The Reformation as a Turning Point for the Roman Catholic Church (16th and 17th Centuries)
Author(s)Henriques, Alan Charles
Contributor(s)University of KwaZulu-Natal
KeywordsProtestant Reformation, Catholic (Counter Reformation), Martin Luther, Papacy, Council of Trent, Orthodoxy, Diversity, Printing, Liturgy, Excommunication and Inquisition
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AbstractIn this article the effects of the Protestant Reformation on the Roman Catholic Church are investigated. The event of 1517, when Luther posted 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg, had a profound effect on society in Europe and the Roman Catholic Church in particular. The Council of Trent (1545–1563) was the official response of the Roman Catholic Church to the Protestant Reformation and issued in the Catholic Reformation (Counter-Reformation). Christian thought went from a uniform approach to one of diversity. The Catholics of the day responded by focusing on strategies such as printing, the liturgy, the inquisition and finally excommunication. The wound to the unity of the Christian community was finally healed at the Second Vatican Council when the Roman Catholic Church joined the ecumenical movement of all Christian Churches. The Roman Catholic Church learnt tremendous lessons from the Protestant Reformation. In certain parts of Europe there was friction and in other parts cooperation between Protestants and Catholics. Through the course of time cooperation and dialogue won the battle eventually, as Protestants and Catholics grappled with both their common beliefs and their many differences.