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The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation Paperback – July 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0813209517 ISBN-10: 081320951X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081320951X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813209517
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'In summary, this book transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries to synthesise extremely well the best of recent writing on the history of modern Catholicism (the bibliography provides the proof of this).' - Marc Venard, Revue d'Histoire de l'Eglise de France 'The emphasis throughout on the centrality of the lay piety is an excellent corrective to versions of confessionalization theory which remain too institutionally concerned with the state's direction of its subjects. Instead both casuistry and Jansenism are admirably apporached with a proper Jesuit sensitivity.' - A.D. Wright, Catholic Historical Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Bireley, S.J., is professor of history at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of three books including The Counter-Reformation Prince: Antimachiavellianism or Catholic Statecraft in Early Modern Europe and Politics and Religion in the Age of the Counterreformation: Emperor Ferdinand II, William Lamormaini, S.J., and the Formation of Imperial Policy as well as a number of articles on early modern European History. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting introduction to an era that traditionally bears the name "Counter Reformation." Bireley, a Jesuit Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago, argues persuasively in his opening remarks that the term "Counter Reformation" has outlived its usefulness in the study of Catholic history. In fact, he observes, nearly all of what we would call today post-Tridentine reform not only has roots in the fifteenth century but in many cases was in full bloom and inspired the council to do what it did. Trent, in his view of things, was the institutional crest of a wave that had been building for a century. Moreover, Bireley's global view-geographic, political, scientific, theological-invites the reader to view the Church against the backdrop of forces it could not control and critique the many accommodations made by the Church to the world of the seventeenth century.
Why 1450? One reason was geographic exploration. The exploits of DeGama and Columbus reflected a growing sense of the cosmos, later amplified by Galileo and others; a new economic world order, so to speak; and the increasing sense of nationalism and centralization of governments, later abetted by formalized "confessions" of religious doctrine and worship after Luther. Another reason for this new delineation of Catholic epochs was the Renaissance and the humanistic philosophy it nurtured, which the author maintains had significant impact upon many major Catholic leaders of the time, including Ignatius Loyola and Francis de Sales. At the other end of the chronological spectrum, Bireley designates 1700 as a marker because of the impact of Cartesian rationalism upon official Catholic thought in the bigger context of the Enlightenment itself.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Gustin on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Jesuit professor Robert Bireley's work "The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation" is without a doubt one of the best texts I've read about the subject of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Despite its relatively small size when compared to Euan Cameron's large volume on the Protestant Reformation in Europe, "The European Reformation," it contains a great deal of information that enabled me to gain a better understanding of the Catholic "Counter-Reformation" as it is traditionally called (although Bireley makes a good case that such a term is in fact outdated). It explores the Counter-Reformation as both caused by and, in some ways, a cause of emerging historical changes in the 15th-18th centuries, such as the growth in state power, socioeconomic changes in European society (especially colonialism) and the changes in education and learning due to the Renaissance. Although the role of the Protestant Reformation cannot be dismissed, Bireley's work was especially helpful since it helped me become aware of the fact that the Protestant Reformation was not the only factor that contributed to the Counter-Reformation (which is precisely what I had been taught in Catholic high school). Bireley's work also explored some of the consequences of the Counter-Reformation, such as the emergence of various new religious orders and new forms of education.

Bireley begins by making his position regarding terminology clear to the reader. He prefers the term "Early Modern Catholicism" to the traditional terms of "Counter-Reformation" and "Catholic Reform" since, in his opinion, the latter two terms make are parts of a whole picture of changes in the Catholic Church, and such terms link said changes too closely with the Protestant Reformation (p. 8).
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Even high school students should have heard and read about the [Protestant] Reformation, a little bit about Luther, Calvin, Henry8 etc., but in my experience almost zilch about the Catholic Reformation, or Counter-Reformation, emphasizing the reactive portion of the period, or Early Modern Catholicism, Bireley's favored term, because it underscores that the Catholic reform was not just about containing Protestantism, but also about missionary efforts to evangelize the newly discovered Americas, and the new religious orders devoted to the poor, the sick, and the education of children.

Birely's book focuses on the Council of Trent, which occurred from 1545-1563,with many inactive years in between. Certainly the main object of the Council was to theologically distinguish traditional Catholic Christian teaching and practice compared to the Reformation. But on many issues, the Council fathers conceded that the Reformers'critique was completely on target, that the some of the Church, especially in the hierarchy of Rome, were engaging in decadent practices, such as clerical unchastity, warrior-popes, and the selling of indulgences, which are sacramentals, rather than the 7 sacraments, but all forbidden to be sold(simony) but donations would be accepted. However, more of the Council reasserted traditional teaching and practice, explicitly defending the content ofimmemorial doctrine, but this time with better, more up to date argumentation. Perhaps the most far-reaching concrete (in both senses of the term) result of the Counter Reformation was the seminary, the sequestered institution where would-be priests were, again in both senses of the term, indoctrinated, to more effectively teach the Faith, as opposed to the slip-shod previous regime of apprenticeship.
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