Why Did the Catholic Reform Happen?

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church, Pope Pages: 4 (1517 words) Published: June 13, 2013
Why did the reform happen? What was the impact?

“At a deeper psychological level, the reformers' ideas of salvation introduced a major change in the way people saw their world. They could no longer free themselves from sin through magical rituals. Instead, they had to be active in adopting a new lifestyle, based on private prayer, worship, study, and individual ethical choice. This was difficult for many to do,” (Fiona MacDonald). As the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries rolled in, the prestige of the Catholic Church had noticeably declined, and people were beginning to question everything they had once blindly believed. The Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism shook the faith of many, and humanists were beginning to speak up about the corruption they were witnessing within the church. These critics focused on three main practices: absenteeism, pluralism, and immorality. Absenteeism and pluralism went hand in hand as many church officials held multiple benefices yet rarely visited each one and performed the religious duties that were expected for each office. Instead of completing their duties, many clerics spent their time drinking, gambling, and ignoring their oath of celibacy. These immoral practices went against everything they were supposed to live by. The humanist critics also condemned the lack of education necessary to be a member of the clergy. The standards for ordination were extremely low; many priests were barely able to read and write. Even the popes of the time felt no need to hide their improper behavior. They lived lives of full of scandal and luxury, using the papal wealth for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones. Innocent VIII (1484-1492), Pius II (1458-1464), Alexander VI (1492-1503), and Sixtus IV (1471-1484) all led lives full of splendor, similar to Renaissance princes. Being the leader of the Catholic world was not at the top of their agenda. People began to see the growing necessity of church reform, yet only small...
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