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Protestanism and Catholicism in the 16th Century

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Paul Chang Protestantism and Catholicism in the 16th Century In 1517, an obscure German monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses on the church door of Wittenberg as a complaint against doctrines and practices performed by the Catholic Church. The core doctrines of the Catholic and Protestant Churches differ greatly, yet at the same time, despite their differences, many of the minor practices of both Protestant and Catholics are very similar. Despite only having a few core doctrinal differences, the Catholic Protestant Churches differed on far ends of the spectrum. From a Protestant point of view, Catholicism was a religion of the rich, whereas Protestantism was a religion of the common people (Doc. 3). For Protestants, the heart of their doctrine was the scripture. ...read more.


His interpretation of scripture was definite, and all other interpretations were wrong. Thus, in a sense, the Pope was the scripture (Above, Doc. 4). Probably the biggest difference however, was in how to obtain salvation. According to John Tetzel the famous indulgence preacher, purchasing indulgences would save a man from Purgatory and Hell. However, according to Catholic historians, Tetzel's interpretation of the Papal Bull of Indulgence did not explicitly allow salvation through indulgences. Rather, Tetzel's interpretation was a loose one, which was made in order to attract the masses (Above, Doc. 2). According to scripture (Protestants viewed scripture as their ultimate authority), Salvation is through grace alone, not of works (Doc. 7). Thus, To the Protestants, the Catholics were wrong in proclaiming indulgences as a means to get to heaven. ...read more.


1), and humility was a core doctrine preached in the scripture (which as said repeatedly, was the ultimate authority of Protestantism). Jesus Christ was also held in high esteem by Catholics and Protestants. The Morning Offering Prayer that Catholics recite during the Mass is a prayer asking Jesus to forgive sins, and for help in following the Pope (Doc. 8). Protestants held Jesus in high esteem, as according to scripture, a belief in his resurrection led to salvation. Thus, despite differences in core doctrines, both the Catholic and Protestant Churches practiced many of the same beliefs. Catholicism and Protestantism were very similar yet different in the time of the Reformation. Catholics believed in the Pope as the ultimate authority, whereas Protestants viewed the Bible as its ultimate authority. Despite major doctrinal beliefs however, Catholics and Protestants alike shared some of the same beliefs, such as the importance of good works. ...read more.

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