I did a simple mental exercise of analyzing the Popes in Thomas More’s lifetime:
Sometimes we might see corruption in the Church: often we hear accusations but we don’t know if they are true. Where can we look for how to act? May I suggest St. Thomas More.
We all probably know that St. Thomas More died for refusing to sign the Oath of Supremacy, which incorrectly declared the king as the rightful head of the Church of England. Thus, he was a martyr for unity between English Christians and Rome. But, have you ever thought about who were the popes and Church officials in his lifetime?
I want to go through all the popes that reigned in the 57 years that Thomas More lived, along with some of the Archbishops of Canterbury and officials in the Roman Curia. Some of these are notoriously bad. As More was well-connected, at one point second to the king, it is unlikely he would’ve been wholly ignorant of these issues.
The Renaissance was glorious for the Church in all the art commissioned. However, in many other ways, this was a low point for the Papacy and the Church.