1. In this context of increased learning, centralization of power, and a restive spirit, the Protestant Reformation occurred.

    1. The late Middle Ages featured several major efforts against the authority of the Church.

      1. Intellectually, William of Ockham (1287-1347), a Franciscan and student from Oxford, promoted nominalism, which denied that there is any such thing as a natures or essence. He said that such categories, which the Church has used to explain such things as the Trinity, the Incarnation, human nature and the sacraments, are artificial constructs. He also argued that the Church should own no property and the monarchs should control the church in their realms. For these and similar teachings, he was excommunicated in 1328; at that point he took refuge with the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV.

      2. John Wycliffe (1330-84), a professor from Oxford, said that the Christian faith is defined by Scripture alone. He also denied such things as the legitimacy of the hierarchy and transubstantiation as not in the Bible; and he advocated state control of the Church. John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, protected him from adverse consequences.

      3. Jan Hus (1372-1415), a priest from Prague promoted the ideas of John Wycliffe and denounced (with some justification) immorality and worldliness among the clergy. Although supported by his archbishop, his teachings were denounced by both Pope Gregory XII and the Council of Constance. At the Emperor Sigismund’s recommendation, he appeared at the Council of Constance and argued his case. But the Council, which at that point was acting upon its own authority, condemned him as a heretic and burned him at the stake. Soon after his death, he was considered by many to be a martyr. His followers, often called the Hussites, continued to defy authorities in Bohemia, and managed to establish something of an independent realm there.

      4. In 1491, the Dominican preacher Giroalmo Savonarola (1452-1498) was elected prior of the monastery in Florence. For a time, he led a moral revival there and successfully opposed the Medicis, a dominant Italian family; and in particular, Pietro Medici and his family were driven out of the city. The French king Charles VIII brought Florence under his influence and used the ideas of Savonarola to create a combination of theocracy and republicanism there. When Alexander VI was elected Pope, Savonarola denounced him as immoral, not a real Christian, and therefore, not the legitimate Pope. Alexander VI

        excommunicated him in 1497. When Savonarola defied the Pope’s decree and continued to preach in Florence, the crowds turned against him, both out of loyalty to the Pope and in opposition to the theocracy. In 1498, crowds broke into his monastery and captured him. He was then tried and executed in Florence. As with John Hus, he was considered to be a martyr by many in Florence.

    2. There was also much popular discontent, even amidst the great faith, in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

      1. Many bishops had several dioceses, and were not resident in any of them. And likewise, many pastors had several parishes, and appointed relatively uneducated curates to staff them. In theory church law forbade holding more than one diocese or parish. But clergy could pay a fee for a dispensation from this requirement.

      2. Because many bishops, abbots, abbesses, and other high church officials were in charge of vast resources, noble families often maneuvered to have their candidates, and even members of their families take these offices. The powerful Roman families, such as the Borgias and Medicis, were particularly known for trying to get their candidates elected Pope or appointed to high office. Some of these officials, most notoriously Pope Alexander VI (1492 – 1503), led immoral lives; and others, while avoiding breaking their vows, were very worldly. Pope Julius II (1503 – 1513) was very capable at managing the Papal States, but seemed at times to be more concerned with military and artistic ventures than spiritual ones.

      3. While many clergy began to be more educated in the past, the education of other clergy was minimal, leaving them unable to discuss the increasingly sophisticated issues of the era. On the other hand, within universities, there was a perception that scholarship, particularly in theology and philosophy, was becoming very abstract and inapplicable to regular life.

      4. Both in Rome and in dioceses, chancery staffs were increasing rapidly. And to fund them, as well as the massive building projects, church officials were often selling indulgences. The officials doing so sometimes exaggerated the effects of the indulgences and relics and downplayed the need for personal conversion and preaching. Johann Tetzel (1465 – 1519), a German Dominican, was particularly known for his aggressive promotion of indulgences, partially to support the building of the new St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.

