Second Year: The Reformation

You might remember this from a Simpsons episode. 
       It's a Reformation joke. © 20th Century Fox
You know from Religion class that Christianity has split throughout history. Living in Ireland, you'll also know that some people are Catholic, and some people are Protestant. Have you ever wondered why there is a difference?

The answer lies in the biggest split in Christianity's history. We call this time the Reformation, as it brought many reforms (changes) to religion in Europe.

In this chapter, you'll learn what the Catholic church was like in the 1500s and what inspired people like Martin Luther to rebel against it. You'll learn what he and other people did to "reform" the religion of their homelands, and you'll learn what the Catholic church did in response.

Martin Luther... King?
Martin Luther shares his name with another important figure from history. Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement against racism in America during the 1960s. Martin Luther was a monk 400 years earlier. Don't get the names mixed up!

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  • The causes of the Reformation (abuses in the Church.)
  • *A named religious reformer: Martin Luther (People in History)*
  • Another reformer. (John Calvin)
  • The Reformation in England and Ireland (Henry VII)
  • The Counter-Reformation
  • The results of the Reformation.

Click here for advice and tips on answering exam questions.

1. Give two consequences of the Reformation in Europe during the period 1517-1648. (2014 HL)

2. Give two reasons why many people thought the Catholic Church was in need of reform around
    1500. (2015 HL, 2010 HL)

3. Name the religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola to promote the Catholic religion
    during the Counter-Reformation. (2011 HL)

4. During the period of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, what was the Inquisition?
    (2010 HL)

5. Mention two ways in which the Catholic Church tried to stop the spread of the Protestant religions
    during the 16th century. (2015 HL, 2008 HL)

6. Name one abuse which was present in the Catholic Church before the Reformation. (2015 OL, 2010 OL)

7. Name one religious reformer from the Reformation and the city/country associated with him. (2015 OL)

8. Choose one of the following terms from the history of the Reformation and explain it:
              95 Theses;       Papal Bull;       Predestination. (2010 OL)

9. Explain what is meant by the term Reformation. (2008 OL)


    Q. 6A, 2009 HL

    1.   Explain two of the following:       Heresy;       Nepotism;       Simony;       Pluralism.   (2x2)

    2.   What was the main result of the Diet of Worms, 1521?   (2)

    3.   What did the Peace of Augsberg decide?   (2)

    4.   Describe one important effect of the Reformation on Ireland.   (2)

    5.   Write an account of each of two of the following:   (10x2)
           (a) Calvin's church in Geneva.
           (b) Henry VIII and the Reformation in England.
           (c) Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits.


    A named religious reformer (at the time of the Reformation)
    (2011 HL, 2008 HL, 2012 OL, 2011 OL, 2014 OL, 2009 OL, 2008 OL)

    As you can see, the Reformation is a popular People in History topic. You've most likely studied Martin Luther as your named religious reformer, so let's talk about how to write an answer with him.

    • Name and introduce your reformer. Where was he born? When?
      • Why did he decide to be religious? What were his beliefs?
        • What inspired him to rebel? How did he rebel? (95 Theses)
          • How did the Catholic Church respond? How did Luther respond to them? (burning the papal bull)
            • Luther was excommunicated. What happened as a result of this?
              • Lutheranism spread through Europe. What was its beliefs?
                • What were the results of Luther's reformation? Its impact went on for centuries, so this is a good place to stop.

                  So, in short...

                  1. Name and introduce the reformer.
                  2. Talk about his beliefs.
                  3. Explain what inspired him to rebel against the Church.
                  4. Explain how the Catholic church responded, and what Luther did.
                  5. Describe what happened after he was excommunicated.
                  6. Explain Lutheranism.
                  7. Describe the results of Luther's reformation.

                  • say "Hi, I'm Martin Luther..." Like I said, this has to be in the third-person (describing other people).
                  • name a term (like predestination or simony) and then not explain it. You always get marks for explaining terms.
                  • write anything irrelevant (unimportant).

                  Nobody expects the (Spanish) Inquisition.
                  (Reformation jokes are more common than you'd think)

                  Martin Luther: Reluctant Revolutionary (YouTube)
                  This movie/documentary tells the story of Martin Luther, from why he rebelled against the Church to the results of his actions.

                  The 95 Theses
                  They could take a long time to read, but if you're interested here are Luther's famous 95 theses, translated into English.

                  The Reformation in England
                  This site has a year-by-year breakdown of how the Reformation occurred in England, with Henry VIII as king.

                  The Inquisition
                  The Catholic Church launched inquisitions in the Middle Ages too. Find out more about them here.