Reformation and Counter Reformation were€¦ · Reformation and Counter Reformation ... but if he...

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209 Reformation and Counter Reformation The protestant Reformation was a cry for reform that sought to do exactly what its title implies - reform the Catholic church. The protestants (protesters) were protesting the various abuses of Church power and wealth and certain nonreligious activities that had crept into this powerful, respected and aged institution during the preceding . centuries. The abuses that the reformers complained about were many: the lower clergy were ignorant of Latin and theology; some were incapable of conducting Mass: priests and popes lived with mistresses and fathered illegitimate children despite their vow of chastity and celibacy; high-level clergy ignored their vows of poverty and acted as members of the secular nobility of Europe by living in huge houses, acquiring great treasures, eating fine foods" and collecting great art treasures; and Church offices were regularly bought and sold instead of being bestowed upon the most qualified clergyman. These calls for reform by protesters were not new. Several important clergymen and Northern European humanists had already been calling for the Church to make the reforms needed to keep the Church in its position of power and influence. Girolamo. Savonarola, a Dominican friar in Florence (1452 - 1498) was one of the more vocal of ' these reformers. 22. When the devil sees that a man is weak, he strikes him with a hatchet in order to make bim faD into sin; but if he sees that he is strong. he then strikes him with an axe. If a young girl be modest and well brought up, he throws some dissipated youth in her way, and causes her to yield to his flatteries and fall into sin., Thus the devil strikes her with his axe. Here is a citizen of good repute; he enters the courts of the great lords, and there is the axe so well sharpened that no virtue can resist its strokes. But we are now living in still more evil days; the devil has called his followers together, and they have dealt terrible blows on the -very gates of the temple. It is by the gates that the house is entered, and it is the .prelates who shon1d lead the faithful into the Church of Christ Therefore the devil hath aimed his heaviest: ~lows at them, and hath broken down these gates. Thus it is that no more good prelates are to be found in the Church. Seest thou not that they do all things amiss? They have no judgement; they cannot distinguish inter bonum et malum, inter nerum et falsum, .inter dulce et amarum; good things they deem evil, true things false. sweet things bitter. and vice versa ... '. See bow in these days prelates and preachers are chained to the earth by love of earthly things; the cure of souls is no longer their concern; they are content with the receipt of revenue; the preachers preach for the pleasure of princes, to be praised and magnified by them. ... And they have done even worse than this. inasmuch as they have not only destroyed the Chmch of God, but built up another after their own fashion. This is the new Church, no longer built of living rock, namely, of Christians dry as tinder for the fires of hell. ... Go thou to Rome and' throughout Christendom; in the mansions of the great prelates and great lords there.is no concern save for poetry and the oratorical art Go thither and see, thou shalt find them all with books of the humanities in their hands, and telling one another that they can guide men's souls by means of Vergil, Horace, Cicero. Wouldst thou see how the Church is ruled by the hands of astrologers? And there is no prelate nor great lord that hath not intimate dealings with some astrologers, who fixeth the hour and the moment in which he is to ride out or undertake some piece of business. For these great lords venture not to stir a step save at their astrologer'S bidding. ... But in this temple of theirs there is one thing that delighteth us much. That is that all therein is painted and gilded Thus our Church has many fine outer ceremonies for the solemnization. of ecclesiastical rites, grand vestments and numerous draperies, with gold and
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    Reformation and Counter ReformationThe protestant Reformation was a cry for reform that sought to do exactly what its titleimplies - reform the Catholic church. The protestants (protesters) were protesting thevarious abuses of Church power and wealth and certain nonreligious activities thathad crept into this powerful, respected and aged institution during the preceding .centuries. The abuses that the reformers complained about were many: the lowerclergy were ignorant of Latin and theology; some were incapable of conducting Mass:priests and popes lived with mistresses and fathered illegitimate children despite theirvow of chastity and celibacy; high-level clergy ignored their vows of poverty and actedas members of the secular nobility of Europe by living in huge houses, acquiring greattreasures, eating fine foods" and collecting great art treasures; and Church officeswere regularly bought and sold instead of being bestowed upon the most qualifiedclergyman.

    These calls for reform by protesters were not new. Several important clergymen andNorthern European humanists had already been calling for the Church to make thereforms needed to keep the Church in its position of power and influence. Girolamo.Savonarola, a Dominican friar in Florence (1452 - 1498) was one of the more vocal of 'these reformers.

