Chapter 11
EQs: Why did people become upset with the Catholic
Church? What were the main arguments of the
Reformation movement? Where did the Reformation
change political, economic and social status in Europe?
How did the Catholic Church respond?
Underlying Causes = The corruption and divisions within the
church in the 14th and 15th century (Babylonian Captivity at
Avignon, the Great Schism, the Conciliar Movement, The Banquet
of the Chestnuts and Borgia popes)
Basically, the church had lost all of its piety in the eyes of many
individuals who began to think like individuals!
This essential created movements of what is called “lay criticism”,
meaning the “lay” people of the church (those on the lowest ends of
the totem pole including average citizens and some monks)
The essential principle of laity was to KISS, to not complicate
religion with vows, practices or even politics (William of Ockham
who said "the simplest explanation is usually the correct one". )
Examples included The Brothers of the Common Life or Modern
Devotion which stressed individual piety and an active common
life…they also stressed preaching the word in the “vernacular”
meaning NO DOMINATION by Latin
Germany being a diverse, divided region, unlike
France or England, was an area where change in the
church could actually take place
Martin Luther was a lay monk who originally
wanted to be a lawyer but ended up joining the
monastery… through his travels to Rome and back
to Wittenberg, Luther observed the corruption of
the church firsthand…and after listening to the
sermons of John Tetzel, Luther began to conclude 2
1) INDULGENCES ARE WRONG…one should not
have to pay for salvation (by this time, the selling of
Indulgences had become an enterprise that even the
wealthiest banking families in Europe were
profiting from)
2) Only by faith alone and self interpretation
(Humanist principle) could one attain salvation and
understand the word of God…in English, you don’t
need the church to tell you everything to be a good
Spurred by John Tetzel’s sermons, Luther wrote his
“95 Theses”, the list of complaints against the
Catholic Church (more on Friday)
In reaction to this, the Catholic Church declared
heresy on Luther’s part (Exsurge Domine by Pope Leo
X) and moved to excommunicate Luther
Luther was “put on trial” through the Diet of Worms
(no they did not eat worms), eventually put under
imperial ban and lived under hidden protection for
more than a year
LUCKILY for Luther, Charles V became distracted by
wars between France and Spain over Italy AND by
invasions by Turks (Suleiman)
The Printing Press along with the
translation of information into common
languages practically allowed the ideas
of the Reformation to spread
The Reformation also received massive
support in German states by
magistrates who saw it has a way to
enforce new laws…princes in Saxony
and Hesse also used it to consolidate
territorial power
Peasants now became
empowered…they saw Luther as their
leader against monastic land owner
corruption…between 1524-1526 1000s of
peasants revolted, however, the revolts
were not supported by Luther and
many peasants died
Ulrich Zwingli
Led the Swiss Reformation movement…this
reformation was supported in Switzerland by 2
 Nationalism w/the desire to end mercenary army
trade (the Swiss were mercenaries, The Swiss
Guard for instance is used to protect the Vatican)
 The corruption the came from the councils of
Constance and Basel (which are in Switzerland)
Basis was that whatever lacked literal support in the
Holy Scriptures was to be neither believed or practice
Movement was centered on Zurich
Zwingli differed on several Lutheran opinions on the
sacraments…Zwingli argued the “body of Christ” was
spiritual in the Communion process whereas Luther
argued a more literal Catholic interpretation
After civil war broke out in Switzerland (in which
Zwingli lost his life), self determinism as to choice of
religion for the individual Swiss cantons was
John Calvin
Came from France, where it was certainly dangerous
to speak out against the Catholic church
Calvinism took over as the dominate Protestant
movement after Luther’s death…Calvinists focused
mainly on predestination and the ideas of reordering
society to fit God’s plan
Calvin suffered persecution in France, so he fled to
Germany, only to end up in Geneva (Switzerland),
the last of the cantons to switch to
Protestantism…there Calvin became a “divine”
He set up what would generally be used by other
Protestant sects as the “political” structure of a
church…1)5 pastors, 2) teachers or doctors of the
divinity, 3) a council of church elders, 12 elected
people and 4) deacons to operate the church and
dispense charity
Calvinist Geneva would eventually become a haven
for many Protestants who were later persecuted in
France and Spain
For some people, the Reformation was not moving fast
enough, they desired a more rapid and thorough
implementation of apostolic Christianity and a more
visible moral transformation of the church
One such group was the Anabaptists (Re-baptizers) who
believed that baptism should happen at adulthood when
people had choice, not at infancy when people had no
Anabaptists took a utopian approach to society, choosing
conformity and separation (think THE AMISH)…they
refused to take oaths of allegiance to a nation, refused to
fight (pacifism) and refused to vote or participate in
However, some Anabaptists were radical…a group took
over the city of Munster, Germany from 1534-1535…they
decreed that all Catholics and Protestants must convert to
their beliefs or leave…when they left, armies from
neighboring states laid siege to Munster…the radicals
tried to self sustain as long as they could, resorting to
polygamy and commune life…eventually, the radicals
were caught and left to die in cage hung from the
A more moderate form of Anabaptists was founded by
Menno Simons not long after (Mennonites!)
