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- Social and Political Factors:
- European decentralization, rise of nation-states. Breakdown of medieval
centralization under Pope.
- Breakdown of society because of Black Death, Hundred Years' War, etc.
- Renaissance: Interest in humanism and rediscovery of ancient culture.
- Weaknesses in Catholic Church:
- Administrative Divisions:
- Competing Popes (Avignon, Rome and more).
- Proliferation of Questionable Religious Rituals and Practices
Pilgrimages, saint worship, endowment of masses.
- Corruption and Abuses of Power in Church:
- Sale of Indulgences (certificates of remission from
purgatory) and other forms of forgiveness.
- Simony (selling of church offices).
Central Beliefs of Protestantism
- Accessibility by Laity: "Priesthood of all Believers"
- No need for professional intermediaries (priests, confessors, etc.)
between the individual and God.
- Translations of the Bible into the vernacular
- Lay communion.
- Conviction that every profession is a religious "calling," not just the
priesthood and monasticism.
- Theological Doctrines:
- Martin Luther:
Justification by grace and faith, not by
works--sometimes led to belief in predestination (Calvin).
- Some groups denied transsubstantiation.
- Rejection of Non-Biblical Traditions (sola scriptura):
- e.g.: Clerical celibacy, monasticism, sacraments (e.g.: penance, extreme
unction, marriage, confirmation, ordination of ministers), pilgrimage.
- Many Protestant churches preferred adult (not infant) baptism.
- Simplification of masses.
The Roman Catholic Reformation (Counter-Reformation)
Council of Trent (1545-63)
- Called for moral reform of clergy
- Strengthening Church structures
- Proclamation of dogmas
- Affirmation of both Faith and Works
- Establishment of Society of Jesus (Jesuits) under Loyola
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