Bohemian reformer who adopted many of the doctrines of John Wycliff and broke with Rome. Was condemned to death at the Council of Constance, which ironically inspired the conciliar movement and hence weakened the papacy until the Fifth Lateran Council. His followers were called Hussites and this became a term of abuse which conservative Catholics threw at those who advocated reform. Martin Luther was not directly influenced by Hus, but after receiving a copy of Hus' The Church in 1519 he declared himself a Hussite and within four months the process to excommunicate Luther had begun.
Oxford-based Franciscan philosopher theologian from Ockham (Surrey) who became the best known exponent of Nominalism, a rejection of the theory of universals that divided late Medieval scholasticism. Theologically, he belonged to the via moderna school within nominalism, who emphasised that salvation derived from a pact that a human freely entered into with God. This position contrasts with the schola Augustianiana moderna who followed Augustine's Fifth Century pessimism about the possibilities of a human following God. This inner-nominalist debate had a crucial influence on the early Reformation, as Martin Luther was a via moderna advocate who rediscovered Augustinian pessimism about the human relationship with God.
William was caught up in Pope John XXII's campaign against the Spiritual Franciscans, a reforming movement that sought to bring the spirit of St Francis back into the movement that he founded. William was imprisoned in Avignon (then the papal capital) along with the Franciscan Governor General, Michael of Cesena. They were released and Ockham spent the rest of his life writing the radical political treatises that he had begun in prison under the protection of Emperor Lewis of Bavaria. He is, however, best remembered for his philosophical contributions which are commemorated negatively in the phrase Ockham's (or Occam's) Razor. Many of his works were printed in the decades before the Reformation, especially in Lyon.
A wealthy Lyon businessman who renounced his wealth to lead a life of evangelical (i.e., derived from the Gospels) poverty. A wandering preacher, he sought neither ordination nor membership of religious order, but focused on lay ministry, including translations of the Bible and the Church Fathers into the vernacular. The 3rd Lateran Council (1179) gave them permission to preach with the permission of the local clergy. The following year at a Lyon Diocesan Council Waldo was made to assent to an orthodox profession of faith and repudiate extremists. The Archbishop of Lyon was not happy and banned them from preaching, the Waldensians refused and were expelled from the Lyon region. This forced a move towards the Italian Alps, where they became more radical and survived to the Reformation era.
John Wycliff c.1330-1380
Oxford-based Greek and Hebrew scholar who in turn inspired Jan Hus. His most famous slogan was "The Bible in the ploughman's hand," displaying a view of working class literacy as naive as that which led to the over-valuation of printing in the Protestant Reformation. His followers in England became known as the Lollards and a major part of the debate over the English populace's reception of Protestantism centres on the question of whether the Lollards supported it. Wycliff's views were condemned at the Council of Constance (1415) largely because of Jon Hus' use of them.
Dominican theologian who was Luther's first opponent in the indulgences controversy. Wrote Obelisks against Luther.
From Rotterdam. Probably the most influential intellectual in his generation. His brand of Christian humanism encouraged a whole generation to return to the Bible in the original languages. Wittenberg University was heavily influenced by Erasmian ideas, but Erasmus would later write Sponge, a scathing attack on Luther and his followers. As the Protestant Reformation progressed, so his supporters came increasingly under suspicion of heresy, with one notable victim of this being the Archbishop of Toledo under the Spanish Inquisition. .
Spanish founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), he inspired them in the fourfold pursuit of (Ignatian) spirituality, education (setting up the German College in Rome), mission (sending Jesuits to unevangelised lands such as South America or the Far East), and countering Protestantism (sending Jesuits into those areas where the populace was in danger of rejecting Catholicism, e.g., Poland, Sweden and Ireland). Declared a saint in 1622.
Humanist scholar famous for his political philosophy expounded in Utopia (1515) and being Henry VIII's pre-Reformation Chancellor. He resigned his position when it became clear that Henry was intent on divorcing Queen Catherine and marrying Anne Boleyn and later refused to attend the wedding. He was later beheaded for refusing to accept the Act of Supremacy (1534) which made Henry VIII, not the pope, head of the church in England. He was declared a saint in 1866.
After founding a congregation of laypeople to care for pilgrims to Rome, he was ordained and formed the Roman Oratory (a community of priests who did not take religious vows). Declared a saint in 1622, he was the patron saint of the 19th century convert John Henry Newman.
English Catholic reformer. One of the three joint presidents of the opening session of the Council of Trent. When Mary Tudor sought to restore Catholicism in England, Pole was sent as papal legate to England and later replaced Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury. He sought a compromise between the church and those who had gained financially from the dissolution of the monasteries. Unfortunately, he was rebuffed by Pope Paul IV who dismissed him as papal legate to England and Wales, and ordered him to appear before the Inquisition in Rome. Pole died shortly after Mary and with them died the dream of restoring Catholicism to England.
