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The Protestant Reformation. Before the 1500s Christianity was largely confined to Europe, split between Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe and Eastern Orthodox churches in the East and Russia. German priest Martin Luther challenges the Catholic Church.

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the protestant reformation
The Protestant Reformation
  • Before the 1500s Christianity was largely confined to Europe, split between Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe and Eastern Orthodox churches in the East and Russia.
german priest martin luther challenges the catholic church
German priest Martin Luther challenges the Catholic Church
  • Salvation comes from faith only, gift from God
  • True religion was from the Bible, not the church authorities
  • Questions the Church authority
german priest martin luther challenges the catholic church1
German priest Martin Luther challenges the Catholic Church
  • “Faith alone…justifies, sets free, and saves”
  • All men are “priests for ever…worthy to appear before God, to pray for others, and to teach one another mutually the things which are of God.”

Catholic church needed money to pay off debts incurred from wars and extravagant spending, particularly Pope Leo X (a Medici!)

To raise funds, church officials turned to selling indulgences, payments to remove the penalties of sin

Indulgences even sold to the dead

a revolution sweeps europe
A revolution sweeps Europe
  • 95 Theses nailed to the door of a church in Wittenberg in Germany
  • Main complaint was corruption of the Catholic Church, specifically the selling of indulgences
three theses regarding indulgences
Three theses regarding indulgences

Papal indulgences should only be preached with caution, lest people gain a wrong understanding, and think that they are preferable to other good works: those of love.

Christians should be taught that one who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does a better action than if he purchases indulgences.

Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope's pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.

the printing press and the reformation
The Printing Press and the Reformation
  • The printing press, invented in the mid 1400s by Johann Gutenberg, helps to distribute the pamphlets of Luther as well as his translation of the new testament into German
  • “God has appointed the [printing] press to preach, whose voice the pope was never able to stop.”
the printing press and the reformation1
The Printing Press and the Reformation
  • Between the end of 1517 and the summer of 1520, more than 300,000 copies of Luther’s writings were in circulation
what s the big deal
What’s the big deal?

Read over this list of differences between Protestant and Catholics in the 1500s

Discuss at your table groups why Luther’s beliefs were such a challenge

Which of these differences would cause the most problems for the Catholic Church?

protestant v catholic religion or politics
Protestant v. Catholic: Religion or Politics?

Found supporters among nobles, dissatisfied with church power and wanted an opportunity to gain land and taxes previously under the control of the church

Urban middle class opposed to the power and restrictions of remaining feudal system

Commoners angry about corruption of church and luxurious living of church authorities

catholic counter reformation
Catholic Counter-Reformation

Attempts to address some of the abuses/corruption of the Church authorities

Ignatius Loyola forms Society of Jesus (Jesuits); vow of poverty/good works etc…focus on education, counteracting the spread of Protestantism

Council of Trent (1545-1563).

Repression of heresy “An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs.”


There were several inquisitions

The Spanish Inquisition (1478–1834)

The Portuguese Inquisition (1536–1821)

The Roman Inquisition (1542 – c. 1860 )

reasons for the spanish inquisition
Reasons for the Spanish Inquisition

Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand needed a uniting force for a country-200,000 Jews expelled or forced to convert to Catholicism (“conversos”). Muslims (Moors) also expelled.

Protestant Reformation gave a powerful incentive to the continuation/growth of the Inquisition

Economic incentive: the Inquisition confiscated the property and wealth of heretics.

  • Would convict but not sentence. Sentences, particularly death sentences, were carried out by secular authorities,
  • "... for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.”
In Spain alone, several thousand people were executed usually by burning at the stake or strangulation
tom s de torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada:

Named as the Grand Inquisitor of Spain in 1483,served until 1499

Dominican Friar

Confessor to QueenIsabella

how the inquisition operated
How the Inquisition operated
  • Suppression of heresy
  • Jurisdiction only over baptized Christians (converted Jews or Muslims)
  • Auto-de-fé (literally act of faith) : the public ceremony for pronouncing judgment by the Inquisition which was followed by the execution of sentence by secular authorities
the inquisition also operated in spanish colonies in the americas particularly peru and mexico
The Inquisition also operated in Spanish colonies in the Americas, particularly Peru and Mexico
auto de fe
Auto de fe

Repentant or not………..

results of the counter reformation
Results of the Counter-Reformation

Reformers within the Catholic Church, like the Jesuits, were stern (No more fun-loving Popes like in Renaissance Era)

Slow to react at first to the Reformation, the church under its harsh new leaders cracks down on heretics.

In the end, though the Church had to accept the division of Europe, Catholicism emerged stronger than ever in the areas that it still controlled.

1550 1648 b loody religious wars tear europe apart
1550-1648 bloody religious wars tear Europe apart

In France between there were 8 wars between Protestants (called Huguenots) and Catholics between 1562 and 1598.

In August 1572 the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris led to six weeks of bloodshed in which thousands of Huguenots were killed.

The Edict of Nantes in 1598 ends these wars with a declaration of religious tolerance that allows Huguenots to worship and live in France.

Protestants in the Netherlands revolt against Spain in 1566. War lasts 11 years. In 1579, the northern provinces successfully declared independence from Spain. But fighting continued for another 70 years.

Thirty Years War (1618-1648), starts as a Catholic-Protestant fight for control of Germany and central Europe and ends up drawing in most of the nations of Europe at one time or another.

thirty years war1
Thirty Years War
  • Last of the great religious conflicts in Europe
  • A “World War” involving most European powers at one time or another. Fought in the Holy Roman Empire (Germany)
  • Estimated that 3 million people died in the conflict & combat = 20% of the population of Germany. France emerges as a major power.