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The Roman Catholic Church was becoming increasingly unpopular in the Holy Roman Empire before the Reformation. Do you agree?

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Introduction

The Roman Catholic Church was becoming increasingly unpopular in the Holy Roman Empire before the Reformation. Do you agree? I agree with the above statement. Before the Reformation, there had already been rising discontent within the Holy Roman Empire as more and more of the Church?s wrongdoings came to light. More importantly, ordinary people were becoming more alert of the corruption and shortfalls of the Church. In the 1500s - when human lives were far more delicate than present times, people needed a source of reassurance, which the Church could not effectually provide, therefore dissatisfaction spread and heightened until it reached a boiling point ? the Lutheran Reformation. - The distorted structure of the Church was one of the main reasons why the Roman Catholic Church was so unpopular, even in a time where people?s belief in God was ever escalating. In 16th century, popes were elected from a pool of nobility who saw their posts as means to further their own fortunes and expand their sphere of influence rather than a duty. ...read more.

Middle

Rather than relying on donations and subsidies, churches then would sell ?indulgences?, which are reputedly able to lessen one?s suffering in purgatory. - Corruption has always been a proliferating problem in medieval Europe, but it seemed that people?s appetite for such corruption was decreasing before the Reformation. Even though anticlericalism was rapidly worsening in Europe, it did not cause ordinary people to shy away from Catholicism at all ? to the contrary, there was a significant growth in popular piety in the Holy Roman Empire all the way up until the Lutheran Reformation. For both the wealthy and the poor, there was a trend in forming prayer groups which would say prayers and hold masses for members that have passed away. Many were travelling on pilgrimages and relic collection was at its peak yet during the 16th century. At the same time, religious literature was increasingly widespread amongst the population. Financially speaking, the Church was thriving, but otherwise it was not faring well at all. It was facing intensifying criticisms from the general public, who had begun to doubt its existence. ...read more.

Conclusion

It lacked a strong secular power, allowing the Pope to have more control over the Church. The Holy Roman Empire was particularly vulnerable to the Pope?s machinations ? ecclesiastical elites were often Italians who sent substitutes to their dioceses in the Holy Roman Empire, and yet this was paid by the Germans. The distrust in the Holy Roman Church would not have been only caused from its corruption and failings; the national rivalry between the Holy Roman Empire and Italy is also an important issue during that time. Different to other nations with more powerful secular ruler, the residents in the Holy Roman Empire would have to travel to Rome to appeal for justice. Italians were often biased against foreigners and gradually the public became more disillusioned. - Gathering all the evidence, therefore it is in my belief that the Roman Catholic Church was already unpopular before the start of the Lutheran Reformation. While the Reformation is undeniably a catalyst in the unravelling of the ancient Roman Catholic Church, it did not cause discontent with the Roman Catholic Church. The unpopularity of the Roman Catholic Church was constantly accumulating, until in the 16th century, it reached the tip in the Lutheran Reformation. ...read more.

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