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The Pope’s Investigation: Making a Judgment Call

Name: ___________________________________________ Date: ________________ Period: _________

Key Question:
Martin Luther was the main cause of the Reformation. But is he the only one to blame? Give evidence to explain your answer.

The Situation:
The year is 1522. Martin Luther, the German monk, has attacked the Roman Catholic Church in October 31, 1517 by making his Ninety-Five Theses against the Church. His complaints have been published and many other people are starting to agree with him. The Church is in crisis. Luther must be stopped from attacking the Church further. The Pope has summoned you, his top team of Cardinals and Bishops, to investigate the reasons for the spread of disagreement and protest against the Church.

The Task:
You are the top team of Cardinals and Bishops. You must investigate the reasons behind the crisis situation the Church has found itself in. You must report your findings to the Pope. Do you think that Martin Luther is the main cause of the disagreement and protest against the Church? OR do you think there are other reasons? Perhaps reasons the Pope does not wish to know about!

Useful Phrases:
Your Holiness, we must tell you about… We, your Cardinals, fear to report that… Holy Father, there is terrible news. We have found that… Outrageous lies have been spread about your Holy Church because… 1

1. Providing the evidence about Martin Luther.
You must prove your explanation of the causes by explaining the role of Martin Luther to the Pope. Write the EVIDENCE in the following space and explain it. Be careful how you explain it, however, the Pope could get angry if he thinks you agree with it!

EVIDENCE

2. Provide evidence about the Gutenberg’s printing press.
You must prove your explanation of the causes by explaining the role of the printing press to the Pope.

WHY HAS THE PRINTING PRESS CAUSED THE CHURCH SO MANY PROBLEMS?

3. Provide any other evidence you find.
Again, you must prove your explanation of the role of other influences in the Protestant Reformation. Write this EVIDENCE in the following space. And of course, be careful how you explain it, because the Pope could get angry if he thinks you agree with this new evidence!

EVIDENCE

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4. List the main causes of the Reformation linking the evidence.
Your Holiness (the Pope), we have investigated the matter. We have considered long and hard what the causes of this crisis might be. We have discovered the key reasons for this so-called Reformation.

LIST THE MAIN CAUSES OF THE REFORMATION USING THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE COLLECTED.

5. Now that you’ve compiled all of this evidence, write a formal letter to the Pope from you, a top Cardinal or Bishop explaining your findings. Make sure to incorporate how the printing press fits into your findings, and state one way you could react to this “protest” of the Catholic Church (attach to this sheet).

6. Now, imagine you are the Pope. After your top Cardinals and Bishops present you their formal letter explaining their findings, how do you, the Pope, react to this evidence? Are you surprised? What should you do with the guilty party? Should they live or should they die?

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