During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church was reformed and reorganized, later becoming known as the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was a cultural and political change that splintered the Catholic Church in Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the Protestant religion. Many people tested the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. During this time, there were many complaints about the Church and different people, indulgences and pardons were an integral part of the landscape, and society had negative attitudes toward people who challenged traditional religious beliefs. This DBQ explains the many causes which brought about the Protestant Reformation
?During the 1370s, bishops and high priests thought that only believing and trusting in Jesus Christ was not enough, unless a man also concluded that the Pope of Rome was the head of the holy church. As stated in Document 1, Wycliffe criticized that belief and said that the Pope shall be a man damned for his sins. Pope Gregory later condemned Wycliffe for questioning the Catholic Church. Gregory says that Wycliffe has fallen into a detestable madness in which he does not hesitate to dogmatize and publicly preach. Gregory proceeds to ask the University of Oxford to take action against Wycliffe. He asks for their future not to permit to be asserted or proposed to any extent whatever, and for them to have good morals and faith (Document 2).
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?Indulgences and pardons were an integral part of the religious landscape on the eve of the Reformation. The purposes of indulgences served should be proper and reasonable. In purchasing an indulgence, you would have the longings of such great paternal affection (Document 6). Pardoner was one of Chaucer’s clergymen who sold pardons. Chaucer describes him in a way that makes it seem as though he focuses more on money and his looks, rather than Christ. That also explains the role of religious preachers in European society; they were more power-driven about their looks and money (Document 3). Erasmus later began to criticize pardons; he said that the church misguided in its practice of pardons and that the monks were behaving in ways contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ (Document 4).
?The image in Document 5 explains the society’s attitude toward people who might challenge traditional religious beliefs. It shows Orthodoxy surrounded by the Snares of Hersey, which were making faces. One snare has their tongue out, one looks like it is howling, and one has a mean face on its chest, which shows how society turns their back with anger and disgust towards the traditional religious beliefs.
?The Pope is also one leading cause of the Reformation. Luther says that the Pope has no control over the people or church, that God alone has all the power (Document 7). The Pope responded with a threat that unless Luther disavowed himself of his views and writing, he would be excommunicated (Document 8). Luther says that the pope’s proclamation is bull and has no proof from Scripture. He says that it is the sum of all falseness, ignorance, and lying (Document 9). Because of all this, Anti-Semitism increased in Europe. Luther failed to convert Jews in any appreciable numbers, and the Jews began to feel rejected and condemned (Document 10).