What was the condition of religion and the Church in the early sixteenth century?

A powerpoint with all the chapters summarised and put into quite easy to read tables - for in depth revision. 

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Section 1: 1500-1529
English religion and the
English Church in the
early sixteenth century
Chapter 1 & Chapter 2…read more

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Absenteeism, Pluralism and Simony (Pages 4-6)
Absenteeism Pluralism Simony
When members of the clergy were Holding more than one office at the The buying and selling of Church
absent from their posts for extended same time. For example Thomas positions. E.g. Wolsey and John Fisher.
periods of time - sometimes not residing Magnus who had nine different offices
what it in their diocese. E.g. Cardinal Wolsey, at the same time and also Wolsey who
was; any Henry VIII's chief adviser and held two bishoprics and one abbey at
major Archbishop of York, did not visit York the same time.
examples? Minster until his fall from power 14
years after his appointment as
Why could -Example of corrupt clergy. -Example of greedy and corrupt clergy. -Religion reduced to a business or a
-Could be said that if a member of the -Would cause absenteeism. product to be bought and sold.
it be used
clergy were absent from their post; -How could a person possibly be -Could mean that unsuitable people
against whoever is in their diocese wouldn't' be receiving the right amount of spiritual were in the roles ­ a rich person could
the getting sufficient moral or spiritual guidance when their spiritual leader beat someone more qualified to the job
Church? guidance. was split between two, or maybe three ­ leading to problems such as Wolsey's
and more jobs within the Church. illegitimate children.
No ­ army of Church officials who got on No ­ Wolsey and Manus were No- the higher clergy were on the most
with the daily overseeing of every exceptions to the rule. art respectable and respected.
feature of Church life from services to -Ecclesiastical tasks were still being -Many were civil lawyers and canon
Was it land management. done. lawyers ­ but few were trained
really a -Absent bishops would appoint suffragan -Huge number of Church officials and no theologians however, there were
serious Bishops to carry out their Episcopal shortage of recruits to make sure that hardly any notable scandals associated
danger? functions. everything was running smoothly so the with Bishops and therefore, they were
-Normal feature of church life and no pluralism didn't really affect the daily doing their jobs properly.
sign that it was getting worse in the running of the Church. -Deemed to diligent and hardworking.
sixteenth century.…read more

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How widespread was criticism of the Church in England in 1529?
Key Paragraphs Why useful for this essay? HOW FAR does this show that the
criticism was WIDESPREAD?
What was the impact of It was a major criticism of the Church, Not at all really. Anticlericalism, if there at all,
however not so much in England. was focused on quite a small location within
England and this therefore goes against it
being widespread.
What was the impact of Colet's It showed that even people within the Church Not so much again. It was the sort of sermon
though that improvements could be made convocation would expect to hear. Although
The Church did contain within it reforming there is evidence of others having the same
spirits who wanted to see change. sort of opinion, many historians would
conclude that he was something of a lone
voice who did not stir up much anger.
What would be the effects of Parishes all over the country so if they were Many members of clergy could be involved
in a bad state, there was the possibility of however, it goes against there being
absenteeism, pluralism and
widespread criticism However, due to the widespread criticism as from the `common
simony? fact spiritual needs were being met, this could person's' point of view, their spiritual needs
perhaps be evidence of a lack of widespread were being cared for and this would have
criticism. been the main issue that they cared about.
The state of the Parish Clergy. Thought to be widespread greed and Many poor and had criticisms of education
corruption with Wolsey and his wealth and conviction of priests. Issue throughout
specifically linked to corruption. county. However, higher clergy on the whole
respected ­ no notable scandals.
The state of the Monasteries. Criticism of wealth nothing new, not Only slightly. Still popular as charitable
becoming more vociferous on the eve of the institutions and hospitals e.t.c. People still
reformation. Monasteries also all over the using them, not criticising them.
country potential for widespread criticism.
Were the anticlerical outbursts Hunne Case Thought by some historians to Not a major force during the period No
be a major example of anticlerical Church + widespread demonstrations or riots even at
before 1529 serious?
heavy-handed/unreligious approach. the time Humanists criticism = were
horrified by attack on Church Anticlerical
cries for reform = largely irrelevant.…read more

