The Contributions of Cardinal Richelieu and Martin Luther to Modernization in Europe

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Modernization refers to the processes and ideas which give rise to the evolution of newer and more refined concepts and thoughts. It brings changes to the perspective from which people see things and causes them to re-evaluate their beliefs. Modernization in Europe was characterized by expansions in trade and industry, urbanization; which contributed to the development of new thoughts and thinking processes, the rise of new questions and the need for answers and finally, the idea of centralization in government. Cardinal Richelieu and Martin Luther are among the many historical figures who played important roles in the modernization process. Their thought processes and philosophies contributed specifically to the aspects of centralized government and urbanization in terms of revolutionary thought processes. Richelieu and Luther were both pioneers of two important concepts today, Richelieu pioneering absolutism, and Luther pioneering the reformation and development of Protestantism. These ideas are specifically considered a contribution to the transition to modernization because they represent a new way of thinking and system of beliefs which both Luther and Richelieu brought to the table. During the middle ages, it was common for people to adhere to what they were taught or brought up to know. Luther and Richelieu helped change this rigid and inflexible way of thinking. By this, they led the way for similar establishments around different parts of the world. The Reformation of Martin Luther is among one of the most important events in history. In Luther’s time, there was a lot of corruption in the Catholic Church and he believed that the people had the wrong idea about Jesus Christ, the bible, salvation and the essence of Christianity. His reformation was necessitated to purge the corruption in the church and bring a new sense of enlightenment to the people in order to enable them understand what Christianity was all about. By his actions, writings and teachings, he was able to redirect people’s thought processes and religious beliefs. As the founder of the protestant movement, he led way to the creation of a different denomination of Christianity in which people who were not staunch Catholics, or who did not necessarily share the beliefs of the Catholic Church, but believed in God and Jesus Christ, could channel their own faith. Although there were various movements for reformation during the middle ages, Luther’s contribution stands out because in addition to the promoting the need for a remodeled church, Luther’s works gave rise to new ideas such as the authority of the church and the Pope on religious issues. He disagreed with the extent of the Pope’s power and authority and believed that the Pope could not remit sins but could only confirm that God had forgiven sins. In his Ninety Five Theses, he says ‘The Pope does excellently when he grants remission to the souls – not by the power of the keys (for he has none) but through intercession.( Luther, Ninety-five Theses, October 1517: and the manifestoes of 1520, pg 20).This idea was contrary to what the people had learned to believe. In addition, Luther’s contribution to modernization can be seen in his translation of the bible into German. Not only did this translation offer the Germans a better understanding and appreciation for the bible, but it led way for the translation of his protestant version of the bible into various other languages such as French, Dutch and English. (Schaff, History of the Christian Church) Each of Luther’s writings portrays his views, which where different from the general views of the people, and shows how he transformed their ways of thinking. In the Ninety-Five Theses, Luther advocates against indulgences, which were becoming increasingly popular among people seeking salvation and hoping to free their family members from purgatory. Luther, through his words in the ninety-five theses convinced people that buying indulgences was not the...
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