Father Tony presented the latest in his Catholicism 101 series: Reformed and in Need of Reform. Special "Thank YOU!" to Jon for requesting this topic! If you would like to submit a topic for a future Catholicism 101, please let Becki know!
Before the discussion on the Reformation and Counter-Reformation began, Father Tony gave a brief explanation to help us understand the world at the time. Church and political realms had great influence on each other. As countries and kingdoms were establishing themselves, they also had to decide who had the same over their political and Church lives.
In the 1500s there were many abuses occurring in the Catholic Church. They were not abuses of theology, but they did include financial abuse, torture, imprisonment and more. At that time, because of the money that flowed in and out of parishes and dioceses, Bishops would buy the Church (or the Diocese) so they were owners of the property, rather than custodians of the faith for the people. Indulgences were sold. Bishops and priests were untrained and often absent.
Martin Luther saw real issues with corruption that were happening. However, instead of working to resolve the issues from within, he chose to leave and start his own Church. His true goal was not reformation of the current issue but to start over. He promoted a re-interpretation of Sacred Scripture. He did not believe in the apostolic line of succession. Martin Luther also promoted two Sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist) as opposed to the seven Sacraments found in the Catholic Church. In addition, because of the distrust he had with the Greek authors, all books of the Bible, written in Greek, were expunged from the Bible he used. This attitude spawned more churches as more people disagreed with Luther and formed their own churches.
The changes happening because of Luther, sparked change within the organization of the Catholic Church. At the Council of Trent, and Pope and bishops met to define who we are as Catholics. Liturgy was narrowed to one common celebration, which remained constant with few adaptions through the 1962 missal. Seven Sacraments (Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Holy Orders) were recognized. It was good, holy and pious to pray for the souls in purgatory. A Bishop can only be a Bishop in one Diocese at a time and must live within the boundaries of the Diocese. Priests were required to be educated for the first time, instead of being an apprentice system. Women religious were to remain with their convents.
This Council took very seriously what was hurting us as Catholics and took measures to resolve the issues from within. It was a powerful, missionary movement that brought many to a better understanding of the faith. It is the missionary movement that we still share in as we bring the Good News of Christ to the world, especially those on our campus with us today.
Thank you to Father Tony for sharing with us. Thank you, also, to the students who shared in the conversation.
Join us in February as we discuss the meaning of Lent and the call to repentance, we each receive during the time of preparation for Christ's Passion.
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