The Protestant Reformation was a mass religious and socio-political movement in Western and Central Europe of the XVI-XVII centuries aimed at reforming the Catholic Christianity in accordance with the Bible. “The Protestant Reformation was, in part, a human rights movement” (Witte Jr. 258). The major leaders of this movement were Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and other Protestants.
Thus, this paper introduces the theme about English Catholics and Protestants after the 16th century. It presents the ways how English Catholics and Protestants represented themselves as the upholders of the traditions of the Christian Church after the 16th century.
After the Reformation, the main causes of which were overcoming of the feudal disunity and the emergence of centralized states, and people’s dissatisfaction with the moral decay of the Catholic Church which was accompanied by economic and political monopolies, English Catholics and Protestants began to represent themselves as the upholders of the traditions of the Christian Church in different ways. For instance, Catholics have icons, statues, etc. while Protestants do not accept the veneration of saints, icons, etc. A pastor (Protestants) welcomes family and many children whereas a padre (Catholics) does not have the right to marry and have children. Protestantism shares the general Christian dogmas of God’s existence, His trinity, the immortality of the soul, heaven and hell (refusing the Catholic doctrine of purgatory). Protestants do not fast or confess. The Catholic religion is more strict and conservative. Protestants do not recognize the canonization of saints in contrast to Catholics.
To sum up, it is possible to draw a conclusion that English Catholics and Protestants began to represent themselves as the upholders of the traditions of the Christian Church in different ways after the 16th century. The most visible gaps between English Catholics and Protestants are the denial (or even absence) of the sacraments, in some cases, the absence of the priesthood. Moreover, Protestants deny different Catholic dogmas and certain institutions, such as monasticism, veneration of saints, etc.
MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Reformation: A History. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
Witte Jr., John. “Law, Religion, and Human Rights: A Historical Protestant Perspective.” The Journal of Religious Ethics 26.2 (1998): 257-262.