Popes: Power to the People

In the aftermath of the Reformation, the authority of the pope depended ever more upon the will of the people.

Delivery of Keys to St Peter, by Vincenzo Catena, c.1520.
Delivery of Keys to St Peter, by Vincenzo Catena, c.1520 © akg-images.

A group of princes gathered in Schmalkalden, a small town in central Germany, in February 1537. These men of the Schmalkaldic League were eminent followers of Martin Luther, the Augustinian friar who had condemned the Catholic Church and sparked a religious revolution that tore Europe apart. That February, Luther had called a meeting of the leading theologians and princes among his followers. Their task? To agree upon some finer points of theology in order to better define the beliefs of their Lutheran movement. 

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