Execution of Jan Hus in Konstanz
The Lutheran Reformation Reformation within Christianity was hardly a new idea in the sixteenth century. The idea of reform for the individual Christian is part of the essence of the religion. The sixteenth century reformation, however, marked significant social, political and cultural changes in Europe.
During the late Middle Ages, signs of disorder and corruption in the church were rampant. The humanists of Italy and of the Northern Renaissance had spoken out against corruption in the church. Critics of the church concentrated on three problems areas: Absolute celibacy had been a requirement of churchmen since the fourth century.
Many priest, especially those in rural areas, violated the rule with abandon. They kept concubines and married when they pleased. Clergymen who violated this rule also frequently engaged in gambling, drunkenness, and wore fancy clothes churchmen at that level were to be distinguished by their simple dress, normally black or dark brown.
Since most parish priests were themselves poor, their conduct was not much different from the people they served. Criticism of their lifestyle and lack of morality originated not with the rural poor, but with the educated humanists.
Although the church had established standards of education for parish priests, bishops rarely enforced them. As a rule, parish priests were less educated than the educated laity. Many priests could not read or write, and frequently mumbled Latin words which they did not themselves understand.
The humanists, concerned with learning, found this horrifying and condemned it frequently.
Parish Priests often mumbled through the phrase, without any concept of its meaning—that the body of Christ was sacrificed for sin—and understood only that it had some mystical, perhaps magical qualities.
Many high churchmen, archbishops, cardinals, etc. Such a practice was against church policy, but that policy could be waived for a fee.
The television is a killer slaying souls across the face of the earth. America has been tempted and paralyzed with charms and sins. Television is a chief cauldron of temptation putting bad ideas in people's minds. America's willing disobedience and sins have brought her--and her false refuse-to-obey-the-Bible-church--curses without number. The Pope has returned home to the Vatican City after taking America by storm. He said and did enough to step on most of our toes and perhaps inspire us with his infectious personality (and deep humility). An overview of the History of Christianity including the life of Jesus, his apostles, Christianity's spread through the western world and its influences upon the world.
In practice, church offices were often sold, a practice the church had long condemned as Simony. Those appointed seldom attended to the official duties of the position to which they were appointed; rather they appointed a poor parish priest to minister to the people, and paid him a pittance, while they raked in large sums of money from the church tax.
The lucrative income from the church tax was a substantial motivating factor for those seeking high church office. Wolsey held the position for fifteen years before he ever set foot in his diocese.
He first entered his cathedral feet first—at his own funeral.
Although considered a sin, at the time of the Renaissance, it was practiced in the church with abandon. Many high church officials were Italian, but were appointed to benefices in England, Spain, or Germany, and paid from local church revenues.
This practice, in addition to accusations of pluralism and absenteeism, aroused nationalist sentiment as well. Many royal governments used this situation to their own advantage, by securing church appointments for civil servants.
The rulers did not have sufficient revenue to reward a competent civil servant, so they had the pope appoint them to a church office, and they were then paid from church revenues. The church at this tie possessed a substantial proportion of the wealth of Europe.
These individuals could then perform their civic duties and be paid large sums by the Church. Two examples of this practice: The popes of this period hardly set an example. Most lived as Renaissance princes rather than the Vicar of Christ. Many were wealthy when they acquired the office, and used that wealth to enrich their own families.
Intrigue, sexual promiscuity, and poisonings were the trademark of the family, so much so that the name Borgia has become a synonym for moral corruption.
Leo was an avid hunter, and spent much of his time traveling from one hunting lodge to another; but never forgot his roots as a banker, and kept a close eye on sources of church revenue. Throughout this period, however, most Europeans remained deeply religious, and concerned with salvation after death.
The Crusades of the High Middle Ages were cast as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and a means whereby one could absolve himself of sin. Individuals and groups in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries worked quietly for reform.
The Brethren diligently carried out the admonition of the gospels to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick.Medieval Christian Art: Illuminated Manuscripts () With the fall of Rome and the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Western Europe entered the Dark Ages (), a period of political uncertainty and cultural stagnation.
Put simply, the Reformation was as much a political revolt as it was ever a theological movement. Political expediency among many of the princes in the Holy Roman Empire made the embrace of a revolt by reformers against the prevailing social order politically and economically advantageous.
Frederick was a secret Lutheran, and in violation of his coronation oath to support the Church and repress heresy, began the revolt against the Church in earnest. In , he came out of the closet, so to speak, with his Lutheranism, and in the following year at the Diet of Odensee, enacted the infamous Ordinance of Odensee.
On the Radical Separation of Church and State Daniel J. Castellano (, revised ) Modern discussions of the relationship between church and state usually assume the practical or moral necessity of a strict separation between the two institutions, as though the only alternative to this arrangement would be a form of theocracy.
Europe's Search For Stability One of the greatest of all revolutions was the 16th-century religious revolt known as the Reformation. This stormy, often brutal, conflict separated the Christians of Western Europe into Protestants and Catholics.
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