Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Reformation

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Reformation

Article excerpt

The Catholic Reformation. By Michael A. Mullett. (NewYork: Routledge. 1999. Pp. xi, 258. $75.00 clothbound; $22.95 paperback.)

By calling his book The Catholic Reformation, Mullett wants to draw attention to the late medieval roots of Catholic reform in the early modern period. Divided into seven chapters, the focus of this informative study is on the institutional Church's attempts to reform itself before the Protestant Reformation and on its continuing effort of renewal after 1517. A first chapter on the medieval background of the Catholic Reformation gives very useful summaries on the various movements of reform undertaken by popes and bishops. It stresses the importance of the impulse of reform, even under the worldly pontificates of Alexander VI and Julius II, and rightly discusses in some detail the significance of the Observance movement among the religious orders. Both Savonarola and Luther, Mullett reminds us, emerged out of the mendicant reform movements. Moreover, many of the doctrinal and disciplinary provisions of the Council of Trent had already been anticipated by reform councils and reforming bishops in the fifteenth century and by the Fifth Lateran Council on the eve of Luther's revolt. The two following chapters follow in some detail the history of the Council of Trent and the new religious orders, drawing on recent as well as standard scholarship. …

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