Catholic Reformation By Ninh Tran (WOH2022 0W61)

Catholic Reformation occurred because of the reaction towards protestants to protest against the Church's judgement against Luther. Plus, the Reformation was also to re-Christianize Europe.

The reformation evolved eventually, and peaked when the pontificate of Paul III (1534-1549) culminated in the Council of Trent, who appointed a commission of cardinals to look into the need for institutional, but certainly not doctrinal, reform, uncovering the appointment of corrupt and worldly bishops and priests, traffic in indulgences, and other financial abuses. The Council of Trent, meeting in three sessions between 1545 and 1563, was the climax of the Catholic Reformation. The Council, using vehicles such as the Tridentine Creed, strongly reaffirmed as spiritually vital: the dogma of salvation by faith and works, the authority of unwritten tradition, transubstantiation of the consecrated bread and wine into the substantial body and blood of Christ, seven sacraments, indulgences, pilgrimages, the cult of saints, relics, and the Virgin.

While the basic structure of the Church was reaffirmed, there were noticeable changes to answer complaints that the Catholic Reformers tacitly were willing to admit were legitimate. Among the conditions to be corrected by Catholic reformers was the growing divide between the priests and the flock; many members of the clergy in the rural parishes, after all, had been poorly educated. While these rural priests did not know Latin and lacked opportunities for theological education at the time, Parish priests now became better educated, while Papal authorities sought to eliminate the distractions of the monastic churches. Notebooks and handbooks thus became common, describing how to be good priests and confessors.

Between 1512 and the 1560s a movement of 'evangelical Catholics' of high-ranking member of the curia, called Spirituali, actively tried to reform the church through reform of the individual. Members of orders active in overseas missionary expansionism often expressed the need that the rural parishes, whose poor state of affairs contributed to the growth of Protestantism, often needed Christianizing as much as heathens of Asia and the Americas, thus contributing to recovering significant territories that would have otherwise been lost to the Protestants. The Ursulines focused on the special task of educating girls. and other Protestant sects. Not only making the Church more effective, they reaffirmed fundamental premises of the Medieval Church.

The most important factors in this reform movement were the Council of Trent and The Renaissance, which was also a factor in that it challenged men to use their minds - but the Renaissance was purely secular, not religious.

It has impact on the world at large in many ways. First, the Reformation has profoundly affected the modern view of politics and law. Prior to the Reformation the Church governed politics; she controlled emperors and kings and governed the law of lands. Second, the meaning of much western literature is really quite meaningless apart from an understanding of the Reformation. Moreover, for all practical purposes Martin Luther stabilized the German language. Third, in the realm of science, it is generally granted by modern historians that there never would have been modern science were it not for the Reformation. All scientific investigation and endeavor prior to that had been controlled by the church. Only through sheer ignorance of history do many modern scientists believe that Protestantism, the true evangelical faith, opposes true science.

Through prophetic gestures and words Pope Francis has emerged as a sort-of "evangelical free-spirit" unencumbered by the restrictions of the Vatican's often-arcane protocols and human traditions. This has created an irresistible worldwide appeal even among non-Catholics and non-believers. For instance, divorce should not be looked at and judged too severely nowadays.

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