The the Catholic Reformation. The Council of

The Catholic Reformation was a period in the 16th and early 17th century where the doctrines of the Catholic Church were affirmed and reviewed. The growth of Protestantism and the need for reform inside the Church due to corruption was the cause of the Catholic Reformation. The Council of Trent was the climax of the Catholic Reformation and is one of the most significant events in the history of the Catholic Church. 
The Protestant Reformation sparked the Catholic Reformation. It was started by Martin Luther in 1517. Martin Luther was born in Germany on November 10th, 1483. Luther was studying to become a lawyer at the University of Erfurt until he had a life-changing experience. He was caught in a thunderstorm where he feared for his life. He prayed to St. Anne and told her that he would become a monk if she saved him. The storm ended and Luther’s life was saved. Although this was a difficult decision for Luther and he knew it would disappoint his father, who wanted Luther to become a lawyer, Luther decided to keep his promise and become a monk. After a few years of living in a monastery, Luther became disappointed because he was not receiving the spiritual enlightenment he was looking for. He also realized how corrupt the Church really was in this time period. He learned of the idea of “indulgences” which is a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins, usually in exchange for money. The idea of indulgences was very popular in the 16th century. Martin Luther found this to be corrupt. In 1513, Luther realized his difference in beliefs with the Catholic Church. According to Editors, “He realized the key to spiritual salvation as not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation.” This realization sparked the Reformation.
In 1517, Pope Leo X called for a new set of indulgences to help fund the building of the St. Peter’s Basilica. This enraged Martin Luther and caused him to write “the Ninety-Five Theses”, which was a criticized the idea of indulgences and claimed they were corrupting the Catholic faith. Luther posted this on the door of the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door and sent it to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz. Copies of the Ninety-Five Theses were printed and it spread around Europe quickly. The Catholic Church was extremely upset with the Ninety-Five Theses and its popularity. The Church demanded Luther to recant it in October 1518. Luther’s response was “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simply reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of peoples and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.” (Bainton 180). In this quote, Luther refused to unless Scripture proved him wrong and he argued the pope’s authority to interpret scripture. Luther’s refusal to recant led to his excommunication from the Church in January 1521. In March of 1521, Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms which was assembly of secular figureheads. Luther again refused to recant until he was shown Scripture that proved him wrong, which was nonexistent. Therefore, the Diet of Worms announced Luther was a heretic and banned all his writings. In May 1522, Martin Luther started his own Church, Lutheranism. It became very popular and gained the support of German princes. This is what sparked the Protestant Reformation which caused the Catholic Church to reform itself. 
John Calvin was another Protestant reformer in the 16th century. He was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, Picardy, France. His theology, Calvinism, was extremely popular in England, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, the English colonies of North America and parts of Germany and central Europe. He first joined the Reformation while he was a law student- like Martin Luther- at the University of Orleans. Calvin teaches the theory of “predestination”, which states that God chooses who will end up in heaven and hell based on foreknowledge of how one will live their life. Like Martin Luther, Calvin also teaches that Scripture is the supreme authority. In 1536, Calvin published Institutes of the Christian Religion which stated and explained the theories of Protestantism. “As far as sacred Scripture is concerned, however much froward men try to gnaw at it, nevertheless it clearly is crammed with thoughts that could not be humanly conceived. Let each of the prophets be looked into: none will be found who does not far exceed human measure. Consequently, those for whom prophetic doctrine is tasteless ought to be thought of as lacking taste buds.” In this quote, John Calvin is saying that the Scriptures are too complex for the human mind. Humans do not possess the intelligence to grasp the full message of the Scriptures. However, the prophets, who were able to understand the Scriptures, wrote in a way the human mind could understand. This is how humans are able to read the Scripture and understand it to the best of their ability even though there we do not get the full understanding. In 1541, John Calvin lived in Geneva, Switzerland and was an important leader for the Protestant Reformation. Using Protestant principles, he gained absolute supremacy as the leader of Geneva. Geneva became the center of the Protestant world. Calvin’s approach to Protestantism differed from Martin Luther’s. While Martin Luther had a very passionate approach to promote Lutheranism, John Calvin had a very intellectual and unemotional approach to promote Calvinism. Both approaches were effective in spreading Protestantism around the world. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin played very significant roles in the Protestant Reformation.
The Protestant Reformation was a great threat to the Catholic Church. The corruption of the Catholic Church became a very big problem and was becoming exposed by the Protestant Reformation. In response to this, the Catholic Reformation started. The start of reform in the Catholic Church began with the formation of religious orders, like the Theatines, the Capuchins, the Ursulines and the Jesuits. The Jesuits were founded in 1534 by Ignatius Loyola and formed the backbone of Catholic Reformation. The Jesuits brought back the traditional ideas of monastic teaching to win back the converts they lost in the Protestant Reformation. The Jesuits attacked one flaw of Protestantism, which was John Calvin’s idea of “predestination”, which states that God has predetermined the fate of every human being. The Jesuits preached the idea of forgiveness and hope in the Church. The Jesuits also developed the theology of the permission of “small sins”, only if it leads to a just cause. 
