The Renaissance and Reformation period brought great uncertainty and change to the Catholic Church and brought the start of a new religion. As we look at this time period for the purpose of this paper there will be a focus on this change from the perspective of where did ultimate authority resided. The perspective of the Catholic Church was that the ultimate authority resided with the Pope and he held the power over both religious growth and secular government. During this time many Kings and leaders looked to the church for guidance and approval but this would not last.
To have a background on why the questioning of authority and the strength of the church would have come up one must first understand that the Catholic Church had been receiving criticism since the late middle ages due to errors and corruptions, and these issues were causing people to question the church. This caused the church to feel threatened and to try and answer this threat the church attempted to solidify their power by issuing more doctrine and ostracizing those who challenged it. In the next few paragraphs we will look at both the Catholic Church’s attempt to retain the ultimate authority within the church, the realization that the Catholic Church must change and Luther’s response and establishment of his own church. (Lennon)
Popes were the powerful pinnacle of the Catholic faith, and to insure that they remained the center of power they moved to create power plays to secure it. This started as early as the 14th century to try and solidify this power through their writings, doctrines and actions. These men felt that the church should grow in strength and did not have to be accountable in all that they did. These Pope’s created doctrine that expressed in many ways that the papal power was the ultimate authority and that it resided in the church. An example of this can be seen in the action taken and written works by the Popes of the time. Pope Boniface wrote to Kings and...
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