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How far do you agree that the Church was in dire need of reform?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that the Church was in dire need of reform? The church was not completely unpopular to the public of the Sixteenth century. It offered them a degree of stability, and a moral code to adhere to. The beliefs were set down by priests and bishops, all the people had to do was follow them. Many of these people did not understand what was said at mass, and generally just went along for the whole "divine" experience, it made them feel that they had an important role in God's society. The Latin Mass was a way of spreading God's word in a single language that was understood by the majority of the educated world. The Reform would mean translating the Bible into the language of that certain country, which could lead to errors and wrong preaching. Most people although not educated in Latin, (as a large amount of people did not receive an education) still came to the Church for Mass; the fact that they did not understand what was being said hardly mattered to most. The Church was a single unifying bond between the social classes; all the people believed in the same orthodox rules and each was judged in God's hand. ...read more.

Middle

The common acts of paying Indulgences to decrease time in purgatory were not written in the Bible, thus were not the word of God and should not be done. The original teachings were lost under the doctrinal corruptions and greed of the Church. To rid the faith of such sins, a reform would be needed. People were bribing their way into jobs in the Church (simony), whether they had any knowledge of theology or not. With simony came nepotism. Those who had bought their way into high jobs within the Church gave jobs to those that they favoured, often within their own family, which corrupted the running of the Church. A reformation would clear out the officials that brought the Church into disrepute through the handing out of jobs to the wrong people. These wrong people were often ill-educated and not up to the job they were supposed to be doing. If the Church had fallen in standards to the point that it's own clergy were not educated enough to even read a sermon, then this was a signal that things needed to change. Some of the reasons that the clergy was so lacking in an education was because there was a need for clergy members, the numbers had fallen (also signifying the disenchantment the people had with the Church) ...read more.

Conclusion

Of course, not everybody was willing to risk their live to speak out, many people were privately against the Catholic faith, but preferred to keep it to themselves rather than publicly denounce what was considered tradition. From the two arguments above, it is clear that the Church did need a reformation to be able to keep up with the fast changing times, but perhaps not as drastic as a complete restructuring of every detail within the faith. Whilst it supplied people with jobs, it did not supply these jobs to the correct people. The Church had become a battleground for family feuds and people were beginning to think that this prolific use of decoration and 'mysticism' within the faith was not needed to ensure the support of the public. Of course there would be people who opposed the change, but what was important was the people who did want the change were influential and could rally up support within the lower classes with promises of a fairer system. A religion based on what was actually known about God (ie the Bible) seemed more sensible than a religion based on what was not canon, but crafted to guarantee the Catholic faith. To move forward into modernisation, the Catholic Church needed to rethink its policies, maybe not a complete u-turn into the opposite extreme, but a change was definitely needed within the Church during the sixteenth century. 1,632 words ...read more.

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