The Counter Reformation

Response in the Western Latin (now what one would call “Roman Catholic”) Church:

  1. Significant revival in mysticism (what we would call charismatic today) and piety (following Erasmus’s notions: WWJD?); for the average person
  1. Clean up of corruption within the hierarchy and among the clergy
    • Limit secular/political activities of the clergy
    • No selling of church offices
    • Opening of new and better seminaries, as well as better education for priests
    • Religious were to be among the people, not separated
  1. Affirmation of Church doctrines
  • Purgatory
  • Seven Sacraments (baptism, communion, confession, confirmation, Holy Orders, matrimony, Extreme Unction)
  • Sola Gratia: saved by faith alone, but sanctified by works
  • Traditional (419A.D. Council of Hippo) Bible (with Apocrypha, Hebrews, and James)
  • Clergy forbidden to marry
  1. New Orders–Jesuits and Ursulines
  2. Society of Jesus (a.k.a. The Jesuits)
  • Founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spaniard wounded in war with France. While recuperating, he read Christian classics.  Loved the heroic stories of the saints, especially their ability to overcome mental anguish and pain.
  • Author of Spiritual Exercises–mental and emotional exercises to master one’s self spiritually, especially one’s emotions. Taught that through self-discipline, could recreate one’s self and behavior.
  • From a historical viewpoint, blatant reaction to Protestant rejection of authority–to Protestant rebellion. Ignatius telling Catholics how to lose selves to become full members of the Church.
  • Jesuits–highly trained, Ph.D. required in theology and philosophy; knew martial arts (but must accept martyrdom if advances the faith)
  • International evangelizing was their first goal–Africa, China, and the Americas
  • Matteo Ricci opened China to Christianity
  • Heavily involved in politics (too heavily!)


  1. Ursulines
  • Founded by St. Angela Merici (1473-1540) of Venice
  • Would not be cloistered–but would work among the people
  • Teaching order–to educate young women in religion and morals
  • Helped the sick and the poor

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