The Catholic Church in the early 16th century

yellow =  positives

orange = negatives

blue = neutral 

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  • The Catholic Church, 1500s
    • universal faith of western Europe
    • the church had always been criticised for abuses
      • there had been worse periods of corruption
      • the Church had proved it could adapt
    • the reformers of the 16th century criticised the Church's fundamental teachings
    • there wasn't always evidence to support the reformers claims
    • generally positive view of the Church
    • growing anti-papal feeling
    • money was raised through simony and pluralism
    • papal authority was challenged by influential  italian families
    • the Pope lived in luxury
    • ignorance of the clergy
      • Higher clergy
        • some lived luxurious lifestyles
        • absenteeism
          • not living in your benefice or diocese
        • pluralism
          • holding more than one diocese
        • unlikely to be totally ignorant
          • most had a reasonable level of education
      • monasteries and convents
        • in spiritual decline
        • lax discipline, ignorance of prayers, inability to read, breaking vows of celibacy
        • too many religious houses, too few monks
        • admission to a monastery required no education
        • groups of monks sometimes created stricter versions of their original rule
          • Augustinians
          • Franciscans
      • Lower clergy
        • many problems with priests who couldn't read or say basic prayers
        • harder to access bursaries
        • very low entry standards
        • often of the same class as their neighbours
        • failed to keep celibate


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