Internal Weaknesses of the Catholic Church as the Real Resons for the German Reformation
There is some validity in this statement as there is evidence to
support this claim that the Church was spiritually unhealthy in the
pre-reformation period as argued by traditionalists such as John
Lotherington, editor of 'Years of Renewal.' However, the statement
made is rather too simplistic. There is strong evidence that there
were several reasons other than the weaknesses of the Catholic Church
that played an important role in causing the German Reformation.
Michael Mullett argues wholly that Luther was the cause of the
Reformation, while Keith Randell, author of 'Luther and the German
Reformation' argues that there were a number of causes such as
political, economical, social, and cultural causes.
The Church argues Lotherington is the most important key issue for the
cause of the German Reformation. Lotherington quotes, "The Roman
Catholic Church was intent on exploiting Germany". He bases his
argument on the evidence Religion was the most important affair in the
middle Ages. In this age, people would not live to an old age but
would die quite young. Therefore, people would place their trust in
God and subsequently, in the Church, thinking that by 'good works',
and other practices such as purchasing Indulgences would get them
eternal life. It was on the sale of Indulgences that made Luther write
his Ninety Five Theses. Randell also supports Lotherington's view that
it was Luther's protest against Indulgences that spurred the
Reformation. Relics of Saints were also a money making scheme in which
is mentioned by Lotherington which must have been frauds and
Lotherington states, "â€¦sceptical travellers noted enough wood from the
cross to make a forest of crossesâ€¦"
However, as both Randell and Lotherington state, there were also other
weaknesses in the Church bar indulgences that caused it to be corrupt.
Randell and even Mullett to an extent all agree that other abuses in
the Church were an obvious cause, although not as wholly as
Lotherington. Randell argues that there was an impression of anti
clericalism throughout Germany. He bases his argument on the evidence
of practices such as Simony, Pluralism, Nepotism and consequently
absenteeism. Lotherington also agrees with this evidence. Also,
Randell states that most members of the clergy had little or no
theological training, but viewed their positions as "sources of power,
prestige and income". Priests and Bishops, although having taken a vow
of celibacy, had either a mistress or concubine, therefore they were
somewhat occupied with other issues.
Lotherington, Mullett and Randell all mention the abuses of the Papacy
to some extent. They all agree that the papacy's spiritual concerns
were very low. Popes engaged in sexual...