Western Civilization Reformation

Western Civilization Reformation Chris Walters 1April99 HIS121 Western Civilization REFORMATION During the Sixteenth century, a widespread Religious reformation took place in Western Europe. It was between the Catholics and the Protestants. A reformation is a 16th century religious movement marked ultimately by rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and establishment of the Protestant churches. This particular Reformation separated the Christians of Western Europe into Protestants and Catholics. Some of the major Reformations of the Sixteenth century were the Catholic Reformation, the Genevan Reformation, German Reformation, English Reformation, and the Swiss Reformation, also known as the Zwinglian Reformation.

They all shared some similar characteristics, while also having some different characteristics. During the Sixteenth century corruption was widespread throughout all of Western Europe. Clergy men, popes, and priests were all sinning alike. Greed, sex, abuse of power were just some of these abuses. The Reformations sought to eliminate these abuses.

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In each of these reformations, Royalty played a part in it. In the Catholic Reformation, taking place in Spain and Italy, Queen Isabel of Spain brought the church further under the crown’s control than ever before. Her reason for Reformation was to raise the intellectual and moral standards of the church. In the German Reformation, Martin Luther was the leader, and he split the church into two groups the Catholic and Protestant. He had protested that some of the clergy were selling indulgences (temporal pardons of sins) without making clear that people must also be sincerely repentant for those sins.

He’s most famous for his list of 95 indulgences that he nailed to the door of the catholic church. In Switzerland Zwinglian lead the Swiss Reformation. He broke Traditional standards. He said “A church without the magistrate is mutilated and incomplete.”Relics and images were abolished; all paintings and decorations were removed form the churches and replaced by white washed walls. He also had music removed from the sermon because he felt it was a distraction from the word of god.

(Spielvogel 471) The English Reformation came about because of Henry VIII’s desire to divorce his wife, in search of one that could bear him a son. The Genevan reformation, (I don’t get this part because it’s in Switzerland so isn’t it the same thing then as the Swiss Reformation?)It was lead by John Calvin. Calvin enforced the ideals of purity, simplicity, and devout religious faith. All of these Reformations took power away form the churches and placed it under the crown. No one’s power will be higher than that of the crown. All of these Reformations sought to eliminate corruption, sin, and any other wrong doings from the churches.

The Catholic Reformation and the English Reformation fought to keep Catholicism, while the Swiss Reformation, the German reformation, and the Genevan reformation all fought for Protestantism. Each of these Reformations divided up their countries people. The Holy Roman Empire was the main fighting force against Protestantism. All these Reformations broke traditional standards around Western Europe. “The true reform was not directed against an enemy; it was undertaken for God, Jesus Christ, as a protestation of unwavering loyalty.( Daniel-Rops 3) The idea was to change Mankind not Religion, but this proved to be impossible. Each Reformation was different because there were different driving forces behind them. The Genevan Reformation, led by Calvin, was ultimately driven by the government of Geneva, which wasn’t a King or a Queen, but instead by a series of councils.

The Catholic Reformation had Queen Isabel behind it in her hopes to strengthen the morals of her people. The Swiss Reformation was started by Zwinglian, in his hopes to remove all that which distracted from the pure word of God. The German Reformation was driven by Luther and later carried on by Charles V, who tried to unite his kingdom through religion but through a series of wars lost all hopes of religious unity. And the English Reformation was started because of King Henry VIII’s quest for a heir to his throne. Each of these Reformations had their differences and similarities, but ultimately shared one major concept; to eliminate all sin, the abuse of power and the selling of indulgences from the church and the pure word of God. History Essays.


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