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Counter Reformation

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.



The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent stated that its purpose was to counter the Reformation. The Council would affirm that the unwritten traditions of the Catholic Church were inspired by the Holy Spirit, i.e., that all revelation did not end with Scripture. The Catholic Church draws its teachings from Sacred Scripture, but also from apostolic traditions, church fathers, holy and approved councils, and the authority of the supreme pontiffs.

The Council defended the baptism of infants as necessary because of the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin. It stated that the principal point of difference with the Protestants is that "there is nothing more vexing and disturbing to the church of God than novel, perverse, erroneous doctrines of some men about justification."



What Did the Council of Trent Do

The Council of Trent met in three sessions, spanning nineteen years, starting in 1545. Only 28 of the 600 European bishops attended. It confirmed that only the Roman Catholic Church could properly interpret Scripture, and Catholic traditions, inspired as they were by the Holy Spirit, were equal to Scripture.

The Council insisted on regular confession as a sign of submission to the authority of the Catholic Church. "The secret sacramental confession of all mortal sins to a priest is not a mere human tradition but a matter of divine law that has been observed in the church since the very beginning."

The Council of Trent came out in support of a wide range of communal activities, such as processions, pilgrimages, and ceremonies, accompanied by theatrical music, art, and architecture. The Baroque churches built thereafter left nothing to the private thoughts of the individual, as they were crammed with statues, altars, cherubs, columns, icons, candelabra, incense, and gold leaf.







Counter Reformation

For Catholics, to let Protestants overturn the established doctrines and practices of the Church was blasphemy. For Protestants, for human beings to override Scripture was blasphemy. Here the two sides were at loggerheads.

The Council declared: "The Roman Catholic Church is the mother and the teacher of all the churches." Thus was reasserted the hierarchical structure of the Church. "In the Eucharist the body and blood of Christ were present in real fact, truly, and really."

"The Mass for the dead came from apostolic tradition."

"The question of the chalice has become highly politicized. The church has the right to change, in accordance with the exigency of the times, both the ritual and the interpretation of Scripture."

Undeniably, Scripture favored both species in the Eucharist (Communion). But the change had been made in response to demands by the laity that they be protected from possibly spilling the Blood of Christ from the chalice. Thus the sacrament was communicated only through the bread.

The Roman Catholic Church maintained that its "traditions are derived from the apostles; and its ecclesiastical structure is derived from those who were by the apostles instituted as bishops in the churches, and the succession of these men in our times."

The Protestants questioned these assumptions and drove to restore primitive Christianity. The Catholics stressed community over the rugged individualism of the Protestants. They continued to stress that no Bible was allowed besides the Latin Vulgate.

The final draft proclaimed:

"Faith is believing to be true what has been divinely revealed and promised. For it is not by faith alone but more by hope and love than by faith that those who are justified take hold of the righteousness of Christ. Anyone who says the sinner is justified by faith alone is condemned. As though the gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observing the commandments, if anyone says that Jesus Christ was given to men by God only as Redeemer in whom they are to trust, and not also as a Lawgiver whom they are to obey, let him be anathema."

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Human Will can resist grace and man must consent to the call of God by free will. Protestants were to be condemned above all for teaching that a believer could and should be certain of salvation. "No one can know that he has obtained the grace of God."



Council of Trent Reforms

The principle accomplishments of the Council of Trent were its legislation regarding the reform and administration of the church. The new requirements that the clergy is properly trained and that preaching be restored to its proper place in the church, led to the creation of the modern theological seminary devoted exclusively to the professional preparation of the servants of the church.

Spain and Italy were the strongholds of Catholicism after the Protestant Reformation. In Germany, the 1555 Peace of Augsburg left each prince free to decide the religion of his subjects. England was targeted for reconversion in an effort led by St Edmund Campion; that effort failed in 1581.

Ireland was confirmed as a Catholic land in 1598. Beyond that most of Northern Europe went Protestant, except Poland and Belgium, while most of Southern Europe remained Catholic. The Counter Reformation launched by the Catholic Church included force.







The Effect of the Counter Reformation

The Roman Catholic Church was hemorrhaging souls, revenue, and territory. The Counter Reformation was a campaign to counter the Protestant Reformation, and to reform the Catholic Church on its own terms.

Cardinals Carafa and Contarini were assigned to prepare a report on the state of the Church in 1537. The problem was that they reported massive decline and corruption within the Church and their report was leaked to the press, providing an invaluable arsenal for gleeful Protestant propagandists.

Protestant and Catholic leaders met in 1541 and almost reconciled. But they could not agree on the mass, and this difference proved too profound and important to be compromised.

The Protestant Reformation caused the Catholic Church to develop its doctrines with a clarity that had not hitherto been necessary. Many in the Catholic Church welcomed the opportunity provided by heresies to define orthodoxy. The Protestant Reformation represented an unprecedented threat.

