The Internal Weaknesses Of The Catholic Church Were The Real Reasons For The German Reformation.

1709 words - 7 pages

There is some validity in this statement as there is evidence to support this claim that the Church was spiritually unhealthy in the pre-reformation period as argued by traditionalists such as John Lotherington, editor of 'Years of Renewal.' However, the statement made is rather too simplistic. There is strong evidence that there were several reasons other than the weaknesses of the Catholic Church that played an important role in causing the German Reformation. Michael Mullett argues wholly that Luther was the cause of the Reformation, while Keith Randell, author of 'Luther and the German Reformation' argues that there were a number of causes such as political, economical, social, and cultural causes.The Church argues Lotherington is the most important key issue for the cause of the German Reformation. Lotherington quotes, "The Roman Catholic Church was intent on exploiting Germany". He bases his argument on the evidence Religion was the most important affair in the middle Ages. In this age, people would not live to an old age but would die quite young. Therefore, people would place their trust in God and subsequently, in the Church, thinking that by 'good works', and other practices such as purchasing Indulgences would get them eternal life. It was on the sale of Indulgences that made Luther write his Ninety Five Theses. Randell also supports Lotherington's view that it was Luther's protest against Indulgences that spurred the Reformation. Relics of Saints were also a money making scheme in which is mentioned by Lotherington which must have been frauds and Lotherington states, "...sceptical travellers noted enough wood from the cross to make a forest of crosses..."However, as both Randell and Lotherington state, there were also other weaknesses in the Church bar indulgences that caused it to be corrupt. Randell and even Mullett to an extent all agree that other abuses in the Church were an obvious cause, although not as wholly as Lotherington. Randell argues that there was an impression of anti clericalism throughout Germany. He bases his argument on the evidence of practices such as Simony, Pluralism, Nepotism and consequently absenteeism. Lotherington also agrees with this evidence. Also, Randell states that most members of the clergy had little or no theological training, but viewed their positions as "sources of power, prestige and income". Priests and Bishops, although having taken a vow of celibacy, had either a mistress or concubine, therefore they were somewhat occupied with other issues.Lotherington, Mullett and Randell all mention the abuses of the Papacy to some extent. They all agree that the papacy's spiritual concerns were very low. Popes engaged in sexual activities, even fathering children, and engaging in numerous wars. Mullett argues that Popes were more politicians and Warriors than Popes, using the example Pope Julius II. He also argues, however, that the Popes were respected, even Luther, for some time, treated the Pope...

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