Thesis Statement: The causes of the Protestant Reformation were due to abuse of privileges of the church, the cry for reform of the people, and the Radical movement that would succeed in urging every man and woman to seek their own interpretation of his or her individual faith in the bible, which would have them look too God rather than the church for solace of their lives.
During the 16th Century Renaissance Era, there was great debate over what many thought were abuses of power and indulgences of the church, what one thought was indulgences or abuse of power another thought it was for a greater good. There was much strife between the clergy and the laity, this intern reflected in the number of election decrees. The church had been excluded all of the Laity, meaning people who were not clergy, or were consider secular priest; they also may have been people of the congregation with particular skills that worked along with the church. By the eliminating the Laity the clergy became wealthier. “As administrators of this wealth, many clergy, particularly the great prelates, gave a disproportionately large share of their attention to secular matters,” (Grimm 1973). Harold Grimm also states, “It is no wonder that many townsmen looked upon the clergy as hoarders of wealth who drained the cities and land of gold and silver,” (2). The church had also become the envy of kings and Princes they saw how powerful the Pope had become over all clergy and the people, most of the clergy along with the Pope lived like high society, and this included the archbishop, abbots, and bishops. Many people felt while the Popes doctrine was sound that there were problems with worldliness and immorality. Owen Chadwick makes the example,” A priest who was observed to be publicly drunken in the tavern was allowed to continue his ministry without rebuke, or a cleric known to be guilty of homicide was seen to escape with a modest imprisonment on bread and water (1).
More examples of immorality were the church boring of funds from the Foggers’ of Florence. These were German Banking families, very powerful during the Reformation. The Catholic Church borrowed very large sums of money to important religious and political leaders, and then gained monopolies and concessions as securities (2).
As a result of the immoral practices of the Catholic Church the people and or peasants were growing tired. Humanism was taking shape among the more educated people, they return to favor of pagan classics stimulated the philosophy of secularism the appreciation of worldly pleasures and above all intensified the assertion of personal independence and individual zeal for the classics, expansion growth and prosperity, which replaced formal allegiance to the Christian doctrine (History Guide). Peasants grew tired of Ecclesiastical, princes, and lords profiting from their hard labor and the controlled they held over them. Nobility was raising prices of the lands and the machines the peasant used to work, but they did not pay more for the products such as the grain the peasants had grown. These people saw no growth unlike the wealthy church or lords. The lowest secular clergy fared better economically than the poorest parishioners. Grimm makes note that,” Wealthy laymen became more inclined to spend their money for relics and pilgrimages’ than to give it to hospitals and chantries,” (2). Indulgences were a problem for the poor also only those whom had wealth could be exempt for punishment due to an individual for sins that were committed in life. They could be granted by the papacy because of the treasury of merit or spiritual wealth left by Christ (Indulgences). The printing press had also been invented during the time of reformation, it challenged people to use their own minds and see the world differently (Arnold 1994).
In the meantime protest and uprising against the Catholic Church was taking shape. Many radicals would...