The Catholic Church responded that only it had the available truth of doctrine and the holiness of grace. Luther had been the first to break the bond of unity and peace. As the author of the schism, Luther himself became the chief issue, "Martin the heretic, Martin the schismatic, Martin the prince of utter pride and temerity."

Dr. Eck went so far as to condemn Luther for his defense of images against later Reformers who were more radical than he was, claiming that Luther wanted it both ways.



The Primary Concern of the Reformers

The primary concern of the Reformers was wrong teachings and wrong conduct by the Catholic Church. Early on, the great scholar Erasmus, and King Henry VIII, defended the Church against the Reformers. The Belgian theologian Josse Clichtove defended the Catholic Church but wrote:

"I frankly acknowledge that there have been very many missteps. It is the duty of Church officials to clean up such abuses. There is superstition, immoderate ambition among monks, excessive credulity in the cult of the saints, crass ignorance of Scripture, and the need for instruction of the people by a better educated clergy. By boldly passing judgment on such abuses the Reformers have provided a useful service but this is no justification for overthrowing all the authority of all the ages of history."

The Catholic Church proclaimed that it was the duty of all believers to accept the doctrine of the treasury of merits; the practice of praying for the dearly departed; the doctrine of images; purgatory; and the doctrine of Mary. The Catholic Church even made the claim that Jesus and His Apostles taught the doctrines of Mary.









The Roman Catholic Church

The Protestants cited St Augustine as the ancestor of Reformed doctrines. The Catholic Church reproached the Reformers for making the forgiveness of sins too easy. As the Protestant movement advanced, the elements of Catholic sacraments to which Luther had continued to adhere came increasingly into question, particularly Transubstantiation and infant baptism.

Against Calvinism, the Catholic Church maintained that moral accountability would be invalidated if there were not freedom of the will to make a person responsible for his actions. Calvin's doctrine of double predestination was nothing but fatalism.

Protestants resisted the cult of the saints on the grounds that it was not commanded by Scripture, and that it transfers to saints the honors which belong to Christ by making them mediators. The Catholic Church countered that Scripture was only credible by the universal authority of the Catholic Church itself.

Sir Thomas More stated: "Only the Catholic Church can tell the difference between the gospels and pseudo-gospels; and it naturally follows that only the Catholic Church can distinguish the true meaning of Scripture. The Church cannot err in the sacraments and in the necessary articles of faith."

This meant that the legislation of the Catholic Church is binding on all believers. Private judgment and the subjective authority of the individual is not a worthy substitute for the authority of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church asserted that the truth is always one—but falsehood is always varied. Therefore, the splits that soon appeared among Protestants were evidence that the truth was not with any of them—but only with the Catholic Church.

It was also evidence that someone must discern the meaning of Scripture, and that would be the Catholic Church. The root cause of the schism was the Protestants themselves—in their refusal to be constrained by the supreme pontiff, or any of the authoritative voices of the Catholic Church. No one who was a sheep of Christ was exempt from the authority of Peter and his successors, they argued.

Hadn't Christ said, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church?"

Peter alone among the apostles had confessed Christ as the Son of God. Only Peter was commanded to feed the Christian flock. The pope was the successor to Peter and therefore the Vicar of Christ.

The Catholic Church put forth the argument that its infallibility did not mean the Church would be without faults. Even the Protestants had faults. But the Church had been preserved for 1500 years, and surely it was worthy of respect.

Who gave Protestants the authority to cast asunder what God had joined together—including confession to a priest and the penitential system of sacraments?

The Church was holy, even though wicked men may be present in it; not by the holiness of men but by the dignity of the office of the priesthood and the sacraments. Augustine had proclaimed that the unity of the Church must be paramount above all other concerns, including its "universality, antiquity, and consensus."







The Jesuits

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was founded by St Ignatius Loyola, an exiled Spaniard, and approved by Pope Paul III in 1540, to respond to the Protestant Reformation. The plan for this elite corps was to convert the heathen, reconvert the lapsed, and to found educational institutions.

Jesuit missionaries were soon present around the world, from Japan to Mexico. Their colleges sprang up around Europe. Loyola famously said, "If the Church proclaims that what seems to be white is black, we ought to believe it to be black."

To the Protestants the Jesuits were seen as cruel and unscrupulous. The Jesuits surely aimed to destroy Protestantism and restore papal supremacy. Some saw them as the secret thought police of the Catholic Church.

To be fair, the Jesuits ministered in prisons and hospitals, tended to the poor, and renounced worldly wealth. But they seemed to have the fundamental belief that the ends justified any means—even such un-Christian-like activities as lying, theft, perjury, and assassination. Even the hated Inquisition was reinstituted.

The Jesuits spread over Europe and wherever they went popery was revived. Unfortunately, for the host countries involved, those killed or exiled included thousands of nobles, intellectuals, scholars, pastors, artists, artisans, and other solid citizens.

