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2.36 What are the ideas that set off the Reformation?

Toward the Reformation

In 1517, a German monk called Martin Luther wrote a letter containing 95 theses criticising the Church. He rightfully opposed the corruption of the clergy and the selling of indulgences.

However, Luther also mocked and denied many truths and good things, such as life in communion with the saints, the authority of the pope, and the explanations given by the Church to better understand the faith. In the end a schism arose in the Church because of Luther’s radical rebellion.

> Read more in the book

Luther was right to denounce certain abuses in the Church, but in his search for reform he also denied important truths and caused a schism.

This is what the Popes say

As a theologian steeped in Sacred Scripture and in the Fathers of the Church, [Saint Lawrence of Brindisi] was able to illustrate Catholic doctrine in an exemplary manner to Christians who, especially in Germany, had adhered to the Reformation. With his calm, clear exposition he demonstrated the biblical and patristic foundation of all the articles of faith disputed by Martin Luther. These included the primacy of St Peter and of his Successors, the divine origin of the Episcopate, justification as an inner transformation of man, and the need to do good works for salvation. [Pope Benedict XVI, 23 Mar. 2011]