The Protestant Reformation

By Nick Taylor, Tori Kellett, Harper DeLoach

Essential Question:

What impact did the ideas and practices of Catholicism have on the Protestant Reformation?

What Caused It?

At the start of the 16th century Catholicism was the only religion in Western Europe. The Catholic Church was rich and powerful and preserved most of Europe's classical culture. However some men began to doubt the teachings and criticized the administration. This lead to the greatest religious revolt known as the Reformation.

Sale of Indulgences

Indulgences became a huge part in the Catholic practice. Men and women would pay the Catholic Church in exchange for the forgiveness of their sins and they would pretty much be saved. Although Martin Luther didn't feel the same. He then studied the scripture of the Bible more intensely. He protested that indulgences do not save you from your sins, that only a personal connection and the grace of God will save you. Luther proclaimed that God was the only one who could save you from all of your sins and that all you needed was to have faith.

Critical Thinking Question

How did Martin Luther help in the rise of Protestant Reformation?

Martin Luther

A Self Portrait of Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born in Thuringia which is what in now a days modern Germany. He went to study law for sometime but later joined a religious group and studied theology. Luther then began to have doubts about the theological basis for much of the daily practices of the Catholic Church. He wondered if all things the church were doing could be justified. Luther  composed a list of statements and questions that has become known as the 95 Theses.

The 95 Theses were written in 1517 and  is the belief that people have a sense of their sins and that they have to trust in Gods mercy if they want to be forgiven. They state that fasting, pilgrimages, charity, and just attending church does not earn enough salvation on their own. The first theses states that "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."

Excommunication was used as a last resort but it was the most serve punishment that was used in the Catholic Church. Excommunicated were still considered Catholic but they couldn't do any sacraments. They could go to church but they couldn't receive the Holy Eucharist. It was not any easy process for someone who was excommunicated to be removed. Local bishop, priests, and even the pope could remove someone depending on the severity level.


A meeting of the Council of Trent during the Counter Reformation

The Council of Trent was a council that tried to define a common ground of belief and practices for all Christians. The Council of Trent tried to address some of the issues of the church. In 1521, Ignatius Loyola, founded the Society of Jesus and served a primary strike force of the Counter-Reformation. There was a time where there was an  increasing poverty rate and homelessness because of the growing wealth and power for the elites.

Overview of the Protestant Reformation
(Major Points)

The Reformation allowed people to worship their own religion (religious freedom) in the map above it shows Europe after the Reformation and what religion each individual country mainly worshiped.

Effects of the Reformation

The Reformation had an enormous affect on Europe's politics and law. Prior to the Reformation the Church controlled the emperors and kings and the Church governed politics and the law of lands. The Reformation also converted many people to Catholicism, because of the 95 Theses that were created by Martin Luther. Many historians argue that without the Reformation there would be no modern science because any scientific investigations were controlled by the Church.  


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Citations                           "THE REFORMATION." THE REFORMATION. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.      "Reformation (Christianity)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.                                   "The Reformation." The Reformation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.           "Martin Luther, Against the Sale of Indulgences." Martin Luther, Against the Sale of Indulgences. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.              "THE CAUSE AND RESULTS OF THE REFORMATION Reformation "The Cause and Results of the Reformation. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.        "Britannia History: The Religious Policy of King Henry VIII." Britannia History: The Religious Policy of King Henry VIII. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

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