    22. When the devil sees that a man is weak, he strikes him with a hatchet in order to make bim faDinto sin; but if he sees that he is strong. he then strikes him with an axe. If a young girl bemodest and well brought up, he throws some dissipated youth in her way, and causes her toyield to his flatteries and fall into sin., Thus the devil strikes her with his axe. Here is acitizen of good repute; he enters the courts of the great lords, and there is the axe so wellsharpened that no virtue can resist its strokes. But we are now living in still more evil days;the devil has called his followers together, and they have dealt terrible blows on the -very gatesof the temple. It is by the gates that the house is entered, and it is the .prelates who shon1dlead the faithful into the Church of Christ Therefore the devil hath aimed his heaviest: ~lowsat them, and hath broken down these gates. Thus it is that no more good prelates are to befound in the Church. Seest thou not that they do all things amiss? They have no judgement;they cannot distinguish inter bonum et malum, inter nerum et falsum, .inter dulce et amarum;good things they deem evil, true things false. sweet things bitter. and vice versa ... '. See bowin these days prelates and preachers are chained to the earth by love of earthly things; thecure of souls is no longer their concern; they are content with the receipt of revenue; thepreachers preach for the pleasure of princes, to be praised and magnified by them. ... Andthey have done even worse than this. inasmuch as they have not only destroyed the Chmch ofGod, but built up another after their own fashion. This is the new Church, no longer built ofliving rock, namely, of Christians dry as tinder for the fires of hell. . .. Go thou to Rome and'throughout Christendom; in the mansions of the great prelates and great lords there.is noconcern save for poetry and the oratorical art Go thither and see, thou shalt find them allwith books of the humanities in their hands, and telling one another that they can guidemen's souls by means of Vergil, Horace, Cicero. Wouldst thou see how the Church is ruled bythe hands of astrologers? And there is no prelate nor great lord that hath not intimatedealings with some astrologers, who fixeth the hour and the moment in which he is to ride outor undertake some piece of business. For these great lords venture not to stir a step save attheir astrologer'S bidding. . ..

    But in this temple of theirs there is one thing that delighteth us much. That is that all thereinis painted and gilded Thus our Church has many fine outer ceremonies for thesolemnization. of ecclesiastical rites, grand vestments and numerous draperies, with gold and

  • silver candlesticks, and so many chalices that it is a majestic sight to behold. There thou seestthe great prelates with splendid mitres of gold and precious stones on their heads, the silvercrosiers in hand; there they stand at the altar, decked with fine copes and stoles of brocade,chanting those beautiful vespers and masses, very slowly, and with so many grand ceremonies,so many organs and choristers, that thou art struck with amazement; and all these priests seeto thee grave and saintly men, thou canst not believe that they may be in error, but deem thatall which they say and do should be obeyed even as the Gospel; and thus is our Churchconducted. Men feed upon these vanities and rejoice in these pomps, and say that the Churchof Christ was never so flourishing, nor divine worship so well conducted as at present ...likewise that the first prelates were inferior to these of their own times.

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    Savonarola's call for change brought him to a position of power in Florence during thelate 15th century AD, but it also cost him his life because a fearful and corrupt papacyand Florentine nobility considered his reforms to be too extreme as well as achallenge to their authority. Another early reformer was the European humanistDesiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. He was a devout member of the Catholic Churchwho believed the Church had strayed from its religious purpose. His call for reform didnot come through public preaching as had Savonarola's. Instead he wrote severalbooks which pointed out the abuses of the Church. In his most famous work, ThePraise of Folly, he takes the clergy to task for a variety of offenses, among them beinga lavish lifestyle, a lack of religious education, and a violation of the basic vows of thepriesthood - poverty, chastity, and obedience.

    Savonarola's and Erasmus' calls for reform were basically ineffectual. Few changeswere made within the Church. This failure to change brought about a great amount offrustration to a young monk named Martin Luther. His frustration led him to post hisfamous Ninety-Five Theses on the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany. Hisgreatest frustration was with the selling of papal indulgences, an indulgence being aform of "grace" which freed one or the deceased from sin and kept people out of hellafter their life on earth. Martin believed that one could not buy salvation, yet ~e sawhis Church selling it.

    23. Excerpts from Luther's Ninety-Five Theses

    4. The penalty for sin remains as long as the hatred of self, that is, true inner repentance.until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

    S. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed byhis own authority or that of the canons.

    6. The pope cannot remit any guilt except by declaring and showing that it has beenremitted by God; or, to be sure. by remitting guilt in cases reserved to hisjudgement ...

    20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words "plenary remission of all penalties,"does not actually mean "all penalties," but only those imposed by himself.

