What are some key beliefs and practices associated with the Protestant, English, and Catholic Reformations?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good question, because you know that there were three reformations. Let me go through each of them and mention a few key beliefs and practices. 

First, the Protestant Reformation emphasized three "solae" -- sola scriptura, sola fide, and sola gratis, or scripture alone, faith alone, and grace alone. These points were in opposition to what Protestants thought were Catholic errors. Protestants wanted to break free from the traditionalism of the Catholic church as well as the emphasis on the sacraments. This is why Protestants only recognize two sacraments -- the Lord's Supper and Baptism.

Second, Catholics, in contrast to Protestants, were heavily indebted to tradition. However, what set them apart was their emphasis on the primacy of the pope. Protestants, as you can imagine, did not believe that the Pope held a special place. The Catholic church also espoused seven sacrament and elevated Mary in their theology. The Council of Trent basically confirmed their traditionalism. Furthermore, there was an emphasis on sainthood, which Protestants reject.  

The English Reformation can be seen as a hybrid. From a theological point of view, they were Protestants. In fact, some of the best Protestant theologians came from England. And even a glance at the Thirty-Nine Articles will show clear Protestant leanings. However, when it comes to church liturgy and form, it was more Catholic.