The important results of the Reformation were:
The Reformation led to two major divisions in Christianity - Catholics and Protestants. This division had resulted in religious persecution and religious wars Germany and in other parts of Europe.
People were encouraged to read the Bible and ponder on religion. The freedom given by the Protestants to interpret the Bible led to free thinking. It encouraged the development of art, literature and science.
The democratic church system paved the way for the growth of democracy and nationalism. The nations began to evolve their own churches. The place of Pope was taken by the nationalistic churches.
The rapid progress of the Protestant religion and the counter-Reformation ultimately resulted in the purification of the Church. Both Catholics and Protestants began to adopt high moral standards after the Reformation. The Catholics purified their Church establishments and this in turn improved the values in the society.
The term Reformation refers to a great religious reform movement in Europe during 16th century. There was a big protest against the Christian Church in different parts of Europe and it ultimately resulted in the emergence of Protestant Christian religion. This great religious movement was not only the evidence of a great religious change, but also proclaimed the dawn of a new era. The Reformation started in Germany and later it spread to other countries.
There are several causes for the Reformation.
The Christian Church under the Pope was originally commanded respect among the people. But in the Middle ages, it had become a big feudal institution and possessed so much of lands and wealth. The Popes enjoyed great political influence and interfered into the political affairs. As a result they began to neglect their spiritual duties. The Pope and the clergy began to lead luxurious lives. The Popes like Alexander VI, Julius II and Leo X who lived in 15th and 16th centuries with their activities undermined the respect and prestige of the Church.
The Renaissance movement created a spirit of inquiry among the masses. They began to read the Bible and realized that the activities of the Church and the clergy were not according to the precepts of the holy book. In the years preceding the Reformation, many writers condemned luxurious and superstitious practices prevalent in the Church. John Wycliffe (1330-1384) from England criticized the Pope for his authority and misdeeds. He translated the Bible into English. He is considered 'the Morning Star of the Reformation. Erasmus (1466-1536) attacked the superstitions followed by the clergy in his book In Praise of Folly. It was published in 1509. John Huss (1369-1415), a Bohemian, struggled for reforming the Church. But he was condemned for his writings against the Church and burnt to death. These early efforts to reform the Church sowed the seeds for the Reformation of the 16th century.
The emergence of nation-states in Europe eroded the political influence enjoyed by the Church during the Middle Ages. The Pope and the Emperor lost their influence and power. The people began to respect their king and the nation. Therefore, the concept of Universal Church slowly gave way to national churches.
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