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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Counter Reformation - 1876 words
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.. vinism and Anglicans were attracting adherents all over Europe. The discontented were not only in the form of followers but as nations as a whole. Rulers chose the religions of their nations. By the mid 16th century parts of Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, England and parts of Eastern Europe had split from the church. For those who separated from the church it meant independence from church taxes and the Holy Roman Emperor.
With the Catholic Church's loss of control and power went the financial support of these nations. Of course, the loss of so many followers should be considered as an impetus to the Counter Reformation, but not a spiritual impetus. In response to the new Protestant churches, the Catholic Church underwent a reformation. Catholics were dismayed by the great increase in unorthodoxy. It seemed as if nothing would stop the Protestant revolution from engulfing the whole continent
With the church being challenged by kings for its hand in their domestic power and revenues, scholars like Luther, questioning the dogma, men of all classes chafed under the taxes laid on the laity and bitter grievances against the church's wealth the reformation was a necessary outcome. When looking at the motivators of reform one must remember the power of the church and its leaders. It's quite ironic that Pope Paul III who can be credited as the initiator of reform in the papacy was the product of Renaissance luxury and continued the practice of patronage by appointing his nephews as cardinals. Likewise he lavishly patronized the arts. Yet Pope Paul III was a transition figure in the Church.
Still maintaining ways of the past he addressed the issues at hand. The Catholic Church was well aware that changes needed to be made and of its shortcomings. It recognized the gap between ideals and practices. Paul III, in 1534 called for the Council of Trent to resolve the religious difference created by the Protestant revolt. Protestants were to be invited and their concerns were to be addressed, yet they were not allowed to participate. Here one can sees that political motivation outweighs the belief factor.
Even a reformer like Paul III wanted to maintain control by having only Catholics involved. The council was to have two purposes. First to bring Protestant and Catholic back together and second to state clearly the ideals of the Catholic Church. The first purpose was dropped as a consideration when the Lutherans failed to attend. (Mac Culloch)The Council of Trent met sporadically over the next three decades in three sessions.
"The reason for the longevity and sporadicness of the Council is seen the Roman Catholic Church's preoccupation with wars and serious religious arguments. (1545-1547, 1551-1552, 1562-1563) Even with these interruptions the council resulted in a spectacular resurgence for Catholicism. At Trent, Catholic leaders rejected all attempts to compromise with Protestantism and retained the basic positions of the Roman Church, including the Latin Mass, the veneration of saints, the cult of the Virgin Mary, all seven sacraments are valid, the Mass is a sacrifice and the notion that salvation required both faith and good works. They defended Catholic theology and emphasized reforms, ordering an end to abuses of power and corruption within the clergy and establishing seminaries to educate priests. Finally, the council came out strongly in support of papal power, strengthening the authority of the papacy. (www.BBC) After the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church gained an organizational framework, a clear body of doctrine, and unified church under the supremacy of the papacy.
Many of the teachings that were reaffirmed at the Council of Trent gave the church greater power. For example, it was confirmed that Christian faith is based in the Bible and also the traditions of the Catholic Church which left no room for interpretation of the Bible. The papacy's interpretation of the Bible was the final word. Salvation comes through both having faith and doing good works. Not from favors through patronage. Gone were the days of cynical pleasure loving popes.
Throughout and prior to the Reformation Period, many of the higher clergy were the wealthy and the privileged. In order to maintain a following and to perform one's duties bishops who lived outside their dioceses were ordered to return. This was the end to pluralism and believers would have leaders in their dioceses. Celibacy for priest was upheld. The coverting would end.
Bishops were ordered to eliminate abuses surrounding the granting of indulgences. This was clearly in reference to the corruption and Luther. Each diocese that did not have a university was to set up a seminary for training priests. This was to maintain the stronghold of the church and gain followers. To strengthen and direct the religious teachings the pope was to follow up the meetings with a catechism, a book of daily prayers for priests and an index of forbidden books that contradicted the faith .a commission composed a missal that standardized prayers and ritual of the mass.
