europe. The clergy became increasingly subordinate to and dependent on the state. The sense of individualism raised as more and more people took a stand against their theocratic governments.    

              Many people began to challenge the idea of divine right.

The Protestant Reformation led to the breakout of many other religions.

How does religious diversity affect a society?



Which proved to be a greater challenge to Catholic ideas; The ninety-five theses or the translation of the bible into vernacular languages?

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