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Why were the people of Germany in the early sixteenth century prepared to undermine the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church?

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History Essay Question: why were the people of Germany in the early sixteenth century prepared to undermine the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church? Germany in the eve of the reformation was a very different place to what we recognise it to be today. It was a collective of states each ruled by a prince. Although a minority of people became wealthy due to new trade routes, mining and supply of weaponry, many of the peasants and farmers remained poor. In some instances serfdom still existed and there were regular uprising against voracious land owners. As the princes of the various stated such as Saxony and Wittenberg had no central government to rule Germany each state acted as if they were small countries, building cities and castles. The Roman Catholic emperor took advantage of the instability of the German people. As there were no central government he could do as he liked such as introduce a higher indulges fee and a number of religious taxes. Many people had already started to question the running of the church and the reason for why many priests grew rich and had women friends. ...read more.


The fresh outlook also started the basis of discussion of reform of the practices of the clergy. Many of the problems came from the very top. The pope in Rome hardly set a fine example. In 1500 the papacy was seen as a powerful institution politically as well as spiritually. The popes were always Italian usually from well off families. The popes seem more concern in their growing wealth rather than their spiritual duties. Further more there was more evidence of corruption filtering down through the ranks, for example: * Simony: Priests used to sell there own benefice. This enabled them to make more money of people without the declaring it to the papacy, thus allowing them to keep all of the money rather than giving the pope a share. * Nepotism: Where a bishop or cardinal would appoint a high ranking position to a person who was a relation rather than basing it on talent. * Pluralism: When a bishop was head of more than one church thus not being able to make all the services but reaping the rewards of having two churches. ...read more.


it; or that a particular form of the Reformation was specially well suited to the political experience and thinking of certain types of communities. * Psychological and Spiritual Explanations: These look at the essential, spiritual message of the Reformers, and account for laymen's response to it in terms of psychological needs which may be supposed to exist in everyone, rather than in specialized interest groups. These offer the most far-reaching kind of argument, but also the hardest to prove; and are therefore better left until the possibilities of the others have been exhausted. In conclusion there were many reasons why the people of Germany in the early sixteenth century were prepared to undermine the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. The above three reasons generalise the overall motives of why so many were physically and spiritually saw what was happening to the church as wrong, but many historians forget to acknowledge the fact that raw emotion had a lot to do with it. The reformers all had one thing in common they felt betrayed by the church and angry and it is this anger that led many people to follow in the foot steps of Martin Luther. 1 ...read more.

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