The Jesuits undertook the task of dealing with the young, the stubborn, and the hesitant. They intended to monopolize education. Most of those who entered teaching proved to be men of a high personal moral and intellectual caliber, and were the greatest of teachers. They taught the art of making correct choices when faced with an ethical dilemma.

They not only taught theology but secular subjects as well—and all with kindness and understanding toward their students. The Jesuits knew that born teachers are rare, and so set up the best schools for training teachers ever seen. This training was long and included apprenticeship. The unfit were weeded out in the process.

The Jesuits set up a multitude of schools, and all students—rich or poor— were welcomed, and means provided for all to attend. The system produced brilliant minds by the score, including Descartes and Voltaire, and many other famous philosophers and scientists. Some of the brightest minds taught by the Jesuits went on to undermine the Christianity they had learned so well during what we call the Enlightenment.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 25, 2010:

Gypsy Willow— I love granite! Thank you for taking the time to visit my Hub and for leaving your nice compliments. Always appreciated.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 23, 2010:

I started reading this as I was researching granite for my kitchen and found something far more intriguing and interesting. As always a great hub, well done James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 15, 2010:

Michael Adams1959— Thank you. I do recall that the Apostle Paul mentions Peter is the Apostle to the Jews and that he, Paul, was elected Apostle to the Gentiles. So, your point is well taken.

Isaiah Michael from Wherever God leads us. on May 15, 2010:

Very nice in depth article, I do not believe Christ commissioned Peter as first pope though. Peter was martyred before 100 AD and the Roman Catholicism was started by Constantine Around 325-350 AD.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 15, 2010:

OpinionDuck— I surely meant no offense and I can tell by your words that I have offended. Please accept my sincere apology. I like you, OD.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 13, 2010:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— How nice of you to come by! I so enjoy your visits. Yes, I must agree with your analysis, my dear. I appreciate your encouragement and affirmation. I'm glad you liked the pictures. Thank you and you are welcome.

OpinionDuck on May 13, 2010:


It appears that I have struck a nerve with you based on your choice of words describing my comments.

While I usually disagree with the interpretations of your religious hubs, they have no lack of a quality in their writing.

I fear that we have gone outside of the academic arena on discussing religious topics, and that disappoints me.

If you don't get it, then read my profile, where I am coming from is not a mystery.


Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on May 12, 2010:

James A. Watkins, Very informative indeed! Each time I read one of your well researched narratives on Church History I appreciate the Bible that much more! It is really important to know the Word for yourself! It becomes increasingly clear that many within God’s Church live to uphold what God does not!

How interesting only 28 bishops out of 600 in attendance? Those type of meetings continue to go on… Major decisions made to govern God’s people that are so contrary to His Word! Insidiously ludicrous! Catholic vs. Protestants; the hierarchy battle continues! Wonderful well presented article. Great illustrations! I so appreciate your due diligence. Thank you for sharing, In His love, peace & Blessings!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 12, 2010:

Deborah Demander— You are quite welcome. Thanks for coming by and leaving your kind compliments.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 12, 2010:

orthosrich— Thank you for your outstanding comments. I surely agree with you. Glad you liked the layout. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 12, 2010:

OpinionDuck— Thank you for your kind compliments. I love reading the Bible, which I do every day. It is different from any other book. If you open it as a raging skeptic, or like it is a Mark Twain book, it will not make sense to you—it declares this itself. God is not willing to open the hearts and minds of those who say, "prove yourself to me!" The height of arrogance. The potter does not have to prove himself to the clay. I've read Nostradamus—no comparison to the Bible. Are you kidding me? I'm not big on prophecy anyway.

You have made that comparison between the Bible and the Constitution many times before. I know you think it clever, but the two are not similar. The latter does not claim to be revelation or the Word of God or to hold eternal life. I disagree with your analogy as well. Republicans and Democrats do not disagree about what the Constitution says or means. What they disagree about is whether it is outmoded and needs to be changed. Catholics and Protestants do not disagree about what the Bible says, either. What they disagree about is whether the doctrines of the Catholic Church should be believed and taught in addition to the Bible. These are human divisions, as you have rightly pointed out.

Your section about God's flaws as a King is nonsense. You wrote:

"Because, his followers have only human direction on what they should be doing. Unlike the "Commandments", the Scripture doesn't give an indisputable interpretation of what is expected to follow the biblical God's goal for them."

This is silly. Obviously, you are ridiculing a Book you haven't read. The Bible could not be more clear about what God expects from human beings. God is the Judge of all.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 12, 2010:

James, that is a well written and informative hub. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

itakins— Thank you! Thank you very much.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

blue parrot— I was not familiar with this line by Faulkner. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I also had no idea that there were two Blue Parrots! Interesting. I was a hippie myself so if indeed my book does blame them I also blame myself. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

Royal Diadem— Thank you, my dear, for the accolades! I truly appreciate your excellent comments. God Bless You!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

itakins— You wrote:

"With regard to the Bible-what ,pray tell me is wrong with an individual seeking guidance from one who is more experienced in its interpretation who has studied theology and the bible in-depth."

