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Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and the Early Modern State a Reassessment

Author(s): Wolfgang Reinhard


Source: The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Jul., 1989), pp. 383-404
Published by: Catholic University of America Press
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The

Historical

Catholic
Review

VoLLXXV

JULY, 1989

No.

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION,

AND THE EARLY


MODERN STATE
A REASSESSMENT
BY
Reinhard*

Wolfgang

historians
today will agree that there is no history without
is
This
particularly true if the term "theory" is not limited to the
theory.
of refined social science
but rather
elaborate products
techniques,
Most

includes general concepts of history, historical


and, last
terminology,
The less
but not least, the respective system of historical periodization.
one reflects on such elementary
theories the more likely is their uncon
trolled influence upon historical
thought. This may result in a general
bias in research and teaching, blocking the way to necessary corrections
of our image of certain periods, until the accumulation of a critical mass
unavoidable. That this is the
has made such corrections
of knowledge
case in early modern European history, I shall try to demonstrate, offer
ing

at

the

same

time

some

alternative

and

to a certain

concepts

an

and

alternative

periodization.
German,

Traditionally,

as well,

extent

European

early

modern

is divided

into three periods: the "Reformation" 1517


history
the
and the "Age of Ab
"Counter-Reformation"
1555,
1555-1648,
solutism" 1648-1789. This division has become
almost indestructible
because of the simple and convincing
dialectical
pattern it is based
a progressive

upon:

the

reaction,

movement,

reactionary

the

"Reformation,"

"Counter-Reformation,"

as

thesis,

as antithesis;

armed conflicts,
tradiction leads to extremely destructive
is saved by the strong hand of the absolutist early modern
*Mr. Reinhard

is professor

of modern

and extra-European

history

evokes
their

con

until Europe
state, which

in the University

Augsburg.

383

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of

384

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

because

in the religious

of its neutrality
a

thesis,
world

which

synthesis

the modern

history

national
but

convincing,

wonderfully
ourselves

we

its grip,

from

"Counter-Reformation,"
we

But
and

would

also

more

was

that of slightly

see

would

the

that

early

it was

matters;

overtly
a foundation

intolerance

state

intolerant

and

Reformation,"

of the
analysis
and at the same

more

view

realistic

The

labels

mation"

are

of

of history,

periods

exclusive.

In particular

as much

as by

much

reached

by

than

stronger

the

placed

definitive

at

formation

and

had

Maurenbrecher,

^ome

the

mutually

the

also

this

than

when

"Reformation"

traditional

historiog
In addition,
the

in

occurred

dates from
are

not

truer

fashionable

a Protestant
his discovery

those

the

years;

1580.

connected

today's

expansion

since Calvinism

Protestant

is even

as

is at

period"

in ascendancy

then

rejoiced
in 1880 published

or

sense

when

that they are closely

once

Counter-Refor

Reformation,"

moment,

of concord)

older

probably

in neither

"Counter-Reformation"

is much

a new,

contradictions

activity. And

Catholic
very

aspect,

temporal

background

Catholics

they

are

"second

points,

"Counter

"Counter-Reformation

Lutheranism

of

aspect. The discovery


and

dialectic

Lutheranism,
the

(formula

If "Reformation"
their

the

of

this

these
and

"reactionary

as

"Counter-Reformation"

Konkordienformel

in

so-called

increasing

its culmination

raphy

sive

the

characterized

of Calvinism,
proves

because

considered

history.

and

either

viable,

in religious

neutral

outline

European

Reformation"

"progressive
no
longer

successive

least

early

Finally we

to prove

try

but

reaction,

"Reformation"

the

give

modern

and

correctly

of

reactionary.
"Reformation"

processes.

far from

that

research

simply

action

I shall

character
time

of

quite

were

between

parallel
was

its strength.

of

an

by

beginning

that

is
of history
to free
able

recent

not

of

point

view

we

from

still

just

dislocated

absolutist

This

relation

the

not

learn

the syn

culmination

If only

incorrect.

that

recognize

that

state.1

might
easily
was
if a reaction,

"Counter-Reformation"

much

to

power

quite

is considered

conflict

the way

opens

mutually
of

their

exclu
material

by their origin
ecumenism.

historian, Wilhelm
of a Spanish Catholic

im Zeitalter
der Reformation
Karl Brandi, Deutsche
Geschichte
und
der
(Munich,
1930), p. 216; Leo Kofler, Zur Geschichte
1969; first edition
der Neuzeit
Versuch einer verstehenden Deutung
(Neuwied-Berlin,
Gesellschaft.

examples:

Gegenreformation

b?rgerlichen
1971; first edition

1948), pp. 7 ff., 284, 417 (Marxist analysis); Review of David Parker, The
(London,
1983) by Ulrich Muhlack, Zeitschrift f?r Historische
of French Absolutism
in Wolfgang
als
13 (1986),
239 ff.; some more
Reinhard,
Forschung,
"Gegenreformation
zu einer Theorie des konfessionellen
Zeitalters," Archiv f?r
Modernisierung?
Prolegomena

Making

Reformationsgeschichte,

68

(1977),

226-229.

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385

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

reform

before

In

"Reformation."2

even

the meantime

Protestant

histo

rians3 have accepted Herbert Jedin's formula "Catholic Reform and


of 1946,4 stressing the fact that the revival of the
Counter-Reformation"
old Church was more than just a reaction to Protestantism. And if this
statement once had a certain apologetic flavor such as: the true Catholic
Church has no need of heretics to initiate her own reform, meanwhile
this attitude has been neutralized by reducing both Protestant and Cath
olic

movements

reform

gin.
and

the

Thus

to

Pierre

Calvinist

"Counter-Reformation"

of movements

for

common

their

the

just

church

medieval
came

Chaunu

reform.5

second
Thus

consider

and

third

the

and

background

to

ori

"Reformation"
in a whole

series
as

movement

evangelical

initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 may be considered


the final result of
more than 200 years of attempted regeneration of theology and piety.
Of course, the dynamics of those movements
had to do with
the
conditions of society. The list is rather long: population pressure in a
"fullworld" without modern
escapes, and, later on, in the
technological
fourteenth

century,

importance

of

cities,

economic

crisis

and what

they

and
stood

plague;
for,

the

next,

i.e., money

increasing
and

economy

increasing division of labor leading to a


existence because of growing numbers
growing
of human beings living closely together; then, serious crises of the polit
ical and ecclesiastical
systems, in particular the Great Schism, and the
failure of several councils to reform the Church; finally, new tendencies
educated

laity, in other words,


of human
complexity

in intellectual

the before-mentioned
social de
life, intertwined with
this
and
between
the
thirteenth
and the
again
again
velopments.
sixteenth century led to attempts to reform the Church and the world.
All

Thus

"Reformation"

and

"Counter-Reformation,"

once

considered

irreconcilable opposites,
today are seen as closely connected
by their
common origin. But this is not to level them down to one and the same
initiated by Luther
thing, because still the early "evangelical movement"
remains something particular, since it proved an innovative force of
modernizing
tendency. However, as soon as the princes took over in the
1520's after the Peasants War, the movement

became

"Reformation,"

that

der katholischen
2Wilhelm Maurenbrecher,
Geschichte
Vol. I (1880).
Reformation,
3Kurt Dietrich
Schmidt, Die katholische
("Die Kirche
Reform und die Gegenreformation
in ihrer Geschichte,"
Vol. 3 L 1 [G?ttingen,
1975]).
oder Gegenreformation?
Ein Versuch zur Kl?rung
4Hubert Jedin, Katholische
Reformation
der Begriffe nebst
5Pierre Chaunu,
de la chr?tient?.

einer Jubil?umsbetrachtung
?ber das Trienter Konzil
(Lucerne,
Les temps r?formes. Histoire
religieuse et syst?me de civilisation.
L'?clatement
1250-1550
(Paris, 1975).

