Brief History of Catholic Church
The Catholic Church still maintains many of the rites and structure it did in the fourteenth century but it has changed immensely. It is the oldest religion attached to Christianity and throughout its history there has been a gradual decline in the influence it has been able to wield. In the middle of the fourteenth century there was a great split (called the Western Schism) in which there were two popes for a time—one in France and one in Rome. This early conflict is representative of many future struggles for the shared power between the Catholic Church and states. Even though the Middle Ages were a time of upheaval for the Church structurally, they exerted a great deal of power over followers and Catholicism was the main religion throughout the Western World. The Sacraments, indulgences, and a number of rites were part of the practice and the Catholic Church enjoyed superior reign throughout Europe until around the sixteenth century.
In 1517 and throughout the rest of the sixteenth century there was a great shift in popular belief after Martin Luther announced his “95 Theses” which criticized the Catholic Church extensively and focused on the selling of indulgences. This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and in retaliation to this threat, the Catholic Church launched its own Counter-Reformation, which culminated in the 1563 Council of Trent, which sought to solidify the Church and make it better. This Council expanded and renewed the ideas of Catholicism and focused on the Sacraments and the idea of transubstantiation—all things that Martin Luther and his fellow (and later) protestant followers railed against since they separated the individual from God. The fourteenth century saw this new Protestant backlash that would go against the Catholic Church on nearly everything they considered important and it is quite clear that they were polar opposites.
The Church wished to maintain its rule over the people...