Several theologians – especially the Jesuit St. Robert Bellarmine – attacked the teaching positions of Protestant reformers, but no one could compete with the theological and moral commitment to Luther`s scriptures or the eloquence and passion that characterized John Calvin`s works. Roman Catholics tended to emphasize beliefs and devotional themes that were directly attacked by Protestants—for example. B the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and Saint Peter. The index Librorum Prohibitorum („Index of Forbidden Books“) was created in 1559 to combat the spread of certain writings of the Protestant Reformation. There was a insignificant papal reaction to Protestants or demands for reform of the Roman Catholic Church before the middle of the century. Pope Paul III (ruled in 1534-49) is considered the first pope of the Counter-Reformation. It was he who, in 1545, convened the Council of Trent. The Council, which met continuously until 1563, reacted strongly to the questions that arose. Their teaching was a response against the Lutheran emphasis on the role of God`s faith and grace and against protestant doctrine on the number and essence of the sacraments. Disciplinary reforms have attacked clergy corruption.
Efforts have been made to regulate the formation of candidates for the priesthood; Measures have been taken against the luxurious life of the clergy, the appointment of relatives to ecclesial functions and the absence of bishops from their dioceses. Ordinances on pastoral and sacramental care have been made. Yes and no. As the more than half a billion Protestants in the world show, the Counter-Reformation did not stop the spread of Protestantism in Europe and beyond. However, the Counter-Reformation did much to reform many of the problems and extravagances against which Martin Luther was originally in his eighty-five theses. Various aspects of doctrine, ecclesial structures, new religious orders and Catholic spirituality have been clarified or refined, and Catholic piety has been revived in many places. In addition, Catholicism gained worldwide reach through the many missionary efforts initiated during the Counter-Reformation. These reforms and growth contributed greatly to the maintenance of Catholicism as the dominant Christian tradition. At the opening of the Council, some bishops insisted that immediate reforms be implemented, others that Catholic teachings be clarified; A compromise has been reached to deal with these two issues at the same time. The Council then laid the foundations for future declarations: the Nicede-Constantinophone profession of faith was accepted as the foundation of the Catholic faith; the canon of the books of the Old and New Testaments has been definitively established; Tradition has been accepted as a source of faith; the Latin vulgate has been declared sufficient for doctrinal evidence; The number of sacraments has been set at seven; and the nature and consequences of original sin have been defined. .