1948).
La crise

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REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

386
is, a process

of

change

religious

conservative

by

organized

authorities

in 1530 very
the Confessio Augustana
in their legal terms.6 Therefore
the evangel
the
kind
steers
of
radicalism
clear
of
the
of
"Left,"
decisively
ical movement
had brought about, and very deliberately
approaches the
Church

Old

party

is also

And

again.7

whoever,

to find the principle

vatism, hopes

to disappointment.

doomed

into the Empire

introduced

inmore

the authority

by

that

of

was

Calvinism

its structure

of princes,

to

similar

very

conser

radical Calvinism,

cases

in most

Since

a form

assumed

consequently

at Lutheran

despondent

of progress

On

Lutheranism.8

the other hand, the identification of Calvinism with political opposition


and not from its basic
movements
resulted from historic contingency
as has

character,

theological

and his political

politics

been

claimed.

of

doctrine

Calvin's

John

leave no doubt

correspondence

that.

about

The study of the history of political


ideas, such as the sovereignty of
the people and right to resist authority, demonstrates
beyond doubt that
more
on
the
much
their development
contemporary
political
depended
than on the supposed properties of any theology. Political
constellation
resistance

was

first

conservative

by

legitimized

their

when

Lutherans,

in danger after the "Interim" of 1548. From


stronghold Magdeburg
to Geneva, where
it was adapted to the
there the doctrine migrated
was

of West

necessities

at

Calvinism

European

the

moment

very

when

Ger

man Lutherans dropped the notion altogether. Unlike the Calvinists, the
of the Peace of Reli
German Lutherans enjoyed the political protection
gion

and

of Augsburg

resistance

who

Monarchomacbs,
Bartholomew's

their
ation,
olics

their

Calvinists
who

now

in

wrote
the

provided

were
became

the
French

However,

community.

and

protector

to

need

resist

the

them

converted

with

of

aftermath

the

as

Monarchomachs,

the

it was
growing

of
the

king

minimum

Instead,
for

massacre

a new

guaranteed

to absolutism.

But

the Calvinist

threatened

monarchy
as soon
a

any more.

emperor

point with

its first culmination

when

Night,
of

existence

no

had

reached

theory

St.

very

became
of

toler

the

Cath
of

power

seemed to threaten their religion and the traditional authority


monarchy
their faith and their pope, they developed
of the pope. Defending
a dynamic
from a
"evangelical movement"
possible
again to distinguish
"Reformation," cf. Hans-J?rgen Goertz, "Aufstand gegen den Priester. Anti
in Peter Blickle
und reformatorische
(ed.), Bauer, Reich und
Bewegungen,"
1982), pp. 182-209
Pestschrift f?r G. Franz (Stuttgart,

6It has become

rather conservative
klerikalismus
Reformation.
7Cf. Wolfgang

Bekenntnis
im politischen
"Das Augsburger
Reinhard,
in drei Jahrhunderten
Bekenntnis
Jesse (ed.), Das Augsburger
pp. 32-50.
case is that of the Palatinate, cf. Paul M?nch, Zucht
8The outstanding

Horst

mierte

Kirchenverfassungen

im 16. und

17. Jahrhundert

(Stuttgart,

Zusammenhang,"
(Weissenhorn,
und Ordnung.
1978).

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in

1980),
Refor

387

REINHARD

BYWOLFGANG

theories of resistance and sovereignty of the people which, particularly


in the case of some Spanish Jesuits, went further than anything Calvinists
ever

have
had

written.

been
Thus

too.9
fathers

revolution
of

forefathers

of

between

reactionary

order,

Catholic

regeneration,

modern

tendencies

mation,"

Compared

Society

of

reasons

conservative

Paul

TV, had

of

Jesus

an

of

alliance

constellation

political

its opponents.13

Old

examples

of

and mendicant

not

by mere

sound

for

impression;
as the

itwas

the

orders,

such

Church,

And

of

"Counter-Refor

reactionary

revolutionary
the

institutions

good

particularly

monastic

almost

forces

as

of modern

positions

one of the leading

supposedly

traditional

leaves

as

did.

provides

with

altar

absolutism,

a sinister

of

The

us with

the

as proof

on the respective

still considered
inside

become

serve

oppression.12

as much

of

be
could
denigrated
or elevated
historiography,10
of liberal
whereas
observance,11

may

theoreticians

sixteenth-century

The Jesuit

forces

depend

historiography
as

order

and

throne

advocates

authors

historians

same

between

became

Jesuit

by

the

alliance

conservative

by

democracy

members

an

writers

Catholic

sixteenth-century

of

other

as

soon

as

But

established,

later

Pope

chance

that

female order had to fail. The innova


attempts to found a corresponding
tions of the Jesuits, combined with a kind of "Women's Liberation" in
ecclesiastical

terms,

were

considered
reforming

the very fact of a new


for

because

scandalous,
existing

orders.

The

precedent.

The

centuries

elite-conscious

bers and the carefully planned


without

for Roman

intolerable

completely

In the case of the Jesuits,

"Spiritual

training

hierarchs.14

foundation
had

nobody
way

of

could be

gone

recruiting

beyond
mem

they had to undergo were

Exercises,"

which

played

also

a central

9Cf. Hans

der politi
Fenske, Dieter Mertens, Wolfgang
Reinhard, Klaus Rosen, Geschichte
von Homer
bis zur Gegenwart
1981), pp. 225-247; W. Reinhard,
(Koenigstein,
(as in note 1), pp. 245 ff.
"Gegenreformation"

schen

Ideen

in den Schriften der Jesuiten


(1835),
10Leqpold von Ranke, Die Idee der Volkssouver?nit?t
in "S?mmtliche Werke," Vol. 24 (Leipzig, 1877), pp. 223-236,
and Statecraft during
the Golden Age of Spain: A
xlGunther Lewy, Constitutionalism
et renais
of Juan de Mariana,
SJ. ("Travaux d'humanisme
Study of the Political
Philosophy
sance," Vol. 36 [Geneva, I960]).
und Geheimnis
12Cf. Ren? F?l?p-Miller, Macht
schichte (Berlin, 1932), pp. 426-453

der Jesuiten.

Eine Kultur-

und Geistesge

at Odds,"
13Peter A. Quinn, "Ignatius of Loyola and Gian Pietro Carafa: Catholic Reformers
Historical
Review, 61 (July, 1981), 386-400.
des weiblichen
Ordenswesens
l4Joseph Grisar, "'Jesuitinnen.' Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte

Catholic
von

1550 bis 1650," Reformata


Reformanda.
Festschrift H Jedin (M?nster, 1965), II, 70-113;
in Rom gegen das Institut Maria Wards (1622)
id., Die ersten Anklagen
("Miscellanea His
vor r?mischen Kon
toriae Pontificiae," Vol. 22 [Rome, 1959]);
id., Maria Wards Institut
(1616-1630)
("Miscellanea Historiae Pontificiae," Vol. 27 [Rome, 1966}).
gregationen

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388

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

in that training,

role

are

contents

as far as their

look all but modern,

today may

concerned.

Nevertheless,

they

are

still

of

mo

fascinating

dernity in a threefold respect. The book organizes the internalization of


fundamental values of a group with remarkable psychological
rationality.
In doing so, it aims at the education of the particular
individual in a
manner without
in western
comprehensive
precedent
history. Finally,
intensive internalization of group values by the indi
this particularly
the traditional instruments of monas
vidual allows religious life without
tic communitarian
discipline, such as chancel office and enclosure, and
the precondition
for an unrestricted
therefore becomes
activity of the
not
at
It is
all surprising, therefore, that the order
Jesuits in the world.
proved particularly efficient in education; probably the Jesuit school
was

master

the most

successful

of

agent

"Counter-Reformation."15

The Jesuits also ran the economy


of their colleges
in a strikingly
modern
the notion of Catholic economic
fashion16 that challenges
in
once
ever
and
Max
on
for
Weber's
famous
feriority's
"proved"
essay
by
the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism}7
Certainly the Protes
tant

open

admission

a moderate

of

covert Catholic

casuistic

less

the

elastic

from

rate

solutions

economic

point

of

was

interest

of that problem,
of view.

In fact,

more

the

tance of certain forms of credit and interest by Catholic


more

favorable

Thus

the financial

to modern

economic

practice

system of the papacy

than

remained

honest

than

it proved

but

tortuous

also
accep

theologians was

Calvinist

rigorism.18

superior

to that of

15Cf.Mabel

und Erziehungslehre
in der Fr?hzeit des
Lundberg, Jesuitische
Anthropologie
An Essay
(ca. 1540-ca
1650) (Uppsala, 1966); John W Donohue, Jesuit Education.
on the Foundation
of Its Idea (New York, 1963); Gian Paolo Brizzi, "'Studia humanitatis' und
in den ersten italienischen Kollegien
des Unterrichts
der Gesellschaft
Organisation
Jesu," in
Reinhard
im Bildungswesen
des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts
(ed.), Humanismus
Wolfgang
Ordens

(Weinheim,

1984), pp.

