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ContentsIntroduction Historical Causes Areas of Concern The Rise of Heresy The Avignon Papacy The Great Schism Abuses in the 15 th Century Renaissance.

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Presentation on theme: "ContentsIntroduction Historical Causes Areas of Concern The Rise of Heresy The Avignon Papacy The Great Schism Abuses in the 15 th Century Renaissance."— Presentation transcript:

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3 ContentsIntroduction Historical Causes Areas of Concern The Rise of Heresy The Avignon Papacy The Great Schism Abuses in the 15 th Century Renaissance Popes The Winds of Change Religious Practices Reform

4 Introduction In October 1517 a German monk called Martin Luther walked up to the front door of the castle church in the city of Wittenburg and nailed up a list of 95 points he wanted to make. For many historians this marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

5 The causes of the reformation go back to the 12 th Century. Many were concerned with the state of the Church. The Church was in need of reform but failed to reform itself properly. Papal Palace in Avignon, France. Historical Causes

6 Areas of Concern The power and authority of bishops and popes over people, nobles and royalty.The power and authority of bishops and popes over people, nobles and royalty. The threat of “heretical” teachings.The threat of “heretical” teachings. The morally corrupt live styles of some priests, bishops, cardinals and popes.The morally corrupt live styles of some priests, bishops, cardinals and popes.

7 Concerns continued….. The papacy leaving Rome and establishing itself in Avignon.(1305 to 1377)The papacy leaving Rome and establishing itself in Avignon.(1305 to 1377) The time when there was two rival popes at the same time.The time when there was two rival popes at the same time. Poor papal leadership.Poor papal leadership. Strange and superstitious religious practices.Strange and superstitious religious practices. Failure to carry out the necessary reforms.Failure to carry out the necessary reforms.

8 In the middle ages there were many dissidents, both groups and individuals, who were branded as heretics and treated most severely. The Inquisition was established for the sole purpose of hunting down heretics and disposing of them. For some, these dissidents were seen as “martyrs” for a cause which continued to grow. The Rise of Heresy

9 The Poor Men of Lyons, France. (1170) This group of “heretics” were basically overly enthusiastic lay people who, after observing the luxurious excesses of the clergy challenged the apostolic authority of the bishops. They translated the scriptures into the language of the common people and preached in the market places. Contempt for ecclesiastical authority seems to be their main “crime”. Given the strict hierarchy of the Church it is not surprising they were excommunicated and expelled.

10 Marsilius of Padua. Marsilius (1275 – 1342) was the Rector of the University of Paris. In his position he questioned the nature and structure of the Church. In his opinion the whole community of the faithful constituted the Church not just popes, bishops and priests.

11 Torture and Death in God’s Name. Judicial torture was used by civil authorities in order to extract “confessions” for the Church. It was seen as a very successful way of getting to the truth. Once convicted of heresy in a Church Court the heretic might be imprisoned or handed over to the secular authorities to be burnt at the stake.

12 Pain as purification. Initially the Church was against the use of violence against heretics but later attitudes changed. The Church was under threat. Not by an outside aggressor but from within. A hard line was needed to stop the fabric of the Church from being torn apart. From the 13 th Century onwards the systematic repression of heretics was well organized. Perhaps one of the most famous victims of the “Church” was St Joan of Arc who was unjustly burnt at the stake for heresy in 1431.

13 John Hus was a theologian from Prague in Bohemia. Earlier he had been inspired by the Englishman, John Wyclif. In 1418 he was arrested, tortured and then burnt at the stake for his teachings. In response to his death the region of Bohemia went into revolt. In 1418 he was arrested, tortured and then burnt at the stake for his teachings. In response to his death the region of Bohemia went into revolt. John Hus

14 In 1305 the French pope left Rome and took up residence in the city of Avignon in present day France. The papacy stayed there until Avignon was a corrupt city with immorally widespread throughout the papal court. St Catherine of Siena wrote to Pope Gregory XI encouraging him to reform the Church and to return to Rome. The Avignon Papacy

15 The Great Schism The return to Rome from Avignon was not without its difficulties. When Gregory XI died in 1378 the Italian cardinals quickly elected a new pope, Urban VI. The French cardinals, who were not keen to return to Rome in the first place, did not accept the election of Urban VI so they elected their own pope. He was known as Clement VII.

16 Clement established himself in Avignon and Urban remained in Rome. The Church had TWO POPES! When Clement died in Avignon he was succeeded by Benedict XII. And when Urban died in Rome he was succeeded by Boniface IX. Both popes tried to excommunicate each other and both tried to initiate a war against the other side.