    21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved fromevery penalty and saved by papal indulgences. . .. 23. . If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all. certainly itwould be granted only to the most perfect, that is to very few. ...

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    They preach only human doctrine who say that as soon as the money clinks into themoney chest, the soul flies out of purgatory. . ..35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy

    souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristiandoctrines. . ..

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    50. Chri-stians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgencepreachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than builtwith the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep. ...

    As the Protestant Reformation developed into a major movement, some of theliterature and essays produced by the reformers took on the tone of the idealisticliterature of the Renaissance. The ideal religious community and the ideal communityfrom a religious point of view became very common topics.

    24. The Governing of the Ideal Protestant community

    Marriage. drinking. swearing. and gossiping: Public adulterers are to be executed. chronicdrunks drowned, nonjudicial and blasphemous swearing punished by beating. andgossipers to receive public reprimands.

    Gaming: All gaming is to be conducted in public. Adults are permitted limited gambling.Youth, however. are forbidden to play cards or dice for money, although they may forbrief periods play chess for eggs.Dancing: Mixed public dancing is permitted for three hours one afternoon a week. Marriedmen and women may dance only with their spouses or relatives, and propriety indress, motion, and song are to be observed.

    Entrance into marriage: As already stated in the religious ordinances, there are to be noimpediments to marriage beyond those cited in the law of Moses. The clergy musteither have legitimate wives or live alone (that is, concubinage is prohibited).

    Local government: Every city is to have a thirty-member council, with the count actingasmayor Forts are to have a fifteen-member council. with the baron as mayor

    Merchants and trade: Merchants and trade are to be carefully regulated. All profiteering andmonopolistic trade are abolished. No more than three companies are permitted to bein one place. Local products are to be protected by bans on imported wine, cloth,and produce.

    Food, drink, and the necessities of life: All varieties of food and drink are permitted to allpersons at all times, save fastdays, and the clergy may not deny them to the laity. Wildgame and fish are free, and wood may, as needed, be cut by all.

    Begging: No beggars are permitted in the land. The poor are to receive church offeringsand what is not given directly to them shall go into a contingency common chest..The poor are to be the special responsibility of the magistracy, not the clergy. sincethe clergy have exploited them for so long. Those on the public dole must wearidentifying badges .

    Trades: No "useless" trades are to be permitted. Needed trades shall not be allowed tosuffer because there are more masters than apprentices. No labor for one's dailybread shall be held more honorable than farming and blacksmithing. . ..

  • Castles: Castles are to be reserved for nobility. While present ones are to remainunmolested and maintained, no building of new castles is permitted.

    Houses and buildings: Workers in the same trade are to live on the same street. Simplicity isto be the rule in all houses and building save public places such as the town hall, store,bathhouse, school. and inns. which are permitted decorations beyond the ordinary.

    Bathhouses: Bathhouses are to be segregated by sex.

    Beards: All men are to wear long beards. Men with smooth faces like women shall be heldan outrage. All men shall wear short. unkempt hair.

    Children: All boys and girls are to attend a publicly supported school form ages three toeight. They are to be taught the Christian law from the gospel. and Saint Paulo. aswell as Latin and German. and a little Greek and Hebrew. At age eight a decision shallbe made by the community to send each child into a trade or further study ....

    The ban: No one is to be placed under the ban simply on suspicion of guilt. Only for aconstant public transgression of God's law may the priest excommunicate anyone.

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    Coinage: Coins shall be uniform throughout the kingdom.

    Clergy: No priest may hold political office. ...

    Thieves: Thieves shall wear chains on both feet and work for a vear as common servants ofthe city: .

    Murder: Those who murder shall be murdered. Highway robbers shall be made menialservants of the city for life.

    Ostentatious living: No one is permitted to live beyond his means. Ostentatious living sbalIbe swiftly controlled. lest resentment erupt among the poot

    Servants: Servants are 'to be given no wine unless they are at least thirty years of age. Theyare to be neither cursed nor beaten by their masters, nor are they to curse or beattheir masters. If dissatisfied they may resign their positions. They are to 'receive nopayments in advance. They are to be paid in cash. '

    Clothes: There is to be moderation. conformity, and propriety in dress, although women maydecorate themselves a-er doch erlich. ...

    Physical punishment: There are to be no physical punishments beyond those listed in the lawof Moses ....

    Laziness: Stiff penalties are to be meted out for laziness. Everyone must engage in usefulwork. ...

    Jews and heathens: Jews and heathens in the cities are to be given friendly treatment, but maynot receive civic honors, participate in government, or be permitted to insult the city'slaw and religion. ...

