European Reformation Essay

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How important was the Catholic Church in bringing about the reformation? 24 marks Although there were many factors that led to the reformation, the Catholic Church was the most important. As without the corruption and ignorance of the Catholic Church there would have been no need for the reformation. Other factors which aided the reformation were humanists such as Erasmus and the invention of the printing press. The Catholic Church was the basis of the need for reformation. This was because of the corrupt nature is possessed. Examples of this were the selling of Indulgence and the manipulation of the bible as only 5% of the population were literate. The Church used this to their advantage by gaining wealth and power. Arguably this could be blamed on the common people for being ignorant and gullible. However Propaganda was common in the Catholic Church. People were threatened with excommunication for offences like Heresy so were scared to voice their opinions of the Church as excommunication was considered the worst form of punishment. This links to the development of Humanism which was dangerous but effective to the build-up of the reformation. Humanism was catalysed by the invention of the printing press. The Catholic Church were often criticised for their anticlericalism. In other words not abiding to the idealistic visions they were supposed to be. For example priests were supposed to be in theory married to the church. However many cases of sexual activities were reported. Simony was also present, the selling of jobs in the church to the highest bidder to gain wealth, in many cases men were illiterate and unqualified. Highlighting the corruption in the church, the neglect for honoured roles which led to the need of the reformation. Although there examples were present they were not in every church just enough for the corrupt nature to be noticed. Also Lax discipline was becoming increasingly common in the Catholic Church, leading to a spiritual...
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