155-170, Heinrich

Boehmer,

Die Jesuiten

(1904),

ed. K. D. Schmidt

1957), p. 57.
Mindelheimer
l6See, e.g., Friedrich Zoepfl, "Geschichte des ehemaligen
Jesuitenkollegs,"
Archiv f?r die Geschichte
des Hochstifts
6 (1929),
1-96.
Augsburg,
in 1904/5, when capitalism was fashionable
17First published
in Europe. When during the
Great Depression
this was no longer the case, the origins of capitalism were sometimes not
(Stuttgart,

for Calvinism,
but Jesuits were made
for it; cf. James Brodrick, The
responsible
to Dr. H M. Robinson
Morals
(Oxford, 1934).
of the Jesuits. An Answer
The School of Salamanca:
in Spanish Monetary
18Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson,
Readings

claimed

Economic

(Oxford,
1952); John T. Noonan, The Scholastic Analysis
Theory, 1544-1605
of Usury (Cam
am
249-293; Wilhelm Weber, Wirtschaftsethik
1957), pp. 202-229,
bridge, Massachusetts,
Vorabend
des Liberalismus.
und Abschlu?
der scholastischen
H?hepunkt
Wirtschafts
durch Ludwig Molina
SJ. (1535-1600)
(M?nster,
1959), pp. 175-186; Marc
betrachtung
et usure

Venard,

"Catholicisme

(1966),

59*74; Jelle C

(The Hague-Paris,
unter
Wirtschaftsethik
Gerhard

au XVIe

de l'?glise de France, 52
si?cle," Revue d'Histoire
Factors in Early Dutch Capitalism,
1550-1650
in der katholischen
Tendenzen
"Rigoristische

Riemersma, Religious
Bauer,
1967); Clemens

Teilenbach

dem

(Freiburg,

Einflu?

der Gegenreformation,"
1968), pp. 552-579.

Adel

und Kirche.

Festschrift

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389

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

most

monarchies

European
of

"Spirit

lapse of Catholic
Weber's

inverting

a time.

for quite
that

Counter-Reformation"

southern

It was

thesis.19

the

produced

as Herbert

Europe,

rather

the

it was

Indeed,

eventual

not

L?thy has claimed,

unfavorable

the

economic

by

development

of

the economy
itself compared with that of northern Europe: the south
was unable to keep up with changing patterns of demand and suffered
from higher costs of production.20 This kind of explanation
represents
a methodological
research indeed once again
reaction, but historical
prefers to explain economic development
by economic causes first, and
not by immediate resort to the forces of intellectual history.
The same is true of social history. Once
poor

relief

was

an

achievement

of

the

it seemed obvious

"Reformation."21

Did

that modern
not

suppres

sion of begging and takeover of relief by secular authorities correspond


exactly to Protestant theology, where pious works of charity had ceased
to be away to heaven, and laboring according to your personal calling
had become a part of everybody's human dignity? Without doubt Protes
tant theology was perfectly
adapted to legitimize the new policy. But
the Middle Ages were
far from considering
poverty nothing but a
state of Christian existence;
since the thirteenth century
praiseworthy
a curse and a threat for society.22 When
it had also become
after the
"Black Death" the widening
between
and
price gap
city
countryside had
forced the rural poor into the cities, and the later increase of population
made the situation even more critical, authorities had to react, and did
that inways

remarkably

19Herbert L?thy, "Variationen


des Kapitalismus,"

und der Geist

similar, whatever
?ber

ein Thema

in Gegenwart

their religious

affiliation.23

von Max Weber:

der Geschichte.

die protestantische
Ethik
Historische
Essays (Cologne

Berlin, 1967), pp. 67 ff., 92 ff.


20Carlo M. Cipolla, "The Italian 'Failure'," in Frederick Krantz and Paul M. Hohenberg
(eds.),
toModern
Failed Transitions
Industrial
Society: Renaissance
Italy and Seventeenth
Century
Holland
(Montreal,
1975), p. 9; Richard Tilden Rapp, "The Unmaking of the Mediterranean
Trade Hegemony.
International Trade Rivalry and the Commercial
Revolution," Journal
of
in Seventeenth
Economic History,
35 (1975), 499-525;
id., Industry and Economic Decline
in
Sella, Crisis and Continuity
1976); Domenico
Century Venice (Cambridge, Massachusetts,
the Economy
the 17th Century
of Spanish Lombardy during
(Cambridge, Massachusetts,
1979).
der Stadt Stra?burg vor und nach der Refor
Das F?rsorgewesen
21E.g., Otto Winckelmann,
mation
(2 vols.; Leipzig, 1922).
22Jean-Pierre Gutton, La soci?t? et les pauvres.
L'exemple de la g?n?ralit? de Lyon, 1534
1789 (Paris, 1971), pp. 215-218.
et h?r?sie: le cas de Lyon," in Michel Mollat
23Cf. Natalie Z. Davis, "Assistance, humanisme
(ed.), Etudes sur l'histoire de la pauvret?
(Paris, 1974), II, 761-822
(first in English Studies
inMedieval
and Renaissance
5 [1968], 217-275); Bronislaw Geremek,
"Criminalit?,
History,
la marginalit?
? l'aube des temps modernes,"
Revue d'Histoire
paup?risme:
vagabondage,
Moderne
f?rsorge
Jahrbuch

et Contemporaine,
in Oberdeutschland
f?r

Fr?nkische

21 (1974),
337-375;
Ingomar Bog, "?ber Arme und Armen
und in der Eidgenossenschaft
im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert,"
34/35 (1975), 983-1001.
Landesforschung,

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REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

390
Thus, empirical
labels

research
and

"Reformation"

leads us to the inevitable


"Counter-Reformation"

or materially;

pond, either chronologically


action"

and

reaction"

"reactionary

that

conclusion

simply

do

that the

not

corres

to the images of "progressive


once

seemed

so

self-evident.

it would be more appropriate


to separate a comparatively
Obviously,
short-lived spontaneous "Evangelical Movement" from 1517 to 1525 from
these two almost parallel organized processes
of "Reformation" and
"Counter-Reformation," which both began in the early 1520's and lasted
two centuries. According to our sources, both could be defined as rather
conservative
in the lead and legal devices
operations with authorities
In this regard, Calvinists, Catholics, Lutherans, and to a
predominating.
certain extent
wonder:

each

competition
selves

even Anglicans, all acted in remarkably similar ways. No


faced the same problem. Under the pressure of mutual
the religious groups had no choice but to establish them

as "churches,"

i.e.,

stable

organizations

with

well

defined

member

ship. These new "churches" had to be more rigid than the old pre-Refor
was self-evident
mation Church, where membership
and required no
careful preservation. Particular confessions of faith served to distinguish
these separate religious communities
from each other. And since the
covers both the confessions of faith and the
German word Konfessionen
I have decided to call the formation of the new
respective communities,
churches Konfessionalisierung
In my opinion
it
(confessionalization).
some
measures
on
with
the
first
Lutheran
visitations
and
tentative
began
the Old Church side in the 1520's and ended after the late seventeenth
France re-established
century, when
religious unity by force (1685),
when

( 1688
England secured the Protestant character of its monarchy
of Salzburg expelled the Protes
1707), and when the Prince-Archbishop
tants from his country (1731). Obviously
"Church" and "State" collabo
to cut autonomous parts out of the body of one single
rated everywhere
a particular group
Christian community
(Kristenbeit)
by establishing

of religious doctrine
and practice among their members.
conformity
instruments
to
the
and
the institutions and personnel
However,
used,
handle them, deserve a closer look, just to demonstrate once again how
to each other in all communities,
in spite of
closely they corresponded
theological

differences.24

is based on ideas of Ernst Walter Zeeden, Die Entstehung


der Konfessionen.
24This concept
im Zeitalter
und Formen
der Konfessionsbildung
der Glaubensk?mpfe
in 1958 in the Historische
and
(Munich, 1965; the original version was published
Zeitschrift
has been reprinted recently in his Konfessionsbildung.
Studien zur Reformation,
Gegenrefor

Grundlagen

mation

und katholischen

the help of sociological


in Europa," in Reinhard

I tried to "improve" itwith


Reform
[Stuttgart, 1985], pp. 67-112).
theory; see Wolfgang Reinhard, "Konfession und Konfessionalisierung
und Geschichte
(Munich, 1981 ), pp. 165 ff., 174-179.
(ed.), Bekenntnis

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391

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

in the establish
As already mentioned,
the basic procedure consisted
ment of the respective pure doctrine
in a
and its handy formulation
confession of faith, which could be used to measure everybody's ortho
doxy. The Lutherans took the first step in this direction with their "Augs
the late 1550's
burg Confession" of 1530. But the decisive years were
and early 1560's, when various Calvinist confessions were followed by
the Catholic Professio Fidei Tridentina (the confession of the Council
of Trent). Then, in 1580, the majority of German Lutherans agreed to
the Formula

Concordiae

(formula of concord).