    Common chest Every citizen who is worth a hundred gulden or more shall give one hellereach weak to the common chest

    The Reformation was an extremely powerful religious and political movement. If theCatholic Church was to survive, it had to use of th the forces and creativity it couldmuster to face the tests being presented to it. The Church attempted to stop the

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    The Torture of Elvira del Campo, Toledo, Spain, 1567(Charges: Not eating pork and putting on dean clothes on Saturday)

    She was carried to the torture chamber, and told to tell the truth, when she said she hadnothing to say. She was ordered to be stripped and again admonished, but was silent Whenstripped she said, 'Senores, I have done all that is said of men and I bear false-witness againstmyself, for I do not want to see myself in such trouble; please God, 1 have done nothing.'She was told not to bring false testimony against herself but to tell the truth. The tying of thearms commenced; she said, 'I have told the truth; what have I to tell?' She was told to tell thetruth and replied, 'I have told the truth, and have nothing to tell.' One cord was applied tothe arms and twisted and she was admonished to tell the truth but said she had nothing to tell.Then she screamed and said, Tell me what you want for 1 don't know what to say: She wastold to tell what she had done, for she was tortured because she had not done so, and anothertum of the cord was ordered. She cried, 'Loosen me, Senores, and tell me what I have to say:I do not know what I have done, 0 Lord have mercy on me, a sinner!' Another tum wasgiven and she said, 'Loosen me a little that I may remember what I have to tell; I don't knowwhat 1 have done; 1 did not eat pork for it made me sick; I have done everything; loosen meand 1 will tell the truth: Another tum of the cord was ordered, when she said, 'Loosen meand 1 will tell the truth; 1 don't know what I have to tell- - Loosen me for the sake of God-- tell me what I have to say - - 1 did it, 1 did it - - they hurt me, Senor - - loosen me, loosenme and 1 will tell it' She was told to tell it and said, 'I don't know what 1 have to tell--Senor, 1 did it - - 1 have nothing to tell - - 0 my arms! Release me and 1 will tell it' Shewas asked to tell what she did and said, 1 don't know, I did not eat because 1 did not wishto.' She was asked why she did not wish to and replied, 'Ay! loosen me, loosen me - - takeme from here and 1 will tell it when I am taken away - - 1 say that 1 did not eat it, 1 don'tknow why.' Another tum was ordered and she said 'Senor, 1 did not eat it because I did notwish to - - release me and I will tell it' She was told to teU what she had done contrary toour holy Catholic faith. She said, 'Take me from here and tell me what I have to say - - theyhurt me - - Oh my arms!' which she repeated many times and went on, 'I don't remember -- tell me what 1 have to say - - 0 wretched me! I will tell all that is wanted, Senores - - theyare braking my arms - - loosen me a little - - I did everything that is said of me.' She wastold to tell in detail truly what she did. She said, 'What am I wanted to tell? I did everything--loosen me, for I don't know what I have to say - - if 1 did I would tell it' The cords wereordered to be tightened when she said, 'Senores, have you no pity on a sinful woman?' Shewas told, yes, if she would tell the truth. She said, "Senor, tell me, tell me it' The cords weretightened again, and she said, 'I have already said that 1 did it' She was ordered to tell indetail, to which she said, 'I don't know how to tell it, senor, 1 don't know: The cords wereseparated and counted, and there were sixteen turns, and in giving the last tum the cord--broke.

    She was then ordered to be placed on the potro (frame). She said, 'Senores, why will you nottell me what I have to say? Senor, put me on the ground - - have 1 not said that I did itall?'She was told to tell it She said, 'I don't remember - - take me away - - I did what thewitnesses say.' She was told to tell in detail what the witnesses said She said, 'Senor, as Ihave told you, I do not know for certain. 1 have said that I did all that the witnesses say.Senores, release me, for I do not remember it' She was told to tell it. She said, oW I do notknow it Oh, oh, they are tearing me to pieces - - I have said I did it - - let me go.' She wastold to tell it She said, 'Senores, it does not help me to say that I did it, and I have admittedthat what I have done has brought me to this suffering - - Senor, you know the truth - -Senores, for God's sake have mercy on me. Oh Senor, take these things from my arms - -:Senor, release me, they are killing me.' She was tied on the potro with the cords. she was -admonished to tell the truth and the garrotes were ordered to be tightened She said, 'Senor,do you not see how these people are killing me? Senor, I did it - - for God's sake - - theyhave no pity on me - - let me go for God's sake - - they have no pity on me - - I did it - -take me from here and I will remember what I cannot here.' She was told to tell the truth orthe cords would be tightened. She said, 'Remind me of what 1 have to say for I don't know it- - I said that I did not want to eat it - - I know only that I did not want to eat it,' and this sherepeated many times. She was told to tell why she did not want to eat it. She said, 'For thereason that the witnesses say - - I don't know bow to tell it - - miserable that I am that I