      5. Church officials could also be aggressive in collecting mandatory tithes and fees for the sacraments.

      6. The advances in art and music could create situations in which churches and Masses were focused more on music and art than on the sacraments.

      7. Government officials also frequently lived very high lives, and taxation was increasing. The increased trade led to many vast fortunes, but also some strife as cities could become places of crime, pollution and vast overcrowding.

    3. Martin Luther (1483-1546) launched the first broad based and successful attempt to establish another branch of Christianity in the West.

      1. Very religious and deeply concerned with divine judgment from an early age, he was ordained an Augustinian monk and became a professor in Wittenberg, Germany.

      2. He was rightfully upset with abuses in the field of indulgences. And so, on October 31, 1517, he published his 95 Theses as a challenge to a debate. According to a common tradition, he actually posted them to the door of the Wittenberg cathedral. Most of these theses were not a denial of Church doctrine, but rather a vehement denunciation of many of the practices regarding indulgences.

      3. When Church authorities did little to respond to his concerns, he became more adamant in denouncing practices within the Church, and even began to question Church doctrine on such matters as the sacraments.

      4. In 1518, he met with Cardinal Thomas Cajetun, the former Master General of the Dominican order and current papal legate to Germany; and in 1519, he debated Johannes Eck, a priest and prominent German theologian. Over the course of this time, he developed doctrines contrary to the Catholic faith, including the view that Scripture alone is the basis for doctrine and the belief that there are only two sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist, with confession as a renewal of baptism. Luther outlined his views in three works that he published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian.

      5. In 1520, Pope Leo X condemned his teachings and demanded that he recant them. In 1521, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V called a council (called a diet) at Worms in Germany to make an attempt at reconciliation. Martin Luther

        burned the Pope’s order and made his famous “here I stand” speech. The break was then complete. The Diet condemned Luther, but he received the support of Prince Frederick of Saxony and thus was able to continue promoting his ideas.

      6. Martin Luther was able to gain much support from the German nobility, especially because he emphasized the importance of national identity and promoted a system in which church revenues would remain in Germany. In addition, the recently developed printing press helped him and his allies spread his ideas rapidly

      7. Luther did want to maintain many elements of the Catholic Church, including a structured liturgy, affirming the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, infant baptism, an ordained clergy (although not Popes and bishops), and a certain veneration for Mary and the saints, although he did not believe that they could intercede for us. His basis for the faith would become summarized in the formula “Solely by Scripture, solely by faith, solely by the grace of God.” He thought of himself as reforming the Church, not creating a break in Christendom.

      8. Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) wrote a biography of Martin Luther and put his theology into more systematic form. He also tried to reconcile Lutheranism with the humanism that was developing.

    4. Shortly after Luther’s break from the Church, other groups sprung up who called for many other changes that Luther and more traditionally minded Protestants disagreed with.

      1. Thomas Munster (1489—1525) began arguing that even the text of Scripture is secondary to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As Joachim of Fiore had done over 300 years earlier, he preached that a new age of the Spirit had begun and a formal hierarchy and Church authority was now unnecessary.

      2. In Germany, Thomas Munster helped lead the Peasants’ Revolt, which broke out in 1524, based in large part upon the new willingness to take on authorities. It was supported, not only by peasants, but by many prosperous farmers and city dwellers. They looked to Martin Luther for support, for they saw his rebellion against Rome as a model for their own cause. However, although he was sympathetic to some of the calls for reigning in arbitrary power, Luther did not want a political revolution that upset the social structure, instead preferring gradual reform. And soon the princes of Germany harshly put down the rebellion and executed its leaders including Thomas Munster.

    5. Soon, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and John Calvin (1509-64) led the development of a theology that would come to be known as Reformed Protestantism.

      1. Urlich Zwingli, a Swiss priest, became the pastor of the cathedral in Zurich in 1521. In 1522, he resigned his priestly office and, with 10 other priests, called for the abolition of the vow of celibacy. Soon he taught, with Luther, that Scripture alone is the rule of faith; but he went further than Luther. Thus, he also held that such teachings as the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and such practices as having church calendars, altars, church music and monasteries and convents were unjustified.

