Renaissance and Reformation.
The reformation period generally referred to as the protestant reformation, a period where there was a split in the Christians of the 16th century, completely shifting the course of Christianity in Europe…
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Prior to this period, the pope was generally recognized as the spiritual leader by all Christians in the west, who adhered to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. However, following the reformation, there was a proliferation of churches opposed to the pope, and this gave rise to a number of churches that exists to date. On the other hand, renaissance means rebirth in the French language. The period marked a rebirth in the human spirit, creativity. It gave to the rise of new ideas, which had various impacts on the social structure of the French, and the Holy Roman Empire. The essence of this paper is to compare and contrast the impacts, on the social fabric of France and Holy Roman Empire. The Catholic Church was faced with a great schism between the years 1378-1417, which was given impetuous by a papal scandal that (Hunt et al, 2010, 405) negatively and severely impacted on the spiritual life. The papacy had been moved from Rome to Avignon, and was heavily influenced by the French monarchy. This brought distraught among the Christians, particularly the Italians, who were angered by the continued election of the French Popes. Marsilius of Padua, through his writings in the defender of peace (1324) argued that since the source of all power lay within the people, who were the effective source of law. Accordingly, since the people created the church, they ought to be involved in the election of the pope. Pope Gregory finally succumbed to the pressures and returned the papacy to Rome in 1377. The Romans were determined than ever to lose the papacy again, and therefore lobbied the election of an Italian pope. Consequently, Urban V was elected as the pope, and he curtailed the powers and privileges of cardinals. This angered the cardinals, some of whom elected Clement VII as the pope and who moved back to Avignon. Thus, the church was split into two, and this caused a lot of hate and discord among the Christians in Europe, with each group excommunicating the followers of the other (Hunt et al, 2010, 410). The council of Europe met in 1414-1418 to resolve this standoff, and precipitate reforms in the church. This marked the end of schism, in that, one single pope; Martin V was elected, while all the important rulers in the world withdrew allegiance to the Avignon papacy. Therefore, the Holy Roman Empire prevailed over France. However, the Schism had a far reaching impact among the Christians, and affected the social fabric of both France and the Holy Roman Empire equally. The Christians were deeply worried about their salvation and they sought some other forms of religious solace. The plenary indulgence which was originally used for the crusaders who died, was extended to all those who made a pilgrimage to Rome or other designated holy places. The clergy and the laity became more interested in the religious education of the young in order to deepen their faith and the spiritual life. New ways to deepen the faith of the Christians came into being. Portable images of Mary, mother of God, and those of passion of Christ proliferated, so that the ordinary Christians would contemplate them, throughout the day, at the convenient moments. To add, the advent of the printing press was employed by the people who purchased commissioned book of hours that contained the prayers that could be said at the appropriate hours of the day and hours. France, unlike the Holy Roman Empire emerged as a strong and powerful unitary state, within the meaning of sovereignty that is applicable today. France made quick recovery from the hundred year’s war and greatly expanded under Louis XI. He captured a lot of territory,
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