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Church History: Reformation: Protestantism

Investigation into the Reformation. Religion Year 8

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Where to find resources through the Library

Library Catalogue – Search Oliver for books, ClickView Videos and eBooks

·Here is a list of books on the Reformation found in Oliver

Click on the hyperlink to read “Reasons for change”; “Martin Luther” and “Rebellion” from the title, The Reformation by Martyn Whittock.

Keywords and concept

Keywords/Key Concepts

Conciliar movement: a reform movement in the 14th-, 15th-, and 16th-century Catholic Church, emerging in response to the Western Schism between rival popes in Rome and Avignon, that held that supreme authority in the church resided with an Ecumenical council, apart from, or even against, the pope

the Western Schism: a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1418, when several men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope

doctrine: list of beliefs and teachings by the church

Indulgences: in Roman Catholic theology, a remission of the punishment that would otherwise be inflicted for a previously forgiven sin as a natural consequence of having sinned, which are granted for specific good works and prayers in proportion to the devotion with which those good works are performed or those prayers are recited

Purgatory: according to Roman Catholic doctrine, this was a place of suffering where the souls of the Christian dead went to be purified and cleansed from sin before entering Heaven (The pope had the authority to grant Christians indulgences to be released from Purgatory.)

Monastery: a place where a community of monks lived and worked (Monks (men) and Nuns (women) dedicated their lives to celibacy, poverty, and Christian living.)

Avignon Papacy: a period from 1309 – 1376 when the Popes resided in Avignon in southern France instead of Rome (The Avignon Popes had a reputation for greed and corruption.)

Scholasticism: a medieval system of philosophy that maintained that the doctrines of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle could be harmonized with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church

Augustinian Theology: the teaching associated with the works of the Christian theologian Augustine (c. 400 CE)

What was the Reformation?




World Religions Online is an excellent source of information

The Reformation

The Reformation refers to a series of extraordinary religious and social changes that occurred in western Europe in the 16th century. During that period, Christian leaders who were attempting to reform the church led successful revolts against the authority of the pope. 

Martin Luther

Protestant Reformation
A movement in western European Christianity in the 1500s. During the Reformation many Christians broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and formed their own, independent churches. They were known as "Protestants". They protested against the teachings, practices, and institutions of the Catholic Church. The movement itself is known as the Reformation because it aimed to reform, that is, to correct abuses and errors in the church.


Reformation. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica.

Martin Luther. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica.

Counter Reformation
 The Reformation became the motivation for the church to launch a major effort to reform itself, to combat the Protestant movement and reclaim lost territories, and to expand its missionary endeavours around the world. This reform is usually called Counter-Reformation


Protestantism is the second largest branch of Christianity in the world. The other main branches are Roman Catholicism, the largest branch, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Protestantism is divided into many different churches.

Protestantism is rooted in the Reformation of the 16th century. It began with Martin Luther’s break with the Roman church, starting in 1517. Gradually it spread throughout Europe, aided by the work of Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin in Switzerland and that of John Knox in Scotland. From the major denominations they founded, many splinter groups have broken away and continue to do so to the present.

The term Protestant originated in Germany in 1529 at the second Diet of Spires. (A diet is an assembly of either governmental or religious officials.) The gathering voted to reverse a decision of the first Diet of Spires (1526) that would have allowed each prince in the German part of the Hapsburg Empire to determine the religion of his territory. On April 19, 1529, a minority of the assembly issued a formal “Protestation”, which said that “in matters which concern God’s honor and salvation and the eternal life of our souls, everyone must stand and give account before God for himself.”

Encyclopædia Britannica.

Tullow Centre Library, Brigidine College. 2022