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Causes of the Protestant Reformation and Resulting Catholic Reformation

The bribery in the Roman Catholic church, such as the selling of indulgences, was one of the causes of the Reformation and the succeeding Catholic Reformation[1]. Prior to the Reformation, Roman Catholic Church was greedy and corrupt. The Pope came up with the concept of “indulgences” to fund his luxurious and expensive way of living and the construction of the St. Petersburg Basilica in Vatican City. It was essentially a covert tax evasion aimed at the ill and disadvantaged. Luther was enraged at the Church’s abuse. Luther was so outraged by the notion of indulgences, and this made him compose his 95 theses, kicking off the Reformation.[2]

The selling of indulgences via the Church permitted individuals to avoid a penalty for their transgressions in exchange for a price. This practice of indulgences lessened an individual’s period in purgatory and aided them to enter HeavenHeaven faster. Luther differed with this, arguing that purchasing indulgences had no influence on whether persons would go to HeavenHeaven or not. It was both biblically and morally wrong stealing poor people’s money and giving them false hope of things they couldn’t deliver on. This demonstrates how ridiculous the Church had become over the last century.

Another significant mistreatment in the catholic Church included the local bishops’ and Pope’s total authority. The Pope led an extravagant lifestyle and needed money to support it, so he increased the cost of weddings and baptism rituals. Luther was outraged by the Church’s unscrupulous and meandering tactics of manipulating its adherents. Luther despised the Catholic Church’s practice of denying the poor wine at communion. The priests withdrew the wine since it was costly and should not be squandered on the poor. Another evil thing the Catholic Church did was that the nuns, monks and priests made solemn promises or vowed not to have kids or marry, but several broke these solemn promises. This made Luther angry and quick to write the 95 theses.

Another cause was the invention of the mechanical printing press, which permitted bible translations and religious concepts to circulate broadly[3]. Luther and his followers utilized the automatic printing press so as to propagate their views through Europe, mostly via pamphlets. The automated printing press removed the Roman Catholic Church’s authority over published material, making it more difficult for the major Church to restrict the dissemination of what it regarded as heretical doctrines. The printing press had a significant influence on the Reformation due to pamphlets, which helped Luther’s message spread and respond to criticizers somewhat faster and have those replies spread quickly. This invention helped Luther’s movement garner more backup and made it more known to a broader number of people interested in what was going on.

Among his most notable works was a 1534 German bible translation, which enabled a far larger number of persons to peruse it for the first time. The bible had previously been authored primarily in Latin, and only priests and the rich could read it, but now individuals could establish their own views about their religion. Common persons did not have the bible as the Church had too much control. The Protestant Reformation would not have been possible in the 1500s had it not been for the mechanical printing press.

Furthermore, kings like Henry VIII of England wanted to be free of the Pope and the Catholic Church. When he decided to break up with his wife, Catherine of Aragon, Pope declined to grant the break-up. As a result, Henry, together with his advisors, successfully divided the Church from Rome in the year 1534. After the split, Henry became the leader of the England church, and since there was no need to bow to the Pope, he married Anne Boleyn.

Additionally, the Reformation was caused by the notion that forgiveness is a conviction that only God can provide instead of a mixture of faith and good acts. The reformers, led by Martin Luther, rejected this concept of the Pope and instead spread the message that a person can only be saved by God’s mercy and through trust in Jesus Christ alone, as per the bible.

Besides, the demands for protestant Reformation by Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin were among the causes. Swiss Reformation began in resistance against fasting and priestly celibacy in the year 1520 when Zwingli was granted official city council authorization to evangelize on the accurate biblical text. Calvin contributed to the protestant Reformation by emphasizing the notion of predestination and his clarifications of the Christian teachings. The doctrine of predestination was a belief that God picks people who will go to HeavenHeaven based on His omnipotence and grace. Calvin also helped in the Reformation by popularizing the notion that God has absolute control over every aspect of people’s lives. Calvin also believed that people were evil and could only reach God via their faith in Christ and not via pilgrimages and mass.

Effects of The Protestant Reformation and the resulting catholic Reformation

One of the Reformation effects was that the Church was divided into several religious cohorts, which included protestant churches. Some movements included the Quakers, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and Calvinism. The Reformation led to present capitalism, civil rights, skepticism, individualism and democracy. Again, academic disciplines such as history, philosophy, and economics, were heavily influenced by Protestant Reformation. Additionally, the Reformation shattered Europe’s Christian unity and abandoned the continent culturally divided. Reforms such as the Trent’s Council aided in bringing the Catholic Church closer together. Moreover, during the Reformation, the Catholic Church’s political and moral authority declined, allowing monarchs and governments to gain increasing influence. Another effect is that bible was translated from Latin to German, English and French. This helped common people to read and understand the bible effectively. The Protestant Reformation also boosted Europe’s literacy and generated new enthusiasm for education.

