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church religious roman founding

Counter-Reformation, reform movement in the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th and 17th centuries. It arose in part as a reaction against the Reformation, which attacked the Church and in the end offered as an alternative the independent Protestant churches founded by Luther and Calvin. The Counter-Reformation, on the other hand, proposed to reform the Church from within. One of the first moves toward religious reform was the founding of the Oratory of Divine Love in 1516, an assembly of pious churchmen intent upon official and authoritative action toward reform. The movement gained impetus with the founding of several new religious orders that emphasized simplicity and austerity. The most important new order was the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540. The spirit and methods of the Counter-Reformation were enunciated by the Council of Trent (1545–47, 1551–52, 1562–63), which reaffirmed the doctrines of the faith, reorganized ecclesiastical administration, set educational requirements and moral standards for the clergy, and condemned simony (the buying and selling of church offices). In moves to combat heresy, Pope Paul III revived the medieval institution of the inquisition in Italy and Spain and Pope Paul IV authorized the Index of Forbidden Books. The spiritual revival was particularly intense in Spain, where Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross combined a profound mysticism that renewed the spiritual life of the Church with active contributions toward reform of the religious orders.

See also: Reformation; Roman Catholic Church; Trent, Council of.

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