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Protestantism and Catholicism - Essay Example

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Protestantism and Catholicism

Other significant concerns expressed by Martin Luther entailed the notion that there were fundamental ideological differences between the religious truths as Martin Luther saw it and the doctrine of the Catholic Church. These differences included the notion of purgatory, particular judgment, devotion to Mary, the intercession of the saints, most of the sacraments, and the authority of the Pope.1 These ideological differences led to a split within the Catholic Church. This split effectively led to the creation of the Protestant Church as well as a difference in the way in which both churches set out to negotiate with the popular culture of the time. This paper will focus on these differences and illuminate the underlying causes of contention.
First and foremost, in order to conceptualize the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism with regards to the negotiation of popular culture it is prudent that we discuss the basic tenets of the two religions. Most importantly, the fundamental religious beliefs of Catholics are those that have been derived from the New Testament and are symbolized through the many sacraments. The most fundamental belief is one that entails the notion that there is a holy trinity and the deity consists of three divine persons-God the father, the son and the Holy Ghost.2 Within the Catholic Church there is a central belief that God came into being as a direct result of the incarnation of his Son. Within the Catholic tradition there is an emphasis on sacraments. Essentially, there are seven sacraments. These sacraments include Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. The Sacraments are essentially ceremonies which highlight what is important, sacred and significant in the lives of Catholics. Of these sacraments, the Baptism and the Eucharist have special prominence in that the Baptism is the sacramental entry into religious life for Catholics and the Eucharist is the symbolic memorial of the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ. Another important sacrament is that of the Reconciliation wherein Catholics are given absolution from their sins through the process of confession.3
The Protestant Reformation era represents a split within the Catholic Church and the emergence of the Protestant Church as a corrective action for dealing with what Martin Luther and other reformists felt were inherent flaws within Christianity. First and foremost, the official start of the reformation can be seen in 1517 when Martin Luther, an ex-communicated monk, produced his ninety-five theses which delineated his repugnance at the fact that there was a systematic abuse of papal power. This abuse was most evident in the sale of indulgences by Pope Leo X as a means of raising funds for the construction of the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.4 This action served to infuriate an already furious Martin Luther who was essentially appalled at the fact that the powers afforded the Pope continued to expand and had become such that the Catholic Church not only asserted its influence on the mundane existence of its constituents but its influence was now evident in the determination of the quality of after-life afforded to believers. Essentially, his main contention involved the fact that faith had taken a diminished role while good acts were given a more prominent role. The notion of one buying his/her way into heaven was one that disturbed Luther who ...Show more


Without a doubt, there is an indelible connection between the secular and religious lives of many individuals. In many instances, religious beliefs transcend into the daily existence and have a prolific effect on popular culture. This notion became evident during the Reformation Era which occurred between 1500 A.D…
Author : kwintheiser
Protestantism and Catholicism essay example
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