Ways in which Roman Catholics defended their faith against the Protestant Reformation
As a result of the vast expansion of Protestantism and quickly decreasing numbers in Roman Catholics, the Counter Reformation was initiated by the Roman Catholic Church in order to reconcile the Catholics and Protestants into one faith. The Roman Catholics attempted to achieve this goal through several methods, addressing the abuses of the Church by accepting its mistakes and attempting to fix them; they established the Council of Trent to help them with reforming the Church.
They also reaffirmed the Catholic beliefs, and attempted to check the growth of Protestantism with the use of the Roman Inquisition. A key component of the reformation of the Roman Catholic Church included The Council of Trent which implemented many duties contributing to the purposes that it had existed for. The Council addressed the mistakes of the Church, and attempted to fix them. The Council of Trent required the Bishops to stay in their own dioceses, suppressing pluralism and simony, as well as forbidding the sale of indulgences.
Clerics who kept concubines now had to give them up. The jurisdiction of bishops over all the clergy of their dioceses was made almost absolute, and bishops were ordered to visit every church in their diocese at least once every two years. The Council required every diocese to establish a seminary for the education and training of the clergy The Council of Trent directed the curriculum that was to be taught, and insisted that preference for admission be given to sons of the poor.
Seminary professors were to determine if candidates for ordination had genuine callings as determined by purity of life, separation from the secular life, and a steady inclination toward the priesthood. This was a ground-breaking idea, since from the time of the early church, parents had determined their children’s religious careers. Great emphasis was laid upon preaching and instructing the common people with an increased focus on the uneducated.
In conclusion, despite the Council of Trent performing remarkable acts in reforming the corrupt ways of the Roman Catholic Church, they were not able to accomplish reconciliation with Protestantism. In addition to keeping the Roman Catholic Church in check was the reaffirmation of Catholic beliefs, in an attempt to check the growth of Protestantism to further the Counter Reformation. To acknowledge Catholic beliefs, new religious were established, which served the purpose of raising the moral and intellectual level of the clergy and people.
Education was a major goal of these orders, most famous of which were the Ursiline order of nuns, and the Society of Jesus(Jesuits), founded by Ignatius Loyola, which played an international role in resisting the spread of Protestantism, converting Asians and Latin American Natives to Catholicism, and spreading Christian education all over Europe. The beliefs that were stressed by the Roman Catholic Church were the Seven Sacraments, Transubstantiation, Confession and absolution (where priests were to remain celibate), the Mass shall be preached in Latin, and justification by a combination of faith and works.
The inferior flaws of the Roman Catholic Church were to be reformed, and standards were to be adjusted. The Index of Prohibited Books was an attempt to censor the written works of “Heretics” such as Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, or John Calvin’s On the Necessity of Reforming the Church. The Roman Inquisition was established in Rome in 1542, both Spanish and Roman Inquisitions employed torture, and burning at the stake, yet the Roman Inquisition was considered less severe that the Spanish Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition was active in all Spanish territories, which included the Spanish Netherlands, while the Roman Inquisition was only active in the Papal States. In conclusion, the Roman Catholic Church reaffirmed Catholic beliefs, and checked the growth of the Protestant religions. Ultimately, the Roman Catholic Church attempted to respond to the large conversion of Catholics to Protestantism. The overall response of the Roman Catholic Church was engaging with the Counter Reformation. The ultimate goal of this Counter Reformation was to reconcile the Catholics and Protestants into one faith.
This goal was attempted to be achieved through several methods, including addressing the abuses of the Church by accepting its mistakes and attempting to fix them; they established the Council of Trent to help them with reforming the Church. They also reaffirmed the Catholic beliefs, and attempted to check the growth of Protestantism with the use of the Roman Inquisition. Although they did not achieve the goal of reconverting all of the Protestants back to Catholicism, some did convert back, but those who were already Catholic did not convert to Protestantism.