The Reformation: Diaries, Executions, and 'The Fraction'
The Reformation: Defenestration, Apocalypticism, and Divine Love

The Reformation: Catacombs, Triumphalist Architecture, Martyrs, Homoeroticism, and More

The Counter-Reformation was helped in re-shaping devotion through the discovery of the catacombs in Rome.  The Church now had strong evidence of being the ancient church, against the Protestant calls that they were returning to ancient forms.  In this period Roman Catholic architecture and art became triumphalist, partly to demonstrate the clear difference with the iconoclastic Protestants.  Though much later in time, I think about the prominence of Sacre Couer, the cathedral in St. Paul (and its proximity to the State Capitol), and even the cathedral here in Omaha.

A negative note in Italy was how much was side-lined.  Not only were there no vernacular Bibles for the laity (that wasn't true in other Catholic lands) but "much was marginalized which was not Protestant and represented the best of Italy's past culture: among the works that the Church ordered Italians not to read were Boccaccio's Decameron, the poetry of Petrarch and Ariosto, the writings of Castiglione on conduct and Machiavelli on politics."  MacCulloch contends that the Italian Counter-Reformation ended the Italian Renaissance.

 Archbishop Carlo Borromeo's  personal emblem was the "humilitas" crowned.

Borromeo's emphasis on self-discipline involved "an emaciated joylessness."

"Tridentine regulation in the style of Carlo Borromeo would always be a paradise for the authoritarian or the small-minded."

The carnivalesque parades and dramas of the Jesuits sound really interesting.  He says that their exhibitionism prefigured British and American revivalism.

Philip II -- still creepy.

Interesting musical tradition in Spain, the villancico, a carol, "full of humour, and featured characters on the picturesque margins of society such as gypsies, negresses or confidence tricksters, temporarily made unthreatening and comic in the service of God."

 MacCulloch contends that the Spanish Inquistion was actually less bloodthirsty that most of the other state in Europe.  England may have executed more people for religious purposes.

He also contends that Spain declined during the 17th century because so much money was being spent on the cult of the dead.

Beautiful sections on Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.  On the latter's homoeroticism: "This is possible for Juan because he sees the self as not an exclusive, bounded individual: the relationship of the bride is the relationship of all the creation of a good and loving God to its creator."  I do like that MacCulloch doesn't gloss over the homosexuality of some of the major characters in the story but treats it openly and fairly (the discussions of King James and Archbishop William Laud are great examples).

 In his good section on the Jesuit global mission, he makes an important point about the Japanese persecution of Christians, "The Japanese persecution is a standing argument against the old idea that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

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