Causes of the Reformation
Life in the Middle Ages was full of faith, but due to opposing opinions in theology, the great schism split the church in two. This era was very dark and violent due to the Black Death, Crusades, and the Hundred Years’ War. However, because of the Reformation from 1500 through the 1600’s that reformed the abuses in the Catholic Church, society, politics, and economics will be altered. During this time the printing press rapidly spread information, the people turned on the money-hungry church, and powerful monarchs challenged the church’s authority. Which then lead to the age of exploration.
During the Renaissance and Reformation, social changes began to develop through people presenting new, eye-opening ideas to the public. For example, the rapidly spread belief of humanism and new art techniques led to a questioning in the church. With the help of the printing press, secular information was now much simpler and quicker to print and distribute. This allowed large amounts of people to translate the bible, that was now in a vernacular language, for themselves which caused a greater criticism of the church.
Within the same time period, the churches fraudulent actions resulted in an economic change. For instance, the selling of indulgences was found to be a scam created by the Catholic Church to acquire more money. This falsehood was exposed due to Martin Luther and his publishing of the 95 theses which also revealed many other lies told by the church. Once the people gained this knowledge, they realized that the church leaders cared more about gaining wealth than actually being god’s voice on earth. Even before the church’s corrupt practices were revealed, monarchs were jealous of their wealth and merchants resented the church for making them pay taxes.
Lastly, the immense amount of knowledge gained as well as strict judgement of the church resulted in a change in politics. The church’s great political power and riches created conflict among others. Specifically, powerful monarchs challenged the church as the supreme power because they were jealous and wanted to take power away from them. Similarly, many rulers saw the pope as a foreign ruler and disputed his authority.