Counter-Reformation: Catholicism goes global

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 24-05-18 13:37
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  • Counter-Reformation: Catholicism goes global (according Gerritsen, Gould and Marshall)
    • Becoming a world religion
      • Jesuits in forefront of crucial development
        • because it was in the C16th and C17th that Catholicism (and Christianity) became, for first time, a world religion
      • Jesuit missionaries, like Franciscan and Dominican friars, followed in wake of European overseas expansion
        • linked to spread of Christianity to European attempts to infiltrate and control global networks of trade
    • Serious questions due to Catholic encounters overseas
      • were the the peoples they encountered to be considered 'full human beings' or 'natural slaves' (as Aristotle had maintained)?
      • What should be done about pagan religions: were  they to be rooted out or seen as building blocks for construction of new forms of indigenous Catholicism?
      • One answer Jesuit formulated by Jose d'Acosta (1549-1600)
        • Recognised 3 types of non-Christians
          • Where degree of civilisation seemed similar to Europe, as in Japan or India
            • Rational persuasion would be used
          • For peoples without writing systems but with sophisticated political organisations such as Aztecs or Incas
            • A Christian government would be instituted leaving some freedom of religious choice to locals
          • Nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples
            • Would best be treated as children, with force being used t bring about conversion where necessary
        • Over time, no single solution was accepted and different circumstances led to variety of responses and solutions
    • Portuguese, Africa, Asia and spread of Catholicism
      • Spread of Catholicism to Africa Occurred mostly under auspices of Portuguese
        • Portuguese highly ambitious from late C15th onwards
          • aimed to control lands including Brazil, Southern Asia, the East Indies and Far East
      • Portuguese considered Muslim presence in northern Africa principal obstacle to easy access to riches  of Asia
        • Alliances with African rulers were formed as part of anti-Islamic crusade
      • Conversion of African continent has been regarded as largely superficial
        • driven by Portuguese ambitions to control lucrative trade with Asia
        • According to Thornton
          • Catholic missionaries toiling away in small enclaves along trade routes seem to have had little success in reaching populations inland
          • In exceptional places where Christianity did flourish, it was in distinctly syncretic form
            • Characterised by accommodation to African religious practices
      • From 1498, Portuguese also had foothold on Indian Ocean coast
        • Settlements remained largely coastal, included bases in:
          • Mozambique
          • Mombasa
          • Mumbai
          • Malacca
          • Macoa
      • Christian communities on Malabar coast of India
        • Drew members of religious orders
        • Jesuit Francis Xavier
          • One of original companions of Loyola
          • Arrived in 1542
          • Considered one of greatest Christian missionaries
            • frequent letters home stirred interest in Asia throughout Catholic Europe
        • Alessandro Valignano
          • Settled in Goa in 1574
            • Became nerve centre for Asian mission
    • Spanish and spread of Catholicism in Americas
      • Responsible for mission to Americas
      • Franciscans arrived in Caribbean in 1500
        • along with Dominicans and Augustinians undertook evangelisation of Americas
      • Due to shortage of priests, members of orders were initially granted privileges
        • administering sacraments independently from bishops
          • led to later conflicts that marred success of the mission
      • Many native converts in Americas practiced syncretism
        • blending elements of new religion with their own inherited customs
        • provoked sporadic crack-downs on 'idolatry'
        • contrasted attempts in Mexico and Peru to root out indigenous religious practices as these had met with mixed results
    • Jesuits attempt to convert Japan
      • Xavier
        • arrived in Japan in 1549
        • sent enthusiastic letters home about civilised people he found there
        • sought to convert emperor
          • but soon realised actual power had shifted to individual vassal lords, daimyo
      • The daimyo
        • keen on rituals and outward displays of power
        • Underwhelmed, at first, by impoverished appearances of humble priests
        • Only when Xavier made appearance in magnificent robes did he secure permission to use Buddhist monastery for his preaching
      • High status of Chinese culture in Japan
        • led to Xavier deciding to redirect  efforts there
      • Success of missionaries
        • By end of C16th created thriving local Church
        • Japanese Catholicism all but extinguished by ruthless persecution in early C17th
    • Attempts to convert China
      • Delay
        • Xavier died on his way to China
        • Jesuit entrance not allowed until 1583
          • when Matteo Ricci moved inland from Portuguese base on island of Macao
      • Matteo Ricci
        • Acted in line with Jesuit policy
          • adopted dress and customs of local elites
          • learnt Chinese
          • published text on principles of friendship
        • Set out to convert Chinese emperor
          • According to Spence,only had moderate success
            • left behind approx. 2000 Christians at time of Ricci's death in 1610
      • Success of Chinese mission was ultimately severely dented by what became known as Rites Controversy
        • Ricci and his successors had allowed Chinese to continue such practices as worship of Confucius and family ancestors
          • referred to these as civil ceremonies
          • Dominicans and Franciscans were strongly opposed to such accomodationist techniques
            • Chinese disgruntled by internal conflicts
            • In 1710, Pope officially condemned performance of ancestral rituals by Chinese converts
              • when Chinese emperor became aware of behaviour among his subjects, Christianity was instantly banned in China
    • Overall levels of success
      • For many Europeans, huge increase in numbers of Catholic Christians across globe, with as many as 10m baptised in Americas alone by 1550
        • Came as kind of compensation for losses to Protestants in Europe and Turks in east
      • In longer term
        • activities of early modern missionaries laid foundations for dynamic Catholic cultures in Latin America and Philippines
        • in ancient civilisations of South and East Asia impact was much more restricted

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