For Catholics: What was the reason for the Reformation?


#1

This is a question for any knowledgeable or also curious Catholics.

Why did the Reformation occur? I can’t seem to justify it’s continued existence nor can I make sense of it’s success.

Is there something I am historically missing in it’s timing? Maybe something prophesied in Scripture?

I simply can’t get my head around why the Protestants are still here. Other schismatic groups have come and gone. The Orthodox are still here but their doctrine and their form are almost completely the same as they were a thousand years ago. The Oriental Orthodox churches have been around for fifteen-hundred years and still stubbornly maintain the same doctrines and practices. However, the Protestants’ doctrine changes every day yet they seem to be going nowhere. Why is this? What in history has made them different? Why do they continue to become more and more radically diverse?

I guess what I mean is how can they still exist?


#2

Protestants still exist for they haven’t been able to make the full circle back into the Church yet. Martin Luther was right, reform in the Church was needed. But he was also wrong, it wasn’t doctrine that needed reforming.

Schisms exist for the devil is good at keeping the faithful apart and man is good at following his own flesh.

I guess it still exist because God isn’t finish separating the goats form the sheep:shrug:. Both within the Catholic Church and out.


#3

The reformation happened because God willed it to happened. Protestants are still here because God wills them to be here.


#4

A lot of it was politics. At the time, Charles V was the King of Spain, but he also controlled the largest empire that any one person has ever controlled on earth. Columbus had just discovered America, and so Spain now controlled the entirety of North and South America, except for Brazil. Charles V was extremely busy with organizing this entirely new region of the world. Not only were there millions of souls that needed converting, but the Aztec and Inca empires were fabulously wealthy. (By the way, how wealthy am I talking about? The first shipment of gold from the Aztec empire back to Spain contained MORE GOLD THAN HAD BEEN MINED IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF EUROPE, which is remarkable by any standard! Now realize that they brought that much gold back from the Inca empire too, and they kept that pace up for over 125 years!!!) As you can see, this would be quite a distraction.

BUT… Charles V controlled more. He controlled the Netherlands, Sicily, and was the Holy Roman Emperor (a new position for the Spanish). The HRE was, in actuality, the very loosely controlled region of Germany, which was made up of 360 tiny provinces that greatly resented having any kind of domination, let alone foreign domination. (The region was usually controlled by a German, and even that was barely tolerated.) Since Charles V enjoyed the Royal Patrimony (a special power to enforce Catholicism within his realms), many local princes knew that breaking away from the church would also undermine his political control over the HRE, and thus, they would maintain the independence of their tiny kingdoms. It provided the base for a political movement.

So, Charles V hears about Luther, but doesn’t give him much credence. He’s too busy making Spain the most powerful nation on earth, and thinks that converting America is the far more important religious issue. He thinks that Luther will die out eventually, and so delegates the problem away. By the time he realizes how large and serious the movement is, it’s already too late to stop it. The problem with Charles V’s empire is that it’s simply too big to effectively manage.


#5

The Reformation happened due to different (i.e. social, political, religious) factors, as pointed out by above posters.

God let it happen since perhaps He knew that some sort of good would come out of this (IMHO) ‘bad’ event.

I simply can’t get my head around why the Protestants are still here. Other schismatic groups have come and gone. The Orthodox are still here but their doctrine and their form are almost completely the same as they were a thousand years ago. The Oriental Orthodox churches have been around for fifteen-hundred years and still stubbornly maintain the same doctrines and practices. However, the Protestants’ doctrine changes every day yet they seem to be going nowhere. Why is this? What in history has made them different? Why do they continue to become more and more radically diverse?

I guess what I mean is how can they still exist?

Simple. God still finds a use for them and thus, still wills them to be. He will take care of these matters in His time.


#6

The Reformation happened because there was some reform that was needed. The illicit sale of indulgences, for one. However, this was not condoned by Rome - it was done by individuals.

