Different Impacts On Religion Essay

1294 words - 5 pages

Close to one hundred and fifty years apart, both Louis XIV Edict of Fontainebleau and Luther’s Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation had an immense impact on religion. Martin Luther’s document would pave the way for the Protestant Reformation, while Louis XIV would revoke all the freedoms that the Huguenots enjoyed in a Catholic France with the Edict of Nantes. This essay will compare and contrast these distinctions and their impact on religion. Therefore, although years apart, these two documents lead a paradigm shift, address what they believe to be “evils” plaguing their lands, and put power in the hands of the temporal authorities.
The renowned individuals, King Louis XIV and Martin Luther, led a paradigm shift with their documents in different centuries. They set about to change religious structures, which had been in place in France and Germany since the existence of Christianity. Louis wanted to bring France together under one religion, that of Catholicism. This aspiration was one of the three criterions in his motto: “one king, one law, one faith”. He began to feel that the existence of a minority undermined his political authority and he wanted to eradicate any such doubts. Martin Luther wanted to see reform in the Roman Catholic Church; he wanted the religion to be for everyone and wanted people to follow the word of God and his scriptures, not the church. Such reformation would eventually bring about a new religion and a huge shift away from the Roman Catholic Church. However, there was a big difference in how Louis and Luther addressed what they believed to be the “evils” plaguing their land.
According to King Louis, the Protestants were the evil that plagued his land and they were given the power by his grandfather’s edict. King Louis’ reforms as per the Edict were very extreme and many had already been implemented against all Protestants. All edicts prior to this were to be nullified, the main one being the Edict of Nantes. He ordered the immediate destruction of all the Protestant temples in the Kingdom, which led to five hundred seventy of the eight hundred fifteen Huguenot churches to be destroyed . Worshipping and religious gatherings in the private sector were banned and “punishable with imprisonment and confiscation.” Children were targeted as early as 1665 and all private Protestant schools were forbidden to teach. Boys and girls at the age of fourteen and twelve were also allowed to convert into Catholicism, leave their parents and begin learning the Catholic faith. More incentive to convert was given in 1677 with a reward system, the “Treasury of Conversions” (reward of six livres per converting family member). All children born in Protestant homes were also to be baptized by the local priest. Parents not complying would be “under penalty of five hundred livres fine, to be increased as circumstances may demand”. Emigration was not a safe option as Huguenots “together with their wives and children”...

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