A complementary measure to this establishment


of pure doctrine was
sources of confusion which might lead the
the extinction
of possible
faithful astray. It should no longer be possible that a priest out of naivete
or

served

necessity

two masters,

said Mass

in the morning

and

preached

to the Protestants
in the afternoon, as sometimes had happened
in Ger
a
a
few years before still considered
way to
many.25 And the lay chalice,
the

reunify

churches
of

suspicion

by

to the

concessions

and was

crypto-Protestantism,

now

Protestants,

as

abolished

came

under
as possi

soon

ble.26

Then the new rules had to be spread and, if necessary, enforced.


Propaganda might be the first instrument to that purpose. The invention
of printing had made Luther's initial success possible; the calculated use
as for
of the printing press now became essential for indoctrination
under those conditions
deteriorated
fighting the enemy27 Theology
to continuous
from lofty speculations
battles and almost by definition
became controversial.28 Colloquies between
theologians of different ob
servance

were

to become

no

longer

ritualized

serious

attempts

exchanges

of

at

but

reunification,

arguments

tended

to demonstrate

the

25Zeeden, op. cit., p. 74.


sous les deux esp?ces.
? l'Allemagne de la communion
26Gustave Constant, Concession
en Allemagne
Etude sur les d?buts de la r?forme catholique
(2 vols.; Paris,
(1548-1621)
am Niederrhein
im 16. Jahrhundert
1923); August Franzen, Die Kelchbewegung
(M?nster,
und Forschungen
Lutz, "Bayern und der Laienkelch," Quellen
1955); Heinrich
schen Archiven und Bibliotheken,
34 (1954), 203-234.
im Zeitalter
des konfessionellen
Absolutismus
27Cf. Karl Eder, Die Kirche

aus

italieni

(1555-1648)
(Freiburg, 1949), pp. 205-210; Paul Chaix, Alain Dufour, Gustave Moeckli, Les livres imprim?s
et Renaissance," Vol. 86 [Geneva, 1966]);
? Gen?ve de 1550 ? 1600 ("Travaux d'humanisme
zur Zeit der Glaubensk?mpfe.
Hans Joachim Bremme, Buchdrucker
und Buchh?ndler
Stu
dien zur Genfer Druckgeschichte

("Travaux d'humanisme

1969]).
28Cf.Wilbirgis
hunderts.

Klaiber (ed.), Katholische


Ein Werkverzeichnis
(M?nster,

der Reformationszeit

(4 vols.; M?nster,

et Renaissance,"

Kontroverstheologen
1978); Erwin Iserloh

Vol.

104 [Geneva,

und Reformer des 16. Jahr


(ed.), Katholische
Theologen

1984-1987).

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392

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

strength of irreconcilably antagonistic positions.29 On a lower level, in


into an elaborate technique,
doctrination
of simple believers developed
a
sermons (printed
instruments.
broad
of
Catechisms,
range
employing
collections

senses
sions,

and

of an advantage

incorporated

popular

and

pilgrimages,

were

music

church

and

included),

olics had something

Cath

everywhere.

saints

of

as

such

spectacles

veneration

the

in use

in that their liturgy appealed


and

proces

religious

their

to the

relics.

of propaganda, keeping
Censorship was the negative complement
and
the
The
Roman
away competitors.
Spanish Indexes of prohibited
in
books have become
famous, but censorship was common practice
Calvinist

and

Lutheran

as well,

churches

to protect

its duty

it

ered

because

its members

church

every

against

consid

contamina

dangerous

tion.30

itwas particularly
Therefore,
important to secure the orthodoxy of
as people responsible for teaching
in
such
persons
strategic positions,
or preaching or able to intervene at decisive hours of human life. Theolo
gians,

ministers,

priests,

even secular officials


to

made

swear

to

train the younger

the

teachers,

doctors,

in general were
respective

in internalizing

generation

sometimes

on their orthodoxy

of

confession

and

midwives,

examined

faith.31

Then

they

the new doctrine

and
could

and rules

of behavior.

Each church
its

educational

cation

so

system

New

children.

tried to win
school

and exercises

ordinances

to

new

the

safeguard

"right"

mushroomed,

together with

If necessary,

behavior.32

and streamlining

the future by expanding


as

orthodox

stressing

the control

its

edu

religious

of religious

educational

of

alignment

and moral

institutions

had

to

to prevent future elites from studying abroad, where


they
to dangerous
influences. In Spain, this was formally
be exposed

be created
might

in G. M?ller
29Cf. Janusz Tazbir, "Die Religionsgespr?che
der Reformationszeit,"
der Reformationszeit
(G?tersloh,
1980), pp. 127-143.

(ed.), Die

Religionsgespr?che
30Franz Heinrich

cf.
Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen B?cher (2 vols.; Bonn, 1883-1885);
inWenzel
Lohse, "Glaube und Bekenntnis bei Luther und in der Konkordienformel,"
Lohff and Lewis W Spitz (eds.), Widerspruch,
und Einigung
Dialog
(Stuttgart, 1977), p. 29;
M?nch, op. cit., p. 135.
31Cf. Klaus
"Iuramentum Religionis.
und Funktion des
Schreiner,
Entstehung, Geschichte
der Staats- und Kirchendiener
im Territorialstaat
der fr?hen Neuzeit," Der
Konfessionseides
Bernhard

211-246.
24 (1985),
than Gerald
32With more success

Staat,

the Young

Strauss, Luther's House

in the German

(Baltimore,
1978),
Reformation
and Failures in the German Reformation:

"Successes
Kittelson,
Archiv f?r Reformationsgeschichte,

73 (1982),

Indoctrination
of
of Learning.
to admit; cf. James
is willing

The Report from


153-175; cf. also the Jesuits.

Strasbourg,"

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

still

to graduate

advisable

new

Minorities

own

or

in Protestant
inns.35

often

even

instrument
than

the

than

local

that

own

police

able

organization

force

However,

or,

Therefore

the

Moreover,

the

churches

they

were

authority,
in the case

probably
that

cannot

baptisms,

stressed,

The Spanish

34Cf. Franz Ortner, Reformation,

and

be

useful

produced
ritual

control

of

its
possessed
a formid

such

even

Reform

alone,

repression
more

participation

communions,

(London,

katholische

by
is even

that

at distinguishing

Inquisition

effective

Inquisition.

group

sometimes

functional

is more

Church,

Roman

marriages,

1981).
(Salzburg-Munich,
Salzburg
35Felix Stieve, Das kirchliche Polizeiregiment
(Munich,

the

life of the
a superior

Social control

authority

the Catholic

of

established
on

particularly

33Henry Kamen,
tion of 1967.

community

or

Spanish

and moral

even

overstressed,

important.
by care
and

burials.

those

rites

them from their com

1965), p. 97 ff. of the German


und Gegenreformation

in Baiern

ar

officials

recognize
as the
served

consistory

way

or, more

not

did

when

in Catholic

secular

for that very purpose.

in a distinctive

record-keeping

which

own

coherence

group

participation

or

created

your

as

as

regular

ful

of

an outside

and

the religious
which

presbytery

members
of

detail

congregations,

of
discipline
on Fridays

superiors

clerical

al

possible

in an active

members

ecclesiastical
of

strict

to drink

able

early

allowed

to eat meat

be

to group

commissions

it had been

equivalent;37

Puritans

when

the

chance

or were
the

to prevent

religion
from

no

was

majority

escape

should

in minute

In Calvinist

senior

to

possible.

emigrated
as late as

Protestants

have

applied

visitation,

mixed

not,

institution,

by

nor

either

of different

should

was

of

rived to investigate
parish.36

itwas

desired

as

homogeneous

orthodox

temporary

discipline

as

Salzburg

neighbors

restaurants,

Finally,

the

if one

academy,

amalgamated

remaining

Catholics

group.

be
the

The

century.34

contamination,

by

to

no contact with

their

own

prince's

become

not

could

as happened

eighteenth

the

should

groups
which

expelled,

most

at

by him.

be employed
The

if there was no formal prohibition,

in 155933 But even

prohibited

393

REINHARD

BYWOIJGANG

unter Maximilian

transla

im Erzstift
I. 1595-1651

1876).

