The Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther And The Catholic Church

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The beginning of the split between the Roman at Catholic Church was sparked in the first quarter of the sixteenth century (Burrell, 105). The loss of credibility and split of the Roman Catholic Church is more popularly identified as the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was set in motion by many factors. The most fundamental components of the Protestant Reformation were Martin Luther and the printing press. The result of Martin Luther’s actions and the utilization of the printing press left the Roman Catholic Church with no choice but to respond to the out break of new ideas.
Martin Luther is regarded as the founder of the Protestant Reformation (Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses). Luther entered the monastery in 1505 on
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Luther’s time in the monastery was spent trying to win God’s favor and forgiveness for his sins. Luther often self mutilated himself in his desperate attempts for forgiveness (Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses). Eventually, throughout his study and personal practice Luther concluded that God forgave those who asked and worked for it (Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses). Luther’s insights and study of God allowed him to think critically about the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. It was at this time that Luther started to criticize the Church’s actions.
In 1517 the Roman Catholic Church started the sale of Indulgences. An indulgence was a “ticket to heaven” sold by the Catholic Church. The Church was in search of funds to continue the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Gritsch 9), and used the profits made from the indulgences to aid the building (Gritsch 9). The sale of these “easy routes to salvation” (Tingle 16) contradicted Luther’s deeply rooted belief, that individuals needed to secure the remission of God through repentance on their own by studying the Bible. The use of the indulgences enraged Luther. The profit form the indulgences were
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Before the use of the printing press the clergy was responsible for the production and spread of literature. Prior to the utilization of the printing press there were very few books available. This was due to slow manufacturing rates, and text that was accessible was in Latin and the cost was high (Howard 47). The high price and lack of available text in the vernacular of the lay people made them completely reliant on the church. The printing press allowed new texts to be printed and shared quickly without the permission of the Church. The church’s loss of control over what was published allowed for rapid spread of new ideas. Common people were no longer reliant on the Church to provide the message of God that they lived by. The contents of the Bible was no longer only available for a specialized priest class, but all individuals (Howard 47). Therefore, common people no longer needed the Catholic Church. The new ideas made possible by the printing press challenged the Roman Catholic Church promoting the Protestant
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