To begin with, there was great opposition to the teachings and the institution of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. It must be noted that these opposing points of view were not exclusive to this period, but around this time multiple different factors led to the many contrasting takes on Christianity still seen today. Despite there being some before him, no challenges to the legitimacy of the papacy and the authority of the Church were as effective and accepted at the time than those of Martin Luther. For example, in his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate, Luther specifically states that national authorities should have power over the pope. While Luther’s purpose may have truly been to state his opinion on how the state should take place in religious affairs, his message was much more important. By merely stating “[when] the pope is an offense to Christendom…” implies that the pope is capable of making mistakes, which contradicts the Catholic philosophy of Papal Infallibility. However, unlike the leaders of the European nations at the time, Luther’s motivations were more social than political or economic. As stated in his Against the Murderous, Thieving Ho...
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...in with a religious cause. The sale of indulgences is really what motivated Luther to call for a Church reform in his “95 Theses”. Essentially, the schism of the Church was initiated by the selling of indulgences for economic gain.
In conclusion, the schism of the Catholic Church was indeed symptomatic to the social, political, and economic facets of life that were: increasing opposition to the Church, the unfamiliar concept of separation of church and state, and the selling of indulgences for economic gain of sixteenth century Europe. Above all, Christianity experienced a huge change going from one Catholic Church to eventually the thousands of denominations we see today. The schism affected more than politics, it affected daily life. Perhaps the world would be a very different place today if Martin Luther had never stated his disapproval of the sale of indulgences.
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