Meaning of Counter-Reformation (What it is, Concept and Definition)

What is Counter-Reformation:

It is known as counter-reformation. renewal of the Catholic Church in the 16th century as a response to stop the advance of Protestant doctrines in Europe.

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

The Counter-Reformation was established under the Council of Trent (1545-1563) convened first 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-reformation

The counter-reformation or Catholic reform was characterized by covering the political and religious sphere of the moment.

On the political side, the counter-reformation eliminated the sale of indulgences, which was one of the reasons why governors began to adhere to Martin Luther’s Protestant reform.

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 establishes guidelines to stop 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 their representatives for the interpretation of sacred texts and salvation by faith and works of charity, devotion or penance.

Consequences of the counter-reformation

The Catholic reform of the 16th century or counter-reformation, created 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 Prohibited Books (Index) and the creation of new religious orders dedicated to the catechization of the natives and pagans of the new territories.

Characters of the counter-reformation

The greatest exponents of the counter-reformation 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, Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) stands out, founder of the Society of Jesus in 1540 whose main mission was the catechization of America for the unification of Christianity.

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 published The 95 Theses whose main argument is the denial of man’s salvation 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 and is forced to create a counter-reformation to maintain its power.

The counter-reformation is defined at 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 reform developed 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.

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

See also Baroque.

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