Compare and contrast the Roman Catholic Reformation to the Protestant Reformation.How and why did the major aspects of the roman catholic reformation compare and contrast with those of the...

Compare and contrast the Roman Catholic Reformation to the Protestant Reformation.

How and why did the major aspects of the roman catholic reformation compare and contrast with those of the Protestant Reformation and with what results?          

Expert Answers
davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Counter-Reformation was more concerned with structural and administrative reforms than the Protestant Reformation. It also largely ignored the highly contentious theological issues that lay at the heart of the Reformers’ concerns. As such, it has been seen primarily as a reactionary movement, one devoted to fortifying the spiritual and temporal power of the Catholic Church against a growing Protestant threat.

At the Council of Trent, which gave definitive shape to the Counter-Reformation, not only was Protestant ‘heresy’ roundly condemned, but the traditional Catholic orthodoxy was reaffirmed with renewed vigor. The Church made no concessions regarding divisive theological issues such as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist or the interpretation of scripture. In avoiding anything that smacked of compromise, it widened further the growing schism within European Christendom.

But the Catholic Church did learn some lessons from the Protestant Reformers, even if it didn’t openly acknowledge this fact. Although it continued to authorise the sale of indulgences, for example, (a major contributory factor to the development and spread of the Reformation) it did nonetheless attempt to curb the worst abuses of this controversial practice.

The Catholic Church also learned from Protestants the value of evangelization, of spreading the Christian message far and wide. With Jesuits at the forefront, the Church embarked upon a campaign of extensive missionary work, not just to remote corners of the world such as the Americas and China, but also to the very heart of Europe itself. The work of the Jesuits in this regard was arguably one of the most successful results of the Counter-Reformation, as it helped to stem what seemed at one point to be an irresistible tide of Protestantism sweeping over the European continent.


larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catholic Reformation, often called the Counter Reformation, was a direct response to the Protestant Reformation. It sought to correct many of the abuses of church practices which had led to the Protestant Reformation, specifically the sale of indulgences, and also instituted an effort to combat Protestantism through education. The Catholic Reformation saw the founding of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, by St. Ignatius Loyola; who used education to support church teaching. As a church council, the Council of Trent had the authority to overrule the Pope on matters of Church doctrine. Rather than do so, it reaffirmed the Pope's authority as the vicar of Christ on earth.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catholic Reformation was different from the Protestant Reformation in at least one very basic way. The Catholic Reformation reaffirmed the correctness of their doctrines. So, from a theological perspective, they did not change. Also they anathematized Protestant teachings at the Council of Trent. So, in no way did Catholics protest. Rather, they reaffirmed their traditional positions. Protestants, on the other hand, protested abuses of the church and doctrinal impurities.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catholic "Counter Reformation" differed from the Protestant "Reformation" most importantly, perhaps, because Protestantism challenged many of the very central doctrines of the Catholic Church, such as the role of the Pope and the understanding of the eucharist. The Protestant Reformation was a very radical break from Catholicism; the Counter Reformation was an effort indeed to reform the Catholic church, not to challenge it in any truly fundamental ways.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The genesis of the Catholic counter reformation was seated in the recognition within the Catholic Church that there were problems at hand,including fallacy within the papacy--an idea radically at odds with the doctrine of an infallible Pope. One difference between the Protestant and Catholic reformations is that while Protestantism liberated the clergy, Catholicism attempted to restore the strict  rules and discipline of the various orders of clergy.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catholic Reformation was, like the Protestant Reformation started out to be, a movement to reform the Church.  It tried, among other things, to make sure that people got better pastoral care from their priests.  This was the sort of thing that Luther had started out being concerned with.  However, the Catholic Reformation was also about reasserting the basic correctness of Catholic doctrine, not with challenging it.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, the central difference between these two Reformations is the way that the Catholic church, having been shaken by the Protestant Reformation, and the way that it challenged so many key creeds, sought to reaffirm and strengthen its beliefs through the Reformation. Both sought to accomplish change, but the Catholic Reformation was based around revitalising the Catholic Church, rather than pulling it apart.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The Protestant Reformation was a highly political movement. It was an attempt to take control from the hands of the church. The Catholic Reformation was an attempt to take some of that control back, or at least re-organize itself to avoid further destruction.
jashtag | Student

To better understand the concept of Protestantism or protestant reformation it is essential to take note of the one person responsible for it. Martin Luther (1483-1546), an Augustinian monk of the Catholic Church and university lecturer in Wittenberg initiated the reformation when he composed his “95 Theses,” aiming to oppose the pope’s sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences. In his desire and hope for a renewal within the church amidst abuses, Luther instead what got expelled and excommunicated. Still Luther persevered. Instead translated the Bible into German and pursued his output of vernacular pamphlets for the ordinary and lay people.

He persisted in challenging papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. The Catholic monk insisted for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes. Hence, wars broke, persecutions everywhere and revolt by German people. By then much of Germany’s state religion became Lutherans.

This gave birth to the so called Roman Catholic Reformation or properly known as Counter Reformation. This is where lies the difference. This reformed made by the Catholic Church was actually the delayed but forceful response to the Protestants. In 1545 through 1563 the Church’s council of Trent defined and answered all the problems that triggered the Reformation. The Counter-Reformation became more spiritual, literate, and more educated. It has become the advent of new religious orders such as the Jesuits, the mystics such as St. Teresa of Avila and reorganization of the process of inquisitions to combat Protestant heresy. Even today the church must always be reformed,"Ecclesia semper reformanda est".