There is nothing wrong with that. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this point.

I sincerely appreciate your keen insights. Thank you for posting them here for all to see.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

iantoPF— Thank you for the high praise indeed! I am well pleased that find me inspiring. It is gracious of you to have mentioned me in your Hub. Thanks! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

Tammy Lochmann— Thank you, Tammy, for everything—reading my article, commenting on it, and the hugs! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

jjmyles— Thank you so much for the accolades. You've made my day! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

cheaptrick— Hey Dean! It's great to hear from you. I think Cristianity will be here until time is no more. Your comments are insightful and I appreciate you taking the time to read my article. I especially liked this that you wrote:

"Every society through out history that has eliminated religion became conscienceless and brought misery upon it's people"


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

A M Werner— I so enjoyed your acute insights, brother. Thank you for reading my article and for leaving your wonderful words for me to savor. Great comments!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

prasetio30— Thank you for your approval. I appreciate this visit and your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

HealthyHanna— You are welcome. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I agree with you that Allan McGregor has marvelous insights—always. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2010:

Bisaya Films— It would take a lot of space to answer your penetrating question fully. I will say that the Catholic Church has acknowledged many of the horrific incidences in its past and appears to hold to sound doctrine today—on most issues. The Evangelical churches look to me to have the best grasp of what God is all about. The old Main Line denominations are completely lost in their trying to remain up-to-date with the postmodern culture while bleeding members left and right.

orthosrich on May 07, 2010:

God is alive and his will dose not end with the written word. The Holy Spirit lends itself to the growth of God's children each and ever moment.

Love the way document and pics coincide.

OpinionDuck on May 07, 2010:


The quality of this hub is excellent as usual.

As usual, I have a difference of opinion, after all it is in my name and my nature.

The more that I read the Bible the more that I can't see it being written by or about a God. The bible like the works of Nostradamus are vague and lacking specific detail. Then people that believe in these documents try to apply them to events that occurred centuries and even thousands of years after the Bible.

The world has seen many disasters, wars, plagues and other events that could have been found in the prophecies mentioned in the bible, but these events passed without being deemed the events in the prophecy.

My point is, why should the current events or events to follow fulfill the requirements of the prophecies. Why are they different than those events of the past two thousand years?

Consider for the moment the comparison between the followers of the bible and the followers of the US Constitution.

For substitution purposes, lets say that the bible (scriptures) followers are limited to Catholics versus Protestants, and the US Constitution followers are limited to the Democrats and the Republicans.

In both cases there is a common document, the bible for Catholics and Protestants, and the Constitution for the Democrats and Republicans.

Both religious and political opponents have a different view of the meaning of their respective documents.

Which one of these opponents is right, and which one is wrong? They both can't be right.

The differences between the respective opponents is not trivial, as the differences keep them from coming together on a common ground.

My opinion is that these differences are man made, as these kinds of differences are attributes of humans. As such, these differences occur in all areas of human endeavor.

A human king will tell its kingdom directly and in person what is expected of them, and when they have erred.

If the biblical God is the King of Kings, then he is unlike any of the human Kings and not in a good way. Because, his followers have only human direction on what they should be doing.

Unlike the "Commandments", the Scripture doesn't give an indisputable interpretation of what is expected to follow the biblical God's goal for them.

Civilian law is geographical in scope, allowing different laws in different locales, but Biblical law has to be universal.

The US Supreme Court is the judge of the US Law.

Who is the equivalent Supreme judge for the law of the biblical God?

The Supreme Court makes the final decision, so we the people know what is expected of us during our life in this country. Where is the equivalent for the scripture in this world?

Catholic, Protestant, or ?

my opinion....

itakins from Irl on May 06, 2010:

Well done on your interview:)

blue parrot from Madrid, Spain on May 05, 2010:

"I am dying" is reminiscent of Faulkner's "As I lay dying" , but doesn't it sound impatient because of the conventional locution, e.g. "I am dying to see that movie" meaning "I am looking forward to seeing it"?

I have not been able to read the City of God, but I love the "Confessions", at least long parts of it, especially his idea of Time as spheric in shape so that everything is simultaneous and contemporary. (That is where he speaks to his mother about what afterlife might be.)

The other blue parrot told me your book was a history of the US as seen by you during your lifetime. I frowned when I heard that you thought the hippies were to blame. They were just kids!

But I giggled when I remembered that I told you I was not this parrot, but the other one, as if I expected you to understand which is which.--

Royal Diadem on May 04, 2010:

James I was raise up as a Catholic as a child, I am now a blood bought baptizes in the name of Jesus, Spirit filled believer, however I love my Catholic brothers and sisters. In addition, what happen in the Catholic Church that has been in the news could happen in any church. However, we know God is real. Great Hub James great hub!

itakins from Irl on May 04, 2010:


I am bemused by those who condemn Catholicism with the very weapons the Catholic church is reputed to have used-arrogance and dogmatism.

