Changes in Catholic Church
Before the Reformation, the Catholic Church deployed several means of response to supposed heresies. The predominant punishments were death, excommunication or recantation. It had also introduced a list of acceptable books and another of subversive books. The Reformation in Germany brought significant changes to the Catholic Church. It led to the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. The events that followed involved a sequence of reactionary incident. Firstly, Martin Luther published his ninety-five these containing his opposition towards the Catholic officials’ sale of indulgences and papal abuses. Additionally, he urged people to read the Bible for themselves. Subsequently, the Bible was translated into German and was easily accessible to the masses. “Luther’s message emerged onto a scene of a supportive environment with the printing press serving as the technology to advance his cause” (Scialabba 73).
Changes in Art or Painting Style
Prior to the Reformation, the Church had patronage over all forms of art and music. The Church deemed that art was designed to be educational or enlightening. Since the general congregation lacked personal access to the Scriptures, the Church held that the aim of art and music was to provide the uneducated with a knowledge base on Christianity. The Reformation music and art opposed the Renaissance and Catholic types of art. The Reformation used theocentric art. For instance, Reformation artists painted the world and life from a realistic perspective. They did not idealize or glorify the creature but showed things in their actual form and manner. They did not gloss over sin as was common in paintings during that time. According to Francis Shaeffer: “At its core, therefore, the Reformation was removing of the humanist distortions which had entered the church” (Wilsey 33).
Influence of Reformation on Europe
Moreover, the Reformation in Germany also influenced the rest of Europe. Two other prominent ideological thinkers emerged: John Calvin in France and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland. Each made publications of their own perceptions, which led to the emergence of new churches that represented doctrines that were contradictory to the Lutheran and Roman Catholic viewpoints (Scialabba 75). Eventually, the public became more integrated with the printing press. Consequently, the Catholic Church was no longer the center of information and knowledge.
The Protestant Reformation gave birth to rebellion to the established church and the throne. “In England Henry VIII’s children fought to retain control over the throne whereas in France the people who politically resented the throne formed alliances with religious nonconformists” (Fide et al., 9).
The counter argument for the massive implication of the Protestant Reformation conceived by Martin Luther is that the movement did not have as much of a significance or authority as is perceived in the contemporary society. In effect, the reason why the Protestant Reformation was as successful as it was all across Europe is attributed to circumstantial factors (Gonzalez 27). Essentially, Luther introduced his movement at a time when the people were in desperate need of reforms. They were tired of the hegemony of the Roman Catholic and desired more religious and political freedom. Hence, the success of the most initial Reformation in Germany was merely a streak of good fortune due to opportune timing.
Fide, Sola., Sciptura, Sola., Christus, Solus., Gratia, Sola., & Soli, Gloria. The Protestant Reformation: a guide for teachers and students. <https://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/TQP/upload/tqpTheReformationAug2014.pdf>
Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought Volume III: From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century. Abingdon Press, 2010.
Scialabba, Karen. The Protestant Reformation and Catholic Publishing: a framework for contemporary understanding. Journal of Religious and Theological Information 12:3-4, 71-89. 2013. Print.
Wilsey, John. The Impact of the Reformation on the Fine Arts. Faculty Publications and Presentations. 2006. Print.