Unfortunately, the stubborness of men filled with spritual pride is what turned reform into rebellion and anarchy. That is why we are still plagued by division after division after division . . .


#7

Did Lucifer and Adam and Eve fall because God willed sin also? Such nonsense,


#8

The Reformation occurred in those parts of the Roman Empire which had insufficiently converted to Christianity.

Protestantism lingers because it was the state religion of these areas as they coalesced into nations throughout the modern period. Protestantism being ill-equipped to combat secularism, it will eventually come down to reunion with Rome or the kind of fuzzy paganism we see among Unitarians and the like.

Read Belloc’s “How the Reformation Happened.”


#9

And you extend this reasoning to Islam, atheism, and Communism?


#10

There is nothing that has ever happen thoughtout history that has not been the will of God or has been outsidr the will of God


#11

So God willed the Fall, slavery, and the Holocaust, among other things?


#12

Rolltide in Post #4 gives a good example of the “political” aspect of the reformation/revolt against the Church.
Kings, Princes, Dukes and others on both sides of the fence found opportunity for political and personal gain from the confusion caused by the “reformation”. This added to, and further confused the situation and made reconciliation that much more difficult.
If the Protestant Reformation had been a strictly “Spiritual” affair without all the “Political” complications, it is possible that the problems would have been resolved relatively quickly.

Peace
James


#13

Yes, because God could have willed them not to happen, so his permissive will let them happen


#14

You will find this thread interesting.

Suffice it to say that making God the author of sin is a grave error indeed.


#15

Hmmmm . . .
1 Tim. 2:3-4 says:
This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Not all are saved, though, are they? And as Teflon93 already pointed out, to say that God is the author of sin is grave error.


#16

It was greatly helped by the pagan state of the Papacy for a start; which was much more like one amoral Italian city state among others, than like anything Christian. When cardinals buy the Papacy & become Pope, something is sick & rotten. And that is not all that was wrong by a long way :mad: :frowning:

The Church we are familiar with is in some ways far less rotten than then - as late as 1789, out of 130 French bishops, only one was a commoner. One.To rise to the top, it helped to be of noble or royal blood. Before the Reformation, the duty of bishops to reside in their sees was not enforced - not until Paul IV put the fear of God (& of the Inquisition) into the clerical layabouts in Rome, & made them go back to their sees, where they should have been anyway.

American Catholics won’t understand this, for they have been spared 1600 years of corruption. Europe, OTOH, has seen no end of it; & it was particularly acute until Luther shocked the Church into doing something about the problems inb the Church: it says a lot that nothing else had been enough of a reason for the Church to undertake serious reform. It needed to be divided, before it would act: & that says everything about the pre-Reformation Church.

IMHO, the Reformation was - under one aspect - a punishment of the Church; under another, a genuine Reformation; under a third, a great evil. Luther is a genuinely prophetic figure in some ways IMO.


#17

I agree. I think that Luthor served as a wake up call to a Church that had become far to “comfortable” in its position. That doesn’t excuse where things went in his movement but at the same time I do believe that God used it to reinvigorate His Church.

While it is true that there is really no longer a purpose to Protestantism, it is now a tradition that people have been raised into for generations, and for many it might be the only expression of Christianity that they ever really experience.


#18

This is incorrect. God does not will for evil to happen.

He allows evil to happen, but he does not will it.

Same with the Protestant Rebellion.


#19

Please do not twist my words. I never said that God is the author of sin. People sin because that is what they love to do, they revel in it and enjoy every minute of it.
What I said was God allows sin because of his permissive will. You see, there are things that God commands not to happen but allows because of his permissive will.
I hope that is not too deep for you.


#20

You will have to clarify how God’s permissive will does not make Him the author of sin.

Erasmus warned Luther against this heresy.

Luther’s response to Erasmus in “On the Enslavement of the Will” was that at all times God or Satan is in the saddle driving Man where each would. This is nothing less than Manichaen heresy reborn.

I trust Erasmus’ point wasn’t too deep for you.


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