With regard to the Bible-what ,pray tell me is wrong with an individual seeking guidance from one who is more experienced in its interpretation who has studied theology and the bible in-depth.

Not to put them on the same plain-but If you were to hand me a book on let's say 'How to build your own house'-I could read it forever and still be sitting homeless.I need to consult a builder.

Christ did appoint the apostles to teach His Word-and the Catholic church-like it or not-is founded on this basis.Our bishops and priests descend directly from the apostles.

It does irk many who are not Catholic-but facts are facts.

Another great hub-what a pity there is still such ignorance as to the true charism of Catholicism-despite all the rot and top heavy bureaucracy -we are 100% a Christ centred body.

Peter Freeman from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales on May 04, 2010:

Once again james you write so well and are so informative. i have found that your Hubs on Christian history have cleared many fogs in my mind.

i recently wrote a Hub on the Hubbers who have helped me, you are first on the list, I appreciate the inspiration you give to me and others.

Tammy Lochmann on May 03, 2010:

Hi James...Great information as always you never disappoint. Hope all is well with you. I like how you share your passion for history and present it so it's easy to understand and read (not that I need that LOL) I will definitely be showing my kids some of your history lessons. HUGS Tammy

jjmyles from Pacific Northwest on May 02, 2010:

Great article! Well researched and very interesting.Fascinating history with wonderful artwork.

cheaptrick from the bridge of sighs on May 02, 2010:

Hi James.Religions all have a life cycle that is analogous to people.There born,they thrive,they hold competency,they age,they decline,and they die.Usually religion has a life span of thousands of years,but the end result is the same.The real value of religion is that it serves to balance society.Every society through out history that has eliminated religion became conscienceless and brought misery upon it's people.In the same sense,every society that allowed religion to Govern has suffered the same fate.America is the great country that it is and will be as long as we keep church and state separate.IMO

Sorry for the long post but I've been on a sail boat alone for a while and I NEED! to let it OUT!lolol


Allen Werner from West Allis on May 02, 2010:

James, it is like going to school everytime I read your hubs. When I get to the comment section I sometimes feel like this is the test and I am not ready - so much to consume. All I can say is, I do believe in there being an unfailing unity in Christ. I fear however when doctrine as presented by the Catholic Church (as well as others) becomes legal and has to be enforced by means of men and not the Holy Spirit. When you start cramming statues and symbols into the churches of uneducated people, you can easily influence and mislead. There are wolves in every congregation and yet, I believe, it seems that the Catholic Church has always been one of the slowest in regards to exposing them. Your quote of Loyola points directly to the heart of the matter. Since Christ told us that He is the truth, why should the Church itself be excused when it lies - and not only excused but embraced. So many interesting thoughts in here. I'm going to have to read it a couple more times. Peace.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on May 01, 2010:

I found new information here. You always comes up with interesting topic. Thumbs Up. Good work, James.

HealthyHanna from Utah on May 01, 2010:

Thank for this excellently written topic. It is facinating to me, but I have been too lazy (busy) to really dig in an do my own research. It helps answer my many questions, which are more curiosity than anything.

And thanks Allan McGregor, I appreciated your input as well.

Bisaya Films on April 30, 2010:

What I'm concerned about is whether the church still itself acknowledges all this philandering today or they already changed their stand to fit themselves into the standards of what is now considered to be right and acceptable or at least the necessary values to survive an allegedly delusional precept to living.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 30, 2010:

Dim Flaxenwick— You are quite welcome. Thank you for taking the time to check in on me. I appreciate you letting me know you were here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 30, 2010:

DjBryle— Why, thank you very much for the affirmation and vote of confidence. I appreciate it! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 30, 2010:

Kebennett1— It's delightful to see you again, my dear. You are surely welcome. I'm glad you liked the art. Thank you for coming to visit and leaving your words for me.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 30, 2010:

Allan McGregor— Thank you, brother. I have stricken the "pederast pope" from the record. :)

Thanks for clarifying several points for us. Your great wisdom is surely enlightening. I know about the Miqvah! I saw them when I was in Israel last October and our guide—a messianic rabbi—told us all about them.

Thanks again, my friend. You are a fount of knowledge.

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on April 30, 2010:

masses of fascinating information as always. I love my history lessons with you. Thanks for all your hard work.

DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on April 29, 2010:

Two thumbs up for this fascinating and very informative hub!=)

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on April 29, 2010:

James, Thanks for another wonderfully indepth article. It seems the the arguments between the Protestants and Catholics has not changed much! The artwork is fantastic as always.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

cameciob— I am well pleased that you appreciated the pictures. Yes, I agree with you, dear—it is indeed complicated. Thanks for making your presence known.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

menomania— You're welcome! Thank you for reading my work and leaving your compliments. :-)

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on April 29, 2010:

A superb hub as always. But I do agree the 'pederast' reference was a bit bald and seems a bit picky as, over the centuries, the papacy was an open scandal throughout Christendom, with the Vatican home to many fornicators and adulterers and the illegitimate progeny of their live-in papal whores, many of whom were made cardinals by their own fathers.

The great mystery of the Medieval and Renaissance Roman Church was not its resistance to Scripture being written in the vernacular but its adherence to Latin rather than Greek which was the language of early Church discourse. I can only surmise that they quickly realised that if the Bible were read in Greek, the flaws in the Latin tanslation might be more easily spotted.

Many Christians (Catholic and otherwise) don't seem to understand the difference between the Biblical doctrine of the Virgin Birth and the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, so it should come as no surprise that many have no idea what Augustine taught as 'Original Sin' - because it is neither a sin, nor original. Certainly, it was not the eating of the forbidden fruit.

We tend to think legalistically of sin as a verb whereas Paul in particular in the New Testament tends to refer to it as a noun, probably better approximating to what we would express as 'sinfulness'.

Thus a baby is born inherently sinful - that is, incapable of not sinning. But that does not mean that God sends unbaptized babies to hell. Firstly, because they are too young to be morally responsible. Secondly, because baptism is a public witness to an internal fact and as such does not 'save' anyone. Thirdly, 'baptizo' is a Greek verb meaning 'to submerge', and derives from the Jewish rite of miqvah, of which sprinkling is an irrelevant counterfeit. Fourthly, Scripture alludes to the innocent child being taken to heaven in 2 Samuel 12:24, when the son of David and Bathsheba dies, whereupon David declares: 'But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.'

As for the Petra-petros controversy - Petra is a stone platform, whereas a petros is a handheld rock. But the Foundation Jesus refers to in the context of Matthew 16:16 was not the confession that he is the Christ but the means by which Simon received it: 'for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but my Father in Heaven'.

The Church is (or should be) built and established on the principle that God speaks to every believer and every believer is capable of hearing him.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

Tom Whitworth— You're welcome my friend! I'm glad to provide inspiration with my perspiration! :D

cameciob on April 29, 2010:

James, your hub reminds me how complicated Christianity issues were and still are. The pictures are wonderful.

menomania from Elmira, New York on April 29, 2010:

Thank you for a very interesting and informative article. I always knew about the Jesuits, but never really understood where they came from or where their backgroud lied. Now I know. Great hub!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

jesusmyjoy— You're welcome. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. May God Bless You.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

drpastorcarlotta— Wow! Thank you for the applause!! I appreciate you and I'm glad you enjoyed this one. God loves you!!

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on April 29, 2010:


Thank you again for another great lesson on Christianity. I Was truly inspired by your elucidations!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you brother!!!!!!!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

stars439— I agree with you. Isn't the art fantastic!? The Catholic Church has caused much of the world's masterpieces to be created. Thank you for visiting my Hub, brother. I always look forward to hearing from you. God Bless!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 29, 2010:

Nell Rose— Thank you for your compliment, Nell. You make excellent points in your remarks. It is my pleasure to cause ruminations. You are most welcome. I appreciate the visitation. :-)

Betty Bolden from Bucyrus Ohio on April 29, 2010:

James thank you for your prayers..i've been in distress as usual...i hate hubs are not doing to well, but i'm blessed to have your prayers james.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

tonymac04— Hey, it's nice to see you, Tony. I agree with you that the Council of Trent was a great effort. I'm sure I'll be writing about Vatican II further on down the road.

That line about Julius III does look out of place. You know, I was reading several books to prepare for this and that line was in one of them without any comment. Apparently the author felt that this was now common knowledge and that to elect such a man right in the middle of a huge movement to reform the Church was odd and counterproductive. I thought it was interesting.

Gosh, I gotta tell you that over here anyway it has been years since I've heard anybody use the words "heretic" "damnation" or "hellfire." hmmm . . . except maybe on HubPages. :D

I sure appreciate you coming by and offering your compliments. And you are welcome.

Love and Peace to You


Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on April 28, 2010:

I really love this Hub, so professional!!! You really work hard with your writings! I really look up to you!!! Much love always my friend!!! Your GREAT!!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

ethel smith— Why, thank you, dear. I do appreciate your kind compliments. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

blue parrot— Hey! Maybe I'll use that as my title. It's better than my working title "I am Dying."

Thanks for coming by and offering that great suggestion. I have read "City of God" and "Confessions" by Augustine of Hippo. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

Greg— Thank you! I must say, your explication of this subject is excellent. Thank you for taking the time to offer this clarification. Well done! And I appreciate your presence in general.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

Ictodd1947— You are surely welcome, dear. Thank you for visiting and for your gracious compliments.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on April 28, 2010:

The art is magnificent. The intricate beauty and details are stunning to see. I could only imagine what it must be like to actually be in the presence of the Barouque Rosario Chappel in Mexico, or to see the Virgin Mary statue in Malta. The Roman Catholics have truly honored God so much. Beautiful art you have shared, and your knowledge of the Catholic church , and so much more is profound. God Bless You James.

