The Reformation in Europe

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  • Created by: Ali
  • Created on: 13-05-12 13:04

Factors leading to the Reformation and the Catholic Reformation

Humanism and the Catholic Church

  • called for a return to the original simplicity of the Church (contrasted with Church's wealth etc)
  • stressed the Word of God was the only guide to a Christian life
  • looked critically at the texts
  • attacked monastic life


  • challenged Martin Luther and remained a Catholic
  • Adages - made classical learning open to wider public, over 800 adages were explained
  • Handbook of a Christian Soldier - was to restore the Church to a simple life of Christ, went against standards of Catholic Church
  • Praise of Folly - points out foolishness of youth, old age, teachers and ends with a bitter attack on the standards of members of the Church
  • New Testament in Greek - undermined the authority of the Church, event of European importance
  • Freedom of the Will - taught that free will was important

Links between humanism and the Reformation

  • pointed out failings of Church
  • directly undermined authority of Church
  • great influence on Protestant reformers
  • however, it did not attack it's key teachings

The need for change

  • Church had always been criticised for abuses
  • reformers condemned fundamental teachings
  • corruption
  • although there was a 'need for change' it didn't need to cause such change to the Catholic Church

Renaissance popes

  • popes' authority was declining (15th and 16th century)
  • growing anti-papal feeling because of Babylonish Captivity and the Great Schism
  • popes had many financial problems
  • accusations of simony and pluralism
  • popes were greedy for money 
  • weren't good spiritual leaders

Ignorance of the clergy

  • absenteeism was a problem
  • monasteries and convents were in spiritual decline
  • required no education
  • celibacy was a big issue

Political and Religious Life in Europe

The threat from Islam

  • Ottoman Empire was causing major fragmentation in Europe
  • constant concern that the Turks would overrun eastern Europe

Health of popular devotion

  • growth in devotion to Virgin Mary
  • increasing devotion to saints
  • huge interest in holy relics

The spread of heresy

  • Lollards - started by John Wycliffe, denied authority of pope, urged reform, Lollards gained no support from ruling classes
  • Hussites - started by Jan Hus, urged reform, wanted death penalty abolished
  • Heresy helped undermine Catholic Church but showed authority of Church when Lollards and Hussites were contained

The beginnings of change

Beginnings of reform

  • evidence suggests that the Church made some effort to reform many years before demands
  • popes were slow to respond to callings for reform because of Italian politics
  •  Lateran Council showed that the papacy wished to respond to demands
  • The Sack of Rome caused much of the wealth of the Church to be looted and the pope's income halved. 

Pope Paul III

  • founded Society of Jesus
  • called Council of Trent
  • Roman Inquisition began
  • supported new orders
  • attempted administrative reform
  • promoted peace by not taking part in Italian wars

The Consilium

  • recommended the changes needed
  • no exemptions from the authority of the bishops
  • pluralism should be ended
  • new Humanist teachings should be stopped

New Orders

  • they were supported by popes, increasing their authority
  • sign of reform



This is fantastic stuff.


Absolutly Brilliant 


This is brilliant! Wish I'd found it sooner!


Thankyou so much for this! brilliant!

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