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Causes of the Reformation
In the beginning of the 16th century, many events occurred that led to the protestant reformation. Clergy abuse caused people to begin criticizing the Catholic Church.
The central points of criticism were the following:
- The church sold tickets of indulgences (forgiveness) from sins for money. This suggested that the rich could buy their way into Heaven while the poor could not – quite the opposite of what the Bible says.
- Many people did not understand the sermon, because it was in Latin.
- Religious posts were often sold to whoever was willing to pay the most money for them. This meant many priests did not know much about Christianity. So they told the people many different things. Some of those things had little to do with what was written in the Bible.
In the beginning, Luther had not planned to separate from the Catholic Church or to create a new religion; he wanted to reform the Catholic Church.
Summary in 8 minutes
In 1524-1525, millions of peasants rebelled against the nobles in the name of equality of the humanity in front at God. Many countries in Europe followed the trend of Protestant reformation and Europe was divided by denomination. This brought religious wars such as the French Wars of Religion.
The Pope reestablished the inquisition to combat heresy. The Catholic Church responded to the protestant reformation with the counter-reformation. Force was not entirely successful, so the Pope created new religious orders like the Jesuits. These new religious orders were charged to combat Protestantism while educating the population to Catholicism.
Protestant denominations have multiplied in different forms, especially in Protestant countries. Catholic countries such as Spain and Mexico for a long time forbade Protestants to immigrate, and Protestant countries sometimes forbade Catholics. Protestants are influential in the United States and the English Canada. After the Seven Years War the British imposed the Quebec Act granting freedom of religion in Quebec, hoping it would become Protestant.
Now: Take this short quiz
Task 2: In your opinion, what was the most important cause for Martin Luther to believe the Catholic Church was in a deep crisis?
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