16th-century movement in Western Christianity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation, and the European Reformation)[1] was a major movement in Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in part posed a challenge to papal authority. The Reformation marked the start of Protestantism and in the Western Church, the Latin Church, remained the Catholic Church.

It is considered one of the events that signified the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the early modern period in Europe.[2] The end of the Reformation era is disputed among modern scholars.

Prior to Martin Luther and the other Protestant Reformers, there were earlier reform movements within Western Christianity. Although the Reformation is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, he was not excommunicated by Pope Leo X until January 1521. The Diet of Worms of May 1521 condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas.[3] Luther survived after being declared an outlaw due to the protection of Elector Frederick the Wise.

The spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. The initial movement in Germany diversified, and other reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin arose.

In general, the Reformers argued that salvation in Christianity was a completed status based on faith in Jesus alone and not a process that could involve good works, as in the Catholic view. Protestantism also introduced new ecclesiology.

The Counter-Reformation, also called the Catholic Reformation or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic reforms initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation.[4]