John C. Olin (essay date 1969)
SOURCE: Olin, John C. “Introduction: The Background of Catholic Reform.” In The Catholic Reformation: Savonarola to Ignatius Loyola: Reform in the Church, 1495-1540, pp. xv-xxvi. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
[In the following essay, Olin examines the long history of religious reform and explains how the efforts of Renaissance humanists to lessen the disparity between the ideal and reality influenced Church reform.]
The Church in the late Middle Ages endured what may be called a “time of troubles”—a time marked by challenge and dissent, manifesting the symptoms of spiritual and institutional decline, climaxed by the great crisis and disruption that broke...
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