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The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation 58484th Edition
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›