What are the influences of Renaissance humanism on Catholic reform?  

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Humanists mounted a number of critiques against the Church, and it is difficult to measure precisely the extent to which their writings influenced Church reformers. Generally, humanists like Erasmus and Thomas More argued that the Church should adhere more closely to Scripture, and move away from aspects of worship and ecclesiastical structure that were not supported by Biblical text. True to the humanist emphasis on learning, they also criticized the Church for the ignorance and avarice of many priests, the influence of monastic orders, and the rampant corruption that had helped spark the Protestant Reformation. Other humanists, like Marsiglio of Padua, argued that the Church should be governed more by the edicts of councils composed of Church leaders than by papal decree. While the works of many humanist writers were banned by the Council of Trent and other Church institutions, some were taken seriously, and the Church moved to clarify, modernize, and in particular re-evangelize its approach to religious leadership.


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