A reform that would clarify the teachings.All and all the most positive effect of the Council is that it did reform many of the church abuses. Religious orders returned to their rules, and new orders were founded to undertake the reform started by the council. Reform was achieved by the council of Trent but not unity. A strengthened church would be able to rebuild and grow. The council of Trent failed to reunite the followers of Protestant sects.The decisions for reform came too late and most of the decisions supported Catholic teaching. In addition, the period of the Council of Trent was marred by a revival of inquisition most notably in Spain.
As one takes a closer look at the inner workings of the Council of Trent it is clearly evident that the proceedings were politically motivated by the papal authority. There was a difference of opinion about the function of the council, particularly between Paul and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who had been calling for reform for a long time. Spain had long since reformed, and was the only place in modern day Europe with little or no Protestantism. Charles expected the council to 'clean up' the church, remove abuses etc. that he believed were causing the flow of Catholic defectors. Paul however, had no such wish.
He believed that drawing up in black and white what was acceptable and what was heretical to the church, in defense to the Protestant attacks on Catholic beliefs. Although at the time it was agreed to look at both complaints simultaneously, as it turned out, Paul had little intention of looking at the issue of abuses. Because of this, Charles quickly lost interest in the council, meaning that there was now no France and no Spain attending the council, leaving the way open for the Pope to have a freer run of the council, which he did. He focused on the exact recording of Catholic beliefs; this was intended to force Catholics who sympathized with some Protestant beliefs, to decide one way or another whose side they were on. This is what it did, rather successfully. Paul was not interested in reaching any kind of compromise with the Protestants; instead he wished to oust them from the Church, as far as he was concerned, they were heretics, who would burn in hell for the rest of eternity.
For him to compromise with them would be a heretical act in itself. Also ignored were the protests of Catholic humanist theologians, who had for some time believed that reform was necessary, and who also believed that with the arrival of the council, these matters would be addressed. This was not the case, and the theologians that attended the council to put across their point of view, were usually outmaneuvered by the council Legates, who although being mainly of an Italian nationality, were seen generally as 'neutral chairmen'. These legates quite often employed Jesuit theologians to argue their cases for them. This was extremely effective; indeed, one could say that they were the reason that a lot of Protestant arguments never really got off the ground. (coursework.web)Another implication of Council of Trent was in the calling together of a council.
Many believed like Luther that a council should be called to address issues concerning the papacy, not the pope addressing the issues. There had been great fear of conciliatory meetings prior to the Council of Trent because it was believed by the popes that the council would try to take papal control away from the Pope. And in all actuality the Council of Trent reflected this concern. The 270 bishops who attended the Council of Trent were mainly Italians which were a great bonus to the pope as they were under his control. So it can be said that what passed at Trent was what was acceptable to the Pope.
The problem of patronage that was so evident in this society was actually playing a role in the Council of Trent. But that would change with a reformed church. Patronage is for the most part power-who gets it, who keeps it, and what they do with it. Power in this case is the control over the behaviors of others, and it may be derived from physical force, control over scarce economic resources, social prestige, or a mix of all of these. Patronage is an indirect for of power, a patron influences the behaviors of others in order in order to advance or withdraw benefits.
The debt which his clients have allows the patron the ability to manipulate them; his control over their behaviors gives him power.(Kettering)In a society based on favors the Counter-Reformation was in some instances a shift of power. Prior to the Reformation the wealthy and privileged had the opportunity to place members of their families, kin into the clergy. Actually some patrons were able to expand their power through this method. For power and privilege were the driving forces of the Renaissance Italian society. During the Counter-Reformation after the Council of Trent a large shift in power occurred in Italy. The Pope who was once a large political figure in Italy had lost his political power but gained Religious Power. Patrons, who had dispersed kin as clergy members all over Italy, also lost power. Their power of placement of clergy was no longer allowed and bishops were given the choice of where clergy members should be located.
The Political power that had once belonged to both the Pope and the Patrons had now been given to the sovereigns of the separated nations, who full well knew that in the Council of Trent their power would grow. The Council of was a turning-point in the Catholic Church. There was a certainty in practices and beliefs, the church's foundation had been strengthened and there was a base to grow. Catholicism had reestablished itself and it was a force to be dealt with. By the end of the sixteenth century the Catholic Church was still making some serious reforms. This reform movement which extended into the seventeenth century raised moral and educational standards of the clergy. All inspired by the church with a new zeal and morale. One must conclude that reform was needed.
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Counter Reformation
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