• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what ways did the Roman Catholic Church confront the threat of Protestantism?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In what ways did the Roman Catholic Church confront the threat of Protestantism? It was generally felt throughout the 1500's that the Catholic Church was corrupt. The papacy were criticised for abusing their authority and setting a poor example to the laity and the clergy. Pluralism and absenteeism was rife among the secular clerics. The regular clergy, such as monks and nuns, were predominantly landowners and were more interested in managing their estates than serving their community. Teaching, pastoral care and standards of morality had been lost. The laity also paid taxes to the church and the clergy enjoyed unfair privileges, such as the canon law, which allowed them to endure less severe sentences than in the common law courts. Their attitudes caused a lot of opposition to the Catholic Church, in particular Martin Luther, the leader of the protestant reformation. Luther began to become influential as Protestantism became more popular and some states began to adopt it as their primary religion. Luther was excommunicated in January 1521 after being condemned by the Pope and given sixty days to recant, which he did not. To many popes reform of the Church was not seen as a priority until 1527. This was under Clement VII. ...read more.

Middle

The Jesuits, a new order that had been established prior to the reformation, are sometimes described as 'the spearhead of the counter reformation'. Ignatius Loyola, the leader of the Society of Jesus, gained an education for his personal betterment and because he believed it would help him to proceed with is missionary work. The initial aim of the Jesuits was to work within the world trying to convert Muslims in the holy land. It becomes clear here that they are a part of the Catholic Reformation. By 1615 the society had 13000 members. It was allowed to grow to this size because all of the Jesuits made a vow of obedience to Paul and his successors. The Jesuits soon realised that to gain authority and control they needed to gain support of the rich and powerful. They achieved this using their spiritual exercises. These involved several weeks of retreat and religious revitalisation giving participants a feeling of inner well-being. Many people with social distinction throughout Europe became Jesuit sympathisers. They used their flexibility to 'pass[ing] over things of a bad complexion, so as to win sympathy and further [their] good purpose'. The same methods were used with the Protestants. 'Whoever desires to become useful to the heretics of this age must be solicitous to bear them much charity and to love ...read more.

Conclusion

They became a reformed, respected and unchallenged institution. As a result of the Tridentine decrees the church became more assured and positive and no longer felt the need to react so firmly to the challenge of Protestantism. Trent defined the Catholic doctrine clearly and unequivocably, and initiated important reforms for the future. The effective implementation of the decrees rested with future popes, churchmen and secular rulers and progress varied from country to country. For example, Philip of Spain endorsed decrees in 1564 and encouraged reform. France, on the contrary, was beset with the civil war and only in the late seventeenth century were the decrees registered and the reforms begun. At the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, the diet agreed on 'Culus Regio, Eius Religio'. This meant that the princes could decide on the religion in their area. Even though this is an official recognition of Protestantism, success can be seen through it. Some states converted back to Catholicism (e.g. Bohemia, Styria and Swabia). The traditional Catholic states, Bavaria, Spain and Italy, were strengthened. The states threatened by Calvinism remained Catholic (Poland, Hungary and Austria). Most of France and the Netherlands also stayed Catholic. Even though, the Catholic Church did not manage to reverse Protestantism the Reformation helped them to save themselves from destruction and achieve improvements that had been intended even before the threat of Luther. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. relgion becoming secular

    This is why today's society has more delinquent youths. So, is religion dead in the U.K? Although church attendance has decreased and perhaps even the level of belief people in God and of an afterlife I think that religion still plays a part in our society.

  2. essential elements of 'Calvinism'

    to obeying the law of God, the priesthood of all believers was accepted as a logical consequence of that. Sola scriptura, stated that the Bible alone should be the source of authority for Christians rather than the traditions of the Church or the Pope's statements.

  1. To what extent did Ferdinand and Isabella succeed in dealing with religious problems in ...

    Throughout the fifteenth century the Castile-Granada border had been the site of Christian-Muslim skirmishes. In April 1478 the Moors attacked the Christian town of Cieza, killing 80 of its inhabitants and capturing the rest. After a ten-year long war, in 1492 Granada was under the control of Ferdinand and Isabella.

  2. Examine how Keane and Duffy in Season of Blood and War Photographer communicate the ...

    As he goes through the church and the classrooms, analysing and absorbing the effects of the killings, he describes exactly what he is saying: "A woman on her side, an expression of surprise on her face, her mouth open and a deep gash in her head.

  1. English Reformation

    But yet if the English people preferred the Church's court as opposed to the civil court, this contradicts the claim that the Church was an unfair and immoral institution. Surprisingly, the subject of reform of the Church was not the focal issue when the Parliament met in 1529, but not

  2. Free essay

    "The Roman Catholic Church gained more from the Lateran Pacts than did the government ...

    Secondly, the Church was less of a threat to Fascism supremacy. The agreement ensured that there would be no open opposition from the church. This is very important because the church's power in Italy was vast. Also, the agreement meant that the fascist government had more control over the church.

  1. THE CONFESSIONS OF AUGSBURG On 31 October 1517, Dr. Martin Luther, professor of theology ...

    theologians at the Diet; Luther was still an outlaw and, therefore, was unable to attend. Melanchthlon was sure that a compromise could be reached with Rome and therefore the Confession was intended to be a conciliatory document. Luther felt that Rome would not change its stance and he told Melanchthon:

  2. ''Luther, more than anyone, was to blame for the schism.''

    The book was printed in 1997 so is fairly recent, but since then it is likely that ideas have been updated and further evidence discovered. Also, since this is a general history book, it has not entered into extensive detail regarding the Reformation, so there may be important information unaccounted for, for pragmatic reasons.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work