Paper on Protestant Reformation

November 14, 2018 Teaching

The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther and his “95 Theses” that was a large list of demands or propositions to debate about that the church did not agree with. This resulted in a European religious movement that separated Roman catholic churches from the Pope’s authority. Martin Luther was a heretic who went against the church’s beliefs, writing his “95 theses” and was excommunicated because of it. He started the religion Lutheranism that justified that sins were relieved by faith and the Bible, not the purchase of indulgences. During the Protestant Reformation and afterwards, being the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church had many different responses to this act that all affected different areas but when combined were effective and eventually the Protestant Reformation was put to and end.

The Council of Trent was the start of the Catholic Reformation. The Council of Trent lasted from 1545-1563 and was held in Italy. It was the 19th council held by the Catholic Church and its goals were to talk about abuses of power in Churches and to clarify Catholic teaching needs that will meet the Protestant Reformation challenges. The Council of Trent was the most important factor and was the most impactful since everything that it wished to do, was successful. The Council of Trent meant to address heresy, being someone who goes against the church’s beliefs, like Martin Luther who was excommunicated for heresy. It lasted for eighteen years and it had three parts. Period I lasted from 1545-1547 and this was a council demanded by Germany to discuss Martin Luther’s excommunication, but the Pope didn’t fight back because he didn’t want to lose supremacy, which would increase Germany’s power. After discussions, an agreement was made between the two sides that the urge of immediate reform and clarification of Catholic Church doctrines would be treated equally. Lastly, after months of debating, the Council ruled against Luther’s beliefs that sins would be forgiven by faith and God alone, instead of the use of indulgences.

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Period II lasted from 1551-1552 and the German Protestants wanted to change the previous doctrinal decrees, adding that the council’s authority is superior to the Pope’s. Period III lasted from 1562-1563 and it defined that indulgences, holy orders, matrimony, the veneration of saints, and purgatory were all listed as doctrinal statements. The Roman Inquisition and Spanish Inquisition were both meant to eliminate heresy and get heretics to believe under the catholic Religion. They didn’t want heretics beliefs being spread around to other citizens so they wanted heretics to return to true Christian faith. The Spanish Inquisition was held under Isabella and Ferdinand and they got permission from the Pope in 1478 to begin purifying the people of Spain. They eliminated Jews, Protestants, and other non-believers of the Catholic Church.

The Roman Inquisition was started by Pope Paul III in 1542 and it prosecuted anyone responsible for the crimes relating to heresy or opposite religious beliefs of the church. The Roman Inquisition and Council of Trent were both part of the Counter-Reformation, but the Roman Inquisition wasn’t as harsh as the Spanish Inquisition that had happened beforehand. Just like the Spanish Inquisition which was very violent, killing Jews, muslims, and non-believers in the church, the

Council of Trent used torture and violence to get people to convert from heresy to Catholic beliefs also. Before the Council, selling indulgences was completely legal but afterwards was not at all allowed. Burning people or cutting their heads off were forms of punishment during the Council of Trent and that was their form of entertainment for the people who lived there. Romans believed that torture and pain was a fair way to get people to confess or get information out of people. Even once the churches corruption was fixed, violence was still a large factor and torturous punishments were still happening.


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