Why Were the Weaknesses of the Catholic Church so Deeply Resented in Germany in 1517?

315 Words2 Pages
In the 16th century the church played a huge role in the lives of people in Europe, however, in some parts and Germany in particular, the Church was seen as not responding to the appetite for spiritual fulfillment and failing in some of its duties. The Church was involved not just spiritually but economically, politically and educationally; therefore, any corruption within the Church had consequences all over Christendom. The role of the Church was to perform the seven sacraments in order for Catholics to reach their goal – salvation. Firstly, the Church was resented because it was corrupt. This was resented in Germany because it seemed hard to obtain salvation and live a spiritual life when the representatives of Christianity were dishonest. The problems with the papacy were numerous; the Popes did not set a good example. To become Pope technically you have to be elected but wealthy Italian families, such as the Borgias and Medicis, gained the position through bribery. They were politicians who wanted to increase their family fortunes and not be a spiritual leader. For example, Alexander VI was a Borgia who gained his position by bribing of the College of Cardinals. He fathered many illegitimate children, one of whom he appointed a cardinal along with 46 others. Alexander’s daughter, Lucrezia, had an immense dowry worth 157 000, paid for by taxes. The Pope also had power to excommunicate people who disobeyed him, form laws and increase taxation. If the integrity of the Pope is lost then the Church gets a bad reputation. There was also anti-clericalism in Germany. Priests were given enormous amounts of power, as they were the only ones who could perform the sacraments, which guaranteed salvation. They were sometimes badly educated and occasionally even illiterate, which meant that they could not help their people spiritually. Simony, nepotism, pluralism,
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