Presentation on theme: "Introduction. The Reformation in Europe Until about 1500, Christians in Western Europe all belonged to one church, which was led by the Pope. Over the."— Presentation transcript:
The Reformation in Europe Until about 1500, Christians in Western Europe all belonged to one church, which was led by the Pope. Over the years, the Church had become very wealthy, which made it a target for some people who were more interested in the Churchs money than in religion. Complaints about the corruption of the church led to protests (by Protestants) across Europe and an attempt to reform it.
Protestants and the Reformation In 1517, a German priest called Martin Luther protested about some of the practices of the Church that he wanted to be reformed. The supporters of his protest became known as Protestants and the religious movement they started became known as the Reformation. The religious argument spread from Germany and across much of Europe, as people from every class became interested in it. Some of these people were genuinely interested in religion. Others just saw it as a way of getting their hands on the wealth of the church.
The Catholic Church tried to reform itself but at the same time Protestants were condemned to death and executed in many countries. Protestant ideas continued to spread across Europe and they reached Scotland, where they increased criticism of the Catholic Church. As a result of the Reformation, Christians in Europe were either Catholics or Protestants. Some countries remained Catholic and others became Protestant. Most Catholic countries were in the south, and Protestant countries tended to be in the north. Scotland was one of the last countries in Europe to reform its Church and become a Protestant country.
The Church in Scotland The Catholic Church aimed to help the sick and the poor, to educate people and to encourage them to live good lives, so they would go to Heaven when they died. Over the years, people had given land and money to the Church. It had become very wealthy. In addition to rents from its land, the church collected a special tax. As a result of this, the Church in Scotland was far wealthier than the king. It had an income of £300,000 a year, while the monarch had only £17,500 to pay for governing the country. Scottish monarchs looked for ways of getting money out of the Church, as did other Scots. They did this by:
Promoting the Royal Family Monarchs gave top jobs to relatives and other nobles who wanted the income but not the religious duties. These duties were often neglected or somebody was paid a small salary to do the work. Plurality Some clergy were given several jobs. These pluralists collected several salaries but could not do all the work properly. Taxing the Church The Church was forced to pay taxes. To raise the money, the Church had to rent out its land to local nobles. They were often descendants of the people who had originally given the land to the Church.
Results As a result of these developments, the Church began to face serious problems. Senior positions in the Church, which commanded huge incomes, were being taken by nobles whose main interest was not religion. Some clever clergymen were reluctant to become parish priests because the work was so poorly paid. The quality of parish priests therefore declined. Some were accused of not knowing enough to take the religious services. While some parish priests worked hard for the people in their parish, others earned a bad reputation for their attitude to their congregation. Increasingly Scots began to criticise the Church in Scotland because of the behaviour of some of the clergy.
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