      2. The Zurich City Council took up his ideas and exerted control over the church in that city, taking over church property and destroying the decorations and altars of the churches.

      3. Zwingli promoted a very simplified church and liturgy. The doctrinal differences, especially over the Eucharist, led to a strong division with Martin Luther.

      4. John Calvin, another Swiss theologian, took up Zwingli’s theology and developed the Reformed theology for the future. He strongly emphasized the absolute sovereignty of God, teaching that God’s predestines all events and all human responses. The idea, which would come to be known as “double predestination,” teaches that God predestines some to salvation and some to condemnation, and that there is nothing anyone can do to stop this decree. Like Martin Luther, he maintained that human nature is so corrupt that good works do not contribute to our salvation, but are signs that we are already saved. Unlike Martin Luther, he did maintain that a person could be certain, not only that he is currently in the grace of God, but that he is one of the elect, who will persevere to the end.

      5. There was also an emphasis on strict morality, not as a means of salvation (that was thought to be by grace alone), but rather to bring about more of the kingdom of God on earth. And so, starting with Geneva, Calvin and his followers persuaded many civil authorities to enforce public morality, often with harsh means. This moral reform was both attractive to many people, who desired more order, but also led to backlashes.

      6. Later, a theologian names Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) accepted the Calvinist teachings on the depravity of human nature and the simplicity of worship, but also maintained that all people are elected by God for salvation, but have the free will

        to accept or reject this election. In addition, he had a more optimistic view regarding the holiness attainable even in this life. But, in the Synod of Dort (1618-19), the Calvinist rejected this idea, maintaining double predestination as doctrine. Despite this rejection, Arminian theology continued to be influential and would be a substantial force behind the founding of the Methodist church in the eighteenth century and later evangelical movements of the twentieth century.

    6. Soon Anabaptist congregations arose with a theology that went even further. They emphasized an even simpler church that the Calvinists proposed and insisted that baptism could only be conferred on one who can know what it is and choose it.

      1. The Anabaptist tradition arose in Zurich and argued that there should be no overall church authority at all; rather, every parish should run itself. However, the community as a whole could interpret Scripture and could excommunicate (shun) anyone who misbehaves in a scandalous fashion. They tended to look down on civil government as a necessary evil. There was also some who approved of polygamy.

      2. The Anabaptists took over the governance of the German city of Munster in 1534 and expelled other religions. However, the Catholic bishop of Munster raised an army, which was composed largely of Lutherans, to regain control. And in June of 1535, they took back the city by force, putting to death the leaders of the Anabaptist.

      3. After that time, Anabaptists became more pacifist in their leanings, and in fact often forbade taking civil offices.

      4. The Mennonites and the Amish are heirs to this tradition.

    7. In England, Henry VIII broke from the Pope, and the Church of England gradually became completely separate, although it retained Catholic elements.

      1. When Martin Luther first broke from the Church, King Henry VIII, with the assistance of St. Thomas More, wrote Defense of the Seven Sacraments, which was also a broad refutation of Lutheranism.

      2. However, Henry VIII soon wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the sister of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, for she had not given him a living male child. When Pope Clement VII would not grant the annulment, or make any other arrangement, Henry VIII had Parliament conduct a trial, which held in his favor. The next year, in 1530, Parliament declared the Church in England was independent from the Pope, and that the king was its head.

        Henry appointed Thomas Cramner as Archbishop of Canterbury, and Archbishop Cramner approved of the annulment, allowing Henry to marry Ann Boleyn.

        - Almost all of the English bishops sided with Henry VIII. But St. John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester opposed him. And the former Chancellor St. Thomas More would not take Henry’s side on this point, although he did not actively oppose him either. As a result, Henry VIII had both of them beheaded.

