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    The Reformation’s Contribution to the Fragmentation of Europe

    Number of Pages: 4

     

    Summary of the research paper:

    This is a 4 page paper discussing how the Reformation contributed to the fragmentation of Europe. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church commanded a great deal of religious, political and social power in Europe. Those who did not believe in the sanctity, methods and power of the Church were condemned for their beliefs. During this time, there were several individuals within the Church who wished to return to a more pure and simple Christian lifestyle but would have to work against the Church to do so. Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas More, Martin Luther and John Calvin all preached how the common man could have a direct relationship with God without the intercession of priests. Because the Catholic Church held a great deal of economic power, many with the merchant class, nobility and the monarchy resented the transfer of wealth to the Church. When Protestantism began to sweep across Europe the populations embraced the idea of independence from the power of the Church; the result however was the fragmentation of the strong religious union in Europe and the development of ongoing civil wars for centuries to come. Bibliography lists 2 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_TJRefEr1.rtf

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    in the sanctity, methods and power of the Church were condemned for their beliefs. During this time, there were several individuals within the Church who wished to return to a  more pure and simple Christian lifestyle but would have to work against the Church to do so. Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas More, Martin Luther and John Calvin all preached how the  common man could have a direct relationship with God without the intercession of priests. Because the Catholic Church held a great deal of economic power, many with the merchant class,  nobility and the monarchy resented the transfer of wealth to the Church. When Protestantism began to sweep across Europe the populations embraced the idea of independence from the power of  the Church; the result however was the fragmentation of the strong religious union in Europe and the development of ongoing civil wars for centuries to come.  In the early 1500s, a well known Catholic, Desiderius Erasmus, suggested that "almost all Christians were enslaved by blindness and ignorance" and he believed that "many common  people had the capacity to understand Christianity as well as did priests" (Smitha, 2000). In fact, Erasmus may have been one of the first within the Roman Catholic Church who  doubted that the intercession of the priests was necessary and argued for increased education of the people and the availability of the Scriptures in local languages (Smitha, 2000). At  about the same time, Roman Catholic Thomas More was sent by King Henry VIII of England to be the ambassador of Flanders. During his time there, More wrote "Utopia" which  described a perfect society in which mortals were not born with sin but were the production of greed brought about by the possession of private property. More argued for a 

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