The protestants were also responsible for the Saints’ demise, which resulted in fewer public festivals and religious rituals being observed. Hard-core Protestants like the Puritans attempted to outlaw entertainment and festivities in favor of religious instruction. Besides, the Reformation led to a rapid secularization of the economy. The Reformation also led to local language protestant services. This attracted many followers to attend the services as they could comprehend the preaching.

As a result of the protestant Reformation, selling of indulgences came to an end[4]. Despite the Council of Trent’s affirmation of indulgences’ role in salvation, Pope Pius V banned the selling of indulgences and condemned any base gain for procuring them. This helped reduce corruption in the Church as now people were required to have their sins absolved, ordinarily via the sacrament of confession, to get salvation. Also, the counter-reformation movement in Roman Catholicism to renew and upgrade the Church was another effect of the protestant Reformation. Roman Catholic clerics improved their education and training due to this movement. People saw this movement as a sign of Catholicism’s willingness to admit its mistakes and correct them instead of ignoring them. Even though Philip II of Spain ruled over the Catholic Church, he remained an ardent Catholic. The counter-reformation resulted in increased Semitism and religious battles spread all over Europe. In addition, the counter-reformation acted to solidity a doctrine that several protestants were opposing, like the worship of saints and the authority of the Pope and eradicated numerous abuses and issues that had stimulated the Reformation.

Another effect of the Reformation was the thirty years’ welfare[5]. This war included much of Europe, and eight million people were killed. Lutherans, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics all fought each other in the conflict. The peace of Augsburg was another effect. It permitted German rulers to choose whether their lands would be Lutheran or Catholic and allowed the free migration of citizens who dissented. The peace of Augsburg formed tiny states, each with its official religion. This assisted in bringing about an era of relative peace in Germany. The Peace of Augsburg ended the first of the great battles that erupted due to the protestant Reformation. Moreover, as a result of the protestant Reformation, there were several societal alterations in Europe, involving an exodus of several persons from the roman catholic Church.

The effects of the catholic Reformation included the arising of new heretical groups and the waning of the papacy; this led to the reevaluation of persons’ views on life values and on the Church. Some canon Christian beliefs were changed due to the Reformation, resulting in a split in Christian Rule between novel protestant traditions and Roman Catholicism. Another effect of the Catholic Reformation was that it resulted in the institution of Protestantism as a response to Catholicism’s influence.

The catholic Reformation introduced the Society of Jesus, which revived Catholicism through education and missionaries. Furthermore, the Catholic Reformation resulted in the elimination of the selling of indulgences, nepotism and simony, which Martin Luther had attacked. The Catholic Church wanted a reformed catholic church free of abuses and where people could believe in God and the holy bible.

Another effect of the counter-reformation in the catholic Church included the Church overreacting to spiritual sins and putting a lot of pressure on peasants who had not done much wrong[6]. As the clergy became more religious, penalties became harsher also. Mystics like Teresa of Avila revitalized the more established religious institutions during this era, while novel religious groups like the Jesuits combined spiritual discipline with a global outlook.

The social effects of the catholic Reformation were that it hampered peasants’ ability to dispute their position in the society. They accepted Luther’s free-thinking principles and seized the chance to have more significant influence over their religious practices, making the middle class more capable of challenging the Church’s power. Moreover, the Reformation led to the expansion of the business, which characterized the renaissance era. This era brought so many positive effects to the people, as technology had advanced because of the mechanical printing press, which could spread information through publications faster.


Becker, Sascha O., Steven Pfaff, and Jared Rubin. “Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation.” Explorations in Economic History 62 (2016): 1-25.

history. 2022. “The Reformation”. HISTORY. Accessed February 19. 2022. “The Catholic Reformation Or Counter-Reformation In 16Th Century – Musée Protestant”. Musée Protestant. Accessed February 19.

Rodgers, Jamal. 2018. “The Protestant Reformation At The Hands Of The Printing Press”. Medium.

[1] Becker, Sascha O., Steven Pfaff, and Jared Rubin. “Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation.” Explorations in Economic History 62 (2016): 1-25.

[2] history. 2022. “The Reformation”. HISTORY. Accessed February 19.

[3] Rodgers, Jamal. 2018. “The Protestant Reformation At The Hands Of The Printing Press”. Medium.

[4] Becker, Sascha O., Steven Pfaff, and Jared Rubin. “Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation.” Explorations in Economic History 62 (2016): 1-25.

[5] Becker, Sascha O., Steven Pfaff, and Jared Rubin. “Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation.” Explorations in Economic History 62 (2016): 1-25.

[6] 2022. “The Catholic Reformation Or Counter-Reformation In 16Th Century – Musée Protestant”. Musée Protestant. Accessed February 19.


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