      3. Between 1535 and 1540 Henry VIII dissolved all of the 825 religious houses in England, and seized their wealth, using it largely to reward his allies. The move was not as unpopular as might be thought, for the great wealth of the monasteries created a great deal of resentment.

      4. Despite the moves against the Church, Henry VIII in most other ways preserved the theology and practices of the Catholic Church, calling himself the head of the Catholic Church in England.

      5. Henry VIII also established English domination over the whole of Ireland, completing a project English kings had been working on for three centuries. In Ireland, he imposed English lords loyal to himself, which led to faithful Catholics being disadvantaged for centuries.

      6. Although Henry VIII tended to be Catholic in his theology, his son Edward VI, who became king in 1547, took England into a much more Calvinist direction. With the support of Archbishop Cramner and an obedient Parliament, he radically simplified the liturgy and eliminated such things as priestly celibacy and a belief in the Eucharist as having the presence of Jesus Christ.

  1. However, when Edward VI died in 1553, his older half-sister Mary became queen. A devout Catholic, Mary tried to bring England back to the Catholic Church. She married Philip II, the king of Spain, restored many monasteries and brought the reform minded Cardinal Reginald Pole, who had opposed Henry VIII, to become the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Unfortunately, she tried to use force to compel adherence to the Catholic faith, and executed about 200 people for heresy. This use of force and her marriage to Philip II made her more unpopular; and so the Catholic faith did not sink in. She did not have any children, and so her royal efforts to promote Catholicism died with her.

  2. When Queen Mary died in 1558, on the same day as Cardinal Pole, her half- sister Elizabeth became queen. She promoted the Anglican Settlement, according

    to which the details of the Church of England doctrine (such as a belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the value of prayers for the dead) was left ambiguous. The overall structure of the Anglican Church thus came into place.

  3. Adherence to the monarch as the leader of the Church of England, and thus the willingness to be independent of the Pope, was mandatory. Those who refused at least the external practice of the Anglican faith were under severe disabilities, and priests were forbidden to be in England at all. Defiance was often considered treason, punishable by tortuous death. Queen Elizabeth persecuted not only Catholics, but also Protestants other than Anglicans as well.

  4. Elizabeth was very good at public relations, employing poets, musicians and artists well. The failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armanda in 1588 also made her more popular. Her popularity and power made the Anglican Church become dominant in England, although there was still a small minority of Catholics in England; and a large majority of Irish remained Catholic.

  5. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, the Stuart family, who also ruled in Scotland, took over. The first Stuart king was James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England as well. He was a scholar and a devout Anglican; and his greatest project was sponsoring the King James translation of the Bible. The next Stuart King Charles I was married to a Catholic Maria Henrietta, and he was more sympathetic to the Catholic Church. However, an army of Parliament overthrew him in 1642. This overthrow then paved the way for the Puritan Oliver Cromwell to take control of England.

  6. Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans in turn became unpopular; and so when he died in 1660, the Parliament invited the Stuart heir Kings Charles II to return. Because he had no children by his wife, his brother James II took over at his death. James II was Catholic, but was politically inept. And so, shortly after the birth of his first son Charles, he was overthrown in the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688, which placed William of Orange and his wife Mary on the throne. That revolution confirmed the dominance of the Anglican Church in England and most of her western colonies. It also established the power of Parliament over the monarch.

  7. Anglicanism was established in many ways on a “big tent” approach that left enough ambiguities to be interpreted differently by people with a more Catholic leaning and people with varying degrees of Protestant leanings. Those who were closer to the Catholic Church were often called “high church” and those with

more Calvinist leanings were often called “low church.” The Anglican Church was also, from the beginning an established state church.

  1. In England and Scotland, the Puritan and Presbyterian traditions arose in response to what was perceived as laxity and an excessive worldliness in the Anglican Church.

