The Catholic Reformation

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By the late 1500s, Christian denominations had been popping up all over Europe. This was in response to the reports of indulgences (selling of freedom from purgatory), clerical immorality, abuse of money, along with many other bad actions that were rampant among the Church. It was these problems that Luther and others rebelled and created their own religions. With the rising of these Reformation movements, the Church needed to make some reforms itself. These reforms took the form of educating the clergy, opening monasteries, the Inquisition, and the organizing of councils. In fact, even though Protestant attacks brought these reforms, many of these reforms were needed anyway. The problems in the Church were so bad that the Church would not have survived if the problems were not fixed. Even though there were movements to stop Protestantism, the Catholic Reformation was more about self-reform within the Church than an opposition to the Protestant movement.

One of the first reform movements inside the Church was the Jesuit order (also called the Society of Jesus) of priests. Instead of the common idea to combat Protestantism, the Jesuits simply wanted “to help souls” (Lindberg 333). A Jesuit is a “soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross” (Lindberg 334). This kind of mentality came primarily from the founder of the order Ignatius Loyola. Loyola was raised in a noble family to be a soldier (Holder 196; Lindberg 334). His dream was dashed when his leg was crushed in battle (Holder 196; Lindberg 334). After months in bed and a failed mission trip, Loyola went to school because he found that his education was too lacking to convert people (Holder 197). So he created the Society of Jesus, with his fellow classmates as t...

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...with the doctrine. These people simply wanted to help Catholicism, not destroy it. They recognized the problems that Church Fathers decided to ignore and found active ways to fix them. For Loyola and Teresa, this solution was reorganizing (or creating) the convents or orders to be more pious and faithful. For the Bishops and theologians in the Council of Trent, this solution was solidifying the doctrines of the Church.

Works Cited
Cunningham, Lawrence S. An Introduction to Catholicism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.
Holder, R. Ward. Crisis and Renewal: The Era of the Reformations. Kentucky: Westminster
John Knox Press, 2009. Print.
Lindberg, Carter. The European Reformations. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Miller, Richard W., Ed. Women and the Shaping of Catholicism: Women through the Ages. Missouri: Liguori Publications, 2009. Print.
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