Good The Protestant Reformation And The Roman Catholic Church Essay Example
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This paper delineated on the differences of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. It traced important points in history and previous rotting systems of the Roman Catholic and how it contributed to the rebellion of some of its members and creation of Protestantism by Luther. Finally, the paper presented an overview of the Council of Trent and the reforms and affirmations of the Roman Catholic teachings as salient in their counterattack to Protestantism.
PROTESTANT REFORMATION AND THE 16th CENTURY CHURCH
Luther's Protestantism came about after his nailing of the proclamation of the Ninety-five Theses upon Indulgences. This brought considerable faction for the great Roman Catholic followers. The religious order was seen as complex and highly elaborates in comparison with the rotting and badly in need of reform Middle Ages Church.
The late Medieval Church was characterized with negativity. First, they were heavily politicized, especially in choosing the Pope. Second, corruption was rampant in the Church. This is also in due to the fact that papal administration was trying to gain power and authority. Their vicars were also poorly educated, some keep women and others buy and sell their posts. One of the most striking for Luther and has greatly contributed to the advent of Protestantism is the abuses done through indulgences or an act of contrition through tasks, sacrifices or money. This has dismayed may Christians especially those who took religion seriously.
The Ninety-five Theses upon Indulgences that Luther wrote and nailed in the doors of the Wittenburg Castle Church were ninety- five reasons why indulgences were more of a tool for the corruption of the Church than a tool for the salvation of the followers. It is remarked that Luther's audacity and convictions in his rejection of the indulgences practice were a key to the revolution in the Church.
The public's response to Luther’s objection was widely positive. The German people too were highly indignant of the blatant corruption of the clergy through indulgences, this brought considerable anti-Rome sentiment. The church's response was to debate Luther publicly, Eck set forth from Rome to debate Luther, stressing his disobedience to papal authority. Luther countered through pointing out that indulges were wrong and that it has been an edict from the Pope, therefore, the pope must have been wrong too. Such argument cause Lither to be called heretic by the Church and caused him to be ex-communicated.
THEMES AND PROTESTANT TEACHINGS
The reformation's slogan was "Sola Fides, Sola Scriptura" or Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. this was the main theme for Luther's thoughts and teachings and are governing principles of the reformation.
Sola Fides or Faith Alone is interpreted as justification by faith alone, meaning that salvation is through faith alone as it is given by God, and God alone can judge who is worthy, upright and righteous. Justification were grounded in two beliefs. First, there is life after death and second, a just God judges all human being. Thus, justification becomes an important goal in life and that as a human being one must think their eternal destiny. But how does one achieve moral righteousness? How can humans save their soul? The Roman Catholic claimed that justification is achieved through doing work. It is in the works and the good things and efforts of humans, such as alms giving and receiving the sacrament, can humans become saved. Luther, on the other hand postulated that faith alone can save the soul. Justification, instead, is given by God and that were righteous in his judgement, hence it is a gift, and is not achieved.
Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone showed Luther's rejection of the arbitrary meaning of being a Christian and that there is a need to understand which body becomes an authority in deciding what is a Christian. Thus, the followers needed to be in adherence to papal authority.
But Luther questioned the authority of the papacy, that instead the authority and guidance should be base on the Bible or the scriptures. He advocated for the translation of the bible so that it would available to different languages. The scripture was the standard for Christian practices for the Lutherans. This served as a 'purification' of Christianity, and rejecting added practices not originally from the bible.
Another issue in the Protestant versus Catholicism is the sacrament of the Eucharist and its symbolism in the transubstantiation. The Catholic believed that the Eucharist symbolises the blood and body of Christ through the wine and bread. This serves as a manifestation of the miracles of Christ. On the other hand, Luther believed that the presence of Christ is not necessarily manifested in tangible form. He insisted that faith alone is enough to feel the presence of God and that the Eucharist is not necessary. This also became the reason for the faction within the Protestant movement. Zwingli, the leader of the reformation in Switzerland insisted that Christ's utterance of "This is my body This is my blood" is symbolic.
The teachings of Calvin served as the organizer of the systems of the Protestant institution. He postulated four kinds of church office. The first kind is the ministers who preach and officiate in church activities. The second is the teachers of the scripture and Christian education. The third are the elders who serve as moral guards. And lastly, the deacons are those that supervise administrative tasks.
Calvin's teachings of God are generated in two poles: God's presence is everywhere and his glory must be acknowledged and the failure of humans to feel God's presence is because of an original sin.
THE COUNCIL OF TRENT
The Council of Trent served as the counterreformation for the Roman Catholic against the advent of Protestantism. It is important to note that the counter reformation steps done by the Roman Catholic were not to undo the works of Protestantism, but rather to reform internal structure of the Roman Catholic, in such a way that compromising to demands of Protestants would not be necessary and that criticisms from them would be invalidated by the Roman Catholic.
The Council of Trent was effective in formulating doctrines on scriptures and traditions, original sin, justification and the sacraments, This doctrine served as a pillar for the Roman Catholic teachings for several centuries in counter with the Protestants teaching.
The church was able to justify existing practices and teaching through the assents of Scripture and Traditions as oppose to Protestants claim on Scriptures alone. They argued that some of traditions of the church dates back beyond the New Testaments and that the authority of such traditions is traced to Christ himself who sanctioned such traditions although it is not stated in the bible.
The Protestant teachings of the Roman Catholics concept original sin asserts the humans are incapable of freedom or free will because of the first sin of Adam. The Council of Trent countered that humans are still in possession of their free will despite the Fall. They argued that humans are still capable to choosing to do well and that it is up to our own faith and effort to receive salvation.
Luther believed that faith is a gift and that it is the only justification. The Church took on an opposite view of faith and justification. They claim that justification is a human effort, and that although faith is an important component of Christian life, cooperation, works and adherence of traditions are still necessary for justification. The Church reaffirmed the importance of the sacraments (especially the Eucharist) in the council. Further they also reaffirmed work and indulgences to as effective ways to decrease pain and suffering in the purgatory but indulgences should be in moderate form and should not be abused. Henceforth, church reforms focused on controlling the clergy in some aspects such as relations, residence and education.
The dialectic of ideas of Christian ideas and practices, purification of Christian faith and the reformation of the Roman Catholic has shaped the institutions as we have known today. It is in their history that we can understand the influence of ideas and human intervention in the faith and religious beliefs.
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