The Decline Of The 16th Century Reformation

1448 Words Jun 23rd, 2016 6 Pages
The 16th century reformation (from the Latin word reforma, meaning change) was a revolt against the excessive power wielded by the Catholic Church throughout Europe in the 16th century, and lead to the eventual founding of Protestantism. The reformation ended the dominance of Europe by the Catholic church, separating Christians into Protestants and Catholics, and was a turning point in religious and European history.

At the beginning of the 16th Century, Europe was dominantly Catholic. The Catholic Church not only controlled vast economic resources, but wielded enormous political and social power. Reformers believed that the Catholic church had overstepped their jurisdiction in overseeing people’s faith, for example by limiting the printing of bibles to languages that only priests could read, and that the Church had become corrupted by practices such as the sale of indulgences.

For centuries, Popes had ruled Europe more like Kings than religious leaders. Hugely political, they had alliances and enemies, commanding armies and waging war. Whilst the church was a religious group, it had enormous influence in areas of politics and economics, the Pope often allowing a marriage to be broken so that kings and powerful lords could better their political standing. People saw the unnecessary power that the papacy wielded, the power to make or break nations. For over a century, early reformers such as John Wyclif and Jan Hus had expressed doubts about the honesty and…
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