John Wycliffe

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John Wycliffe (c1330 – 1384) was a Christian theologian. He was a critic of the Catholic Church and his writings were influential in the later Protestant movement.

  • Supported predestination
  • Greater role for lay person, compared to clergy
  • Clergy should be poor. Church possessions should be secularised.
"Visit those who are sick, or who are in trouble, especially those whom God has made needy by age, or by other sickness, as the feeble, the blind, and the lame who are in poverty. These you shall relieve with your goods after your power and after their need, for thus biddeth the Gospel."
  • The Bible should be available in vernacular language. In 1382, Wycliffe translated the Vulgate Bible into English.
"The laity ought to understand the faith, and since the doctrines of our faith are in the Scriptures, believers should have the Scriptures in a language familiar to the people, and to this end the Holy Ghost endued them with knowledge of all tongues."
  • Criticised the pope, the church hierarchy and its corruption.
  • Criticised the practice of buying and selling church positions, known as Simony.
  • Against monastic orders
  • Against transubstantiation
"I acknowledge that the sacrament of the altar is very God's body in form of bread, but it is in another manner God's body than it is in heaven."
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