Spanish mystic and author. She received visions of Jesus as a Carmelite nun in Toledo, but chose to embrace the discalced (shoeless) reform of St Peter of Alcantara. She set up a discalced convent in Avila, despite opposition, and this reform movement spread. Her best known works are her autobiography, The Way of Perfection and her later reflections on mysticism, The Interior Castle. Declared a saint in 1622.
Acquaintance of Ignatius Loyola and founder member of the Jesuits. The greatest of the Jesuit missionaries, who evangelised in Mozambique, India, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Japan. He died on his way to China.
1503 Julius II
1523 Clement VII
1534 Paul III (1468-1549)
First Roman born pope for 100 years, he angered reformers (and the Emperor) by electing two nephews as cardinals, one aged 14 and one 16. Nonetheless, he was the reforming pope that Catholicism needed and although it took most of his pontificate he finally managed to convoke a General Council and the Council of Trent met in 1545, and the rest, as they say, is history.
1550 Julius III
1555 Marcellus II
1555 Paul IV (1476-1559)
First general of the Theatine order, he was 79 when elected despite opposition from he Emperor. He seriously weakened the Catholic restoration in England by refusing to accept anything but full restitution for the church's losses under Henry and Edward and by ordering Mary's Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Pole (the only initial president of the Council of Trent not to become pope) and trying him in Rome before the Inquisition. He rejected Elizabeth's accession to the throne on the grounds of her illegitimacy.
1566 Pius V (1504-72)
The only Reformation pope to be declared a saint (in 1712), a monk of saintly disposition he was a though-going reformer, for example insisting that bishops lived in their diocese. He excommunicated Elizabeth I. His worst moment was in declaring a day of celebration the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Huguenots in France.
1572 Gregory XIII
Famous for creating the Gregorian Calendar. He sought to counter Protestantism by funding numerous colleges to train priests, as well as sponsoring two failed military expeditions to Ireland.
1585 Sixtus V (1520-1590)
Reformed the papal court by limited the number of cardinals to 70 and creating the system of congregations (advisory committees) which survives to this day. He did however elect a 14 year old grand-nephew as cardinal.
1590 Urban VII
A former Inquisitor-General who died before he could be crowned pope.
1590 Gregory XIV
Much of his 10 month pontificate was concerned with preventing Henry of Navarre (a Protestant) being King of France. He enacted several minor reforms including threatening excommunication for anyone who betted on the outcome of a papal election.
1591 Innocent IX
Died two months after being elected pope.
1592 Clement VIII (1536-1605)
The fifth pope in two years his 13 year pontificate brought some stability to the papacy. His chief contribution to the Reformation Era was to persuade Henry of Navarre to renounce Calvinism and embrace Catholicism. When crowned Henry IV of France he is reputed to have declared "Paris is worth a mass."
Son of Henry VIII. Under his reign (more accurately the regency under the Duke of Somerset), England and Wales became much more Protestant, as Cranmer was given free reign to bring in reforms (and reformers such as Bucer and Ochino). His brief reign was crucial in setting the future direction of the Anglican Reformation, as Mary (his older sister) found it more difficult to to return the people to Catholicism, than she would have done if following straight on from her moderately Catholic father.
A devout Catholic who collected over 19,000 holy relics at Wittenberg, but who ended up supported Luther's stance against indulgences.
A despotic king who thought little of executing those who got in his way, including wives. He united England with his ancestral homeland of Wales (1536) and later assumed the title of King (as opposed to Lord Protector) of Ireland (1541). He broke with Rome through the Act of Supremacy and suppressed the monasteries. His intention appears to have been simply to take control of the church at a time when the pope was constantly in thrall to either the Holy Roman Emperor or the King of France (and to seize the rich lands held by the religious orders). He quickly lost control of the Reformation, as is evidenced in the attempts to re-Catholicise the English and Welsh church towards the end of his reign.
After witnessing the religious persecution of her sister Mary, Elizabeth consolidated a moderately Protestant Reformation in England. She was as ruthless as any of the other Tudors against those who stood in the way of her control of her kingdoms (such ass her cousin, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland), which were being extended into t he New World at this stage. She managed to ensure the success of the Anglican Reformation, largely because of her longevity compared to her predecessors.
Sought to brutally restore Catholicism, with the most famous of countless martyrs being Thomas Cranmer. As her Archbishop of Canterbury she chose Reginald Pole, the only president of the original Council of Trent not to become pope. She was hampered both by her marriage into the Spanish Hapsburg dynasty and by the intransigence of Pope Paul IV. Ultimately, however, it was her early death that led to her failure to re-establish Catholicism.
The prime mover in creating the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant German princes, but defeated by Charles V in the Schmalkaldic War. In response he called the Council of Marburg in an unsuccessful attempt to unite Lutheran and Reformed Protestantism. He finally negotiated the Peace of Augsburg (1555) through which the survival of Lutheranism within the Holy Roman Empire was assured.
Local ruler in Holland under the Hapsburg-governed Netherlands, he led a successful revolt against Hapsburg rule and eventually resulted in a Calvinist Netherlands and a Catholic Belgium and Luxembourg (or Spanish Netherlands).
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