The State of the Pre-reformation church c.1529

  • Created by: Kitty
  • Created on: 20-04-13 13:10

Explain the state of the Pre-reformation Church


  • Pluralism - Holding of more than one office at a time; WHY? more money (more income)
  • Absenteeism - Priests not in the Parish when supposed to be - Parishoners were too often left without any spiritual leadership or had to do with a substitute who was poorly payed and often inadequate.
  • The Church was too greedy - Too rich e.g. Gold crosses
  • Secularisation of the Church - The Church was more interested in money and politics than religion
  • Priests were uneducated - Replacement Priests couldn't read and write, couldn't read the Latin Bible
  • Simony - Outright buying an office
  • Nepotism - Appointment on the grounds of a family relationship rather than for any appropriate qualification
  • Lack of Papal Leadership
  • Priests were not strictly Holy - e.g drinking, gambling, taking of women (in the diocese of Lincoln 12.5%  of clergymen were reported as 'having a woman' by 1520.
  • Decline in Monastic Lifestyle
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Explain the state of the Pre-reformation Church


  • The Parish clergy as a whole were not as ill-educated as they were traditionally portrayed. They were generally well enough educated in the traditional learning and certainly able to cater for the needs of most of the Parishoners.
  • On the whole, the bishops of the early 16th century, even when involved with other secular tasks, devoted time to the administration and spiritual welfare of their diocese. Even when absence was necessary, the diocese could be adequately administered by his deputies.
  • Non-resident Clergy were properly licensed and seem to have found adequate deputies to take their place.
  • It appeared that most of the Parish Clergy carried out their duties conscientiously and to the satisfaction of their Parishoners. eg. In the diocese of Lincoln, the bishops record (episcopal) showed that between 1514 and 1521, only 4% of Parishes complained about inadequate performance of spiritual duty by their clergyman.
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