Beitr?ge
36important: E.W Zeeden and Peter Thadd?us Lang (eds.), Kirche und Visitation.
in Europa
zur Erforschung
Visitationswesens
des fr?hneuzeitlichen
(Stuttgart, 1984).
?tude compar?e
37Cf. Jean Est?be and Bernard Vogler, "La gen?se d'une soci?t? protestante:
et palatins vers 1600," Annales,
31 (1976),
de quelques
languedociens
registres consistoriaux
Die T?tigkeit
als Sozialdisziplinierung?
"Reformierte Kirchenzucht
inWilfried
Enbrecht and Heinz Schilling
in den Jahren 1557-1562,"
and Vienna,
und Nordwestdeutschland
1983), pp. 261-327.
(Cologne

362-388; Heinz Schilling,


des Emder Presbyteriums
,
(eds.,) Niederlande

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394

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

petitors,
adoration
became

even
of

the

if their theology
sacrament

of

the

characteristic

exclusively

did not demand


altar

and

features

such practices.

veneration

of

saints

of Catholicism,

Thus,

and

relics

whereas

prac

implied Protestant in
tising the lay chalice from now on automatically
a
if
Protestant
clinations.38 And
community
indulged in iconoclasm,
of
the
Catholic
the remaining elements
eliminated
mass, and dropped
was
to
in
exorcism
realize that they were moving
baptism, everybody
on from Lutheranism to Calvinism.39
Even performances with almost no religious significance were consid
to
ered confessional
and therefore became
property,
unacceptable
others in spite of obvious advantages. When Pope Gregory XIII achieved
the overdue reform of the calendar in 1582, most Protestants refused to
that new reckoning. The Lutheran estates of the Empire did not
adopt it until 1699; and in a mixed city like Augsburg the new calendar
led to a major conflict just short of civil war.40
accept

that in such a situation

No wonder
confessional

regulation.

Of

course,

even

churches

language

did not escape

to secure

tried

an

adequate

name for themselves. The Old Church somehow managed to reserve for
the new churches
herself the venerable designation
"Catholic," whereas
were called after their leading reformers. The Lutherans reluctantly ac
cepted this labelling; Calvinists, however, dislike it right down to the
present day. (Though, for the purposes of this essay I had no other
choice, for "Calvinist" is the most unequivocal
term.) But the churches
went further than that; even the first names given in baptism became
"confessionalized."
New

Testament

there

True,
origin,

but

remained

in Calvinist

a common
Geneva

certain

mass

of

names

names
of

of

saints

and others typical of Old Church piety were banned and replaced by
that inflation of Old Testament names which soon became a characteris
tic feature of Calvinism. On the other hand, Catholics from 1566 on

38In 1610 a papal dispensation was granted to a candidate "non obstante quod eius mater
sub utraque specie communicet"
(Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Sec. Brev. 460, fol. 43).
in Kursachsen
39Cf. Thomas Klein, Der Kampf um die zweite Reformation
1586-1591
in
and Graz, 1962); Heinz Schilling (ed.), Die reformierte Konfessionalisierung
(Cologne
der "Zweiten Reformation"
Problem
Deutschland?Das
("Schriften des Vereins f?r Refor
Vol. 195 [G?tersloh,
1986]).
mationsgeschichte,"
der Gregorianischen
40Ferdinand Kaltenbrunner,
Kalenderreform
Beitr?ge zur Geschichte
In
des ?sterreichischen
(Vienna, 1880); id., "Der Augsburger Kalenderstreit," Mitteilungen
F. Stieve, Der Kalenderstreit
des 16.
1 (1880),
stituts f?r Geschichtsforschung,
497-540;
der Wissenschaften,"
in Deutschland
Abhandlungen,
Jahrhunderts
("Bayerische Akademie
Vol.

15, 3 [Munich,

1880]).

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395

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

were

about
as

"confessionalization"

But

name.41

in that field; we

to be done

how

a saint's

to choose

obliged

legally

research

is still much

there

in fact do not know very much


of

patterns

changed

such

life

everyday

language.

all this socio-religious

Certainly,
a short

But

time.

is not

the

reason

only

the

for

could not be realized within

change
inertia

notorious

the

all established

of

of

slowness

structure

social

The

"confessionalization."

qualified

staffed with personnel


institutions
simply lacked adequate
for that task. The Old Church on the one hand, the new

churches

on

churches

the

had

other,

and

advantages

complementary

disadvan

in this respect. In the beginning, when


it had to react to the
the Old Church suffered a kind of deadlock
"evangelical movement,"
tages

of

because

the papacy
of

the

inadequate

completely

were

clergy

more

much

an

of

reform

elaborate
this

ponderosity,

tion, once
started

the

by

"conquered"

institutional

new

network

elaborate

the Old
structure.

still

or

nuncios

papal

but

to
was
also

not
to

only

local churches.

now had to visit the pope

councils
to

and

Bishops
three

and

years.

They
to publish

synods
guide

reforming

orders were

tion, religious
at her

to five

diocesan

coordinate

New

disposition.

the

its

were
the

activities

still the strongest


ones

and

advan

traditional

of

capable

reorganiza

were

created

popes

ones.

"Catholic

an

Thus,
to

employed

initiate

policy,

every

had
of

spite

ancient

revitalize

"Counter-Reformation"

churches

status

social

Church

In

was

apparatus

institutions

of

their

of Trent and a series of reform-minded

the Council

to create

with

its positions,

those members

faith and an immaculate life. But


in particular when the papacy was

movement,42

institutional

of

irreligious,

preoccupied

political success than with orthodox


once this deadlock had been broken,
tage

in most

personnel

not necessarily

included. Though

enforce
in

Reform"

and to report on their

to hold
required
provincial
new
reform
and
legislation,
in their
In addi
dioceses.

force the Old Church had


and

took

over

new

tasks,

mainly in the fields of propaganda and education. Capuchins, Ursulines,


to be mentioned
and the institute of Mary Ward deserve
besides
the
and
from
their
Jesuits. Apart
Jesuits developed
ordinary work, Capuchins
a new
paigns

tool

of

religious

in regions

of

41Cf. in particular Willi


minologie

der

propaganda,
doubtful

strategically

planned

cam

missionary

observance.

Richard, Untersuchungen
Westschweiz
und Frankreichs

zur Genesis
mit

der reformierten

besonderer

Kirchenter

Ber?cksichtigung

der

(Bern, 1959).
Namengebung
und Barock," in Remigius
zwischen Renaissance
42Cf.Wolfgang Reinhard, "Reformpapsttum
Ecclesiae. Festgabe f?r Erwin Iserloh (Paderborn,
B?umer (ed.), Reformatio
1980), pp. 779
796.

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396

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

The new churches, on the other hand, had to start without any institu
tional infrastructure, except in those countries like England where
they
took over the old church institutions. Often secular authorities of cities
and states stepped in instead, a kind of substitution favored by Luther's
notorious

indifference

toward

institutions.

the

However,

new

churches

made

up for that inherent weakness of their position by their personnel,


and
which, even if not sufficiently trained, still consisted of convinced
enthusiastic

innovators.

And

the

necessary

training

was

soon

provided

by new or reformed institutions of higher education such as the Univer


and the academies at Strasbourg and Geneva.43
sity of Wittenberg
Thus indeed higher education became of crucial importance for the
new churches?a
fact soon noticed and answered by the Old Church.
The foundation of seminaries as ordered by the Council of Trent was
meant to provide the Old Church with adequately qualified priests able
to stand comparison with Protestant ministers. And the rapidly spreading
Jesuit colleges soon became the training ground of a new Catholic elite,
who might then continue their studies at one of the new Catholic univer
sities.44 In the Holy Roman Empire alone the sixteenth and seventeenth
saw

centuries

the

of

foundation

twelve

twelve

Catholic,

and

Lutheran,

eight Calvinist universities or institutions of similar status; we might


to the number of the Calvinist ones, ifwe
five more academies
Switzerland

into

was

church

higher education;
they were
too.
Thus,
repression,
they
it to

adapted
vinist

new

their

churches,

take

account.45

neither

However,

add

with

needs,
a new

where

content

with

institutions

creating

all in need of institutions


revived the old medieval
the

exception
the

institution,

of

of

of control
visitation
autonomous
or

presbytery

and
and
Cal

consistory,

was

created to fulfill the same function. In addition, the Catholic Church


founded the Inquisition, whose
functional equivalent in Protestant coun
some

tries?and
officers

in

Because
to rely

had

the

Catholic
service

the

of the shortage
to a lesser

43Cf. Robert Kingdon,

too?was

ones,
of

respective

of institutions
extent

or greater

Geneva

and

provided

the Coming

(Geneva,
1959).
an Universit?ten
44Cf. Karl Hengst, Jesuiten
Peter Schmidt, Das Collegium
Germanicum

and

spies

by

police

state.46

on

all churches

and personnel,
the

support

of the Wars of Religion

of

secular

powers,

in France

1555-1563

und Jesuitenuniversit?ten
in Rom und die Germaniker.

