The Reformation of Faith and Church
The figure of Martin Luther dominates the Reformation. But why did people decide to follow Luther? Did Luther set out to reform the Church or break away and set up his own rival church?
There is little doubt that the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century torn apart the religious unity of early modern Europe. From that point forward, all Europeans were forced to make a choice -- would they remain a Catholic or follow Luther, Calvin and other reformers? The Church met the Lutheran challenge by embracing some of the criticisms of the Christian humanists and ultimately, reforming itself. What role did the Council of Trent have in establishing the role of the Church in the 16th and 17th centuries?
- Johann Tetzel, Sermon on Preaching Indulgences
Tetzel announces that the indulgence will free the sinner from Purgatory.
- Martin Luther, The Ninety-Five Theses (1517)
Luther's challenge to Church teachings on the nature of penance, papal authority, and the usefulness of indulgences.
- Martin Luther, On Good Works (1520)
The importance of simple faith in God's promise compared to "good works" of fast, pilgrimages, alms and gifts to the Church.
- The Edict of the Diet of Worms (1521)
The Holy Roman Emperor, Emperor Charles V, declares Martin Luther an outlaw and a heretic and bans his published writings.
- The Augsburg Confession (1530)
The Confession is one of the most important documents of the Lutheran Reformation and was intended by Charles V to bring religious peace to Europe.
- John Calvin, On Predestination
Calvin's doctrine of predestination describes salvation as the decision and act of God alone.
- Loyola, The Constitution of the Jesuits, Bull of September 27, 1540
The purpose of the Jesuit constitution was to create a tightly centralized organization and that stressed education, conversion and obedience to the Pope.
- Decrees of the Council of Trent
The Council met three times between 1545 and 1563 and was intended to clearly specify Church doctrine on salvation, the sacraments and the Biblical canon.