Catholic was critical to the success of the Protestant Reformation because he

Catholic was critical to the success of the

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Catholic, was critical to the success of the Protestant Reformation because he protected Luther from the grasp of the pope. The pope knew that the election of a new Holy Roman Emperor was approaching and that Frederick was a likely winner who would not tolerate the pope’s interference. As scholar Mario Biagioli (1993) has noted, once in Rome, a dissenter was doomed. Biagioli notes that unlike western justice today, a charge was never brought with the intention of finding innocence or accepting criticism but with the intention of forcing the charged to recant and receive penance (PBS Empires, 2004). To appease Frederick, the pope suggested that a delegation from Rome travel to Saxony to question Luther to see if the issue could be resolved. Rumors of bad intent on the part of the delegation led to Luther’s escape before the delegation could arrest him for refusing to admit errors of faith (Ozment, 1981). Luther’s New Theology and Rejection of the Catholic Church At this point, the behavior of the papacy itself became the issue, and what was at first only the intention to stop the practice of indulgences expanded into a complete theological reform. The reason for this is clear the practice of requiring a fee or other service as atonement for sin was enmeshed in the much broader debate about the role of the Church in the salvation of the individual and as the interpreter of God’s will in human history (known as Providence). The key issue was the interpretation of good works. In Catholic theology, good works was interpreted to mean three things: 1. acts or works required to earn salvation, 2. works performed by believers through the seven sacraments, and 3. works performed by the Church to interpret and guide correct beliefs. The key issue was whether good works, also known as acts, earned salvation. For Catholics, salvation was gained through both grace and a life of good works. For Luther, grace was a gift that alone could bring salvation. The key difference is the function of the good works. In the first scenario, they are part of deserving or earning salvation. In the second, salvation is not deserved but granted so good works are the effects or products of an already saved soul. For Luther, indulgences were wrong because salvation could not be earned so there was no debt, and, therefore, acts were not relevant to the life of a Christian except as the natural outcome of grace. Further, these two ways of seeing the role of good works related not just to indulgences but also to the authority of the Church. Catholic theology expanded the concept of good works to mean not only acts of kindness and self-control but also acts the Church required or encouraged in believers, such as participating in the seven sacraments and making a pilgrimage. The sacraments were seven rites that conferred grace throughout the life of the believer; these occasions ensured that the Church was indispensable at many points in the life of the believer since ordained priests were needed to perform the sacraments.
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