Protestant Reformation Dbq Analysis

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The Protestant Reformation was caused in part because of growing resentment regarding the Catholic Church’s secularism, corruption, and monopoly on Truth. The cause of the Reformation is often accredited to Martin Luther, however, many fail to realize that preceding intellectual change aided in the call for reform. Regardless, Luther’s Ninety-five Theses caused people to think, which ultimately ended in separation from the Church. From about 1450 to 1520, popes cared more about political affairs and secular matters, while priests were unable to give advice for salvation. The church took advantage of the people’s hunger for salvation, as in an excerpt from a sermon, Johann Tetzel affirms, “You may obtain letter of safe means of …show more content…
One can infer that the obtaining of salvation at this point was almost mechanical, since indulgences allowed it to be bought and sold like a commodity. Luther particularly had a problem with the sale of indulgences, partly because people were being ripped off, but also because he personally did not believe salvation just went to the highest bidder. In Luthers’ Ninety-five Theses, he declares, “Christians should be taught that he who gives to a poor man, or lends to a needy man, does better than if he bought pardons” (Doc 3). Luther, in fact, did not believe that good works like helping the poor would help you get to heaven, but faith alone would. Therefore, his comparison suggests that Luther saw indulgences as virtually worthless in the eyes of God, and even performing good works might give you a better shot at salvation. In fact, if you truly felt guilty for your sins, you would want punishment to make you feel better in the long run. Regardless, there were still people who bought indulgences and paid taxes to the Church. However, according to Carl G. Gustavson, it soon became blatantly clear to these same people that “their contributions were not always usefully applied” (Doc