The Reformation
Religion before 1517 was known as Roman Catholic. It was called Roman Catholic because Roman is the head of Rome and Catholic meaning universal. The teaching of the church were the seven sacraments; Baptism, Confirmation, Communion (Eucharist), Penance (Confession, Marriage, Anointing the Sick (also known as the last rights) and Ordination, and it was believed the Pope gave salvation or you would go to hell. Catholics believed at the time of death if you didn’t make it to Heaven, you would be stuck in purgatory. To prevent people from being stuck in purgatory you could do a good deed/work and receive indulgence.
According to Pope Leo the Tenth, the indulgence was a pass for doing well, that guarantee your passage to Heaven. Pope Leo wanted to rebuild the church to make it the grandest church in the land, and needed funding for the remodeling. Pope Leo granted the selling of the indulgence, instead of giving to charity or doing a good deed, people started buying indulgence. Martin Luther didn’t like the selling of indulgency to raise funds, and didn’t believe money could erase your sins. John Tetzel had no problem with paying for indulgence and used to say “As soon as the coin in the cutter rings the soul from purgatory springs.” Luther felt the church and the laws were corrupted, he wanted changes to be made for the in betterment of Christians. Luther believed the Pope had power to free people from sin, instead of selling of indulgence.
In 1517 Luther wrote the 95 These in Latin and posted them on the door of the church in Wittenberg, as was the tradition. The 95 These were statements he questioned regarding the Roman Catholic Church, like the selling of indulgences to finance the building of St. Peter’s. Luther wondered why the Pope didn’t build the Basilica of St. Peter’s out of his money, since he was richer than Croesus. Luther wanted the Pope to sell St. Peter’s and the funds would be given to poor people who are being fleeced by the hawkers of indulgences. Another concern of Luther’s was he believed Papal indulgences did not remove guilt the Pope could only remove penalties which he himself imposed on earth. Christ did not say, “Whatsoever I have bound in heaven you may loose on earth.” This statement shows the Pope had no jurisdiction over purgatory. One of the 95 These Luther wrote about was, “Buying indulgences gives people a false sense of security and endangers their salvation. The indulgences is harmful because Christians felt they no longer had to give to the poor, Christians should be taught that giving is better than waiting to receive a pardon. Luther sent the 95 These to the local Archbishop and it made its way to Rome and became known as the Protestant Reformation.
In 1521 the new Holy Roman Emperor offers Luther safe passage to the Diet of Worms counsel to testify regarding Luther’s written beliefs. Luther stands by his beliefs and was band from the city of Worms. After witnessing Luther’s speech, Frederick the Wise an Elector Saxony secretly kidnaps Luther and hides him away in a Castle. During captivity Luther translates the Bible into different languages, believing in order to understand the Bible; people need to be able to read it in their language. By the time Luther leaves the Castle local monarch, and princes wanted to take back some control of their lands and their churches. Luther’s knowledge of the Bible leads him to believe in the priesthood of all believers; meaning you could talk directly to God yourself you didn’t need a priest. Also, Faith alone could help you make it to heaven, not just good works or charity. Lastly, the scripture speaks the word of God. Luther’s words spread quickly and Christians start reading the Bible and things were starting to change all over.
In Zurich, a gentleman named Zwingli believed in Luther but he didn’t believe how the Bible interpreted the Eucharist (Communion). The church believed the bread and wine was the flesh and the blood of Christ. Luther believed the flesh and blood of Christ was present in the bread and wine and Zwingli believed the bread and wine were symbols of the flesh and blood. The dispute over the Eucharist, as well as others is how the different religions were formed. While Christians were disputing over religion, King Henry the 8th wanted an annulment. When the Pope refused, King Henry the 8th went to the head of the church, and his annulment was granted. The power of the church changed from the Pope, the King became the head of the church.
Protestantism is spreading throughout countries like German, Scandinavia, England, Scotland and Switzerland. Violence is breaking out amongst Catholic and Protestant Christians are being hung, tortured and burned at the stake because of their beliefs, every Christian assumed their beliefs were right and the other’s was the power of the devil. The most violent period was in Europe with the Huguenots (French Prostants); finally Protestantism was outlawed in France. Spain was mostly Catholic Christians. After the Civil War of the 16th Century peace was being established amongst religious groups. There was Peace of Augsburg in 1555 in German. To establish some type of principles, it was decided the local Princes in the Holy Empire State or whoever ruled would choose the religion.
In France the Edict of Nantes in 1598 establishes religious toleration and in the early 1700’s wars began again and pitted Protestants against the Holy Roman Empire. This time religious wars were not only against religion itself but also against religious art and statues. Finally, the Council of Trent, made a statement stating “images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and other saints are to be placed and retained especially in the churches, and due honor and veneration is to be given them.” Art and statues were showing honor and helping Christians learn the ways of their faith. The New World was upon us with the discovery of the New World; the faith of Catholics was being affirmed, there was trading going on in Asia with Africa, and Jesuits was being established. The Jesuits were all about faithfulness; they had absolute faith in the Pope, and established schools all over the world to tech religion. Christians start to acknowledge the key to religion is not listening to, one person but listening to your own conscience. All Christians take something different away from church the reading of Bible and church Mass.