COUNTER-REFORMATION. The term used to describe those measures which the Roman Catholic Church took, after the Reforma tion was fairly started. (1) to reform abuses, (2) to counteract the Protestant movement in those lands where it threatened to succeed, and (3) to uproot it where it had entirely or very considerably succeeded. Long before the Prot estant revolt took place there had been a demand upon the part of faithful sons of the Church for a reform in 'head and members,' from the Pope down to the humblest Christian. Several coun cils had been called to accomplish it, but did little. At last the Council of Trent was as sembled, lasting with interruptions from 1545 to 1563, solemnly reaffirmed and defined Catholic doctrine, and enacted disciplinary mea nres to rectify widespread and prevalent abuses. Of the agents most active in raising the tone of the Church, animating its pulpit and its schools, and inspiring self-sacrifice and ardent piety, the chief have been the Jesuits—so much so, indeed, that the counter-reformation is frequently spoken of as their work. The other measures spoken of have naturally incurred more censure. The check or extirpation of Protestantism has been accom panied necessarily with violence, and thus con travenes modern notions of religious freedom— though it must be said that the intolerance of the Roman Catholic ruler or prelate was matched, when opportunity served, by that of Protestants in similar positions. In Bavaria the nobility which had favored Protestantism were expelled in 1564. At Treves the Elector, James of Eltz, in 1572, forbade Protestants his Court. In other ecclesiastical States of the Empire, as Bam berg and Salzburg, the rulers drove out the evangelical clergy and gave the laity the alter native of conformity to the Catholic Church or exile. Austria attempted to uproot religious lib erty in Hungary, but was forced to restore it.
In Bohemia Protestantism was extirpated dur ing the Thirty Years' War. As far as the' Ger man Empire was concerned, the arbitrary ex ercise of power to repress Protestantism ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1645. In such countries as Spain and Italy Protestan tism never had more than a feeble existence, and so was rather easily suppressed by the inquisition. In France there was never more than a possibility of Protestantism gaining an ascendency, but in the sixteenth and seven teenth centuries it had many influential ad herents. Civil wars, the result of political intrigue, and the acceptance from personal ambition of Romanism by Henry IV., ruined whatever prospects the Protestants had and with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1655, all semblance of State favor to Prot estantism was removed and the faith outlawed. In the Netherlands persecution and war wrested the southern provinco; from Protestant domi nation, hut it remained in the northern. Scan dinavia was not seriously shaken in her accept ance of Protestantism. In England, after tire less, ingenious, and heroic attempts of seminary priests, upon whose head a price was fixed, to effect a return to Catholicism, with the secret coiiperation of many nobles and other prominent men, the scheme had to be abandoned, mainly -because the audacious invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in I5SS welded the nation into a whole against foreign political or religious dominion.
Consult: Ranke, History of the Popes, English trans. (London, 1S67) ; Ward, History of the (.'ounter-Reformation (New York, 1SS9) A. R. Pennington, History of the Counter-lb:formation (London, 1900).