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Early modern Europe is the period of European history between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, roughly the late 15th .
Table of contents

During this period in European history many commonly held ideas about humans, politics and religion were directly challenged. Students explore these new ideas, including the Renaissance, with its emphasis on humanism and secular politics; the challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation to established religious thought and practice; and the importance of the seventeenth century Scientific Revolution and eighteenth century Enlightenment.

Included are conflicts between-and within-different European powers and Europe's rapidly expanding contacts with the rest of the world. Writing I. It also marked the end of any large shifts of allegiance from one religious body to the other. When, somewhat later, the Electors of Saxony wished to be elected also kings of Poland, they became Catholic, but their Saxon subjects remained Lutheran, and their Polish subjects remained Catholic. Catholicism in the British Isles.

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In the British Isles the dwindling persecuted Catholic minority suffered not only because they refused to accept Anglicanism but also because they were accused of political disloyalty. Their lot was aggravated by the fact that England's chief foreign enemy was Catholic Spain. After the death of Elizabeth, under Mary Stuart 's son james i — 25 , who had been raised a Protestant, the situation of Catholics did not improve, but their treatment under Charles I — 49 was slightly milder. The Civil War , however, brought in the Protector, Oliver cromwell, a much more determined opponent of Catholicism than the Tudor or Stuart monarchs.

Catholics in Scotland, which was united to England in personal union from , fared no better, but a small number survived as in England. In Ireland, completely under English rule from , despite persecution under extremely severe penal laws, and apart from the plantations, almost the entire population remained faithful to Catholicism.

Catholicism in Eastern Europe.

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In Eastern Europe the Catholic reform was introduced gradually. The religious situation of Poland mirrored the confused political order, but under the aegis of Cardinal Stanislas hosius — 79 and the Jesuits, a strong Catholic revival took place toward the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. Missionary Activity.

The enthusiastic missionary activity of the 16th and 17th centuries was paralleled only by the preaching of the gospel in the first centuries. The impetus to this revived activity came from the explorations and discoveries that had begun in the 15th century. Of the newly discovered lands, or the hitherto scarcely known lands, including North and South America , the East and Far East, only Africa remained largely untouched by the missionaries, whose activities Rome began to coordinate from under the Congregation for the propagation of the faith. An essential difference between the evangelization of the Western and the Eastern worlds was the fact that in North and South America , the missionaries, mostly members of the new and old religious orders, accompanied Spanish and Portuguese conquerors and colonists, whereas in the East the missionaries, also chiefly from the religious orders, sought to evangelize old established civilizations.

This occasioned two quite different methods. In the New World, the old existing civilizations were destroyed, and in most of South and Central America an Iberian cultural and ecclesiastical order was established. Thus the first see, Santo Domingo, was established in , and by there were 15 more.

The missionaries fought with varying degrees of success to prevent the exploitation of the natives by their own countrymen. In Paraguay, the Jesuits organized model communities reductions of native Christians. Eventually governmental opposition and an excessive paternalism caused these experiments to fail. The greatest single weakness of the Spanish and Portuguese missionary effort in Central and South America was the failure to foresee early the need for a native clergy. Consequently, in the 18th century there was a dearth of clergy and a decline of missionary zeal, although evangelization did not cease completely e.

In the East and the Far East, the missionaries faced different problems. There, after the early heroic exploits of St. Adam schall, and Roberto de nobili, began to propose the adaptation of Christianity to certain of the cultural and intellectual features of the centuries-old civilizations of China and India. Other missionaries violently opposed such accommodations, and the problem was referred to Rome see chinese rites controversy.

For nearly a century it was debated until the last disapproval of adaptation was given by Rome in Interorder rivalries and national interests had envenomed the quarrels. Along with the already-noted decline of missionary fervor in the 18th century, the outcome of the rites controversy marked the virtual end of missionary activity in the East until the 19th century. The Philippines , a Spanish possession, however, presented an exception. The attempt to Christianize Japan had failed even before the rites controversy.

There violent persecutions — 46 almost completely destroyed the missionaries' efforts, although small secret groups of Christians Old Christians continued on without priests.

A final and lamentable result of the rites controversy was that it, along with the other grave theological dissensions, helped to discredit Christianity among the intellectual classes during the late 17th and the 18th century. The history of the Church in the century and a half before the French Revolution is dominated by a series of dissensions on doctrinal matters within the Church, above all the quarrels over jansenism, quietism, and febronianism, and of dissensions between the papacy and the Catholic states, principally over gallicanism, josephinism, and the suppression of the Jesuits.

It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that the Church recovered its vigor both in thought and action. Theology and Theological Quarrels. The trends and schools of theology from the 16th century on become exceedingly diverse.

Whereas the medieval theologians had in the main been universal theologians, treating in their works of the whole of theology, later theologians became specialists in such recognized branches of theology as dogmatic or speculative, moral, ascetic, or positive. The important new dimension in theology was the historical or positive theology, which derived from the methods of the humanists, such as erasmus. While an effort was made to integrate positive and speculative theology e. The interest in historical theology had results important for the growth of the historical sciences both ecclesiastical and secular.

