Causes and Consequences of the Reformation
There were several causes of the Reformation. Some of them were short-term causes and others were long-term causes. One of the long-term causes of the Reformation was that many people thought that the Church was not following the Bible. For example, many people were unhappy with the idea of indulgences. Indulgences were gifts that people gave to the Church so their sins would be forgiven. In 1517 Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. They spoke against the theory of indulgences. Luther said they were very secular because mostly rich people were able to give indulgences, but that did not mean that the poor people were bad because they had no money for indulgences. This was like selling forgiveness to the people. So the rich thieves would be forgiven because they were so rich, but he poor slaves would not be forgiven because they had no money.
Another cause of the Reformation was that the Church was having some major problems at the time, other than many people trying to break away from it. For example, the Great Schism. The Great Schism greatly reduced the Church?s popularity when there was so much confusion over who was Pope. In 1378 the Cardinals in Rome elected Prignano to be Pope, but they soon chose Robert of Geneva to be Pope. Robert called himself Clement VIII and left Rome to Avingnon. Much chaos followed because the Pope was not home to solve problems with Protestants, etc.
A third long-term cause was that the Church owned lots of land. This was an economic reason. In Germany, for example, the Church owned about one-third of all the land, but it did not pay taxes on it. So the other landowners were forced to pay much higher taxes. To add to that, the Church had the power to collect its own taxes. This made it seem to the people of the German states that much of the money went out of their country and into Rome. In response to this, many European rulers now...
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