Nell Rose from England on April 28, 2010:

Hi, James, another great read. The one thing I always said about the split between the churches, was the fact that if Catholics had carried on being the 'leaders' if you like, and the only church, we would not have the technology today, or art or books. Because they did not want us to have anything that would take the power away from them. We would still be a middle ages world. Scary! thanks again for making my mind think! lol cheers nell

Tony McGregor from South Africa on April 28, 2010:

The Counter Reformation certainly did many things that were counter-productive. It also did a few positive things. It was a great effort not only to counter the Reformation but to right many wrongs and abuses in the Catholic Church also, especially around the training and conduct of priests.

Many of the wrongs attributed to Trent were put right by the great Vatican II Council which was set in motion by the wonderful John XXIII.

This was a great history lesson as usual, James. Most enjoyable.

One small quibble - why the mention of "In 1549, a pederast became Pope Julius III."? That Julius III was or was not a pederast is completely irrelevant to the Counter Reformation or the Tridentine reforms of the Church. You do not support the statement and so it reads like an attempt to smear the Church by a kind of "guilt by association" which is not worthy of the rest of the Hub.

I find it somewhat ironic that in the last 40 or 50 years many Protestant churches have become as closed and dogmatic as the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church was, calling people who disagree with them "heretics" and condemning them to hellfire and damnation! They sound so like the clerics of the Counter Reformation!

Thanks for a very interesting read.

Love and peace


Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on April 28, 2010:

You are very knowledgeable James. Not only that you always create hubs that are easy to read and good to look at

blue parrot from Madrid, Spain on April 28, 2010:

"Taking the bull by the horns" could be the book you are writing. You do that really well. Have you ever read any Saint Augustine?

Greg on April 28, 2010:

Nice article! I would point out that if properly interpreted, Peter's Confession has nothing whatsoever to do with him being considered by Christ to be the leader or founder of the Christian Church.

If one reads the Confession in context - Mt. 16:13-23, the essence of the referenced nouns regarding Peter as the 'rock' become much clearer. The passage begins with Jesus asking his disciples who people believe that He is - this is the subject and context of the passage. When Peter pipes up with the correct answer, Jesus rewards him by changing his name to 'Peter,' which in Greek is translated 'petros' and in Aramaic 'kephas', both meaning 'little stone.' In contrast, the 'rock' that the church will be built upon is Peter's *confession*, not Peter. This word is 'petra' (Greek) meaning 'immovable stone.' That Jesus Christ is the Son of Man is the 'rock' of the church is affirmed many times with this exact word in the N.T. After all, "Rock Of Ages" was not written about Simon Peter.

Note that only a few verses later, Jesus allegedly calls this very same Peter 'Satan' and tells him to leave his presence. Again, it was Peter's words - contradicting Christ's prophesy of His crucifixion - that was given a name. Peter was no more Satan than he was the first 'pope.'

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

aguasilver— Hello, my friend John! God does have his remnants. That's for sure. And the Blessed Holy Spirit continues to move with power. Your remarks show your deep discernement. Thank you for coming by to visit.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

Springboard— Thank you very much. Yes, as Protestants also do, Catholics come in all stripes. I like your analogy of the Council as sort of a Supreme Court—with the business of interpreting and clarifying. Well done. I appreciate your thoughtful insights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

RevLady— Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I always appreciate your visitations. I enjoyed your comments, too.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

kimh039— You're welcome. I am glad you received the benefits of a fine education. Thank you for visiting my Hub and commenting.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

Joshua Kell— You're quite welcome. I am glad that you appreciate my approach to these "delicate matters." Thank you for the laudations.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2010:

Hello, hello,— You are welcome. I truly appreciate your ongoing support. Thank you for your fine comments.

Linda Todd from Charleston on April 27, 2010:

This is great history and so much I did not know. Thank you for your work which is exceptional.

John Harper from Malaga, Spain on April 27, 2010:

Pity that Constantine started the RCC when he did, but despite all this history, God has always kept a remnant in place to carry the truth and the Holy Spirit through history.

I thank God that our bible is sufficient for all our needs, and we need turn to no man for instruction, whilst being content to hold myself accountable to all believers, and receive the blessing from all who may be capable of blessing me.

Great hub


Springboard from Wisconsin on April 27, 2010:

James, fascinating article. It makes me understand why the Pope is really, a head of State. It's a country in and of itself if you think about it, and it has its parties...

You could say moderate Catholics and liberal Catholics and conservative Catholics...

Perhaps that's oversimplifying. But it certainly seems that way.

