Reformation success, due to the Renaissance popes, or the church and a politically, socially and economically changing Europe?

Essay by rabid2High School, 10th gradeA, October 1996

download word file, 14 pages 3.4

The Protestant Reformation marked a time of great religious,

social and political upheaval. For the first time in history

the Christian church was permanently shattered. The

Reformation originated from a trend in returning to the

biblical days of Christianity and a renewal of morality.

Unfortunately the Catholic religious leaders didn't share in

the renewal of morality. The Renaissance popes were

partially responsible for the decline of the church;however,

it was the Church's past history and changing social,

political and economic factors that lead to the

Reformation's sucess.

Commercialization of the Holy See was common for most

popes, but ,according to Barbra Tuchman, three of these men

took particular advantage of the practice. Innocent VII is

the earliest acknowledged pope during the Renaissance to

have taken liberties with the church's finances. Although he

engaged in the practices of simony and the selling of

indulgences, his most noted mistake was raising donations

for a Crusade that never took place.

In 1486 Innocent

announced a crusade, as well as at the same time declaring a

tithe on all churches, benefices and ecclesiastical persons

of all ranks. Military plans were drawn up but, in the end,

no great army ever assembled or departed from Europe's

shores. Instead, in a twist of irony, the Vatican wound up

hosting an infidel in the form of Prince Djem, the sultan's

brother. This arrangement confused the general public and

the papal status fell in the eyes of the public. Papal

status was further weakened by Innocent's successor

Alexander VI. Alexander thrived on simony. He acquired the

office of pope by buying out his chief rivals and openly

boasted about this feat. Alexander went on to sell a total

of 43 cardinalships, including to his own family. After the

murder of his eldest son, Alexander was inspired in...