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Why did the German Reformation take root so easily between 1513 and 1530?h

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Introduction

Why did the German Reformation take root so easily between 1513 and 1530? The Reformation of the Catholic Church was always going to happen; it was just a question of when? For centuries the Church had been fighting off herises. In Germany between 1513 and 1530, it just so happened that a number of key factors for the Reformation co-insided. The clearly corrupted church and papacy; the development of printing; the arrival and actions of Martin Luther and public opinion; the absence of the Emperor in the 1520's and the way Erasmus and his writing had opened up the criticisms of the Papacy, these were all key factors of the German Reformation. I will examine these key factors. In the 1420's the people of the Holy Roman Empire were encouraged to believe in the second coming of Christ; they were worried about their day of Judgement and what would be thought of them. The Papacy took advantage of this and point so encouraged people to buy indulgences. It was in 1517 when the friar John Tetzal went to Germany in order to sell them. ...read more.

Middle

The German Church lacked leadership and it resented giving all their money to the Papacy, who were mostly Italian. When Luther wrote the theses he was seen as a prophet who had come to lead the way for the arrival of Christ. Luther was seen as a 'John the Baptist' character. With the development of printing, Luther's ideas were spread a lot quicker throughout Germany and beyond. In the 1520's Luther wrote three pamphlets, which expressed his ideas on Catholicism. The first was; 'Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.' This pamphlet emphasised the corruption of the Papacy, with their sexual permissiveness, luxury and evil notions. The Church was more about money than God. Luther also made clear that priests were ordinary men, not closer to God, or to God's representations. The first pamphlet also introduced the idea of 'sola fide' to the ordinary Germans. This is the idea that by faith alone, you will go to heaven. The ideas of the first pamphlet were very successful, because it was what the German people wanted to believe. No longer were they condemned in eternal hell, or paying penance for their sins. ...read more.

Conclusion

Luther also received support from Catholic bishops who did not know whether Luther's theology was right or wrong. The bulk of Luther's support was from the common people; learned Germans who understood the theology behind his arguments alongside the peasants who just opposed the Papacy. Luther's support among the higher powers in Germany ensured his safety from church authorities, while his support from the common people spread his name across Germany. The absence of the Emperor in the 1520's was a great factor, which helped the Reformation. Charles V left Germany and went to Spain in 1522, for seven years. He appointed his younger brother Ferdinand to act as his regent but was reluctant to grant him the necessary independence of action to crush Lutheran challenge. Overall the Reformation took root so easily between 1513 and 1530, because Luther was used as a catalyst. He joined together the corruptness of the Church with the development of printing to spread his message quickly. Without the use of printing or the support of the public, Luther would have been ignored, excommunicated or executed like some of his predecessors. Without all the factors the Reformation would not have taken place. ...read more.

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