The Change From A Religous To A

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The Change From A Religous To A Secular Society In Europe Essay, Research Paper The radical change in European society from an almost completely religious civilization in the early sixteenth century into a basically secular civilization by the end of the eighteenth century was a very long process which did not directly begin in the early sixteenth century. The initial sign of sparks that would ignite the flame first appeared during the thirteenth century. While proven visibly that in the beginning of the thirteenth century the Catholic church played a dominant role in society, as was directly shown in the numerous beautiful Romanesque and Gothic churches that were erected during this time period. However not as visible to the naked eye was that at the same time discontent and

desire for change with the church was ravaging through the minds of the Europeans. Europeans withdrew from the practices and teachings of the Catholic church, which in turn promoted the church to responded with inquisitorial instruments to enforce its teachings. The response from the Catholic church did not necessarily work out the way they had wanted to, these inquisitorial instruments only withdrew the Europeans further than they originally were. Resulting in Martin Luther’s first protest against the Papacy and the Catholic church, which resulted in causing the Reformation, although beneficial to the previously persecuted, it would set the stepping stones for social disrupt and constant political feuding between nations and peoples not only from the sixteenth to the

eighteenth century but it would continue well beyond that time period influencing even the way the world works today. This despise of the Papacy from the Europeans did no only bring about not only a breakaway from the Catholic Church but ultimately Christianity as a whole resulting in a almost completely secular civilization by the end of the eighteenth century.(Spielvogel xxxii) One of the first examples of this social disrupt between the Catholics and Protestants was that between the Catholics and the Calvanists in France during the French wars of religion. While the base of the disagreement was from religious differences it was not the sole factor of discontent between these two peoples. There different denominations allowed for a sort of categorizing between two sects of

people, Catholics were supporters of the crown while Calvanists was in strong opposition of the crown, this is a trend that will be constantly repeated throughout history. “The devout Catholic king of Spain, Philip II, supported the policies of the ultra-Catholic Guise Family Elizabeth I of England supported the Huguenots [French for Calvanits] for political reasons.”(Spielvogel 500-501) Thus creating one of the first examples of nations either supporting or not supporting other nations for not solely political reasons but also for religious. “The remark of a close friend of the Guises to the Spanish ambassador in 1565 went to the heart of the problem: ‘Nowadays Catholic princes must not proceed as they once did. At one time friends and enemies were distinguished by the

frontiers of provinces and kingdoms, and were called Italians, Germans, French, Spaniards, English, and the like; now we must say Catholics and heretics, and a Catholic prince must consider all Catholics of all countries as his friends, just as the heretics consider all heretics as friends and subjects, whether they are their own vassals or not.”(Spielvogel 501) As previously mentioned King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598) was one of the most influential Catholics of the second half of the sixteenth century. He showed his belief in Catholicism again in a extremely forceful way through the Spanish Inquisition. “The Spanish had little difficulty seeing themselves as a nation of people divinely chosen to save Catholic Christianity from the Protestant heretics.”(Spielvogel 503)