The Role of the Catholic Church in the lives of or
- All Catholics (and therefore all English citizens) were expected to attend Church.
- They followed the Seven Sacraments
- Mass was said in Latin by a priest.
- Many believed that when the Priest held the bread of Mass above his head, they were gazing upon Christ's return to Earth.
- Catholics were required to give Penance and do Confession in order to make up for their sin.
- Penance was the purchasing of indulgences or paying for masses for the dead to be said in their name. This was thought to shorten the amount of time spent in purgatory.
- The religious calendar dictated the lives of the People.
- There was a cult of saints: religious figures adopted by communities and individuals to protect themselves.
- Donations were given by common people to help the Church.
Problems with the Church
- Uneducated Priests
- Clerical abuses
Some Bishops were accused of breaches of Church discipline such as ignoring clerical vows of celibacy or holding more than one clerical office at the same time.
- Monks and nuns
Some religious houses were in poor condition and with low moral standards.
- Benefit of the clergy
The benefit of the clergy meant that members of the Church who committed serious crimes could escape trial in secular courts.
This dissatisfaction with the Church was not widespread. Although there was cause for concern, many of these abuses had been around for centuries.
Martin Luther: A key German reformer and prominent religious figure, who published his 95 Theses that caused the Reformation in Germany.
Lutheran literature was smuggled into England, but it had little impact outside Germany.
Henry was consistently Anti-Lutheran, however, some of his advisors may have harboured Lutheran ideals.
Humanists were a group of intellectuals who advocated reform of the Church. They did not propose new doctrines or a new way of worshipping: they wanted an improvement in the intellectual and moral standards of the Clergy.
Their impact on ordinary people was minimal.
The Lollards were a minority group who challenged papal authority and the doctrine of the Church. They followed the work of a theologian called John Wyclif.
He wanted the closure of monasteries, the secularisation of Church property, and a Bible in English.