The Protestant Reformation

Essay by jellybean4Junior High, 9th gradeB, January 2007

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The Protestant Reformation was a movement which came out in the sixteenth century as a series of attempts to improve the Catholic Church in Western Europe. The Reformation began on October 31, 1517, when German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was one of the greatest events of the past 1,000 years. Martin made a translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into German. Soon all the countries of Europe followed his example by translating the Scriptures into their languages.

The Archbishop responded to Luther's suggestion by writing a letter to Pope Leo X. More letter writing followed as Luther's suggestion stirred up debate. Some complained that to reject the authenticity of indulgences was to deny the authority of the pope who had authorized them. Luther recognized this, saying that the pope had no such authority. The Church demanded that Luther take back a number of his protests.

And rather than take back, Luther described the Church as its people. He announced that he was bound by Holy Scripture alone and that it was neither safe nor right for him to go against his conscience.

It was a period when diversity in opinion was less expected and less tolerated. And Luther had at his removal what protesters had lacked in previous centuries: the printing press. Luther wrote guides explaining his opinion. Printing in Europe was by now around seventy-five years old and had been largely of expensive religious books in Latin, which few people read. Luther's pamphlets were only a few pages, quickly printed for little money, and they cost little to buy. From the year 1518 to 1520, thirty of Luther's pamphlets were printed, while those wishing to contradict Luther's opinions had difficulty getting published.

On June 15,