Whatever the divisions, it would seem the Council of Trent were sort of like...upholders of the Constitution. Perhaps like our own Supreme Court. In the end, they have the ultimate decision as to how the Constitution shall be interpreted, and in the case of the Council of Trent, they would define the interpretations of the Bible.

Very interesting.

RevLady from Lantana, Florida on April 27, 2010:

Certainly the counter reformation marked a historic, important and changing time in Christianity's history. The time had come when reforms were mandatory. Unfortunately, the outcomes were not all as expected.

Per usual, great informational hub.

Forever His,

Kim Harris on April 27, 2010:

Thank you James. You have a knack for making history enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the part about the Jesuits. I was one of the "young and stubborn" they undertook! And am very grateful for the undertaking.

Levi Joshua Kell from Arizona on April 27, 2010:

Once again, thank you James. I have learned a lot from you. One thing I am seeing and gathering, is how you approach these delicate matters with fact and love. I often find myself speaking from a place of anger, which is not how children of the covenant ought behave. Thanks again for your wisdom and graceful knowledge.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 27, 2010:

Thank you, James, for another wonderful hub. As pointed out the so-called 'church' failed completely in my view and still is. They are so pompious and that is completely in contrast to Jesus teaching as well as his way of life. I'd better stop otherwise I write a book. I agree with Quill. It is my way as well.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

Ann Nonymous— Thank you so much for visiting my Hub and for leaving behind your kind regards. I do appreciate your encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

carolina muscle— Thank you and you are welcome! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

"Quill"— Yes, the Word of God has stood the test of time. Thank you for taking the time to read my humble little article, my brother. God Bless You!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

ALL4JESUS— I surely appreciate your laudations. Thank you for paying attention to me and my articles.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

ArchDynamics— You always bring a fresh perspective to my articles that I had not thought of before. Thank you for being my friend and supporting my endeavors on HubPages through your readership and participation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

EnLydia Listener— Well, of course Catholics are Christians. They are the original Christians. Maybe God has different means of worship designed to attract different peoples. All Christians worship the same Lord in different ways.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 27, 2010:

Judah's Daughter— Thank you for coming by to visit and offering your accolades. I am humbly grateful to you for your comments. I could not agree with you more. Carry on, Sister!

Ann Nonymous from Virginia on April 26, 2010:

I can't imagine living during this era you so brilliantly described, James. A time, as shown in your pictures, of pomp and gold and church being a normal thing! Well done.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on April 26, 2010:

A very interesting read, James! Thanks!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 26, 2010:

Vladimir! Thank you for being my first visitor! I appreciate the compliments, too. :D

"Quill" on April 26, 2010:

The Word of God has stood the test of time for over 2000 years it is man whom has created their own way and interruptions of the how's and why's> I was raised in Catholicism, blinded as an alter boy in speaking Latin and not understanding any of it. What was there to hide...?

Today as a Christian I can follow Christ and have a personal relationship with Him and to me that is such a blessing.

Great Hub James, informative and well presented...


ALL4JESUS from USA on April 26, 2010:

28 out of 600 and only 3 sessions!

Amazing. As usual, I learned allot. The photos, the message, the facts outstanding!

ArchDynamics from Orlando, FL on April 26, 2010:

King James:

You know what I like best about your articles?

That I find myself coming back to them again and again, usually intending to comment, but more often ending up lost in thought and needing further engagement and information ... having to sit back for awhile with the realization that I simply don't know enough to provide comment of any value.

What more could a man (or woman) ask for than that? A reason to pause, and to think a bit on something, perhaps for the first time.

EnLydia Listener on April 26, 2010:

This article spoke to my experience of Catholic vs father was a lutheran school teacher...he loved and quoted Lutheran often, and even had a full size picture of Luther hanging in his diningroom. my father often ridiculed the pope...but on his deathbed, he said that a catholic priest had come and prayed with him...he humbly admitted to us that maybe he was wrong and catholics were christians and shared the faith.

Judah's Daughter from Roseville, CA on April 26, 2010:

Fascinating. "The Council would affirm that the unwritten traditions of the Catholic Church were inspired by the Holy Spirit, i.e., that all revelation did not end with Scripture." Let's many other religions have added to or taken away from the Bible canon, claiming divine revelation? Oh yea...we call them cults. If what they believe and practice contradicts the written Word (at the completion of Revelation), it is blasphemous, in my humble opinion.

Rather than building the church on the Rock - Petra (the Word of God, which is Christ), they build the church on the doctrines of men (i.e. Peter - petros) and then make the Rock comply with stones, in my humble opinion. Other churches founded on the doctrines of men are not above reproach in this area, either.

It would be awesome if God was still adding to scripture even today...if that were so, there would definitely be no contradictions. Instead, are we in the age of Laodicea, meaning "the opinons of the people"? I'm never too shy to share mine...Great hub, once again!

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on April 26, 2010:

Great hub again, my friend.

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