Is Erasmus A Faithful Roman Catholic Of His Days Based On The Reading Of The Praise Of Folly?, And Include A Statement As To What You Mean By "Faithful".

1291 words - 5 pages

Throughout the years the definition of what it is to be a "faithful Catholic" has been under dispute. There are many different ways to look at this idea, and none can be considered wrong due to the fact that no one really knows. Some say that to be a faithful Catholic one must follow every law that the Church has put in effect, live a life according to the Gospels, and commit good deeds as often as one can. A contrary view of this would be if one believed that Jesus Christ is your savior and lived according to the Gospels, but found that the Church itself has made some errors and feel that you do not have to live according to all of their rules.A man who believed the second view, and was scrutinized for it was Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus was a brilliant satirist that used his skill of clever mockery to vocalize his disagreement with the problems that were present in the Roman Catholic Church of his time. Erasmus felt that the church had many changes that were a necessity in order for the religion to grow; along with the fact that he felt some teaching was completely wrong.Up until the time of publication of Erasmus's book Praise of Folly, there had been little opposition to the Roman Catholic Church; although it was thought, it was almost unheard of to vocalize it. According to most Catholics of this time, writing a book that directly "picks on" that church, and makes light of some subjects that the church regards as being important and correct, would also be known as direct defiance of the Church itself. By not directly stating that the Church is wrong, and using his alternate voice, a female named "Folly", Erasmus had found a clever way to state what he felt was wrong with the Church, and being able to say it wasn't his thoughts directly when confronted.Through the voice of Folly, Erasmus brought up the arguments that the church had relapsed into the Judaistic legalism criticized by the apostle Paul. Erasmus said (through Folly) that the church had turned away from the idea that what you eat during Lent is more important than loving one's neighbor. What good were indulgences to those who did not mend their ways? What good were the good deeds that everyone was trying to do, if your faith was not underlined in Jesus Christ? Actions such as these angered Erasmus and he wished to cleanse the Church (as well as society) of selfishness, cruelty, hypocrisy, pride and ignorance - only to substitute them with tolerance, honesty, wisdom, service, and love. All of these characteristics were believed to already be present in the Church, but Erasmus felt otherwise. other major arguments with the catholic church that Erasmus had was that he rejected images, relics, prayers to Mary, clerical celibacy, and pilgrimages.By making these points, regardless to the fact that it wasn't him "directly" stating it, Erasmus could have been criticized as not being a faithful catholic. It was a common understanding of almost every Catholic that the Papal...

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