Monday, 6 June 2016

reformer or lolled

Though perhaps less famous in the annals of religious reformation movements, the Lollards—under the leadership of theologian John Wycliffe—ought to be better remembered than the movements on the continent that are heir to them.
More succinct than the ninety-five theses of Martin Luther, which may or may not have been posted publically on the door of the Wittenberger Dom though certainly posted to the Archbishop of Mainz on All Hallows Eve in 1517 (enough to get Luther in hot water), the Lollards compiled a list of Twelve Conclusions that was definitely nailed to the doors of Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s in early Spring 1395, and was a similar litany of accusations before the practise of selling indulgences took off and convinced Henry VIII to stand his ground against Church authority. As a prologue to their general beliefs, the Lollards rallied against the Church’s meddling in temporal powers, conquest and crusade, celibacy in the priesthood, exorcism and veneration of relics as witchcraft and idolatry, and questioned the need for the Church to mediate between God and man—even producing an unsanctioned edition of the Bible in English for home-use. The knights of this brotherhood were called Lollards rather pejoratively (but like the Quakers or the Shakers, they were happy to run with this name) and gruesomely after the babbling imitation of the gravediggers that bore away Plague victims, who were deputised to administer last rites—to mumble, as in lullaby. Suppression, intrigue and rather disproportion responses sent the Lollards underground but ensured that this resurgence and received tenants would be retrieved by later Protestantism.