17 In 1409 a Council was called in Pisa to resolve the situation. The Council deposed both popes and appointed Alexander V as the new pope. The Church now had THREE POPES!! In 1414 the three popes were: 1.Benedict III 2.Gregory XII successor of Boniface IX 3.John XXIII successor of Alexander V

18 Council of Constance The situation was resolved at the Council of Constance(1414 – 1418). John XXIII abdicated. Gregory XII abdicated. Benedict VIII was deposed. In November of 1417 Martin V was elected pope. With the schism over it was surely time for the Church to turn it’s attention to reform. Martin V

19 Sadly during much of the 15 th Century the papacy was preoccupied with increasing its power and authority. There was conflict between popes and councils who considered themselves as having greater collective authority than the pope. Pope Eugenius IV was deposed. Pope Felix V abdicated. The Power of The Pope Threatened

20 Eventually the popes regained their authority. Sadly, some popes, instead of using their position to reform the Church used it to gain favours for their illegitimate children and to restore the architectural glory of Rome. Abuses in the 15 th Century

21 Serious Concerns Serious Concerns Ignorant men with little education were ordained priests.Ignorant men with little education were ordained priests. Individuals purchased spiritual positions within the Church with large sums of money.Individuals purchased spiritual positions within the Church with large sums of money. The burden of Church tax was very heavy.The burden of Church tax was very heavy. Christians thought they could escape the penalties of sin by purchasing indulgences.Christians thought they could escape the penalties of sin by purchasing indulgences.

22 Some priests, bishops and even popes lived immoral lives.Some priests, bishops and even popes lived immoral lives. Superstition played a dominant part in people’s lives.Superstition played a dominant part in people’s lives. Believers increasingly trusted in indulgences, relics and pilgrimages as the way of salvation.Believers increasingly trusted in indulgences, relics and pilgrimages as the way of salvation. Some bishops were worldly and ambitious, often neglecting the spiritual concerns of the dioceseSome bishops were worldly and ambitious, often neglecting the spiritual concerns of the diocese.

23 Some priests became very rich by drawing on the income of several parishes and paying poor priests to do the work for them.Some priests became very rich by drawing on the income of several parishes and paying poor priests to do the work for them. Many who joined Religious Life were motivated by greed, wealth and power.Many who joined Religious Life were motivated by greed, wealth and power. The religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were ignored by some immoral religious.The religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were ignored by some immoral religious.

24 The Renaissance Popes The Renaissance in the 15 th Century was a time of great human advancement. Especially in the sciences, arts, architecture and learning. However it was a period when some of the most notorious popes lived. During this period several of the popes are alleged to have gained this most sacred office through bribery and corruption.

25 Papal Corruption Examples of papal corruption during the period include: The votes of cardinals being bought in the papal elections.The votes of cardinals being bought in the papal elections. Successful candidates rewarded their supporters with ecclesiastical offices. Successful candidates rewarded their supporters with ecclesiastical offices. Two popes openly having mistresses.Two popes openly having mistresses. Members of the pope’s own family being advanced in the Church.Members of the pope’s own family being advanced in the Church.

26 Fact or Fiction? A Spanish cardinal fathered six children by his mistress. Later he was elected pope. Some of his children were given high positions in the Church. His son Caesar was first a bishop and later a general in the pope’s army. Alexander VI

27 Pope Alexander VI’s daughter Lucretia. She married twice and had a less than virtuous reputation.

28 Another pope, Julius II (1503 – 1513) is reputed to have attacked an enemy town with his papal army. Try to picture His Holiness, the Bishop of Rome, in white shining armour, charging across a field on a warhorse with papal flags flying.

29 Such disgraceful examples seemed to be an excuse for many priests, bishops and cardinals to break their vows and live immoral and shameful lives.

30 The Winds of Change While some members of the Church’s hierarchy led sinful lives many ordinary Christians remained faithful to the Gospel. Good people were genuinely appalled by the example set for them and longed for reform.

31 Erasmus (1469 – 1536) Erasmus was the illegitimate son of a priest. He was also an outspoken critic of the Church. Of the life of the popes he wrote: “So many riches, honours, trophies, offices, dispensations, taxes, indulgences; so many horses, mules, guards and so many pleasures….They should have to be replaced by vigils, fasts, tears, prayers, sermons, study and penance.”

32 Religious Practices. The reformers were concerned about the unsound religious practices which pre-occupied the time of the ignorant masses. Some of these practices seemed to have evolved out of superstition. One such practice was the gaining of indulgences., which offered release from punishment for the sins committed in this life.

33 Indulgences Indulgences were guarantees sold on behalf of the Church. There seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding on what an indulgence could do. Generally it was thought that the document guaranteed the holder release from punishment in purgatory for sins committed and forgiven in this life. The money collected was to be used for the building of a new St Peter’s Church in Rome.

34 Many believed that indulgences could do things like: Forgive sins, even those which had not been committed yet!Forgive sins, even those which had not been committed yet! Allow the purchaser to escape purgatory.Allow the purchaser to escape purgatory. Allow the dead to escape purgatory.Allow the dead to escape purgatory. All of this for a small price!

35 With the assistance of fervent preachers very large sums of money were collected. While most of the money went to Rome for the building of a new St Peters. Some bishops received a cut of the takings for allowing the indulgence to be preached in their Diocese. This caused a lot of resentment.

36 Reform The Church made a half hearted attempt to reform itself. In 1512 the Fifth Lateran Council opened. It condemned some abuses and set out a programme of reform. It condemned some abuses and set out a programme of reform. Very little progress was made by the time the Council closed in March of 1517.

37 In October of the same year a German priest called Martin Luther nailed up 95 theses against indulgences and other abuses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. The Reformation had begun

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40 You are more than welcome to use this presentation within your school or in your parish. Please respect the hard work that has gone into making it by purchasing only authorized copies from the author. Words :Kevin Havell.


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