In this regard, the work of the bollandists in hagiography and of the Benedictines of the Congregation of St. Maur are especially notable see maurists.

History of Europe - The emergence of modern Europe, – |

In Biblical criticism, however, the work of Richard Simon, who was well ahead of his time, was condemned. Similarly, the condemnation of Galileo galilei implied a conflict between Christianity and science and had unfortunate consequences. The quarrel with Protestantism often brought forth only a defensive and negative theology; worse yet, internal theological quarrels exhausted the energies of the best theologians. These same quarrels were in no little part also responsible for the growth of disbelief and indifference to religion, which, in turn, presented new problems to the Church.

The gravest of these quarrels centered around the Augustinian doctrine of nature and grace and its practical applications. A theologian of Louvain, Cornelius jansen — , and a French ecclesiastic, Jean duvergier de hauranne — , dreamed of a revival of patristic theology and practice beginning with the doctrine of grace.

For them scholasticism and the humanistic theology of some Jesuit theologians were abhorrent, and Calvin had, in their view, grasped Augustine's teaching even if he expressed himself badly. Thus, Jansenism was in a sense a crypto-Calvinism. The Jansenists, however, never wished to leave the Church, but rather hoped to have their doctrine accepted by the Church or at least tolerated by it.

This explains, in part, the persistence of Jansenism even into the 19th century. Jansen produced his great theoretical work of doctrine in the Augustinus , published two years after his death. Meanwhile, Duvergier de Hauranne, now abbot of Saint-Cyran, had spread enthusiasm for their views in France, especially into the large arnauld family, many of whom were or became religious and whose activities were centered around the Cistercian convents of Port-Royal-des-Champs near Paris and port-royal in Paris.

Jansenism was almost immediately condemned by Rome, but the Jansenists, led by Antoine Arnauld — 94 , refused to accept the condemnation as valid for what Jansen had actually taught and for what they actually held. An endless quarrel ensued about the right of the Church to judge and condemn error in a concrete case.

The Jansenists admitted only a de iure right and denied that the condemned doctrine was de facto in Jansen's writings.

The Early Enlightenment: Change or Continuity?

A new leader, Pasquier quesnel — , emerged toward the end of the 17th century. Repeated condemnations and harassments failed to drive Jansenism from the French Church, where it continued clandestinely until the 19th century. French Jansenism had always been more interested in the moral rigorism that seemed to follow from Jansen's thought rather than his doctrinal elaboration, and toward the end of its history Jansenism was more a symbol of protest against ecclesiastical and political authority than a theological doctrine.

A still-existing schismatic church was founded as the result of the Jansenist quarrel at Utrecht in see utrecht, schism of. The quarrel over Quietism was smaller and less grave than the Jansenist quarrel. The father of Quietism was a Spaniard resident in Italy, Miguel de molinos — , although his thought was not entirely original. Molinos's Spiritual Guide , translated into five languages, proposed a doctrine of total passivity in the face of divine action in the soul. Molinos was condemned and imprisoned, but similar ideas on the spiritual life were put forth by an unstable French woman, Mme.

Guyon's confessor, became the chief spokesman for Quietism in France. The touchstone of Quietism was the belief that the soul might reach such a state of pure love that not only would it be indifferent to its own perfections and the practices of virtue, but it might even cease to will its own salvation. This doctrine of the exclusive action of God on the soul has affinities with Luther's teaching, but Luther never drew the Quietist conclusions.

Unlike Jansenism, Quietism died out immediately and completely.

Both Jansenism and Quietism, however, indirectly encouraged the growth of disbelief by the public spectacles that had been made of doctrinal differences within the Church. As a result, even within the Church a certain mistrust of mystical tendencies became evident. The dissatisfaction of some German ecclesiastics with papal centralization manifested itself in several ways in the 18th century.

Early modern Europe

His work, published beginning in under the pseudonym of Febronius and often called simply the Febronius, foresaw a revival of conciliarism in an extreme form in which the papacy would be stripped of the powers that Hontheim claimed it had usurped. The Febronius was soon translated from Latin into other languages and achieved considerable popularity.

It was condemned, and Hontheim retracted, but in a quite ambiguous manner. The work gave expression to the desire on the part of certain churchmen to be free from papal and curial control. In this it was not far removed from Gallicanism, which was, however, a political attempt to be free of these same controls. Church-State Quarrels. This period witnessed a number of disagreements between the papacy and various Catholic states. The term Gallicanism is used to cover a number of theories of ecclesiatical government, all generally in various degrees hostile to or suspicious of Rome.

All of these were present in France in the 17th century — from the purely ecclesiastical theories of authority vested in all the faithful or the clergy as a whole or the entire episcopate to political Gallicanism.