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How far do you agree that the church in England on the eve of the 16th centaury was in need of reformation?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that the church in England on the eve of the 16th centaury was in need of reformation? The Reformation of the 16th century was a movement within Western Christianity that removed the church of medieval abuses to restore the practices that the reformers believed conformed with the Bible and the New Testaments model of the church. This led to a break between the Roman Catholic Church and the reformers whose beliefs and practices came to be called Protestantism. However was there a need for this too take place? With the benefits of hindsight we can now form two main views about the state off the church pre-reformation. The traditional viewpoint, is that it was inevitable and was necessary, the second is a revisionist viewpoint which attempts to deny the generally accepted past events and furthermore opposes this view that a reformation in the English church was necessary. The main criticisms of the Church that suggest reasons for reform were anticlericalism, antipapalism, erastianism and heresy. This essay will analyse the impact of such criticisms and the contribution they played to reform. Anticlericalism is direct criticism of the personnel of the church, from parish priests to Roman cardinals, it claimed that all member were lazy, poor workers and uncommitted to church ideals. ...read more.

Middle

It is important to note nevertheless that these were rare exceptions, and for the very few clergymen that did hold numerous posts, the work was carried out promptly and carefully. Simony relates to the buying and selling of posts. This capitalist approach to gain privileges can be seen to be the only offence that can not be justified by the clergy, but the true extend to which simony was exploited is still very indistinct. It is fair to say though that the preponderance of the clergy were well thought of, hardworking, dedicated members of the church. A key criticism of Church that could lead to reform was antipapalism. Antipapalism was the questioning of the authority of the pope and the dispute over who should be in control of the church in England. Already in Germany there were widespread feelings of antipapalism due to the sentiment that papal agents and the pope were exploiting them. In England, conversely, the effects of Antipapalism were lesser felt; the main reason for this was probably the combined control of the pope and the king of the church. The pope was the official leader of the church however the king did have a large input as well; so this caused a minimal antipapal pandemonium. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was not, however a new issue, it had been staged in the 1500's by a group called the Lollards, inspired by John Wycliffe. They believed in an English bible so opposed Wolsey's humanist ideals; they also did not believe in transubstantiation, a common view shared by Protestants, they were punished for openly talking about their views. Another small insignificant and ineffective supporter of the Lollards was a group call the White Hourse, there ideas proved weak but they were still punished. Heresy had spread very little within the regular clergy and overall the majority of the public and church opposed ideas of heresy and supported the church, showing that it was a week complaint. The four key points that all contributed to the underlying causes of the reformation, with close examination, actually have very little significance. The circumstances all had very little impact and in most case did not even exist only for an exaggeration or a general summary of the whole Church. It is clear to see that from the 1500's protestant viewpoints and ideals had been stirring with the uprising of the Lollards and the position of the king and this controversy could portray reformation inevitable, however on a wider scale the problems discussed were so trivial and had such a little impact that there was no need for reformation., agreeing to a revisionist historian viewpoint. ?? ?? ?? ?? Louisa Hull Mr Hunter The English Reformation 1485-1558 ...read more.

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