(Munich,
1981);
Zur Funktion

eines

r?mischen Ausl?nderseminars
(1552-1914)
1984).
(T?bingen,
45Atlas zur Kirchengeschichte
(Freiburg, 1970), p. 80; Ulrich Im Hof, "Sozialdisziplinierung
in der reformierten
Schweiz vom 16. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert," Annali dell'Istituto
storico

in Trento, VIII (1982),


italo-germanico
46One example: Stieve, op. cit.

127 ff.

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397

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

a fact

of

case

to

churches
major

groups?i.e.,

Milan

to

the

to

we

we

First,
than

in mind,

they had
after

society

to keep
of

of

the

local

the

three

Calvinists,
re

church-state

role of the State in

in

succeeded

"confes

in reaching

However,

several unintended

was

results.

more

certainly

and more

improved

to

kind

from

the

"Confessionalization."

they produced

was

to

Geneva

the crucial

"Confessionalization"

education

before:

of

each

"Confessionalization"

Lutherans,

results

differ

greatly

fact,

run
the churches
long
extent.
to a remarkable

the

their members

sionalizing"

In

a different

the

in

doubt,

the goal

of

the

have

examine

if solutions

conditions.

Catholics47?practised

when

Without

to

Saxony

lationship. Therefore,
mind,

local

as a model

served

which

even

consequences,

far-reaching
case
according

"modern"
and

widespread,

the

first

media revolution in history had taken place, the victory of printing. By


these means, and by their demand for amuch higher degree of religious
to the further development
of
churches had contributed
consciousness,
in
same
trained
At
their
the
had
members
time, they
discipline
rationality.
them

and made

On

other

the

latent

and

dence
where

Last

by

traditional

the witch-craze

very

these

was

rarely

witch-craze

is nothing

practised

coinci
precisely
but

intensity,

with

directly

of

expense

space

particular

of
late

an uncon

but
the

and

allies

the

be mere

in time
with

witches

identified

else

It cannot

its climax

of

at

aggressions

superstition.

reached

"Confessionalization"

notorious

centuries

societies.48

and their
secular
they
a
stress
and
potential

created

the

of

expurgation

the

"confes

enemy.49
but

not

to do

made

"Confessionalization"

least,

tion to the growth


intended

that

seventeenth

early

provided
that

nevertheless
sional"

people

have

administra

industrial

pressure

must
I think

collective

victims

constant

the

aggressiveness.

sixteenth
scious

the

of bureaucratic

objects
of modern

preconditions

hand,

on

exercised

to being

accustomed

essential

tion?both

of the modern

so; more

often

an

than

not

it was

quite

contribu

important

state in Europe. Not

that the churches


the

opposite.

How

ever, they all needed the help of secular authorities, a help which was
granted willingly, but not free of charge. The churches had to pay for it
in some

cases

in the

47Saxony and Geneva


1599 ff) and Wolfgang

literal

are well
Reinhard,

sense

of

the word.

Early

modern

state-build

known; for Milan see Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis


Die Reform
in der Di?zese
(M?nster,
Carpentras

(Milan,
1966),

p. 134.
and the People of Catholic
Europe," Past and
48John Bossy, "The Counter-Reformation
51-70.
Present, No. 47 (1970),
49This suggestion
appeared obvious after studying a large number of regional studies on
cannot be quoted here.
in the sixteenth
and seventeenth
centuries, which
witch-hunting

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REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

398
on

ers,

the

other

knew

hand,

would

fessionalization"

of

political

the

joining

extension

identity,

"Con

of

process

three decisive

them with

provide

enforcement

advantages:

that

well

very

competitive
a monopoly

of

itwas obvious
of their subjects. Therefore,
of power, and disciplining
that a policy of religious toleration would not pay at that stage of state
Indeed,

centuries

of modern
was

But what

concrete

and

up

such

as

into more

bers may
site:

of

development
to

regard

and

"religion,"

"Confession,"
and

church,

religion,

the

early

modern

but

only

based

culture,

by

as

to pursue

not

could

authorities

"poli

economic

such conditions,

take

without

place

on

consent

"fundamental

upon

the oppo

Quite

of both. Under

today,
mem

where

"politics"

possible

main

still not

case

is the
etc.,

included

state

shared

as

is compatible.

"religion"
not
it was

or to lead a family life outside

purposes
the

Unitarian;

political

still

entities

life,"

"family

but membership

remained

included

first

different

Society was

subsystems

"economy,"

and

into

down
new

these

states,

autonomous

less

"religion,"

be different,

society

tics"

territorial

or

"politics,"

the

during

religion

broke

"Christianity"

claim of total commitment.

tained the traditional


split

between

relationship

medieval

national

churches,

states

powerless

history!

the

identity? When

were

states

tolerant

building.

and

(Heinz

subjects"

came to constitute
the national
Schilling).50 That is why Catholicism
some
even
time
after
of France,
political identity of Portugal, Spain, and
case
The
Swedish
for England.
overcame
confessional
ambiguity

as Protestantism

exactly

the

symptomatic:

is even

did

Swedes

only

more
when

to
their national identity was threatened by the impending succession
the throne of the Catholic king of Poland. At that point Sweden finally
in 1593, closed down the convent of
accepted the Augsburg Confession
the

Vadstena,

Catholic

national

in

sanctuary,

and

1595,

outlawed

Catho

lics.51
In the
ences

case

is even

tional" culture
there

were

tion

between

not

of German
more

territorial

essential,

the

states,

because

these

to legitimize

their political

even

different

dynasties

but

rival

territories,

just

appeal

clear
the

a "na

lacked

independence.
of

differ

religious

principalities

to draw
branches

to

lines
same

Sometimes
of
noble

demarca
house.

Eine Fallstudie
?ber das Verh?ltnis
und Staatsbildung.
50H. Schilling, Konfessionskonflikt
am Beispiel der Grafschaft
in der Fr?hneuzeit
von religi?sem
und sozialem Wandel
Lippe
19?1), p. 34.
(G?tersloh,
51Paul
seitdem
16. Jahrhundert
("Die
Kirchengeschichte
Georg Lindhardt, Skandinavische
Vol. 3 M 3. [G?ttingen,
Kirche in ihrer Geschichte,"
1982]), pp. 281 ff.;Georg Schwaiger, Die
in den nordischen
Reformation
and the Counter-Reformation

L?ndern
(Munich, 1962), pp. 142 if.; Oskar Garstein,
in Scandinavia,
Vol. 2 (Oslo, 1980).

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Rome

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

be mere

It cannot
preferred

"confessions":

carefully

lish an exclusively
Swiss

republics

early

as

territorial

had

their

separated
if they were

and

other,52

their

drawn

"Confessionalization"

as

Calvinism.

Even

respective

territorial
at

tried

they

Catholi
of

princes

the

churches
to estab

least

in their country. The different

definite

advanced

just

lines

Lutheranism?Leipzig

Catholic,

bishopric

153153?obviously

the individual

Lutheranism; Munich
on

later

Lutheranism,

cism?Heidelberg
same
religion
each

Wittenberg

Kassel Calvinism?Darmstadt

Catholicism;

from

that in such cases

coincidence

different

399

"confessional"

effective

state-build

favored

"Confessionalization"

as

borderlines

favored

state-building

ing.