    1. The Presbyterian tradition was founded by John Knox (1513-72). He became a Protestant minister about 1544, and Edward VI selected him as his chaplain in 1551. In that capacity, he shared Edward VI’s Calvinist learnings. When Queen Mary took over, he fled the country and moved to Geneva and then Frankfurt. In Geneva, he met John Calvin and developed a form of Calvinism that would also include a certain notion of national identity in the Church. He drafted the Scottish Confession in 1560, and brought it back with him to Scotland. In that land, the Presbyterian faith took hold. It was so named because each individual church was to have a presbyter (elder) as minister; and the national church would be ruled by a council of such presbyters.

    2. In reaction to the high church practices of much of the established Church of England, the Puritan movement came together in the mid-16th century. They advocated a “purification” of the Church from all the things they considered excessive, including highly developed liturgies, expensive decorations, sacramental theologies, the formal hierarchy, and consecrated religious life. They wanted to emphasize a moral rigor and simple community life.

      1. Because the high church side of Anglicanism was dominant under the Stuarts, many of the Puritans fled to the Netherlands, which was both Protestant and religiously tolerant in the early seventeenth century. Some of that group then came to Massachusetts in 1620.

      2. The Puritans enjoyed a brief time of governmental favor under Oliver Cromwell, but upon his death, they were looked down upon again.

    3. Other groups, such as the Baptists and Quakers later arose from the Presbyterian and Puritan traditions.

      1. In the early 1600s, western Europe was divided along religious lines.

        1. Italy, Spain, and Portugal remained strongly Catholic.

          1. The Kingdom of Spain was had united been united in 1474 with an alliance of the Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile under Ferdinand and Isabella. They and the Portugal gained full control of the Iberian Peninsula by 1492 and did not allow religious dissent.

          2. Northern Italy was a battleground between the independent cities, such as Venice and Florence, the French, the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. Because of these fights, even the Catholic Emperor Charles V sent an army into the Papal States. In 1527, the army sacked Rome and forced the Pope to seek refuge in Castel San Angelo under the protection of the Swiss guards. Nevertheless, the area remained firmly Catholic.

          3. Likewise, the Kingdom of Naples was briefly joined to the Kingdom of Spain due to an inheritance. There was then a battle over its control between France, Spain and more independent forces. But its Catholic identity remained strong.

        2. France ended up being mostly Catholic after a great deal of infighting.

          1. A bastion of Protestantism arose in eastern France; and its adherents became known as the Hugenots.

          2. For a time, it seemed like there would be a Protestant king of France as the Calvinist Henry IV of Navarre seemed to be next in line. However, in order to make his ascendency to the throne more palatable to most of the French, as well as to the papacy and Spain, Henry agreed to be Catholic.

          3. In 1598, Henry IV issued the decree of Nantes, which established religious toleration in France. But the government still supported (and often tried to control) the Catholic Church.

        3. The Holy Roman Empire was divided along religious lines.

          1. In that empire, the princes of the different regions exercised a great deal of control. The Emperor was not as powerful a figure as in other places. The princes were related from ancestors long past, but they were not direct relatives of the Emperor. When an Emperor died or resigned, the princes would select from his close relatives who would be the next Emperor.

          2. The Diet of Augsburg in 1548 established the principles that the religion of the prince of a region would be the official religion of that region. For a time, a certain peace prevailed. But in the early seventeenth century, feuds between the regions and outside interference led to the very bitter and destructive Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648. It ended

            with the Treaty of Westphalia, which diminished the Holy Roman Empire, established many new nations, and set forth clearer demarcations between their lands.

          3. Overall, the southern German nations tended toward Catholicism and the northern German nations toward Lutheranism

        4. With the support of the government, the Anglican Church dominated in England, with small minorities of Catholics and Protestants who were often called nonconformists. Presbyterianism was dominate in Scotland. Most of the Irish remained Catholic, and in fact considered Catholicism to be central to their national identity and desire to be independent.

        5. The Netherlands gained independence from Spain, and Calvinism took hold over most of the county, particularly under Prince Maurice in the 1580s. However, the country allowed religious variety, and Catholicism still had a strong presence in the south.

