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History — Chapter 12

The Modern Age in Europe — (B) Reformation

Class 9 - Total History & Civics Solutions

Short Answer Questions

Question 1

What is known as the Reformation?


The Reformation is the name given to a group of religious movements of the sixteenth century launched by the christians against the various drawbacks of the Church and the objectionable practices of the clergymen. The main target of these movements was the Pope, the highest authority in Church hierarchy.

Question 2

What was known as a Letter of Indulgence?


A Letter of Indulgence was a pardon certificate issued to those, who paid money to the Church, for remitting punishments for their sins both in this life and after their death. It was issued by Pope Leo x, who needed money to build St. Peter's Church. Normally, the priest imposed a penance or punishment on a person who had sinned and he was required to perform a special service or make a pilgrimage to a holy place. But now they could be freed from doing penance for their sins by buying a Letter of Indulgence.

Question 3

What is known as the Protestant Movement?


The Protestant Movement was a movement against the Church and their objectionable practices. The protestant movement started in different countries with different names but were collectively termed as Reformation.

Question 4

Why did kings support the Reformation Movement?


The kings supported the Reformation Movement in order to weaken the Church. There was Pope's interference in political affairs which was apposed by the kings. As early as the 13th century, the rulers of Europe had quarrelled with the Popes over the royal right to tax the Church property. The rivalry ended in the defeat of the Papacy.

Question 5

Who was Erasmus? Name the book he wrote.


Desiderius Erasmus was a Dutch philosopher and humanist, who is said to have prepared the ground for the Reformation by exposing the Church for their objectionable practices like charging fees for salvation. The book he wrote was 'In Praise of Folly'.

Question 6

What role did Henry VIII play in curbing the power of the Pope?


King Henry VIII of England got the Church lands and in 1536 passed an Act for dissolution of monasteries, whereby small monasteries with an income of less than £200 a year were closed and their buildings, land and money taken by the crown. By another Act of 1539, larger monasteries were closed. These monasteries were a reminder of power of Catholic Church and were the wealthiest institution in the country. By destroying the monastic system, Henry acquired all its wealth and property while at the same time removed the influence of Pope.

Question 7

What was Counter Reformation?


The Reformation Movement was against the Roman Catholic Church and brought about the birth of the Protestant Church. In order to restore the credibility of the Catholic Church, a large number of dedicated Christians including some popes introduced certain reforms within the Church. This movement is known as the Counter Reformation.

Question 8

What was the role of the Council of Trent in Counter Reformation?


The council of Trent was a Church council convened at Trent in North Italy in 1545 by Pope Paul III. This council made a number of changes in Catholic Church. The role of council of Trent in Counter Reformation can be summarised as follows:

  1. It expanded its doctrines in light of the changed attitudes of the times.
  2. It condemned leading an irresponsible religious life by the clergy.
  3. Books with anti-catholic teachings were banned.
  4. Pope was regarded as the head of Catholic church and the final interpreter of Christian doctrine.
  5. It established centres known as seminaries to educate and train priests.
  6. It forbade the Church to charge fees for conducting religious services.
  7. It advocated the use of the local language for preaching in the Church.

Structured Questions

Question 1

With reference to the Reformation, answer the following:

(a) Mention any three Church practices that caused dissatisfaction among the people?

(b) How did New Learning become a factor that led to the Reformation?

(c) Who were the Protestants? By what other names was Protestantism known?


(a) Three Church practice — that caused dissatisfaction among the people were:

  1. Economic Factors — In the middle ages, the Church had vast properties, which gave ample income to the Church. Besides, one-tenth of the income of a person was given to the Church. This was called the tithe. In addition to this, the clergy collected another sum called the 'Peter's Pence' from the people. The Church also started selling 'Letter of Indulgence'. These were pardon certificates remitting punishments of the sinners who bought them, both in this life and after their death.
  2. Corruption in the Church — With passage of time, moral decay crept into some areas in the functioning of the Church. Some of the clergymen lacked proper education and lived a life of luxury neglecting their religious duties. They could pronounce a marriage lawful or unlawful. There were fees for every transaction in life, from birth to death.
  3. Rulers' Resentment — Pope's interference in the political affairs was naturally opposed by the kings. They strongly supported the Reformation Movement in order to weaken the Church.

(b) The spread of new learning and spirit of enquiry was developed by Renaissance scholars. The invention of printing press and the printing of the Bible in vernacular languages brought a new outlook among laymen. The Renaissance encouraged spirit of enquiry, developed critical attitude space and broadened the mental outlook of man. People then began to question everything including the authority of the Pope. They criticised the Church practices, rituals and the lifestyles of some of the clergymen. The changed attitude of people finally led to outbreak of Reformation movement.

(c) The Reformation movements created a split in the Christian Church between those who continued to remain loyal to the Pope at Rome (known as Roman Catholics) and those who broke away from the Church at Rome. The latter were known as Protestants.

The Reformation broke out in number of countries like England, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Scotland. However all the Protestants did not share the same religious beliefs and Rituals. The different names of Protestantism were Calvinism, Presbyterianism (Scotland) and Puritanism (England).

Question 2

Study the picture given below and answer the following questions.

Identify the person in the picture. How did he challenge the Church? What is known as the Diet of Worms? Who supported him when he was outlawed? State the contribution of this person in reforming the church in Europe? The Modern Age in Europe - (B) Reformation, Total History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 9.

(a) Identify the person in the picture. How did he challenge the Church?

(b) What is known as the Diet of Worms? Who supported him when he was outlawed?

(c) State the contribution of this person in reforming the church in Europe?


(a) The person in the picture is Martin Luther, a German clergyman and professor of Theology at University of Wittenburg.

He openly criticised papacy. He accused the Church for the sale of indulgences. In 1517, Luther wrote 'Ninety-five theses' or statements dealing with the difference between the beliefs and practices of the Church and nailed them on the Church door at Wittenburg.

(b) The holy Roman Emperor Charles V, upon request by Pope, asked Luther to defend his case before a Grand Diet held at Worms known as the Diet of Worms consisting of Council of Princes and high dignitaries in 1521.

The Diet ordered that Luther's writings be burnt and Luther be outlawed but Luther had support of German rulers and so no harm was done to him.

(c) The contribution of Martin Luther in reforming the church in Europe were following:

  1. Luther translated the Bible into German and set up an independent church.
  2. He travelled extensively to different parts of Europe, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The Protestant movement found wide acceptance.
  3. Lutheranism was recognised as a legal form of Christianity by a treaty known as 'The Peace of Augsburg' in 1555.