The Catholic Reformation


The Late Medieval Legacy 

  • Catholicisim - developed different ''flavours'' in different regions across the Holy Roman Empire, e.g the Devotio Moderna (Modern Devotion Movement). In other words, there wasn't just one kind of Catholicism that everyone followed 
  • The whole idea that good works (e.g charity or pilgrimage) were essential for salvation was a key and central idea in the Early Modern Catholic Church. 

Devotio Moderna 

  • Had its beginnings in the late C14th. 
  • Comes from the laity. 
  • The lay orders: Beguines, or Sisters/Brethren of the Common Life. 
  • The priest wasn't necessary for faith - an idea that Luther agreed with. 
  • Fewer vows in the devotion movement. 
  • Vernacular preaching (preaching in languages like English, German etc). 
  • Confraternities: groups of people who decided to practice together - usually urban or professional. These groups were potentially exclusionary as they required a fee to get in. 

As a whole - religiosity (specifically in Catholicism), in the Early Modern period was thriving. 

Appeal of Catholicism 


  • An 'old' religion: cultural suspicion of novelty as corruption. Call on tradition (the whole idea of the religion being 'old'), was important to Catholics. 
  • A 'material' religion: e.g holy water, saints' relics (holy objects), sacramentals etc. 
  • An 'active' religion: the ability to actively shape welfare and salvation through pilgrimage, charity etc. (Emphasised in the Council of Trent). 

From ''Counter Reformation'' (Protestant) to ''Catholic Renewal''

  • Counter Reformation: concerned with fighting heresy and stemming Lutheranism/Calvinism. Before the Council of Trent occurred - this was essentially the Catholic Church's response to Protestantism. 
  • Catholic Renewal: the reforming of the Catholic Church. Reinforcing already existing ideas (the ones that were thought to be good ideas) and getting rid of the bad ones, as well as adding in new rules - 1545 Council of Trent. 

Council of Trent 1545-1563 

  • Moral reform of the clergy: celibacy was enforced (an idea Luther disagreed with), since priests had previously been allowed to marry; abuses were abolished. 
  • Setting standards for the clergy: An education of the clergy, establishment of seminaries (training school for priests) in each diocese. 
  • Strengthening of episcopal power (at…


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