The Reformation and the Church

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The Reformation was a decisive period in the history not only for the Catholic Church, but also for the entire world. The causes of this tumultuous point in history did not burst on the scene all at once, but slowly gained momentum like a boil that slowly festers through time before it finally bursts open. The Reformation of the Church was inevitable because of the abuses which the Church was suffering during this period. At the time of the Reformation, a segment of the Church had drifted away from its mission to bring Christ and salvation to the world. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Church had gradually become weaker because of abusive leadership, philosophical heresy, and a renewal of a form of the Pelagian heresy. The Church had not been blind in its need for reform. Many of the leaders had encouraged Pope Julius II to call a council. In 1512, he called the Fifth Lateran Council. The popes had become skittish about calling ecumenical councils because of the heresy of Conciliarism. The weakness that the Avignon Papacy and the Western Schism caused the Papacy led to Conciliarism. Conciliarism held the idea that a general council was greater and than that of the Pope. In fact, a council had no authority in Church matters unless called and approved by the residing Pope. Hence, by the time the Fifth Lateran Council closed in 1517, it had failed to reform the abuses that were going on in the Church. The climate was right for the message of the Reformers. By the time that Martin Luther came on the world stage in the 16th century. The Church had experienced the grandeur of the High Middle Age that was marked by the strong papacy of Pope Innocent III, to the Great Western Schism, which was a low point in papal history. The Churc... ... middle of paper ... ...tholics and Protestants must understand the history and development of the Reformation movement. Only after both sides begin to listen and try to understand one another can they reach out to one another, and then only with the help and grace of God may the Church be united and restored. Works Cited Chadwick, Owen. A History of Christianity. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 1995. Johnson, Rev. George, Rev. Jerome D. Hannan, and Sister M. Dominica. The Story of the Church: Her Founding, Mission and Progress; A Textbook in Church History. Rockford: Tan Book and Publishers Inc., 1980. Pinckaers, Servais. The Source of Christian Ethics. Translated by Sr. Mary Thomas Noble. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1995. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 21, 2010 from New Advent:

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