        6. The Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark tended toward various forms of Protestantism, but Lutheranism was the most common faith.

        7. The countries of eastern Europe were not affected much by Protestantism. The Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania remained firmly Catholic, and had a tradition of religious freedom. Russia remained firmly in the Orthodox Church with little room for dissent. The threat from the Ottoman Empire was the main issue in Eastern Europe. The areas of southeastern Europe came under Ottoman domination but tended to remain Christian Orthodox, although some regions such as Albania and Bosnia became majority Muslim.

  2. In response both to internal calls for reform and the challenge of the Protestant groups, the Catholic Church launched an internal reform.

  1. Even before Martin Luther, there were efforts at reform.

    1. In 1511, Pope Julius II called what became known as the Fifth Lateran Council. There was an attempt at reforming practices with reference to church discipline. However, due to fights between the nationalities, the Council could accomplish little except express a desire for the freedom of the Church and defense of Christian Europe.

    2. The likes of Desiderius Erasmus, St. Thomas More, and Girolomo Savonarola, the prior of the Dominican monastery of San Marco in Florence were calling for a simpler, more devout, and more education church, both in the clergy and the laity.

  2. In the sixteenth century, new religious orders arose, and older ones experienced revivals.

    1. St. Ignatius of Loyola established the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to be soldiers for the Pope, who would both uphold the faith in historic lands and bring the faith to new ones.

      1. St. Ignatius was from a family of warriors and trained from a young age for military service. He was injured after a heroic performance defending a castle at Pamplona in 1521 for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. While recovering at a religious hospital, he read The Life of Christ and The Lives of the Saints. With those texts and much prayer, he experienced a profound conversion that led him to desire to be a knight of Christ. He realized that the saints showed all of the courage, dedication, loyalty, and generosity of knights. The difference is that they served, not an earthly king, but instead the King of Glory.

      2. After a time of discernment, he began studies for the priesthood in 1524. After 13 years of studies at Barcelona, Alcala and Paris, he was ordained a priest. Meanwhile, he had gathered a group of brothers who eventually went to the reformist Pope Paul III and asked for his approval for them to become a religious order. After working for the poor of Rome for a time, this order, the Society of Jesus (commonly known as the Jesuits), eventually went out to catechize and convert Europeans in the ways of the faith. Soon the order would become central to the Church’s missionary activities in the Far East and the New World.

      3. The Jesuits were formed along a military style, with a strong notion of obedience to the superiors, discerning the will of God, and a willingness to fight for the faith wherever needed. They did not focus on prayers in choir as much as on training of the intellect, emotions and even imagination to be able to perform all actions guided by God.

    2. St. Cajetan of Teitine, Cardinal Pietro Carafa (the future Pope Paul IV), and three other religious brothers formed the Cleric Regular of Divine Providence (the Theitine Order) in 1524.

      1. As with many other reform efforts, there was a desire to live religious life with more of the poverty, simplicity, prayer and community life of the early Church. They would typically live in oratories and minister in local parishes and hospitals. There was thus a combination of the community life of religious brothers with parish like ministry.

      2. The Theatines also strongly promoted a more devout life and deeper learning among the laity.

      3. The order achieved a deep respect and members began to have prominent positions in France, Spain and Germany.

    3. St. Angela Merici (1474 – 1540) founded the Order of St. Ursula (the Ursulines), which combined women’s religious life with service in the community.

      1. Up to this point, women religious were typically cloistered, unless they were, like St. Catherine of Siena, Third Order members and thus living in the world.

      2. St. Angela was a Third Order Franciscan, but wished to establish a religious house that would also be involved in the education of girls and assistance and moral reform for the poor. And so, in 1535, she and 28 other women formed the order in Brescia, Italy. In 1546 Pope Paul III approved of the order, and it spread rapidly, although the sisters began to be more enclosed in the convents in the 16th century.

    4. With the help of St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane de Chantal, founded the Visitation Order in 1610.

