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

Were abuses the source of the Reformation?

Extracts from this document...


Were abuses the source of the Reformation? The causes of the English reformation are much debated. Different reasons have been cited from many different corners, ranging from; a genuine call for reform and interest in Protestantism to the whole affair being due to Henry VIII's personal desires. The most common cause of the reformation offered is the assertion that the English church was in a state of disrepute and hence crumbling as a result. Here the objective is to discover if abuses were indeed the source of the English reformation, however bias is so rife on the topic, that the task becomes highly difficult. Not only primary sources contain heavy bias, "Predictably, after 1534 Henry VIII's historians... blackened the reputation of English Catholicism"1 moreover political and religious persuasions affect modern historians as well. Religiously there are two clear sides to the argument. On one side Protestants (and perhaps historians in the latter half of Henry's reign) indicate the 'innumerable' failings of the Church and its clergy as the source of the English reformation. Whilst on the other hand Catholics and others claim abuses were not a problem, and the English Reformation arose from numerous alternative factors including the infiltration of England by Protestants and Protestant propaganda. Examples of clerical abuses from the early sixteenth century are free flowing, however an appreciation for why this is so is necessary. ...read more.


Those that did were usually from within and therefore a public outcry was definitely not on the cards. Another type of anticlericalism mentioned above existed in the form of opposition to the established religion, and it is when investigating this that the Lollardy movement and other similar groups becomes important. The Lollardy movement certainly existed and certainly gave the English Bishops cause for concern. Factions such as the White Horse Tavern group from Cambridge and proof from Oxford booksellers' that Lutheran works were being sold by 1520 prove the presence of Protestant support. Theology was the original core of the these movements, whereby they rejected the notion of purgatory and thus ridding Christianity of indulgences, as Martin Luther had done in Germany.. "Lollardy undoubtedly had its scurrilous side and at times descended into little more than anticlericalism"4. This statement emphasises that the anticlerical movements were not originally concerned with anticlericalism and an attack on the church because of its abuses, (although it does imply fees were an abuse) but simply as with Luther, they were calling for reform from within the church The word 'source' literally defined means the place from which something comes. For the assertion that abuses were the source of the English reformation to be true, then one would be required to supply evidence to the effect of; as a result of abuses the reformation occurred. ...read more.


The abuses of the church in England were far too incomprehensible for popular opposition to the institution. Simon Fish's greatest complaint was the ignorance of the laity, in as much as it frustrated him that they could not see the abuse he could. The Anglican Church was an amazing feat by the English monarchy, and since Elizabeth I had enough time to standardise it, it has remained to the present day. The English reformation coincided loosely with the European reformation, but it was entirely independent. Paul Johnson's summation "The reformation, indeed, was a typical piece of English conservatism, conducted with the familiar mixture of muddle, deviousness, hypocrisy and ex post facto rationalisation." The important thing to realise in this investigation is that the reformation was indeed a muddle. Its driving forces were drawn from different sources at different times, from Henry, from Protestants and perhaps even from discontent with the church due to abuses. To agree with Diamard MacCulloch is perhaps the wisest of options. Her assertion that the reformation was composed by the monarchy is certainly overwhelmingly convincing, because the actuality and mechanics of the process were entirely down to the split with Rome, and then the Statutory Reformation that was ordered by the crown. If abuses are to be the source of the English reformation then let them be, but be sure to understand that it was not abuses belonging to the church and its clergy. ...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. "Calvin's success in Geneva was due to the organisation and disciplineOf the movement rather ...

    Each order had a clearly defined function as the elders were 'to supervise every person's conduct', the deacons were 'to care for the goods of the poor' and 'to care for the goods of the poor' and 'to look after the sick', the pastors were 'to proclaim the Word of

  2. English Reformation

    Such views argued by Dickens however, can be exaggerated. Dickens is characteristically Whig- Protestant.4 He centres his argument on the rise of reforming Protestantism as the catalyst of the Reformation, overlooking the political upsurge that had certainly contributed to the English Reformation. He stresses that the seedbed of Protestantism was created by the expanding popular reaction to Lollardy and anticlericalism.

  1. The storm-troopers of the counter reformation. Is this an accurate description of the Jesuits?

    'One of the features that marked out the Society of Jesus from many similar groups that emerge in Catholic communities during the first half of the sixteenth century was its powerful strategy of wining support'.6 This method was base on Loyola's spiritual exercises and dealing with people on a single client basis.

  2. essential elements of 'Calvinism'

    According to Woodward, Calvin "attached less significance to the Eucharist than either Luther or Zwingli, perhaps he was well aware of the theological disputes generated by this subject", showing that perhaps Calvin wished to keep people on his side. As well as disagreeing with transubstantiation, Calvin also denounced indulgences, celibacy

  1. Studies of Religion

    a sermon or homily, as to endeavour to contextualise the message of the Gospel to our contemporary times as well explain any of the ambiguity's that may have arisen in the readings and as such, the priest or minister is in the educator mould of the Rabbi for a short period of time.

  2. How far do you agree that the church in England on the eve of ...

    and opposition to Wolsey was very limited and the changes he brought about were improvement and generally accepted. Wolsey showed interests in Lutheranism and spoke openly at Oxford and Cambridge University about heresy, which make relations between him, the king and the pope stronger as they all opposed heresy.

  1. Ministry Project Topic Statement

    being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18); and "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).

  2. How useful are the secondary sources provided in understanding Medieval Monasticism compared with the ...

    way for a much more economical area that held considerable amounts of wealth and power, which eventually diluted religion. Fountains was originally a wooden hut, beneath a tree. For some time the architecture remained plain and simple, reflecting the monk's austere lifestyle.

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