Protestant challenge to Catholicisms hegemony in N Essay

This essay has a total of 1689 words and 7 pages.

Protestant challenge to Catholicisms hegemony in N.Europe

Protestant challenge to Catholicism's hegemony in Northern Europe

Protestants and Catholics have been fighting for centuries. Most of us, even some of them,
have no clue as to what they are fighting about. In the 1520s a religious stirring began,
where people were starting to get frustrated and angered by how the church was conducting
itself. Northern European weather can be very cold and harsh at times, because of this, it
made it very difficult for people to leave their homes to get to church. What these people
saw were their church priests dressed in very ornate, warm, robes and living in nice warm
homes eating very good meals. Half the time these people couldn't understand what the
priest was preaching because he spoke in Latin and they could only speak German or
English. On top of all of this the people had to pay if they wanted to be forgiven for
their sins, indulgences they were called, which basically provided absolutely no hope for
people who didn't have much. These were not the only things stirring feelings in northern
Europe, the fact that the church was based in Rome, such a long way from their home,
contributed to the restlessness of the people. People were starting to think that the
church had no clue about their lives up in the north and how difficult it could be, they
felt removed and unconnected with the church. The two major focal points for the
reformation were Martin Luther and his ninety-five theses and also King Henry the eighth.
Neither of these two men began the movements in their respective countries, they simply
gave the people a focal point and a way to get organized.

Martin Luther was a monk who taught at a Wittenberg University in the 1500s. Martin Luther
had questioned the practice of selling indulgences and the fact that the church said that
you could only speak to God through a priest for sometime in his mind. In 1517, when an
archbishop had a sale on these indulgencies to raise money, Martin Luther decided to write
a question and argument paper about the church's questionable practices, to get some
debate going at the University. The paper was called the ninety-five theses and it sparked
many people's interests in Germany and other parts of northern Europe and made Martin
Luther a focal point for people who felt the same, and an enemy of the church. It didn't
take long for the church to get anxious about Martin Luther and his growing followers, in
1520 Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther, who upon receiving the papers burned them in
public. Luther's patron Elector Frederick the Wise helped to keep Luther safe. So why
didn't the church kill Luther and stop the movement right away? There is a very long and
circular political reason. Fredrick the Wise supported Luther for egotistical reasons and
political ones, not because he had a personal commitment to him. Fredrick the wise was
actually a "model of Catholic piety" he had a large collection of relics, and had gone on
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he was a teenager. The reasons he supported Martin Luther
are that Fredrick had founded the college of Wittenberg where Luther taught, and the
second reason is that Luther attacked the archbishop of Mainz, who was a political foe of
Fredrickā€˜s, in his ninety-five theses. So it could be speculated to keep the backing of
the people in Germany, Fredrick supported Luther. Also at this time the church wanted
Fredrick to seek out the Holy Roman Emperor throne, which was up for grabs because of the
death of Maximilian, the current emperor. The death shifted the church's focus from Luther
to the question of who would be Maximilian's successor.

For Luther the Bible was the basis for religious authority, and that a priest was not
needed for a person to speak with God. Luther's teachings and beliefs became known as
Lutheranism. Luther's own beliefs and ideals were spiritual, therefore I feel that his
personal movement and for his close followers, the challenge to the Catholic hegemony in
northern Europe was a more spiritual drive. Now, for Fredrick the Wise, other political
entities, and Luther's more distant followers I feel the challenge was definitely
nationalistic.

In respect to the creation of the church of England, which came about because of King
Henry the eighth, I feel was definitely a nationalistic drive. Although Henry's reasons
were selfish, he did the people of England a favor, who were already fed up with the Pope
and Catholicism. King Henry started the push to parliament for the church of England after
the Pope would not grant him an annulment for his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry
wanted the annulment because she hadn't produced a boy, only a girl. Henry was afraid God
had given him bad luck because he married his dead brother's widow; Catherine. Henry's
selfishness helped the English protestants organize and put together their own ideals and
religious beliefs without fear.

The church's response to reformation was one of typical hegemonic style. The church at
first ignored Martin Luther and his growing number of followers, but after a few years
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