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Throughout the Middle Ages the Catholic Church continued to assert itsprimacy of position The growth of the papacy had paralleled the growth of thechurch but by the end of the Middle Ages challenges to papal authority fromthe rising power of monarchical states had resulted in a loss of papal temporalauthority An even greater threat to papal authority and church unity arose inthe sixteenth century when the unity of medieval European Christendom wasirretrievably shattered by the Reformation Martin Luther was the catalyst that precipitated the new movement Hispersonal struggle for religious certainty led him against his will to question themedieval system of salvation and the very authority of the church His chiefopposition was Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who due to multiplecircumstances was unable to impede Luthers movement He opposed theCatholic doctrine of faith and good works for salvation instead proposing adoctrine of salvation through faith His publishing of the Ninety-Five Theseswhich covered the abuse of indulgences is often seen as the beginning of theReformation movement However the movement was not only confined toNative reform movements in Switzerland found leadership in UlrichZwingli who eventually sought an alliance with Luther and the Germanreformers and especially in John Calvin whose Institutes of the ChristianReligion became the most influential summary of the new theology On mostimportant doctrines Calvin was in agreement with Luther Calvin differed fromLuther in his belief in the concept of predestination derived from his belief inGods supreme authority This concept became the central focus of succeedingOne of the more radical Reformation groups the Anabaptists setthemselves against other Protestants as well as against Rome rejecting suchlong-established practices as infant baptism and sometimes even such dogmasas the Trinity and denouncing the alliance of church and state They believed innonviolence and strict separation of church and state equality and voluntaryEngland during the Reformation was one of continuous change TheEnglish Reformation provoked by the marital troubles of Henry VIII reflectedthe influence of the Lutheran and then of the Calvinistic reforms
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