Reformation and Ritual

Question: What attitude or attitudes did the Reformations take towards popular religious forms? And how did the Reformations themselves come to embody ritual elements? The Reformation was a period of much social unrest. Whilst there existed a physical struggle evident upon the surface, underneath lie an intense philosophical and religious debate that served to test and question the values of Catholicism and the reasons for the need for change argued by the Protestant. The Reformation movement challenged the Catholic belief system. It argued against the praising and worshipping of icons and other such relics and argued that all praise and worship should be reserved for the Word of God and God alone. However, there is evidence to suggest that early Protestants felt a need for the reassurance offered by such icons and further, it has been argued, that the Protestant Reformers, in attempting to destroy ritual, actually served to strengthen Catholic belief in same. The irony is, in that attempting to destroy such rituals, the movement actually served to embody ritual elements. The methods by which it attempted to destroy ritual, can actually be interpreted as being ritualistic in and of themselves. The Christian Sacraments were and are an important part of Catholic life. In understanding the significance of such sacraments to the Catholic and the theoretical arguments against same put forward by the Protestant Reformer, the need for the Reformer to extinguish such importance, becomes evident. For both the Catholic and the Orthodox the Eucharist represented and represents the body of Christ. It is believed that initially, the Eucharist is simply unleavened bread, however upon being blessed such bread actually turns into the body of Christ, a metaphysical transformation occurs that remains unexplained except by reference to a miracle and a blessing. Conversely the wine is believed to become the blood of Christ. It is believe…

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