      1. She was a noble widow whose husband had been killed in a hunting accident. After his death, she he grew steadily in prayer and took St. Francis de Sales as her spiritual director.

      2. She based the new order upon the model of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Inspired by this example, the order focused on humility, piety and charity. With the Ursulines, his order was among the first attempts to combine cloistered life with a vocation in the world, in particular in teaching.

    5. St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross led a reform of the Carmelite Order in the sixteenth century.

      1. The order had been founded at Mount Carmel in the Holy Land in the twelfth century. Part of its inspiration was to bring the prophetic spirit into the current world. The order migrated to Europe as the Ottoman Empire retook the Holy Land. With the help of mystics such as St. Simon Stock, the order spread throughout Western Europe in the thirteenth century.

      2. By the sixteenth century, the order had become fairly well off, and many houses were places for the children of aristocracy.

      3. St. John of the Cross was ordained at the age of 25 and offered a position as a university professor. But he felt called to a contemplative life and so joined the Carmelites. Along with St. Theresa of Avila, he tried to promote a more strict observance of the Carmelite rule. For a while, he enjoyed the support of the papal nuncio (ambassador) of Spain. But when the nuncio died, some of his opponents within the order condemned him for alleged insubordination and imprisoned him for two years. In 1580 he escaped and received the support of Pope Gregory XIII, with whose support he became abbot of one of the more prominent

        monasteries. But he continued to face opposition for the remaining 11 years of his life. His most famous works are The Dark Night of the Soul, The Living Flame of Love, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and The Spiritual Canticle of the Soul.

      4. St. Theresa of Avila entered religious life at age 20. As a Carmelite nun, she was very sociable and popular, but not particularly prayerful.

        She was allowed a relaxation of the rule to see guests because she was well liked and enhanced convent’ s reputation and fundraising ability. But at age of 39, she realized the mediocrity of her spiritual life and started living her calling more deeply. The result was that she received more criticism because she strove for perfection but had not attained it. She eventually formed a new convent that was more strict in its observance and promoted reform throughout the order. There was great opposition, but her efforts, along with those of St. John of the Cross, led to a renewal of the Carmelite life, first in Spain and then throughout the world. Her most famous works are The Way of Perfection, The Interior Castle, and The Story of Her Soul.

    6. Within the Franciscan Order, there was also a revival effort, with the establishment of the Capuchins and the later reform efforts of St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

      1. Matteo da Brascio was an Italian Franciscan of the early sixteenth century, who tried to promote a stricter way of life, in imitation of the early Franciscans In 1528, Pope Clement VII gave him permission to form a more hermetical province of the Conventual Franciscans. In 1538, Maria Longo, the prioress of a Franciscan convent in Naples, likewise asked Pope Clement for permission to form the women’s side of the order. The new brand of the order spread rapidly over the next century. Despite several early defections, this effort took hold; and its adherents formed a new branch of Franciscans by 1619, who are known as the Capuchins.

      2. St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) joined the Capuchin order at the age of 16. Ordained a priest at the age of 23, he rapidly gained fame as a preacher throughout Italy. He then became a provincial by the age of 30 and Vicar General of the Capuchins by the age of 43. In both Italy and Germany he worked extensively to bring about a stricter observance of the Franciscan rule and a moral reform in the life of the faithful in general.

  3. Pope Paul III (1534-49) launched the Council of Trent, which would both clarify Catholic doctrine and institute reform from within.

    1. Alexander Farnese had led a rather lax life and a layman and then a priest until he was selected the Bishop of Parma. He then underwent a dramatic conversion, and started promoting moral reform in his diocese. This reformist instinct then led to his election as Pope Paul III in 1534.

    2. By 1537, he asked leading cardinals, including the English exile Cardinal Reginald Pole and the Cardinal Giovanni Carafa, the future Pope Paul IV, to give him a report on the needed reforms in the church. They recommended a universal council, an idea that the Catholic monarchs did not give much support to.