Pope Paul III was the first pope during the Catholic Reformation Era. He reigned from 1534 to 1549. On December 13, 1545 Pope Paul III convened the nineteenth ecumenical council, the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent was an formed as a response to the Protestant Reformation and was the centerpiece of the Catholic Reformation. The purpose of the Council of Trent was to reaffirm all Catholic doctrine and respond to the heresy that was being taught by Protestants. 
The Council of Trent was split into three periods. The first period, lasting from 1545 to 1547 addressed demands for immediate reform and the clarification of Catholic doctrines. In this session, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed was created. The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is a Christian statement of faith and is the only creed universally accepted by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. During this period, the collection of the New Testament and Old Testament books were also fixed.  The topic of tradition was also discussed. Tradition is defined as the entrusting of the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly. The Catholic Church insists that Scripture and tradition are the ruling authority of the Church while Protestants believed that Scripture is the only authority of the Church and the pope has no authority to interpret Scripture. In Luther’s Collected Works, Luther says “Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present. Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.” (Luther). In this quote, Luther is saying that nobody has the authority to interpret the Scripture. He is also arguing that the body and blood of Christ are present during Eucharist. The Council of Trent reaffirmed that tradition was accepted as a source of faith. The topic of original sin was also discussed. Original sin is the state of sin every human is born with. Every human is born with sin, which is credited to the first man, Adam, for disobeying God’s orders and eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge of good and evil. The sin that he committed has been passed down to his descendants, which is every human in the world. The Council of Trent also ruled against Martin Luther’s theory of “justification by faith alone” during this session. Justification by faith alone is the theory that God will change a person from a state of sin to a state of grace just because they have gained faith in him. In response to this theory, the Church proclaimed that one could only be justified by living according to the divine grace that God bestowed upon us.
The Council of Trent was forced to move to Bologna in Italy due to political problems. The council resumed in 1551 and ended in 1552. One of the major topics discussed in this meeting is the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This was a response to interpretation of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist by Huldrych Zwingli, the Swiss Reformation Leader. Zwingli believed that there was no bodily presence of God inside the Eucharist. He believed that the Eucharist was just a symbol of the death of Christ and compares the Eucharist to a wedding which “seals the marriage union between Christ and the believer ” (Carter 86).  He argues that a body cannot be present in multiple places at once therefore there is no corporal presence in the Eucharist because Christ has ascended to heaven. The Eucharist is just a symbol of the body of Christ. However, Christ is present spiritually in the Eucharist. Transubstantiation was also discussed in the second session of the Council of Trent. This was discussed in response to Martin Luther’s theory of consubstantiation. Transubstantiation is the change that the bread and wine of the Eucharist becomes Christ’s body and blood. The bread and wine physically become Christ’s body and blood. Martin Luther disagreed with this theory, which is why it was spoken out against in the Council of Trent. Martin Luther’s theory, consubstantiation stated that instead of the bread and wine literally turning into Christ’s body and blood, like in transubstantiation, Christ’s body and blood simply coexisted with the bread and wine. The body and blood of Christ are present around the bread and wine, not within it. The bread and wine remain bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ are present spiritually during the sacrament of Eucharist. The Council of Trent reaffirmed the idea of transubstantiation and rejected the idea of consubstantiation. A more extensive definition was also given to the sacrament of penance. 
When Pope Paul IV became the pope in 1555, he was opposed to the Council of Trent, so further discussions in the council were halted until Pius V became pope in 1559. The third session of the Council of Trent started in 1562 and ended in 1563. In this session the Council of Trent defined mass. According to Edward Lorr, mass is “a memorial of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through the Crucifixion.” The mass is a sacrifice because during mass the body and blood of Christ, which are in the bread and wine through transubstantiation, are offered to God. The Council of Trent also issued statements on doctrines that reaffirmed holy orders, matrimony, purgatory, indulgences and the veneration of saints.
Pius IV confirmed all of the Council of Trent’s decrees in 1564. A summary of everything that was discussed in the Council of Trent was released. A revised version of the Bible was published after the Council of Trent was completed. Many of the followers the Roman Catholic Church lost to the Protestant Reformation were reclaimed thanks to the Council of Trent.
After the Council of Trent, there was an era of great leadership in the Church. The three great reforming popes were St. Pius V, Gregory XIII, and Sixtus V. The Catholic Reformation was the reason why three great reforming popes were chosen in succession.
The first of the three great reforming popes was Pope Pius V. Pope Pius’s papacy began on January 7th, 1566 and ended on May 1st 1572. He is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church and is notable for his role in finishing the Council of Trent. Pius’s main objective as pope was to continue the reform of the Catholic Church. He made it his job to make sure all of the decrees of the Council of Trent were implemented fully. The decrees of the Council of Trent were published throughout everywhere Catholic including, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
The next great reforming pope was Pope Gregory XIII. Pope Gregory’s papacy was from May 13th, 1572 to April 10th, 1585. He also made it his mission to reform the Catholic Church. He made sure to put in practice all the recommendations and decrees of the Council of Trent. He came up with the Index of Forbidden Book, which was a list of all heretical book which were banned by the Catholic Church.