Major Causes and Effects of the Protestant Reformation
There were several causes of the Protestant Reformation that effected society, politics, and religion in Europe during the 16th century. In my opinion, the immediate cause that started the reformation was Martin Luther’s act of posting the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in the Roman Empire. Luther was unhappy with the Catholic Church, and posted the Theses due to the sale of indulgences that was going on to raise money for the renovation of St. Peter’s cathedral from people who wished that their souls go from purgatory to heaven. Luther believed that an indulgence was justified for a person’s wrongdoing. By selling indulgences, the Church was giving forgiveness to people who were not sorry for the sins they had committed. Luther posted the Theses in order to debate the sale of indulgences because he was worried for the people’s souls. Although Luther’s original intentions were to reform the Church of its corruption and greed, it resulted in a split between Protestants and Catholics. The effect that this had on religion was huge. People began to question the oppression of the Church and see it for the manipulative organization which it was, wanting complete control of the population. In turn, people challenged the Church’s authority, and it eventually lead to people freeing themselves from the constraints of the Church as a whole. This made each man individually answerable himself to God. While Luther’s Theses was the immediate cause of the Reformation there were several other causes also. Another major cause was the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible to English. John Wycliff translated the Bible to English so that those who could not read Latin could interpret for themselves what the Bible had said. He believed that the Church was entirely too wealthy, and that they were taking advantage of those that had to rely on the Church for Bible translation and...
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