Catholic Response to Reformation

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4. What were the responses of the Catholic authorities in the 16th century to the challenges posed by the Lutheran Reformation?

The demand to reform the Roman Catholic Church stretched on for ages. Many people, such as Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, and Jan Hus criticized the church for its worldliness and believed that one didn’t need direction from the Church, but just needed to read the Bible for guidance. It was from these men that Martin Luther came to the conclusion that faith alone would lead to salvation and you didn’t need to work for it. Martin Luther appealed to Pope Leo X to correct the abuses of the Church. When that didn’t work, he rallied the people to follow him. 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. The Church also established the Jesuits, who spread the Catholic teachings during the Lutheran Reformation. Finally, the Church employed many policing tactics against the Lutheran Reformation. These responses kept Catholicism a major religion in Europe.

Although the conciliar movement was ended by Pope Pius II around the 1450s, the people during the Lutheran Reformation were calling for a general council of the church. Charles the V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Spain, tried to persuade the Pope to assemble a council because he hope that the church would fix some of the abuses, thus stop people from converting to Lutheranism. However, Francis I, King of France, actively promoted the Protestants in Germany, even though France is a Catholic country. He did this because Charles V’s land surrounded France. He wanted Germany to be in a state of argument so that it would be too weak to be a threat to France. While Francis II did this, he also used his influence in Rome to call off any assembly of a council because it would expose the flaws of the...
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