Question: “Although the Reformation is often viewed as a religious movement, it also significantly affected the political and social spheres of Europe. Assess the validity of this statement”. Background:
The new ideas of the Renaissance helped to spur the changing views of the Catholic church’s authority over Europe. Many Europeans were directly affected by the failing church order. In small, regional churches clergymen were gradually losing respect as a result of corruption and a lack of understanding of the Christian texts. Church officials had responsibility over too many offices as a result of simony, which furthered the belief of their ineptitude. In 1517, the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel enraged Martin Luther who would later greatly influence the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Martin Luther became a key figure in the Reformation through the invention of the printing press in the late 13th century. Johannes Gutenburg’s invention allowed the distribution of Reformation papers and translated Bibles throughout Europe. This not only affected the literacy of Europeans, but also exposed them to information, which allowed for the success of the Protestant Reformation Document 1
(Source: An Abomination of Peace (1525), Martin Luther criticizing German lords) We have no one on earth to thank for this mischievous rebellion, except you lords and princes, especially you blind bishops and mad priests and monks....In your government you do nothing but flay and rob your subjects in order that you may lead a life of splendor and pride, until the poor common folk can bear it no longer. Document 2:
Source: Martin Luther, 95 Theses (1517)
27. It is mere human talk to preach that the soul flies out [of purgatory] immediately the money clinks in the collection-box. 28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the church is in the power of God...