Closed

to

obedience

ligious

to enforce

served

also

group

political

outside

authorities

to prevent

and intermarriage

limited mobility,

borders,

contamination

gious

was

state

the

reli
Re

identity.
considered

treacherous. The enlightened John Locke still refused toleration to Cath


olics, because their loyalty to a foreign prince, the pope, might become
a danger for the British state.54 The elector of Brandenburg made every
of Cologne,
the prince-archbishop
effort to keep his neighbor,
away
to
from the Duchy of Cleves, although that duchy's Catholics belonged
the Archdiocese
However,

also

identity
by

"civic

of

strategies

today's

not only by

of

faith for political

Rousseau

election

isolation
of

"Confessionalization"

abusing
and

of Machiavelli

religion"
cynical

is enforced

thorough

is not to be confused with

This
the

political
but

population,

of Cologne.55

was

still

the

subjects.

purposes.
far

away

because

managers,

of the

in

The
from
those

still
days those who used religion for political purposes nevertheless
of Bavaria had a
in it. From 1615 to 1628 Duke Maximilian
believed
the Jesuit Matthew Rader
In his preface
"Bavaria Sancta" published.
what

explained
towns,

counties,

the

book

villages,

wanted
fields,

to demonstrate:
forests,

mountains

"Cities,
and

castles,

valleys

market
all breathe

52Cf. Schilling, op. cit., p. 367.


in Heinz Angermeier
und Reformation,"
53Peter Stadler, "Eidgenossenschaft
(ed.), S?kulare
(Munich, 1983), pp. 91-99; very important Ernst Walder, "Refor
Aspekte der Reformationszeit
Vereins des Kantons Bern, 64/65 ( 1980),
mation und moderner
Staat," Archiv des Historischen
441-583.
54Epistola de Tolerantia 1689, cf. John Locke, Ein Brief ?ber Toleranz, ed. Julius Ebbinghaus
Bibliothek," Vol. 289 [Hamburg, 1975]), pp. 92-95 (English and German).
("Philosophische
Kirche am Niederrhein
55Dorothea Coenen, Die katholische
(M?nster, 1965); Martin Lack
"Die
des Gro?en Kurf?rsten
ner, Die Kirchenpolitik
(Witten,
1973); Klaus Deppermann,
und Neuzeit,
des Gro?en Kurf?rsten," Pietismus
6 (1981), 99-114. Branden
a toler
for practical reasons, but it did not become
accepted certain minorities
burg-Prussia
ant state before the eighteenth
century!

Kirchenpolitik

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400
and

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

demonstrate

Bavaria's

Catholic

religion

...,

because

the whole

re

gion is nothing but religion and one common church of its people."56
Tota regio nil nisi religio ismuch more than just playing with the words
of the famous formula Cuius regio eius religio. This was the program of
in its implementation
Maximilian's
reign, and he proved so successful
that still today Bavarian

and Catholic

remain almost synonyms!57

This kind of close affinity between religion and politics made itmuch
easier to overcome
the traditional Christian dualism of the spiritual and
the secular spheres, just re-established
by Luther in the most radical
in favor

way,

authority
Ages.

of

a Unitarian

regime,

this

time,

however,

in the lead, and not the ecclesiastical,

'Tour

Grace

shall

be

our

pope

and

emperor,"

with

as once
some

the

secular

in the Middle
peasants

wrote

to their lord, Philip of Hesse, as early as 152358 "Confessionalization"


meant gains of power for the State, because the Church became a part
of the State in theory as well as in practice. And if not in theory, as in
the Catholic case, then at least in practice! The duke of Bavaria did not
decide on the orthodoxy of doctrine as the elector of Saxony did, but
his "Spiritual Council" at Munich resembled
the "High Consistory" at
Dresden and the "Church Council" at Heidelberg
very closely. No won
same
as
the
all
those
bodies
served
der,
purpose; they had to govern the
territorial church in the name of the prince.59 Thomas Hobbes's claim
that church government was nothing but a part of political sovereignty,
and that consequently
the spiritual power of the pope did not extend
where
he was also temporal sovereign, the Papal
the
territory
beyond
is
not
to
be
considered an aggressive anticipation of a
this
claim
States,
future state of things, but a simple description
of seventeenth-century
not
the
Had
the
electors
of
Saxony very carefully obstructed
reality!60
56Cf. Peter Bernhard

Steiner, "Der gottselige


und Reich Kurf?rst Maximilian
pp. 252 f.

Um Glauben

F?rst und die Konfessionalisierung


Altbayerns,"
I. ("Wittelsbach und Bayern," Vol. 2, 1 [Munich,

1980]),
57Cf. Stieve,
F?rstenthumben

Der
und andere Ordnungen
Gerichts- Malefitz
op. cit.; Landrecht/Policey:
Obern und Nidern
I6l6), pp. 583-585; Hans R?ssler,
(Munich,
Bayern
im Bistum
"Warum Bayern katholisch blieb. Eine Strukturanalyse der evangelischen
Bewegung
33 (1981), 91-108.
Kirchengeschichte,
Freising 1520-1570,," Beitr?ge zur altbayerischen
"Die Territorien
Staatlichkeit und politi
zwischen Reichstradition,
58Walter Heinemeyer,

in Angermeier,
S?kulare Aspekte, p. 77.
der Bayerischen
Vol. 2 (Munich,
Geschichte,
1969), pp. 51, 583; Irmgard
Vol. 3 (Cologne
and Graz,
Geschichte
H?ss, "Humanismus und Reformation,"
Th?ringens,
und Zentralbeh?rden
der
und Territorialstaat
1967); Volker Press, Calvinismus
Regierung
1559-1619
Kurpfalz
(Stuttgart, 1970); imitations of the Bavarian model: Helmut Steigelmann
schen

Interessen,"

59Cf.Handbuch

und seine Protokolle


15771584
(ed.), Der Geistliche Rat zu Baden-Baden
(Stuttgart, 1962);
Rats inM?nster
des Geistlichen
Herbert Immenk?tter, Die Protokolle
1972).
(M?nster,
6?Thomas Hobbes,

Leviathan,

chapter

42.

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401

BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

of Protestant bishops as required by the Augsburg Confes


establishment
a certain
sion of 15 30?61 Of course, the Catholic Church maintained
autonomy of its institutions and elites. That iswhy the expansion of state
is

power

accompanied

"Church"

as

the

the

that

here

Nevertheless,
at

sometimes

the

of

of

expense

even

too

of

"State"

the

same

very

the

Papal

the same clergy

from

the

between

conflicts

is true

this

is recruited

hierarchy

one.

ecclesiastical

"Church,"

series

continuous

is amazing

the political

States, where

by
It

"State."

and

dominates
of

principle

by the Council of Trent and enforced


episcopal autonomy proclaimed
the Papal States!62 But also
possible?outside
by the papacy wherever
in
of M?nster
Ferdinand of Bavaria in his capacity of prince-bishop
a
was
to
and
of
the
of
Osnabr?ck
able
part
separate
bishopric
Westphalia
to the princi
add it to his own diocese
just because that part belonged
cura
claimed
He
the
M?nster
religionis over
politically.
simply
pality of
it, as

itwas

exercised

by

almost no German
church

by

ever gained

prince

a new

establishing

in other

princes

temporal

Catholic

territorial

cases.63

control

bishopric,

not

Nevertheless,

of his territorial
even

in Bavaria.

The system of the German imperial church with its politically


indepen
dent prince-bishops
proved an obstacle to further growth of State power,
as becomes

obvious

a comparison

by

western

with

and

southern

Europe.

The kings of France and Spain as well as most of the Italian princes and
republics held complete control of their respective churches and in some
cases

were

even

as

wishes,

in the

It would
sovereign

be
grossly

to

able
case

of

a mistake

have

the

them

Spanish

to consider

dysfunctional

from

reorganized

to

according

their

Netherlands.64
church
the

government
ecclesiastical

by
point

the

secular

of view,

as

to bishop
it turned out in France because of dubious royal appointments
rics and abbeys. The "Catholic Kings" in Spain enforced church reform
as did the dukes of Bavaria.65 One should not forget that "Reformation"
by Protestant princes basically was the same thing, in particular when
it claimed not to found a new church, but just to purify the old one. On
im deutschen
Luthertum
"Episcopus Evangelicus. Versuche mit dem Bischofsamt
und Confutatio
in Erwin Iserloh (ed.), Confessio Augustana
16. Jahrhunderts,"
(M?nster,
1980), pp. 499-516.
nella
la monarchia
Un corpo e due anime:
62Paolo Prodi, // sovrano pontefice.
papale
011. H?ss,

des

prima et? moderna


63Cf. Immenk?tter,

(Bologna,

1982), pp. 249-293.

op. cit., p. 19.


in de Nederlande
der nieuwe
bisdommen
64Michael Leopold Dierickx, De oprichting
sur l'?rection des
Documents
in?dits
id.
onder Filips II1559-1570
(ed.),
1950);
(Antwerp,
nouveaux
dioc?ses aux Pays-Bas
1521-1570
(3 vols.; Brussels,
1960-1962).
de la Iglesia en Espa?a, Vol. 3, 1 (Madrid, 1980), pp. 115-210; Handbuch
65Cf. Historia

der Bayerischen

Geschichte,

Vol. 2 (Munich,

1969), pp. 626-656.

