Requirement of Reform of the Church in Europe During 15th and 16th Centuries

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Requirement of Reform of the Church in Europe During 15th and 16th Centuries

The Church in Europe required reform at the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century for a number of reasons. The main reason being the behaviour of the papacy and their priorities which were no longer the welfare of the Church. There were other factors which contributed to the development of the Reformation in Europe other than the state of the Church and Christian Humanism, however these were the main factors.

The first reason why the Church in Europe needed reform was the papacy who became more interested in wealth than in spiritual welfare. It was normal for priests and bishops to
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‘They were too involved in politics rather than important issues of the Church’ (Green) This is the most important reason why the Church in Europe required reform because had the Church prioritised sorting out abuses within the Church rather than politics, a reform would not have been required at the end of the fifteenth century.

A different reason why the Church in Europe needed reform was that members of the nobility, had become higher clergy because it strengthened their position, rather than for religious reasons. ‘Senior clergy were generally outsiders, often nobility imposed upon the diocese by royal parentage…these clergy regarded their spiritual duties as little more than a source of income…’ (McGrath) This is an important point because many of them had little or no theological training so spiritual guidance for others would be limited, thus a reformation is needed. They used their position to increase their income and their power.

Pluralism was another reason why the Church needed reforming in the late 1400’s and early 1500’s. Holding more than one office meant that time was limited for each one, this is important because less spiritual guidance could be given. Another form of pluralism, was that concerned with doctrines, ‘The situation of doctrinal pluralism, which had led to confusion, really needed a strong Papacy to lead the Church in spiritual
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