The Protestant Reformation: the reasons behind this 500-year-old breach

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27/10/2016
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The sixteenth century was a time of broadening horizons. It was the century of great conquests of America, the century of Michelangelo and Raphael, and also the century of the Reformation. A century of growth that brought on new challenges, and the Church was no exception.  

SILVANO GIORDANO
Historian, Gregorian University
'There was a trend of renewal of Christian life; not only in Christian life but in the whole continent. Martin Luther appears precisely at that time. A moment in which the Church was impregnated by the humanism of the Renaissance.'  

Humanism gave mankind great confidence in its capabilities. In the Christian sphere, this new trend favored a new, much more personal, relationship with God.  

SILVANO GIORDANO
Historian, Gregorian University
'In the first years of the twentieth century some historians criticized Luther of being psychotic or negative. This trend slowly disappeared after the 50s when, after taking a closer look , they underlined Luther's ability to seek a more personal relationship with God.'  

Luther found hypocrisy amongst the clergy he met in Rome, so he lost his faith in the Church as an institution. That is why he believed in a more individualistic relationship with God.  

He posted his 95 theses on the doors of the All Saints' church in Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517, in what is generally considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  

SILVANO GIORDANO
Historian, Gregorian University
'Luther was, in a sense, a child of his time, when he decided to set the Church aside and focus on the importance of every person's relationship with God. For him, the Church ceases to be instrumental in achieving salvation.'  

The Reformation caused a separation, but it was also the reflection of the doubts and problems of his time. It is a wound that, lately, both Protestants and Catholics are trying to close. The pope's trip to Sweden is another gesture in the way towards reconciliation.

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