Meaning of Counter-Reformation

What is Counter-Reformation:

The renewal of the Catholic Church in the 16th century as a response to stop the advance of Protestant doctrines in Europe is known as the Counter-Reformation.

The counter-reformation is called this way since it responds to the Protestant reform that Martin Luther began in 1517.

The Counter-Reformation was established under the Council of Trent (1545-1563) first convened by Pope Paul III in 1545, then by Pope Julius III between 1550 and 1555, and finally by Pope Pius IV in 1563.

Characteristics of the counter-reform

The counter-reform or Catholic reform was characterized by encompassing the political and religious sphere of the time.

In the political aspect, the counter-Reformation eliminates the sale of indulgences, being one of the reasons why the governors began to adhere to the Protestant reform of Martin Luther.

In the religious aspect, the Counter-Reformation seeks to reformulate the Catholic Church, unite Christians under the Roman papacy and evangelize the territories of the New World (America).

In order to prevent the advance of the Protestant churches, the Counter-Reformation renews and sets guidelines to curb the corruption of the clergy with common parameters for the Catholic Church such as, for example, the defense of papal authority, the exclusive capacity of the church and its representatives for the interpretation of sacred texts and salvation by faith and works of charity, devotion or penance.

Consequences of the Counter-Reformation

The 16th century Catholic reform or counter-reform, creates in the Council of Trent references for the uniformity of the Catholic Church under the Roman papacy.

Some of the consequences that the Counter-Reformation creates are, for example, the power of the Holy Inquisition in America with the resumption of the Tribunal of the Holy Office, the censorship of knowledge with the creation of the Index of forbidden books (Index) and the creation of new religious orders dedicated to the catechization of the natives and pagans of the new territories.

Counter-Reformation characters

The greatest exponents of the counter-reform or Catholic reform were the popes who convened the sessions of the Council of Trent between 1545 and 1563: Paul III, Julius III and Pius IV.

In addition, Ignacio de Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Society of Jesus in 1540, whose main mission was the catechization of America for the unification of Christianity, stands out.

Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was born due to the corruption of the clergy of the Catholic Church. In 1517, Martin Luther publishes The 95 Theses whose main argument is the denial of the salvation of man through the purchase of indulgences.

With Martin Luther in Germany, John Calvin in Switzerland and King Henry VIII in England, the Catholic Church begins to lose territory of influence over Europe so it is forced to create a counter-Reformation to maintain its power.

The counter-reform is defined in the Council of Trent convened for the first time in 1545 by Pope Paul III, which reaffirms the authority of the pope, the interpretation of the Bible by the church and its representatives, free will, celibacy and the belief in the body and blood of Christ.

See also Protestant Reformation.

Counter-Reformation and the Baroque

The Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation develops the Baroque style in art. The Catholic Church used art as a way to spread the Catholic religion. The baroque manifested religious mysteries through exaggeration and ostentation through the senses.

In addition, baroque art moves away from pagan themes and characteristic nudes of the Renaissance. Its greatest exponents were: the Italian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), Caravaggio (1571-1610) and the Belgian Pedro Pablo Rubens (1577-1640).

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