Catholic Reform: From Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent, 1495-1563: an Essay with Illustrative Documents and a Brief Study of St. Ignatius Loyola

Catholic Reform: From Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent, 1495-1563: an Essay with Illustrative Documents and a Brief Study of St. Ignatius Loyola

Catholic Reform: From Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent, 1495-1563: an Essay with Illustrative Documents and a Brief Study of St. Ignatius Loyola

Catholic Reform: From Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent, 1495-1563: an Essay with Illustrative Documents and a Brief Study of St. Ignatius Loyola

Synopsis

¿This book introduces people to [16th-century Catholicism]; it is also helpful to seasoned scholars.¿ -America The sixteenth century in Europe is characterized historically by the religious upheaval known as the Reformation, with attention generally focusing on Luther and the other Protestant reformers who broke from the established church. This development however, major as it was, is not the whole story of reform in the sixteenth century. Underlying and encompassing the Protestant Reformation was a broader search for religious renewal and reform that remained within the Catholic Church and is sometimes referred to was the Catholic Reformation. This volume focuses on this surprisingly neglected aspect of sixteenth-century religious reform, filling an important need in Reformation studies. John C. Olin, well known for his writings on Erasmus and the Reformation, shows how Catholic reform did not begin in opposition to Protestantism but as a parallel movement, springing out of the same context and responding to very similar needs for religious change and revival. The book opens with an introductory essay that views the course of Catholic reform from the initiatives of Cardinal Ximenes, who became archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain in 1495, to the work of the Council of Trent in 1563 ¿ years of crucial importance for the survival and revival of the Catholic faith. Following the essay are several key documents, including the preface to the Complutensian polyglot bible and decrees of the Council of Trent, that illustrate from contemporary sources the character of the movement of Catholic reform. There is also a brief study of St. Ignatius Loyola, as well as numerous illustrations and an extensive bibliography.

Excerpt

The sixteenth century in European history is marked by the religious upheaval we call the Reformation, and attention is generally focused on Luther and the other Protestant reformers who broke with the established Church and preached new doctrines and practices. But this development, major as it is, is not the whole story of reform in the sixteenth century. Underlying and encompassing it was a broader search for religious renewal and reform. In my introductory essay and its accompanying documents I shall look at other efforts, distinct from the Protestant ones, to achieve these goals. The efforts I shall discuss remained within the ambit of the existing Catholic Church and constitute a movement that is sometimes referred to as the Catholic Reformation.

This reform movement can be distinguished not only from the Protestant Reformation, which began with the famous indulgence controversy in 1517, but also from the Counter-Reformation, as it is called, which in the original meaning of the term refers to the militant Catholic reaction to the Protestant challenge. Catholic reform in a more positive sense had a different origin and purpose. It did not begin in opposition to Protestantism but was a parallel movement, so to speak, springing out of the same context and responding to very similar needs for religious change and revival. Its manifestations in fact antedate Luther's revolt. Its purpose was to correct ills in the Church and reinvigorate its life and mission. It was profoundly affected by the crisis and schism that developed after 1517, but it did not suddenly arise then. It was, however, given new urgency and a new dimension by the serious problems that were now posed, and a complex pattern of Catholic activity unfolded under the shock of widespread dissension and revolt. We cannot simply label it the Counter-Reformation. The term is too narrow and misleading. The survival of Catholicism as well as the lives of many of the most important Catholic figures of the time and the nature of many events demand another and a broader perspective. Renewal and reform continued within the framework of the Church's teaching and authority . . .

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