'The factors that led to Luther's reform of the GermanChurchwere not exclusive; the abuses were to be found within the Church in Europe.'Outline the main reasons which led to believe why the Church was in need of reform throughout Europe.

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Introduction

'The factors that led to Luther's reform of the German Church were not exclusive; the abuses were to be found within the Church in Europe.' Outline the main reasons which led to believe why the Church was in need of reform throughout Europe. It is fair to say there were numerous reasons suggesting why the Church was in need of reform on a wide-scale degree throughout Europe during Luther's time. Apart from centralised abuses in Rome, concerning the Pope or other members of the higher clergy using their considerable political and spiritual power to their own ends instead of for the good of the Church they claimed to represent. There was corruption at the very grass-roots of religion, at local level churches, where simony, nepotism, and other corrupt practices moved the focus of the Church and its ministers away from the spiritual health of its people and towards a more materialistic view. Also the very representative of the Church in local areas, the priest, was often uneducated in faith, leading the people in a misguided manner until it was on the brink of collapse. Martin Luther, a German, Augustinian monk, recognised many of these failings, and finally stood up against them, this led to the movement known today as the reformation, which called for the change and reform of the malpractices in the Catholic Church.

Middle

were rife. As the vocational work was seem as an easy life many families saw it as a place to send their sons where they would be powerful, respected and well-off. This paved the way for untrained men entering the priesthood and monastic life without any theological training, which was seen as essential in order to lead God's people in the way of salvation. As a result, the men supposed to be leading the ordinary people in their religious lives were often just as ignorant in faith matters as any of the people. 'In fact Pluralism, (the holding of more than one post as Priest, Bishop etc.) led to widespread absenteeism so often the parish did not even have a priest, good or bad.' John Denman, 'History of the Reformation'. No real answers could be found when people posed these men a theological question, and superstition and misinformation were widespread. The actions of these 'men of God' was again called into question as they were often found to be concerned with the materialistic rewards in life, such as money possessions and even women. Many of these priests would say offertory masses numerous times a day, all to earn money for themselves. In fact it seemed all these priests could do was say mass and no-more as they did not posses the skills or knowledge to progress the faith of their people.

Conclusion

'Peter's Pence', was in fact named after money collected from it went to restore St Peter's Basilica. The Popes lived a life of luxury, far fetched from the original impression the Pope was meant to have, in the image of Jesus or St. Peter the first Pope. Many Pontiffs bought their way into the role to benefit from the huge political influence the office wielded, including some unsavoury characters such as Pope Alexander VI, or Rodrigo Borgia, (who fathered eight children and acted more like a powerful King than the Pope).With Pontiffs like these the Pope's intended role was all but forgotten. With this succession of Popes who did not merit the office, the focus of the Church had shifted and the health of the faith of its followers was not its top priority. Many wished for the religion to be purified in a reform, and the issue of the Papacy proved a main reason for the Reformation movement. To conclude, it finally seemed that faith had no part to play in the Church, it was corrupt from the local priest right up to the Pope himself, obsessed with secular matters rather than matters of faith. The Church was in dire need of reform, and regardless of whether Martin Luther originally intended it or not, the Reformation movement would achieve that in the following years. Conor Lavery History Essay - Luther's Reformation Conor Lavery - S3(1) - 6/01/2003

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