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The Sixteenth Century : An Era Of Extreme Turmoil And Change Within The Catholic Church

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The sixteenth century proved to be an era of extreme turmoil and change within the Catholic Church. During this time period a once solid and united religion centered around the Papacy in Rome became splintered and thrust into the middle of a literal crisis of faith. Martin Luther, John Calvin, King Henry VIII and the Anabaptist groups all directly challenged the supreme authority of the Roman Catholic Church leading to wars of both the spiritual and earthly variety. Martin Luther, a monk born in 1482 AD who ironically began his life as a devout Roman Catholic teacher of divinity at the University of Wittenburg sparked one of the earliest and most widespread uprisings against Rome. After traveling to Rome and witnessing firsthand the…show more content…
The great writer Desiderius Erasmus put the main issue into simple words saying, “By this easy way of purchasing pardons, any notorious highwayman…shall disburse some part of their unjust gains, and so think all their grossest impieties sufficiently atoned for” (Rogers 313). The practice of de facto requiring a donation to the Church to able to receive an indulgence made the practice definitively non spiritual thus causing great offense to pious men such as Luther. In October of 1517 as a direct response to the selling of indulgences, Luther would post his soon to be famous 95 Theses onto the front door of Wittenburg Cathedral, signaling the beginning of a revolution. This document represented a personal manifesto of everything Luther felt was wrong about the Catholic Church, including the selling of indulgences. Luther’s Theses would quickly become extremely popular selling 50,000 copies in its first three weeks. While Luther’s monastic overseers strongly remained he stay silent Luther remained firm in his beliefs after being challenged to a debate by a fellow religious expert John Eck. During the debate Luther boldly claimed that the Pope himself was totally unnecessary. By 1520 Luther had gone all in on his claims, publishing pamphlets about his new ideas. Within these pamphlets he stated, “it is pure invention that pope, bishops, priests and monks are to be called the spiritual estate” (Rogers
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