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Reformation 16th-century religious revolution in the Christian church ending the ecclesiastical supremacy of the pope in Western Christendom and establishing the Protestant churches The Reformation completely altered the medieval way of life in Western Europe and initiated the era of modern history II Conditions Preceding Reformation Beginning in the 900s popes and emperors battled continually for power in Western Europe as political leaders resented papal taxation and submission to ecclesiastical officials Religious reformers also began to attack the church Fourteenth-century English reformer John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English to make it available to common people He also preached in English rather than Latin The papacy was accused of official corruption and the churchs vast wealth incited envy and resentment among the peasantry In Western Europe in the 15th century humanism displaced scholasticism as the principal school of thought This new philosophy encouraged learning and inquiry and it removed the monopoly on learning previously held by church leaders The invention of printing increased the circulation of books Laypersons studied ancient literature and scholars evaluated the Scriptures and church practices Their studies formed the foundation for the Reformation claim that the Bible rather than the church is the source of all religious authority III National Movements The Protestant revolution began in Germany in 1517 when theologian Martin Luther published his 95 theses challenging the theory and practice of indulgences Papal authorities ordered Luther to submit to church authority and threatened him with excommunication Undeterred Luther publicly burned the papal decree of excommunication German royalty and ecclesiastics assembled in 1521 at the Diet of Worms and ordered Luther to recant He refused and was declared an outlaw Germany soon became sharply divided along religious and economic lines Open warfare between Lutherans and Roman Catholics broke out in the Peasants War 1524-1526 The two sides agreed to a measure of compromise in the late 1520s and the Lutherans protested vehemently when the Roman Catholic church breached the agreement
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