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Catholic Reformation

Catholic Reformation

Ignatius of Loyola …161
Teresa de Ávila …171
Roman Catholic Church …180

The Catholic Reformation officially began when the Council of Trent was convened in 1545. Prior to that time, however, priests, nuns, bishops, and popes had been trying to bring about reform. Among them was the Spanish priest Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1540. The foundation of the Jesuit's practices was Ignatius's numerous notes on ways to become a more devout Christian. Later titled Spiritual Exercises, the book became highly influential within the church. Another reformer was the Spanish nun Teresa de Ávila, who is credited with reviving Catholicism in the 1560s and 1570s, when Protestantism threatened to bring down the church. Her most significant contribution was the founding of the Reformed Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelite Convent of San Jose, a Catholic order for women. Teresa is best known today as one of the great Catholic mystics. Teresa had many mystical experiences, called raptures, which she described in several books. Among her most widely read works is The Life of Teresa of Jesus.

Reforms within the Catholic Church were also initiated by the Council of Trent, a conference of church officials. The Council of Trent completed its work in 1563 and issued a report titled Canons and Degrees of the Council of Trent. The following year Pope Pius IV released the Profession of the Tridentine Faith, which was a binding creed for teachers of church doctrines. The Profession was a summary of the major decisions of the Council of Trent as reported in Canons and Decrees. Although no Protestants were mentioned by name in these documents, Protestant teachings were discussed by the council. The Profession of the Tridentine Faith therefore reflected the church's response to the main points of contention between Catholics and Protestants.

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