What role Desiderius Erasmus play in the Reformation?

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Erasmus played an important role in providing some of the intellectual foundations for the Reformers' attacks on the Church. Though Erasmus never became a Protestant himself, he certainly made an enormous contribution to the ferment of ideas out of which the Reformation emerged. Throughout his writings, Erasmus was highly critical of certain practices within the Church. He used his enormous erudition and great wit to satirize some of the more absurd aspects of late medieval devotional life. For instance, Erasmus was openly contemptuous of the veneration of sacred relics, the sale of which he thought was nothing more than a money-making scam. He had a similar attitude towards indulgences, a notorious practice whereby people could gain remission of sins in the next world if they paid a certain amount of money to the Church.

Generally, Erasmus was pretty scathing of the Church's rampant corruption and its many abuses. Yet he remained a loyal Catholic until his dying day. Erasmus wanted to...

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