Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church and in so doing created a movement away from the strictness of Catholic teaching and from the idea that communion with God required the intercession of the papacy and the religious structure of a Church. Luther was reacting to a variety of specific abuses he perceived in the Catholic hierarchy and in terms of doctrinaire differences Luther had with Church teachings. His protest may have challenged the rule of the Catholic Church, but it affirmed the importance of religion and religious belief. It also demonstrated the human resistance to any perceived tyranny, physical or intellectual, and the human tendency to develop new modes of thought and action to counter such tyranny.
At the same time, Luther demonstrated both his own deep personal faith and a certain naive belief in the willingness of others to learn and to change. His was not the first protest against the Catholic Church and its abuses, but he succeeded where others had failed because of his own charismatic conversion. He was one of the people and spoke their language. Rome resisted all reform with every power at her disposal, and the essential element of Church doctrine which was used to enforce this was the requirement of obedience. Luther clearly broke this tenet, but for Luther and his followers it was not a matter of obedience at all but a question of truth. Indeed, within the Church there was also a dedication to truth, and the Church was
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Category: History - M
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