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    don't know how to tell it. 1 say I did it and my God how can I tell it?' Then she said that, asshe did not do it, how could she tell it - - 'They will not listen to me - - these people want tokill me - - release me and I will tell the truth.' She was again admonished to tell the truth.She said. '1 did it, I don't know how I did it - - I did if for what the witnesses say - -let mego - - I have lost my senses and I don't know how to tell it - - loosen me and I will tell thetruth.' Then she said, 'senor, I did it, I don't know how I have to tell it, but I tell it as thewitnesses say - - I wish to tell it - - take me from here. Senor, as the witnesses say, so I sayand confess-it.' She was told to declare it. She said. 'Ldon't know how to say it - - I have nomemory - - Lord, you are witness that if I knew how to say anything else I would say it Ihave nothing more to say than that I did it and God knows it.' She said many times,'Senores, Senores, nothing helps me. You, Lord, hear that I tell the truth and can say no more- - they are tearing out my soul - - order them to loosen me.' Then she said. ~1do not saythat I did it to observe that Law.' She was asked what Law. She said, "The Law that thewitnesses say - - I declare it all, Senor, and don't remember what Law it was - - 0, wretchedwas the mother that bore me.' She was asked what was the Law she meant and what was theLaw she said the witnesses say. This was asked repeatedly, but she was silent and at last saidthat she did not know. She was told to tell the truth or the garrotes would be tightened but shedid not answer. Another turn was ordered on the garrotes and she was admonished to saywhat Law it was. She said, 'If I knew what to say I would say it Oh, Senor, I don't knowwhat I have to say - - Oh, oh, they are killing me - - if they would tell me what - - OhSenores! Oh, my heart!' then she asked why they wished her to tell what she could not telland cried repeatedly, '0, miserable me!' Then she said, 'Lord, bear witness that they arekilling me without my being able to confess.' She was told that if she wished to tell the trothbefore the water was poured she should do so and discharge her conscience. She said that-sheshould not speak and that she was a sinner. The linen toea (funnel) was placed (in her throat)and she said. 'Take it away. I am strangling and am sick in the stomach.' A jar of water wasthen poured down, after which she was told to tell the truth. She clamored for confession,saying that she was dying. She was told that the torture would continue till she told the trothand was admonished to tell it, but through she was questioned repeatedly she remained silentThe inquisitor. seeing her exhausted by the torture, ordered if to be suspended.'

    Punishments handed down by the Inquisition27.

    Case 33. Jozeph Francisco Pereyra, age 26, Negro, single, slave of 1000 Francisco Pedrozo,native of Costa da Mina and resident of the western quarter of Lisbon, for the sin ofwitchcraft and for making a pact with the devil whom he recognized and worshippedas God.

    Case 34. Jozeph Francisco, age 19, Negro, single, slave of Domingo Francisco Pedrozo,:business man, native of Inda Costa da Mina and resident of the western quarter of thecity of Lisbon. for the same sin.

    Case 35. Manoel Delgado, age 42, Negro, slave of Captain Jozeph Rodrigues de Oliveryra,native of the Island of S. Thome and resident of the western quarter of the city ofLisbon. for the same sin.

    -Cases 33, 34, and 35 sentenced to perpetual wearing of the sambenito, also a paintedpasteboard mitre with the mark of witchcraft; to be shipped. to spend five years in thegalleys and never again to enter the eastern and western quarters of the city of Lisbon.

    Case 37. Sebastian Ferreyra, age 47, half New Christian, merchant, native and resident ofVilla-Real in the Archbishopric of Braga

    Case 38. Diego d' Avila Henriques, age 31, New Christian, merchant, single son of JorgeHenriques Moreno, tenant, native of the village of A:z.evo in the Bishopric of Lamegoand a resident of the city of Bahia .

    Cases 37 and 38 sentenced to perpetual wearing of the sambenito with the marks of fire andimprisonment without remission and five years in the galleys.

    When reflecting on the excesses of the Counter Reformation, it is important toremember that members of both religions, Catholic and protestant, wer9 subject toharsh treatment by their opponents. The excerpts that follow are examples ofextremes some Catholics experienced when punished' and tortured by protestants,r~1I : ':. 'I n."I. .