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The Catholic Church, GCSE Coursework Example

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GCSE Coursework

The Catholic Church broke up due the influence of reformation leaders, such as Martin Luther and the ideological influences of the age of Enlightenment. The period helped to shed light on new ideas, and new tolerance for other views about religion. Settlers that came to the New World; America formed the British Colonies with the intention to   escape from the restrictions of everyday life by the monarchy, and the feudal rules and laws imposed on Europe by the papacy and leaders of the Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation in 1500 brought on demand for religious freedom. Before 1500, virtually all ideas of religion that did not match to the Catholic Church’s were considered heresy.  Many people who opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church refused to conform, even if they were being forced to. These people sought  religious freedom; they followed the call of ideological freedom in the New World, they could no longer live in a country that restricted their religious freedom and personal opportunities. On the other hand, America became the symbol of opportunities. Immigrants trying to mitigate intolerance by reasoning failed and their churches were not accepted. While England broke up with the Catholic Church during the reign of Henry VIII, other protestant churches and ideologies formed. William Bradford decided to create a new settlement in America to freely practice his religion, based on the ideology of separatist views. Finally, pilgrims settled in Virginia in 1620. Pilgrims wanted to search for a religion that was not like the Church of England, but could satisfy the spiritual needs of the people.

The climate in England at this time was still against new religions that dissented from the doctrines that were sanctioned by the monarchy at this time. (Zagorin, 2005)  Parliament passed  an ordinance  against new protestant views in 1648, to prevent  blasphemy and heresy from spreading. The ordinance imposed death penalty on those who taught, published, or preached prohibited theological beliefs. Later, however, a movement of peace brought on more freedom for people with different religious views;  allowing mostly Presbyterians to attend the church of their choosing, agreeing in mutual tolerance. (Zagorin, 2005)  The ideologies of the Enlightenment  contributed towards the victory of tolerance. Enlightenment helped developing a culture of individualism and tolerance in the colonies. The work of Martin Luther and others that spoke against the Church of England, helped to give way to more religious sects that followed the pilgrims, as they established the 13 colonies in America. Colonies were initially established by Quakers and Puritans, and thees groups initially seemed to dominate the colonies. However, there were plenty of people that wanted personal, ideological liberty and freedom to practice other beliefs. By the end of the 17th century, the Reformation fully developed in Europe and other theologies and sects emerged. As stated, the Enlightenment period in England and Europe, spreading to the colonies had a foundation of individualism and freedom of human beings. (Zagorin, 2005) While in the colonies Puritans and Protestants were in majority in the colonies, especially in Maryland the ideology of religious freedom called for balancing religious influences and protecting the rights of Catholic immigrants. Following the Maryland Toleration Act by Lord Baltimore which allowed people to practice whichever religion without being molested or troubled, it helped to foster the foundations of personal, ideological and religious freedom in the colonies. (Wikipedia, 2014)

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