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The state of the Parish Clergy &The state of the Monasteries page 7
Reasons for criticism? Reasons for no criticism?
-Parish priests = limited education. -Priests in wealthier parishes very
-No real understanding of Latin educated.
State of Clergy Scriptures although they were -They still supported the parishioners
supposed to be interpreting them. and were within he Church which was
the pinnacle of society.
-Some monasteries became too wealthy -It was inevitable that they would
­ not living according to their vows.. have a role in secular affairs
-Too involved in secular life instead of considering they provided Churches
withdrawing from the world. ( Were with priests, were major land owners
meant to withdraw from corruption of and were a major employer.
State of the world which was original monastic -Retained degree of popularity as
ideal) charitable institutions.
-Opposition very limited.…read more

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How serious were the anticlerical outbursts before 1529? pages 8 - 12
Event What was this ? Could this damage the Could this damage the
Church? Yes! Church? No!
Hunne case 1514 -Richard Hunne, Merchant tailor -Seen as a major example of -There were never any
and freeman in gaol accused of example of a heavy handed and demonstrations against the
heresy. unpopular church. Church on Hunne's behalf at the
-One clergyman and two gaolers time or afterwards.
accused of murdering him, butt -Only an example of one man.
were never brought to trial Not example of widespread
widely seen as a case of the corruption or example.
Church protecting its own.
Could anticlericalism -If there had been widespread -Any anticlericalism could -Anticlericalism was not a major
anticlericalism, you would have spread. force during this period.
have led to reform?
expected to see more and more -Cries for reform could escalate -Most critics wanted reform, not
explosive incidents leading up to to radical reform. reformation ­ e.g More and the
it. humanists were horrified by
protestant attack on Church.
-Before 1528, anticlericalism and
cries for reform largely an
Then strength of -Hostility to the Pope's spiritual -If there was antipapalism, it -In England, the sort of
control of the Church in England. could weaken the power and antipapalism seen in Germany is
antipapal views in
-Antipapalism in England hard to control of the church in England. hard to detect ­ church in
England detect. England not so much papal as
-Disputes between King and royal.
Pope = old. -Pope was a remote and
-Pope seen as remote and powerless figure.
powerless figure. -No sense of dramatic
-Papal interference minimal. antipapalism that could fuel
antipapalism.…read more

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Event What was this? Could this damage the Could this damage the
Church? Yes! Church? No!
Did Wolsey cause -Wolsey made Papal Legate, and -Pluralist and absentee. -Wolsey's legateship may have
the Office was unusually granted -Illegitimate son. helped to engender a greater
to him for life in 1524. sense of unity among the
-Opposition to wolsey was Bishops.
opposition to the Pope and -Could speed up cases which
therefore antipapalism was more were going to Rome.
pronounced in the 1520s. -Could take charge of wills but
often sold this back to the
-Opposition limited Bishops
he appointed sound and well
Wolsey as a reformer -Attempted to regulate and -Argued that his main concern -Offices didn't increase income
inspect Church. was financial rewards of by much as he was so rich
-Called meetings with Bishops office/monetary gain. already.
and leaders of regular clergy on -If people were concerned about
how to improve the clergy. abuses within the Church, this
-Organised visitations. would make them think that
something was being done about
them. Reforming Church.
Wolsey as Humanist -Not in favour of English Bible. -English sermons Going -Would make people be able to
-Genuine concerns about against what the church relate with the Church more.
improving education. generally deemed acceptable. -Improving society through
-funded education with -Dissolution of smaller religious education.
dissolution of small or failing houses could lead to bigger ones. -Working with humanists kept
religious houses. them satisfied.
-Encouraged clergy to preach
sermons in English.
Wolsey & Lutheranism -Held conferences speaking out -Not at all really, King and -Wolsey in agreement with Pope'
against heresy. Wolsey (with much of the realm) s stance on Luther and heresy.
-Presided over Luther's book were in full agreement with the
burnings. Church's stand against heresy
-Persuaded King to write against antipapalism hardly existed.
German Heresy.…read more

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