    3. But by 1545, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was more supportive and the Council began in Trent in Northern Italy. Due to wars between the Catholic monarchs and other disputes, the Council was interrupted twice, but never lost support. And so there were three general groups of meetings: from 1545 – 47, from 1551-52, and from 1562-63. The result was decrees and canons on the sacraments, on Scripture and Church teachings, on justification, on liturgy and on Church discipline.

    4. With reference to the sacraments and indulgences, the Council clarified the teachings on the seven sacraments, and tried to rein in some abuses, such as the belief that the sacrament of Reconciliation could be effective without contrition, the sale of indulgences, and excesses with regard to Mass stipends.

    5. The Council defined clearly that the 73 books that had historically been accepted as the Bible were in fact all part of the Bible, and that there are no more inspired books. This teaching was required in response to the Protestant rejection of seven books from the Old Testament. The Council also declared that the venerable Vulgate from St. Jerome was reliable as a translation. The Council also reemphasized the divine inspiration of Scriptures and the need for Church Tradition and the Magisterium.

    6. Regarding justification, the Council clarified the need for divine grace as primary, but also emphasized the need for active cooperation.

    7. With regard to liturgy, the Council made the Roman rite the standard for diocesan parishes. Religious orders could still use their own rites. The Council also curbed excesses in such things as art and music that had become in many places more of a distraction to prayer and reverence than a help.

    8. With regard to Church discipline, the Council instituted such reforms as mandating seminaries for the training of priests, requiring bishops and pastors to have only one diocese or parish, and to live in that place, and insisting on the conduct of a holy life by cleric.

    9. There was also an attempt to invite Protestant theologians to discuss the divisions in Christianity and hopefully overcome them. That effort was unsuccessful, but the Council did respond to many of the Protestant objections.

  4. As the Council was implemented, the situation within the Church improved dramatically.

    1. Gradually seminaries were training priests better than anyone had before. St. Charles Borromeo (1538-84), whose uncle Pius III named him a cardinal at the age of 21, became the archbishop of Milan by the age of 26 and also served as a

      papal diplomat. After attending the final sessions of the Council of Trent, he established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the teaching of the laity and the first seminaries in his diocese, and well as more organized efforts to conduct charitable services.

    2. Pope St. Pius V (1566-72) implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent, and spearheaded the effort to summarize the teachings of the Church in what would become known as the Roman Catechism, or the Catechism of Trent.

    3. In the German speaking lands, the Jesuit St. Peter Canisius (1521-97) was also known for his ability to explain the faith. His German Catechism became the standard for national catechisms.

    4. St. Robert Bellarmine (1542 – 1621) was another Jesuit from a pious family of the lower nobility in central Italy. His defense of the faith, most famously summarized in The Controversies, was so successful in bringing people around to the Catholic faith that the mere possession of the book was labelled a crime in Elizabethian England.

    5. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) strongly promoted a life of devotion among the laity and brought about many conversions.

      1. The eldest of 13 children of a noble family in Savoy, France, he was a brilliant student and went to study law at University of Padua. But, under the influence of his Jesuit spiritual director, he was gradually drawn more to theology and living a consecrated life. He gradually overcame the opposition of his family, who did not want him to give up his worldly prospects, and was ordained a priest at the age of 26.

      2. At about that time, Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy recaptured Chablais, one of its states that had been controlled by Protestants who forbade Catholicism. To restart the Church there, he asked for some priests to help with catechesis and preaching; and one of whom was Francis de Sales. To persuade people to return to the faith, Francis started printing leaflets that described the faith. This writing, the holiness of his life and his ability to explain the faith in preaching and debates won over more than 72,000 in four years.

      3. In 1602, after many consultations with the Duke, he became Bishop of Geneva. As such, he worked very personally on training of seminarians, catechetics, visitations of all of the parishes, and formations of religious societies.

      4. His classic book Introduction to the Devout Life soon became a central text in living out a holy life in the midst of the world.