The Reformation The Reformation presents the historian with an acute instance of the general problem of scholarly interpretation—namely, whether events are shaped primarily by individuals or by the net of historical circumstances enmeshing them. The phenomenon that became the Protestant Reformation is unthinkable without the sense of mission and compelling personality of Martin Luther. Among the preconditions—which are the deeper causes of the Reformation—the following stand out: The lack of spirituality in high places, the blatant fiscalism, of which the unrestrained hawking of indulgences —the actual trigger of the Reformation—was a galling example, and the embroilment in political affairs all were symptoms of corruption long overdue for purgation.
Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. The age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation The most traumatic era in the entire history of Roman Catholicism, some have argued, was the period from the middle of the 14th century to the middle of the 16th.
This was the time when Protestantismthrough its definitive break with Roman Catholicism, arose to take its place on the Christian map. The spectre of many national churches supplanting a unitary Catholic church became a grim reality during the age of the Reformation.
What neither heresy nor schism had been able to do before—divide Western Christendom permanently and irreversibly—was done by a movement that confessed a loyalty to the orthodox creeds of Christendom and professed an abhorrence for schism.
By the time the Reformation was over, a number of new Christian churches had emerged and the Roman Catholic Church had come to define its place in the new order. Roman Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation Whatever its nonreligious causes may have been, the Protestant Reformation arose within Roman Catholicism; there both its positive accomplishments and its negative effects had their roots.
The standing of the church within the political order and the class structure of western Europe was irrevocably altered in the course of the later Middle Ages.
By the time Protestantism arose to challenge the spiritual authority of Romehowever, the papacy had squandered some of its recovered prestige in its attempts to establish its preeminence in Italian politics.
Indeed, the popes were so involved in Italian cultural and political affairs that they had little appreciation of the seriousness of the Protestant movement.
The medieval political structure too had undergone change, and nationalism had become a more important force; it is not a coincidence that the Reformation first appeared in Germanywhere animosity toward Rome had long existed and memories of the papal-imperial conflict lingered.
Accompanying these sociopolitical forces in the crisis of late medieval Roman Catholicism were spiritual and theological factors that also helped to bring about the Protestant Reformation.
By the end of the 15th century there was a widely held impression that the papacy refused to reform itself, despite the relative success of the Fifth Lateran Council —17which was called by Pope Julius II. The church also was plagued by the perception that professional theologians were more interested in scholastic debates than in the practical matters of everyday Christian belief and practice.
Despite, or because of, the rampant abuses of the hierarchythere were efforts to reform the church. The most notable reformers were the Christian humanists, including Erasmus and Thomas Morewho advocated an evangelical piety and rejected many of the medieval superstitions that had crept into church teaching.
Although condemned for heresy, Girolamo Savonarola represented the ascetic reformist piety that existed in the late 15th century. The answer that he eventually found, the conviction that God is merciful not because of anything that the sinner can do but because of a freely given grace that is received by faith alone the doctrine of justification by faithwas not utterly without precedent in the Roman Catholic theological tradition, but, in the form in which Luther stated it, there appeared to be a fundamental threat to Catholic teaching and sacramental life.
And in his treatise The Babylonian Captivity of the Churchissued inLuther denounced the entire system of medieval Christendom as an unwarranted human invention foisted on the church. Luther insisted throughout his life, however, that the primary object of his critique was not the life but the doctrine of the church—not the corruption of the ecclesiastical structure but the distortion of the gospel.
Thus, the pope was the Antichrist because he represented and enforced a substitute religion in which the true church, the bride of Christ, had been replaced by—and identified with—an external juridical institution that laid claim to the obedience due to God himself.
When, after repeated warnings, Luther refused such obedience, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in Courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum; photograph, John R.
He did, however, reject the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation in favour of what has come to be called consubstantiation. The Anglican Reformation strove to retain the historical episcopate and steered a middle course, liturgically and even doctrinally, between Roman Catholicism and continental Protestantism, particularly under Queen Elizabeth I.
The polemical Roman Catholic accusation—which the mainline Reformers vigorously denied—that these various species of conservative Protestantism, with their orthodox dogmas and quasi-Catholic forms, were a pretext for the eventual rejection of most of traditional Christianityseemed to be confirmed by the emergence of the radical Reformation.
Nevertheless, the Anabaptists retained, in their doctrines of God and Christ, the historical orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed. Those Protestants who went on to repudiate orthodox Trinitarianism as part of their Reformation claimed to be carrying out, more consistently than Luther or Calvin or the Anabaptists had done, the full implications of the rejection of Roman Catholicism, which they all had in common.
The challenge of the Protestant Reformation became also an occasion for a resurgent Roman Catholicism to clarify and to reaffirm Roman Catholic principles; that endeavour had, in one sense, never been absent from the life and teaching of the church, but it was undertaken now with new force.
As the varieties of Protestantism proliferated, the apologists for Roman Catholicism pointed to the Protestant principle of the right of private interpretation of Scripture as the source of this confusion. Against the Protestant elevation of Scripture to the position of sole authority, they emphasized that Scripture and church tradition are inseparable and always have been.
Pressing this point further, they denounced justification by faith alone and other cherished Protestant teachings as novelties without grounding in authentic church tradition.
Echoing the Letter of James 2: Yet these negative reactions to Protestantism were not by any means the only—perhaps not even the primary—form of participation by Roman Catholicism in the history of the Reformation. The emergence of Protestantism did not exhaust the reformatory impulse within Roman Catholicism, nor can it be seen as the sole inspiration for Catholic reform.
Rather, to a degree that has usually been overlooked by Protestant and Catholic historians alike, there was a distinct historical movement in the 16th century that can only be identified as the Roman Catholic Reformation.Catholic Response to Reformation; His beliefs spread through German states and most of Northern Europe.
In response, the Catholic Church assembled the Council of Trent, which defined the Catholic religion and reformed the abuses of the Catholic Church. King of France, actively promoted the Protestants in Germany, even though France is a.
Jul 31, · The age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. During the Protestant Reformation the church’s conflicting tendencies toward both corruption and reform coincided with the highly personal struggle of Martin Luther, a predominantly Protestant Germany without Roman Catholic Austria.
In response, the Catholic Church assembled the Council of Trent, which defined the Catholic religion and reformed the abuses of the Catholic Church. The Church also established the Jesuits, who spread the Catholic teachings during the .
Start studying The Reformation. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The Catholic Church's Response During the Protestant Reformation, many concerned Catholics worked to revive the spiritual nature of the Church, reform the abuses of .
Watch video · The Reformation was a 16th-century religious and political challenge to papal authority in Catholic Europe.
Read more about Martin Luther, the Thirty Years War and the Counter-Reformation.