Charles V did not forget about Luther and the Protestants
despite his distractions…he returned in 1530 to deal with the
issue at the Diet of Augsburg…he ostensibly demanded that
all Protestants revert to Catholicism
That was not happening! The Lutherans formed their own
coalition, the Schmalkaldic League…supported by several
German princes, it took up the Augsburg Confession (from
the Diet of Augsburg) and eventually took hold as Charles V
once again was distracted by war
From here, the Lutheran Reformation would find adherents in
Denmark, Norway, Sweden…this growing support
eventually forced Charles V to accept the Peace of Augsburg
in 1555, essentially making the division between Protestants
and Catholics permanent
Early attempts to limit and reform the Catholic Church in
England had taken place (Edward vs. church taxes/lands, John
Wycliffe and the Lollards), but as the Reformation started to
spread, the Catholic Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and his
successor Sir Thomas More rebuked it from England’s shores
Then there was Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon,
devout Catholic…the problem, she couldn’t get pregnant (to
Henry, she was cursed by God since he was her second
husband)! She only had one daughter, Mary.
His solution! I will divorce that empty vessel and replace her
with her hot, young lady in waiting Anne Boelyn…problem,
the Pope nor Cardinal Wolsey would grant the annulment
(political reasons)
The ultimate solution! DIVORCE THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH and make the king of England the supreme head of
the Church of England (Anglican)
The English Parliament (becoming known as the Reformation
Parliament) secured the legal establishment of the king as
head of the church in England
It also established the Act of Supremacy, declaring Henry
“the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England”
(1534)…when Sir Thomas More, Cardinal refused to
recgonize this act, OFF WITH HIS HEAD! He was replaced
by Thomas Cranmer
Henry didn’t have much luck with Anne
Boelyn…she also had only 1 daughter
(Elizabeth) and many miscarriages…she was
eventually executed for treason and adultery
Jane Seymour produced a male heir (Edward
VI) but died…Henry then married Anne of
Cleves sight unseen by request of Thomas
Cromwell (to consolidate power with another
Protestant state)…she was WOOF, was
annulled and Cromwell was executed…then
there was Catherine Howard, beheaded for
adultery…his last wife was Catherine Parr
survived and married again after Henry’s
At Henry’s death, his son Edward VI took the
throne at age 10…during his short reign the
Acts of Uniformity were created and Thomas
Cranmer led the Anglican Church…upon his
death however, Mary succeeded to the throne
(having Cranmer executed for treason) and
brought back Catholicism until her death
The church certainly made attempts to reform…several
religious orders made changes during the Reformation period
 Theatines – sought to reform church leadership
 Capuchins – wanted to revive charitable ways in the church
 Somaschi and Barnabite – repair the moral, spiritual beliefs
and physical harm brought to Italians affected by wars
 Ursulines – nuns who created schools for girls
 Oratorians – promoted Catholic literature and music
The most reform famous order was the Jesuit Order (Society
of Jesus) founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola
The primary goal of the Jesuit order was to embody a
program of spiritual discipline that encouraged believers to
transform their spiritual selves through discipline and
Reformation successes and the pleas of Charles V forced
Pope Paul to call a council to reform and reassert church
 The council met in Trent in northern Italy, however, the
reform process occurred over an 18 year period, with several
interruptions due to war and plague…it met from 1545 –
1547, 1551-1552 and 1562-1563…a period which also so 4
popes in office
 This council was different from those of the Conciliar
movement in that the Pope actually had direct control,
voting was limited to the highest levels of the clergy only
and theologians and lay church members were not permitted
to participate
 The most important reforms were the end to the selling of
benefices (church office) and the end to the abusive selling of
 The council did not cave to all Protestant
complaints…education of the clergy was left alone…good
works through salvation was untouched…the church’s
interpretation of the Holy Scriptures was still upheld as
primary and it was declared that self-interpretation was
heresy…sacred images, saints and relics were still considered
venerable…there is still a purgatory!
Religious Practices
 Clergy membership declined and holidays began not to be
 Cloisters/monasteries vanished
 Worship began to be practiced in the common language of the
 Shrines and relics were no longer venerated, indulgences
 People had Bibles in their own homes
Humanist implementation occurred in universities and schools and scholars
were no longer subject to just “copying and memorizing”
 Curriculum encourages self-interpretation of primary documents, not taking
the word of the professors
 Protestants took a firm stance against the degradation of women as
temptresses/vixens and also their exaltation of pure virgins (the “be
like Mary” concept)
 New marriage rights gave women greater security and protection and
also emphasized respect between marriage partners…divorces became
more common based on specific grounds
 Education opportunities for women also improved
Family Life
 People got married later
 Marries at first tended to be arranged however, it was recognized that
forced marriages did not elicit appropriate feelings between partners,
so people began to marry for love!
 There was birth control however the Catholic Church shied away from
it, so family sizes even in Protestant families still tended to be large
 Wet Nursing

The Reformation