What Major Impact Did the Protestant Reformation Have on the Catholic Church??

On October 31, 2017, people came from all over the world to Wittenberg, Germany, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was a religious, social, economic, and political revolution that was sparked when a Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of his local church.

This trend was ultimately embodied in what we call the Renaissance , which took place between the 14th to 17th centuries and was a period of renewed interest in Greek and Roman art, history, and culture. For centuries, medieval universities had emphasized Christian doctrine; academic disciplines were understood within the context of theology.

Humanists, like Erasmus (a well-known philosopher, educator, and Catholic priest), became highly respected for their views not only on theology, but also on academic disciplines like history and psychology. However, the ”mystical” conception of God actively orchestrating the flow of history like someone moving chess pieces on a board was deteriorating. Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, and even Thomas Jefferson, wrote extensively about the flow of history from a Deist perspective.

This was embodied in what we know as the Renaissance , which literally means ‘rebirth,’ and which was a period of renewed interest in Greek and Roman art, history, and culture. The humanism of the Renaissance helped fuel the development of the university system, in which history was taught as a formal academic discipline, instead of a subset of Christian theology.

The Reformation became the basis for the founding of Protestantism, one of the three major branches of Christianity. The Reformation led to the reformulation of certain basic tenets of Christian belief and resulted in the division of Western Christendom between Roman Catholicism and the new Protestant traditions. The spread of Protestantism in areas that had previously been Roman Catholic had far-reaching political, economic, and social effects.