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402

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

the other hand, purely religious actions might also serve political pur
poses. The electors of Saxony used "Reformation" and church visitation
to enlarge their political power at the expense of neighboring
bishops
and local nobility.66 And in Bavaria the restructuring of popular piety
the political autonomy of that country's
proved helpful in undermining
The expansion of the cult of the Virgin as
powerful old monasteries.
favored by the duke and realized by Jesuits and mendicants went forward
at the expense of the traditional patron saints of those monasteries. Thus
the "Patrona Bavariae" replaced the patron saint of the local lord exactly
as the latter himself was replaced by the duke.67
To be saved from
their

princes.

They

churches

competition,
not

lost

only

autonomy,

had to pay a high price


but

estates

and

to

revenues,

too. This expropriation of church property was by no means a Protestant


In some cases, it had already taken place before the "Reforma

peculiarity.
tion."68

And

the

Protestant

secularizations

have

their

coun

less-known

terpart in extensive
expropriations
by Catholic princes. The French
crown, for example, financed the religious wars to a large extent by
selling church property69 And the clergy was exempt from taxation, in
canon law only, since in reality they were taxed by the pope in the Papal
States and by the duke of Bavaria as well as by the kings of Spain and
France.

Finally, church government


by the State and abolition of clerical
as
both
Protestant
and Catholic rulers was a deci
practised by
privilege
sive step in the direction of a general levelling of their subjects, toward
a modern equality not so much of rights as of their loss. In this respect,
the Protestant "Reformation" proved a particularly strong promoter of
state power. Protestant theology abolished the clergy as a separate estate
of society However, Catholics had their own ways to catch up. A certain
prince-abbot
to

the

abbot

his estates

of Fulda, for example,


by

the monastic

and to establish

used

observance

his princely

the paternal

authority

to overcome

the

inW?rttemberg,"

Zeitschrift

of

absolutism.70

66a. H?ss, op. cit., p. 87.


und b?uerliche
67Cf. Hermann H?rger, Kirche, Dorfreligion
Gesellschaft,
1978), pp. 124-136.
der Stifte und H?user
^For
Sch?ntag, "Die Aufhebung
example: Wilfried
Leben
gemeinsamen
38 (1979), 82-96.

ascribed

resistance

f?r W?rttembergische

Vol.

1 (Munich,

der Br?der

vom

Landesgeschichte,

"Les ali?nations du tem


studies by Ivan Cloulas now: Claude Michaud,
du
si?cle.
moiti?
XVIe
la
seconde
dans
probl?mes de m?thode,"
Quelques
porel eccl?siastique
Revue d'Histoire de l'?glise de France, 61 (1981), 61-82.
von Fulda 1678-1700
von Droste, F?rstabt
70Klaus Wittstadt,
Placidus
(Fulda, 1963).
69Following

earlier

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BYWOLFGANG REINHARD

the "Reformation"

Both

on

administration

and the Council

bureaucratic

The

lines.

403

of Trent modernized
Protestant

church
or

Superintendents

took their tides from the Episcopoi,


Superattendants
literally the over
like the later
seers,71 of the ancient church, but in reality they were,
French

modern

Intendant,

of

officials

bureaucratic

the

Commissioner

had been.
type, and no longer holders of a benefice as their predecessors
to G. R. Elton, the beginnings of the English "Reformation"
According
are nothing else than one aspect of a major administrative reform of the
the premodern
kingdom.72 And the Catholic Church overcame
society
of privilege-holders
control of the faithful in the hands
by concentrating
of the parish priest and the bishop, and by closing gaps in this control
of
by the new matrimonial
legislation combined with the establishment
an
church records.73 Administration
and
overflow
of
detailed
by writing
regulations heralded the age of bureaucracy. By joint efforts of Church
to a stricter discipline of life. And
and State subjects became accustomed
where
the State still lacked a well organized bureaucracy able to reach
the Church stepped inwith its
every single subject in the countryside,
ministers.

parish

This alliance of Church and State during the process of "Confessionali


in the field of ideas and emotions, where
zation" reached its culmination
it secured the consent of the subjects to their own subjugation. This had
been noticed as early as 1589 by Giovanni Botero:
No

law

ismore

to them

not

favorable
only
too,

consciences,

to princes
than
and means

the bodies
and

it binds

not

only

the Christian
of

the

one,

it submits

because
but

subjects,
the hands,
but also

their
the

souls

and
and

feelings

thoughts.74

in 1653 the Lutheran Dietrich

Of course,
with him:
Religion
contain
government
connects

of State
secret

The Enforcement

1972).
73Council
(ed.),

Canons

still agree

an R, for they both


together
or
in
if a new
statecraft,
greatest
empire
particular,
one
in
has to be stabilized?
One
and
state
country
religion
the minds
of the
themselves
and with
their
among
subjects

and Reason
the

both

begin

with

of

71Cf.
H?ss, op. cit., p. 86.
72Cf. G. R. Elton, The Tudor Revolution
Police.

Reinkingk would

in Government

of the Reformation

of Trent, Sessio XXIV, Decretum


and Decrees
of the Council

(Latin).
translation), pp. 454-460
74Translated from Giovanni Botero, Della

1953); id, Policy and


(Cambridge,
in the Age of Thomas Cromwell
(Cambridge,

H. J. Schroeder, O.P.
de reformatione matrimonii,
of Trent (St. Louis, 1941), pp. 183-190 (English
ragione

di Stato,

ed. Luigi Firpo

(Turin,

1948),

p. 137.

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404

REFORMATION, COUNTER-REFORMATION

more

superiors
fidence.75
It paid

an

for

than

modern

early

else,

anything

authority

and

is the

true

to

regularize

basis

the

con

of mutual

very

of

intimacy

the religious and moral lives of its subjects, and to supervise them by
officials and spies; it paid not only through political stability, but also by
the
of

new

of

gain
state

power

traditional

move

successful
when

states,

success

for

measures

of

no

but
to

dares

than

better

introduced

with
the

doubt,

was

not

the

very

after

all,

by

participate

also

as described

are legitimized

subjects

opinion,

public

way,

certain

in

German

the

condemned

by

that
the

early
process

of
modern
of

the

strategy

the

estates.
of

precondition

above.

consciences

risk

territorial
of

help

essential

Resistance

by their consequence
only

and

subjects
to
easier

the subjects. This

it was

"Confessionalization"

which

salvation

subtle

of

obviously

and

England,

was

"Reformation"

However,

it was

expansion

political

resistance

in accord with

in Sweden,

in a more

purely

a stubborn

authorities,

in the field of religion

proved

Who

territory.
to reckon
with

intermediate

Whereas

political
had

against

for the eternal


authorities

subjects

and

by

themselves.

monarchies

could

"Confessionalization"?

do
In

still knew only two consensus-producing


1835, Alexis de Tocqueville
forces in history: religion and patriotism, which by itself is also a kind
of religion:
In the present
their religion
[the Turks] are in rapid decay because
age they
is departing,
and despotism
remains.
who
attributed
to
only
Montesquieu,
an authority
absolute
to itself, did it, as I conceive,
an unde
power
peculiar
served
for despotism,
taken by itself, can maintain
durable.
honor;
nothing
close

On
the

cause

you may,
will;
can

we
shall find that religion,
and not fear, has ever been
inspection
of the long-lived
of an absolute
Do what
government.
prosperity
there is no true power
in the free union of their
among men
except

and patriotism
are
and religion
towards
urge all the people

long

two motives
the only
the same end.76

in the world

that

75Translated from Dietrich


Biblische
1681 [first edition
(Frankfurt,
Reinkingk,
Policey
1653]), pp. 14, 35.
en Am?rique,
76Alexis de Tocqueville, De la d?mocratie
I 5, in the American
translation
by Henry Reeve, ed. by Phillips Bradley (New York, 1945), Vol. 1, p. 97.

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions