Martin Luther's Critique Of The Roman Catholic Church

Decent Essays
On October 31st, 1517, a German, Roman Catholic priest named Martin Luther made public his critiques of the Roman Catholic Church in a document called “Ninety-Five Theses”. From this document, came three more pamphlets criticizes the authority and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, “including the papacy, as corrupt and immoral, and questioned its right to rule over Christians and interpret Holy Scripture” (Carter and Warren, 75). As you can tell, Luther threw some pretty hefty accusations and critiques against what is arguably the most powerful institution of the time. These accusations and critiques caused an uproar from the Roman Catholic Church’s heirarchy and an uprising from peasants, all of which is now referred to as “The Reformation”. …show more content…
Luther’s Ninty-five theses outraged leaders, who publically condemned Luther. However, Luther was not handed over; he was protected by Frederick III, Elector of Saxony. This act of protection by Frederick III, showed the limit on the Power the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor had not only in the religious environment, but also in the economic and political environments. This point in history marks a point at which the Roman Catholic Church’s power was highly in question, not only by its own member, Martin Luther, but also, in turn, by the peasants and uneducated people who previously had no voice in the actions of the church. As previously mentioned, Luther made public his Ninety-five theses and three pamphlets which expanded on his already thorough critique. In this document, Luther targeted the clerical hierarchy which was the most powerful religious and political institution at the time The Roman Catholic Church not only guided spiritual lives, but also controlled wealth, served as political advisors and even served as de facto rulers. He went against the law, facing “both political and religious punishments: public penance, excommunication, exile, imprisonment and even execution”(Carter and Warren, …show more content…
Therefore, for a priest of their own to be questioning their authority was, not only a massive undertaking on Luther’s part, it was basically unheard of at the time. Luther took a stand against a very powerful organization; in order to stand up for what he believed in. This was very courageous and rare for the time. Once people saw that Luther was not being punished, they saw that they would be able to follow hoping for the same result. Unfortunately, when the difference of opinions spread throughout the peasants, the German Peasants’ War broke out. However, the mere fact that a war did pursue speaks volumes as to how much people cared about this movement and their religion. The people who were previously unheard in the church were suddenly able to take a stand and have their voices heard. In the end, this is the biggest reason I believe the reformation had such a large impact. It gave the peasants a voice despite the fact that Luther was not always in agreement with those who dared to rise up against the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformation had a significant impact in history, not only because the unheard spoke, but also because a previously Roman Catholic priest dared to stand against an extremely powerful and influential institution. I find the Reformation to be amazing, because in those days, protests were seemingly unheard of and severely punishable, but Luther stood up for what he believed

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